|Joy and her baby Wesley
Induction, One dose of Nubain, No Epidural, Episiotomy, Vaginal Delivery
I was one week past my due date and scheduled to be induced on April 17. While I was not really looking forward to a labor induction, I couldn't wait to see my baby boy! On April 15, my hubby and I were taking a short break where we work together; it was a beautiful spring day, and so we decided to walk in the sunshine. It was 3pm, and that's when I noticed my first contraction. Another contraction came again 20 minutes later. The contractions came 20 minutes apart for the rest of that afternoon and evening. We tried sex that night to get labor going, but it certainly didn't jump start the contractions. I was excited and uncomfortable, so I didn't sleep very well, and by the morning, my contractions were still coming, very regular, at 10 minutes apart. By this time, I knew I was in early labor but decided to go to work with my husband for the day and see what happened. At least, I figured, the induction the next morning would help move labor along. My contractions suddenly picked up to 5-7 minutes apart about 10 am on April 16. The office couldn't believe I was at work, but it was a good distraction, and I wasn't feeling too uncomfortable.
We called the doctor's office to ask if they could cancel the induction for the next morning. The doctor decided to see me that afternoon at 2:30 (he would have seen me right away, but he was out delivering a baby at that moment). So we hung around for four hours more until the appointment. The doctor said I was 1 plus centimeter dilated, which was the best news I'd heard in weeks! Progress was still slow, and the doctor recommended that I go home and rest. If things didn't progress through the night, the induction was still on for the next morning. I called my doula to tell her the news and took a nap. Nothing much changed that evening, but it was hard to sleep that night because of all the excitement.
5am on April 17 rolled around too early, and a call to the hospital confirmed that they had room for me. My husband and I finished loading our bags in the car and took off. I dread needles, and getting the IV was hard. If I could have skipped any part, this would have been it. My husband held my hand through it, and soon I was all set. The fetal monitor and contraction monitor were turned on, and the fluids and pitocin started. At this time, I asked the nurse how soon the contractions would come, and she said most start feeling them in one to two hours. I was started on the smallest dose possible, and it was to be turned up every 15 minutes until my contractions were strong and regular. Our nurse left the room, and my husband and I watched the monitor intently, waiting for something to happen. My baby was pretty active, and he would not stay still. The fetal monitor was reading his heartbeat only half of the time and would not work whenever he moved out of position. Hearing his little heart beat on the monitor was one of the most reassuring things to me throughout the day. We were officially bored, so we got out our books to read, played cards, did anything and everything. It was a beautiful day outside, and here we were all confined to our room with all the tubes and monitors.
About two hours later, my husband asked me if something wasn't supposed to have begun by now. I didn't know, but I surely wasn't feeling much. I could tell when the contractions were coming, but they were not hurting at all. The nurse came in and saw the contractions on the monitor; she asked me what my pain tolerance was on a scale of 1-10. I said zero. She seemed somewhat surprised and turned up the pitocin. After an hour, the contractions were coming every two minutes. I still wasn't feeling them. We called our doula who decided to come in to help keep us company. We were bored and there was nothing to do. She couldn't believe that I was on the pitocin and couldn't feel anything.
It was now afternoon and we had been sitting for 7 hours. The nurse checked me, and I was still only 1 cm. I was discouraged. I wasn't allowed to eat, and I was getting hungry and feeling weak. My doctor came in to check on things, and ordered the pitocin to be increased. I was now in the high level of dosage. Suddenly the baby's heartbeat began to drop. He was not tolerating the high pitocin level. The nurse turned me on my side, then my other side. Nothing seemed to improve the baby's heartbeat, which was now dangerously low. Extra help was called in, and they put an oxygen mask on me and lowered the head of the bed. A flurry of activity began. In the background, I could hear the baby's heartbeat going about half speed. I was scared and could only look at my husband from behind the mask. We held hands. The pitocin was turned off, and gradually the baby's heartbeat climbed back up. They let me lay in that position with the oxygen for a good 20 minutes until things looked normal again. I breathed a sigh of relief when they let me sit up and take off the oxygen. The nurse said the baby was distressed from the high pitocin and needed a rest.
I kept contracting, although not as frequently. The contractions were still painless. I was checked again and was still 1 cm. They began the pitocin again at the lowest dosage, and we started again. I began to cry. After a whole day of not eating, seeing my baby go into distress, and no progress made, I did not know what to do. I had no energy. The nurse said they may turn off the pitocin in the night and let me rest, which sounded good to me. If nothing happened the next day, the baby would have to come by c-section. The doctor did order the pitocin off at 6pm, and I ate two hospital trays of food! He allowed me to eat until 4am the next morning. At 3:45am, I stuffed cereal, crackers, granola, juice, and anything else I could get my hands on to make sure I had enough energy through the next day.
On Sunday, April 18 at 6:40am, the pitocin was started again, and I still didn't feel anything although I felt much better emotionally from the rest and food. Around 8:30am, my doctor came to check up on me, and after an internal exam, he pronounced that I was 2 cm! This was enough to get the crochet hook inside to break my water. It came out in a gush, and I thought it felt pretty weird. I didn't really know what to expect, but it didn't really hurt. It was just me and my husband again, and it was another beautiful day outside. We called our doula to let her know that the doctor broke my water. She said she would be there in about an hour. My parents called soon after to see how things were going, and I actually didn't feel like talking much during my contractions. This was certainly a change. We hung up and my husband and I picked up our books to pass the time. It was getting harder and harder to concentrate during the contractions. I had to just set the book down and felt like I needed to start breathing through them. My husband was almost celebrating. He turned on some music, and I really focused in on that during each contraction. After a little longer, my back started to ache. My husband put some pressure on both sides of the lower back, which felt great. I wasn't paying attention to anything now but the contractions when they came. The breathing really helped.
Just then my doula came into the room and noted what a change this was from yesterday not feeling a thing. I couldn't talk since I was in the middle of a contraction. We decided it was time to close the blinds and draw the curtains, and get down to some serious work. My doula got the birthing ball from down the hall, and after a few adjustments, I felt great. Whenever a contraction came, I would just flop over on the side of the bed. My fingers began to feel numb and tingly, which I did not like at all. The nurse thought I might be hyperventilating. I was really getting uncomfortable. I did not want to change positions, but after standing up and going to the bathroom, I felt much better. Changing positions really took my mind off the contractions. The nurse checked me after that, and I was 5 cm! Everyone cheered me and said I was doing great. My pain tolerance was about a 7 or 8 at that time, and was still manageable as long as I changed positions. I decided to stand up and lean against my husband. Swaying my hips felt good. We did that for about an hour, after which I was 6 cm. I was over the hump!
The pitocin was now at a high level and I wanted to lie down. The pain became really intense, and I told my husband I couldn't do it. He said this may be transition. My fingers went numb again and I felt like things were out of control. The baby's heart rate went into distress again, and the pitocin was turned off; I went back on oxygen. After that scare, I was 8 cm. My doula lauded me for doing so well--I was almost there! And I had done the whole thing without pain meds up to this point! My back, however, would not rest. I was in constant pain and could not relax between contractions. I started to moan through each contraction. Each time one came, I would say "Oh no!" or "not again" or "please don't let this be long." I was losing it. My doctor was called and arrived soon to make sure he was there in time for the delivery. He checked me, and I was still 8 cm. I really got discouraged and started to cry. I couldn't take any more of this. My doula got my attention and said I had to make a decision: did I want an epidural, or was I going to cope. The doctor said that women finish up quickly at this point when they get an epidural. I said no, I can cope. They asked me if I would take any pain medication... something to take the edge off, and I agreed. My back was killing me and gave me no breaks between contractions. The doctor ordered the smallest dose of Nubain to be put in my IV.
I felt sleepy right away, and it was just enough to stop the back pain in between contractions. The contractions themselves were easier to handle that way. My husband got in front of me and held my hands. He talked me through every contraction. I needed to hear his voice and encouragement to relax with each one. My doula got behind me and kept constant back pressure on. Everyone thought that lying down might help, so they got me on my side, and I must have dozed through a few contractions. My husband took the opportunity of getting some food; it was his first break of the day. I had been in total real labor for about 7 hours by this point, and all the medical staff were surprised at how well I was handling it.
Things were progressing significantly better than the day before. My doctor was sitting in the corner reading a magazine. Suddenly, I had to push. I grabbed my doula's arm with a grip she will never forget. I felt the same sensation on the next contraction and grabbed my doula's arm. The doula asked the doctor to check me, and I had just a lip of the cervix left. He said if I could wait for a few more contractions, I could then push. The urge was almost incontrollable on the next contraction, and I asked where my husband was. They told me he was out eating, and I said that if he didn't come he was going to miss it. Fortunately he walked in on the next one, and my doula was more than glad to let me hold his wrist.
I started pushing, and a gush of water came out. I pushed again on the next one. At this point, the medical staff got me up and semi-sitting, which felt much more comfortable. My husband and doula helped hold my legs back. On the next push, the nurse said she saw his head! Everyone cheered me on with each push. I had no idea what I was accomplishing, but soon his head was crowning. All the cheering and encouragement really motivated me to give it everything. The doc was afraid I would rip badly, so he performed an episiotomy. I was pushing so fast, he didn't even have time to let the numbing medicine take full effect! With the next push, his head came out; the pain sensation was amazing with his shoulders jammed right at the opening, but with one more push, our wonderful son Wesley was born. He weighted 8 lbs, 3 oz and was 20 1/2 inches long. He was so alert and intelligent looking. Total active labor lasted 7 1/2 hours, and I pushed for 40 minutes. I'm so glad I did it without an epidural. The whole experience was absolutely amazing!