So, picking up where we left off, I was just moved to the L&D room, and hadn't eaten anything in a few hours.
My new nurse Aimee started my pitocin drip immediately. Since I had chosen the saline lock IV and the doctors knew it was going to take longer than two hours to get me a baby, she started the pitocin, the penicillin, and the D5 solution (D for dextrose, 5 for 5%) at the same time. The pitocin needs to be increased slowly, since every uterus is different. They don't want you suddenly cramping so badly that you hurt yourself, or the baby. They start at 2 milli-units per minute and increase by 2 every half hour or so. I was also re-hooked to the fetal and uterine monitors, and continued to watch L. Itsababy bounce around like a jumping bean. At this point I had been in latent labor for 26 hours, and was very happy I had decided to go with the pitocin. Of course it's a personal decision, but I was looking forward to a relatively speedy labor after that. I also knew that for most women, postpartum, they hook you up to pitocin anyway, to help contract the uterus back to its original size. If a C-section is needed, the hospital will almost assuredly hook up the pitocin, since the body cannot really process what just happened, and otherwise would wait until the first menstrual period to start contracting. Or so I've been told by several women who were relating their C-section experiences.
Since it was about 10 o'clock at night, my support system (my mother, my husband, and Angela) camped out in the L&D room. They had one chair that folded out to a twin cot, which TJ took; Angela set up a sleeping bag on the floor; mom took the rocking chair, swearing she was going to stay awake as long as it took. She actually did, too, only taking a short nap while everyone was asleep. There was another shift change at 11, and I met the nurse who would be taking care of me for the majority of my active labor, Sungmi. She was lovely, and was very good at explaining what I could expect to happen while attached to pitocin. Which is good, because I went through most of the "possible side effects of labor" that she had described in a relatively short period of time.
It took about two hours for the pitocin to start kicking my butt, but when it did WOW did it pack a punch. I was suddenly very glad I had been told to stop eating solid food, since I am apparently that woman who vomits during labor. Because if having all your abdomen muscles contracting for the baby weren't enough, vomiting and having the rest of your body start to contract too will put you right over the edge into the aerobic exercise arena. I was sweating, and it had nothing to do with heat. Sungmi had previously offered an anti-emetic (to prevent vomiting) when I had started to feel nauseous, but I had tried to tough it out since my birth plan specifically said I was going to try to do this with as little chemical help as possible. It occurs to me now how silly that must have looked: "yes, hook me up to the induction chemicals and the antibiotics but I'd prefer no pain meds, please." I am truly special some times. So when I started vomiting, I requested the anti-emetic, and boy was I glad. Shortly after that was when my next labor curveball showed up. I apparently am a labor-shaker.
Some women (like me) experience something similar to shivering when in labor. The labor shakes are extremely annoying, but more than that they really put a damper on the types of natural pain management that most people suggest. Walking helps greatly with labor pain, but if your knees won't stop knocking, getting out of bed and walking the ward isn't much of an option. Shoot, getting out of bed and using the bathroom wasn't much of an option. I actually almost fell twice, and had to wait through two full contractions the one time I did try to bravely make my way to the toilet. I say "the once" because when you chicken out and go for the epidural, they catheterize you. Yeah, the "I'm going to do this with alternative pain management" chick ended up with the thread in her back.
This brings up a good point though. Flexibility in the birth plan is EXTREMELY important. The doctors really ARE trying to help, and if they suggest something, there's probably a good reason for it. Try to get as much information ahead of time, before the pain and the delirium set in. When you are 6 centimeters dilated and everything hurts and you haven't slept in way too long, the last thing you want to do is focus on the list of side effects of different medications and try to make an educated decision. Get all that out of the way ahead of time, so if you have a preference you can voice it. I had spent some time researching, and deciding when was going to be "enough pain" for me. It turned out that at about 2am, lying on my side crying, with my mother guiding me through breathing exercises was when I whispered "I can't do this anymore" and they came with that sweet, sweet needle of Fentanyl. What I had not been expecting, however, was that my body processes Fentanyl quicker than the average person, and what should have lasted an hour only lasted about 35 minutes. Before I could have another dose, I was back in the same pain. Before that could happen, though, my water broke. For real this time.
I felt particularly silly after that. They all told me "you'll know if it happens" and "there's really no mistaking it" but I still had told the admissions nurse "I think my water broke" and "I think I may have partially ruptured." Yeah, no. There really IS no mistaking it. I felt a pop just above my cervix, and suddenly I was leaking. My husband, God bless his soul, was so interested that he actually reached down and touched it. He has one of those "oooh, what's THAT about?" kind of minds. His term for what it felt like is "thick water." For me it was kind of goopy feeling. Like a mildly viscous solution. And it didn't stop. It takes about 3 hours for the amniotic sac to replenish itself, and the seeping just kept going on and on and on. They put me on my side, with a pillow between my legs, covering the pillow in one of those lovely blue absorbent cotton-and-plastic "chucks" that I was falling so much more in love with by the moment. There really is no mistaking that feeling. If you ever think to yourself "I think my water might have just broken" the answer is no, it didn't. Because when your water breaks, there is no "I think it might have" about it, there is simply the statement "my water just broke."
After that, and then the slow return to pain from the Fentanyl wearing off, I decided that enough was enough. My mother had helped with my breathing as much as possible, the drugs had allowed me a moment of respite to calm down and rationally think this through, and I was dreading what I knew was coming. I called for the epidural.