Welcome to Part 2 of Layla’s Birth Story this is the “Labor” section of the story. Oh boy!
So we got to the hospital around 2:30 and got all checked in. Of course, they checked me over a million times and it felt like five people asked me the exact same questions. 😛 Once I was settled in Nate left to go get our bags at home. Because of the concerns with Layla’s movement and because we were having an induction my plan for an “active labor” kind of went out the window because she had to be on the fetal monitor the whole time. At 4:00 received a prostaglandin to begin my induction. From 4-8 I had some small contractions (that felt like period cramping), but Nate and I basically chilled in the hospital watching old episodes of Castle. At 8:00 I felt a small “gush” that I was pretty sure was my water breaking. I called my nurse who confirmed that my water had broken; she also noticed that there was meconium in the fluid, meaning at some point in the past Layla had experienced distress that made her bowels move. This can be a concern because the meconium fluid sometimes needs to be cleared from baby’s mouths and lungs via suction once the head is out. It was a lot to take in, but thankfully my team seemed to take it in stride and reassured us that it happens with babies and is generally a low-level concern other than your baby coming out covered in poop.
So about this time as well my contractions REALLY started picking up and quickly. I began to need to breathe through the contractions and Nate started helping, coaching, and encouraging me. At 9:00, I asked Nate to call the nurse to see if I could potentially start a pain reliever to take the edge off or get up and start moving around with a mobile monitor. At 9:30, they checked my dilation and I was at a 4 (only an centimeter of progress since late morning—that was pretty discouraging for me to realize). I was on the mobile monitor and able to get in the tub and I also began the pain reliever via my IV and fluids just in case I decided I did want an epidural. As we were getting settled in the tub Nate asked on average how long it takes to go from 4 centimeters to 10 centimeters—the nurse told him 6-8 hours, but of course it was hard to know.
The contractions were coming really hard and strong and neither the tub nor the pain relievers were helping at all. Nate was a champ—telling me I was beautiful and strong and letting me squeezed his arm and hand. At one point I asked him how he felt about me getting an epidural and he said whatever I wanted and he wouldn’t be disappointed either way. I wavered for awhile, and then I decided that I wanted an epidural.
So Nate asked the nurse and we began to prepare for that— they had already started the fluids, but we still had quite a ways to go until I could get started. I’m not going to lie, even though I had planned and hoped to not have an epidural was so happy to see the anesthesiologist walk in to my room. Holding still while they did the epidural was SO incredibly difficult since my contractions were basically coming right on top of each other, Nate was amazingly supportive and sweet as I worked through each contraction while getting the epidural. I made it through. And it was SO NICE when that epidural started kicking in. I mean, really, really nice.
After the epidural they checked my dilation again and I was at 8 centimeters! Woohoo! It was around 10:30 or 11:00pm. They weren’t sure exactly how much longer it would be but recommended I rest up a bit for the pushing stage. After awhile they came in again and were concerned because Layla’s heart rate was dropping and then regaining. They had me lay on my side to help me finish fully dilating and told me that as soon as I felt the urge to push we would start pushing. (All together I was in active labor for five hours.)
In case you missed it: Layla’s Birth Story: Part 1
Stay tuned for the end of the story.