Sunday, October 11, 2015

Matthew's Birth - Part 2

If you haven't read the first part, click here

One last belly shot
By 2 hours after the first dose I was contracting (painlessly, but I could feel it) every 2-3 minutes so they said that they couldn't give me another dose yet and we would wait to see what happened before going to the next step. It continued that way for the next 2 hours (during this time the contractions became a little painful). At the end of the 2 hours the doctors came in and said it was time to make a decision on what to do next. They gave me the option of something called a cook catheter which would essentially be two balloons that were inflated on either side of my cervix to put pressure on it similar to the baby's head or something else that I can no longer recall the name of that would be something like a tampon with a medication on it to introduce an artificial hormone similar to what my body would normally produce to start labor. I decided to go with the cook catheter.

Since it was 3:30am and Jon was sleeping well, I decided to let him keep sleeping while they placed the catheter (he is a hard sleeper and had no idea what was going on). I was informed that they normally give pain killers for this procedure but since I wanted a non medicated labor and delivery they asked if I wanted to have it now, wait and see, or not take it at all. I opted for the wait and see method. It was very uncomfortable (it felt like menstrual cramps a lot of the time) but not too bad so I ended up not receiving the pain meds. They said that I handled it better than a lot of people who have the pain meds and were amazed that I was able to go to the full inflation of 80mls internally and externally (inside the uterus and in the vagina) right away instead of starting with less and increasing as we went. The doctor told me that they would now essentially leave us alone until the 12 hour limit for having it in unless the catheter fell out (which would mean I was dilated).

After they left I got up to get a few things and go to the bathroom and the cramping got a whole lot worse. I woke Jon up to help me deal with it and he couldn't believe that I had let him sleep through that! We tried laying down but pretty quickly I was on the verge of tears and feeling like I couldn't handle the contractions. I remembered reading that when that happens we needed to change what we were doing and find something to help me deal with it. I texted my mom and the doula, Carolynn, (the photographer, Renee, was with her so she came too) and let them know that I was ready for them to come. We got up and began using a birthing ball we had found/asked for and tried rocking and swaying a couple of different ways. We were able to find something that worked for me and my mom arrived shortly. The doula and photographer were delayed a while. After a while we decided to walk the halls (it must have been around 5:00am or so) and as we did that my water broke! It wasn't a gush, just a trickle but, EEWWWW! It had some blood in it so we were pretty sure it wasn't the catheter leaking. As we walked back to the room to clean up I had some more leaking and the nurses and their station down the hall guessed what had happened by my “EEWW!” as I came around the corner :)

Getting ready to go walking
The continued leaking/gushing was grossing me out and I didn't want to keep walking as I leaked so I stood and rocked over a waterproof pad for a while then decided to try the tub so I wouldn't notice and to relieve my backache (the backache stayed with me most of the whole labor). It worked wonders on my back but also slowed the contractions. Carolynn and Renee arrived while we were in the tub so they came in and said hi and Carolynn chatted for a bit to see what had happened so far and how I was doing. After that we were left alone for a while and we had the lights turned off so I could rest my eyes. I didn't want to slow the labor too much so we didn't stay in the bath too long.

The next few hours were a bit of a blur, we did a lot of different coping methods, I got a 1 hour nap, I kept contracting and we waited for progress. Around 2:30pm I decided to try the bath and rest in there for a bit so my mom, Carolynn and Renee decided to go do other things (mom and Renee went for food and Carolynn needed to nurse her son who was being cared for by a grandparent). In the bath it relieved my backache and the contractions were spacing out but after a little bit the contractions became extremely painful and super close together. I couldn't handle it so we got out of the tub. The contractions felt like they were right after each other and were so bad I began crying during them uncontrollably. Since it was so close to the 12 hour mark for the catheter and it almost seemed like I was hitting transition we had the doctors come to check me. They started by pulling on the catheter to see if it would come out. It did, but it hurt a bit. They checked me and said I was a generous 3cm, but not quite 4cm. They told us that they would wait an hour or so to give me a break before starting pitocin. I said that I would like to take nap during that time so we planned to start pitocin around 5:15 to give me a 1/ ½ hour nap (that is usually how long I sleep when left alone for a nap). Everyone left me alone to sleep and I slept for about an hour in spite of the contractions still being a bit painful.

Fever time
When I woke up (around 5:00pm) I decided to see if the contractions would pick up more if I was more active so we started walking the halls. The nurse told us that all of the doctors were busy at another birth and they could come see us about the pitocin when they were done with that. My contractions picked up speed and stayed about 2-3 minutes apart and mildly increased in intensity over the next 3-4 hours but I also developed a fever from infection. I began to lose strength and emotional stability and began crying almost uncontrollably and the contractions became stronger. I believe the strain of the fever on my body combined with the emotional nature of the situation led to my emotional break down which made it so that I couldn't handle the pain of the contractions, which made me more emotional, etc. Most of the labor I had been genuinely upbeat and normal (we had processed our initial grief before coming to the hospital) but I could no longer handle the strain at this point. I also was becoming too weak to stand/rock/kneel etc so I decided to try laying down even though up to that point it had prevented me from coping with the contractions. I had almost immediate relief due to not having to hold myself up and I had gotten to the point where I felt super cold (from the fever) so laying down enabled me to be kept warm in blankets. Around the time I laid down they started IV antibiotics and had me take Tylenol to keep the fever down (I had reached around 103 F). For a while the contractions stayed about 2-3 minutes apart but as time passed the became weaker and farther apart until around 9:30pm they were 5 minutes apart and not very strong (I didn't have to do anything to cope). I also became less able to handle pain.

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