Friday, April 8, 2011

Labor & Delivery

Make sure you're read about the Early Labor before moving on to the Labor & Delivery story!

I also would like to make an addendum to the last post, since in my sleep deprived haze I forgot to mention a very important fact.

I wrote about how the Lord brought me peace through Psalm 121. I had been worried about which border to cross through and was worried alot about the timing of everything.

Then God reminded me to "Lift up my eyes to the hills," in Psalm 121, and wouldn't you know it? The desert border post is surrounded by rugged mountains and hills, while the other border post is in town, not near any hills or mountains. I didn't realize this until we were already on the road to the desert post and tears came to my eyes as I realized that the Lord was Sovereign, even in this {scary} situation.

Alright. Addendum over. Moving on.

I left off by saying we arrived safely at the hospital.

We checked in and were ushered into a curtained off bed area, similar to a triage or ER situation. They didn't have me change or anything, just crawled into bed, hooked me up to a contraction and fetal heart rate monitor, then waited for 20 minutes or so in order to get a good reading on what was going on.

The nurse confirmed that my contractions were indeed 3 minutes apart, then she did an exam (my first exam for the pregnancy!) and found out I was only 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced.

She had me stay on the monitors for another 30 minutes and then gave me the option to get up and walk around, to try to speed up the effacement. I agreed and Ian and I took off for the majilis, or sitting room/museum of the hospital. Round and round we walked and I quickly realized that we weren't having to stop for contractions at all- they had completely stopped!

Two of my friends arrived, A and L, and we stood around talking for awhile before I had to dash off for the restroom again. I felt a little tired so I sat back down on my bed before rejoining the group out in the lobby. After about 10 more minutes I decided it was time to go lay back down. Ian stayed in the lobby and the girls joined me in my "room."

I knew I wasn't going to be checked again for 4 hours from the time we checked in and was anxious for 11:30 to arrive. We laid around chatting and when it was time to be checked, the girls went out and Ian came in, only to find out I was still 3 cm and was now only 70% effaced (she had checked me before in the middle of a contractions, hence it seemed like I was more,) and that my contractions were sporadic, if happening at all.


The girls had gone to get lunch and we were moved to a real delivery room.

I began to relax a little and my contractions returned to their 3 minute apart glory.


I loved watching the machine that monitors the contractions and Grace's heart beat and spent most of my time staring at it. We ate subway for lunch (the nurses let me eat and drink the entire time, is that normal in the States?) and around 4 I was checked by a doctor and told I was 4 cm and 90% effaced. The nurse tried breaking my waters and sweeping my membranes, but, for reasons still unknown to me, neither worked.

They started me on Pitocin to try and move things along and the contractions almost instantly got stronger.

She came in an hour later and retried and was able to break my membranes.

Talk about a weird feeling.

Somewhere during all of this back and forth with the nurse, I mentioned that I would probably want an epidural. She gave me a crazy look and half tried to talk me out of it. Being my wimpy self, I just let the subject die and then made sure Ian got our desire across to the nurses. ha.

We found out later that epidurals are rarely (10% or less) given at this hospital because the locals believe that you will be paralyzed, so they really just use Nitrous Oxide (happy gas,) or some sort of injection.

Immediately after my waters broke, my contractions got super strong and I said "yes, epidural now please!" I had been contracting for 15 hours and hadn't slept in two days. I was tired, and I was so looking forward to a little bit of relaxing before the big "Push!"

The anaesthesiologist came in and things began to get a little dicey. I hadn't been worried or stressed about the epidural at all, so it tells you alot that this man made me NERVOUS. He started out by saying that an epidural was all about luck. He said "If I'm lucky, and you are lucky, then today your epidural will work."


I sat on the edge of the bed with Ian in front of me. He numbed my back and started barking orders to the nurses.

He yelled "relax!" at me numerous times whenever I contracted during the procedure.

He failed to tell me about the electric shock feeling that I had when he hit the dura and then he got angry at me for being surprised. Seriously.

He made Ian leave the room because he was apparently making it a "stressful environment." (He totally wasn't.)

This man had the worst bed side manner I had ever seen.

After he made Ian leave the room I sat sobbing on the bed just willing for the whole thing to be over so that horrible man would be gone.

Ian came back in and when the doctor tried to make him leave again (OH. YES.) I said "He STAYS!"

1 hour and 15 minutes later, the procedure was over and I was not numb at all. Turns out he kind of failed.

Maybe he just wasn't "lucky."

Or maybe I wasn't.

The epidural turned into a walking epidural, meaning my legs should feel heavy but not numb and that my pain should be a 2 on the scale of 1 to 10 instead of a 0 or 1, like in a regular epidural.

When my contractions carried on, I was definitely NOT at a 2, but when the doctor told me he wouldn't be leaving until my pain was 2.

So, I did what any red blooded American pregnant woman would do.

I lied.

Contraction 1- "Oh that was a 5"
Contraction 2- "Much better, that was a 4"
Contraction 3- "Definitely a 3!"
Contraction 4- "That felt great, it was a 2."

Bada Bing, Bada BOOM, crazy horrible bed side manner doctor left.

I got my one wish.

And even if I was still in bad pain, the sheer relief from having him gone was good enough for me.

The epidural kicked in over the next 20 minutes or so but one hour after the doctor left, the epidural wore completely off.

It was horrible. I never signed up for a medicine free labor. They popped on the happy gas mask and sent for the anesthesiologist. The happy gas was SO good and SO bad, all at the same time. I was relaxed but I was loopy beyond belief. I kept trying to get the mask off of me because I would rather deal with the pain but I didn't seem to have muscular control to manage that.

The doctor upped my dosage and I was instantly at a 2. It was amazing. And he left so I was even happier.

I suddenly had the urge to push. My nurse was a little alarmed. She checked me and I was still only 8-9 cm so she told me I couldn't push.

The next hour and a half was the worst part of the whole day. They wouldn't check me again since they didn't want to introduce in bacteria yet I wasn't allowed to push even though that's all I wanted to do. I think I murmured "Don't push, don't push, don't push!" with every contraction.

The sweet nurse was concerned and even disobeyed the doctors orders not to check me several times. Finally, she told me I could start pushing at 9 pm.

At this point I hadn't slept in almost 48 hours and was beyond exhausted. I was super concerned that I wouldn't have the strength to push Grace out.

Two hours and fifteen minutes later, after pushing 3 times for every contraction, and being told that she was only "10 minutes away," for over an hour by a very annoying but well meaning nurse, (while the doctor shook her head and looked skeptical, saying that if I pushed perfectly for every contraction, that she would be here in half an hour,) Grace Madeline Galloway was born!

As she was exiting, I heard the doctor say that she had passed her meconium, and I instantly knew that could mean trouble (or it could be perfectly fine.) As the pulled her the rest of the way, the doctor called for a couple of extra nurses and the pediatrician to come. They placed her on my chest and Grace let out one little cry before turning completely blue and stopped crying. They whisked her off of my chest over to the warming table and began working on her.

They had to put a tube down her nose and throat to suction out any possible meconium that could have been inhaled and were rubbing her to get her breathing or crying. It was proably only 1-2 minutes but it was a tense couple of minutes. Finally she was breathing and crying, and within 5 minutes her color was better.

I delivered my placenta and they showed it to me.
Like a really disgusting bowl that you would never want to eat out of.

They whisked her off to the NICU and I sent Ian to be with her while I was stitched up.

My local that they had given me when they gave me my (super small) episiotomy had worn off and they brought out the happy gas again. This time, I didn't fight it and I had a 20 minute nap while they finished.

Ian came back right afterwards and told me he had gotten to hold Grace and that she was being checked out in the NICU but that she was going to be just fine. They were going to keep her for observation for 24-48 hours so we sat back and tried to relax.

More on our hospital stay and Grace's time in the NICU.


LeAnna said...

What an awful anesthesiologist! I think it's amazing they let you eat while laboring. Here as soon as you're hooked up to any form of iv you're not supposed to. Of course, you can technically do whatever you want.
Not pushing thru contrax is soooo hard. I had to talk myself through each one too. Cant wait to read more, I love birth stories!

Emily said...

OH my goodness! I cannot believe what you had to deal with with the anesthesiologist. I would have lied to him too AND good for you for telling him your husband stays. Did the Dr. ever think that maybe he was the one making the enviroment stressful??!? Praise the Lord she is okay and healthy :) I am so happy for you and your family of 3!

Rae Nolt said...

LOVE your story! Congrats on your perfect little girl! Can't wait to read the rest of your hospital stay!

Erika said...

Oh my! What an adventure...So so sooo happy little Grace is healthy and happy:-)

Emily said...

Oh Britt! I'm so sorry you got the village idiot for an anesthesiologist! Sounds like he gave you a spinal block and not an epidural. Luck my is skill to practice medicine and he doesn't have it! I would have used the pain as an excuse to tell him what part of h@#% he could go to! I cannot believe they let you eat and drink! I'm still in awe that there is a website to help you time contractions! Amazing how far the technological support system has come for pregnant mothers!

Jenny @ Practically Perfect... said...

Wow - that epidural sounds horrible. Every time I've seen one done, it's over in like 15 minutes. They let you eat and drink during L&D here in NZ, and they also use Entonox (gas), but you have to hold the mask up yourself - it's not strapped on - so that you control the dosage. I've also not had any pelvic exams and likely won't until I'm in hospital and in labor. I guess it's just different depending on where you live :-)

Cara said...

I am so loving reading of these adventures of Grace's birth!

Sonya said...

I think I would have completely lost it with a doctor like that! I'm glad it turned out good in the end!

Callie said...

Oh my goodness, Brittney, that would be so scary to see her so blue like that! I'm glad she's doing okay now. And it's totally nice that they let you eat and drink during labor, because they typically don't here.

Your anesthesiologist sounds awful! No wonder they think you could get paralyzed with anesthesiologists like that. For future children that may be born in the states, know that if you get a good doc, the epidural is nearly painless and and absolutely lovely.
P.S. Could they not give you more medication with the epidural? Because they gave me a little clicker button to give myself more if it wore off . . .

Amber said... about scary. I don't blame you a bit for lying to that horrible doctor! I would've done the same thing!

So glad Grace is ok despite the scary moment right after birth!