Amanda and Madeleine

June 27, 2012 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

When I woke up on Tuesday, June 26th, I felt contractions that were stronger and more distinct than the contractions I’d been feeling on and off for a couple of weeks. Throughout the day, the contractions continued and were about 15 minutes to a half hour apart.

When I saw my OB in the afternoon, I was dilated to 1.5cm and 50-75% effaced. She stripped my membranes for the second week in a row and ran a fetal non-stress test because I was concerned that the baby had been abnormally quiet for the past several days. Although the contractions continued, my husband and I went out for a burger and gelato for dinner before heading home.

At home, in Kirkland, the contractions continued and began to get closer together and strong enough to really catch my attention. My husband and I took a 2-mile walk, and I suggested that he get some sleep because it seemed like labor was imminent. From about 10pm until 1am, I bounced on an exercise ball while reading a book between contractions. By 1:30am, I’d experienced contractions every five minutes lasting one minute for one hour. It was time to wake George and call the doctor!

I checked into triage at around 3am. Walking into the lobby, tears welled in my eyes upon seeing the night triage nurse. The moment I’d waited for for so long was finally here! The L&D triage nurses checked my progress and determined that I was about 1cm dilated – discouraging news given my earlier OB appointment. We walked the halls of Swedish for two hours and, as I did, the contractions seemed to be getting more painful.

We checked back with triage, and, after a cervix check, the nurse told me that I had not made any progress. I was given the options of going home unmedicated or going home after a morphine shot. Unhappy with either option, I left the hospital in tears. About a mile from the hospital, after having several contractions in the car, I declared that we were going to back to the hospital. Back at triage, my original nurse’s shift was ending and a different nurse checked my cervix. She determined that I had progressed, had a bulging sac causing pressure, and should be admitted to a room.

Around 7am, we were checked into the labor room; we met our nurse, Christie, who would stay with us for the entire day; and my OB checked in with us. I got into a good breathing rhythm, taking progressively longer breaths and then shorter breaths. I moved around the room and spent time laboring on the exercise ball and standing doing big swaying movements with my hips. Thankfully, my OB agreed with my wishes to not have an IV port, and she gave orders that I could have a general diet. After being up for so many hours and without food for more than12 hours, I took advantage and ate some hospital food and snacks we’d packed. Over several hours, I was set in a good rhythm, but the contractions didn’t seem to be getting any stronger, closer, or longer. Our nurse was really happy with how calm and controlled I was, using the breath to get through the contractions, and she showed me where I was getting a contraction and where my breathing was overriding it – pretty cool.

My OB came to check my cervix around 1:30pm. I was almost entirely effaced but had only progressed to about 2.5 or 3cm. We agreed with my OB that breaking the membranes was a good way to get the baby to drop and keep labor moving forward. Almost immediately, the contractions became significantly stronger, longer, and closer together with a great deal of pressure. These very strong contractions continued for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. I tried several laboring positions, including the Jacuzzi tub, none giving any relief. I stuck with my breathing pattern and relied very heavily on my husband to keep me focused and in control. As afternoon turned to evening, I was becoming exhausted and hopeful that transition would be coming soon.

My OB came to check on us when she finished her office appointments, around 6:30pm. She checked my cervix, and I had only dilated to 4cm. Everyone was surprised and disappointed. She gave me the options of continuing labor as is, getting a narcotic to take the edge off the contractions, or getting a spinal epidural. I told her that I could keep going if we thought it’d only be another hour or so to active labor…but that I didn’t think active labor was that close given my mere 4cm dilation. She confirmed that it would be much more than an hour with labor typically progressing at 1cm per hour. I knew that I didn’t want the narcotic; however, I knew that I needed relief if I wanted to have a vaginal birth.

I requested the spinal epidural, which was administered around 7pm – after first getting an IV. It may have just been my perception, but it seemed like the contractions were coming even faster as the anesthesiologist was administering the epidural. Then, almost immediately after the epidural was complete, the contractions faded into the background; I could feel them, but they were weak enough that I didn’t feel the need to respond to them. This allowed my husband and me to catch some much needed rest while the baby and I were monitored continuously.

About two hours later, the on-call OB came in to check me and discovered I was complete and ready for active labor. About 30 minutes of pushing later, our daughter, Madeleine Ngaire, was born…on Wednesday, June 27th at 10:30pm. As the OB was putting her onto my chest, the umbilical cord ruptured because it was exceptionally short (less than 12 inches). This didn’t cause any medical issues for either of us. Madeleine weighed 7 lbs. 4.2 oz. and was 19.5 in. long and continues to be happy and healthy.

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