Turns out a lot of moms out there have no idea what it is like to go into labor on their own, moms who were induced, moms with scheduled c-sections, moms with major complications that lead to preemies. I was induced with T, so this is my first time waiting, waiting, waiting for the labor to start. Yesterday afternoon my contractions started to get more regular. At about 6 we began to time them. I called the doctor at 9 when they were 10 minutes apart and about 30 seconds long. Doc F and I decided that I’d head to the hospital when I felt like it. Maybe I’d be able to get some sleep overnight at my place, if they started being more frequent I’d go on in.
At about 5am I was up for good. At 5:30 I asked Z to shower and mom drove us in at about 6:30. T was up so we were able to give him huge goodbye hugs and kisses. They hooked me up to a fetal monitor at the hospital and New Guy was clearly doing very well. I could also see my contractions, which made me feel better. One the more charming side effects of my anxiety disorder is I’m convinced people think I’m a liar. So on my due date I actually was concerned the doctors/nurses/Z/my family would think I was making my labor pain up. Pretty crazy. And sort of sad that I pointed out the contractions on the monitor to Z. Along with a, “See! See! I really am in labor!” Um, he hadn’t doubted me for a second. Because a) I actually don’t lie much and b) I’m 85 years pregnant. Yes, so far to go in the getting well department.
Eventually a doc came to see what was going on with my cervix and it was 3cm dilated. At that point the contractions were between 5 and 7 minutes apart and about 40-60 seconds long. Things were progressing. The doc went to call Doc F and ask what she wanted to do.
I really didn’t want to go home. Leaving the hospital as a heavily pregnant woman is akin to taking a walk of shame to me. The idea that I don’t know my body well enough to make a good decision about when to go for delivery just feels humiliating. And if I’m all settled in I don’t want to go home and have to do another stressful ride to the hospital later. I wanted a one trip situation.
So, I don’t want to get anyone in trouble here. Not that I think my doc or Doc F or anyone at the hospital is aware that I blog. Or that they would check out said blog if they found out about it. But just in case, let’s just call the rest of this post hypothetical.
Let’s say that two nurses slipped into the room and closed the door behind them. And let’s say that they told me they were worried I wasn’t going to be getting all the info I needed. They said the resident would be coming back to tell me Doc F wanted to break my water. But if my water was broken and I didn’t progress I’d have to have pitocin, I’d be induced with no reason. And I was still carrying really high, so if my water was broken there’d be a risk for a prolapsed umbilical cord which would mean an immediate c-section. They said it was my decision and it was my right to go home and do the early stages of labor there where I could eat (if I stayed no more food and I was starving) and try to be comfortable. But if I stayed I’d be strapped to an uncomfortable hospital bed because of the fetal monitor and the antibiotic IV (no matter when I go into active labor I’ll get that IV because I’m Strep Positive) and the birth would run the risk of becoming unnecessarily medicalized. I asked what they would do if they were me, and they told me they’d go home until the contractions were so intense that I couldn’t read (what I was doing when they came in) or hold a conversation. Or when the contractions were 5 minutes apart and a minute long. Or if my water broke. Or if I started bleeding.
I looked at Z and said, “Can I be honest with you? Doc F was my doctor and she delivered my son and it was sort of a disaster.” They told me they knew and that was why they were there to talk to me. Oh good lord, I was THAT patient. The one with the reputation and history. I told them I was so embarrassed that the folks at the hospital knew, but they said not to worry and pointed out that I might not go into active labor until tomorrow and if that was the case Doc A would deliver me. They said they knew him and that he always had the patient’s best interests at heart and that he wouldn’t break my water in this situation. And suddenly it didn’t seem so shameful to go back home. In fact, it seemed like a really healthy choice. Yup, I want an epidural, but I don’t want this whole business medicalized before that if it doesn’t have to be. I don’t want to get myself in a situation where I need to be induced or I suddenly need a c-section. And I don’t want to be tied to a hospital bed before I need to be.
I told the ladies that I knew they didn’t need to come talk to me, I knew they were sticking out there necks for no reason and I appreciated it so much. I brought up the nurse who knew something was wrong the first time around. She still works at the hospital, but wasn’t on duty. Even though I was supposed to be out of delivery two hours after T was born she kept me there for five, fending off the docs who wanted the room while trying so hard to get me help. It wasn’t her fault that no one would listen. And I knew I wasn’t supposed to say anything to the resident about the little visit from the nurses. They could get in real trouble. The hospital I go to is a bit on the shabby side. After delivery there aren’t single rooms like the hospital across town. There isn’t a natural birthing center. But I don’t give a shit. The nurses are incredible. I couldn’t feel luckier to have them, or more grateful for their care.
The resident clearly wasn’t crazy about the idea of me going home. She talked a lot about the risks of me not making it back in time. But even though I think of all doctors as authority figures and it was really hard for me I told her I was sure about my decision. So here I am in my own bed after gorging myself on food from my own kitchen and getting to play with my sweet son for a bit. The contractions aren’t speeding up, they aren’t slowing down. I’m going to take a nap. And then maybe a bath. And if I’m still home tonight we’re getting take out pizza, which means mozzarella sticks for me! Much better than being chained to a hospital bed. And if I need to go in tonight and be delivered by Doc F, well I’m doing it on my own fucking terms, thank you very much.