We had an 8 am ultra sound one week ago today, Wednesday, 11/11. I kept thinking how cool it would be if we went in to find out labor was on its way. I admit I was hopeful for progress but not expecting full blown labor. I had some contractions 11 minutes a part for almost two hours very early that morning. The ultra sound showed our baby girl, squishy chubby cheeks and all. The tech guessed she was 8 pounds 10 ounces but also said there was a lot of fluid so that guess could be off. It may have been about this time when "Don't Stop Believing" came on the radio in the room and my Journey-loving husband got a big grin on his face and said he knew it was a sign we were going to have her that day.
We headed to meet with the doctor and it was explained we needed to talk about induction. "When?" I naively asked. "Today," she responded. My eyes must have gotten huge. I wasn't planning on a baby by induction that day. (Or at all.) But given the abundant fluid and her large size, it was more than recommended for her safety and mine. During this visit I also learned I had not progressed any from the .5 cm and 20% I had been for three solid weeks.
We went home to gather our bags and we stopped at Subway for what I knew would be my "last supper" for a long time. They had prepared us for a long process. I read. I had studied. I knew. I hated the process and what it could mean but I also didn't want my own body to give out on my baby.
We got checked in at exactly 11:11 am and they were waiting for us. I was immediately taken to a labor and delivery room and checked. I had remarkably made progress! 1.5 cm and 50% effaced!! I would take it because that was progress in just a few hours and it was an answer to prayer. By 1 pm I was given a pill to help dilation and effacement. Of course there were talks of pitocin and the unfolding expected induction process. But for now we would wait to see what happened on its own and I kept praying.
Contractions were coming steady and consistently. 7-10 minutes at first then a few hours later we were at 4-6 minutes. I was dilated 2 to 3 cm and at 6:30 pm I felt it. "Call the nurse! My water just broke!" There I was in my hospital bed and my water had broken on its own! This was a huge accomplishment. My body was doing what it was supposed to do without induction.
Never mind they had said I had an "unfavorable cervix." Never mind I was only making slow progress. I was making progress. They had prepared me for a "flood" and that was an understatement. I would learn from several nurses my fluid level was at 42 and should have only been 15-20. No one really explained until later the dangers of this. When I wanted to get up and walk around, I was bed ridden because of the risks of a prolapsed cord or the baby turning.
Contractions turned fierce and quick after my water broke. 2-3 minutes then 1.5-2.5 minutes a part. I found ways to breathe, ways to power through the pain. Michael could read the monitor and anticipate them as I was feeling the spikes and often the plateaus of them not stopping. The pain in me was proving to put pressure on the baby. Nurses were coming in frequently to flip me into different positions due to my "baby misbehaving." Her heart rate was dropping with intense contractions. They didn't tell me all of it at the time. By 9 pm they checked me again and I felt certain we would be close. 3 cm and 70%. I admit disappointment that I wasn't further along, especially given the extreme contractions.
Within the hour, several nurses prepared me for the long haul, helping me realize we would probably be laboring through the night and into tomorrow. No one ever forced me, but it was asked if I wanted to consider the epidural. I had read and studied that process too and I knew I couldn't continue on in this intensity for another 12-18 hours. By 10:30 pm I was being prepped for an epidural. (No judgment or opinions please. This was my decision after 9+ hours on my own.)
I asked them to turn the epidural down and not have it on full strength so I could still move my legs somewhat and feel the pressure of my contractions. I had the most amazing nurse, Melissa, who stayed with me almost the entire night. I asked Michael to sleep knowing I would need him by my side the next day during intense labor. Melissa was a God-send. She prayed with me, we shared stories of our salvation. She kept my mind busy when I was filled with worry and fear. You see, my baby was still "misbehaving" and under stress. And so was I.
It began at 8 am and I had no idea what kind of night or next day we would be in for. At one point I remember one of the nurses saying God must be trying to teach me I am not in control. My endearing husband laughed and agreed this was an on going lesson for me. I couldn't argue. It seems to be my anthem. Why would this be any different? There I was, laid in a bed, unable to move, unable to control what my body would or wouldn't do, unable to do anything for my unborn baby, waiting and unknowingly anticipating the details of her arrival. This was day 1.