As everyone knows, I was due with my second child on February 4 and went well past my due date. I was scheduled for induction on February 17 if she didn’t arrive before then.
What you may not know because I don’t talk about it much on this blog is that I’m currently living overseas in Uruguay. So, I had the additional pressure of having a baby in a country where I’m not totally fluent in the language.
I had very mixed feelings about my birthing experience with Zoë, so I was really hoping to have a positive experience this time around. I knew I’d be in for some surprises giving birth in a foreign country, but I was hoping that they’d be mostly pleasant surprises.
I had been having mild contractions on and off for a couple of weeks, but nothing consistent or productive. On Saturday afternoon (February 13), I decided to walk down to the mall with Zoë in the stroller and start doing laps around the mall. We walked around for a couple of hours and returned home.
I was in the living room working on my computer and I kept feeling like I had an upset stomach, so I’d run back to the bathroom, but I’d feel better after a minute. After I’d done that three or four times I realized that I might be having contractions. This was around 6:45 pm.
So, I pulled up contractionmaster.com and started to time the contractions. They were irregular… sometimes 10 minutes apart and sometimes 2 minutes apart. They were different than the other contraction I’d had, but still not any more painful than period cramps so I wasn’t sure that it was real labor.
At 7:44 pm I was sitting on the couch timing my contractions when my water broke. I surely wasn’t expecting that! Because I was Group B Strep positive, we hopped into action. Our friends Brent and Leanne came to pick up Zoë and I took an ambulance to the hospital (I wasn’t about to hop in a taxi with my water broken!). Brian and our friend Clara (who was there to help translate for me) met me there while I was checking in.
It was about 8:30 pm when I got checked into the hospital. I was dilated to 4 cm and was having mild, irregular contractions. They administered my first dose of antibiotics and I got settled into my room and hooked up to the monitors.
About three hours later, the doctor came in to check me and I was still only dilated to 4-5 cm. I wasn’t all that surprised because my contractions weren’t very painful or consistent. The doctor noticed my bag of waters was still partially intact, so he finished breaking it.
Then he uttered the dreaded word… pitocin. I started to cry, almost hysterically. I was induced with Zoë and couldn’t imagine going down that path again. That was the last thing I wanted. If I was going to end up on pitocin anyways, why did I hold out 10 days past my due date?
The doctor insisted it was necessary to regulate my contractions since my water was broken and we didn’t want to increase the risk of transmission of Group B Strep to the baby. I was hoping to go without an epidural this time, but I knew with pitocin that just wasn’t going to happen.
So, I asked to have an anesthesiologist called. The anesthesiologist I planned on using was unavailable, so they provided a list of every anesthesiologist that was authorized to work at the hospital (there were about 10). Well go figure, not a single one was available.
What I didn’t realize at the time was it was the first night of a weekend long celebration of Carnaval. Everyone was out of town, or out on the town.
The nurse brought the pitocin into the room and I started to freak out. I couldn’t do this without an epidural if they were going to give me pitocin. After seeing how upset I was, the doctor agreed to give me more time to see if I would progress before administering the pitocin.
This was shortly after midnight.
After having my water completely broken, my contractions picked up in intensity and frequency significantly. They immediately became regular and intense. I knew that I had to be progressing, so I believed that I made the right decision to ask for more time before agreeing to pitocin.
I was having back labor and Brian was doing his best to use counter pressure to help. He promised me my back was going to be bruised with how hard he was pressing, but I didn’t care at the time. I was having very few breaks between contractions, but was doing my best to breathe through them (thank goodness I used to do a lot of yoga and was able to utilize the breathing and focus techniques I had acquired).
Then all of a sudden I felt the urge to push. I had no idea what time it was, but it didn’t feel like it was too long after the doctor had been in. I didn’t think there was any way I could be fully dilated already. We called for the doctor and sure enough, I was fully dilated.
Unfortunately at the hospital I was delivering at, they have you labor in one room and deliver in another. I was put on a stretcher and hauled over to the delivery room. In the meantime, they made Brian and Clara put on surgical clothes and masks to enter the delivery room.
The urge to push was so strong that I couldn’t hold back. I had no idea what that would feel like since I had an epidural with Zoë.
I was pushing on the stretcher, but as soon as the got me into the delivery room and up on the table I knew that this delivery would be much easier and faster than Zoë’s. When I was on the delivery table, I pushed and I guess I started to tear in a bad direction because the doctor quickly gave me an episiotomy.
On that push, Brian and Clara walked in the room and Kaylee’s head was out. One more good push and Kaylee Joy was born. My little Valentine’s baby was born at 1:10 am. Less than an hour after they told me I needed pitocin! Ha. I showed them.
She weighed in at 8 pounds 10 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. Much smaller than her sister, but still not a small baby by any means.
Overall, this birthing experience was very good – it was a sharp contrast to my experience with Zoë. I’m very happy that I did not have to be induced this time, and that I was able to give birth without the assistance of drugs. It may not have been my decision at the time, but I’m very pleased with how things turned out.