Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Henry's birth story, part two: should I stay or should I go?

(Note: You can read part one of Henry's birth story here.)

On the way to the hospital, I forced down half of a Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax granola bar. My contractions were picking up in intensity, and I found myself breathing through them, birth-class style.

We arrived at the hospital at 4:30 a.m. and headed in through the Emergency Room entrance. I tell them why I'm there, and how far along I am. They sit me in a wheelchair, and the most untalkative attendant ever wheels me up to the fifth floor. That was an awkward elevator ride.

When I got to L&D (labor and delivery), it only took a few minutes of observation to realize that they were packed. I caught a glimpse of the doctor from my practice who was on call (my least favorite one... he actually did my D&C. There are three doctors, and the other two I really like). Doctor looked exhausted. The way he looked at me said, "Oh no, not another one."

I fill out all of the annoying paperwork, and they tell me that they are going to put me in triage, as there are no empty rooms. I don't really like the sound of that, but I have no choice.

I head down to the triage room, which is a semi-large room with two beds and a curtain divider between. The nurse points to my bed, and tells me that shortly another pregnant woman will be occupying the other bed. I change into my gown and hop into bed and wait for a cervical check.

As I'm waiting, the other pregnant lady and her husband enter. The curtain is drawn, so I can't see them. Weird.

The nurse comes back and checks me. I'm 4cm (still...) but 100% effaced. She is not impressed with those stats. She tells me that they don't know if they will admit me or not, but they will check me again in an hour to see if there is any progress. At that time, they will decide if I should stay or go. She tells me to walk the halls for this hour to try to get things going. It is now 5:30 a.m.

Well, I don't want to go home at this point! I want to have my baby! So Buster and I hit the halls, and walk for an hour. We head back to the room and I get in bed, expecting to be checked soon. Instead of checking me right then, they hook me up for an NST. And slap a blood pressure cuff on to monitor that as well. Ok, sure. Whatever.

All of the sudden, there is a flurry of activity on the other side of the curtain. I have no clue what is happening, but I believe the baby's heart rate dropped. They put oxygen on the woman (I can hear her breathing through the mask), and this really mean nurse pops her head around the curtain and says entirely too sternly, "DON'T COME OVER HERE."

Um, HELLO. I'm hooked up to a bunch of stuff right now! Why in the HELL would I want to peek around the corner at something that sounds so ridiculously scary to me right now??? And did you have to be so mean to me?

After she disappeared to the other side again, I look at Buster and just start crying.

"This isn't how this is supposed to be," I say.

And there is the problem with having expectations. Nothing ever goes according to them, especially a birth. I expected to be admitted, have my own room, request a birthing tub, etc, etc. Not listen to some scary traumatic Grey's Anatomy shit on the other side of a curtain in the shared room I'm in (and so you know, everything was ok with that girl and her baby. They had to do an emergency c-section, but Buster saw the baby daddy later in the day, and he gave him the thumbs up.).

At 6:40 a.m., they move the emergency c-section girl out, and my nurse pops in and says that she will be by to check me in 20 minutes.

7:00 a.m. comes and goes, and the only thing that happens is a shift change (thankfully! Get the rude nurses out of there, please!). At this point, contractions are 4 1/2 minutes apart, but only lasting about 30 seconds or so.

At 7:30 a.m., my nurse finally returns. But not to check me. She tells me that she has other things to do, and that she will be back in a bit to check me (always dangling that carrot). I tell her that I'd just like to know if we are staying or not. She then goes on to mention that they may be sending me home because I might just have an irritable uterus. Oh, and that I'm getting a new roommate. Awesome.

An irritable uterus?! I don't even know how to respond to that, as I've never done any research on it. But I do know it sounds a bit hard to believe. How can I not be in labor? I had a membrane sweep two days ago, I had my bloody show, and now I'm having timeable contractions that are less than 5 minutes apart.

She leaves. I'm frustrated beyond belief at this point. We've been at the hospital for three hours and know absolutely nothing, other than I'm fully effaced.

Buster decides to take a nap. I'm still timing contractions on my phone, but don't even know how important that is, since I'm hooked up for an NST (I was hooked up for NSTs for what seemed like the majority of my time in the triage room).

By this time, the other pregnant lady and her husband have come in, but I can't see anything because my curtain is drawn. I hear the husband ask if they will be getting their own room, and I want to yell over that I was here first (yes, like a big giant baby), but I bite my tongue.

At 9:40 a.m., still no cervical check. As a reminder, it was supposed to happen at 6:30 a.m. I'm in tears. I decide to push the call button and see if I can get any answers. A different nurse comes by and tells me that my nurse is with someone who is pushing, and will check with me after that. Through tears, I tell this new nurse that I just want to know either way if I'm staying or going. I tell her we've been here for 5 hours and know nothing yet. And I just want to know something.

My tearful plea must have gotten through to her, because she decides to do a cervical check. And I've progressed to 5cm. She still doesn't know if they will be admitting me (??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?), and she tells me to go walk the halls again. So we do. It is now 10:00 a.m.

Once out in the halls, I see one of the doctors I do in fact like from my practice. The other one had gone home, and Dr. H was now the doc on call. Yay! He sees me in the hall, and tells me that he isn't letting them send me home.

Soon after, we head back into the shared triage room. My new nurse comes by and says that yes, they are in fact admitting me now, but there are still no rooms available for me. So, we wait it out in the triage room.

Finally, we feel comfortable telling our family that today is the day. Buster texts and calls our immediate family. I text our photographer (we did birth photography!!) and let her know that today is the day, but that it still might be a while (the nurse told me it usually goes 1cm per hour, so if that was the case, Henry should arrive around 3 p.m.).

I'm just hoping I get my own room by then!

to be continued...


  1. Oh my god, I'm so stressed out for you! I need the third installment ASAP!

  2. I've been reading both part 1 and 2 hoping that this experience was going to get better for you. I am still holding out hope with part 3. It also sounds like this hospital should implement some classes on bed side manner.

  3. I can totally relate to your experience. I got the hospital with my LO at 5 cm and was stuck in triage until I was 8 cm and screaming in pain. The hospital was way overcrowded and the doctor so exhausted she could barely see straight - NOT cool. I finally got an epidural at TEN cm. I ended up having to push my baby out twice, I kid you not. Pushed her to the point she's about ready to come out - doc busy- wait an HOUR - baby regresses, then have to push again when the doc is available.

    They said the birth center was unusually busy, but honestly I don't know if I believe them.

  4. You poor thing, that is absolutely awful. I know it is just another day for them, but come on, this is the most important day in your life.

    I know this is awful and stereotypical and I have nurse friends whom I love, but overall I think nurses are b*tchy.

    I hope things go well and you are really leaving me hanging here!

    ps i love the birth photography, I wish I had done it.

  5. What the heck!?!? How infuriating! I'm sorry this first part of the experience was so sucky, but I bet the story gets better... it has to at least end well with that adorable baby!

    I so wish I had done a birth photographer and plan to this time! Can't wait to see some of your shots!

  6. Not cool. I hate when they tell you something and then don't follow through. I really hope part three is better cause I would contact someone about this if it wasn't.

  7. Even though I know how the story ends, I'm still in suspense to read the rest. I'm so frustrated on your behalf that you had to deal with all that.

  8. That is ridiculous! I can't believe they had you waiting that long. You'd think if they were wanting to send you home they'd have checked you sooner to open up the bed! (Not that that would be right - I'm just pointing out lack of logical thinking on their part in addition to incompetence). I'm glad a doc you like showed up and was sticking up for you. Can't wait for part three! :)

  9. I'm commenting as I read here (even though I know this is 2+ years ago!), but this is exactly why I was so afraid of getting to the hospital too early even though we were 30 miles away (small hospital, only 4 L&D rooms, and the waiting game in a triage room would have driven me nuts). Man, I hope things progressed for you quickly after this!!


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