In the weeks leading up to the birth of my baby boy, I began having contractions. This was a new and novel experience for me, because I’d never had any with Elisebeth (that I felt) before I was being induced. And even then, it was the middle of my 13-hour induction before I actually felt them. I had certainly never time them. So, after dilating to a three, I began a pattern of great frustration. I would have two days of regular contractions, followed by two to three days of nothing. And I was remaining dilated to a three.
Shortly before all this contraction madness, I had developed major hip/leg pain that only got worse as I neared my due date. I’d had to stop working, but I still hadn’t had a baby. Not even Black Friday shopping had sent me into real labor.
My OB is a big fan of inducing labor once a pregnancy has reached the stage where it’s a healthy option. I don’t know all of his reasons, but I do know that he prefers delivering babies in a somewhat controlled situation. As opposed to the chaos that can be having a baby. Either way, I was scheduled to induce on November 30. After watching The Business of Being Born, though, I was hoping to try for a more natural experience. I already knew I was going to labor painkiller-free. Why not let the baby pick his own birthday too? I was all set to cancel the induction.
And then another round of contractions got close enough that we went to the hospital. They weren’t painful, so I made sure to take my time in getting there. But they were 2-8 minutes apart and they were that close for several hours. I was supposed to go to the hospital. After a couple hours of observation, I was still dilated to a three, so they sent me home. Without a baby.
The next day, I talked to my OB about canceling the induction, but by then, I was finally dilated to a four. He said it was surprising that I was at a four without being in the hospital having a baby. And he suggested that I would most likely be having more days of contractions that would lead to trips to the hospital without resulting babies. Not exactly an inexpensive thought. And then he said that if I went ahead with the induction, I should have a baby by noon.
So we arrived at the hospital at 7am on November, 30. It took a little while to get me set up and get the doctor’s orders, but I would say that the oxytocin was started by 8am. The nurses commented that it seemed like a large does, and I don’t really know, but my contractions with this one got far more intense than with Elisebeth. I never screamed or cried with her (just whined a lot). I did both before we were done having him.
I should have known things were going to get interesting when they couldn’t reach my doctor to come break my water. A resident that worked with him came in to do that at 11:04 am. I had a baby as 12:07 pm. The problem was, my doctor still wasn’t there. The medical term is “spontaneous delivery” though it didn’t seem all that spontaneous, considering they were pumping drugs into me in an effort to make it happen. But all it means is that I had the baby without the doctor present. My son was delivered by the charge nurse on duty that day.
The real comedy of my delivery started after my son was already here. I’m guessing that if a woman is going to hemorrhage, it’s going to happen when the placenta is delivered, because the nurses were not allowed to do that part. The nurse delivered my boy, my husband cut the cord, and I sat there with my feet still up in the stirrups for the next ten minutes while we waited for the doctor to finally arrive. When he did, we found out that they’d been paging him incorrectly and the only message he’d gotten was the last one, which said that I’d had the baby and he needed to get there NOW.
After some mild ribbing about the fact that he’d said “baby by noon” and it’d been 12:07, he got settled in and delivered the placenta (which feels super weird when it happens so much later than the baby).
At this point, I have to say that if you are a healthcare professional, you should always take care of yourself by at least eating a small snack when you’re hungry. He delivered the placenta and one of the student nurses passed out. Which would have been memorable enough, but she hit the table holding the instruments and cut her head open. They wheeled her down to the ER and I found out later that she’d cut down to the bone and a plastic surgeon had to be called in to stitch her up. I imagine she was also terribly embarrassed when their instructor took time to discuss what to do when you think you’re going to pass out during their next class.
After that, things settled down. I got stitched up and finally got to see my baby boy. As expected, I was immediately smitten.
Nathan was born at 12:07 pm on November 30, 2010. He was 7 lbs 9 oz and 19 in long.