The drive was uneventful. I spent most of it awkwardly lying in the back seat of Colton’s truck, and as the nurses had told me to keep my hips propped up and we had forgotten our pillows back in San Antonio, I was using various bags and jackets to support me. Colton drove the whole way with his flashers on, both of us making various phone calls while charging our dying phones (yep, left the Iphone charger in San Antonio too, thankfully we had a car one), and I kept reminding Colton to remain calm. By the time we reached Stephenville (about three and a half hours later, the nurses had reminded Colton no less than 5 times to drive the speed limit, not over) I thought I was having contractions seven minutes apart, or my back was hurting from the awkward position.
We checked into admitting, which told us to wait (no frantic look towards the woman whose water has broken), so Colton ran out to park the car and I called Fredericksburg to let them know we had arrived safely. They immediately recognized who I was and I heard cheering from the ladies in the background, they told us that they were praying for us, and I promised that we’d have the next baby there—did I mention we felt bad about leaving?
Colt returned and we started the check-in process. Colton asked if he had time to go to the restroom and bounded off, the admittance lady inquired if this was my first pregnancy, I was used to this question so I quickly responded with “Yes, first pregnancy, no miscarriages”. Her response? “Oh, I was just asking because he looked nervous”.
Then we made the hike to the maternity ward and I once again donned the awkward gown and was hooked up to the monitors. It was after 3 PM at this point, at least six hours since my water broke. Now doctors, I learned, don’t like you to go too long after your membranes rupture without the pregnancy progressing. I was still only 4cm, I had been 3cm dilated before we left for the wedding (could have totally made it).
The fact that my labor wasn’t moving along by itself meant that I would be receiving some help. The reason for this is because once the water breaks the baby is no longer protected from the outside world and the risk of infection for both of us increases with every passing hour. This meant Pitocin would be added to my IV. Pitocin is a synthetic form oxytocin, which is responsible for the contractions and bonding, but because it’s synthetic, it’s not as easy on the body as the real thing.
I had intended to do as much of the labor as possible naturally. I wasn’t against drugs, I used to be all for them right off the bat. However, because I had stayed so active during my pregnancy, I was so small, and I take after my mom who handled all five of her labors really well, I thought I’d give a natural birth a go.
They started the Pitocin around five or so but the contractions didn’t really start to kick in (become noticeable) until after seven. The night shift of nurses had taken over for the day, and we had two sweet girls to take care of us. Did I mention that we were the only ones in the maternity ward? Yep, so we did get a bit pampered with the amount of attention we received. But I digress, by seven the contractions began to demand my attention more, nothing bad, but slowly I did have to do that breathing thing you always see in the movies and you go to birthing classes for.
We did not make it to our birthing class; it was scheduled to start the day after I went into labor. Oh well.
Progressively I felt more discomfort, the nurses would try to ask me questions and I would hold up my hand so they would know I wasn’t terribly interested in their question at that moment until the contraction subsided and then we could proceed with the discussion. More annoying thing to have during a contraction? Your blood pressure cuff deciding that it needs to see how my blood pressure is doing. Somehow I see it recording this during a contraction, might alter the results a bit (not to mention I apparently have tiny arms and therefore the cuff was too big for me and yes, I did take it off and chunk to the side of my bed at one point because it kept falling off).
Now I had had lofty ambitions for my delivery room experience. Like I mentioned earlier, all signs seemed to show that I would have an easy labor. I was tall (which apparently meant it would be easier), I was in shape, my pregnancy was easy, my mentality was super chill in regards to the pregnancy (my birth plan was Hakuna Matata). I had envisioned myself bringing a yoga mat with me to the hospital and doing some asanas during contractions so I would focus on my breathing and pose rather than the pain. Did this happen? Not remotely.
For one, they put an IV in you almost the second you arrive. Now, I have nothing against needles, I happen to always watch when they put an IV in my arm, and ever since I went to the ER with food poisoning when I was 17, I consider IVs something that just makes the world better. So I’m not being biased when I say that this IV was annoying. Perhaps it was because of how long I had it in my arm (it wasn’t completely removed until Monday morning—I arrived on Saturday afternoon remember). But mainly it was because of how limited I felt with that arm, I couldn’t bend my wrists, so no yoga would have occurred, even if I had brought a mat.
Anyways, continued with the breathing thing, trying various styles, hoped my yoga experience would kick-in and help (it didn’t), tried various positions in hopes to get more comfortable. Colton at one point told me to “breathe longer”, to which I replied,
“Stick an alien in your torso, which decreases your lung capacity, and then tell me to breathe longer“
I’m happy to say that this was the meanest thing I said throughout the process. And yes, we promptly started laughing after I rebuked him with this, like I said, the contractions weren’t that bad, yet.