We get through traffic, and it feels as if my contractions have almost completely disappeared. We were laughing and carrying on in the car, going on about how excited we were that by tonight we'd have a little baby (or so we thought). By the time I waddled into the hospital, up the elevators, and into check-in my body seemed to have forgotten it was having a baby. I felt pretty dumb, except for the fact I was still leaking amniotic fluid. Everywhere.
The triage nurses were cool - and my contractions were recordable, but pretty off and on. I laid in the small triage room and let them check "my progress." I was pretty determined not to let them check how dilated I was because, now that my water had broke, every exam grew the chance of infection. And on top of it, it's so unnecessary and inaccurate on how things would play out. But they had to check me on my initial entry and i knew that coming in.
Unfortunately I was only 3 centimeters - but i knew in my head that could change overtime, I just had to get my body working. They asked to hook me up to an IV for a bit, and I humored them by letting them as I wasn't in much pain. My doula showed up and it all felt pretty real.
My contractions were 7 minutes apart but not lasting for very long. They hurt, but the excitement of meeting our baby outweighed the pain. And they were so quick and so far apart they were super manageable. Our doula suggested walking the halls, which was a great idea because our room was so creepy and depressing. For some reason we were given the black hole room, in the center of the OB-GYN floor. No windows, at all. It was like a time warp where you didn't know if it was day or night. And when you forgot, you could just stare up at the HUGE DIGITAL CLOCK on the wall reminding you it's been 12, 24, and 40 hours since you started this process and you still have zero results.
So, the halls we roamed. I'm wearing this hideous gown made for an elephant, and my hair is already greasy and in a mess on top of my swollen face head. I would make this a colorful post with pictures and what not, but i'll spare all of us. I looked terrible. And it would only get worse.
And so, we walked. and walked. around the floor, by the nursery, into vacant creepy hallways, and rooms filled with storage boxes. we walked up the concrete stairs, and down the concrete stairs. my doula, ricky, and i. and poor little amos. walking, walking, walking. i had a huge hospital cup full of ice water and i was downing gallons of water by the minute, which caused us a tri-hourly pit-stop at the bathroom. so we walked, and i drank, and i peed, and we walked.
and the contractions WERE coming... and every time i'd stop, put my arms around ricky's neck, and hang there - swinging my hips back and forth through the contraction. i kept thinking, this can't be labor - because it's not that bad. and it wasn't... and that's probably why nothing was happening on the inside.
All the while we were already talking the nurses out of pitocin (my gosh I'd been there 6 hours!) and not having them stick me on a monitor the entire time, which obviously wasn't doing much for progressing my labor. During one of my sessions of being monitored (happened every 2 hours) i snuck some food to keep up my energy.
By 3:00 in the afternoon, we had already had 3 conversations asking for more time to get labor going, and let me tell you - the last thing you want to be doing during your labor is analytically arguing with medical staff. So case in point, go with people you agree with... i mean REALLY agree with.
And so, by 3:20 I get into our little shower in our bathroom and stand there... forever. And it helped. Contractions were coming stronger and closer together. I started actually vocalizing through them (moaning)... and thinking, "Okay, this is intense. These hurt super bad. This baby better come soon." And I probably cried a little here and there too. Pain is scary. And I was starting to be in pain.
The entire time Ricky was with me. He sat outside the shower, asking if I needed anything - giving me water every 5 or 10 minutes, and just being there. That was the greatest thing he could have done, was just be IN it with me. He didn't feel pain, and I wouldn't have wanted him to even if he had the choice. I just wanted him to be with me in MY pain. I didn't want him to miss a step, because this was OUR story.
and sidenote: that is what I hate about medicated births. from here on out, I went through the most intimate event I have ever experienced with a human that day with my husband. it's like we stepped out of our western, overly-comforted existence into this drama for a day or two. and whatever hadn't already been done to our hearts through marriage, was solidified in that small, dark hospital room. my heart was sewn to ricky's in the furnace of pain. real, physical, searing pain. my body was writhing, and my husband didn't flinch in the face of it. he just stared it down with such a determination of love and servanthood with me. contraction by contraction. it was incredible, and i wouldn't exchange that for a shot that gives me a birth where i lie in bed, and my husband plays on his iphone. no comfort is worth robbing me of a trial for love.
and so there i am, in the shower, thanking God for the pain - because I know the pain means soon enough I'll have a baby. A little baby. whatever that means. but one thing i know, it's good. and i can't wait. and my whole life is changing in this black hole hospital room. i've come in a little girl in love, and i'll walk out a mother. and God is good. and this is real.
and so i'm thinking these things, praying to God, banging on the wet shower wall through each contraction - praying for more.
this would have been great, except for every hour I had to be monitored. so as soon as my body started working, as soon as it started hurting, i mean REALLLLLY hurting, they'd pull me out where i had to dry off (through contractions) get dressed (through contractions), go to the bed (through contractions) get hooked up (through contractions) and by the time i'd be on that horrific hospital bed, my contractions would slow back down.
and i'd say, "just let me stay in the shower, it's WORKING. it's obviously working. when i'm in there, i have more, they hurt more, and they last longer."
and they'd say, "no"
and i'd say, "when i lay down to be monitored they slow down. this isn't working."
and they'd say, "we care about your baby. lay down."
eeeesh. it was frustrating. and it was less me saying those things to them, but more ricky and my doula. thank God for them.
so in and out of shower. in and out of hospital bed. it's 3PM. shift change. scariest nurse ever takes over. tattooed eyebrows. irish accent. menacing eyes. hates me. hates my birth plan. and hates that i'm denying her the things she wants.
"i want to exam you to see how far you are." - scary nurse
"no thank you. my water broke, and that increases infection. i'd rather not." - me
"i don't care, lay down, it's time we check you." - scary nurse while LITERALLY grabbing my pregnant shoulder and shoving my pregnant (still contracting) body down onto the bed to, what???, forcibly check my cervix. i don't know - but it was traumatizing.
"please, i'd rather not." - me, while sitting back up.
"fine! i will not take care of you, you unintelligent, all natural hippie! i'll tell the doctor on you." - scary nurse, said in not, exactly those words, but you get the point.
which of course lead to an increase in my blood pressure, which was flaming angry, which lead to some drama about how my baby is in danger. thank God my doula was there to tell everyone, nurse carol just stressed us all out.
so i got back in the shower. more contractions. more pain.
it's now 7PM. (mind you, my contractions started 5PM the PREVIOUS DAY. we are already into 26 hours). i finally let them check me, because they act like if i don't they'll throw my laboring body into the streets. and here comes the first low blow... I was only 4cm dilated. (for all of you non-pregnant, non-moms... you have to get to a 10 to have a baby.)
so it had been over a day, a day of fighting with hospitals, and walking stairs, and feeling pain and i had only moved up ONE CENTIMETER. ONE. ONEEEEEEEEEE.
so my wonderful doula had the suspicion it was because little amos was positioned strangely. so the more i moved, the better it would be to get him down. which, of course, the hospital hated as they wanted me monitored (hooked up, on machines, on my bed, laying down) every 15 minutes. more arguing with staff. more frustration. all the while, i'm still in labor, having contractions...
so we started pulling out of our bag of tricks.
"give me 2 hours, 2 more hours and we'll see if i progress." me, or probably ricky, as i wasn't talking much at this point
"okay, 2 more hours, and that's it. then we have to do something to get labor going." - hospital
9PM comes, they check me, and the bad news comes again. No change.
Ricky takes me in the bathroom, sits me down, and tells me what I didn't want to hear.
"Babe, I think we have to start the pitocin." - ricky
I start weeping. I'm exhausted. I haven't slept for 2 days. Nothings happening. I'm in the black hole room. Nothing IS HAPPENING. and, above all, I am TERRIFIED of pitocin.
Ricky's scared too. I can see it in his eyes. Scared to see me jump full blast into the ocean of manufactured pain. We know pitocin isn't normal. It's fabricated, via medicine, contractions. It leads to a plethora of other issues. We know, but we don't have much choice. My water broke over 14 hours ago.
At 9 they start the pitocin. With the pitocin went any hopes of mobility. I'm tied to the machine, with a tube running out of my arm. The monitors are strapped to my belly. I can only reach as far as the birthing ball at the side of the bed.
And so here we go, me straddling big, blue birthing ball, ricky staring at me with his game face... and i mean, GAME FACE. my doula's behind me with a warmed rice sack on my back (which, we figure out later, is going through some INTENSE back labor) and we start the pitocin pain through the night.