Birth Story Part II - Active Labor

Catch up on part I here

After I got my first dose of medicine, Tom and I settled in to wait. We ordered dinner, and watched Game night and Jumanji in our room. Around 4:30 I mentioned to Tom that my head was a little itchy, and that was weird. A little while later, it was REALLY itchy and I couldn’t stop itching. I must have been freaking him out a bit, because he said he was going to go find our nurse. By the time they returned, not only was I going crazy with an itchy scalp, but my hands had turned bright red and my palms were also super itchy.

Knowing that I was already allergic to one type of antibiotic, the nurse got worried and immediately stopped the vancomycin and called the doctor. Within a few minutes, my itchiness had gone away, and my hands were no longer red. After some brainstorming between the doctor and pharmacist, it was decided that I was having a transfusion reaction, and not a reaction to the actual antibiotic. Because my itching stopped so quickly, and the antibiotic was still in my system, it was decided I could safely finish my dose, just at a slower pace. Luckily after the dose was slowed, no more itching! And in better news, as long as I delivered by 5am the next morning, I wouldn’t need another dose of antibiotics.

By 7:30 the nurse came in to ask how I was feeling, since my monitor was reporting that contractions were coming every 2 minutes. Oddly enough, they weren’t really bothering me. I told her I felt a little crampy, but rated my pain at about a 2. The bands wrapped around my belly were bothering me way more. Still, the nurse was concerned the contractions were coming too often, so I was given an IV to slow them down a bit. By 9:30 the pain was in my hips a bit more, but I still thought it was more annoying than painful.

Sometime around during this time, Tom was getting messages from my parents that the fire alarms were going off at our house (AGAIN). UGH. They’d gone off a week or two ago, and we’d cleaned them out again, and hoped they’d be fine for a bit. Of course we can’t be that lucky when it comes to these stupid things. It killed me that E was home and scared without us, but I knew that there was nothing that I could do, and that they’d be fine.

At 10:30 the doctor came to chat and discuss options. Since I wasn’t really feeling anything or in pain, we talked about possibly taking another dose of the medicine I’d been taking, or taking one that works over the next 12 hours, along with a couple of other options. He talked about how the process could take days, and that everyone reacted differently. Which is why I was shocked to find out I was at 5cm! With E I arrived at the hospital at 4cm and was pretty sure I was dying. I couldn’t comprehend how it was so different this time around. The decision was made to break my water at that point, and I was told that things could start moving pretty quickly, so I called in Stacey, my doula.

For the next hour while I waited for her to get there, I was definitely feeling contractions. However, they were all normal/front contractions, as opposed to the back labor I’d had last time. And holy game changer! Sure they hurt, but I could actually breathe through them, even when I’d get stupid double contractions in a row that didn’t give me any break. Unfortunately right when Stacey arrived, they started shifting to my back again, and I was also starting to get super nauseous. Looking back, I was definitely in transition at this point, but I didn’t realize it. I just thought that I was about to go through the same long and painful experience as last time, and started losing steam.

Stacey got me through another hour (with the help of some nausea meds that also helped a lot), but I finally called for an epidural around 1am. Earlier I had asked who the anesthesiologist on call was, worried about my experience from last time. Immediately the doctor and nurses knew who I was talking about and quickly reassured me that not only was he not on duty, but that he’s everyone’s least favorite. My nurse promised me that I would have the exact opposite experience this time, and my epidural was done in less than 5 minutes! Woo hoo!

Remembering last time that this was the most fun part of labor, I settled in under some warm blankets and prepared for some nice relaxing time before we were ready for the baby to come. I didn’t get that, though. I think I had 20 minutes, tops, before I was feeling ready. Sure enough, 10 cm, go time. Looking back I was so upset I didn’t get to enjoy my epidural more! It also left me wondering if I really needed it, or if I could have just pushed through? Who knows.

The doctor was called, and at 1:45 we were ready. Tom helpfully pointed out that I had 9 minutes to deliver in order to make both of our children born at the exact same time of day. It didn’t end up being that far off, since baby G arrived at 2:09am!

As opposed to last time, when I had a high temperature, infection, and was so tired I was passing out, this time I was much more alert and actually noticed when they put G on me. Still, I was shocked there was a baby there. Yes it was my second time around, but still - it’s so amazing. Does it ever get old hat? I just kept touching him and thinking, wow, it’s a baby!

Of course, just like last time, things weren’t over then. As expected, there were complications…

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