**Sorry this post is gargantuan in length, but I couldn’t separate this part**
Even with my reservations about my water breaking within the hospital walls, it was a relief to be able to hold off on the actual active induction for a few hours. It meant I had much more freedom of movement to labour how I was comfortable. We walked the halls for half an hour to get me up and moving…then I chose to do the more important thing for those five hours – sleep! I was pretty exhausted from the last few nights of restless sleep, and since my contractions were very manageable (albeit, getting much more intense), I turned myself off and slept as much as possible.
The next five hours went by calmly (at least from my view!)
I felt relaxed and hopeful when Taylor came in to check my progress at the end of our agreed upon time.
That’s when I got the first round of bad news of the day.
I hadn’t progressed from my measly 1cm hardly at all. She said it was pushing it to consider me nearing 1.5cm. That and my contractions were becoming very irregular. They just weren’t helping me progress.
It was time to talk pitocin.
I watched as Taylor brought out the IV bag and started prepping the add it to my drip. I remember thinking I was about to lose some of my control. Losing control scares me. I tried reminding myself that I could do this, and everything would be alright. Taylor reassured me that we’d take it slow, and would remain hopeful that I didn’t need much of a kick start.
As she walked out of the room, I picked up my phone. It was time to call in my Mum. I had no idea what to expect with the pitocin, but I knew that I needed her there with us just in case it got bad, fast.
I may be crazy, but I swear, I felt that first drip of pitocin hit my blood stream. To say this stuff is the Devil is a blatent understatement. It takes the most manageable contractions, and turns them into the Tazmanian Devil. Still, I kept my control up.
The next few hours were manageable. I laboured in bed, listening to my Hypnobabies tracks for a bit. I spent a lot of time trying to get comfortable in bed though, before I realized we needed to change something. So instead, I got on the birthing ball next to the bed, and immediately felt so much better. Even with the pressure waves (at about this point, I started realizing why we call them pressure waves – not contractions, in Hypnobabies. They literally felt like pressuring waves) intensifying, I could control them pretty well. I found moving on the ball during the waves felt a lot better, and trying to remain calm and still between kept my strength up.
At some point The Hubs started to put counter-pressure on my lower back during the waves. It helped with the back labour I was experiencing due to a posterior baby, but man, was he being gentle. I told him to push so hard that he thought he was hurting me – but that it wouldn’t hurt me. It felt SO much better.
With each wave I imagined my cervix opening, being loose and flexible. I really felt like I was progressing.
At about 7am, Taylor came in to tell us that she was ending her shift. I told her thank you so much for everything, but that I hoped I didn’t see her again when she started her shift that night. I met my new nurse, who at the time left much to be desired. She wasn’t warm and friendly. She was much more harsh and had a very no-nonsense attitude.
The new nurse decided to check me since it had been quite a few hours since I’d been on the pitocin.
I was devastated when she told us that I was barely at 2cm. It had been HOURS on this pitocin, and I was already started to feel the effects of having it constantly increased level upon level. I decided to try staying in the bed for a little bit to see if I could help my body to relax and release some of the tension.
For the next few hours, I laboured in bed, the pitocin continued to be increased, and I was still not having productive contractions. But boy oh boy was I feeling them. Each wave I could get through, but after each one I would start the “I can’t do this.” attitude. The Hubs and my Mum had to keep reassuring me that I WAS doing it, and I COULD keep doing it.
When we wrote my birth plan, I chose a secret word to use to get across my need for pain medication. I didn’t want anything, and I knew that I would get into this saying “I can’t do it, I need help.” so I told my birth partners that until I said that word, I didn’t mean it. No matter what I said, I didn’t mean it, unless I used that word.
During each wave I would contemplate using the word. It was actually a pretty good coping mechanism, because it kept my mind off the discomfort to think about whether or not I needed something. As the waves progressed, I was barely getting a break though. I would start one wave, and before even coming down off that peak, the next would start rising. It was horrendous.
Here is where the trauma started.
I was having the worst internal battle of my life. Stuck in a place where I knew I wasn’t progressing, but I had to get this baby out, and soon. I knew I could get through each wave on it’s own, but I also knew that I needed to catch my breath. I needed to be able to turn my switch off to get through the waves, but with the constant peaking, and my mind in a panic over needing to progress, I just couldn’t.
In the most collected way I could articulate, I told everyone that I needed something. I didn’t want the epidural, but I needed something. The pain wasn’t the problem, but I couldn’t catch a break to refocus, and I knew I was losing my ability to continue if I didn’t regain focus for a few minutes. I never said my pain word – I think The Hubs and Mum understood that I couldn’t say it, because it wasn’t just about the pain. It was about progress, and I was making the most logical decision I could to get me through this hard part.
Within minutes, my nurse came in with the shot for my IV.
Milliseconds later I descended into my happy place. Time and space ceased to exist for a few minutes as I succumbed to feeling numbness. I felt so defeated that I had to do it, but I knew I had done what I had to. This short break was giving me exactly what I needed.
Unfortunately, it was very very very short lived. I know I’ve mentioned my distaste for anesthesia and narcotics before. My body just doesn’t metabolize them properly. This experience again solidified my knowledge that me + drugs don’t go.
Just as quickly as the relief started, it abruptly stopped. Pressure waves came back, with a vengeance worse than before, and I started to try and get back my control of them.
And then I hit one of the darkest moments of my life.
The OB that was at the hospital (not my doc, but the other one from my practice) came in to check on me. He did another check of my cervix, and gave me the bad news – still no notable progress. I had been labouring with the pitocin almost at full speed for hours upon hours, and I still wasn’t progressing, with contractions that were still not regulating enough. They would come constantly, hard and fast, peak after peak, and then pause for a minute. I kept telling myself until this point that I could focus on one wave at a time. Live life minute by minute, and not look ahead at what was to come. But now I knew, I knew I couldn’t not focus on what was ahead at this point.
I was staring in the face of a failed induction. With that darn bag of waters broken, if I couldn’t progress soon, I would be having the c-section talk. With how my brain was right then, I wouldn’t even be cognizant to have the discussion. It would happen. The decision would be made for me, that night, if I couldn’t get this baby out. In my heart I knew what needed to happen, and in those moments, I hated myself for it. I hated that I was about to do something I had never even considered doing. I was so strongly against it. A solid brick wall.
I cried and sobbed through the following waves. I contemplated my word again.
But I couldn’t say it. The whole idea behind saying the word was that I needed pain management. This wasn’t about PAIN. It was about getting this baby out.
I couldn’t even ask for what I knew my body needed. Partly because I was so ashamed, and partly because I refused to admit defeat.
But I knew something had to happen, and I knew exactly what would give me that fighting chance of a vaginal birth.
So I got the damn epidural.
And it was the most difficult, traumatic decision I have ever had to make. Today, I feel confident that I made the right choice. Honestly, it was the only choice I had at that point. You hear the stories all the time of stalled labours due to inductions…and I was becoming one of them. My body just wasn’t handling the pitocin contractions. But it doesn’t change how I felt that day. It was a horrible decision to have to make, and I felt so insanely guilty.
The epidural: I felt every second of it. Even with the constant devil vice my uterus was in, I felt every single twinge of that 6 inch needle, and it HURT. I sobbed throughout the entire thing, a little because of how badly it hurt, but mostly because I felt so ashamed that I had turned my back on my natural birth. I felt so alone, weak and sad. I feel terrible for that anesthesiologist, because he was the sweetest man ever, and I hated him. He’s probably used to women thanking him, loving him, worshiping him, but I made my feelings very clear. He was evil and I hated him. So as my nurse (who at this point went from being someone I didn’t care for, to someone I appreciated) held me tight and curled up in a ball, I sobbed, and she told me it was okay, that I was making the right choice, and next time I would do this on my own.
When it was over, I laid back down, and continued to sob.