sky gabriel’s story | part 3

we slept off and on until sometime around 7am, when joel started to call family, work, and housemates. throughout the morning he had to repeat our awful news, over and over, many times.

i was already starting to have strong contractions around this point but didn’t realize it at the time. i had taken my hair tie out and spent the entire day twisting and fiddling it in my left hand, never losing track. (they say you’re supposed to bring something to focus on during labor … i suppose a hair tie is as good as anything.) they brought oatmeal, but i didn’t have any. bekah (my sister-in-law) arrived with our birth center bags, starbucks, and a big hug. i was only on very low doses of ativan and dilaudid, but by 9am i was almost completely out – sleeping between most contractions and hardly aware of anything outside myself during the contractions. i think my body was in total shock and knew that my mind needed to shut down to get through it – i was on so little medication that I can’t think of any other explanation.

i received my second dose of misoprostol orally at 9am, and labored throughout the morning as family and close friends came and left, holding my hands, crying, talking to joel. i was always holding hands – joel’s, bekah’s, my parents’, midwives’, others … i remember being startled at the changing hand sizes.

despite the agony of that day, there were humorous moments. my oxygen levels dipped as i slept between contractions and joel would patiently hold an oxygen mask over my face. every time i woke up for a contraction i would bat the mask away, ask what it was, joel would wait until i finished the contraction, start to tell me, and before he finished i would fall asleep again. every 3 minutes. for 2 hours. and, for the 2 seconds at a time that i was lucid, i couldn’t understand why the whole room was giggling at me!

at 1:30pm i had received no pitocin and only two doses of misoprostol, so joel asked the doctor to check me again and administer more miso if needed. the doctor checked me and was shocked to find that i was fully dilated 10 hours after the induction began.

sometime around this point the doctor tried to break my waters but was unable to, either because they’d already broken or because the baby’s head was “corking” them too much. we never quite figured out what happened there, but circumstances led us to assume the latter.

i started pushing halfheartedly at about 1:30, but didn’t start to put much effort in until 2:30. i remember how the contractions and pushing felt, but i don’t remember anything about how i reacted. people tell me i whispered “ow, ow, ow,” and looked in joel’s eyes during the contractions, but i wish i could remember this part. the switch on my analytical brain was flipped so solidly off by this point that i only really remember the hands holding mine, the sensations in my body, and joel’s voice repeating, “you can do this. you’re so strong.”

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