Friday, June 17, 2011

Labor and Delivery-Part One

In a previous post, I mentioned I would share my labor and delivery experience. So, here's Part One:

7:00 am - I woke up Tuesday morning April 12th feeling a little different. But it wasn't enough to  mention to Geoffrey.

8:15 am -  I went to work and our staff had morning prayer from 8:30-9. That different 'feeling' felt stronger, so I mentioned it to Geoffrey after prayer. I had been timing those feelings for 30 minutes and they were about 20 min apart. He told me to keep timing them.

9:30 am - Within half an hour they were 15 minutes apart.
Time must have just flown by because before I knew it those feelings were 10 minutes apart.

10:45 am - Geoff came into my office to check on me (we both work at Beltway) and told me that I may want to call my mom to find out if those feelings were REAL contractions. So, I called to talk to her.

Now, my mom's labor experiences were pretty easy. She said her contractions always felt like really bad cramps or gas pains right up until it was time to push; that's when she would transition and the pain would be a lot worse. So, she did a lot of her early labor at work or at home. Then she would eventually go to the hospital and would give birth pretty quickly thereafter. I was hoping I would have a similar experience (I mean I am her daughter). I told her my 'feelings' felt like cramps, but that I was worried that's all they were. Either that, gas or Braxton Hicks. So she said just to keep timing them. She said once they were 5 min apart for an hour I needed to go to the hospital or my OB's office to be examined.

After I got off the phone I kept working.

11:30 am - By this time, those feelings were 6-7 minutes apart, so I clued in my boss as to what was going on. She freaked out and told me I was in labor and needed to go home, pack the car and go to the hospital.

Once word got out that I was having contractions, I was getting several phone calls from women I work with telling me "If you are anything like your momma, you're gonna have that baby SOON! And you'll have her here at work if you don't get to the hospital!" But I just wasn't convinced they were real contractions yet. I mean, they didn't hurt really bad. Contractions are supposed to hurt, right? Mine just felt like menstrual cramps. So I kept working...

But the calls, comments and drop-in visitors to my office wouldn't relent.

12:15 pm - My contractions were more like 6 minutes apart, consistently. It was lunch time so I decided I would go on home, rest and just see if these feelings got any stronger or became closer together. Once I got home I ate lunch, kept timing those feelings and before too long they became 5-6 minutes apart.

1:00 pm - So I called Geoffrey. We decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and be prepared rather than surprised and caught off guard. So I took a shower, shaved my legs, got dressed, then packed up the car (I had been ready to go to the hospital for over a month). The plan was once my contractions were consistently 5 min apart for an hour we would go to the hospital.

2:15 pm - Geoff came on contractions were consistently 5 min apart.

3:00 pm - We left for the hospital to check in. On the way, we called our parents. We only told our parents what was really going on because I kept thinking it was a false alarm. I didn't want to be embarrassed and have to tell everyone I wasn't really in labor. I wanted to be sure before we spread the news.

3:30 pm - Once we arrived at Hendrick Hospital, we checked in and I was hooked up to the monitors. Turns out, they really were contractions and they were about 4-5 minutes apart. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say my pain was about a 2. Contractions were just uncomfortable. So, I allowed myself at that time to think "This could be it!" Until the nurse told me I was only dilated to a 1. I was so disappointed. I knew I couldn't be checked in to a delivery room until I was a 3. But they wanted to keep me for two hours to see if I progressed anymore.

I didn't...

However, my contractions became more painful and became 2-3 minutes apart. On a scale of 1 to 10, my pain was about a 4. We asked the nurses why I would be having contractions so closely together if I wasn't in REAL labor. They said it was hard to tell this early if I really was in labor or if I was just having Braxton Hicks and my body was just preparing for labor. We didn't know what to do. It was aclassic paradigm: should we stay or should we go home? I felt like I was living The Clash's song "Should I Stay or Should I Go Now"

Shortly thereafter, my contractions grew stronger. On the pain scale, I was a 5 or a 6. I couldn't really talk to anyone through a contraction anymore. I had to be really still and focus on breathing through the pain. Then, one nurse suggested we take a walk, come back and see if I progressed anymore. So I got dressed and we went on a walk...

6:30 pm - Geoffrey was hungry so we walked down to Subway for dinner (about 2 or 3 blocks away from the hospital). My contractions started hurting so bad that we had to stop every time I had a contraction. On the pain scale I was a 7. We finally made it to Subway, ate and started :making our way back to the hospital.

7:45 pm - Once we arrived, they hooked me up to the monitors.

8:15 pm - The nurses examined me agian and I was STILL only dilated to a freaking ONE! I was so unbelievably disappointed.

8:45 pm - We decided to go home. I just figured if I was going to be in pain and they couldn't do anything about it, I might as well be at home. I mean, they were telling me it wasn't real labor :anyway...why be there. I FELT LIKE I WAS GOING CRAZY! Because I felt like I was in labor. I hurt like I was in labor. I mean, why was I in this much pain if I wasn't true labor?

9:00 pm - On our way home I called my regular doctor (not my OB), a good family friend, Dr. Shudde. I caught him up and asked why all this was happening. Was I in real labor or not? That was the question I wanted answered, He encouraged me so much. He told me that his wife had a similar experience with their firstborn. They went to the hospital and was only dilated to a 1 although she had been having consistent contrations for a while. So they went home. Within two hours they went back to the hospital and was dilated to a 3. Turns out she was in REAL labor all along! She was just in early labor for a long time. So he said "Sarah, don't be discouraged. You'll have that baby either tonight or in the morning." And I was sure hoping he was right.

9:15 pm - We arrived at home. Contractions were still 2-3 minutes apart. Geoffrey convinced me to take a warm bath. While in the bath my contractions advanced to an 8 on the pain chart. I was just short of crying (and I am NOT a cryer). Before I got out of the bath, I was crying. 25 min later, I HAD to get out of the bath! I couldn't stand the pain. My back hurt so bad, I needed relief!

10:15 pm - So, I took Tylenol and laid down on our bed. Geoffrey popped in a movie I had been wanting to watch (Tangled), trying to get my mind off the pain. Geoffrey was so sweet. He tried everything to help me get comfortable. He rubbed my feet, massaged my back, prayed over me...but the pain was getting worse and worse.

10:30 pm - 10 minutes into the movie, my pain was a 9. I could barely walk, talk or breathe. I had no doubt I needed to go back to the hospital. I needed some PAIN MEDS!!!

Geoffrey called our parents to tell them we were going back up to the hospital.

11:00 pm - Once we arrived and was given a room, a nurse came in to check me and told us the good news. I had progressed from a 1 to a 3 in three hours! I WAS IN REAL LABOR! What a relief it was to hear. That made all the pain feel more worth it because I knew my baby girl was on her way! In fact, I was so elated, I started crying.

The news was shared with the family and shortly thereafter our WHOLE family came to the hospital to wait. Little did they know, we would be waiting all night long...

More to come in Part Two of my labor and delivery experience: sleep, waiting, epidural, and more waiting.

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