*Disclaimer: I look like crap in these pictures. I had bought some waterproof mascara to wear during labour and delivery to keep me looking ‘fresh’ (ha!) and forgot to put it on (also forgetting to refresh my deodorant until after I’d delivered her…I don’t know about everyone else but the contractions made me really warm and pushing made me sweaty!). I’m sharing these because I love you and because they are important to the story, not because it shows me at my finest.*
Alright, so we had arrived at the hospital (taking the stairs to help keep me dilating) and made our way to our room – number 222. Now I didn’t realize it until later, but my favourite number is 2, so this should have been a lucky room for me! My mama arrived a little while after us, bringing us snacks and drinks (we hadn’t had any breakfast – I wasn’t super hungry most of the day bug Craig was starving!).
We arrived just after 10am and by 11am I had my bracelet on and was starting to walk the loop through the maternity and surgical units. Whenever a contraction would start Craig and I would stand together in a ‘hug’ with me leaning on him while we swayed. After a while I had to stop walking as I was experiencing almost constant pain and pressure in my bum and it made walking exceedingly difficult. I finally lay down on the bed for a while to help manage the contractions and asked about doing the sterile water papules for the back labour (Did I mention that she was presenting occiput posterior, so she was facing the front instead of the back like she was supposed to? This was causing the back labour as the back of her head was grating down my spine as she descended. Lovely.). The midwives agreed and started getting the needles ready. They had me get into a labour gown to make access easier and because labour was getting closer to transition.
Student midwife Stephanie waiting for a contraction to help ease my back pain. This is how relaxed I was between contractions.
Remember how I said that the stretch and sweep wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable as they had said it could be? Well the sterile water papules felt every bit as much like a bee sting as possible, but after the 30 seconds (Craig counted) the sting dissipated, and miraculously, so had the back pains. It didn’t take away the pain of the contractions at all, but it’s amazing what some water injected under my skin did. I appreciated the fact that the midwives offered this as it allowed me to have the natural childbirth that I wanted while still having some means of pain management beyond the breathing and relaxation.
‘Side lunging' on a birthing stool to help bring her on down. With a contraction starting.
By around 3pm I was nearly dilated with just a small lip of cervix left in the way, so they had me go and sit on the toilet (facing the back) to put me in a good position to allow gravity and her head to push the lip out of the way. I spent about 45 minutes on the toilet before I’d had enough and when they checked me again, I was fully dilated. At that point they got out the birthing stool again and had me sit on it for the contractions until I felt the urge to push.
Here’s where my labour kind of went awry.
While sitting on the stool waiting for the urge to push, my contractions slowly started coming farther and farther apart so they brought out the breast pump to try and naturally stimulate some oxytocin to bring the contractions back to full strength. They were able to get a considerable amount of colostrum using the pump, however no change in my contractions.
After about 10 more minutes it became apparent that my contractions weren’t going to speed up any time soon so they had me get back on the bed so they could recheck me. Low and behold I’d developed a lip again on the other side. So they brought the pump back over and with a cup on each breast and my feet and knees up in the air, we waited (and waited) for just one contraction so the midwives could try using it to push the lip out of the way (hoping that her head could then descend a little bit more, stimulating labour).
It never happened. My labour had officially stalled.
The decision was made to call the OB that was on call and have her OK an oxytocin drip. This was technically a transfer of care, however the midwives, doctors and nurses have a great relationship at our hospital, so she transferred care back once they had set up the IV. I did have to have a nurse present for the rest of my labour because of the IV, but Sherry was fantastic, so I didn’t mind.
It took a while for the oxytocin to kick in (they had to go up a couple levels in strength), but by 8pm my contractions were back in full force, and I was just waiting on the ‘urge to push’.
The ‘urge to push’ is really part of the delivery stage, so I’ll leave most of that for the next post, however I want to mention how confused I was both before labour and during it about what this urge really was. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I think throwing in the word ‘feel’ before the phrase threw me off as I was then expecting some sort of emotional or instinctual desire to push the come over me, but that never happened. I’ll let you know tomorrow how I eventually figured out what that urge really was and how quickly and easily (thank God!) this last part of labour went.
Today my little helper was a little more compliant to mommy’s blogging:
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