Due date came... and went and more talk of inducing. We put it off. We had sex. We ate pineapple. We walked... and walked... and walked. We tried nipple stimulation. We tried a glass of wine.
We did not try a trampoline, a pint of Guinness or Mountain Mike's pizza all of which were recommended as well. I suggested we go see Paranormal Activity which I figure would scare Bryna into labor but we didn't try that.
We finally agreed to inducing as we approached the end of the second week. I think it would've been ridiculous to do it sooner and I'm glad we waited.
It was really scary to agree to as it felt like the first step in the "Cascade of intervention" that we hoped to avoid. The pitocin they use to induce makes for more intense labor which makes for more likelihood of drugs being needed, etc. etc. and we REALLY didn't want this to end in c-section.
Bryna was very shaken up by this. So, Happy Day Spa to the rescue. An hour of foot massage for just $20. I went and shopped at the Asian market while Bryna got her foot rub and I invented a new holiday to celebrate with my daughter, Try Something New Day, when you try new food at all three meals and you do something you've never done before, something big. I wanted to take all the frogs they had and set them free like that scene in ET. How do you cook a big ol' frog anyway?
Bryna felt a million times better after the foot rub and decided to get another one the next day so she could enter the hospital calm and collected. I spent the next day catching up at work and then joining Bryna for last minute errands including laundry. We'd done laundry and shopped for baby's arrival two weeks earlier but now it all had to be done again. Contractions continued and we were optimistic that labor might still come on it's own, but this was not the case.
Bryna's mother Anne joined her for the foot rub. I packed bags and then picked Bryna up and off we went. The pitocin started about 10:30. I wasn't very impressed with our first nurse who I found a bit brusque. She told us that they'd raise the pitocin very slowly but if nothing happened by morning they'd have to get aggressive because she was there to have her baby. Pushy, and not true luckily. The rest of the nurses were gentle and talked and listened and were all around wonderful. Yay nurses. Seriously, we're trying to think of the perfect way to say thank you to these wonderful folks.
My mom Kathy just couldn't contain herself and showed up at 5:30 am to see if anything was happening. I hope I wasn't rude to her. I just remember waking up and saying "What time is it? Why are you here?" before passing back out. I'd gone to sleep sometime in the wee hours of the morning as we waited for the pitocin to do it's stuff.
Bryna's mom showed up soon after and the wait was on. The longer the wait the more the fear built. I tried to comfort my wife who was having contractions for weeks now and who was anxious to have a baby. I think we both really wanted to get it going and to have a sign that things were going to get on track and go well.
Bryna's youngest sister Emily came with books and a plant. Later Bryna's sister Lydia came with Antonio, our nephew. And then, with Antonio, Anne, Mom and Lydia there things started to kick into gear which meant the family was kicked to the waiting room and we started into labor. Her cervix was at 3 or 4 and there was some blood and more intense contractions.
One nice thing is that she wasn't tied down the bed. A wireless baby monitoring device let her move around, sit on her exercise ball, etc. Labor was nice. I know that's strange, but we were excited and really connected. We'd stand together as she went through the contractions and then we'd sit and wait for the next. Stand, sit, stand, sit, feeling so in love and just, together.
Things got more intense. Things got more painful. She tried some different positions. Nurses had to constantly readjust the monitor, two flat pads on her belly held by belts at first and later by a miniskirt looking thing which was WAY better than the belts. When they checked her cervix again hours of labor had produced very little progress. This was disheartening for Bryna. Not for me of course because I'm so unflappable. I did try to encourage her to keep doing what she was doing but it was hard not to let it take the wind out of our sales a bit.
The contractions finally reached the level of pain and Bryna the level of exhaustion that she asked for pain relief. I said "Are you sure?" She said "Yes." It was my job to double check. I said, "You wanted to avoid this if you could and you're doing really great so let me ask you, IF we'd come up with a special code word, would you use it now?" She said she would indeed.
She was given a half dose of Fentanyl. The cascade of intervention loomed. She'd now been at the hospital for over 24 hours and in labor for many. We worked hard to keep connected and Bryna talked about maintaining her happy place. I worked to keep fear at bay. It felt like a very smooth pregnancy just would not agree to go right now. The two weeks late, the two interventions that were not part of plan A and my sweetheart in pain for such a long, long time...
A half hour later she got more Fentanyl. the pain was getting to great. She asked for an epidrual. I checked to see if this was what she really wanted. It was work to keep connected but we were both sweet and gentle with each other. The anesthesiologist was summoned.
He was a really cool English guy with a great bed side manner, a gentle touch and the advanced trait of recognizing Brian Eno's Music for Airports when hears it. (Our labor, relaxation music.)
Bryna got her epidural and a catheter. She got some relief. She got some sleep. I encouraged the mom's (and Sid who had shown up in there somewhere) to go home and we'd call them as soon as something happened. Sid went and grabbed me MUCH needed cough drops. A sinus infection had left me in terrible shape.
I went to sleep scared and exhausted... (Click for Part Two)