“You’re stalling out on us, Julie,” the OB doctor-on-call said when she arrived. “Why don’t you labor in the tub a bit more? Maybe things will pick up.” I labored in the tub awhile, but didn’t enjoy it any more than the first time, and eventually laid back down.
A shift-change occurred, and I was assigned a new labor nurse. She told David to help me breathe, since I was hyperventilating and gritting my teeth during contractions. He encouraged me to breathe properly, and I encouraged him to shut up . . . (not really — he was very sweet).
Meanwhile, my parents, younger sister, brother-in-law and baby nephew arrived and waited in the waiting room. My sister had delivered her firstborn one month prior, and had not used pain-relief. My Mom had done the same with her deliveries. It was my time to prove I was one of the girls (any pressure I felt was self-inflicted — they are too modest to brag). David went out to greet everyone and update them on my progress (or lack of it). “Great news!” He said when he came back. “Your sister says when she made it to six centimeters everything went really quickly!”
“Everybody’s different,” I said.
Two hours later, the Doctor came back and told me I was still at six centimeters, and needed to choose between Pitocin (synthetic Oxytocin via an IV, to strengthen labor), or having my water broken (also meant to strengthen labor). I had been at the hospital ten hours with two centimeters of progress. I was still committed to completing my labor medication-free, so I opted to have my water broken. Labor became stronger, and I started noticing pain in my lower back.
My nurse suggested different labor positions in an attempt to relieve the back pain, but they only seemed to make the pain worse. Finally, an hour after my water was broken, I received good news: “You’re at eight centimeters,” my nurse said. “You’ll probably start to feel like pushing soon, so call me when you notice anything.”
Several hours passed and I didn’t have the urge to push. Around midnight, she checked my progress again. “You’re still at eight centimeters and your cervix is thickening back up,” she said. “You need to relax.”
Several thoughts ran through my mind at that point, including, “I didn’t know it was possible to reverse progress . . .” and, “I really don’t want to be in labor for the rest of my life . . .” and, “I wonder if she’s ever had a baby . . .”
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