So, when we left off, I knew my intervention-free birth was going out the window. The midwives inserted a cannula into the back of my right hand. It had two ports, one to administer antibiotics and on for the Sintocin. In no time I was all hooked up and ready to get things going. I steeled myself for the increase in pain, but I was pretty worn out by this point.
The Sintocin did it's job and very quickly my contractions got closer together and more intense. I started to struggle. Being unable to move around and the sheer exhaustion were really getting to me. The midwives were frustrated that they had trouble keeping the baby's heartbeat tracked on the monitor I was wearing and kept re-adjusting it. After a couple of hours they said that they wanted to up my dose of Sintocin because I still wasn't far enough along for their liking. At this point, I cracked. I said, "If you want to up the dose, I'd like to talk to someone about an epidural". They were words I'd been aiming to avoid. I didn't want to have one, but I knew I'd reached my breaking point. If I'd been able to move around or be in the water, or if I hadn't been in labour so long things might have been different. But that's what happened I asked for the epidural.
Time went on and I assumed that the anaesthetist was coming. The midwife said they needed to up the dose again and I said, "What's happening with the epidural?" She said "Oh, did you want one?" I was so shocked. I was in disbelief that I'd asked about one a full hour before and she hadn't called for a doctor! I've heard since then, that they will often really make you work for one and be firm that you really want it in an effort to help you avoid one if they know you hadn't wanted an epidural. So I guess I can appreciate that she was trying to give me the birth I had wanted, but at the time I was not a happy camper. I think Ross was even more irritated than I was. (I think being the husband during birth has to be one of the hardest things ever. They don't get enough credit for sitting there watching their wives in pain, unable to really DO anything. Sure they can do some things, but there's not a lot to do except wait and be supportive- while trying to keep calm and positive. When things weren't going as smoothly as we would have liked, I can't imagine how stressful it was for him.) I affirmed that yes I wanted the epidural and would like her to hold off on upping my dose of Sintocin again until after I'd had some pain relief.
Not long thereafter, an anaesthetist came into the room. The was a young-ish woman and in my mind she was Jac Naylor (a character on a hospital show here. She's known for her no-nonsense attitude and all-business approach to medicine). I knew, even in the moment, that she really looked nothing like the actress, but I still decided that she was my own personal Jac.
She was very calm and cool. I remember appreciating how she spoke to me (like a normal person, instead of like a woman in labor). She politely said that she'd heard I was interested in an epidural. By this point, it had been nearly 36 hours since my waters had broken. She informed me in a very straight-forward manner that I wasn't eligible for an epidural. I was crushed. My mouth hung open. I already felt a bit like I'd failed in even asking for one, but once I'd given in and asked for one I hadn't had any question in my mind that I'd be getting one and that relief was imminent. I think I almost cried when I asked "Why?!?!" She explained that, because my waters had been broken for so long and I'd spiked a fever there was a chance that I could be paralysed if they went messing with my spine. Well that, seemed a good enough reason.... I thought after hearing this news that the next bit she would say was "So, you'll just have to keep going... no pain relief for you." I felt defeated and tired. Luckily, I was wrong... Not-Jac wasn't going to let me down.