Going into labor I figured I could handle the pain. A lot of the women I run with have said running a marathon was just as hard as giving birth without medicine. I'm sure they were slightly exaggerating, but it still gave me hope. I stayed as active as I could throughout the pregnancy, focused on walking and squats in the end which are supposed to be the best for baby, and had my hopes set for a natural labor. Yeah. Definitely didn't happen.
My labor story actually starts Friday. We had an appointment for our cats to get their health certificates done. They all had to receive their annual vaccines, and our sweetest cat (little Smokey) has had bad vaccine reactions in the past. The vet gave him some Benadryl before the vaccines to try and help minimize the reaction. Unfortunately that didn't work. He started vomiting while at the clinic, and the vet said to just get him home and keep an eye on him.
Once we got home his condition began to worsen. He wouldn't eat or drink, he was throwing up white and pink foam every few minutes and he wouldn't move from the bathroom floor. I talked to my friend who is a vet tech and she gave me some great advice and we didn't think it warranted a trip to the emergency clinic (unless his conditioned worsened.)
Just before 2 p.m. I got up from the couch and felt a very small gush of liquid. I've been glued to the internet enough throughout my pregnancy that I knew it could be me peeing myself (very common in the third trimester but hadn't happened to me yet) or a very slow leak in my amniotic sac. It happened again before we left the house, but we were on our way to our pre-induction appointment and a ultrasound at my OB's office so I wasn't too concerned as I figured they could check it out there.
The US tech measured my fluids and said they were normal so she suspected I was just peeing myself. I knew in my gut I wasn't. As we were walking out of the hospital I felt it again and told Travis I think my waters were breaking. His response? "So ... does that mean no Taco Bell?" I laughed because there's no way I was skipping a chance to have a bean and rice burrito.
We got home and Smokey was doing a little bit better. I was having mild contractions but they didn't feel any different than the Braxton Hicks I've been having since week 20. I stayed up until almost 1 a.m. checking on Smokey, force feeding him water, and packing for Florida (since I would be leaving directly to my parents house from the hospital while Travis stayed behind with the movers to ship our stuff to Alaska.) I went to bed and felt disappointed that my labor was officially being induced in a few hours versus starting naturally.
We were supposed to be at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. Saturday to start the induction. We both had alarms set for 3:30 a.m. What time did we actually wake up? 4:20; leaving us 10 minutes to get ready to be at the hospital on time. Thankfully the staff was glad we were running a bit late as they had a very busy night. We checked in, and I mentioned to the nurse that I'd like them to test to see if my waters had broken as I knew if they had there would be a 24ish hour time limit put on delivery (the longer you labor after your waters break the higher a chance of infection.) Test came back positive.
The original plan was to use a foley catheter (a tiny balloon inserted into the cervix that would dilate me from 1 to 4 in about 4-6 hours.) When the nurse who was setting me up called my OB to tell her my water broke the Dr. said to skip the catheter and go straight to pitocin.
Of course the IV didn't take the first time so it took two tries to finally get it right. By 6:30 a.m. I was all set up and the pitocin had begun.
The first few hours were amazing. The contractions were coming every 3 to 8 minutes and felt no worse than the relatively painless braxton hicks contractions I experienced for months. I was up walking around the room, bouncing on a birth ball, and hanging out with my parents and Travis's mom. Since my water had been leaking for almost 12 hours already they didn't want to do cervical checks very often.
After 3 hours of steadily worsening contractions I was checked around 10 a.m. and still at 1 cm. I knew dilation could change any moment but I was a bit discouraged that I hadn't made any progress. They upped the pitocin again and mentioned breaking my waters to help speed things along. I asked that we hold off on that to see if I progressed naturally as I knew contractions would get much worse, much quicker, once my waters were broken.
Not even an hour later as I was bouncing on the ball my water broke. Almost immediately the contractions went from "I could definitely do this" to "omg are you effing kidding me?!" They were coming 3-5 minutes apart and during each contraction I'd have to close my eyes, sway side to side, and 100% focus on my breathing and just getting through the peak of the pain.
After about two hours of that, and the pain progressively getting worse, I broke down. I was shaking from all of the pain and my body was already starting to feel extremely fatigued. I knew that most women who were dead set on an epidural free labor would start to question that decision when they approached the transition phase. Based on the spacing of my contractions, and the intensity of them on the screen and how my stomach felt to the touch mid-contraction, my nurse estimated I was about 6 cm dilated.
She checked, and I was only at a 3. After 7 stinking hours of pitocin induced labor I was at a 3.
I broke down.
I'll have to continue the rest to tomorrow (I've got 11 more hours of laboring fun to share!)