This is the second part of the story of Hannah’s birth.
Monitors and Phone Calls
In the assessment room, we waited for the midwives and the nurse hooked me up to the monitors to ‘do a strip’. This is where they watch my contractions and the baby’s heart rate for a pre-determined length of time. Since the baby was premature, they wanted to make sure that there were no problems. They had a hard time picking up the contractions with the monitor, but the baby’s heartrate was fine, and they confirmed that I was in early labour.
As I was lying there on the monitors, I started to feel the contractions. They were quite mild, but lying on my back they felt stronger than when I was able to sit up or move around. The contractions were coming 4 minutes apart, and they didn’t seem to be picking up steam. The baby was very active at this time, so that was reassuring.
When the midwives arrived, they took me off the monitor fairly quickly, felt my belly, and told me that I would most likely have a baby that day. They told me that my baby’s long-term prognosis was excellent, but that he or she would most likely have to spend 2 weeks or so in the special care nursery. However, they didn’t check me, because they wanted the doctor to make the final call about whether to try to stop my labour, and whether I would need any other tests. Once your waters have broken, too many checks can lead to infection. I was also given IV antibiotics for this reason, and because I hadn’t completed all of the standard late-pregnancy infection screens.
The doctor was late, so at 9:00 the midwives moved me to a delivery room, where they checked me and saw that I was 2-3 centimeters dilated. A different doctor came in, and said that because I was 34 weeks they wouldn’t stop the labour. I would be having a baby, and my labour would be allowed to progress normally.
At this point, since things didn’t seem to be moving that quickly, the midwives suggested getting some reading materials, eating, and relaxing. They left to do some visits, with instructions to page them if anything changed. I ate breakfast, we talked, and then we started making phone calls. The first call was to my fellow Brownie leader, because we were scheduled to have a sleepover that evening. Then we called our parents, to let them know what was up. We got our lives sort of organized, and chatted.
At about 11:00 they hooked me back up the monitor for another ‘strip’. This time, the baby was quiet, but the heartbeat stayed steady. However, they wanted to see the baby’s heartbeat respond to activity, so I sat on that monitor for about an hour. By this time, I found sitting still in a semi-upright position to be increasingly uncomfortable. I complained, and breathed, and finally at about 12:20 the baby started moving, the midwives returned, and I was off the monitor.
By 12:30 the monitoring was done, I was moving, and we had finished making our phone calls and making our arrangements.