You can read Part 1 - here.
We left off while we were in the waiting room but I wanted to refer back to our 20 minute commute in the car.
While in the car, Neil Diamond came on the radio, “Cracklin’ Rosie.” Tears ran down my face and I KNEW for certain, I was carrying a little red headed girl! I still get a little emotional when I hear the song and think of those surreal 3 minutes of clarity.
We waited in the hallway for the nurse to reappear who eventually led us to our room. There, in the hallway I swayed to the rhythm of the contractions, holding onto Nolan’s shoulders. Before I knew it, we entered the labor room and got as comfortable as possible. I stepped into the hospital gown, bags were placed in the corners, cooler of food tempting me on the side table and the Gatorade we walked to buy earlier to help quicken labor was diluted in the hospital water jug. My first rule; liquids ONLY, instantly I desperately wanted something to eat as I only had breakfast that day. Our nurse, Nina, a red head, was busy setting things up, taking my stats and getting my record in order. She ordered a resident to come in a check my status but after a half hour, asked an attending who came in and gave me my first bit of news; I was 4.5 cm, 80% effaced. (click here for a brief explanation of dilation and effacement) Hooray – I am right on track I thought. Back to business, I hoped off the bed and on the birthing ball. I rolled in circles as the pain came and went. At the same time, both Nolan and Mom thought they needed coffee and food – so even though they asked and I agreed I was so scared as they left me alone for 5 increasing painful contractions. (The day seemed to be measured in number of contractions.) During that time, all I wanted was Nolan to look at!
Nolan came back to the room first and things progressed rapidly. The nurse wanted to get an IV in me just in case, so she attempted to insert it in my hand; NOPE, my veins were uncooperative mainly because I was dehydrated. Between her and another nurse they tried 3 places. A third nurse was asked to come in and she magically got an IV in my arm and taped it securely. Note to self: next time I’ll get an IV hep lock to save the aggravation of multiple nurses sticking me with needles as I went through contractions! Needless to say, I returned home with a few big bruises.
Once I had the IV in, I felt a bit confined and it became a hassle to use the restroom but really, it was the least of my worries. I continued to roll on the ball leaning on the bed and while I struggled with the following contractions – the ones where it was difficult to talk and thoughts of painkillers emerged. Even though I didn’t talk, I felt an ultra sense of awareness. I knew who was in the room, where they were, what they were talking about, but felt the need to stay quiet, reserving my energy to breath/scream/groan through the waves of pain.
After an hour I began vocalizing my thoughts about pain relief. In between contractions, I leaned over the bed, stared at Nina and asked, more like groaned at her to get the paperwork prepped for an epidural. I didn’t see myself making it. Nolan, by my side, squeezing my hips, encouraged me to work through it and repeated my original reasons I had chosen to go without meds. While Nolan spoke to me, Nina hopped to request even though she too was telling me how well I was doing and asked if I was sure. I was checked again to see if I still had time for an epidural; at only 6cm I could get it.
The anesthesiologist arrived a half-hour later casually rolling in his tray as they asked me to get on the bed to be rechecked. During that half-hour, I attempted to choke Nolan by decreasing the size of his shirt collar. With every contraction I tightened my fists, hunched my shoulders, squeezed my eyes shut and moaned like there was NO tomorrow! I must have really scared off the people outside the room! Because the contractions were coming on fast with little time in between I only let go when Nina finally asked me to allow him to breath. During the time I waited for my relief I found my groove. I found out how to survive each contraction, with Nolan’s collar in hand I shut my eyes and visualized my new crying baby being placed on my chest. It worked – a throw back to my visualization exercises I was taught during JV volleyball really worked!
Back to being rechecked – 9.5cm! As the anesthesiologist rolled in, he heard my progress and just as he casually rolled in the room, out he went. It was time to go!
As the contractions intensified I saw the pain and helplessness in my mom’s eyes. I was glad to have her around that day but when I got down to business I asked her to leave, which she said she was happy to do!