Saturday, December 01, 2007

birth story, part 2

sorry, I wasn't trying to be all cliffhanger-y, but that's kinda how things are right now. If I don't do this in parts, it may not get written at all!

Anyway, we had finished the paperwork and all the welcome-to-the-hospital procedures (IV, urine, monitor set-up, etc.) and it was time to begin the actual induction process. I had been measured earlier in the day (2cm, unchanged for weeks!) so I avoided being checked again. I did have an ultrasound at several times to ensure that baby was still head down. The cervadil was placed (easy - it's like a tiny tampon with prostaglandins on it) and I was instructed to stay in bed for two hours (much harder - I reallly had to pee. I was quite the clock-watcher during this time.)

Occasionally cervadil alone (no pitocin) is enough to start regular labor. This was not the case for me. Sometimes it can cause severe cramping and it needs to be removed. For me, the plan was to leave it in place until the morning and then check my cervix for progress. I did have some cramping, but it wasn't severe. I figured it was just doing its job. I was offered a sleeping pill and around midnight I took it. This was one of the benefits, in my opinion, to being in the hospital. I was pretty keyed up and it (the availability of drugs) helped me relax enough to rest (as much as you really can in the hospital.)

Well, at my morning check the cervadil was removed and resident #2 (AKA ChubbyFingers) declared me 1.5 cm dilated. The nurse informed him that I had been at 2 the day before and asked him if he was sure. He conceded that I might be 2, but it didn't matter to me, I was discouraged and felt like crying. He tried to tell me that the cervadil had done its job and made my cervix soft, but I felt like it had been a big waste. He may have been right, but it sure felt crappy to still be at a 2.

As planned, we began pitocin. I had yet another ultrasound to verify the baby's position, and the drip began. I felt a change pretty quickly. Now that I was finally feeling contractions and not just cramps, I felt like we were getting somewhere.

P turned the tv on and watched the Macy's parade. I wasn't able to watch tv because my blood pressure had gone up from being on my back for so long that they made me lay on my side and that faced away from the tv. Fine by me, I wasn't really interested in anything anyway. They were upping the pit every 30 minutes because my contractions weren't strong enough. They didn't feel awful yet, but they felt stronger to me than what the monitor was reading. They wanted to know my pain and I wasn't sure what to say (I loathe rating my pain with a number. If I haven't felt a 10, how would I know what I'm feeling now? I'm an overthinker.)

Eventually my doctor came in to check my progress and I think he was disappointed to see that I wasn't really making any by just increasing the pitocin. P had gone to go find some food and the doctor announced that it was time to break my water. That hurt like a sonofabitch. I'm not even going to describe how that felt. I'm not really a yeller, but there was some serious groaning and crying going on, as I was in quite a bit of pain. This was not an easy procedure at all for me, but I hoped it would encourage the baby to move down and go to work on my lazy cervix.

At this point, we'd expected to see some progress. I was feeling stronger contractions but they were only showing up sporadically on the monitor. P and I were watching and I'd have a particularly painful one that would barely spike on the screen. The doctor decided to place an internal monitor and I was relieved. As the nurse said, now I'd "get credit" for everything I was feeling. It worked. The picture was much more accurate now. I was having strong, regular contractions.

I was told I could get an epidural at any time. I didn't want to get it too soon, so I initially turned it down. About two hours after my water was broken though, I was ready. The anesthesiologist came, ordered P out, and set up shop. He said the first part would sting a bit and it did. Not bad though. I did not like the placement of it and how it felt like something was wiggling in my back. Then he said I'd feel an electric shock down my leg and I did. My legs and feet felt tingly, but not painful. The whole thing took about five minutes. He left and P came back in.

I noticed almost right away that while I was getting numb on my left side, nothing much was happening on the right. The nurse had me tip a bit onto my side in hopes that the medicine would then settle out on both sides. It did not. I was glad to have some relief, but I was concerned about the uneven effect. I asked the nurse if there was anything that could be done or if this was just how it would be for me and she said she'd go talk to the doctor. I was very strange to touch my stomach on the right and feel it completely and then not at all on the left. More importantly, I could feel my contractions completely on the right.

The anesthesiologist came back with a syringe and shot that into my line. Then he lectured me. "If I have to keep coming back in here to increase this, you're not going to be able to have this baby." He went on a bit, ignoring me as I tried to explain that I didn't ask for more drugs, I just wanted to know if it could be evened out. He was all high on himself and finally I just shut down and refused to respond to him with anything more than a general "uh-huh" and he left. Of course the tears started then. P was out of the room in a hurry after him and it's probably a good thing that the guy was already gone. He did find my nurse though and told her what had happened. She tried to make me feel better by basically calling the guy an ass and telling me that he'd been out of line, but the damage was done. He'd made me afraid to speak up about pain. I'm glad P was there to advocate for me because there was too much going on inside (emotionally, mentally, physically) for me to really do this for myself.

The baby had been at -3 station all along and was not descending into the birth canal. The reason the cervix dilates is pressure, but the baby was putting no pressure on my cervix. The doctor determined that the baby's head was not properly positioned. She was face-up and at an odd angle. The contractions were strong enough that the should have been doing something, but they were ineffective and I was getting pretty tired. We kept increasing the pitocin at regular intervals, and I kept having contractions that were getting me nowhere. We were into the evening and my doctor gave me another hour to hope for change, but honestly at that point we all knew where this labor was heading.