Editor’s note: We believe that all birth stories and all birth experiences matter. This post is part of our ongoing series of birth stories featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences.
When Kelsey was induced at 40.5 weeks, things progressed a bit faster than expected!
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It was a Thursday morning, the day after my last OBGYN appointment, and at this point I was past my due date. I was scheduled at the hospital for a non-stress test to check fetal movement and an ultrasound to check the level of amniotic fluid. The non-stress test went well but my fluid level on the ultrasound was slightly low and though the tech was not concerned, it was policy to call the patients OBGYN to let them know the level was borderline worrisome.
As I laid on the table, the ultrasound tech called my OB and asked if I should be admitted to be induced. My heart was pumping out of my chest at this point. I was not ready! My husband was at work. Luckily I was with my mom, but I had none of my bags. I was not mentally prepared to have this baby right now!
Well, my OB said she wants me admitted. Cue the panic. A few tears filled my eyes as the tech walked me out to the waiting room so I could grab my mom. I told her that it was baby time and she calmed me and said, “It’s going to be fine!” So I was admitted to labor and delivery around 11 am Thursday morning. I got checked in, put in a birthing suite, put my gown on, and called my husband. My voice shook as I spilled out, “I’m admitted. We’re having the baby today!” My husband said as calmly as can be, “Be right there.”
They started me on the oral pill that starts softening the cervix. I was 1 cm dilated when admitted and had been 1 cm for a few weeks at every OB appointment since 37 weeks, so no progress was happening prior to the induction. Typically they give four doses of this oral pill, but I only made it to two as the day progressed (you’ll find out why). A couple hours after the pills were taken, they inserted the Foley bulb.
For those of you who don’t know, a Foley bulb is a long plastic tube with a balloon on the end that they fill with saline or sterile water. It sits at the entrance of the cervix to help start dilation. This balloon stays in for 12 hours or less if it falls out prior on its own. Typically the Foley bulb assists women from 1 cm dilated to anywhere from 3-5 cm within the 12 hour span. The nurse explained the bulb typically falls out between 3-5 cm, and the bulb fell out for me around hour 9.
This entire time, I was having insane contractions. Well this was my first baby, so from what I felt, they felt insane to me. They started similar to menstrual cramps but very quickly turned into sharp waves of pain along with back pain. These contractions became increasingly worse as I begged for relief. My husband massaged my back and my mother provided moral support. I must have said “I can’t do this anymore!” a million times.
The nurses would come in and check on me and explain that we were still a long way off from being able to get an epidural. I cried. I rocked back and fourth in excruciating pain. I wondered if I was just being crazy. Was it really this painful or was it just in my head? I was only like 2 cm dilated (if that) at this point right? The bulb would have fallen out by now if I was any more dilated right? Was I really not tolerating this pain when we didn’t even get to the bad stuff yet??
The nurses started the first dose of Pitocin around 8:30 pm. A little while went by, and the contractions were like DEATH. Crying, rocking, shaking, pleading, I was at my wits’ end. Cannot take anymore pain. What was going on? How could I continue for hours, maybe days?? I got the worst urge to pee. I used the bathroom, laid back down in bed, and not a minute later I had to pee again. Back to the bathroom about 3-4 times. And OH there was the Foley bulb hanging. Okay, it was out. So I must have been at least 3 cm, maybe 5. Let’s stay positive, Kelsey.
A nurse came in to check me internally to see how much I was dilated.
Between contractions, the nurses checked me, with only a minute of relief in between. How was I this much of a sissy? That’s what I kept saying to myself. We didn’t even get to the hard part yet!
The nurse looked weird. Straight-faced with no emotion, a bit confused. I asked, “What’s wrong?” She told me she wanted a second opinion and walked out to get another nurse. The second nurse walked in and checked me. She did the same thing, looked worried, confused. I was freaking out at this point. WHAT IS WRONG? Tell me! I was in all of this pain and I wasn’t even dilating. The second nurse walked out and said she was going to get a THIRD nurse to check me.
As I sat up in bed, my water broke. My husband ran out to tell the nurses. They all rushed in and spilled the news. I WAS NINE CENTIMETERS DILATED. This doesn’t happen. They couldn’t believe it. There was no way. I was being induced and it was my first baby, no one goes this quick! “Can I have an epidural?” I asked, Okay no, BEGGED. “No, we feel the baby’s head, he’s coming now,” the nurses told me. I yelled that I have to push. My entire body took over and I had the strongest urge.
The nurses told me that I can have a few practice pushes. I pushed one time and the nurses looked me in the eye and said, “We see hair. Stop pushing, we will go get the doctor, WHO WAS WATCHING SPORTS IN THE LOUNGE because she thought I had like a day or two until this baby came. So the doctor came in and threw all her scrubs on, face shield and all. (Which was a scary scene may I add.) I pushed a few times for 5-10 minutes, and my beautiful baby boy was here.
So this was a very rare scenario, and none of the nurses believed that I had progressed that quickly. Not once did I get more than one internal exam, The one and only was when I was 9 cm dilated. I went from 1 cm to 10 cm in a matter of hours with little medical assistance and no epidural.
Our son was born at 1:44 am on Friday. He was 7 pounds 13 ounces, 19 and a half inches. The entire time that I was in the hardest, most painful stage of labor with the most killer contractions I could imagine (the transition stage) everyone thought I was in early stage labor.
So that’s my story and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I would do it over and over again. I mean it, I remember the pain, but it was completely gone once my son was placed on my chest. They say it’s worth all the pain, and it 100% is.
The human body is amazing.