Med free (except for the pitocin) induction — The Bump
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Med free (except for the pitocin) induction

I always figured I would give birth well after my due date. I had longer cycles and my sisters and I were all born 2-3 weeks late. According to my doctor, my due date was Sep 24, but from charting, my due date was Oct 1.  Since my doctor talks induction after a week, I started looking into Pitocin and, from there, a whole list of other drugs I found I?d rather not take before/during labor.  Pitocin was my biggest concern and I made sure to make clear how much I did NOT want pitocin at appointments.  But, then the itching started.

Around labor day weekend I noticed I was itchy all over.  Hay fever season was starting up and I figured it was allergy related.  So, I tried oatmeal baths, and when they didn?t work ,I tried every other natural remedy I could find on the internet: baking soda, apple cider vinegar, aloe and cold showers.  I also mentioned it at my doctor appointment on the Tuesday after labor day and she recommended Benadryl or Zyrtec if that didn?t work.  Neither helped.

I suffered through a number of sleepless nights walking around myself going crazy from the itchiness, particularly in the palms of my hands and soles of my feet.  Finally, that Friday, I called the doctor and told them I was really suffering and NOTHING I tried made me feel better.  So, they had me go in for blood work to check my liver.

The following Monday, I had an appointment with my dr and he mentioned his wife had something similar and reassured me it really wasn?t in my head and everything was fine.  But,  he didn?t have the results from my lab work in yet.  About an hour after getting home, I had a voice mail from him that I needed to call back immediately.  When I did, he said my results had come back, and that my liver wasn?t reacting well.  I had cholestasis of pregnancy.  I needed to be admitted to the hospital to have my blood checked again and then they?d likely induce me.  He apologized because he knew it wasn?t what I wanted, but he felt it was best for me and the baby.

The hospital visit was much longer than I expected, mostly because it took the techs an hour and a half to come up and draw my blood.  But, the baby?s heartbeat and my blood pressure both checked out fine.  When they finally came and took my blood and the results got back upstairs, the doctor on call was in a C-section. So, we had to wait again.  It was pretty nerve-wracking and took a lot out of me.  Finally, my dr came over from the office to help out because things had been so busy.  Also, he had good news, my numbers were much improved over Friday?s and I could leave if I wanted.  He told me I?d have my blood checked every few days until baby came and they?d do an ultrasound to make sure everything looked good with the baby later that week.

The blood work continued to come back better and the ultrasound was fine, though the fact that they sent me to the perinatal office for it made me nervous.  Everything else I read about cholestasis made me nervous too.  The worst case scenario was a stillborn baby and most women were induced by 37 weeks.  I was at 38/39 weeks.  I also read that eating a low fat diet could help because your body creates bile in reaction, and my body wasn?t absorbing the bile and the bile salts were what caused itching.  On Friday we went out for a delicious dinner (not all low fat!) and by the time I got home, I was itching bad. Over the weekend I stressed about whether I should be concerned because the itching was bad and whether my determination to have a natural birth was putting the baby at risk. By Monday I knew the best choice for me was to be induced.  So, we were scheduled the induction for Tuesday morning at 6 am, three days before my due date.

When we checked in they did the regular checks of my blood pressure and heart rate as well as the baby?s.  My cervix was thin and dilated about 1 cm and the baby?s head was low.  This is pretty much where I had been since the end of August, and I was worried it would take a lot of Pitocin to see any progress.  My nurse answered all of our questions as we had them, and was really laid back about our birth plan and everything we wanted.  They started me on Pitocin around 7 at a dose of 2 and I had contractions almost right away, but didn?t feel anything.  As the morning went on the nurse increased the dosage, but I still felt only weak contractions, if any.  My doctor said my blood work showed higher numbers than it had yet.  So, the increase in itching didn?t lie!

My dr came to break my water at about 10:45 as planned and I was almost 2 cm dilated.  I know most consider breaking the water is an unnecessary medical intervention, but I had decided in advance that I?d rather have them break my water than increase Pitocin to see if that helped things progress.  Within a half hour, I started feeling the contractions and they were about 2-3 minutes apart.  Since an induction progresses quite a bit differently than a totally med free labor, we had no idea when to call our doula.  My nurse said to us, ?If you?re wondering when to call, now would be the time.? DH called my doula and told her that my water had broken and updated her on the status of my contractions.  I remember her getting there and saying that she was worried we had called her too late because DH left out the detail that the doctor had actually broken my water and not that it had broken on its own.

When she got there, my Doula wanted me to eat something, but I was nauseous and wasn?t interested.  The nurse told her that my dr wouldn?t want me to eat and so she went to get him so they could talk about it.  When he came in things were a bit tense and I remember being in the middle of a contraction sitting on the ball resting my head on the bed thinking I didn?t want people arguing right then.  They agreed that filling my stomach wasn?t a good idea, but that I could eat some saltines or something.  I think I had a pretzel.  I did eat a bit of ice and definitely drank whatever melted ice I could get from the bottom of my cup, but I really didn?t want to eat.  

At this point, a lot of the details start to get fuzzy.  I knew the baby was face up in my belly and my lower back was definitely hurting.  So, we concentrated on changing positions to get the baby moved to a better position for birth, stopping to itch in between contractions!  No position we tried felt comfortable exactly, but it was so nice to be able to move.  I remember I sort of snapped at DH to only give me one piece of ice at a time because I couldn?t finish more than one between contractions.  

I remember at some point my Doula and DH told me I had had a 3 minute contraction and that I was doing a great job.  I had a hard time believing any of the positive encouragement that they offered though.  I just kept doubting whether I was doing a very good job. I wasn?t interested in getting checked because I was afraid to hear I had made little or no progress. After a while I started feeling light headed and a tingling sensation in my hands.  My Doula explained that it was because I wasn?t breathing very deeply.  Soon after, I decided to have the nurse check me and I was 6 cm.  I told myself that I was halfway between 2 cm, where I was when my dr broke my water, and 10 cm.  The nurse suggested that it would be a good time to get in the shower, I assumed because I was about to hit transition.

DH looked for his swimsuit, but couldn?t find it.  Right away, I knew he had packed it in his overnight bag.  So, my Doula had brought a swimsuit though and she got in the shower with me while I sat on the ball.  She put a jet on my lower back while the other ones sprayed down on me.  There was a bar that I held while I was having contractions, and then rested my head on it in between them.  DH was very concerned about me hitting my head on the knobs and jets, and I felt he was overreacting.  At some point when he was running back and forth for towels (I think for the floor and to cover the shower knobs), he accidentally caught my IV a bit and I yelled at him, which I felt awful about.

Time really seemed to slow down in the shower and I felt like I could really zone out and relax in between contractions.  I was really doubting myself big time and when DH or my Doula told me I was doing a good job, my response was, ?how do you know??  At a later point the nurse came in and said that she thought I was getting close and DH repeated that to me, and I responded with ?How does she know??  I assumed people were just saying things to encourage me, but that they didn?t know for sure.  When people asked me what I needed or other questions, my only response was, ?I don?t know.?  I was losing confidence in my ability to get to the end.  But, I knew I was getting close, and during some contractions I started feeling like I needed to push.  We stayed in the shower until that feeling was more consistent and I got out and got a gown on and got into bed.

The nurse checked me and said that I was 10 cm and that he baby had turned to the side a bit. My dr came in and confirmed it and I started pushing actively.   I pushed for 49 minutes, but it didn?t seem that long and I think my dr thought it would go even quicker.  I just kept pushing as my body told me to.  As I started to get worn out, DH told me I was close and that the baby had quite a bit of hair.  It startled me that he could see that much because I wasn?t sure he had the stomach for it.  I said, ?you?re looking at it!??

Eventually my dr and my Doula (and the nurse?) put gowns on.  They put a pad on me so that the baby could come up on my chest after delivery.  I remember hearing something about shoulders and then the baby was right there and they were saying it was a girl.  I was shocked because I had convinced myself it was a boy and I kept asking DH whether he could believe it.  They mentioned to me that her right fist was by her face and that I had torn because of that and the way her shoulders were positioned.  I didn?t feel it at all. I remember encouraging DH to cut the umbilical cord, but what I don?t actually remember is that he did it! They delivered the placenta which I barely felt and then my dr got to work stitching me up while they wiped her off and DH held her.  Rita Claire weighed 7lbs 14ozs and was 20.5 inches long. She latched almost immediately and nursed for an hour and half in labor and delivery before they moved us to the postpartum ?suite? as the nurses called it.  They said it was the best view in the hospital and they were right!  It was so nice to look out the window at downtown and the river for our two days there.

Even after giving birth, my blood work showed even higher levels and there were mentions of me needing to see a liver specialist if things didn?t get better.  But, by about a week later, they had regulated and I was itch free!
DD1: Sep 10 / DD2: Nov 12 / Surprise LO3: Jul 14

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