Jolene was my first L&D nurse. Yes, she is named after the Dolly Parton song. She was also very pregnant. 37 weeks, she said. Her second baby. She was so much more pregnant than me.
She asked if I wanted to take a shower before she started the IV and all the monitors. The idea seemed strange to me. I had just showered that morning. Not even 12 hours ago.
Looking back, it was just a “duh” thing. She knew that I might not get to shower for a good long time if I didn’t shower right then.
So I showered. Jolene provided shampoo and soap and towel. I hadn’t brought any of that with me. Because, you know, I packed my hospital bag in a hurry. All those times I told myself to get it packed but didn’t…
Then came the IV and blood pressure cuff and baby monitor.
Soon after that was my introduction to magnesium sulfate and some pregnancy-safe blood pressure medication.
The first dose of magnesium sulfate is a double-strength dose. Jolene told me it would probably not be very fun. That I might not feel well. In the first few moments after the drug started flowing through the IV, I thought I might be okay. Maybe not so bad.
I was wrong. I told Jolene as much.
The best way I’ve been able to describe that first round of magnesium sulfate is that I felt like I was being pressed into the bed everywhere at the same time. Smashed. Pulled from below. Every part of me flattened. Everything was blurry and in slow motion.
My memory from there on out is also blurry and in slow motion.
Here’s what I know.
- I talked to my husband and told him to stay home and get some sleep in his own bed. The baby was not coming that night and probably not even the next day since we were wanting to do another steroid shot.
- Dr. S checked to see how dilated and effaced I was. (<– I can’t be sure if this happened before in Triage or once I was in L&D, but I think it was in L&D.) She also inserted a balloon thing in my cervix to encourage softening. I feel like that was a 12-hr thing. Can’t be sure. It’s a blur. But I do know that she had to try a few different times to get the balloon in. It kept popping out. I was out of it, yes, but was with it enough to be stressed out and praying that she could get the balloon to stay. Thankfully, she finally got it to work.
- I slept a lot. Of course, Jolene woke me up regularly to check my vitals.
- At some point Thursday became Friday. After Jolene was nurse Christina. (I only know her name because of my real time blog post about April 21.) She was also pregnant. I want to say 28 weeks.
- When the balloon came out, I was mostly effaced, which was awesome, but not more dilated.
- Pitocin started at some point. For many hours, I was basically not aware of it. The magnesium sulfate, administered to me to protect against seizures, also functioned to deaden any contractions the pitocin was trying to encourage.
- My husband spent a good part of the day with me. He reports that I would fall asleep in the middle of a conversation or in the middle of a sentence.
- If I needed to use the bathroom, someone had to help me get there because I couldn’t stand on my own.
- I also know I hardly ate a thing. Some chicken broth here and there. Some jello (sugar-free) once or twice. Lots of water.
- I also know that my next nurse was Cathy (from Triage). It was good to see a familiar face and to have someone who met me and my bubbly and effervescent (cough) self before I met “the mag.” She liked me. Said I wasn’t difficult or obnoxious like other women in other rooms. (Cough.)
That gets us to about 5:30 pm on Friday, April 21 when Dr. Habecker came in to chat.