The induction was scheduled for Monday morning and we tried just about everything to get him here on his own. There had been plenty of false alarms over the past two weeks – lots of contractions and my fill of late nights timing them. That Friday I’d even worked through five hours of regular contractions, called the hospital, and had Ben pack up the last minute essentials.
But Monday morning came and little Lincoln (who still had no name at this point) was still snuggled up inside. My alarm went off at 4:50 and I enjoyed what might have been my last leisurely shower in a decade before hurrying through breakfast and leaving the house a little before six.
The rest of the day is a bit of a blur but, for the sake of posterity, here’s how I think it went:
A few minutes late, we got to the hospital just after six and settled into our room for the next few days. Our nurses were young, friendly, and either newly married or newly engaged. I changed into a hospital gown and they started the IV drip while we waited for my midwife. We chatted about honeymoons and wedding plans before they broached the pain management options. They smiled and nodded as I outlined my birth plan and went out in search of the birthing ball.
By eight my midwife arrived, requested a rush on my pennicilin for my IV (I was strep B positive), and was back half an hour later to break my water (my last ditch effort at an unmedicated birth). We waited eagerly for the contractions to start, convinced it would be the jumpstart my body needed, we’d be able to unhook the IV, and skip the Pitocin altogether. But, by ten my contractions were still 8 minutes apart, I hadn’t dilated another centimeter, and we started the Pitocin.
Another name for Pitocin is the drug of death. The first dose didn’t do much and Ben and I played cards in the hospital room while enjoying an audio book. With little to no progress, they upped the dosage a few times and all of the sudden my contractions were one minute long and one minute apart with extreme cramping in between. It came on so quickly, so intense, that all my coping strategies were forgotten. I remember feeling so desperate, so hopeless. I wasn’t going to have a baby because there was no way I’d make it through another seven hours of this, let alone another twenty minutes.
I sat on that birthing ball (I couldn’t stand), and tried to remember what the plan was: relax into the pain, breathe, think “open,” think “stretch,” hold onto that positive image, your body was built for this. But I couldn’t remember, I couldn’t think. There was nothing but each building contraction and the realization that it could be hours and hours before this ended.