Handsome Hank: A Birth Story* (Part 3)
I called Olivia for the second time at 10:20am.
By this point I had been having regular, intense contractions for over an hour. They were quickly building in frequency and strength, and I wanted to know how far I had progressed. We decided to have her come to the house and do the assessment here, to avoid the possibility of being sent home from the hospital. She let me know that she could be at my house within 30 minutes, but encouraged me to call her if anything changed. Before we hung up she suggested that I try and get back into the tub as it had been fairly comfortable for me before.
Immediately after I hung up the phone I had a wave of really intense contractions. I spent a few minutes folded over the side of my bed before I decided to try and make it back into the tub. I started to fill it, then I had a contraction so strong that it took my breath away and I felt that I needed to sit down. The toilet was the closet “seat”, so I sat down to try and breath through it.
My water broke in a huge gush three seconds later. (Talk about luck! haha)
When my water broke, I considered for the first time that the labor pains I was feeling might be more than “early” labor. I was still waiting for the Hubster to return from dropping off Ruby, but I felt strongly that I shouldn’t wait for Olivia to asses me at home and needed to head to the hospital instead.
It was less than 10 minutes since our last conversation, but I paged Olivia again to let her know my water had broken. She agreed to meet me at the hospital, and told me she would call ahead to let them know I was coming in case I arrived there before she did.
As soon as I hung up the phone, the Hubster sent me a message to let me know that Ruby was safely tucked away and that he was on his way home. I checked the clock–10:35am. I didn’t want to panic him, but I sent him a quick message back to let him know my water had broken and that we needed to head to the hospital as soon as he got home.
I drained the tub and got dressed while I waited, and at 10:45am he flew through the front door. He began making trips to the car with our hospital bags as I made my way downstairs. In less than five minutes we were loaded into our car and began the short drive to the hospital.
My contractions started coming even closer together, and I was immensely grateful when we pulled up to the doors of the maternity wing. Just before 11am he dropped me off at the doors and told me to head inside, with a promise that he would be right behind me after he parked the car. I debated waiting for him, but again felt strongly that I needed to move and get into the labor and delivery ward as quickly as possible.
I started waddling down the hall, pausing only briefly when my contractions were too intense to move through them. The nurses saw me coming, took one look at me, then rushed to help me get settled into a room. As promised, Olivia had called ahead and they had a room ready for me. A flurry of nurses began flying in and out of the room while we waited for Olivia to arrive.
One lovely nurse began helping me out of my jacket and clothes and into a robe while she chatted brightly about this and that. She and another nurse were trying to get some information they needed from me, but my contractions had reached a point where it was becoming difficult to speak through them. I remember just chucking my whole wallet to her when she asked for my health card, and she laughed and asked if she could take a tip at the same time.
Olivia’s student midwife, Anna, arrived just then, with the Hubster right behind her. The nurses stole the Hubster away to complete some paperwork, and Anna began assessing me.
I still had absolutely no idea how far along I was, but there was one thing I knew for certain: I wanted an epidural.
I wanted it now.
As soon as I asked for it, Anna and the nurses began to prep me. The nurses assured me that I would likely be able to get one quickly as there was more than one anesthesiologist on duty at the hospital. They told me they just needed me to give a urine sample, then check me to see how far I had dilated and I would be good to go.
Anna had me hop up on the bed and quickly checked my progress: six centimeters. She congratulated me on making it so far at home, then handed me a cup and helped me to the bathroom. As soon as I sat down on the toilet I had a contraction so strong that I knew that sample just wasn’t happening. The nurse heard me cry out, and I told her that that was the first time that I felt like I needed to push after it.
Something in her face changed, and she and Anna rushed to help me back to the bed. I remember thinking: “…but I’m only 6cm. I still have hours to go!”
…this little man had different plans.