Inducing Labor

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I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about how people (me) and things change over time, whether good or bad.  Around this time last year, I was angry and bitter after a failed IVF cycle.  I had SO many feelings.  I cried, I was frustrated, I wanted to be alone, and I distanced myself from the Lord.  The feelings of my heart floated around like endless ripples in the water.  The thoughts in my mind crashed like waves on the shore.  I was in no position to help anyone because I was the one that needed help.  I needed to change my attitude then in order to accept the change I embrace now.  Now, a year later, my life has undergone an irreversible change…being a parent.

Inducing Labor

As the days drew near to our babies’ delivery, I knew the plan was to induce labor.  The doctor wanted me to make it to 39 weeks, if baby didn’t come before then.  With twice/week appointments and NSTs plans seemed to change frequently.  Everything depended on my doctor appointments and exams.  In the meantime, I decided to read up about inducing labor to prepare me for that process.  At 38 weeks, I was dilated to 3 cm and my doctor was hopeful for my scheduled induction.  My uterus was “ripening” well so my doctor recommended pitocin to induce labor.  A week earlier he recommended pitocin and a vaginal tablet.  Sorry, can’t recall the name of that medication right now.  The tablet is inserted vaginally and used to help the uterus soften to prepare for delivery.  But, since my uterus was “ripening” I didn’t need the tablet.  Lucky me.

Week 39 arrived – my scheduled induction.  My husband and I had a leisure morning, ate lunch at Zippy’s, and then headed to Queens with all our stuff.  When I say stuff, I mean baby’s car seat & 1 bag – full of clothes for both of us, clothes to dress the baby upon discharge, snacks, toothbrushes/paste, and whatever else we felt was necessary.  I had been warned to eat a good lunch because I wouldn’t be eating anything until after the baby came out.  (I would’ve been fine except being induced took WAY more time and energy than I ever expected.)

Anyways, so once we got there, we got our room, got hooked up to baby monitors, IV, and pitocin…the inducing started.  My husband and I pretty much just cruised in the delivery room until it was time to sleep.  We watched TV, looked at our phones, texted family members with updates, and stared at each other.  Lol.  Actually, it’s REALLY hard to do anything in the hospital.  A nurse or 2 would come in every hour to check the monitors, medications, ask questions, do a vaginal exam, etc.  My doctor came in the evening (and was in consultation with the nurses and doctor on shift) to check on me.  He reminded me that inducing labor is a really slow process.

About 14 hours into the process (3am) I decided to have an epidural.  I was really hesitant about having an epidural because then I would be bed bound and reliant on a catheter to use the bathroom.  I asked the nurses and residents about the specific process.  I was SO tired but I couldn’t sleep because I was uncomfortable.  It’s funny because every time there’s a new shift a new nurse would come in and ask me what my level of pain was.  For me it was low (2-3) because of the excess fluid made it almost impossible to feel any contractions.  You’d think that since I didn’t feel any contractions, I didn’t need an epidural.  But, I agreed to have an epidural.  Apparently Queen’s was really busy that night and I had to wait about 15 minutes.  It wasn’t long to wait.  I suppose if I was farther along in the process, 15 minutes would feel much longer.  Lol.

The anesthesiologist came in and explained the process of an epidural and what to expect afterwards – possible side effects.  At 3am my husband was already sleeping but was awoken by the bright lights that needed to be on.  The anesthesiologist talked me through every thing, step by step.  She was really good, I hardly felt anything.  To me, if I can barely feel the needle – you’re good.  I’ve had blood drawn that’s hurt more than getting an epidural, honestly.  The anesthesiologist also explained the button…an additional boost of medication that should only be pushed as needed.  Once you push the button, you’d have to wait at least 10 minutes before pushing it again, if you needed to.  Well, you could keep pressing the button but it wouldn’t release any medicine.

The epidural was nice!  I was definitely able to feel comfortable and get minimal rest.  I didn’t feel the contractions before I got it and sure didn’t feel them after either.  Lol.  After that things were pretty mellow until the morning.  Mellow as far as progress for the baby.  The nurses and residents continuously come in and check on you…but at least at night they use the low light so you can a little rest, or none if it bothers you.  Lol.

In the morning, around 7am, now 18 hours into my scheduled inducing, my doctor came to check on me.  He, along with a couple of nurses, pricked my water bag so it would slowly drip out.  He made a few holes using a very thin needle.  I happily didn’t feel anything because of the epidural.  My doctor noted progress – I was dilated to 6 cm.  This was great news to me because I thought we were nearing the birth of our baby.  Technically I was in active labor but couldn’t feel it.

In the early evening my doctor came to see me again and I was still dilated to 6 cm.  I had so much fluid and the baby was still now dropping so the doctor decided to let out a little flow of fluid to help guide the baby down and help me dilate more.  He made a few more pokes to let more fluid drain out.  The nurses changed the padding under me as needed.

Evening went fine, well maybe fine isn’t the right word for it.  I was hungry, tired, and confined to the bed.  We watched TV, talked and cruised in the room.  We got a visit from my sister-in-law and 2 nieces, who brought dinner (for my husband of course).  My sweet husband ate outside the room so I wouldn’t have to smell any of it.  We chatted and then they went to visit someone on another floor.

Everything was pretty calm…until about 1 in the morning.  (I had been at the hospital for 36 hours now.)  My husband was sleeping on a fold up bed near me.  I started to shake and shiver as if I was cold.  I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t.  After 10-15 minutes, I decided to call the nurse.  Unfortunately, the remote had fallen to the left of the bed and it was hanging down that side.  I tried to reach for it a couple times and almost got it.  I felt the shaking getting stronger and out of control.  I called my husband a few times but he didn’t hear me.  I reached one more time for the remote and got it.  Oh, I forgot to mention that besides having the IV on my right hand, the epidural tube came up my right shoulder, I had an oxygen mask on, a blood pressure cuff on my left arm, AND I couldn’t feel from the waist down.  The blood pressure cuff went off every 20-30 minutes.  SO, reaching for the remote to call the nurse was much more difficult than it sounds.  Lol.

I finally called for the nurse.  When she came in, I told her how I felt and she told me to try and relax.  She asked if I wanted some medicine for nausea.  I agreed to take it – via IV.  But before she could give it to me, I threw up on myself and the gown I had on.  My husband awoke to me throwing up and helped the nurse clean me up.  I got a new gown and a warm blanket, literally.  When the nurse left to get the nausea medication, I asked my husband to give me a blessing.  I didn’t know what was going on with me.  I was shaking and shaking.  I couldn’t stop myself.  My husband gave me a blessing before the nurse came in with my nausea medicine.  My regular nurse for the evening came in and checked my temperature.  The thermometer read that I was fine but the nurse didn’t believe it and quickly obtained another thermometer, which showed I had a fever.  I took deep breaths to help calm me but that didn’t always help.  I got the nausea medicine and my shivering slowed down.

It was 2:15am…My contractions plateaued and I was over it.  I wanted the baby out.  I still had a fever and shakes (intermittently).  The nurse called my doctor and a c-section was in the works.

Next post: Cesarean Delivery


Low Risk to More Risk

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Hi everyone!  I know, it’s been a while since my last post.  I think it’s obvious the baby is here, leaving me less time to write.  Lol.

Everything was going smoothly with all my appointments.  I was going every other week on Saturdays so I wouldn’t have to take time off from work.  That was my preference because I wanted to save my leave.  Well at 33 weeks, the nurse scheduled me for additional appointment the following week.  I thought it was weird because I previously scheduled all my appointments to the end – 40 weeks.  I agreed to come in for the appointment even though I was thinking they were mixed up on what week I was on.

Prior to that, my husband had been trying to get me to attend a co-worker’s new store open house.  I kept insisting that I didn’t think it was necessary to go to the open house.  I didn’t want to drive to town when I didn’t have an appointment.  So, when I got an additional appointment, which happened to be the day of the open house, I reluctantly agreed to go.  A few days before the open house, I began to question my husband about this “open house”.  I didn’t feel like he was telling me everything.  He told me to stop asking him about it, so I did.  But I kept thinking about it.  I thought his co-workers were going to have a baby shower at the “open house” but even I wasn’t convinced that was it.  I knew there was something going on but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

A few days before my appointment and the “open house” I thought about calling the doctor to verify that I was on week 34 and not 35.  Well, that didn’t happen.  I figured I’d just clarify with the doctor at that appointment and not worry about it.

The day of my appointment arrived.  At week 35, I was scheduled for an exam and ultrasound.  So, when I clarified it with the doctor, he agreed they made a mistake and I was 34 weeks.  But since I was there and undressed from the waist down, he decided to do an ultrasound.  During the ultrasound he noticed my amniotic fluid was high and was concerned about it.  He asked if we could go to Queen’s Labor and Delivery to complete a NST (Non Stress Test).  I looked at my husband because he wanted to go to the “open house”.  I was thinking we could skip the “open house” and do the NST.  My husband told the doctor we had something so we scheduled an appointment for the afternoon.

We left the doctor and headed toward the “open house”.  He told me it was at Manoa Marketplace.  As we were driving there I told him, “I know it’s been a long time since I’ve been to Manoa Marketplace but it’s it that way?”  I was pointing to the right as we were going left.  My husband shushed me and told me the “open house” was at Waioli Tea Room.  At this point I was super confused but I knew something was up.  We walked up to the front and were greeted by a woman who asked if we were here for a bridal shower or baby shower.  I looked at my husband and he had a big grin on his face.  We both laughed as he turned me to walk toward my group of friends.  SURPRISE!  It was definitely a surprise and a very enjoyable brunch.

After the brunch we headed to Queen’s Labor and Delivery for my first NST.  The NST was for the baby, not me.  If you’ve never had a NST, they do the same thing when you’re admitted.  Let me explain.  Due to the excess fluid, the doctor wanted to make sure my baby was doing well and he was not under stress.  Hence, the NST…Non Stress Test.  In Labor and Delivery, I sat up on the bed and lifted my shirt just to expose my belly.  The nurse placed 2 monitors on my stomach, 1 to monitor contractions and the other to monitor the baby’s heart beat & rate.  The nurse used wide elastic bands to obtain the right placement of the monitors.  It’s like a wrist watch.  The face of the contraction monitor is placed at the center of your belly and then they tighten the band.  The monitor for baby’s heart beat & rate is wherever baby is.  For me he was faced down so the monitor was below the contraction monitor.  Since my baby moved around A LOT, the nurse would often have to adjust the monitor.  My NST lasted about an hour and then I was free to go, not without scheduling my next one.

My first NST was quite painless.  One of the first things the nurse asked me is if I knew why I was there.  Lol.  I sure hope so.  I know there’s a technical name for excess amniotic fluid but I didn’t know it. (It’s call polyhydramnios.)  The nurse gave me water and the remote for the TV.  Ooh, I forgot!  Along with the 2 monitors the nurse gave me a button to press every time I felt the baby move.  The button reminds me of Wheel of Fortune where they are referred as “buzzers”.  It’s easy to grasp and great for pushing frequently.  Lol.

It was then that I realized my pregnancy was no longer “low risk”.  I had to do NSTs weekly until the doctor ordered otherwise.  Another thing to note about the NST, it varies in time.  For example, the first time I went it took an hour.  The next time I went it was longer.  The shortest time for me was half an hour.  The reason for the variation is because the nursing staff needed to contact my doctor to review the monitors and give the “ok” for me to leave.

Well, 34 weeks was just the start of what I call “pregnancy excitement” aka stress.  In upcoming weeks I experienced much more than I ever thought I would.  Twice a week appointments, twice a week NSTs, 2 more ultrasounds, and weekly vaginal exams.  The twice a week appointments, NSTs, and ultrasounds is how the doctor monitor my polyhydramnios.  I got quite use to it, although now that I think about it, it was pretty draining.  Having 2 more full fetal ultrasounds was nothing I expected but I was grateful for them.  Not only was I able to get more pictures, but I was able to see my baby more.  The ultrasounds looked at the fluid and the baby’s growth, including the heart.  One of the main concerns my doctor had about the excess fluid is the umbilical cord.  If my water broke the cord could come down before the baby which would result in an emergency c-section.  I was lucky to have the reviewing doctor present at each ultrasound.  He asked questions and watched the ultrasound technician take measurement.  Through discussion with us he determined that they did not know why there was excess fluid.  He noted that gestational diabetes was one common cause for excess fluid, which I did not have.  I never knew why I had so much fluid but I knew my fluid was about equal to the size of they baby.  I remember at 35 weeks the ultrasound gauged that the baby was 6 lbs 10 oz.  I thought, yikes!  Then at 37 weeks the ultrasound said 8 lbs 6 oz.  That created another concern for my doctor.  Of course the ultrasound has a range – room for error.

So, although my pregnancy began with little risk as time went on risk increased and the doctor induced labor.

Just as a side note….The only thing I will say about vaginal exams as a pregnant lady, is that’s they’re painful.  It’s nothing like a pap smear…at all.

Next post:  Inducing Labor