This is a continuation of my birth story. You can read part one here.
I'm not sure if Dan arrived before or after Cheyenne inserted the Cervadil, which I believe, was around 11:00, but that’s when our waiting game began. The plan was to leave the Cervadil in for 12 hours and hope that it would be enough to kick things off. After that, there would be talk of Pitocin. I was also hooked up to an IV for fluids and to receive precautionary antibiotics for Group B Strep since I hadn’t been tested for this yet (I was supposed to be tested at my next prenatal appointment, the following day).
My mom and dad arrived sometime after Daniel, even though I tried to talk them into waiting a bit, since I knew they would be doing more sitting around waiting for something to happen than anything else. They came anyway, anxious to make sure I was okay to meet their new grandson or granddaughter. It was good to have them there for support, even if there wasn’t much they could do.
The Cervadil, unfortunately, proved to be of little help. Another (grrr) monitor was wrapped around my belly by the hospital staff to track my contractions (or, lack thereof). I started to feel crampy and miserable, and had some awful back pain that came and went, but that was about it. Several meals were brought and eaten, Dan drove to the apartment to straighten up, feed the cats, and bring one of our cars home. He also had the task of installing the car seat base, since we still hadn’t taken care of that yet and we would definitely be needing it on our return trip.
Despite the monitors and IV, I was thankfully able to move around the room a bit (although, everything had to be unhooked whenever I had to use the bathroom - which was frequently). Because of the persistent cramping, I had a hard time getting comfortable, but I wasn’t necessarily in pain yet. I was in bed, out of bed, in the rocking chair, standing; rinse, repeat. I’m sure I tried to nap, but with all the anxiousness and excitement, I regrettably, didn’t get much sleep.
Nurses were in and out with a fair amount of frequency. I saw Cheyenne several times as well, although she did need to head to TBC at one point for back up because, apparently, it was “busting at the seams”. That week was a busy one for births! Everyone who came in seemed to have the same comment when reviewing the stats from the heart rate monitor. Whoever my baby was, they were “happy”, with perfect decelerations, and moving all around. I kept thinking “If my baby is so happy, why don’t we let he or she stay put a while longer?” I was very glad to know, however, that there was very likely nothing wrong with my baby. At 35 weeks, he or she was still considered a premie, and I was worried that there could be complications for my baby, too.
Trying to keep a sense of humor. Look at my monitors!
At some point, shortly before the 12 hours were up, my Cervadil fell out on one of my many bathroom trips and around 11:00 p.m., it was time to re-evaluate. Since I would not be able to eat once the Pitocin was started, we decided to wait a little while before getting things going. I had a few snacks and took a wonderful shower - the warm water felt amazing on my back. I soaked it up as long as I could since I was disappointed I wouldn’t be getting a long soak in one of the tubs at TBC during the height of my contractions, which I had so been looking forward to. Then, monitor free and IV free, Dan and I took time to walk the halls.
Sometime in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, it was time for the big, bad, Pitocin…
I was hooked up to a bunch of crap again (eloquently stated, I know… can you tell I hated all those wires and beeping machines?), and the Pitocin began. The plan was to start slowly and increase the dosage in intervals every half an hour until things got going. Based on what I’ve read about Pitocin, I was anticipating horrid contractions to start almost immediately, but, I was absolutely under whelmed (not that I’m complaining).
After getting a shower. Feeling pretty good and hoping something is going to happen soon!
According to the monitors, I did start contracting. But, I still only continued to feel crampy. Maybe a little more intensely than before, but definitely not what I was expecting. I kept thinking that if this was as bad as it got, that this whole “pain during childbirth” thing was blown completely out of proportion. Little did I know what was ahead…
Things are really blurry now. I was on round one of Pitocin for 12 hours. 12 hours. And almost nothing happened. Tuesday morning, around 7:00 or 8:00, it was time for the TBC midwives to switch shifts again. I said goodbye to Cheyenne and met Ann, the midwife who ended up catching Linus (interesting side note, she also caught my sister-in-law’s daughter, the previous August). I continued to feel miserable, but was trying to stay positive. As the hours drug on with nothing happening, Dan and I began to worry that if nothing continued to happen, I would be headed for a c-section. Ann reassured us that, at this point, there was no rush. She was so calm and positive and we both felt wonderfully comfortable with her.
I continued my unsettled dance, pacing the hospital room. In the bed, out of the bed. In the chair, out of the chair. In a new chair, and out of that one. Back and forth to the bathroom. At one point, I finally settled in the rocker and felt surprisingly comfortable dozing on and off, rocking gently, trying to enjoy the last moments of holding my baby inside of me, and trying to focus on breathing and staying calm. Suddenly, the baby moved or the heart monitor shifted and the sound of heartbeat was lost (this had happened several times, sending the nurses into a tizzy, as they ran in to reposition the monitor). I was unfazed, but a new nurse came charging into the room, barely introducing herself, before demanding that I get back into bed and stay there, lest the monitor move again.
As soon as she left, I lost it. I had been doing so well holding it together despite the circumstances. But, my exhaustion and frustration came to fruition at that point. I had a good cry in Dan’s arm, lamenting that the last thing I wanted to do was to be stuck in bed. It was one of the last pieces of my longed-for birth that I was still holding on to - to be free to move and work with my body, and laying flat at the point was hugely uncomfortable to boot. I felt like part of my power had been taken from me.
Later that evening, after another visit from my parents, more waiting, and a whole lot more of nearly nothing contraction-wise, Ann made the decision to give me, my baby, and my uterus a break from the Pitocin. I was able to eat dinner and take some time to move around before starting a second round. The first round lasted close to 12 hours with almost no results. Exactly the opposite of what I expected!
When we began round two, things were very different.