Frustrating Experience of "Labor"
So, I have been having quite a few contractions lately. I had contractions for 3 hours Sunday evening, and I started having some more yesterday evening sometime. I ignored them for a long time because Brett was gone to the David Crowder show in Tulsa, and I didn't want to think about whether I needed to call him to come home or anything like that. So, I pretty much went into a frenzy doing all sorts of things that I needed to do around the house. (I believe they call this strange behavior "nesting". :)) At any rate, I worked on lots and lots of stuff for the Greenhouse, did some laundry, unloaded the dishwasher, finished up the kids Christmas lists, re-checked my library books online, sent a lot of emails about upcoming work and community group stuff, etc. I was a very efficient woman.
By about 11 pm, I was definitely in some pain. I had a few more things to do, so I sort of casually timed my contractions as I was putting away laundry, watching the world series, etc. They seemed to be coming every 5 to 6 minutes or so. For a second or subsequent delivery, my clinic tells you to come in when you have contractions 5 minutes apart for 2 hours. Brett got home around 1 am from the concert. I was still having contractions. They weren't horrible (like a movie or anything), but definitely there.
Sidenote: With Elspeth, as far as I can remember, my contractions were similar to what I described above, not terribly painful, but consistent. When I went in to deliver her, I had already progressed really well (I was at a 5) and was ready to get the epidural right away (after blood work, IV, etc.). So, I had that in the back of my mind. I didn't want to wait too long to go to the hospital because I had progressed just great in a similar scenario with my last delivery.
So, we proceded to call Stacey to come and stay with our kids, we packed up our stuff into the car and we headed to the hospital at about 2 am. So, by this time, I certainly had experienced contractions for long enough to go in. I looked at the clock as I slipped into my not-so-comfy hospital bed. It was 2:25 a.m. I figured within an hour or so we'd know whether this was the real deal. Boy was I wrong.
Here's a little hospital info for those of you who have not yet experienced the joy of having children. When you go into the hospital for "labor", pretty much the first thing that they do is "check" you. I will not go into detail about that here, but let's just say that when you are checked, you would like to hear the nurse say any number 3 or higher and words like "soft", "effaced" and "thin" are good. My nurse said, "you're at a 1 to 2" and used the word "thick".--These are not good signs that things are going to progress soon. (Also, until the nurses have determined that you are acutally in active labor, i.e. progressing, they don't really do anything--no blood work, no IV, no discussion of the epidural.--So, since the nurse didn't even mention any of these things, I felt that we would probably get sent home.)
So after the nurse did her checking she told me the name of the doc on call and said that she'd check with him to see what he wanted to do (i.e. release me or keep me there). After about another hour, 3:30 a.m., the nurse came in to tell me that the doctor said he wanted to keep me until the morning just to see what would happen. Not that I actaully SAW this doctor or anything. Now, I know he looked at my chart and talked to the nurses and made a plan, BUT he never set foot in my room, even though he was on the floor from 2:25 a.m. (when I got into my bed) until 7:00 a.m. I thought, well, maybe he's really busy delivering a baby and he can't come in right now. I think at this point, the nurse asked me to pee in a cup to see if I had a bladder infection. (Apparently a bladder infection can make you have contractions that are not true labor.--I have never heard about this before, but I peed in the cup anyway.)
So, I waited. I watched some lame television. Brett slept on a rock hard pull out bed with no sheets. I got very thirsty. I tried to ask Brett to get me a drink. For any of you who have ever traveled with Brett or lived with him, you know he is an extremely hard sleeper. So I had trouble waking him up, and I couldn't reach him to tap him on the shoulder or anything, which is my usual method. I couldn't get out of my bed because I was hooked to 3 different wires to monitor my "contractions", the baby's heartbeat and my pulse. Finally, after my saying his name 10 times or more, Brett finally stirred. I said, "I am really thirsty. Can you find out if I can have something to drink?" He fell back to sleep. I asked him several more times. Finally he actually "woke up" and started to walk out into the hall to try to get me a cup of water. He got to the door and he asked me, "What am I supposed to be doing, again?" At that point, I realized that he was not going to be able to complete this task in his state of exhaustion, so I told him to go back to bed, and I buzzed the nurse. She brought me some delicious fayetteville tap water, straight fromt the lake. (Another sign that no one thought I was in labor. If you're in labor, they give you only ice and popsicles.)
Somewhere around this time, I got checked again. Still at a 1 to 2. Not a good sign. Still no doctor, and apparently I had to stay until morning. I asked the nurse about the bladder infection. She said that I did have a slight infection so that could be a part of the problem. So, if I got sent home maybe they'd give me some medicine. At this point, I was pretty discouraged. I had been at the hospital for about 2 hours without making progress, but for some reason, they didn't think I should go home. So, I watched more lame TV and waited until 5 am to call my mom to fill her in.
After I left a message on my mom's answering machine. (She was in the shower.) I tried to wake Brett. He had a 6 am meeting on his schedule, and I thought he should call the guys and let them know he couldn't make it. I couldn't ever wake him up, so I stayed awake until 5:30 so that I could call someone about it. Finally, after that, I decided to try to rest. Apparently I wasn't going to receive any informaiton any time soon, so I'd better get some sleep. From about 5:45 until about 7:00, I cat napped on and off. Meanwhile, I was still having "contractions". At about 7:00 a.m., I called Stacey to let her know the lack of news. Then my mom called me back and I told her the latest.
My new nurse (shift change at 7 am) came in. She asked me if my contractions were getting stronger. I said "yes". She asked, "Do you think that is because you are getting tired?" Well, I have no idea. How would I know that? THe whole reason to come to the hospital is to have a medical professional interpret your symptoms for you. She told me that the doctor (the new one on call) would come in sometime in the next couple of hours to evaluate my situation. So, he finally came in around 8 am. I got checked again, still nothing promising. He said that #1 I did not have a bladder infection. #2 I had a irritated uterus. This apparently means that I was having contractions that were not true labor. He described to me how to tell true labor from what was currently happening to me. He told me to get some rest and drink lots of water because dehydration can cause the irriated uterus thing. He was nice, and I didn't have the guts to ask why I had to wait over 5 hours for someone to come in to give me this info. Even though there were signs all along the way that I would get sent home, I still felt that they gave me a false sense of hope by keeping me there for what ended up being 6 hours. I was frustrated that doctor #1 never took the time to step in my room and explain to me what was going on. (It wasn't busy at all, so I don't have any explanation as to why he didn't come in.) I was frustrated that the nurse told me misinformation about the bladder infection. Most of all, I was frustrated because I still have no earthly idea how I will know when I'm really in labor. THe doctor said in so many words, "You'll know." Hmmmm--then why was I there this time. You'd think after 2 other pregancies, I would know, but apparently not. I don't want to go in to the hospital again and wait for hours to figure out that I am not in labor. And at the same time, I don't want to wait so long that i get there during the really painful part of labor and have to wait to get my epidural.
At 8:30, the nurse gave me a sleeping pill and a lecture about getting some rest. We signed out and came home. That sleeping pill worked great, and I slept from 9 am until about 4:45 p.m. Now it's time to just wait.
I do want to say one more thing. Even though this was a very frustrating experience, I know that God knows when this baby will come. He is in control, and I most definitley am not.--Being in the hospital sure shows you that. I trust Him even in the frustrating times.