Ashley is a young, tall, blonde gal with a sweet demeanor and a peaceful presence.
She was a Godsend! I absolutely loved having her as my nurse. She was incredibly attentive and listened very carefully as Erica explained that I ruptured, was leaking fluid and meconium, had to be hooked up to penicillin for GBS, and ate a turkey sandwich. Ashley looked invested as she listened to Erica and that alone gave me so much comfort. I couldn’t help but notice that l she had a little bump under her scrubs… as curious as I was… I did NOT ask… I sure know better!
Ashley spent a ton of time with me that evening as contractions got stronger and more frequent. That night was difficult. We tried a few different things including walking around the room and leaning over the bed. The medical staff really wanted me to walk and all I could think about was sleeping. I was exhausted and frustrated that I was getting more and more uncomfortable but my body was not responding properly. Walking made the pain of contractions worse as they starting coming hard and strong. They were coupling and were inconsistent with both strength and time. I was on and off the monitors as they were trying to gauge my progress without doing a vaginal exam. They explained that the more times they “go in” the higher risk for infection. The best thing to do was monitor both me and baby all from the outside. I kept reminding myself to stay hydrated and rest when I could. As soon as I would drift off to sleep, I’d wake up with a contraction. I was determined that I did not want intervention including pain medicine.
Throughout the night, it became apparent that my hopes for this birth were not likely going to happen. As much of a surprise as this may seem, I wasn’t really one to make a “birth plan”, although it was a recommendation I got from many. Planning for something that has so many variables is highly troubling to me. Early in my pregnancy I thought I would make a birth plan (I do love me a good plan). Once I learned this would likely not be the experience I was hoping for I found it to be incredibly important to keep an open mind and remain flexible. Having a “plan” would create a bad head space for me. Instead of creating a “birth plan” I had my “birth hopes”. These hopes included avoid the OR with every fiber of my being, avoid intervention (including Pitocin, pain medication, and other medical procedures), and get that golden hour (delayed cord clamping, skin to skin, establish nursing immediately, and no medical procedures on baby until the hour is done).
Friday night was long with no sleep. Ashley called my midwife at some point and explained how my contentions were progressing. The trouble was that my uterus and cervix were not on the same page. My uterus was in labor but my cervix was still closed. They were worried that I wouldn’t have enough time for my cervix to catch up before pushing needed to happen. It was highly recommended I get Cervidil placed so that’s what I did. It was quite painful and not fun. I had to be flat on my back while the Cervidil did its thing and made me even more uncomfortable.
By this point I have fuzzy memories of what happened and when it happened. To fill in the details I had to rely on the few cryptic texts that I sent to the handful of people that knew I was in labor. This helped refresh my memory but there is still so much that was a blur. To help you understand, I was really quiet about the whole process and everyone I did talk to was sworn to secrecy. I thought the less people that knew the more safe my head space was. It seemed so incredibly overwhelming to imagine a bunch of people sitting around waiting to hear the big news. Even worse would have been people asking me “is the baby here?… is the baby here?… is the baby here?” It stressed me out just thinking of it. As I was in the middle of it I was aware of how long it would take and it felt impossible to explain to people to relax… and WAIT. It felt impossible to convey what we were going through and the easier option was to not say anything. The more people knew then more vulnerable this experience became. Furthermore, the more we told people the more they had opinions and advice. I learned to just keep my mouth shut to protect my experience. If people didn’t know they couldn’t ask questions. Note: One thing I learned about myself during labor…. DON’T ASK ME QUESTIONS. (And don’t talk to me. I’ll talk to you if I need something.. otherwise SHUT. UP. Please.) We were in for a long journey…every medical person is that came in said “it’s going to be a while”. I know everyone was excited to hear the big news but I NEEDED everyone to chill out. I really hate making people wait on me…for dinner, for a meeting… and yes, for labor.