Labour Day. Part 2:

So I got hooked up to the pitocin and started to feel some contractions almost right away.  Within no time they settled into a really good, regular pattern and I was only on about 4 mg or ml or whatever the pitocin measurement is. (For future reference it goes from 0-20 milliwhatevers).  My nurse told me that she was the envy of the other nursing staff whose patients were not looking nearly as regular on quite a bit more pitocin.  So far, so good- things were going pretty much as expected. Hooray. 
The only problem was that although they were registering on the monitor, in fact they were off the charts on the monitor, (which we have discovered pretty much means nothing), Aaron could not tell when I was having one. I continued to play tetris, laugh through the Daily Show, eat, walk around, and have a manicure (he did a pretty good job!) without flinching.  This, I knew was not a positive sign of progress.
So they cranked up the pitocin some more.  The hours ticked by. I was in medium to considerable discomfort but apart from the odd grimace, I could still mostly walk and talk through them and I wanted some real pain!  I kept saying that if this was my first labour I’d have been the happiest little labouring woman ever. I’d have thought, “wow this is so easy!”. But I know what productive contractions feel like for me, and they did not feel like this. I knew that they take full concentration and I was getting to some unprecedented levels on tetris. Not a good sign.
And so they cranked it up some more.  And some more. And some more. And some more. We walked and we walked and I bounced on the ball. And the contractions kept coming, nice and steady and not nearly painful enough.
And so it went on. Allllll the live long day. They cranked me up to 8..10…..12……….14……16….18.  (Remembering gentle readers that 20 is the max.) You can go no further than 20 before supposedly your uterus explodes or whatever.  Contractions are regular but I  know they are not productive because I am still just uncomfortable enough that I could not settle down for a rest or a nap but not uncomfortable enough to have to really focus on them. And I became irritated and discouraged. Because I knew I was going to hit the hard part, when it eventually came, very, very tired. I had been getting next to no sleep for days and days on end. I talked about perhaps just calling the whole thing off and going home.  Aaron was not so sure.
I decide to adopt a positive attitude. I decide to channel Charlie Sheen. Clearly, I am just an Adonis….the famale version of that…Yes! Adonia! I have the blood of a Tiger. Clearly I just feel no pain.  Even on uterus exploding levels of pitocin….I….Kirsty..Adonia…Sayer…FEEL.NO.PAIN!!!! DUH!!! WINNING!!!!!!!!!!  For all I knew, the baby could be crowning at this point. It’s just that I feel no pain.  This is what happens when you keep up with your fitness routine throughout pregnancy, people.  This is what happens.  Here’s your reward.
Yeah that line of thought did not last for very long. I guess I am just not that much in touch with my psychotic/egomaniacal side.  At 8pm after a somewhat uncomfortable (ok wait, let’s not undersell this. It was not a fun day. Let’s call it a full day of bad menstrual cramps 1-2 minutes apart, yet disappointingly non-excruciating day,) I asked to be checked and braced myself for bad news.  And bad news was what I got.
I was….wait….for it……
Dude. Kill me.
So we had some options to consider. I could
a) Turn off the pitocin, go home, wait a few days and see what happened.
b)Have my water broken and commit to giving birth, one way or another within 12 hours.
Neither option was looking awesome to me at this juncture.
I called my midwife friend Joan who suggested a concession:
c)Turn off the pitocin, but stay at the hospital so I could get some good sleeping drugs and get back at it in the morning.
We decided to go with Joan’s plan.
The nurse started to crank down the pitocin. The midwife prepared to leave the room.  She’d checked me about 3 minutes earlier, when SLAM!  Whoop there it is!  Now that is what you call a contraction baby.  And one minute later…BAM! Oh….yeah..that’s about right…….a minute later…HOLEEEEEE COW!!! Wait…I wanted this???  At this point not only breathing but heavy vocalization was called into play to cope with them.
It is interesting to me that I never know exactly what type of focus method I am going to use during labour prior to needing it. It always involves some sort of breathing/vocalization ritual. My mom taught me an awesome one when I was in labour with my first baby and I credit the focus it gave me to being able to do things pain-med free, on pitocin on top of broken bag of water.  In subsequent labours I have used different rituals but with the same concept and the same results.
This time I used a very low, 2 or 3 tone vocalization of “OOooooooooohhhhhhhhhhmmmm”… sounded very monastic.  I sat or leaned over the ball propped on the bed and did my Ohhhhhmmmm’s. Sitting was better because I could totally relax everything.  I listened to my hypnobirthing relaxation tapes.  I was able to keep in complete control this way, the nurse and midwife were very impressed by the control and commented that I looked as if I could do it forever, but I was not feeling  that way, indeed I knew that I could not keep it up for long.  It was by far the most intense pain I had ever felt and it took every single ounce of resolve, of mental and physical strength I had to get through each contraction. I knew I did not have it in me to get from a 3 to a 10 with this sort of pain going on. 
Getting on the ball at last (literally as well as figuratively) look how well rested I am looking by now…
I have never had easy labours and they have always been very long but I know that in the past I was not called upon to do more than a very few contractions at this intensity. These were transition contractions. These were, “no I changed my mind! I don’t want to do this! Somebody kill me please” contractions. Not “I’m at 3cm contractions”.
I decided I would go until 9pm before asking to be checked again.  I could survive 1 hour like this but probably no more.  I decided that if I had not delivered before then (and of course I would not) this was going to be the baby where I experienced my first epidural.
At 9pm the midwife checked me. She was triumphant. I was at a 7-8, fully effaced, bulging amniotic bag, cervix had moved forward. Baby at +1 station. All systems go.   Not bad progress in less than 1 hour. (From 3cm, 50% effaced with an anterior cervix, baby at –1)
You’d think I’d have been happy to hear this. But not so much. I was all psyched up for my epidural and now it looked as though birth could be a lot closer than I thought….this meant more decisions for my exhausted brain. Do I let them break my water and crank up the intensity even more? Do I risk it and just hope the baby would arrive very very soon after my water was broken or would things follow the pattern they had in a couple of my previous births. Stuck at 7cm for hours and hours and hours? With this type of pain?  Unthinkable.
And as if on cue my baby (who has a flair for the dramatic) needs to be fed…..
To be continued.
Go back to part 1
Go to the epic conclusion: part 3

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Michelle said...

Noooooo! I can't believe you're leaving me dangling like this. You are lucky you're a world away...

Jen Lynn said...

OOhhh I can hear your maniacal laughter. Mwaaah haa haa. This is a perfect place to stop.

So cheeky!