I've spent the last year reviewing the day of Cooper's birth in my head so that I could write it down accurately but it's starting to fade so I better get this down ASAP. Here's what happened:
So, I was all settled into my lovely hospital room. I had a thing on one of my left hand fingers to monitor my blood oxygenation, and an IV in my left arm. My right arm had a blood pressure cuff that measured my pressure every 15 minutes. My belly had two bands around it; one to measure my contractions and one to measure the baby's heartbeat. I was uncomfortable. The contractions were coming fairly frequently and they said that they were relatively strong but I could not feel them.
Before the IV was set up the nurse talked to me about what is going to be in it; it would be magnesium sulfate. She told me that this was absolutely necessary as my PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension) had become full blown preeclampsia and the magnesium would prevent seizures. The nurse let me know, though, that the magnesium drip was not a pleasant business. It would make me feel strange and she told me that it often makes moms-to-be very, very angry (oh good!). Also, it has a tendency to make the baby not want to eat after it is born...this would turn out to be a big problem later, although fortunately we did not know it yet.
So, once all of this is set up a doctor came in to see us and discuss what she felt that we should do. Rather than starting a Pitocin drip (I can't remember why) she wants to give me this tiny quarter of a white pill and put it in between my lip and gum. She instructed me how to do it and says 'put it in like men put in their chew, you know?' I said that I didn't and Paul had to explain to her that I'm from Canada so it was true, I had never seen anyone use chew before (I have now...GROSS). I put the little pill in my mouth and the doctor checked all of my lines and drips and bands and then suggested that Paul and I try to sleep for a while. There was a couch that folded out next to the bed and Paul said that it was remarkably comfortable. The staff at the hospital were fantastic and they brought us all the bedding and everything else that we could possibly want so we got as cozy as we could and tried to sleep.
Unfortunately, every 30 minutes or so I had to pee (since my IV was pumping massive quantities of liquid into me) and so I would have to wake Paul up and he would have to help me slide over to the bathroom with all of the contraptions stuck to me. After a couple of hours the doctor came back and checked me out - I was not dilated at all. She suggested that we repeat the whole procedure over again so I got another teeny pill and was told to try going to sleep again. By now my blood pressure was getting dangerously high, though, so I was also told to try and lie on my left side as much as possible. I could not imagine ever being more uncomfortable!
Two hours of the same passed and the doctor checked me again and this time I was dilated a whole centimeter. My contractions were apparently coming regularly but I often couldn't feel them at all. We repeated this entire process again and found that I was two centimeters dilated...none of us were happy with this, it clearly wasn't working.
Around this time, I believe it was, the doctor inserted a catheter into me. Have you ever had a catheter inserted? Good Lord it is painful. The doctor sat down with us and asked what we wanted to do since the little pills were not really working at all. She suggested that we begin a Pitocin drip but I was a bit stressed out. I was SO hungry and hadn't been allowed to eat or drink for around 12 hours now, also, not to be all TMI here but I had to poop and couldn't do it with all of the stuff attached to me. Finally, we came up with an idea. The doctor would take off all of my stuff and allow me 15 minutes to poop and take a quick shower. Then she would hook me back up only with the belly bands and blood pressure cuff so I could be a bit more comfortable while I ate a meal. She said that she would give me two hours after eating to relax and digest and then we would begin this business in earnest with the Pitocin drip.
The doctor told us that she would be back in a bit to unhook me but a few minutes later she came back and said that she had another idea. She said that she wanted to use a technique that isn't used very often but that she felt would be helpful in this case. She was going to insert a Foley catheter. I wasn't excited about another catheter procedure since the other one was so awful but she felt that it was our best option so I agreed. She said that it worked like this: She inserts a balloon into me and it slowly inflates, as it inflates it mimics the pressure of the baby's head on my cervix (since the baby wasn't doing it's job!) which should cause me to dilate and efface...basically fooling my body into thinking that the baby was trying to come down.
We did not know it at the time but this was going to be the beginning of the end...although in a very different way than we thought.