Friday, August 27, 2010

My Daughter's Birth Story Part II: Checking-in, Dosing-up, Waiting

On Saturday morning, we tried to sleep in a bit. The biggest debate as we fought off wakefulness was where to have brunch. This town may not have a lot of stuff, but what we do have is great breakfast choices. Ultimately, we went for a pub breakfast - I ordered wrong and was disappointed. Oh well. It was hard to act normally when - hello - I was causally going to check into the hospital that evening.

I can't remember all that we did that day, aside from the breakfast, but I know a lot of it was boring housework and cat litter stuff. My sister came over.

And then it was close to 5pm and we were late getting out of the house. Naturally.

As my husband loaded the car and my sister left, I took a moment to stand in the hallway, alone, and think - this is the end of this time. This is the last time we leave this house as a couple on our own. When we come back, we'll have a baby with us. Thoughts of "last" hung heavy in my mind. And then it was time to go.
We arrived to the registration office at 5:30 hoping there hadn't been a sudden crush of laboring, bed-stealing moms. There hadn't. Bracelets were issued, details checked. My husband asked for an ocean-view room and the poor registration gal took a few beats to sort out the joke.

Then it was off down the hallway and into room 361. Or was it 261. It was something 61, I can tell you that - but we'll get to that later. My husband was sent out of the room so the nurse could confirm that there were no other pregnancies in the past I didn't want him knowing about. No STDs. No other issues I wanted to confide in them without him present. There weren't.

I was given two gowns to wear and a plastic bag for my clothes. I noted there was no sleeper chair in the room for R and the nurse - Jenny - said she'd check on that.

The bed was too firm from the start. Monitors were strapped to me and she told me how to unplug when I needed to go to the restroom. My baby's heartbeat filled the room. I asked that it be turned down.

The TV was crappy and the remote worse. R came back in and soon it was time for dinner orders and a visit from my sister. Someone started an IV. And then it was a few hours of waiting.

I told the nurse almost immediately that I had taken the anesthesia class and would be wanting the epidural so go ahead and get the anesthesiologist in for the requisite consultation. Stat!

At 8:45, I was given a dose of misoprostol - a teeny pill placed on the cervix to encourage ripening and contractions. I wasn't allowed to get up for 2 hours. By the time I was allowed up again, I was contracting, though it was only apparent on the monitor and eventually I could feel it, slightly, creeping up my lower back.

Sometime during the night I became slightly uncomfortable, but not too badly. I think I opted for some mild pain relief to help get some sleep. Aside from the frequent checks by the nurses, I think I slept okay, at least compared on the night to come.

Sunday morning came and my sister returned to the hospital. I was efacing, but not dilating. My parents set off from LA on their way up to the hospital. My contractions continued, still only as severe as your average menstrual cramp. At first, just something I'd take an Advil for, but increasing as the day went on.

Fortunately, the hospital had mobile telemetry stuff that allowed me to walk with my fetal monitor and IV pole up and down the ward. So my sister, husband and I walked slowly back and forth. By now, the contractions required me to pause a bit and breath.

Humorous highlight of the day: walking past the door to the ward and seeing my boss's wife's face poking in, then my boss and their daughter behind her. They had come to drop off flowers, not to see me, but, surprise! There I was, slightly hunched over, hanging on an IV pole, in a hospital gown. Fannnnntastic. A short awkward conversation insued and ended rather quickly - everyone equally mortified at the chance encounter. And I was back to pacing. Depsite my sister's best efforts, I opted not to take her advice to labor in the shower.

Afternoon arrived and with it, my parents, and stronger contractions. I stopped talking through them and focused on breathing. Darkness fell, we watched the Olympics, and things kept getting stronger.

I was still at 0cm.

Next: Part III: sh*t gets serious.

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