Keira’s Birth Story – Part 3: Labor

A Moment of Rest

As I got into the labor and delivery room, my contractions were 2 – 3 minutes apart and were very intense. I was breathing through them like a champ as I massaged my back through the pain. I remember overhearing the nurse asking Jason, “Has she had this back pain the entire time?” I just kept reminding myself that the anesthesiologist was on the way!

The anesthesiologist had arrived and asked that I sit up from where I was laying on my side on the bed. Oh man, did that hurt… In between contractions I asked the anesthesiologist if I might be able to lay down on my side. The nurse and anesthesiologist gave each other a look. “I can… but it’ll be a lot harder….” Bells exploded in my head… Picturing him messing up and me being paralyzed for the rest of my life, I told myself I could do this for just a few minutes. With Jason’s help, I got up in bed, grabbing his shirt and burying my head in his chest as the nurse supported my back. I believe I somehow got through 3 or 4 intense contractions, groaning and breathing through the pain, as he got the epidural in. He must have been an awesome anesthesiologist because the only thing I felt was a pinch as the final needle went in. (Or the back pain from the contractions were just too strong for me to care…)

Around 5am, the pain had finally subsided and I was able to rest. My throat was raw from the groaning and moaning and I asked the nurse for a Popsicle to help calm it down. Jason almost grabbed the extra Popsicle until we both realized it was strawberry. I informed the nurse he was allergic to strawberry and that I really didn’t want him to be in the hospital as well! I finished off my Popsicle as the nurse read my chart and informed me that she wasn’t very happy with how the baby’s heart rate was responding. Apparently, the heart rate should increase and decrease through the labor and our little baby’s heart rate was staying completely flat. She turned me over to my other side and hooked me up to the oxygen as Jason and I laid down to rest a bit.

A few minutes later, the nurse came back in to put in my catheter. She flipped me onto my back for a moment… and almost immediately I felt a panic attack rising up. (Funny – I was thinking about how great I had been through the rest of labor without having any panic attacks and NOW I have one!?) I tried to calm myself down by breathing through it as I felt so lightheaded. The nurse quickly finished and hurriedly flipped me back over to my left side. That’s when I noticed that Jason had woken up from his little nap and that the alarms were going off on the machine in the room.

“Your heart rate dropped,” the nurse said. I informed the nurse that I had just had a panic attack while I was on my back. “Yes, you looked a little white…” She then told me that the baby’s heart rate had also dropped… as well as my blood pressure. She quickly flipped me again to my right side, telling me that apparently, the baby didn’t like me laying on my left side either as her heart rate still wasn’t at the right level and put the oxygen mask back over my face. From that point on, the nurse barely left the room. The contractions had started to slow down a bit – of course, I couldn’t feel them any longer with the epidural in.

The nurse thought maybe having the baby “sunny side up” was causing the heart rate problems. She decided to bring in a peanut ball to put between my legs to help open my hips. Nurse Jackie kept flipping me back and forth every couple of minutes to coax the baby to turn around. In the meantime, she called in the “doctor” on call from my OB/GYN practice… which happened to be the midwife. When she got off the phone, she told me that she wanted me to start preparing myself. The signs on the baby weren’t looking good with the heart rate problems and the increasing amount of meconium in my water. She said, “I’m not a doctor but I’ve been doing this a while. The doctor is most likely going to want to perform a C-section.”

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