(Disclaimer: This is a birth story and as such, it will contain details of a personal nature. If you’re offended by TMI or get queasy at the mention on bodily fluids or functions you may want to bypass today’s post :))
Expectations, Disappointment, and the Beep of aHeart Monitor
As the nurse (Dawn) continued to take her time to check my monitors and fill out my information, I began to wonder if she was even going to check to see how dilated my cervix was. By this time my contractions were very strong and were coming every two to three minutes.
Finally, Dawn said I could go ahead and remove my shorts so she could check my progress. Between contractions, Tim quickly helped me undress. Within those few seconds I made a big mistake and thought, “I bet I’m almost 9 centimeters.” Expectations in labor are almost always a bad thing…this was no exception.
The nurse’s next words felt like a punch in the stomach, “Your almost a 6.” Her words were stated so matter-of-factly, but to me, they were a complete disappointment.
My mind flashed back to my two most recent labors…in both of those circumstances six centimeters meant about another 3 hours of labor. How was I going to make it through contractions like these for 3 more hours, or even one more hour?!
Within a few minutes, I had redressed and we were instructed to make our way to a labor and delivery room. Tim asked Dawn if I should have a wheelchair. “Oh, no, she can walk,” was her answer. (While I was more than willing to walk the 45 feet, I would have liked to give that answer myself.)
Once we entered our room, Tim set up a few things and got me something to drink. Then I told him I’d like to sit on the exercise ball again. He set it up for me and positioned himself in a chair directly behind me. I planned on sitting upright, but as soon as the first contraction hit I found myself leaning back into Tim. With the first contraction, Lillian’s heart rate dropped and Dawn instructed me to take deep breaths through my nose. I had been breathing deeply, but something about breathing through my nose gave the baby more oxygen and her heart rate improved.
During the next few contractions, I watched her heart rate monitor and tried to breathe as deeply as I possibly could. Her heart rate was better, even though it did dip during my contractions. At this point I was leaning so far back that Tim was basically holding me up while I laid on the exercise ball–good thing he had a strong grip!
When my next contraction hit, Lillian’s heart rate dropped again. So much so that she set off alarms and a nurse came from the hallway to make sure we were addressing the problem. Dawn was already instructing me to get into the bed and lay on my left side. She said that the baby was moving down and it probably wouldn’t be very long now. I was glad to hear her say this, but even in that moment I remember thinking, “I wonder what not very long means to her.”
At this point, my midwife had not arrived and we still hadn’t met the on-call doctor.
Right about that time the doctor entered the room, introduced himself and helped the nurse place the waterproof mats underneath me. Then he went back out into the hallway.
My first contraction while lying in the bed was extremely strong, more so than I remember contractions being before. I also had a horrible pressure going down into my thighs and my lip began to tremble involuntarily. At one point, I remember grabbing the bed rail in front of me and wondering how much more of this I could handle.
Stay tuned for the final part of Lillian’s Birth Story.
We’d love to hear your birth stories. Feel free to leave links in your comments. Have you had a C-section or a vaginal birth? How long were in active labor? Did you have to push for 3 minutes or 3 hours?