If you're just joining us:
Audra's birth story, Part 1- Where Stacy's Water Breaks
Audra's birth story, Part 2- In Which We Go to the Hospital (And it might be entertaining for you to go back and read Mark's comment on this particular post. He's adding in any pertinent details I've forgotten.)
I should say here that I don't love the hospital. The only thing I do love about hospitals is that they make me feel safe. If anything were to go wrong with me or the baby during labor, I would feel the safest being there. Take that out of the picture, and I'd pick a home birth, hands down.
Quick (I promise) recap of my other two labors:
Ella, ten days late. Induced at the hospital with Cervidil (cervix softener), which put me into labor within hours, labored most of one night and part of the next day, she was born. No drugs. (Well, at the very end they did give me some Fentinol (am I spelling this right?... Lucy? Annie?)) but it ended up being so close to the end the nurses said it didn't have a chance to take effect. Loved pushing that baby girl out. That part only took a few minutes. 9 lbs, 9 oz.
Isaac, eight days late. Worst labor for me, and probably part of that was that the fact that I was in no condition to be giving birth. [Long story short- and I think I've mentioned this here before- but I had a benign tumor in my right inner ear that had to be surgically removed (four times, because it kept growing back). During the weeks prior to giving birth to Isaac, my surgical site (behind my right ear) had become infected, I was going to the hospital daily to get IV antibiotics, and another surgery was imminent. Just as soon as I delivered this baby.] Okay- back to the labor: Induced with Pitocin. WHICH I HATE. Because it did not work. I was on Pitocin for a full day and was not progressing. They kept turning it up and I kept doing... nothing. I mean, my body was having contractions but there was no progression in labor. Come nighttime they gave me Cervidil. Then more Pitocin. Then Morphine so that I could sleep. Then an Epidural which I HATED the thought of, but at that point was so stinking exhausted I didn't care much. Pushing was easy again. Just minutes of that and then, a 9 lbs, 10 oz boy.
So. All that to say that my goals going into this labor were these:
1) Cervidil was my induction method of choice. I was going to protest Pitocin without question.
2)I wanted to labor on my feet (like I was able to do with Ella), not lying in bed (like I had to do with Isaac).
3) NO EPIDURAL. Yes, you read that right. I have SEEN the size of that needle and it makes me shudder. Literally. And my reasons for not wanting one (other than the length of that needle) are simple: Years ago I read that there is the tiniest bit of a chance that one could suffer paralyisis as a result of an epidural. Tiniest bit of a chance is enough of a chance for me. Plus, for generations women have been having babies without epidurals. I figure I can, too. Those are my reasons. Enough said.
Obviously this time I didn't need to worry about #1. No need to induce labor when ones water has broken/is breaking and contractions are regular. Especially when I'm doing #2- up on my feet.
Which is what we got busy doing as soon as we were admitted into our room. And shortly after my crabby look to Mark. We got to "walk the halls" of the lovely hospital.
The thing I was struck by this time around was that without the need to be induced, the hospital let me labor WITHOUT having an IV in. LOVED that. I am sure I commented on it no less than 110 times throughout labor. "Can you even believe how great it is that I get to do this without toting that stupid IV bag/pole/line/beeping-when-the-battery-is-low paraphanalia?" It was utter freedom. It made me so happy and I loved it.
There were only two times during labor that I got mildly annoyed with my husband, and this is Time #1. (I've asked him if I could share this and he agreed.) As we were Walking the Halls at one point, a contraction hit (still mildish, but definitely stopping to breathe through them) and I said to Mark, "Honey. This really hurts. What am I supposed to do?" And he said, "Just relax." He maintains that this was great advice, and I get that. I do. But I warned him then that as labor progressed and contractions were far worse, if he said that again I might not take it as well as I just did.
During this stage of labor I remember being REALLY tired. I was yawning in between contractions and my overriding desire was simply to crawl into bed and take a nap. This worried me, since I knew we had a long ways to go. Mark and I prayed together that God would give me the strength to tackle what lay ahead and that I would stop being so exhausted. He totally answered. The yawning stopped, as did my desire to take a nap (!) and I quickly moved into my "bring it on" attitude. Shortly afterwards, when our nurse encouraged me to lie down and rest, if I could, I said "No way. These contractions are more effective when I'm up. I'm not about to lie down."
The on-duty hospital doctor had stopped in to introduce himself earlier- he would monitor my progress until it was time for delivery, when he would then call the on-call doctor (my doctor was gone for the weekend). He had told me he'd be back at 6pm (about 4 hours after I was a "2") to check me again. We called our reinforcements (my mom and Amy) and told them that, and invited them to come on in whenever they'd like.
It was when I was in the bathtub (Yay! A bath! I got to take a hot bath during labor!] where I felt like Mark and I really got a good system down. Each time I could feel a contraction coming on, Mark helped me pull myself upright and encouraged me to breathe through them, while he put pressure on my lower back (which was hurting) and also put a cold wet rag on my forehead (or neck). I loved the rag. And then as it subsided he'd put a pillow behind my head and help me lie back and relax until the next one came.
A little before 6:00 Amy came (mid-bath; and took over the cool, wet rag part of our system) and my mom followed shortly afterward, and we waited for the doctor to get there to check me again.
[Part 4 to follow. Monday morning. And okaaay... so maybe this is going to be a 5-part series.]