On 21 December 2011, our early Christmas gift, Erik Raem arrived. My waters broke at 545am. But I wasn’t feeling any surges then. I woke up Stan and we waited for Naima to wake up. I called my doctor when their office opened at 9am. Since I wasn’t feeling any contractions, they asked me to go to their clinic where the nurse practitioner on duty could check me up. Since Stan wasn’t up to driving, I drove to the clinic and the nurse practitioner confirmed that my waters indeed had broke. She spoke to the OB on call – Dr. Grimm (who also delivered Naima 4 years ago) and informed me that I had to head out to the hospital ASAP!
I knew that since my waters already broke, my OB will be watching me closely and will eventually put me in pitocin. So we decided to grab some lunch first. The nurse practitioner told me that I shouldn’t be eating anymore since to do a C/S delivery they would need me to be on an empty stomach, with the last meal 8 hours ago. So I told her, that’s ok. If I eat at 12nn, you can do C/S at 8pm.
We finally got to the hospital at about 2pm. Dr. Grimm was already there and he had me checked into a Labor Delivery Room (Room 308). The thing about my hospital is that they are a baby factory and their goal for this year was to deliver 10,000 babies! So I know that my hopes for a natural labor were quite limited. Plus my doula was sick that day! So she had to send a back-up doula – Heidi who was quite terrific.
From 2pm, I was debating about whether to ask Heidi to come or not. She was constantly in touch through SMS and phone calls. But at that point, I wasn’t feeling any of the surges yet. The difficult part about having a back-up doula was that it was going to be the first time I was going to meet her and we didn’t set parameters of the birth I wanted, etc. etc.
The LDR that day was quite crazy and I was seen by about 4 different nurses. At about 4pm, Dr. Grimm came into the room and told me that he wanted me to start pitocin to jumpstart labor since my surges were really irregular. During his IE, I was only 4cm dilated and about 90% effaced. In hindsight, I think I should have asked Heidi to come immediately when I checked in so we could have done some things to jumpstart my labor naturally – e.g. bouncing on a birth ball.
Anyway, I agreed to the pitocin (which Dr. Grimm told me was to be at the lowest level only). It was administered by the nurse in charged of my LDR – Tane (who was horrible – more on that later!!) at about 430pm. She told me that Dr. Schulman was coming to replace Dr. Grimm at about 530pm. Heidi came at about 5pm. My surges were beginning to be quite regular but quite manageable. Heidi told me that she could help me sit on a birth ball (ruled out by Tane!). Heidi also heated up some pads for my back. Meanwhile, Stan was playing one of my hypnobirthing CDs in the background. Heidi had a Masters in Public Health and did her thesis on the use of pitocin. So I spent sometime during my labor interviewing her about her paper and learned how cow hormones (yikes!) used to be injected in laboring mothers until they were able to create a synthetic hormone – now marketed as Pitocin.
Dr. Schulman arrived at 630pm and did another IE. At this time I was already 5cm dilated with baby in 0 station. I expected to deliver at about 9pm. By 645pm, the surges were beginning to be quite intense and I was feeling better trying to labor on my side. But again the nurse Tane was quite horrible during this time (see below). During intense surges, Stan was holding my hand while Heidi was patting my legs and reminding me to breathe.
At 715pm, I told Stan that the surges were very intense and I WANTED THAT EPIDURAL!! Heidi then called the nurse and asked the doctor to come. Dr. Schulman and the new nurse on duty – Susan came at about 730pm and went into panic mode. Apparently, I was already fully dilated, with Erik at +3 station – meaning he was already crowning!! Stan said he could see Erik’s head already!
I felt the strongest urge to poo but was told to hold it as they were preparing for my delivery. Heidi told me to do whatever feels comfortable to me. After about 4 huge pushes, Erik Raem was born at 745pm. During the pushing, Stan said I was turning purple :O. I did tear – minor according to Dr. Schulman who stitched me up with a local anesthetic.
Stan, Erik and I stayed in the labor and delivery room for about 1 hour. During this time, I signed a waiver for the release of my placenta and big Achi Naima visited us. She was so excited and Stan was able to shoot a photostory. My placenta was stored in the LDR refrigerator and we picked it up two days later on discharge day.
Next up: My learnings from Erik’s birth