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Birth Saga - Part One

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long...

On Saturday morning at 3:30 am, I woke up with cramp-like sensations that felt off, and which I later concluded to be contractions.  It hurt, but not in a "stub your toe" sharp shooting pain sort of way.  It was a little more dull but at the same time, quite intense, and I had to focus on my breathing and relaxing my body muscles in order to ride through each "wave."  These waves began to increase in frequency and duration throughout the day, but wasn't consistent enough to warrant a call to the doctor or a trip to Labour & Delivery, so our waiting-in-anticipation began.

Hubbs packed and loaded the car and then played a marathon of Streetfighter IV games on his PS3, I tried to bake cookies (the pre-formed variety) and read blogs and chart my contractions, my folks played game after game of cribbage, and everyone stopped making sound each time I had to breathe through another wave.  I texted back and forth with my doula Bethan Stewart throughout the day, and secretly hoped that at some point she would send us to the hospital with instructions to meet her there.  She never did.  Instead, I continued with early labouring through lunch and dinner and our after-dinner snack.

Then, sometime after midnight, I hit the magic "5-1-1," meaning I was experiencing waves 5 minutes apart for an hour, and each wave was lasting about a minute or more.  Finally! We texted our doula and were sent on our merry way by my parents, who had stayed up with us until this point.  Almost giddy with anticipation, we arrived at the hospital assessment area and "checked in."  Each time I had a wave during this check-in process, I would lean over, breathe deeply and try to focus, and Hubbs would answer the intake clerk's questions on my behalf.

After being escorted into a little curtained area with arguably the least comfy hospital bed in the world, we waited to be assessed.  Meanwhile, behind curtains #2 and #3, wailing shrieks from other pregnant women could be heard piercing the air.  It was pretty unnerving and a total buzzkill for our euphoric "we're in labour" mood, particularly since my brand of labouring was quite quiet (surprised, aren't you?) and certainly didn't hit octaves above high-C.  Our doc swung by for a hoo-ha check and declared that we were at 3cm dilated.  Yay! Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to qualify us for a bed.  My consolation prize? A needle in the ass (morphine and gravol) and a promise that I'd get to have 4-6 hours of rest and relief from the intensity if I went home and slept.

We were admittedly a bit dejected at the news; we had hoped that we wouldn't be home again for another 48 hours and that when we did go home, we'd be bringing Baby back with us.  So, off we headed back to our place.  My folks were sleeping when we got back, so we headed straight to bed.
Well, Hubbs went to bed.  I was only able to rest for about an hour, since I could still feel the waves and the severity of these kept waking me up.  When the drugs' dulling effects began to fade, I knew it was time to head back.  At this point, Hubbs had had about 4 hours of sleep since my first contraction.  My sleep count: 1 hour.

Upon our return to the hospital at 9:00 am, it was apparent that I had begun active labor, since I could barely go a minute without stopping to breathe through a contraction and I had dilated to 7 cm (which the doc declared after very violently invading my hooha).  We were assessed and admitted immediately, but had to wait a couple of hours for a bed to open up.  In the meantime, we were told to keep walking around in the assessment area, an exercise that jacked up my anticipation and impatience.

My first disappointment of the day came when we were finally told at noon that we had been assigned a room...on the first floor.  This meant that, rather than labour and recover in a posh suite on the second floor, we'd have to deliver in one room and recover in another.  The silver lining (and in the end, God's great provision) to this room assignment is that we had a *huge* room that had a good-sized bathroom and ample space for all the care providers that would eventually visit.

Hubbs and my doula put up all of my signs, electronic tea lights, lace runners, and set up a docking station to play my iPod playlist.  Meanwhile, I sucked on nitrous oxide to try to manage the intensifying waves.  Unfortunately, minutes turned into hours and I ceased to dilate any further.  In fact, at one point during the hooha check we were told I was down to 5 cm dilation, because my cervix had begun to swell.

My second disappointment of the day occurred when the doc suggested that we break my water, because our baby was copping attitude; her head was tilted in my pelvis, she was sitting "sunny side up," and baby girl needed to be repositioned through stronger contractions in order for a good vaginal birth to occur.  Of course, I don't think it was a coincidence that this suggestion was made in the afternoon and my doc was going off shift a couple of hours later.  It reminded me of "The Business of Being Born"  and so I almost refused simply on principle.  However, part of me also wanted to meet my baby and anything to speed things along that wasn't chemical didn't seem so bad in light of baby's head position and my swelling cervix (which the docs couldn't figure out the cause of) ; it wasn't until later that I truly realized how that one simple choice would snowball into many other hard choices...


~Rain``` said…
So interesting. I find it fascinating how everyone's story is so different. Looking forward to reading more.
jewels said…
Don't leave me hangin! Want to learn more :)
jewels said…
Don't leave me hangin! I want to learn more :)
jewels said…
Sorry Helen, I may left like a billion comments by accident! Just post the one lol

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