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Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Roo's Birth Story, Part I

On Friday, September 7th I had a midwife appointment with Kristy, the miracle-working midwife who delivered O. We hoped fervently that she would be on duty to deliver our baby girl when the time came. But since there are five midwives in the Midwife practice at our hospital, and since Kristy had a chunk of time-off coming up soon, the odds of having her attend the birth seemed slim. Kristy examined me and said I was about three centimeters dilated. Then she gave me her cell phone number, something that is not common practice for our midwives. She stopped short of saying “call me when you go into labor,” but that seemed to be the implication. I left the office feeling like a high school girl who’s just been asked to the library by the hot Senior she’s been dreaming about: Is this a date? I hope this is a date.

A big pregnant week went by with no action, aside from losing little bits of my mucus plug. (Appetizing!) Friday, September 15th I had an appointment with Jen, a very capable midwife with a somewhat terse and chilly bedside manner. At the start of my appointment, Jen had introduced me to a midwife-in-training, Sophie, and asked if I minded if she performed my exam. I said that was fine, and Sophie palpitated my belly and did the audio sonogram thing to listen to the heartbeat, then stepped back while I talked to Jen. At this point, I was five days past my due date and quite hot for my baby to be born. I asked Jen to strip my membrane in the hope that it might help get labor started (and if you’re unfamiliar with membrane-stripping as a form of natural labor induction, read on for the gory details). Jen turned to Sophie and said “would you like to strip the membrane?” Sophie looked a bit taken aback but said “sure.” I thought to myself “With all due respect to the importance of training young medical professionals, there is no fucking way I'm letting a trainee strip my membrane!” I knew it would be uncomfortable, but more importantly, there was a risk of breaking the bag of waters, thus potentially creating the need to actually induce labor, something I hoped to avoid. I wanted this procedure done by someone with as much experience as possible. I was just about to speak up and be the difficult patient, insisting that Jen perform the procedure, when Jen asked Sophie if she had ever done this. “No,” she said, and when Jen said “Why don’t you let me do this one, then,” Sophie looked as relieved as I felt.

Jen then reached a gloved finger into my effaced and partly dilated cervix and made a vigorous circle, snagging the membrane attaching the bag of waters to my uterus and separating that area of membrane from the uterine wall. It hurt a lot, but I was already in the “ready for labor” mindset, and I just breathed and bore the pain (and the gross and uncanny feeling of something ripping within), which was easier knowing that this might well jump start the labor I was so ardently anticipating. After the initial pain was over, an ache remained in and around my cervix, which was now much more tender.

“If stripping the membrane works, it will work within about thirty-six hours,” Jen told me once I was out of the stirrups and sitting up. “Having intercourse will improve the chances of this procedure initiating labor, due to the high prostaglandin levels in semen.” I thanked her for the advice and told her I’d see what we could do, what with the four-year-old at home and other complications. This didn’t satisfy her. “I would really like to see you go home and have intercourse,” she said with straightfaced insistence. Okay, okay, doc! I’ll go have sex! I gave Jen an explicit assurance that the sex would happen, and she shook my hand and wished me luck.

We had our homework laid out in no uncertain terms: “Go have intercourse.” But my Old Man and I had a faculty meeting in the afternoon, so the sex had to wait. O was at my mom and stepdad’s place, so I called and said “can we pick up O. a little bit later?” Usually I’d give an explanation, but this time I decide to just make the bare request and only say “The Old Man and I need to have some hot, labor-inducing sex” if absolutely pressed. Luckily Mom just said “Sure! What time do you want to get him?” So we went home and had sex. The intimacy was nice, and it was even fairly sexy, despite my hugeness. But once the actual intercourse began, it was flat-out painful. That tender cervix did not enjoy the intrusion, and I was grimacing and bearing it and hoping my Old Man would… arrive. And, once I’d made it clear he didn’t need to wait for me (no way was I arriving in this particular circumstance), he did. Prostaglandins received.

Jen had said our window for success was thirty-six hours. My labor did not begin that evening, nor did it begin the next day. I was having regular Braxton-Hicks contractions, but no actual contractions. Saturday night at 10:00, with that thirty-six hour window about four hours from closing, my Old Man and I decided to have sex one more time. I got to bed about 11:00 PM, hoping things would get started before dawn. And things did.

(To be continued...)


Blogger Orange said...

I'm withholding comment until the end of the story. Just didn't want you to think nobody was reading!

9:06 PM  
Blogger E. said...

Thanks for your comment! It is nice to know someone's reading. I'm trying to finish this story, but life keeps getting in the way...

7:20 AM  

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