Thursday, July 17, 2014

Emily's Birth Story {Part 2}

{Read Part 1 here}

After checking in at the nurse's station we were taken to a triage room, which was basically a bed and some monitoring equipment behind a curtain.  At this point, I was pretty much in constant pain -- contractions were long and very close together.  I changed into a hospital gown, the nurse took my vitals, and examined me.  Much to my chagrin, I was only about 3 cm dilated.  Seeing as I was 2 cm dilated at my exam on Monday, and had been experiencing such painful contractions for several hours, this was a bit disappointing.  I had originally hoped to wait until 5 cm before getting an epidural, but the contractions were so intense I knew at that moment that wasn't going to happen.

The triage nurse called my OB {Dr. S}, who said that she wanted me to get to 4 cm before being admitted.  Seriously????  {Yes, this was the same doctor I spoke to on the phone before heading to the hospital who heard how much pain I was in and "never heard" of contractions as long as the ones I was experiencing.}  The nurse suggested I walk around for a bit, but my contractions were so intense I could barely stand up straight, let alone walk around.  She hooked me up to a contraction and fetal monitoring system to get some readings, where she saw why I was in such pain -- my contractions were clustered together.  What I thought was one long painful contraction was actually 2 on top of one another.  They were so close that I couldn't even feel the break in between.  She told me I'd need to be hooked up for 20 minutes to get the readings she needed, but what she didn't tell me was that I shouldn't move at all.  Well, there I was standing in agony waiting for my 20 minutes to pass.  As if that wasn't trying enough, a medical student came in to ask me a few questions.... the SAME EXACT questions I had literally JUST answered a minute before.  Now, I realize that I was at a teaching hospital, and I am all for learning opportunities.  But having me answer questions to which the answers had been recorded not even 10 minutes earlier, while I'm in excruciating pain, just seems cruel!  I went ahead and did it anyway, and when the medical student wrapped up his Barbara Walters interview he skedaddled.  The nurse came back in and apparently I'd turned or took a step or something during one of my contractions, which caused the belt monitor to come a bit loose, and therefore not record anything.  The 20 minutes needed to be consecutive monitoring, so we had to start all over again.  UGH!!!  I'm not positive {it's all a little bit of a blur now} but I'm pretty sure this happened more than once.... even though after the first snafu I knew to stay as still as possible, the belt came a bit loose and the monitor stopped reading.  I think the nurse realized how much pain I was in and what a crap monitor she had me hooked to and finally let it go.  By this point I was begging for an epidural.  But, the nurse had disappeared, and there was nobody in sight.  Seeing how uncomfortable I was, Shep started walking around looking for someone.  I'm relatively sure I used the F bomb wondering where the entire staff was seeing as it was the middle of the night and we were the only ones in the triage area.  It turned out there was a delivery going on, so the nurse was going back and forth between triage and the L&D area.

When the nurse came back, she checked me again.  About an hour had passed and I was still only ~ 3.5 cm dilated.  With the encouragement of our birth doula, I requested to be admitted anyway {despite Dr. S's preference of waiting until I was 4 cm} and to receive an epidural.  So, the nurse disappeared again, to get everything prepared.

After what seemed like many painful hours finally passed, the nurse and anesthesiologist finally arrived, and that's when the real fun began.  Shep asked how dilated I was and the nurse replied: "Oh, I didn't tell you?  5 cm".  We looked at one another, confused, both knowing full well she hadn't told us that -- that number would've been encouraging!  Last we heard, I was still approaching 4 cm.  Shep replied:  "I thought you said 4?"  The nurse made a face and whispered very quietly to us that the anesthesiologist wouldn't give the epidural to me unless I was 5 cm.  {So much for the video we watched in our prepared childbirth class that explicitly stated epidurals would be given at any time if the patient requested!}  Mind you, the anesthesiologist was standing RIGHT behind her.  And by right behind her I mean literally less than a foot away, so I have no idea how she didn't hear the whisper, but I guess I'm glad she didn't!  Prior to receiving the epidural they needed to insert an IV line into my arm.  Well, apparently all of my veins were in hiding because nobody could get the IV in.  One nurse tried.... OUCH!  Didn't work.  Then the original nurse tried.....   OWWWWWWWWW!!  Wouldn't go in.  She remarked "I've never seen veins like this before...the other nurses usually come to me with the difficult IVs and I can't do it!"  According to her, my veins were "very illusive".  Great.  The anesthesiologist suggested they try the other arm.  In fact, the anesthesiologist might have even tried to get the IV in that's how bad it got.  Everything around that time is a little of a blur -- between the painful contractions and the pain of being stuck multiple times with needles, it was hard to focus.  Eventually, AFTER FOUR TRIES, they got the IV in, and I breathed a small sigh of relief -- until the next contraction hit...

The time was 1:55 am and they moved me into my delivery room.  I finally received the long-anticipated epidural at 2:15 am, and almost immediately felt relief.  Finally, I could breathe again...

The nursing staff advised us to get some rest, while we waited for my cervix to dilate a bit more.  Shep changed into the "dad to be" shirt I had bought him and we snapped a few photos -- he wouldn't have that status for long!  Shep was able to sleep on a cot in the corner of the room while our birth doula Annette slept sitting on a chair with her head down on a table!  Though it was the middle of the night following an emotionally and physically exhausting day and I hadn't really slept well the night before, I just couldn't sleep.  I laid there in my bed, awake with anticipation.  All I kept thinking was "I was going to have a baby TODAY".  It was a feeling that's hard to describe -- I was excited but not in an energetic way; I was nervous, but much more calm than I had been earlier that week.  I think because I knew our little one's birth was happening that day, all the guesswork and a little of the scariness stemming from the unknown was gone.  I'm sure the epidural had something to do with it, but I felt almost serene.  I remember looking around the room, at the monitors, at my handsome hubby sleeping in the corner, at the baby warmer stationed next to my bed, at the receiving blanket and little hat that was ready to be wrapped around baby, trying to remember every detail.  I knew my life was about to change drastically, and i just wanted to soak it all in.

A few more hours passed, and during this time period I had 4 or 5 little "day dreams".  They were like little clips of a movie playing, almost like regular dreams, except I wasn't asleep.  I kept hearing the doctor say "It's a girl!" and then the vision would cut to another scene and I'd hear it again and again.  Could it be?  Was this a last-minute premonition?  Did I finally have a gut feeling about the sex of our soon-to-arrive baby?  Only time would tell but the flashes I saw and heard were pretty vivid...

At 4:45 am they inserted a foley catheter.  What would've happened if I had to tinkle between 2:15 and then, I wondered?  Good thing we didn't find out!  At 5 am, I was 90% effaced and 5 cm dilated.  At 5:20 am they administered Pitocin to get things moving along quicker.  Thanks to our childbirth prep classes, I knew this might happen, so I was prepared.

At 7:15 am I was 100% effaced and 7 cm dilated.  At 7:50 am I was 8 cm dilated.  The show was on the road and there was no turning back now!  Another OB from the practice, Dr. R., was going to take over at 8 am, and asked Dr. S to break my water before she ended her shift.  It was quick and painless, and the fluid was clear.  Dr. S. made a joke saying that she wanted me to have the baby by 10 am, and I replied that I'd do my best!  She left the room and I thought about how I would likely have a baby in my arms in the next 2 hours!


  1. I'm loving the details of your birth story! So sorry you were left to be in so much pain for so long. The same thing, almost exactly, happened to me when I delivered my son. I came into the hospital dilated to FOUR centimeters and they made me sit in triage for 2 hours because my doctor wouldn't admit me. Well, when they came back I was already SIX centimeters and they rushed me back to my delivery room to get the epidural. LOL! I was all smug and said, "I TOLD YOU I WAS IN LABOR!!" LOL

    I love, love, love the shirt you got for hubby. You guys look so very happy in the pictures! I love the premonition of "girl" you had before you gave birth. Definitely sounds like mother's intuition was kicking in big time!

    1. I can't believe that happened during your delivery of Mitch!!! WOW!!!! Your doctor wouldn't admit you at 4 cm dilated -- what the heck were they waiting for????

      The shirt Shep wore for the delivery was one of his Christmas gifts. I packed it for him in his hospital bag. :)


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