Thursday, May 18, 2017

My labor & delivery story, Part 3: Steadily more intense

We went right to triage and up to the labor and delivery floor. The nurses strapped me up to the monitor for fifteen minutes. One nurse put in an IV site, just for emergency reasons, if something were to happen and I needed one.

Kim got there after a bit and asked, "Are you ready to get in the tub?"
I asked, "Has it been fifteen minutes? The nurses said I needed twenty minutes of monitoring."
"They listen to me. I'm the boss. You're ready for the tub," Kim replied.

As I took off my gown and just had a sleep nursing bra on I thought, "Renee is going to see a lot more of me than she ever has before."

I was in the tub for a while, but can't say for how long. Time passed by fast. Contractions got steadily more intense. I just did my candle breathing I learned from Lamaze and held onto the two bars on the sides of the tub. I bent my knees and would move my feet to try to get through each contraction.

Renee finally got a hold of my husband. I heard her ask, "Where are you? Colleen is in labor! Do you want to talk to her?"

She handed me the phone and I heard my husband say, "Hey babe, how's it going?" in a softer, more gentle voice than usual.
I said, "I'm OK. Where are you?" Then a contraction started and I couldn't talk.
He asked, "Are you there?"
"Yes, I'm having a contraction."
"You sound like you're doing really well. I'm proud of you. You're doing great. I love you."
"I love you, too."

During my labor, I occasionally heard the nurses say, "You're doing awesome" or "great breathing." Maybe that would be helpful for some people, but I really just wanted quiet and to focus on breathing through each contraction. Renee sat on the couch crocheting a prayer shawl. She knew I was doing well on my own. She would get me water when I asked for it and gave me some chapstick to use.

One time, Kim was right next to the tub as I opened my eyes. She asked me if I liked the smell of lavender. I said yes and she put some essential oil on my temples and on a tissue that floated in the water directly under my chin.

After a bit, I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. I remember reading that you should keep your bladder empty to help during labor. I couldn't remember how long it had been since I'd gone to the bathroom. The nurses had a large, warm towel for me and after my next contraction, I shuffled over to the bathroom.

I don't know how long I sat on the toilet for, but Kim brought a stool over and sat right in front of me.  I was slightly bent forward with my hands on my thighs. Kim told me to slow my breathing down and then I started to moan and groan. There was a lot of pressure and I felt like I needed to push, but I didn't feel dilated enough to do so. Kim had to keep reminding me to moan lower in my throat, to not strain or tense up.

I was getting really sweaty. I was dripping onto the floor and my hands started sliding down my legs. I wanted to lay down and get more comfortable. I shuffled over to the bed and laid on my left side. I knew I didn't want to labor on my back and I didn't want to squat because I read that may increase chances of tearing.

Kim had ice cold wash cloths and put them on my neck and head. They felt so nice! When I had really close contractions and the urge to push, Kim said I could. She then asked Renee to be the towel lady and take over putting new cold cloths on my forehead. Renee didn't feel like she had done much, but having her be there was a comfort. I didn't want to be there alone in this moment.

I held onto the handle on the side of the bed. When Kim said to push during my next contraction, I just held on tighter.

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