So at 7 am on Friday, the pitocin was started. I don’t remember the quantity that was administered, but they started out upping it 1 per hour and eventually increased it to 1 every half hour. I was incredibly out of it from the mag. All I could really do was lay in bed with my eyes closed, drifting in and out of sleep. I couldn’t focus my eyes enough to read. I didn’t have the energy to keep my eyes open to watch a movie. I’d talk a little, but had a hard time thinking of words I wanted to say.
I started feeling some pressure really low in my pelvis. This was the sensation I had all day. It was very sporadic, anywhere from a couple of minutes to a half hour apart, and short, usually less than 30 seconds. It wasn’t really painful, but eventually it got to a point where I’d take a few deep breaths or rock my hips a little (while still laying in bed) or even moan. Sometimes I’d hold hubby’s hand and, although I felt like I was squeezing so tight, he said there was hardly any pressure. I was just a mess from all the meds!
I was checked twice that day and had only increased to 3 cm, even after they broke my water. They decided to stop and restart the pitocin around 6 to see if that would kick start my reaction to it. At that point, I was up to 24 and 40 was the max. Our doula was already there–there had been a point earlier in the afternoon where I had a few feelings of pressure that were more intense and within minutes of each other. I had thought things were kicking into gear. Then nothing. So during the time that the pitocin was stopped, I was still occasionally feeling this pressure. It was just more of the same.
They asked how I planned to handle the pain. I explained that I wanted to go med free (ironic given all the IVs and interventions I was on at the time!) They did tell me if I got to a point where I wanted an epi, they would have to do a blood test to determine platelet count and that could take up to an hour. I talked to my husband and the doula. I just felt like given the circumstances I was under, with the weakness and my brain feeling like mush, I might not be able to do it. The doula explained that laboring when you are stuck in bed really sucks and limits your coping mechanisms. She also said that once a woman decides she wants an epi, she wants it NOW. They were both very supportive of whatever I decided. So I had the blood test.
As it got later in the evening and I still just felt this random pressure, a c-section seemed inevitable. I was told I wasn’t having the type of contractions that cause the cervix to dilate. Around 10, I asked the big question nobody else was talking about–how long would the doc let this go on before deciding to do a c-section? I don’t remember the answer. It looked like there was a really long night ahead of us, so hubby took a nap and I was drifting in and out of sleep whenever I wasn’t feeling the pressure.
Then, really late in the evening, I had to go to the bathroom. Felt like I had to poo. So I sit on the toilet for a couple of minutes, but have no energy to actually go. All the sudden I felt horrible pressure. I made it back to bed and said “gosh, I just feel a lot of pressure. It almost makes me want to cry.” They decided to check me, which was the last thing in the world I wanted at that moment. It seemed like there were a ton of people in the room at the time–my husband, doula, and maybe two nurses? So we all were in shock when she said “you are 100% dilated and baby’s head is about an inch from crowning.” In fact, I didn’t even understand what she said since I was so out of it.
So I’m feeling a little more intense pressure. I think of the epi and think “no way can I keep going through this for hours.” But the doula gave me some great advice to just take each moment as it comes and not get into the what ifs, since you don’t know how long it will last or how intense it will be. So I reminded myself of that. And also thought of how long it would take to get someone there to administer it. Although I was in a labor and delivery room, all births before 36 weeks had to be done in the operating room and automatically taken to the special care nursery. Next thing I know, I’m being wheeled to another room to deliver this kid (which wasn’t great since I’d been pukey all day too and movement didn’t help.) My brain was still trying to catch up on what was going on.
We get in there. They tell me when I feel a contraction, I should take a deep breath, blow it out, take another one right away, hold it and push. So I feel some pressure again and say “I think I’m having a contraction?” One of the nurses feels my belly and tells me I am. I honestly had no idea. I do the breathing and pushing thing. They tell me to stop pushing because they need to wait for the special care nursery folks to be set up. So we hang out for a few minutes and then it is more of the same. Pushing wasn’t painful. The hard part was holding the breath to push and then taking another deep breath to do it again. I just wanted to breathe and pause between breaths. So I said a couple of times “I can’t do this.” But I didn’t mean from pain perspective, but from a needing to relax and breathe. I felt like the pushing wasn’t doing anything. Remember that I had been weak and laying in bed for about 17 hours at this time.
I don’t remember if there were 3 or 4 contractions for pushing, but the whole thing lasted 8 minutes or so. And then he was here. Flailing around his arms and legs. Screaming. It was such a great sound and so reassuring with a premie. So they take him to the adjoining room where special nursery assessed him while I work on the placenta. They bring him back in so we can hold him and get some photos and then whisk him away. He was 4 lbs, 13 oz, 18 inches long and born at 12:43 am. He made it to 35w1d…..barely.
So my labor was very strange. I never felt contractions. There was no pattern where things were getting closer together or more painful. I basically was a groggy mess because of the drugs. I had a 10 minute period where I felt some really intense pressure (even that wasn’t constant though) and worked from 8 minutes to push him out. So word on the street is that I had some fabulous, easy labor. Yes, I had a pain free labor. But just to be clear, it sucked. I would have preferred more pain and less intervention, less feeling miserable. Of course it was worth it and I’m so grateful we had the care and direction we did.
Was it all the drugs and meds that made me react this way? Probably not. The nurses, doc and doula said they’ve never seen anyone have a labor like this. They said they’ve seen other people on pitcoin and mag go through typical labors. Was it the LEEP procedure I had done? This can cause scar tissue on the cervix and make it harder to dilate, so maybe I just popped in an instant. Or was it just me? That is what people seem to think. This is now the third time I’ve gone through something that is painful for most folks and not me. Each time, the drugs knock me on my rear, but the pain is fine. And it isn’t like I feel the pain and say “oh, I must rise above this!” I just don’t feel it. The doula wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t been sick and already been in the hospital. If I had been laboring at home and things never seemed to progress, would I have made it to the hospital in time?
Later that morning, our little guy was transferred to NICU at the children’s hospital. Luckily our hospital was across the street and there was a tunnel connecting them. They also have cameras set up in the NICU so you can see your baby on the tv in your room. He needed extra support, primarily with breathing, but was just transferred back to the special care nursery and all the tubes and IVs have been removed. YEA!!!! Now he’s considered a “feeder/grower”, so we just need to get him used to breast and bottle feeding so he can come home. I have a feeling I’ll be spending even more time at the hospital now that we’ll be trying to breast feed….and it will be awesome!
I’ll write more about the NICU later. I wish he hadn’t needed it, but it was an amazing experience!