Thursday, June 7, 2012
Simon's Birth Story - Part 1
I had been having contractions off and on for awhile but nothing that resembled even early labor contractions, they were mostly just uncomfortable and annoying. Friday, though, I started having ones that were a bit more painful (of course describing them as "painful" is now laughable given how severe they did get--it's like comparing a paper cut to a severed arm) and they were coming about ten minutes apart all day long. They never got worse or closer together so, again, they were mostly just annoying me because they wouldn't stop. Also I was afraid they were going to get terrible in the middle of the night and then I'd be in labor all night and not have the energy to push when the time came. But I got up Saturday morning without having been woken up by labor and began my day. Around 10, though, they got a bit worse. We started timing them and they were about 7 minutes apart. This was how I spent the majority of Saturday--every 6 to 7 minutes I'd have a contraction, and one that was more painful than the earlier ones (we're up from paper cut to accidentally sliced your hand with a kitchen knife, but not enough to need stitches).
This went on all day until that evening. By then I was fairly certain that I was actually in early labor, but had no idea how long it would go on and was, again, afraid that if it went on for too long I wouldn't have the energy to push. And by this time the contractions were severe enough that I couldn't sleep through them. So my mom arrived from Oklahoma City to stay with Elijah and we called my doctor to see if she thought breaking my water might speed things along. The conversation pretty much ended up with her saying "I have no idea but come up to the hospital and I'll check you to see if you're dilated anymore." So that's what I did.
Once they got me all checked in, the nurse checked my dilation and she said I was at 3-4 cm and 80% effaced. Not much better than when I was in the office on Wednesday (I was 3 cm and not at all effaced then). So then my doctor came in to discuss the situation. She said she didn't think I was in active labor yet and it was possible that breaking my water would put me in active labor, but it was also possible that it would not and breaking your water puts a time constraint on how long before the baby must be born. It is a 24-hour time constraint, but if my labor didn't progress fast enough and the time passed, we would be forced into another c-section. On the other hand, I was still concerned that if we didn't try to get my labor to speed up that I would run out of energy before time to push and therefore be unable to push effectively and wind up with another c-section that way.
So we decided to give it an hour and see if I could progress a little before they broke my water. Mike and I walked around the halls, stopping every so often when I would have a contraction. Mike was discussing the decision to break my water or not the entire time, arguing it from every angle. I could tell he wanted to break the water and speed things up that way. I was started to get frustrated with him because I felt like, in addition to being in labor (which, if it wasn't active yet was really close because it was starting to get much more severe), I was being pressured to make a decision about something that could possibly force me into another c-section with either choice. I know he was just trying to be helpful--you know how men always want to fix problems as quickly as possible so the women in their life aren't stressed anymore and it usually just ends up stressing us out more (at least that's my experience). So by the time we got back to the room and I was sitting on the birthing ball, I was starting to cry and feel like there was no way I was going to avoid another c-section no matter what I did.
The nurse came back soon after that and I think she checked me again and said I was now at 5 cm. Also, the contractions were definitely getting worse, although maybe not closer together. But Mike pointed out that the 24-hour time frame was a long period of time to get a baby out (particularly since I was already at 5 cm) so we made the decision to have my doctor break my water. She came in shortly after that and did so.