Read Part One HERE
My phone ringing jolted us awake. I looked at the clock and it was just after eight. I sat up as Andrew passed the phone to me. Our midwife was on the other line and my heart sunk when she said I was GBS positive. I felt like it was the phone call from last week telling me I couldn’t give birth at home all over again. Our plans were falling apart; nevertheless, I was a little bit excited and very eager to meet our baby. We got our things together and drove back to the hospital, even managing to get our same pre-paid spot which still had several hours on it! (The amount of money we spent on hospital parking in the 2 weeks surrounding our birth would end up costing much more than what we would have spent on everything for our home birth.)
Up we went, again, to triage where I opted to sit in a chair with my hot water bottle on my sore back instead of lay in an uncomfortable bed. We waited a little while before our room was ready, hoping it would be one of two with a tub so at least I could labor in the water like I had hoped. Unfortunately, all the tub rooms were full so we settled in to a regular, but very nice, private room where my midwife hooked up my IV and started fluids and antibiotics. She made sure we were comfortable and then left.
The view from our room
This couch folds out into a bed - where he would sleep the next five nights
Last belly pic!
We ended up sitting around for about 5 hours waiting for a nurse to be available. We ate toast and then a hospital lunch before our nurse arrived. I was thankful to have the extra time to let labour start on its own but by the time the nurse came I was only feeling back pain once every half hour or so. She started the drugs and seemed excited for me. I wanted to say that this wasn’t what I wanted, that this was a last resort not something to be excited about, but I just stayed quiet and waited to feel something happen. She asked what I wanted for pain medication. I told her about our planned home birth where none would have been available. She asked about my pain tolerance and I gave an uncertain answer. I didn’t end up needing much pitocin before things picked up on their own.
Slowly but surely, contractions started coming. They were not what I expected. It was just my lower back pain getting more and more intense, not that intense crampy ache women always talk about. It didn’t feel like I was in labour, just like I was experiencing useless pain. The nurse said it was back labour. That my labour “would suck and that vaginal birth was not impossible just less likely.” (This makes her sound terrible but really she was awesome and our savior especially during the long nights we spent at the hospital after the birth.) I got through these early contractions by rocking in a chair and having Andrew do knee presses. Eventually the nurse suggested I call my doula to come, thank god I did. She arrived when I was in the washroom and when I got out I was so glad to see her. She had us do laps around the maternity wing, me dragging my IV around and stopping every once and a while to brace myself on the wall while I quietly breathed and rocked back and forth through the increasing pain of each contraction. I became a bit nauseous and thirsty so Andrew got me some Ginger ale. I went back to our room after a few laps because the pain was starting to get to a point where I didn’t want to be seen coping with it by random hospital staff or other people’s visitors.Back at the room I tried sitting on a birthing ball but I had intense pressure in my rectum that made sitting excruciating so I continued to stand, hunched over, legs bend and apart, swaying side to side through the contractions. I tried to take the deepest breaths I could and let my exhalations relax my whole body. This only helped so much. Our doula suggested I get in the shower to ease some pain. I had been on continuous fetal heart monitoring this whole time, it was wireless so I could walk around and get wet but we had to keep adjusting it when I or the baby would shift too much. I stripped down to my underwear and Andrew held the showerhead on my lower back. I was still standing, still swaying, but I was already exhausted. I had only slept a couple hours in the last day and a half and my legs wanted to give out. The water felt so good but the pain escalated. I started to cry out and moan a lot. I began to question whether I could do it. I even said out loud over and over that I couldn’t. I wanted someone to offer me drugs, but I was too proud to ask. Also, I knew that if I had drugs it could make pushing take longer and I wanted this to be over. Our doula said I was coping wonderfully, that I was helping the baby down and that I would see them soon. I felt like she was lying to me. She would periodically offer me a straw to drink from and she had brought our candles into the bathroom so we didn’t have to have the bright lights on. She would suggest a new position just when I was at a breaking point. I am so thankful for her. Andrew was soaked from the back spray of the showerhead and probably freezing cold so someone gave him dry scrubs to change into. He never complained once.
Our nurse kept coming into the bathroom to adjust my monitor. Eventually, she said I had to get out as it was too hard to capture the heartbeat. I had probably been in the shower for well over an hour. They helped me out of my wet things and into and IV gown. I was forced to lie in bed. As nice as it was to lie down and rest my legs the pain was unbearable in that position. I began to lose it. I was squeezing Andrews hand, saying over and over I can’t do it. I complained about the horrible pressure in my butt. It felt like my body was going split in half. I lost all my self control and yelled “My Butt my Butt!” I grabbed the side rail of the bed and shook it back and forth. I remember bringing Andrew’s hand up to my mouth to bite it but managed to stop myself thinking they would really think I was crazy if I did that. The doula and Andrew leaned over me with reassurances. The nurse, realizing I needed something to keep me going, said she would check me. I was at 8cm. I didn’t care, this had to end. Why do people do this to themselves, why would anyone ever do this more than once!? The nurse called my midwife who was now on the way. She offered me the gas, the only thing I had said I was ok with on my birth plan as it doesn’t affect the baby. She said it wouldn’t take away the pain it would just make me care a lot less. It helped a little at first but I had no idea how thankful I would be for it in the end and how it helped me to zone out of the chaos. I breathed it in and squeezed my eyes shut. I would only open them two or three times before it was all over.