Rah commented on my Brownies = Labor post, saying "Okay now please tell us the rest of the story, about when Paul finally came home and when you eventually went to the hospital, and how it turned from water breaking into a C-section."
Let's see. I called the OB's office as soon as it opened, and no one got back to me for AN HOUR AND A HALF. I was a little cranky about this, but because I STILL wasn't having much in the way of contractions, and because at the time we lived about a 5-minute drive from the hospital and there was a bus that went practically from our front door right to the hospital every 20 minutes, I was more THEORETICALLY annoyed than actually annoyed---and plus, I was eager to know what the next step would be. It turned out to be "going to Labor & Delivery to see if your water really broke or if you've just been steadily peeing your pants for the last four and a half hours."
But---Paul had the car. And he wasn't back yet. (Time check: it was 10:30 a.m., about 4 hours after he'd left for the office, with a 1.5-hour commute.) I called him at work and he said he'd leave in another hour and a half. Three hours later we were at L&D---and indeed, my water really had broken. I was still barely feeling the contractions, which were about every two and a half minutes according to the L&D machine. But no dilation and no effacement, so they sent me home and said to come back either when the contractions got more serious or at 6:00 p.m. (12 hours after my water broke), whichever was earlier.
As we were leaving, we heard someone calling us and it was one of the other couples from our childbirth class: she'd had her baby the day before. (Of the six couples in our class, FIVE had their babies before the last class.) I was VERY ENVIOUS, because she was already DONE.
At 3:30 p.m., my contractions finally started hurting. (This is now 9.5 hours after my water broke.) I kept a journal, so I have here my description of what they were like at this point: "I can't 'relax into them.' They HURT. They give me a feeling of needing to get away. They feel as if you're sitting on your leg in a way that's going to tear it out of the socket if you don't move right away---but there isn't any way to move." So. Several hours of that, and then it was 6:00 p.m. and we went to the hospital and checked in. I was 2cm dilated and 80% effaced.
Next, seven hours of the new experience of laboring in a hospital, not really knowing what to do or what to expect. I tried the tub; I tried fentanyl (it didn't do anything for the pain but it stopped me caring about it), I tried walking, I tried changing positions, I tried breathing, I tried focal objects, I tried the labor ball, I tried the rocking chair. I felt like I was sampling at the cafeteria of labor options and that nothing was really working any better than anything else---but the fact of having things to try was distracting and helpful.
At 1:00 in the morning (this is now 19 hours after my water broke), I was at 4cm and I got an epidural. My blood pressure went very low (I wrote down "70s over 40s") and I threw up and then got a shot of something (ephedrine?) that helped bring my blood pressure back up, and then I had my own nurse sitting in the room with me and I had a blood pressure monitor checking me every few minutes automatically. I felt great: no more pain, and I even drowsed.
This is where I am not quite sure what happened, but the GIST is that my cervix was swelling as it dilated, which was giving us crazy dilation measurements: for example, I got to 6cm, but then "went back" (not really, but the swelling made it like that) to 5cm. At 9cm, it had been just over 24 hours since my water had broken, so the OB said the next step was either pushing or c-section. She came back two hours later and I was at 6cm, so they prepped me for a c-section and the baby was born 28 hours after my water broke.
They had the baby station right near my head so I could look at him right after he was born. I remember he was such a surprise to me: I'd expected him to look FAMILIAR or something, like MY BABY, but he didn't look familiar AT ALL. I was glad I saw him right after, or I might have worried he wasn't mine!
You know what the most stressful part of the c-section was for me? When they were wheeling me to the operating room and I was watching the fluorescent lights go by over my head. HOW MANY movies and TV shows have shown that exact from-the-bed angle, with nurses leaning in and the lights flicking by overhead and the bed passing other medical people in the hallway? So it made me feel like I was in a dramatic movie/show, and that made me stressy and upset. But once the table was in the OR everything was okay.
I remember being in Recovery and I wasn't even eager to see the baby yet, I was so busy feeling TREMENDOUSLY HAPPY AND RELIEVED that I wasn't pregnant anymore and that the labor part was DONE. And I felt content to enjoy the anticipation of seeing the baby, and also I was busy eating delicious, delicious ice chips as often as the nurse would let me have them. I also felt very excited because we were going to call our parents and they were going to be SO SURPRISED that the baby was HERE: we hadn't told them our plan to NOT call during labor, and this was still two full weeks before my due date.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...