On Thursday, October 6 I dropped IJ off at school and headed home to work from there. I had been working for about 45 minutes when I went to the bathroom at 9:45 am. When I got up off the toilet I realized one of my birth related nightmares was happening…my water had broken, and it had done so almost 5 weeks before my due date…about 2 weeks before a baby would be considered full term. My water had broken to begin my last labor and I stayed home and waited for contractions to start. They started 19 hours later. I had dreaded this happening again and wanted to begin labor with contractions. Last time I seemed to have a small leak. This time the fluid was gushing out. I had to keep a full size towel between my legs and changed it out several times while still home. I called NJ and he headed home. I called my midwives who convinced me to go to the hospital so the baby could be monitored since my water had broken so early. I knew I could stay home like last time but I was a bit freaked out by only being 35 weeks along and worried about the baby. I then called uncle Mikey to tell him he would be needed to care for IJ, and IJ’s school to tell them Mikey would be picking him up that afternoon. Then I ran around the house (with towel between legs) doing whatever I could think of to prepare for heading to the hospital and having IJ cared for. NJ got home and we continued preparing, then headed to the vet to drop off the dogs.
By 11:30 am we arrived at the hospital and were brought to a room at noon. Baby monitors were hooked up and the baby’s heart rate was fine. At 12:15, Debbie, one of the midwives, arrived and we discussed my choices. Mainly, if I should agree to use pitocin to start my contractions. I was going to have an IV this time anyway because I had not yet had the test for group B strep. That was scheduled for the following midwife appointment on Tuesday. Since I had no results they assume you might be positive and recommend the IV antibiotics. I really did not want to sit around for hours/days waiting for contractions to begin, and being away from IJ even longer probably played a large part in me agreeing to the pitocin. We agreed it would be started gradually and turned down/off as soon as it looked like that action would not stall my labor. I was very cautious about this because I knew pitocin can cause artificially hard/painful/frequent contractions and since I intended to have as natural a birth as possible, I did not want to make the contractions harder to deal with then they would be anyway. Debbie also used ultrasound to confirm the baby’s head was still down.
At 2:00 pm my IV was finally started, which took about 30 minutes, 3 nurses, and 3 attempts. This was all due to NJ recommending I not get it in my hand, but on my forearm. Apparently I do not have good veins on my forearms, and the first nurse claimed to have the needle in my vein but thought it might be on a valve so proceeded to pull the needle in and out several times thoroughly disgusting me and then abandoning the mission. The second nurse went for the other arm and missed the vein, mission abandoned. The third nurse easily started my IV…in my left hand…thank you NJ!
At 3:40 pm the pitocin drip was started at 8 milliunits/minute and at 4:00 pm the antibiotics were started. At this time contractions were 3-4 minutes apart.
I was trying to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated knowing if this labor was like the last I would do a lot of vomiting. I had also brought coconut water because it is good for hydration. At 5:30 pm, after not having eaten anything since about 9:00 am, I decide to force myself to have a few bites of an energy bar that NJ had brought for himself, knowing I would need energy for the birth, also knowing the antiquated hospital policies on eating nothing during labor. So, on my third bite or so the nurse comes in and catches me eating and attempts to scold me for doing so. She also reports my bad behavior to my midwife and claims the IV will “give me energy” when I tried to explain why I was eating.
At 6:20 pm the pitocin drip was increased to 12 and to 14 at 7:30 pm. At 8:00 pm the second dose of antibiotics was started. At 8:15 pm my midwife checked my cervix for the first time. I was 4 cm dilated and 70% effaced. Just before 9:00 pm the pitocin was decreased to 13. Just after 9:00 pm I finally vomited after feeling nauseous during contractions for quite a while. NJ showed off his awesome nursing skills by juggling 3 vomit bowls to and from me and not missing a drip.
At this point contractions had been quite painful and quite intense for a few hours. I labored in a rocking chair for the majority of the time. The pain was radiating down my thighs during each contraction, reminding me of the feeling I had towards the end of my labor with IJ. Some of the contractions were irregular and would piggy back the prior one without giving me any break in between. I think this was due to the pitocin. I could not envision getting through pain any worse than it currently was but thought I still had hours left to go since at 8:15 pm I was only 4 cm dilated.
During the labor I had made several trips to the toilet, during which time a nurse or NJ (if none were in the room) would unhook my monitors and bring the IV pole in with me. I had wanted to go for quite a while by 10:00 pm but the contractions were so intense I couldn’t will myself to move and risk being in a worse position when one hit. I finally decided to go and NJ helped me (no one else was in the room).
Once in the bathroom I went through one contraction standing and then sat, had another, and was overcome with my body beginning the intense pushing that you can’t help but participate in when the baby is coming. I yelled to NJ who I think had gone to get me a replacement towel (still sitting on them the entire labor). As I pushed I put my hand down and felt the baby’s head. NJ returned, saw what was happening, hit the call bell, and got in place to help catch the baby if she came, the nurse came in, freaked out and yelled “stop pushing” and screamed for my midwife. Debbie ran in, got in place, said to push and out slipped the baby (after maybe 2-3 pushes)…on the toilet.
Me on my birthing throne
NJ cutting the cord...and a whole lot of hands and arms
Baby on the scale
My midwife and my placenta
Mama and baby the following day after the most glorious shower ever
Baby ZJ was born:
35 weeks and 2 days gestation
5 pounds 8 ounces
17.5 inches long