It all started Friday morning, September 17th, at 4:30am, when I had contractions and cramping. I wasn’t convinced it was actual labor, since I had felt the same thing three times before in the last couple of weeks. However, I woke Don to let him know that I might be in labor, and I’d hoped it was the real deal. By 7:30 am I was starting to feel better, so then I truly thought it was false labor. I went downstairs to get some Cheerios as I was really hungry, but by the time I poured the cereal my water broke. I came upstairs to tell Don that it was show time. We were both really happy that it was actually happening now. The contractions started again, along with the cramping feeling. I coped by doing some yoga poses and different breathing techniques, and Don helped me with relaxing and gave me massages. By 10 am I was hungry again, so Don brought me an apple with peanut butter and raisins — I thought it would be a good snack for energy, not realizing it would be the last thing I would eat for over 24 hours…
The books say that when your water breaks you are supposed to notify the hospital right away (since it’s ideal to deliver the baby within 24 hours due to risk of infection). However, we waited until 11:30am as it was my plan to stay at home and labor as long as possible. I called and spoke to a nurse who recommended I come in right away and plan to stay, as I most likely would be admitted. So we called my mom and let her know that was our plan, and we went to the hospital. My contractions were about 5 min. apart and fairly strong by that point — a car ride is not ideal for a woman in labor!
When we got to the hospital my mom was already there waiting for us, and we went to the 6th floor into an assessment room, where we waited for a nurse to check me; she brought a 4th year student in with her. They both checked me, but because one was a student it took a long time and she had to keep feeling around to determine how many centimetres my cervix was dilated, etc. She finished seconds before my next contraction. Anyway, they said I was 3-4 cm dilated and 80% effaced — I took that as a really good sign of progress and was happy my birth experience was going better than I had hoped. However, it took a long time to get into my labor and delivery room, as we were waiting for the nurse to take us there. It was 1pm by the time we got into my room and I was in active labor by then, so I immediately stripped down and got into the shower for relief (since you can’t use a bath tub once your water is broken). It’s funny how when you’re in labor you don’t care about being around strangers in a strange place completely naked. I labored in the shower until 4:30pm — the contractions were about 1 min. apart and very, very strong.
Don had to wear his trunks and spray water on my lower back during each contraction, since that was where I felt the pain. Lucky me to have back labor! ( I wouldn’t wish that kind of pain on anyone, but I was convinced I could do it naturally). My nurse Juanita was done her shift soon and Gena, my new nurse, came in to introduce hereself at 4pm. She said that she read my chart and the anesthesiologist that would perform an epidural on a patient with MS was only on duty for 10 more mintues. Therefore I had to decide in 10 minutes what I was going to do — not much time to decide the outcome of my birth experience. We decided that she should check my progress and we would decide from there — I was only 5 centimeters after 3 and 1/2 hours of hard labor. I felt so defeated and thought that there was no way I could continue and make it to 10 centimeters without dying, even though mom and Don were so great — I would hold mom’s hand and scream during the contractions while Don sprayed the warm water on my back. I was knealing on these foam pads and leaning against the seat in the shower during contractions with my head pressed against the shower wall; it was really exhausting.
When it came time to check me, Juanita got me onto the bed quickly and asked if I wanted some laughing gas, as she found it helpful with her labor — you take a couple gasps before a contraction starts and it’s supposed to help — but it didn’t. She also tried to get me to breathe “Hee Hee Hoo” during contractions instead of screaming, but I couldn’t get on top of it, I would just end up screaming anyway. Getting out of the shower and onto the hospital bed seemed to impede my ability to cope with my labor, I felt more out of control and it was also more painful. So once they checked me and told me I was only 5 centimeters I decided to have the epidural — something I swore I wouldn’t do unless I really, really had to.
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