Saturday, November 2, 2013

Jude's Birth Story: Part 4

We walked back into our room, and I was already feeling defeated. 

"What do you want to do?" Adam asked me.

"I don't know.  This isn't going to work.  It's already been over an hour since she broke my water, and nothing is happening.  They are going to put me on Pitocin," I answered.

"Well why don't you try the exercise ball?"

"I guess I can," I sighed.

The nurse walked back in to check on us, and we asked her for a ball.  I had brought my own to the hospital, but we left it in the van.  That morning the nurse had told us that they had exercise balls that we could use if we wanted to.  We decided to use theirs so we wouldn't have to clean ours up. 

I went to the bathroom to change mesh underwear and get a new pad since I still had water leaking pretty heavily.  Adam surfed through the channels on the t.v., and after finding nothing good on to watch, settled for a world news channel.  The nurse came back in with a green exercise ball and ice chips.  She checked on my wireless monitor, told us to let her know if we needed anything else, and headed out.  I appreciated that she didn't hover.  She gave us plenty of privacy.

I sat down on the ball and began bouncing.  Adam and I made small talk about the news and occasionally answered texts from family to keep them updated.  They were all planning to come to the hospital when things were getting close.  I felt silly that we really had nothing to update on.  After a few minutes of bouncing, I realized that I wasn't really bouncing that much.  I wondered how high/hard you were supposed to bounce to actually get things going.  I have heard that bouncing on the exercise ball works for a lot of people, especially once your water is broken.  I began bouncing much more vigorously than before.

Out of nowhere, I had very strong contraction.  Much stronger than any of the ones I had felt up until that point.  There was a very sharp sensation with it.  It felt like a really intense period cramp mixed with a gas pain. 

"Whoa, that hurts," I told Adam. 

After a few minutes, I had another one.

"Maybe we should start timing these," I said. 

Adam pulled up my contraction timer ("Full Term") on my phone.  I had downloaded it early in my pregnancy.

The contractions were coming every 5-7 minutes.  I tried to continue to bounce through them, hoping it would increase the intensity and make them come more frequently.  However, after just a few contractions, I had to stop bouncing during the contraction and just focus on breathing.  I would take a deep breath and a long exhale. I would picture myself blowing the pain away.  It seemed to make me feel like I was doing something to control or cope with the pain.  I already could no longer talk through the contractions.

Somewhere around this time, I noticed the monitor wasn't picking up my contractions.  It was showing a flat line, so something wasn't working right.  I wanted my midwife to be able to see that things were progressing, so we called the nurse in to see if she could fix the monitors.  I remember I couldn't look up at her or talk to her when she came in.  Another nurse came in to help her with the monitors, and she told me that I had a pretty color on my toenails.  I remember I had trouble thanking her, and I felt rude for not being able to smile or make conversation. (Fun fact: My toenails were painted "mint candy apple" by Essie.  The same color I wore on my toes when I had August. It looks baby blue, so I thought it was appropriate!)  

At this point it was around 10:45 a.m., two hours after my midwife had broken my water.

After about 30 minutes of this, the contractions were still about every 5-7 minutes.  I knew they needed to get closer together.  The clock was ticking.  My midwife would be there around lunch time, and I didn't want her to put me on Pitocin.  I tried to think of what else we could do.  I remembered that my midwife had talked to me about nipple stimulation.  I know, I said nipple.  Calm down, it's not that crazy.  I debated leaving this part out, but I really can't.  I have no idea why or how this works, but my midwife suggested as a natural induction technique to stimulate my nipples to bring on contractions.  For some people, it can take hours using a breast pump for this to do anything.  I decided to just use my fingers to mimic a baby sucking.  Yes, it was awkward.  Yes, I kind of felt like a perv.  But I did this for a few minutes while bouncing on the ball.

A few minutes was all it took.  My contractions started coming hard and fast.  They were every 2 to 3 minutes at this point.  I couldn't believe how quickly the stimulation had worked.  I couldn't believe it worked, period.

I had to get up.  I couldn't sit through the contractions anymore.  As I stood up, my water gushed everywhere.  All over my flip flops (the ones I like to wear all the time, not sure what I was thinking), and all over the floor.  The water was so deep that it was even with the top of my flip flops, which have some height to them.

At this time, it was somewhere around 11:30.  I knew my midwife would be here to check me around lunch time.  We put my flip flops in the shower, and Adam wiped up the fluid with some towels.  I started pacing around the room, half trying to walk through the pain, and half trying to make sure things continued to progress.  When I would feel a contraction, I would put my head into Adam's chest, and we would sway back and forth.  I tried to continue trips to the bathroom to keep my bladder empty.  The contractions were at least a minute long at this point, and some were about a minute and a half long.

For the next hour and 15 minutes, I labored.  Contractions stayed 2-3 minutes apart, mostly closer to 2 minutes.  I only felt the need to blow out.  I didn't moan, hum, or make any noise.  I didn't feel like it would help me.  I felt like I was saving energy by not making any sounds.  I paced around the room, only stopping for the contractions.  I pictured a wave rising high, and then falling.  I tried not to think about the future, just to focus on one contraction at a time.

Around 12:45, my midwife arrived.  She looked at my monitor and told me that I had an excellent labor pattern.  I was so glad to hear that she thought things were going well.  I knew they were going as they should, but I was just afraid they would try to rush me.

My midwife had me lay down in bed so she could check me in between contractions.  I laid down quickly because I knew I did not want to feel a contraction while laying down.  It didn't hurt at all when she checked me, and she didn't have to go very far up at all. 

"You're at a 6!  You are doing great!" she said.

I was happy and disappointed at the news.  Happy because these contractions were doing something, and sad because I was hoping to at least be at a 7.  In my mind, I thought I was at a 7 for some reason.

"I'm going to go check on a few other patients, but I will stay at the hospital.  I don't think it's going to be long, Amanda.  You are about to enter transition.  Things are going to get more intense.  Have you had anything to drink?" my midwife asked.

"No, just ice chips," I replied.  The nurses said I couldn't have any liquids.

"Well, I'm going to go get you a Sprite.  Adam, would you like anything?  Coke?"

Adam nodded.  I love my midwife.  I'm not sure how anyone is supposed to labor without fluids or a little sugar.  She was great.

After she brought us the drinks, she headed out of the room and told me that she would be back in a little while to check on me.  I drank the Sprite.  Sprite has never tasted so good.  I savored it as it went down.  It seemed like such a luxury.

I continued to pace and sway, pace and sway.  At this point, it was just after 1 p.m.  I wanted to lay down and rest so badly, but I just couldn't.  I had to keep moving to deal with the pain.  But I was so tired.  So, so tired.  I remembered that a couple of my friends who have had natural labors told me that they labored in the rocking chair.  I really didn't want to sit down, but I needed to take the weight off of my feet for a few minutes.  I sat in the rocking chair.  I asked Adam to get my pink fuzzy socks out of our bag since my feet were cold on the tile floor.  It ended up being quite the fashion statement with my hospital gown.  We now laugh and refer to those socks as my "amniotic socks" since they got soaked with fluid and stayed on for the duration of the day.  (Don't worry, they've since been washed!) I was only in the chair for 5-10 minutes, but I was glad I was able to take a load off.  Adam took this clip with his phone. 

Between 1:00 and 2:00, my midwife came in a couple times to check on me.  Every time she would come in the room, my contractions would stall.  I guess I was getting a little bit of stage fright or something.  I wanted so badly for her to tell me that I was ready to push.  She knew that I was progressing because she was watching my monitor out at the nurse's station.  I didn't really realize that at the time though.  I was kind of out of it. 

By 2:00, my contractions were every 1-2 minutes.  I told Adam that I wanted my midwife in the room.  I wanted her in there because I wanted her to help me or tell me I was ready to push.  I felt like things had to be close, and I felt like I needed her support.  She told me to lay down on the bed so she could check me.  It was so hard to lay on the bed.  It was so painful to be in that position.  She checked me and said that I was a "stretchy 8", and that she could easily stretch me to a 9.

"Do it!" I said.  "Stretch me!"

She laughed and said that she was going to let my body progress as it needed to. 

"This is where you asked for your epidural last time, Amanda.  Do you remember?  And you have always told me that you regretted that.  This is where you are now.  It is very intense.  But you can do it, and you want to do it.  You are doing a great job."  She was so encouraging.

At this point, I told Adam to leave the contraction timer alone because I needed his full attention.  I knew we didn't need it anymore.  Things were getting close.  I remember at this point going into the bathroom to empty my bladder.  My midwife was in the bathroom with me.  I looked into the mirror as I washed my hands.  My face was so pale.  I looked like I had been hit by a truck.  I was so, so tired. 

"Why am I so pale?" I asked.

"Well, I know you have been breathing well.  Make sure you are still breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth though," she said.

I made sure to follow her instructions.  I wanted the baby to have enough oxygen. 

We went back out into the room and I leaned on Adam.  We swayed through a contraction.

"Wait right there!  What a beautiful moment.  May I take a picture?" my midwife asked.

I nodded and had to give a little laugh.  I'm sure I looked great.  But I knew I would want to look back on the moment later. 

I started to wonder how much more I could take.  Things had to happen soon, right?  I was running out of steam.  I searched my body for the urge to push, but found nothing.  I couldn't do it anymore.



Images by Freepik