The Never Ending Labor

*Thanks for the post title, Stacey Red!*

We went to the hospital at about 12:45. We came home again at about 4. Good fucking times. I’d been nauseous all morning, but after lunch it got severe. And I’d been rocking the chills and the sweats since last night. Didn’t sleep much either. Lots of pain. So suddenly it seemed urgent that we go. The awesome nurse and my doc said I’d be able to tell. And I thought I could.

But when I got to the hospital the contractions seemed to stall a bit again. New Guy was doing great on the fetal monitor. They measured my amniotic fluid and that also looked great. The doc who did the measurements on the ultrasound asked how far apart the contractions were. According to the monitor (and to me) they were still about 10 minutes apart. She asked when they started. I told her Saturday afternoon. She looked at me and said, “I always feel so bad when it drags on like this.” I told her it hasn’t been a picnic. I seriously had no idea one could have pretty regular contractions for days on end, especially with a second pregnancy. But there is some progress. I’m at a solid 4cm dilated now. I’m headed in the right direction. Sometimes the contractions are stronger, sometimes they are weaker. And overnight they seem to get way further apart. The weird thing is I have a bit of a fever. But nothing else except for the nausea is going on, so they don’t think it’s anything serious. I got a fancy anti-nausea prescription and I just took the first pill, so hopefully that won’t be a problem for much longer.

The really nice news is as soon as we walked in we saw our nurse from Sunday. And she was our nurse for the main part of the the visit. As soon as we were alone in the room with her we told her that my Doc thought we made the right choice on Sunday and as much as we were ready for this to be over we totally agreed. It was so nice to have a friendly face there. Another nurse handled our discharge papers (my wonderful doctor told them to send me home-no crazy talk about breaking my water) and we told her how much we loved her colleague. She got a postcard thing for us, like a compliment card and said we could fill it out for the nurse. It’s already in the mail.

I wonder how many times we will visit our lovely labor and delivery department before New Guy makes his grand entrance. Anyone want to place bets? Anyone as bored of this as I am? Anyone as grumpy and uncomfortable?  

Z hasn’t been able to spend a lot of time with T over the last few days. So as soon as we got home they went for a walk. T took his baby. 

A couple of days ago my folks to T to the playground. He had a blast.

Quicky Update

New Guy stayed in until Monday and my doc is back at work. And for once I feel certain about my decision making, coming home yesterday was the right thing. New Guy clearly isn’t ready quite yet, but if we’d stayed in the hospital he would be born by now. And there is a good chance his birth would have needed to be forced because clearly my body wasn’t ready to go into active labor on its own. 

Yesterday afternoon into evening my contractions got pretty hot and heavy for a while, but by about 9pm they slowed way down. I was able to sleep better than I have in a long time, waking about 6 or 7 times from contractions. This morning I felt delightfully rested. And the contractions started coming again, but they weren’t as hard or regular as they had been on Sunday. It was such a relief to see my doc at the appointment. They had me on the fetal monitor and New Guy looks great. He did a quick exam and said I’m about 3 1/2-4cm dilated and 80% effaced, which is terrific news. I’m progressing from 3cm yesterday. 
Z and I were mum about the nurses who may or may not have had a little talk with us at the hospital. We told him we decided that we didn’t want my water broken and he said it was the right choice. He said when I went into active labor it was going to go really fast, so I’d have to hightail it to the hospital. But our place is less than a 10 minute drive away, so I’m not really worried about getting there. I told him the hospital said I didn’t need to call in advance because I’d already been there, but he told me they were nuts. He said if I didn’t call him when I was on my way he might miss the birth, he really doesn’t think my body is going to fool around. 
And he told me to go home and rest. He said there wasn’t anything I could do to make it go faster, and all the things I would do (take long walks, etc.) were a waste of my energy that I needed to store up because labor is hard work. We have an appointment on Thursday, but he said he doubts he’ll see me then. He thinks it’s going to be tonight or tomorrow. We’ll see if he’s right. I asked if it was normal for the contractions to start more than 2 days early for the second kid. He sort of shrugged and said, “It can happen.” I love his laid back attitude about this whole baby birthing endeavor. 
Z was able to go in and teach his first class of the semester. I took a nap this afternoon. I’m feeling pretty crummy right now, just in pain and tired and super grumpy. But I am still happy. It’s nice to have no regrets with the decisions we’ve made concerning this birth. Now all I have to do is actually have the damn kid! 
T is deeply in love with his grandparents. It has been so great to have them here this week. 

Big smooch from Grandma. 

One of my favorite parts of how they interact with him is how silly they are. T gets up every morning and jumps on his Grandpa to wake him. Right after this was taken Grandma jumped right on T, so they made a crazy T sandwich. 

Our dear friend was in town all weekend. Watching me labor for 2 days didn’t make for the most fun trip, but we always feel better about life when he visits. And T loves it when his Uncle Kevin reads to him.

Labor But No Delivery

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.

With T I packed a diaper bag to the gills to take to the hospital. With New Guy it’s part of a Babies R Us bag roughly the size of my small cat. 

Thought I’d document the grumpy lady in the mirror who I noticed after realizing I was in labor yesterday afternoon. 

The only fresh veggie Mr. Picky-pants will eat. 

Chowing like he means it.  

It is way better to be near this kid than it is to be in the hospital.