Before I begin, I’ll warn you, this post is more for me than you, I want to be sure to remember everything about my daughter’s birth so there will be some not-to-pleasant parts to this. If you’re squeamish, this might get to you and it’s entirely possible some of this isn’t work safe.
It was almost 11 am by the time I was checked-in, got to my room and Bob909 had returned for things to start. The on call Midwife came in to say hello and told us she had 5 patients today, the most she’s had in one shift during her 13 years practice. The hospital has 40 L&D rooms and to have 5 of those all under 1 person was pretty surprising. I handed nurse and Midwife our Birth Plan. She confirmed that I was getting pitocin but that they would start at the lowest setting. I warned them that I go into cold shock when fluids are put in me and they seemed doubtful. The nurse put in my Hep-Lock, hooked me up and thus I became a member of the Borg.
Sure enough cold shock set in and I got covered by warm blankets until the shivering stopped. My nurse was wonderful! She was super nice and it almost felt like I was away for a restful weekend retreat not like I was about to give birth. To be honest, the first 4 hours weren’t to bad. We put on some movie they had playing, the contractions were mostly easy. Then we put on Buffy the Musical and I sang along as my contractions started to make themselves felt. I was starving by 1pm and Bob909 snuck a nutty bar to me which helped but man was I wanting a veggie burger and fries. I had a birth ball to make things a bit more comfortable that I rocked comfortably on while playing video games to pass the rest of the time.
By 2:30 or so, Bob909 needed to eat and frankly could use a beer or so. I told him to go and eat and then began the worst couple of hours in my life. My very nice nurse disappeared, I didn’t see her for at least an hour or so. My husband wasn’t there. The pitocin had finally got things moving. My contractions were about 3 or 4 minutes apart and getting stronger. I was handling them pretty well; taking a deep breath and releasing with a low, slow ohm. As the pain increased, I went into the bathroom to use the shower and discovered… it didn’t work.
My panic button struck. I needed my nurse. I needed my husband. I needed water to get through this labor. What was I going to do? For whatever reason, between each contraction I would go mess with the shower head trying to get the spray to work right and never succeeding. Finally Bob909 returned and I told him what was going on. He asked me if I wanted him to go find the nurse but I couldn’t let him go, the contractions were coming too quick and too strong. Instead I needed him there to help me through the contractions.
Another nurse came in and told me my nurse was taking care of her other patient who was now in active labor and pushing. She tried to take my vitals but Bob909 told her about the shower and told her we needed it fixed asap. She left to see what she could do and we continued working through contractions. But labor was still going pretty well, I closed my eyes with each contraction, supporting myself using Bob909, taking deep breaths and focusing through. I was pretty proud of myself.
Then it happened. The strongest contraction yet hit and with it a bloody gush of fluid. I looked at my husband and cried “What the hell was that”? I panicked, he tried to keep me calm while desperately throwing down a towel to clean up the mess. Another contraction came and with it another gush as big as the last. I cried again and am amazed I didn’t yell at my husband.
Everything from that moment became chaos for me.
A different nurse came in. (We dubbed her the Russian Dictator -in Soviet Russia baby has you! – She remained my nurse through the rest of my delivery.) The other girl hadn’t returned and we had no idea what she was doing. They weren’t getting any of our vitals, my battery had died or something. So the dictator was trying to get me out of the bathroom and reconnected. I was upset about my shower and each contraction releasing a bloody gush and I was no longer able to focus through my pain; instead I jumped around in agony searching for a position that gave me some relief which didn’t exist. Bob909 was upset at the Dictator for upsetting me and my not having any water to ease my pain and mostly that there was nothing he could do.
I refused to leave the bathroom… hey gushing fluids, it made sense to me that I should do that in the bathroom. And anyway, I still held hope that somehow someway the shower would start working.
Finally Bob909 and the Dictator managed to get me to leave the bathroom and each contraction just seemed worse than the previous one. I had lost my focus so completely at this point I didn’t know how I was going to go on. I was mad. I just wanted water to ease my pain and there was none to be had. I wanted to cry. And finally I wanted to know how far along I was. So I told them to check me.
As we were waiting on the Midwife the Ghost Nurse returned. “I can do one of two things. I can move you to a tub room in an hour or I can move you to another room with a working shower now.”
I had given up somewhere along the line, I couldn’t tell you when or where. I just knew that there was no way I was going to move rooms at this point. My contractions were still 3-4 minutes apart and it seemed to take everything I had between them to attempt to get through one. I dismissed her like a Queen blowing off a peasant. These nurses made me so angry, ey easily got all my wrath and yet, I was dolling it out as politely as possible. According to Bob909 I was being pretty sweet and then mumbling my anger just under my breath.
The Midwife came in. They still had not checked me since the week before to see how dilated or effaced I was. Because of my water breaking so long ago the risk of infection increased each time they checked so they limited it as much as possible… ie not at all yet until I requested it. The pain was so excruciating. I was so exhausted with only 6 hours of sleep during the last 3 days. I was starving with my only meal that day being one little egg sandwich. I didn’t know how I was going to continue but was sure I must be 8cm and just about ready to have her.
The Midwife checked and told me, “You’re about 4cm”
I was crushed. I looked at Bob909 and told him, “Give me the epidural. I can’t do this.”
And with that, my great natural child birth plan was flushed down the proverbial toilet. No tub, no shower, Pitocin, and now an Epidural. Everything I had hoped for during the birth of my daughter was out the window. Now what I had to figure out was how in the world I could bear a contraction long enough for the epidural to happen and how was I going to manage waiting for the anesthesiologist knowing how busy the hospital was that day.