The following morning, a Saturday, we headed to our 9:30 appointment for the non-stress test. We were remarkably calm. Talk revolved around the baby and the possibility that the next time we were driving the same route it would be with the baby in the back seat.
We got to the hospital and headed to the maternity ward. They brought us to the intake room to be monitored. After 30 minutes of monitoring, during which the baby was super active and I was contracting though I could barely feel it, the Dr. came in. She told us that the baby looked good and considering the bile acid levels in my blood and the fact the I was more than 37 weeks, they would be inducing me that night. After checking my cervix (1 centimeter, 50% effaced), she sent us home to prepare and return at 7:00 p.m.
We updated the doulas and were told Cate would be our doula for at least the beginning part of labor and Maria 1 would take over upon her return, if necessary. We said that we would call Cate when we were ready for her, but it might not be until the following day (Sunday).
We spent the day getting groceries, calling Carrie (our pet sitter) to pick up Pierce, doing the laundry, installing the car seat, and generally making sure that the house was clean and ready for baby's arrival. After a yummy take-out dinner from our favorite Asian restaurant, Asiana Fusion (I had Vegi and Tofu Pad Thai, no beansprouts), we went back to the hospital to be induced.
We arrived on time, but it took them a little bit of time to register us and figure out where we were going. After laying down with my head on my husband's lap in the empty waiting room for 45 minutes, they took us to a room. No sooner did we get settled than we found out that the room was not equipped with a telemetry monitor (allows monitoring of contractions and baby's heart rate while mom moves around as she wishes). So, they moved us to Labor Room 2 which was much larger and was equipped with a telemetry monitor, birthing tub, and the birthing ball that I requested.
Around 8:30 - 9:00, they inserted the Cervidil.
I had contractions.
The nurse kept coming in to check on me.
After several hours of Cervidil, they removed it because the contractions were too close together and not effective.
They told me that my primary OB was on duty in a few hours and would be in to see me and probably start Pitocin.
Even without the Cervidil, I was feeling contractions.
I dozed some more.
I wanted to build up and save my strength and energy for the coming hours.
The sun rose on Sunday.
The doctor came in. It was not my Dr.
It was someone who was covering my Dr.'s shift.
I had met all of the Dr.'s in my Dr.'s practice, but this Dr. was not part of my OB's practice.
I was a bit disappointed, but he was nice and respectful and open enough and we discussed my birth plan and what the next steps in induction would be.
In order to avoid taking Pitocin, my husband and I opted for the insertion of a balloon catheter in the cervix to help dilation.
The Dr. had trouble inserting it as I found the process quite uncomfortable.
He stopped and told me that we would have to start Pitocin.
When he left the room the nurse said, "You've heard of stripping the membranes?" I nodded. "Well, you just had yours royally stripped."
They started the Pitocin and my husband called Cate and told her that I had a Pitocin drip and we were ready for her to come.
Cate arrived and we introduced ourselves, talked about what had happened, was happening, and what we would like to have happen (birth plan).
I decided I wanted to walk and my husband and Cate took turns walking up and down the hallway with me and the telemetry monitor and my drip.
I would periodically stop to use the bathroom and then just keep walking.
I kept my eyes closed in an attempt to block everything out and listen to my body.
Then Cate asked if I'd like to listen to a Hypnobirthing c.d. and rest for a bit.
I said yes and I am so glad that I did.
Cate went to get lunch while my husband ate in the room.
The c.d. worked wonders for me.
My husband told me later that the voice on the c.d. sounded like Betty White and it was really hard for him to hold back laughter, but he did because he could tell it was helping me.
The mantra that stuck with me for the rest of my labor was "I trust my body and my baby."
I just played that over and over in my mind.
When Cate returned, I walked and walked and walked and walked.
I found out later that I walked for the better part of 8 hours.
I really had no concept of time during labor.
_ _ _ _
Somewhere in there we made the decision to allow the Dr. to break my water.
I was doing a lot of work, but not dilating much.
I was 1-2 cm for a long while.
Also, somewhere in there, I was taking a break and using the ball when a nurse came in and loudly and perkily announced, "Your in-laws are here!"
My husband and I had instructed our parents NOT to come to the hospital and that we would call them when the baby had arrived and we were ready for visitors.
My husband went to deal with it.
I often wonder if my labor would have progressed more quickly had my parents not been there or had I not known they were there.
After they left in the evening, around the time Maria arrived, my labor progressed much more quickly.
- - - - -
After walking lots and lots, Cate and my husband suggested that I use the ball.
I had said no many times throughout the day, but they continued to offer.
This time I said yes.
While I was on the ball, Cate got a call from Maria 1.
She was home and on her way to the hospital.
What a relief!
I think I cried happy tears when Maria arrived.
I know I thanked Maria for coming and thanked Cate for everything.
Everyone said that I was a very polite laboring woman. Ha!
After laboring on the ball a bit and doing lots of moaning, Maria thought I should be checked.
She later told me that she was sorry for this.
From the way I was vocalizing she thought I was a 6 or 7 and that this would be encouraging for me to hear.
It turned out I was only 4 cm.
Maria asked what I thought about getting in the tub.
I have Lymphedema in my feet and legs which made me trepidatious about using the tub.
I said that I would love to get in the tub if it was possible to find a way to keep my feet out of the water.
They started filling the tub and got me a chair to use to keep my feet out of the water.
The tub is the best thing I did.
I ended up relaxing and putting my feet in the water after all.
After 3ish hours in the tub, they asked me if I was pushing.
I told them I didn't know, I was just trusting my baby and my body.
Maria told me that she was quite sure that I was.
They coaxed me out of the tub.
Maria told my that it was going to be uncomfortable because changing positions in labor is.
I told them that if I got out and wasn't at the end stages of labor after all they better let me back in the tub.
They all knew that would not be possible, but told me o.k. anyhow.
I was 8-9 centimeters.
I labored on my hands and knees and then on my side in bed.
The nurse asked to check me.
I was in the middle of a contraction and told her no.
When the contraction was over I said, "OK, you can check me but you better do it now and do it fast."
She checked and Abigail's head was RIGHT THERE.
They called some "code" to get the Dr. in there a.s.a.p.
Nurses don't like to deliver babies alone if the don't have to.
The Dr. got there and they told me they needed me on my back.
Minutes later, 45 minutes after I'd removed myself from the tub, Abigail was born.
12:10 a.m., Monday, March 21, 2011. 6lbs 4 oz, 18.75 inches.
The 1st words I said to her were, "Happy Birthday, Abigail! Mama loves you!"
I didn't expect to be induced, but throughout the induction I felt that Brad and I were making well informed decisions together. We still did it with minimal interventions and were able to have a vaginal delivery and a healthy and happy family.
As I finishing writing this a bit more than 14 months later I am still awed by the power of birth.
For more info. on Cholestasis: itchymoms.com