The clock starts ticking when your water breaks. Convential medicine gives women 24 hours to go into labor before panic sets in. I can’t blame them since babies can get infections once the bag of waters breaks.
My water broke at 6:30 am and I experienced mild, irregular contractions for the day. We checked into the hospital at 9pm, though we were supposed to check right in but I sent us to triage (oops). My husband and I had planned to have a natural childbirth (or as natural as possible). We spent 11 weeks in a Bradley Childbirth class to prepare for the event. I was ready to walk and squat my way to delivery.
My body was not on board with this plan, however. We were given cervidil that first night which led to pitocin the next day. I had hoped to avoid pitocin as it can be hard on your body but also very hard on the baby. You can’t eat when on pitocin but I could walk around the hospital floor thanks to a telemetry unit for monitoring my contractions and the baby’s heartbeat. I did squats in the hallway, walked like a duck, walked stairs in the garden.
And got nowhere.
So, night two, cervidil again, this time for 11 hours. The next day, back on the pitocin. I have, at this point, several pokes in my arms from blood draws and attempts to put saline blocks into my swollen but uncooperative veins.
At this point, my back hurts, I haven’t eaten, and I’m crabby. My body aches from the contractions. My hands hurt from carpal tunnel syndrome (pregnancy related) and my feet are swollen. I want my baby and I want to not be pregnant anymore.
The pitocin racheted up the contractions but by hour 57, the nurse cut the dose in half because the baby’s heartrate was fluttering under the onslaught of too strong and too close together contractions. We also found out that my cervix hadn’t changed, really. It was long and solid, not thin and ready to go. The doctor couldn’t feel the baby’s head at all.
From natural childbirth to C-section. It wasn’t our plan, but the class and our own research as well as the presence of our doula helped my husband and me make decisions, or at least feel like we made our decisions.
Sixty hours after my water broke, the doctors pulled our daughter out, healthy and happy. Her 14-inch noggin never made it near the cervix, hence the lack of change. As I lay on the table, I could hear the doctors talking excitedly. It turns out that we were doubly lucky as the placenta and umbilical cord were dangerously joined. Instead of the umbilical cord inserting in the placenta as is normal, it was incorporated into the membrane that surriounded the baby (Warning: graphic pictures) in a condition called valementous cord insertion. If the membrane had broken near the arteries or vein that ran through it, the baby would have hemorrhaged and died.
Everything happens for a reason.
The baby is home and gained back the weight she lost in the hospital plus an ounce for luck.