The day before Joshua was born

It was Friday, November 12th. I had an appointment with Dr Lee in the morning, then another appointment at Women’s Hospital in the afternoon to get an ultrasound and non-stress-test (NST) done because Joshua was 7 days overdue. It was a grey and cool day in the fall. Mom and I went to Granville Island between the two appointments, went for a walk, hoping that walking will hurry the baby along.

At Women’s Hospital, the obgyn looking at the ultrasound said she was a bit concerned that the fluid level in the uterus was low. However, the NST showed that the baby’s heart rate was very healthy, with normal variations when he is moving around. I was hoping that it was a sign that they will just send me home to wait for the induction next week. However, that was not the case. The obgyn on shift felt that it would be best for me to be induced the same night, and Dr. Lee felt the same way.

I struggled with the decision to induce early. I wanted a natural birth with as little intervention or drugs as possible. Subjecting a newborn to all the interventions and drugs was just not my ideal way of bringing him into the world. The physician on shift said that she felt like induction at this point is a good idea because my cervix is quite ready, and perhaps low dosage of oxytocin will be just the ticket to get things going. I figured that if a little oxytocin is all it takes, I can live with that and do the rest of the laboring drug-free.

I phoned Cliff, discussed this with him, and decided to go ahead and be induced. He had to pack up my things at home and drop off Sam with Betty before coming to the hospital.

I texted Liz for her to come to the hospital, and I hoped that it would be a quick and not-too-painful delivery.

It was between shift changes when I was put in the delivery suite, so it felt like I just sat around for an hour before anyone actually came to get an IV hooked up. Dr. Lee happened to be rotating that evening, so she came and chatted, assuring me that she felt like this is the best option in her opinion. She also informed me that being on oxytocin will require that I be hooked up to the monitor so they can track the baby’s heart rate and other readings. This was against my hope of being able to walk around or get in the shower to ease labor pains, but at this point there was no turning back.

I wasn’t scared of the pain I was about to experience. In my mind, the only important goal is getting Joshua out in the best health possible.

Liz came just as the IV was being put in me, and it was about 7:45 pm. Cliff came shortly after, hauling quite a few bags, sweating, and looking a little unsure or maybe nervous. It took about 1/2 hr for me to start feeling some contractions, but they were minor and not painful.

After a couple of hours, the contractions got a little more steady and stronger. They felt like more serious period cramps, but still totally bearable. I was able to take quick cat naps between contractions. Things are not progressing as fast as I had hoped. The baby monitor was constantly slipping off my belly, and the nurse had to constantly adjust the monitor so they can read the baby’s heart rate properly. I was more irritated with the constant fuss over the monitor, and wished that I didn’t have to be hooked up to a machine the whole time.

By about midnight, the nurse and Dr. Lee had adjusted the oxytocin level up and down, and fussed over the monitor more times than I want to tolerate. Things after this point became quite blurry to me. The pain was getting to a level that required my concentration. I was vaguely aware of conversations going on around me, but not completely comprehending everything or hearing everything.

What was constantly on my mind was that “I can do this!” I did not want an epidural and I will never ask for it! I thought about Kilimanjaro and how hard it was for me to finish the climb with my 20 lb backpack, and it gave me hope that labor can be dealt with the same way–through my stubbornness.

All the pictures were obviously taken before the oxytocin took effect:


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