Magnus' Birth Story: Active Labor

Part I of this story, we left off with me arriving at the hospital, waiting to find out if I would be admitted.

Heading up to L&D

I was wheeled up to a beautiful delivery room to be examined and immediately upon entering the room I threw up. Up until that point I had been holding an open bottle of peppermint essential oil under my nose to help with the nausea, but the pain finally got bad enough to put me over the edge. I changed into the hospital gown to be examined and in walked a familiar face...the nurse, Diane, was the same nurse who had been the instructor for our Childbirth Preparation class!

My exam revealed that I was only 3 centimeters dilated. When I asked her how far you have to be to be admitted, she told me 5 or 6 centimeters. I was DEVASTATED. This was my worst fear, to have come all this way, be in all of this pain, and be sent back home.

Diane encouraged me to get up and walk around while she checked with the doctor to see what he thought. She said she'd come back in an hour.

Getting up to walk was so painful! The contractions were so much more painful when I was up and moving. To ease the pain in my back, my husband rubbed it to apply counter pressure during contractions. My husband is a 6'2" diesel mechanic. Strong guy. And he was pressing so hard he was afraid he was going to hurt me. It was a lifesaver! The contractions were still incredibly painful, but having that counter pressure took a lot of the pain from my back.

An hour later, Diane came back in to do another cervical check and I was only at 4cm. I was absolutely terrified that this meant I'd have to go home. Being the saint that she is, she went back and updated the doctor, being sure to emphasize that I had been vomiting. Luckily, the doctor agreed to admit me. I was in!

At around 1:30pm, four hours after arriving at the hospital, it was finally time to get my epidural!

In my original vision for my birth, I had imagined walking around and laboring on my own until I was 7 or 8 centimeters, and only getting an epidural then. I didn't like the idea of being bound to the bed. But as soon as that epidural was offered, I puked again, and then I was all over it!

The epidural

The epidural was incredible. I had a couple of contractions while it was being put in, which is difficult because it required me to sit perfectly still. But with the help of Brandon and Diane, I was able to breathe through them for the 15 minutes or so it took for the anesthesiologists to do his thing.

Once it kicked in, I felt so much better! I did have what's called a window on my right side, which means that the epidural worked everywhere except for in one window on my right side, where I could still feel everything. The window made things painful, but it was nothing compared to how those contractions felt before.

I asked Diane about the window and she told me to try to lay on my right side to get gravity to move the medicine into that area of my body. At the same time, my contractions had slowed down, so we decided to administer Pitocin to pick things back up.

A little scare

20 minutes after getting the Pitocin, nurses and doctors came running into the room. Baby's heartbeat had plummeted. So the the Pitocin was immediately turned off, I was taken off of my right side, and we started talking about a possible C-section.

Luckily, his heart stabilized and I was able to continue to try to progress on my own. The doctor did, at this time, mention the possibility of breaking my water. Since Pitocin was no longer an option, he thought it would be a good option to continue to make labor progress.

But the doctor decided to wait a little bit before he broke my water just to see if my body made some progress without intervention.


Side bar: My medical group's birthing experience is a little bit different than normal. Instead of having one dedicated doctor that you see throughout your entire pregnancy, and having that doctor there to deliver the baby, your baby is just delivered by the doctor on call that day. This might bother some people, but I've never known anything different, so it didn't bother me at all.

Shortly after our little episode, the doctor who had been on duty was off and a new doctor came in. Both were fantastic. This new doctor was a woman and she came in to check my progress. It was around 7pm and I was really hoping to be at a 6 or so.

She checked me and after a few minutes, announced that I was at an 8! I couldn't believe it! Only 20 minutes of Pitocin had kicked my body into gear and it was time to go! I was so proud of my body.

She asked if I wanted her to break my water and I told her I'd leave it up to her. "Let's do it!" she said!

Having your water broken is so much different than I thought. For one, it's done with what looks like a giant crochet needle. I also expected there to be a huge splash, but it was nothing like that. It just felt like I peed my pants.

Time passed and my nurse, Diane, also went home because her shift was over. I can't remember the name of my new nurse, but she was also great.

At around 11pm, I was still feeling pain from the window where my epidural wasn't working. We decided to try laying on my right side one more time and administering a little more Pitocin. Baby's heart rate decreased again, so unfortunately I just wasn't able to completely get rid of that window.

The nurse advised me to let her know when I felt like I needed to poop, because then it was time to push. Meanwhile, I had been pushing my button to get more epidural medicine as often as possible, so I was terribly afraid that I would be too numb to know when it was time to push.

The nurse assured me that they would also be checking me and be checking the monitors, so it wasn't possible that the baby would just fall out without anyone there to catch him.

Around 11:30, I felt it. The nurse came back in to check me and agreed, it was time.

I can't explain how I felt. I wasn't ready! I didn't know what to expect! I mean, of course I wanted to meet my baby, but everything was about to be so different! And if it was time to push, why weren't doctors running into the room?! Why was the nurse so calm?! What if I didn't know what to do?! What if I was going to push for four hours?!

Stay tuned for Magnus' Birth Story: Part III

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