Every child has a birth story… this is the birth story of our first daughter, Annabelle.
During my last trimester, my doctor implied more than once that Annabelle could come early. My husband and I had a feeling she would come early too, but you never really know. I started dilating at 36 weeks and crossed my fingers that we wouldn’t have to wait until December 12th to meet our little girl. I went into the office each week for my appointment holding my breath and hoping for progress. Not knowing when she would arrive was driving me insane! Each week I was a teensy bit more dilated or effaced, and would have little bouts of contractions. SO, imagine my surprise and frustration when her due date arrived with no sign of our baby girl.
“DECREASED FETAL MOVEMENT CAITLIN? ARE YOU SERIOUS?” Dr. W seemed a little mad.
“Um, she has slowed down a bit. Isn’t that normal?” I was confused. Why was she mad? I thought the books say they slow down when they are close to being born…
“No Caitlin, decreased fetal movement is not normal. You just won yourself an induction. “
Annabelle’s Birth Story Continued
The doctor proceeded to check my cervix and we found out that I was 2 cm dilated. She told me that I needed to head straight to the hospital across the parking lot. I really wanted my hospital bags, and to fix my gross hair, so I begged her to let me go home (which was only 5 minutes away). After almost running out on my paperwork for the hospital, my mom and I started making the calls to everyone who needed to head to the hospital – my husband, two sets of in-laws, and sisters – Annabelle was going to come on her due day after all!
At my house I grabbed my pre-packed hospital bag, my list of things that were last minute items to be packed, and then ate a banana. The doctor told me not to eat, but I hadn’t had anything since the night before and I knew it was going to be a long day. I straightened my hair, put on a little makeup, and then I started getting anxious.
Brandon got home right after my Mom took this picture. We threw a bag together for him and headed to the hospital. I blasted Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” on repeat because I felt like I was going to explode with nerves. I was scared that there was something wrong with the baby. I was nervous about being induced. And I was excited that we were finally going to meet our sweet little girl.
After some paperwork, I was admitted rather quickly. Before I knew it, I was in a hospital gown and hooked up to an IV. A nurse told me that I wouldn’t get started on the Pitocin for a little while because they were going to monitor the baby first. The nurse put two bands around my belly and said one would monitor my contractions, while the other monitored the baby’s heart rate.
I had planned to watch Christmas movies during my labor – they’ve always been something that calms me. We brought Home Alone, Elf, Christmas Vacation, and The Santa Clause. We watched each movie once, except for Home Alone and The Santa Clause. We watched those two (my favorites) four times.Thankfully it was December 12th, almost Christmas, or I think everyone in the room would’ve wanted to strangle me.
I started having contractions on my own before they administered the Pitocin (which is a drug received through an IV) and was almost thinking I had escaped induction. I was wrong of course. The nurses came in and right after setting me up on a small drip of Pitocin they broke my water using a long stick. I can only describe my water breaking as feeling like someone had dumped a bucket of warm water between my legs. My bloody showcame out with the amniotic fluid and I immediately felt like I needed a shower. Thankfully, my nurse was amazing and constantly changed the towels I was sitting on.
Of course I brought my trusty moose MaryAnne
After my water broke, I started feeling REAL contractions. I had had Braxton Hicks during my pregnancy, so I knew a little of what to expect. But these contractions were consistent and I could feel my whole midsection tighten with each one. I had a little bit of a cramping feeling in my back during each contraction too, but the pain wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I had planned toavoid any and all pain medications during my labor as I’ve never enjoyed feeling like I don’t have control over my body. I also wanted to be able to squat during labor, or get in a warm bath. There was a bathtub with jets in my room and the doctor told me I was more than welcome to hang out in it. Unfortunately, I never got to test the waters.
After a few hours, my contractions started to pick up. They were coming every 60-90 seconds and my back started to hurt even more. The nurse checked me and said I was 4 cm dilated. She asked if I wanted something for the pain and I told her I would be okay. The pain was worsening quickly though and with each contraction my eyes would water as I tried to close my eyes and focus on the pain. Mentally I envisioned how each contraction would bring me closer to meeting our baby. This worked for a little while… but thenI couldn’t focus anymore.
Thirty minutes later I asked the nurse what kind of pain medicine she was offering. She said they could give me Demerol, which would make me feel wine drunk, and take the edge off of the contractions. The nurse promised it wouldn’t affect the baby, so I took one dose through my IV. It was wonderful. I was able to chat with everyone in the room and relax a bit. Then I took a little snooze.
When the Demerol wore off an hour later, my contractions were still 60-90 seconds apart and lasting for 30-60 seconds. The nurse asked if I wanted another dose, so I accepted. Unfortunately, about 15 minutes after she gave it to me, the contractions picked up in frequency and intensity. I curled into a ball each time I could feel a contraction coming and tried to focus on breathing slowly. It felt like someone was punching me in the back with a studded iron fist. The nurse came in and said that the baby was sunny side up, so they needed me to lay on my side. They put one of my legs in a stirrup and told me they’d switch sides after a half hour or so. Laying on my side would hopefully help the baby turn over on her own.
I think this made the pain worse. I wasn’t able to curl up in a ball anymore, or really move at all with each contraction. I felt immobile and couldn’t focus on anything. My husband and Mom were watching the monitor with me, and as each contraction came and went, the pain intensified. They would try to talk me through each contraction, but I felt like my body was being torn apart. My moans turned to yells and I started to cry. I was in the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. At one point, Brandon looked me in the eye and said, “Smile, smile so I know that you’re going to be okay.” I just cried harder.
The nurse came in to check me and I could barely stand being touched. She said I was at 5 cm and I was beyond disappointed. With all the pain I was in, how could I not be more dilated? She offered an epidural, but I did NOT want to take it. Then I had another contraction, screamed throughout the entire thing, and told Brandon I wasn’t going to be able to make it through the rest of the labor and delivery if I didn’t have something for the pain.
To be continued…