Let me just start this part by saying that I never had a high blood pressure reading the whole time I was in the hospital. It stayed around 130/80 for the first part and 120ish/70-80 after I got the epidural. Insert raspberry to my stupid blood pressure here;o) Luckily, everything worked out well, but grrrrrr!
First up, was the boring and tedious process of admitting me. Then, pitocin was started and you can follow most of the progression through DH's real time posts starting here.
I really love the way Kaiser and my particular hospital handle labor and delivery. We were all really happy with the way everything was handled. It was definitely slow going in the beginning, but we just chugged along. Getting those tiny changes after several hours was really discouraging, but we were reassured several times that progress was being made and we just needed to be patient. I knew once we got to the 5 cm mark and could break the bag of water, we would be home free, but getting to that point was looooooooong.
At Kaiser, you never know who will deliver your baby. Each doctor has about one hospital shift per week, so whomever is on duty is who you get, which is a bummer when you love your doctor, but, in reality, it is really about the nurses and the doctor plays such a small role. With DD, my doctor recommended requesting the Certified Nurse/Midwife, which I really liked, so I did the same this time and we really liked all of them. They provide a much more relaxed and personal approach. They have fewer patients, so they can spend more time with you and it just seems that they have more laid back demeanors, which is comforting to me.
We all got some sleep throughout that long night. T found a fold out chair in one of the waiting rooms to sleep on, while R and DH took turns sleeping on the couch/padded window bench in the room.
Anyway, we finally got to the magic 5 cm mark where the midwife had said she would break my water, but no go. She said there was a lot of fluid in there and GB's head was "floating", instead of being firmly on the cervix. The problem with this is that, if she broke the bag, she was afraid something (like an arm or the cord) would end up stuck between the head and the cervix. The good news was that the bag was really taut and she was pretty sure it would rupture, naturally, very soon. She was right! Within half an hour, it did just that, and then the proverbial shit hit the fan!
I was starting to feel the contractions! At first, I thought maybe we were getting close to 10 cm. I pushed the happy button they give you with the epidural, but the contractions kept getting worse. We called the nurse, who called the anesthesiologist to put a booster dose in the epidural. He said to give it 10-15 minutes to work. 5 minutes later, the nurse came in and could tell by my pain level that something wasn't right. About this time the puking started. I don't know if it was the pain or the epidural booster medicine, but it sucked! The nurse called the anesthesiologist back, who started the fun of trying to figure out if the epidural was working at all. He did this by having me compare the coldness of ice on my face and tummy. It felt the same, which indicated it wasn't working. At some point, the midwife came in and was trying to help me. By this time the contractions were lasting about 90 seconds and were coming back to back. It was BAD! The midwife checked my cervix, just to make sure something crazy hadn't happened with the water break and because they won't do an epidural at 9 cm. I was at 6 cm. Eventually, it was determined that the epidural had come out of its place. The anesthesiologist said he could put in a new epidural, but I had to sit completely still for 5-10 minutes. Easier said than done when I was in so much pain:o( This is when DH came to the rescue and suggested doing a dose of the IV narcotic to help take the edge off of the pain, so I could sit for the epidural. Brilliant idea! The IV drug worked very quickly. I felt pretty dizzy and it felt like things were moving in slow motion, but I was totally OK with that. The anesthesiologist was able to get the epidural in quickly and he added a boost of whatever they had put in my IV and things were good:o)
We were able to rest a little more and about two hours later, I started feeling the tell-tale pressure with each contraction. I knew with DD that I had labored down a bit after I was complete and it felt like it hadn't been very long and I didn't want to cry wolf, so I tried to focus on what I was feeling and waited for 3 contractions with the pressure and then we called the nurse, who called the midwife. She checked me and said something to the effect of, "OH, babies head is right there, don't push, don't move." I don't know what everyone else was thinking, but I wanted to do a happy dance! And the nurse and midwife scurried to get ready for delivery. . .