Now What?!

A Grumpy Guide to Pregnancy

Monday, March 10, 2008

Labor report

Ok, here's how it went:
  1. Check in (Tuesday evening) around 7:30, sit around for an hour, then get set up for an I.V. (heparin lock), visited by various low-level doctors, given an internal exam, etc. Finally released to go up to Labor and Delivery at, say, 10pm.

  2. In delivery suite, hooked up to an IV (lactated ringers), more visits, finally given Cervidil (to soften cervix) around 11-something. Pretty much set up to spend the night -- changed into a night shirt, took out contacts, etc. Glad I had put in a pillow for labor, as it was much more comfy for sleep than the cheap hospital pillows. Settled in for the night, and managed to sleep a decent amount, despite the incursions of various nurses to check my vitals, replace my IV bag, admire the flow-through in the toilet (which they caught and measured in a little bucket) and test it for keytones, or have me test my blood sugar levels.

  3. Dull morning (Wednesday) as I waited for the Cervidil to reach 12 hours. Spouse came back around 6am and we frittered the morning together, chatting and watching bad TV, etc., while nurses continued with the incursions listed above. [At some point in here I had external fetal monitors (just like those used for the NST's) attached too.]

  4. Eventually they removed the Cervidil, after which we waited around for another hour or two for somebody to certify that everything was ok and we could proceed to the pitocin. Pitocin added to the IV drip, at the lowest level and inched upward. The nurse explained that the goal was to end up with "regular contractions at 2-min. intervals."

  5. We hit regular contractions at 2-minute intervals at the second dose level! Couldn't feel them at all though. (yay?) Sadly, they also didn't cause anything to progress, so we kept the doses inching upward.

  6. Cut ahead several hours, when contractions have been decent sized, just marginally tangible, and going on for some time, but with no progress. (Still around 1 cm dilated.) Haven't even called the doula to come yet, because more bored than stressed -- did a little web surfing during this period. Finally, doctor suggested breaking my water, because we "need to get things going" and because if I'm still not being bothered by any of the contractions, then we're not getting anything done. We agreed with this idea. [Tried to summon the doula at this point, but I think she thought we were consulting her about the water-breaking, so she didn't come until later.]

  7. Aha! feeling the contractions now! eek. Did some walking around, sitting on yoga ball, etc. Best position for weathering contractions appeared to be on ball, leaning back against Spouse, breathing. Whew, hard going. Rode them out for around 2.5 hours, only to find that I'd picked up just over a cm of dilation. I could have weathered that longer, but at that rate, I thought I'd die before I was dilated enough to do anything with.

  8. Asked for an epidural. [Ironically, this is when the doula arrived. She did some nice distracting things like stroking my legs during contractions while we waited for the anesthesiologist, but I fear that we missed the period when her input might have saved me the most.] Application of epidural pretty painless (some odd sensations of cold, etc., along the way), and it started to dull the contractions quite quickly. Once it was all at a steady drip and effectiveness, they turned off the lights so I could get some sleep and recover my strength. [Spouse and doula caught a few z's in chairs in the suite too.]

  9. Something like 1.5 hours later (with pitocin inched up a bit while I was under), I had gone from 3 to 10 cm dilation! They told me it was time to push. The epidural was dialed down a bit so that I could feel enough to push, and off we went! A nurse was urging me on, with cheerleading and describing the sensations I should push toward, and I gripped some handles to pull against while I pushed down. Things got harder as (a) I got more tired and (b) the baby came down far enough that I got no relief from the ache between contractions/pushes. Eventually my legs were being held upward to keep the baby from sliding back too far between pushes (doula held one and Spouse held the other, between grabbing water for me to sip), I was moaning and complaining, but somehow progress was being made. In the end (when a cluster of doctors appeared), it took about 1.5 hours and then the kid was squozen out! They stuck her on my chest, all covered with sticky white goo, but I have to admit that my enjoyment was a bit undermined by the distraction of getting some stitches, having a resident focused on getting the placenta delivered, etc.

  10. From there, some checks for the baby (blood sugar being a primary concern; they gave her formula very early) and then (probably two hours later, but who could say) I was wheeled up to the recovery zone, and two days of timeless introduction to parenthood ensued . . .
Sorry it took me so long to find time and mental energy to summarize all this. Guess that's also it for this space, although I may decide that logging some parental experiences justifies another online venue in the near future. More then.

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