And along came Molly, part one

Here goes…

To be completely honest, I’m not sure when it really began. On Tuesday, February 28, with 38 weeks under the belt (literally), we had a prenatal check up and the nurse asked me if I wanted a cervical exam. I felt odd saying yes (who wants a cervical exam?) but I was curious to know what was going on down there. Well, the NP did the exam — ouch! — and nada was going on. Actually, baby sweet potato’s head was at a semi decent station (I’ve blocked what it was — negative two, maybe) but I had 100% zero dilation. Additionally, the NP seemed to have quite a hard time even finding my cervix. This was both painful and kinda disturbing. The true issue of the day was my asthma. All through the appointment, I was a super wheezer. It really wasn’t pretty. Maybe because I had no baby remotely poking out of me, I had baby putting some major pressure on my lungs and airway. Or at least that’s my medical diagnosis. The NP sent me off to Urgent Care to get a nebulizer treatment for my asthma because, in her words, I “could not go into labor breathing” the way I was. The second half of my third trimester was marked by super bad asthma. I was going through rescue inhalers faster than I was going through episodes of The Office (watched a ton of the NBC show on Netflix’s Instant Watch — I felt like I didn’t have the Pam-Roy-Jim-Karen timeline down right. Now I feel like I could do some serious damage at a trivia contest). So, that was Tuesday.

I felt a lot of nausea on Wednesday, February 29, and ended up working from home to try to be a little more comfortable. Nothing very eventful happened, though, and I went to bed at a normal hour. I woke up around 3:30 or so on Thursday morning and felt some pain. Pain may not be the right word – it was more like discomfort. At 3:30 in the morning, though, I wasn’t thinking very clearly and tried to go back to sleep. Around 4:30 am, I realized I still had the discomfort and started to think, “Hmm. Could these actually be contractions?” Aaron was still sleeping and I didn’t see any need to wake him up, but I did start to use the What to Expect app’s contraction counter. The pain I was feeling was similar to a menstrual cramp except that, of course, it came and went pretty regularly. It came and went about every six minutes for about 45 seconds a pop. I started to realize that I may, indeed, be in labor. This was both reassuring and terrifying. It seemed so crazy to me that it was happening — I mean, after all this time and then it’s just so…undramatic.  Gracie and Aaron were just snoring away while I was watching episodes of Gossip Girl and, at the same time, I’m having a baby. Crazy. Sidenote: For reasons I can’t explain, I decided to put Gossip Girl — a show that I had never before seen more than ten minutes of — in our Netflix Instant Watch queue and watch several seasons while going through these labor pains at home. So, things just seemed so … calm. In fact, I wasn’t even sure what to say when Aaron woke up, which was probably around seven or so. I felt a little guilty telling him that I didn’t think we should go into work and that, you know, I might be having our baby in the super-near future. So, we sat around watching Gossip Girl as I waited for the contraction counter to show me that it was time to head to the hospital. We’d been told to wait until the contractions were about a minute long and three to five minutes apart. The thing is, though, they seemed to be getting a little longer in duration, but were hanging out at more like the five minute mark than the three, so we kept waiting. Around 11, though, we called the triage area of the birthing center at Meriter and relayed what had been going on…We were told that we could come on in, but the nurse didn’t sound convinced we were having this baby any time soon and I don’t think Aaron and I were even sure there was really a baby in there at all. But off to the hospital we went! Given that Meriter is only about a mile away, I felt like we could save face and just, you know, drop in to see what was happening. No big deal. We walked in, passing outgoing baby-makers with their flowers and balloons and, I suppose, babies and waltzed on up to the fourth floor birthing area. The triage room was super boring and I’m sure it’s just because I was enormous — being preggers and all — but the bed felt like three-quarters of a twin bed. Anyway, long story short (that phrase always reminds me of one of my aunt Terry’s answering machine/voicemail messages, which are always anything but), I’m hooked up to the contraction monitoring machine and the baby heart rate machine (both pretty cool, in my opinion) and then I *get* to have another cervical exam. The result after seven hours of contractions? I’m two centimeters dilated! Thud. What a disappointment. Keep in mind non-pregnancy focused peeps, you’ve got to get that cervix to ten centimeters of dilation before you get the green light to push that baby out. Two centimeters. ‘Oh my gosh,’ I think, ‘At this rate, this baby may not be here until Labor Day.’ Well, that’s a polite way of relaying what I was thinking. So, we’re advised to stay put for an hour and someone will remeasure my cervix then. Oh, awesome. We stay put and watch Jeopardy!, which is AO’s favorite daytime show, and are treated to an episode of Youth Jeopardy! This means I am slightly more successful at the show than I usually am. AO keeps shouting nonsense about the unprecedented nature of the contestants’ boldness — Daily Double insanity — but I don’t really know what he’s talking about. In addition to being in pain and uncomfortable, I can’t help replaying the nurse’s words: “It could be false labor.” What? If this is false labor, I’m petrified. One, it doesn’t seem to have any end in sight — how long can I keep this up? Two, I’ve dilated two centimeters in two days so doesn’t that mean something? Three, if this is false…? Ugh. After an hour, a twelve-year-old resident comes in, measures me (not knowing I’ve previously been measured, which is pretty annoying) and pronounces me three centimeters dilated. Well! A centimeter in an hour seems impressive to me! But, the twelve-year-old tells me what I’ve been thinking for months, “Different people measure differently.” Obviously a centimeter is a centimeter, but no one is exactly sticking a ruler in there. Resident twelve-year-old tells us we can stay or we can go and come back later. So, we can stay in this tiny triage room until…I’m not sure what, or we can go home and watch Gossip Girl and come back when I’m more in labor labor. I’m paraphrasing the options. We decided to go home. Before we leave, though, I ask the resident what needs to change, what symptoms I should have, in order to come back to be actually admitted to the hospital. She says, “Oh, you’ll just know” and smiles. I said, “Yeah, I thought I knew this time.” This was snarky of me because, well, I obviously didn’t know as evidenced by me not even recognizing the pains in the first place, but it really annoys me when medical professionals give this tidbit as ‘advice.’ It’s just not helpful. So, home we go. Gossip Girl. Gossip Girl. Gossip Girl. I don’t know if you agree, or know, Dear Reader, but Gossip Girl is really not a very good show. It’s not even a very good guilty pleasure because it’s pretty damn boring. It’s kinda good laboring entertainment, though, because it’s mindless and it never matters if you miss five minutes — you can easily figure out what happened and you never really ‘miss’ it. All of this probably explains why I haven’t watched a single second of the show post-Molly.

Ok, so we’re home. Aaron brings me a delicious Skinny Cheese with spicy mustard from Milio’s and we do nothing but wait and time the contractions (and watch Gossip Girl) all afternoon. At some point, I eat Twizzlers and Aaron takes a nap. The contractions hurt a lot but they don’t seem to be getting much closer together or that much longer. The intensity of each one, though, seems to increase. I don’t know if they’re actually more intense, though, or if they’re just wearing me out. Finally, around 9 pm, we decide to head back to the hospital. Although nothing has changed considerably and I certainly don’t ‘just know,’ I know that I can’t just keep this up. I can’t sleep with this level of pain and regular discomfort, so we make the move back to triage. When we get there, I tell them that things seem to be about the same, but maybe a little longer in duration, a little closer together and a little more intense. When asked if my water has broken, I say, ‘Maybe.’ ‘Maybe’ is true, but I also feel like I say it just so the staff doesn’t think I’m some sort of malingering person. I feel a little weird taking up everyone’s time with all of this, but things feel so weird, it just seems like professionals should be involved. A nurse does a test to determine whether my water has broken. A resident comes into the room and tells us the results were inconclusive. Uh, hmm. He says he needs to do another test that will involve a sample, a microscope and a positive result that will look like frost on a window. Let’s be clear: neither the nurse’s test or the res’s is at all comfortable. The res does the exam and declares there to be amniotic fluid in the house and no further examination – or frosty microscopic examination – is necessary. Reader, we have a winner! My water had been broken and we are good to go. YIKES! We are good to go. A baby is coming. A BABY IS COMING. At this point, Dr. Resident (redundant a bit, I know) tells us that we are going to be admitted to the birthing center (for reasons I can’t explain, this feels like a victory) but I need to decide if I want to just hang out in my present state — contracting every five minutes or so, for about sixty seconds — or if I want to step things up and start the Pitocin. Dr. Resident says that I could stay au naturel and linger in my present state for another thirty some hours or amp it up. I know the Pitocin treatment isn’t what people relish, but because I had been up for eighteen painful hours, on the heels of bad pregnancy sleep and asthma problems, the thought of being awake another day and more was seriously frightening. ‘Bring on the Pitocin,’ I said.

We were admitted to our lovely birthing suite around 11 pm. After a short tour of the room, Megan, our amazing nurse — she was with us from 11 pm until 8 am, stuck a needle into my right hand, administering the Pitocin and saline drip. On my left arm, Megan placed a blood pressure band. Both of these would remain in me, or around me, as the case may be, for the duration of the labor.

And then…


7 Responses to “And along came Molly, part one”

  1. 1 Raoser April 2, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    OMG! Thank you for starting this one! Though now I can’t wait for Part Two. But I will. I will. 🙂

  2. 2 Sara H April 3, 2012 at 9:00 am

    It’s like the end of the first Hunger Games book – you’re all sucked in, and them boom! It’s over and you can’t wait to find out what happened next! I hope it’s that you only had another 2 hours of labor or something and it was over.

  3. 3 Kristin April 3, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Ack! More more more!

  4. 4 kateandgracie April 3, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Hee hee. Oh, you kids are funny!

  5. 5 Tammy April 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    You are sorta leaving us all in suspense, especially since I’ve never actually seen the little sweet potato in real life! (so true on Terry’s email/voice mails btw).

  6. 6 kateandgracie April 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Hahahahah — thank you, Tammy, for backing me up on that! Ok, ok…I’ll get to the rest of the story asap.

  7. 7 Terry April 3, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    This is worse than having to watch an entire elimination episode of DWTS! (which may still be better than Gossip Girl). I need part 2! Wait…how many parts are there going to be??

    And for the record, I never say “long story short.” I might say “I’ll cut to the chase” but usually the darn answering machine cuts me off in mid sentence and I have to call back.

    I am hanging in to hear the vomit episode. It was the most frightening thought (and only thought) I had when they told me I was an “8.”

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April 2012

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