Our Birth Story: Part One
Over the next series of posts, I will share the story of the birth of our daughter. While the eventual outcome was joyous, the path there was somewhat less than ideal. I am not writing this to frighten anyone, or to lament the circumstances. I am writing to let people know that sometimes, things don’t go as planned, and even when things seem impossibly difficult, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This is part one.
My wife was due March 29, 2005. Despite many ultrasounds (due to an “over ripe” placenta – seriously, that’s what they called it; like it was some kind of fruit or something) taken in anticipation of having a reason to induce labor, she still had not given birth on March 29. That night (March 29) she was very chatty, and we wound up talking until almost midnight (my routine is to get up at 5:30am, so this was a late night for us).
At 2am I am awakened by her feeble calls from the bathroom. I jump out of bed with a start (mostly because I was sound asleep). She tells me that her water broke (she had laid towels down on the bed) and that now she feels constipated and very crampy. I ask her what I can do, and she tells me to call the maternity ward nurse’s station at our local hospital for guidance. I call them (and in hindsight I can hear them snickering at me under their breath) and explain the situation. They tell me that the cramps are likely contractions, and that when they approach five minutes apart we should drive to the hospital.
At 5am, after a shower and phone calls to our parents, we leave with contractions in the five to six minute range. I am eerily calm. We arrive at the hospital and I drop my wife at the door and go park. She waits for me inside and we go up to the maternity floor together.
They put her on a fetal monitor in a triage room and we wait. The moans of agony continue to escalate from my wife as I stand by helpless. I watch as our assigned nurse spends ten minutes trying to start an IV without success. There is blood on the floor from the process, much to my horror. We finally get the IV started with the help of a second nurse.
At around 7am they move us to a delivery room. My wife is told that shift change is rapidly approaching, and that she has the following choices… option 1: get an epidural now; option 2: wait until potentially 9am to receive an epidural. She opts for option 1. Half an hour (and three failed “starts”) later she has an epidural line we would later learn was not properly inserted. They assess the situation, and find that she is over 7cm dilated but not effaced. Our new nurse (shift change) nonchalantly tells us we will be holding our baby before 11am.
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