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I went past my due date, so I was scheduled for an induction the following Friday. My husband and I were at his office picnic when a friend started telling us about a pizza place that's famous for inducing labor. Someone said, "Oh, yeah! I've heard of that place: Primo's in Danville." So we went there the following night. They have a wall full of baby pictures, but we didn't say anything to them about wanting to get the labor started; we just ordered pepperoni pizza and ate it. I felt so silly.
The next day at about 9 p.m., I started having contractions. When they had been ten minutes apart for an hour I called the hospital. The doctor on call said to come in for a check. My sister, who had been over for dinner, stayed with our toddler, Nicole.
Managing the medical staff
When I got to the hospital I was only 2 to 3 centimeters dilated. The medical staff didn't have my prenatal records, so they didn't know which antibiotics to use for my strep B; I could tell they wanted to send me home. But after they talked to my doctor, they admitted me around 1 a.m. My husband took a little snooze while the antibiotics were administered.
I had some trouble during the attempts to put the IV in, because I'm not very good with blood. The nurse who tried to insert my IV made three tries and missed all three. I had to look away and breathe deeply. After the third try she said, "I'm going to go get someone who's better at this." I appreciated that. She came back with another nurse who got it in on the first try.
Because of my legal work representing doctors in malpractice cases, I had a better understanding of what was going on than someone without that background might have. I saw that my admission order said to administer Pitocin PRN, which I knew meant "as needed." The nurses wanted to start the Pitocin as soon as I was admitted because my contractions weren't as consistent as they would have liked them to be. But I wanted to have four hours before we started the Pitocin to give the antibiotics a chance to kick in – just in case the Pitocin made the labor progress really quickly.
When they started to add Pitocin to my IV, I asked, "Do I have to start it?" The nurse said no. So I told them I didn't want it. If I hadn't asked what was in the IV, I think they would have started the Pitocin drip without saying anything. Medical practitioners are not always good at explaining what they're doing as they're doing it. And they're not as forthcoming as they could be. If you're not sure what's going on, just ask. They'll tell you if you ask. Knowledge is power.
Managing the pain
The contractions weren't that bad at that point – I could talk through them. I used breathing techniques from my prenatal yoga class, and just lay there quietly with the lights turned down.
At 5 a.m. they started me on a really low dose of Pitocin, and I progressed pretty rapidly, which I had expected. I told them that I wanted my epidural at 6:30 a.m. and that I didn't want them to break the water until after the epidural. When they give you the epidural, you have to lean forward and hold really still. I was breathing deeply and thinking calm thoughts throughout the administering.
I got a great epidural. I could feel the contractions, but they weren't earthshakingly painful, and I could still move my legs.
At about 6:30 that morning, they broke the water, and about an hour later my doctor arrived and checked me. "You have a blond baby," she said. I remember telling her, "But I don't make blond babies," because I was remembering Nicole when she was born.
Two pushes and Margaret was out – at 8:01 a.m. There was a little blood on her head because I had a small tear, but I wasn't worried – they had told me I had torn a bit. I was so excited that I was distracted.
Bonding with Margaret
I felt bonded right away. She latched on immediately; I think being able to breastfeed right away helps with bonding. I was surprised by her looks because she looked different from Nicole, which was my only point of reference. (Nicole's hair started out dark, although she's now almost a white-blond). I was expecting everything to be the same as last time. But since Margaret looked so different, that helped me to see her as her own person.