Every child has a birth story… this is the birth story of our first daughter, Annabelle.
During my last trimester, my doctor implied more than once that Annabelle could come early. My husband and I had a feeling she would come early too, but you never really know. I started dilating at 36 weeks and crossed my fingers that we wouldn’t have to wait until December 12th to meet our little girl. I went into the office each week for my appointment holding my breath and hoping for progress. Not knowing when she would arrive was driving me insane! Each week I was a teensy bit more dilated or effaced, and would have little bouts of contractions. SO, imagine my surprise and frustration when her due date arrived with no sign of our baby girl.
On December 11th, my Mom decided she had to get me out of the house after I attempted to clean the tops of our 40 inch cabinets in my underwear. I was going crazy waiting for the baby. We went to get our nails done and I grabbed a pink bottle of Essie without checking the name. I later discovered I’d chosen “It’s a Girl” and we chuckled about the appropriateness of my nail color with everyone in the salon. I remember sitting in the pedicure chair and not feeling my baby move around as much as she normally does. I thought, “She must be cramped in there!!” I figured a little sweets would wake her up. We went to this great doughnut shop in town and after inhaling two doughnuts, I felt a punch and a kick. I mentioned to my Mom that she was moving much slower than usual and decided she was probably sleepy. That night we went out for Mexican with my in-laws and while we sat at dinner, I remember she didn’t go crazy like she normally does after I’ve had a big meal. I thought she must be reaallllyyy sleepy.
I woke up the next morning at 4 am for no reason other than it was DUE DAY! My mom and I headed to my 40 week doctors appointment hoping I was a little more dilated and that they’d tell us she would be coming any day. It’s funny, for the first time in awhile, I didn’t get ready before I left the house. I should’ve gotten ready…
When the nurse came to get me in the waiting room, she asked me how I was feeling and how the baby was moving. I laughed, “She has definitely slowed down a bit! I feel a little kick or roll here and there, but she is mostly pretty still. She must be squished in there!” The nurse didn’t say anything and dropped me off in the exam room. My Mom and I started chatting about how long we were probably going to sit there. Two seconds later the door flew open and in walked my doctor. Wow that was fast..
At my house I grabbed my pre-packed hospital bag, my list of things that were last minute items to be packed, and then ate a banana. The doctor told me not to eat, but I hadn’t had anything since the night before and I knew it was going to be a long day. I straightened my hair, put on a little makeup, and then I started getting anxious.
After some paperwork, I was admitted rather quickly. Before I knew it, I was in a hospital gown and hooked up to an IV. A nurse told me that I wouldn’t get started on the Pitocin for a little while because they were going to monitor the baby first. The nurse put two bands around my belly and said one would monitor my contractions, while the other monitored the baby’s heart rate.
After my water broke, I started feeling REAL contractions. I had had Braxton Hicks during my pregnancy, so I knew a little of what to expect. But these contractions were consistent and I could feel my whole midsection tighten with each one. I had a little bit of a cramping feeling in my back during each contraction too, but the pain wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I had planned to avoid any and all pain medications during my labor as I’ve never enjoyed feeling like I don’t have control over my body. I also wanted to be able to squat during labor, or get in a warm bath. There was a bathtub with jets in my room and the doctor told me I was more than welcome to hang out in it. Unfortunately, I never got to test the waters.
After a few hours, my contractions started to pick up. They were coming every 60-90 seconds and my back started to hurt even more. The nurse checked me and said I was 4 cm dilated. She asked if I wanted something for the pain and I told her I would be okay. The pain was worsening quickly though and with each contraction my eyes would water as I tried to close my eyes and focus on the pain. Mentally I envisioned how each contraction would bring me closer to meeting our baby. This worked for a little while… but then I couldn’t focus anymore.
Thirty minutes later I asked the nurse what kind of pain medicine she was offering. She said they could give me Demerol, which would make me feel wine drunk, and take the edge off of the contractions. The nurse promised it wouldn’t affect the baby, so I took one dose through my IV. It was wonderful. I was able to chat with everyone in the room and relax a bit. Then I took a little snooze.
When the Demerol wore off an hour later, my contractions were still 60-90 seconds apart and lasting for 30-60 seconds. The nurse asked if I wanted another dose, so I accepted. Unfortunately, about 15 minutes after she gave it to me, the contractions picked up in frequency and intensity. I curled into a ball each time I could feel a contraction coming and tried to focus on breathing slowly. It felt like someone was punching me in the back with a studded iron fist. The nurse came in and said that the baby was sunny side up, so they needed me to lay on my side. They put one of my legs in a stirrup and told me they’d switch sides after a half hour or so. Laying on my side would hopefully help the baby turn over on her own.