By Reagan Faust of Pie Ins-PIE-ered
I was 7 days overdue. It was Sunday. I was scheduled to be induced on Monday. On Saturday I was convinced that my water had broken and we went to the hospital convinced we were well on our way to having a baby. A nurse kindly told me I was mistaken and informed me I was not the least bit dilated or effaced and my cervix was rock hard. We left the hospital feeling as if I was going to be pregnant forever. This baby was much too comfortable in my womb and I had a deep desire to serve said baby an eviction notice!
So anyway, it was Sunday. We went to church. My heart felt funny—it hurt—a lot. Was I having a heart attack? How in the world was I going to get through labor if my heart hurt so much I wanted to cry and I could barely breathe? In retrospect, it was probably heartburn, but I had never had heartburn before, so I didn’t know that at the time. We went back to the hospital to face the very same nurse as we saw the previous day. Do these nurses work 24 hours a day or what? She was not much concerned with my heartache. She checked me again. Again, no dilation, no effacement and my cervix was no softer. I was so disappointed! I told her I might see her again the next morning since I was due to be induced at 8 a.m. the following day. She smiled knowingly and asked me if I would like a little help along to get my cervix “softened up.” I blindly trusted and was more than eager to help my little bundle on his or her way out of the birth canal. “OK!” I said.
She inserted what she called “blue gel” into my vagina saying this would soften my cervix and make my induction the next day easier. It sounded good to me! She said it would stimulate contractions, but they wouldn’t be the real ones. The fake contractions would last for a couple of hours and then go away, leaving me with a softer cervix so the induction would be easier the next morning.
She gave me the gel and told us to walk around the hospital for an hour. For fake contractions, they were doosies! Toward the end of the 60 minutes, I had to stop walking and talking to my husband and wait them out. The nurse said this was normal and it would pass. She told us to go on home, so we did.
I continued to have contractions for the next 3 hours. We called the hospital asking when these things were supposed to stop. “Take a hot shower,” they said. “Just relax and try to sleep.” Eventually, the contractions seemed to be a pretty consistently 4-7 minutes apart, although they were never a consistent interval apart. Sometimes they were 4 minutes apart, sometimes 5, sometimes 3. An hour-and-a-half later, we called the hospital again. “Could this be the real thing?” we asked. “Oh no,” they said. “They will go away. They are not consistent in interval. Just try to relax.” Easier said than done! I was having contractions I could not talk through!
Finally, my water broke. Thank God, now we knew for sure this was real labor! My husband called the hospital and told them we were on our way. By this time, my contractions were about 3 minutes or less apart (they never were a consistent interval) and hard. It took us 20 minutes of starting to walk, stopping for a contraction, waiting for it to end, and starting to walk again to get out the door of our house and into the car. About half way to the hospital, I felt the baby bearing down. I was convinced we were going to have the baby in the car. My husband ran several red lights and we made it to the hospital.
At the hospital, I was barely coherent. The contractions were so painful and fast, one right on top of the next one. I remember the nurse checking me and saying I was 4 centimeters dilated. I said, “That’s it?!?” You have to be kidding me! I am not even half way there? I barely remember at least 3 different people trying to put get an IV in my arm and having no luck. Finally they got one in my hand, but they told me I would have to wait an hour to get an epidural once they got the IV going. The nurse asked if I would like some nubane, but I was afraid to try it because I heard it made you dizzy and nauseous. I could not deal with dizziness and puke. I remember having a mask on my face and trying to take it off because “I couldn’t breathe.” I remember Jim pulling my face to his and calmly explaining that I had to wear the mask for the baby. He said that the baby needed more oxygen. Then my doctor arrived. Sigh of relief. My doctor is going to be able to deliver our baby. Not the nurse, not my husband in the car–my real life doctor, who does this all the time! Everything was going to be OK.
I relaxed a bit until my doctor checked me and cheerfully announced that I was 10 centimeters dilated and ready to push! I had been at the hospital less than 45 minutes, but I didn’t need to be told twice. I pushed. I wanted to yell when I pushed, but the nurse told me not to waste my breath yelling. She told me to push for a count of 10 and take a breath and then do it again. I did this twice and then the baby’s head was out. My doctor told me to stop pushing. IT WAS THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE! I wanted to push so bad and finish the job! But the baby had had a bowl movement in utero and the doctor needed to clean her mouth before she took a breath to ensure she didn’t get any meconium in her lungs. One more push and the baby was out!
The nurse whisked the baby away before I even got to see her. At this point I realized my tiny hospital room was quite crowded. I think there were 4 nurses huddled around the baby (the NICU nurses were called in because of the meconium), my labor and delivery nurse, my doctor and my husband. I stared longingly at the crowd around my baby and implored, “Is it a boy or a girl?” The nurses were so busy. I turned toward my doctor. “Was it a boy or a girl?” She looked at me a little startled and said she had been so busy she didn’t know! Then I heard our baby cry. One of the nurses huddled around our baby was holding her all wrapped up in a blanket and smiling. “She’s a girl,” and she handed her to me.
“It’s a girl!” I sobbed to my husband. “It’s our Riley Nicole!”
As I held my sweet daughter, my placenta came out. My doctor commented how large it was. My husband almost threw up. Then my doctor proceeded to repair the second-degree tear I had created as my baby girl was delivered. I didn’t care one bit, as I was holding my sweet baby and admiring her perfectness. That tear was quite painful to recover from, however. It was a good two weeks before I could walk normally again. All worth it, of course, but no fun at all!
In the end, if you count the contractions the blue gel gave me (and I do!), I labored from about 4 p.m. until Riley was born at 11:24 p.m. I got to the hospital at right around 10:30 p.m. I found out later that my doctor was absolutely furious with that nurse for giving me that gel stuff without her knowledge. I can’t blame her there!