I gowned up and let the nurse come in and strap me to the monitors. At some point, my doctor did a cervical check and said I was only about a 1.5 and 50% effaced, so the plan was still to start with a Cook’s catheter and then do Pitocin later on. I assumed that the monitors were just for another NST and that I’d be getting off of them later; shows what I knew. The nurse said something about starting my IV, and I asked her if I could do a Hep-lock in case the induction went well so that I could be off the IV later on. She said “no,” and I asked her to talk to my doctor about it. She came back and put something in my arm; I didn’t learn until later whether it was an IV or a Hep-lock.
Sometime later I was still being monitored and they had not started the induction yet, and I was getting hungry, so I began to eat some of the snacks in my labor bag. That’s where the trouble started. The nurse saw me snacking on a protein bar and a bag of trail mix and said, “Okay, but you can’t eat when labor starts.” I asked why and her answer amounted to “because I said so.” We argued about it until I finally blurted out, “Who’s going to stop me? Talk to my doctor about it, it was in my birth plan.” She left the room.
Around 9:45 AM, my doctor came back, accompanied by his attending and one of the other residents. “Did the nurse tell on me?” I asked. He kind of shifted uncomfortably, then said it was okay if I wanted to eat in early labor, but they didn’t recommend it and they really, really recommended that I not eat at all in active labor. I said I wasn’t making any promises. Then I said, “Non-stress test is over, can we get these monitors off me now?” And that’s where more trouble started.
They said they couldn’t do a Pitocin induction without continuous fetal monitoring. I said that it was in my birth plan that I wanted to use intermittent monitoring, that I could live with dragging the Pitocin IV cart, but it was going to be really hard for me to manage my pain without being able to walk around and get in the shower and whatnot. My doctor said he understood he had agreed to that when I was a low-risk case, but now that my risk was higher, we really needed to keep me on the monitors.
I was starting to panic. It felt like the same cascade of interventions that I’d had with my daughter’s birth was starting to crash down on me. They weren’t rude about it, and in fact they were being very gentle and apologetic, but I started to sob. They said I could still move around the bed as much as I wanted, use the exercise ball, etc., and that I could push in whatever position I wanted, but Pitocin could send the baby into distress at any time, and they needed to know he was okay. At one point my husband got upset and tried to kick all three of them out of the room, but I told him to back down, and I went ahead and consented to the Pitocin and the continuous fetal monitoring.
My doctor’s attending wanted to check my cervix one more time before making a final decision on the method of induction. She said I was a 2 and she could even stretch me to a 3, and that I was about 60% effaced, so she didn’t think the Cook’s catheter would be necessary, that we would just go straight to a low dose of Pitocin. So they started me on a Pitocin drip of 1 mL/hr. I called my doula and told her she should probably get there soon. I had gone from a 4 to a 10 in a half hour with my daughter, so if I was a 2-3 already, who knew how much time was left.
To be continued…