I had an induction scheduled for 7 AM on Wednesday, February 3rd.
As Brian parked the car in the hospital garage, I walked in by myself, feeling a little bit as though I was walking to my doom. It is an odd thing to go into a hospital feeling fine and ask to be put in pain.
We were set up in a room with a wonderful nurse named Noreen (who would be with us for the duration). She commented on what beautiful Irish names we have… I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I am Scottish and Brian is German.
At 7:30, my doctor came in to check me. The idea was that, if my cervix was favorable (ie dilated and effaced…ie ready for action) they would start me directly on Pitocin, but if it was not, then I would be given a 4 hour cervix softener first. She said, with a sympathetic face, that I was only a little over 1 cm dilated, and MAYBE 25% effaced. In other words, cervix softener it is, and prepare yourself for a long day, little Caitlin. She administered the softener (don’t ask) and said that she would check me again at about noon.
And then I was hit with a freight train.
Right away, I started having contractions. And not just tightening or pressure, these suckers HURT! I also started feeling lots of cramping, like I had to go to the bathroom (Like I really, REALLY had to go to the bathroom,if you know what I mean.)
I turned to Brian with a little bit of a panicky feeling and said, “Um, these aren’t like last time. These are way stronger than last time. These hurt a lot more than last time.” (With Joseph, after they started the softener, I was still laughin’ it up with my sisters for a few hours. I was not laughing now.) I’m not sure how he responded, I’m sure it was something reassuring and comforting…or not. It is all a blur.
I asked him to start a movie to distract me. Our video of choice to have on during the sacred welcoming of our child into the world? Big Love. You know, the HBO series about a family involved in polygamy? Quality programming. In any case, it didn’t distract me at all, and we had to keep pausing so that I could go to the bathroom.
Dear Noreen was very flexible about everything, allowing me to go off of the heart rate/contraction monitors so that I could walk around, go to the bathroom, etc. After about an hour, she suggested that maybe I would want to try sitting in the tub for a while, and she began filling it with warm water. She checked my contractions with the monitor for a few minutes and they were coming every 2 minutes and lasting about a minute.
I hopped into the tub (no hopping was actually involved. Lumbering, yes. Moaning, yes.) and had Brian come in with his laptop so that we could continue with mindless television to ease the pain (House was the show of choice this time.) After not too long, I couldn’t even watch anymore. The contractions were coming almost one on top of the other, and were so painful that all I could do was close my eyes and grip the bar on the side of the tub.
Finally, I asked Brian what time it was. Remember that I had to go until noon before the cervix softener was supposed to do anything and the doctor would check me. While he went out of the bathroom to look, I closed my eyes and thought “Please Lord, let it be at least 11. I can make it if it is 11!” It was 9:50.
I told Brian to call in Noreen. I was throwing in the towel and begging for an epidural. He complied quickly, probably because that was around the time that I dropped an F Bomb during one of my contractions. Don’t mess with a woman who is in active labor and hissing expletives. She means business.
Noreen, bless her heart, right away agreed to call my doctor and ask her if it was okay if I received an epidural. With Brian’s help, I got out of the tub (back to back contractions, naked and shivery, climbing out of a Jacuzzi tub? No thanks) (If you are wondering why I am being so thorough in explaining this pain…birth control people. I need at least 2 years to recover.) and back into bed to await my fate.
My doctor immediately agreed to an epidural (she was my new best friend) and paged the anesthesiologist. By 10:25, the epidural had been administered, and I was starting to feel relief (forget the doctor, the anesthesiologist was my new best friend.)
My doctor came in at 10:50 to check me, and to see what all of my fuss was about, I imagine. I quietly prayed that I would be at LEAST a 2 or 3 so that I wouldn’t feel like a wimp for having her make a special call to approve the epidural.
I was at 5 cm and 95% effaced. Boojah! So THAT’S why they were hurting so bad! Isaac was busting through my cervix in a little over 3 hours!
I wanted to call my sister, Christin (she flew in from Oregon the night before and was at my house with her son, along with my mom and Joseph) so that she could be alerted that it was almost time to go to the hospital, but my nurse said that she was going to administer a catheter first. At this point, I was totally numb, so I told her to have at it!
While she was setting up, I started to feel some pressure. I told Noreen, and she said that she would hurry up and do the catheter and check me again.
She did, and at 11:03, 10 minutes after the doctor checked me and I was at 5 cm, I was now at 9 cm and completely effaced.
It was almost go time.
Brian ran down to the cafeteria to grab some food so that he wouldn’t pass out (he almost did during Joseph’s birth…) and I grabbed my phone and told my sister that she needed to get in the car NOW.
At 11:30, I was 9.5 and the baby was at zero station, meaning he was positioned at the top of the chute.
At 11:40 my sister came busting in the door- camera and video camera in hand.
At 11:45, I received, per my request, a booster to my epidural. I couldn’t really feel anything, but I thought- why not?!
At 11:50, I was complete (aka 10 cm) and the baby was at +1 or a +2, I don’t really remember.
At 12:00, Noreen told me to give a little practice push to see how things went. Then she said, “Okay, okay, stop. I have to get the doctor.”
I pushed for 3 contractions, and I kept turning to Brian and almost giggling, whispering, “I can’t feel ANYTHING!!”
After only 9 minutes of pushing…
at 12:09, Little Isaac was born!!
He cried right away, even before they put him on my chest.
I looked at him and, once again, saw a little face that was not what I had expected.
They cleaned him up, wrapped him up, and handed him to me.
The whole process was over by 1pm, and we were left, a little shell shocked, with a baby blinking up at us with big blue eyes.
I never needed that Pitocin. I only had about 2.5 hours of pain. I barely had to push. And I had the best epidural ever. Throw in a healthy baby boy, and it was the best birth experience I could have imagined.
Tomorrow: (Isaac willing) Some (non-graphic) pictures!