Before heading onto part 2, catch up on part 1 of Hunter’s birth story.
At 1am we arrived at the family birth center. I got hooked up to two monitors – one for my contractions, one for Hunter’s heart rate.
A nurse checked and indeed my water had broken — we were there to stay. When my midwife arrived she checked to see how much I’d progressed — 3 cm, almost 100% effaced and he was at zero station, meaning very low, locked and ready to go!
After 30 minutes on the monitors I was free to move as I pleased. I walked around the room a lot, spent some time in the tub and did some hands and knees rocking. I was feeling pretty drained from the lack of sleep that I began to drift off into sleep in between contractions.
Typically things start to progress along in labor — longer and stronger contractions that get closer and closer together. Well the opposite began happening for me. They kept getting further apart, leaving me with 5-6 minutes of breaks in between each (where before they were 1-2 minutes apart). I was even able to get an hour long nap in, and apparently I had a 24 minute break from contractions at that time.
Although the relief was nice, I knew it wasn’t a good sign.
By noon on Monday my midwife decided to check me again, only because my labor didn’t seem to be going the right way. At that time I was 5-6 cm dilated. I had made progress, just slowly. We decided to give it a couple more hours to see if things picked up before talking about other options.
The nurse did some acupressure on my feet/ankles and we tried hot wash cloth nipple stimulation. Both things that can help pick up contractions. I moved around the room, did lunges, got on my hands and knees. I wanted my body to do this on its own without help.
4pm rolled around and I was check again — only 6cm dilated. Barely a change. Since my water had broken at 8pm the night before the 24 hour time clock was counting down.
I knew what my options were going to be, and I knew I didn’t really have a choice with them, but when my midwife suggested a little pitocin I broke down and cried. It’s not what we wanted or planned for. The lack of sleep was making me pretty emotional, and at the time I felt like a failure. Why couldn’t my body do this? Did I do something wrong? This is not what we had planned.
We said okay to the pitocin. Our midwife knew what we wanted, but sometimes things change with unexpected situations. I started off with the smallest dose of pitocin, which we hoped would kick start my body back to where it needed to be. For the next hour I got 2 tiny increments.
Things were starting to pick up. By 6pm the contractions were much much stronger. I could no longer walk them off. I’d instantly have to get on my knees, arms on tub and Jacob putting hot compression on my back. It was the only way I could deal with them. There wasn’t talking, just walking then onto my knees during the pain.
I wanted to be checked again, hoping I’d be at the point of pushing. Pushing meant the contractions would soon end and Hunter would be here.
Only at a 9. Keep moving as much as I can. Keep things moving and getting to that 10.
Just about every 20-30 minutes I asked to be checked again and I was stuck at 9-9.5 cm. It seemed like I was stuck there forever.
Contractions were back to back and I could barely deal with them. I kept saying that I wanted to push, but they knew I wasn’t ready. I wishfully wanted to push. That would mean it was over.
Stuck at that 9.5 I began to feel defeated. I kept telling them I couldn’t doing it any more. Jacob and my midwife would encourage me and get me through that contraction, one at a time. My breathing would start to get our of hand, then Jacob would just start doing the slow deep breathing and I’d begin to mimic him.
In my head each time I said I couldn’t do it anymore, to me that meant I needed drugs. That’s the thing about transition, you begin to say things you don’t really mean…