Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mama B: Cervix of Steel

My birth story?  Where to begin...
 
I spent my entire life looking forward to pregnancy and motherhood.  I had wanted a daughter as far back as I could remember, and am pretty certain I announced my desire to "grow up to be a mother" in my eighth grade yearbook.  I'm sure my parents were just briimming with pride.  Unfortunately, I quickly realized that I was not one of those women who enjoyed being pregnant.  I wasn't glowing, I didn't have renewed energy in my second trimester, and - let's be honest - swelling flatters no woman.  I just hated it.  So when my doctor offered me the chance to induce at 39 weeks, I jumped at it.  I was working against an end-of-the-year tax and deductible deadline as it was, so that ensured I wouldn't owe yet another $1500 in insurance deductibles if the clock chimed midnight on the 31st.
 
I was set to head into the hospital on Dec. 27th at 4PM to start my induction.  My doctor, an extremely handsome and charming man in his mid-thirties *swoon*, had made it sound like a cakewalk, telling me that they'd be applying cervidil, a ripening agent, to my cervix and letting it sit over night.  As such, we naively filled a hospital bag full of things like Gossip Girl Season 1 on DVD, sudoku books, trashy tabloid magazines.  Oh, and some requisite baby and mommy necessities as an afterthought.  If only I could go back and slap some sense into my pre-baby self...
 
Anyhow, we started the induction process at 6PM with me at 1cm and 75% effaced, after which I ordered my last meal - a gourmet omelet, a brownie and some bacon - and sent D off to the nearby Barnes & Nobles for US Weekly and a few other "necessities".  About twenty minutes after he left, the contractions hit me like a truck.  I quickly called him and told him to get his tush back to the hospital ASAP.  Twenty minutes later when he arrived, I was in tears and climbing the walls.  The nurse came in to my room, noting that I was having "very intense and frequent contractions" to check me, hoping that I was one of the lucky ones making quick progess without pitocin.  No such luck - I was still at a measly 1cm. 
 
Flash forward three hours, all of which have spent writhing in pain, and I'm STILL at 1cm.  It was my hospital's policy to not give epidurals until 3-4cm, so I was going it all natural, but with contractions occuring every 1.5-2 minutes and lasting 60-90 seconds.  Apparently, despite getting only 30 second breaks on average from extremely painful contractions, I had the cervix of steel.  The nurses decided to give me a shot of stadol to try and take some of the pain away, but rather than numb me (or at least make me incoherent enough to not realize how much pain I was in), it only made me violently ill.  You know what's worse than nonstop contractions?  Throwing up every couple minutes during nonstop contractions.
 
At this point I was starting to get extremely discouraged.  Not knowing why I was reacting the way I was to the cervidil, the nursing staff called in my doctor, who quickly diagnosed me as having an extremely hyperstimulated uterus.  My little girl had been a trooper up until about 6AM - 12 hours into my labor, still no drugs and at 1cm STILL - but as her heartrate became erratic, I threw out all reservations and agreed (actually begged is more fitting) for a c-section, and my doctor, having been trying to get me to agree for hours, happily obliged. 
 
Though my section was scheduled for 7AM, fortunately (for her, unfortunately for me) A's heartrate stabilized as they shot me up with fentanyl to dull my pain until they took me back to the OR, and my c-section was bumped back to allow for an emergency c-section.  FIVE HOURS LATER, I found myself in the operating room, prepping for my spinal block.  While I was nervous about the spinal block, it ended up being the easiest part of my labor - far easier than my botched IV - and the relief from 18 hours of excruciating pain was a welcome blessing.  I was extremely nervous about my section, as I had heard you can sometimes feel tugging and/or pressure, but I felt nothing except freezing cold and shaky. It was quick and painless -  A was born 15 minutes later, on December 28th, weighing in at 7lbs, 12oz and 19 inches long.

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