The first medication I was given to help induce labor was something called Cervidil. I think that was the first, anyway. There was a lot going on.
“Be careful when you move once it’s in,” the nurse said as she inserted it and I squirmed uncontrollably. If this small discomfort made me squirm, I was in for a rude awakening. “I think I’ve got it in all the way, but you may see or feel a long string near your vagina.”
Sure, sure, sure.
But also, I had some questions. Like 1. How on earth was I supposed to see this string when I hadn’t seen my vagina in months, how long was it? My point of view started around my knees. And 2. if I pulled the string what would happen? Would both my arms and legs suddenly shoot out to the side? I would make a note to ask the nurse later.
“Try to get some sleep,” nurse #2 said as she left. I think it was around 4 or 5 a.m. at this point. But who knows. Time is a blur when you’re waiting to have a baby and people are constantly checking your body cavities.
Chris was sleeping comfortably on the couch at this moment. He knew better than to complain after the first time he started to say, “I bet this couch will give me terrible backache ” and I looked at him like, “really?” REALLY? Let’s get you more comfortable then, husband. BY ALL MEANS. But like I said, he didn’t complain.
I drifted in and out sleep for the next few hours, scared to move and accidentally pull the string out, fearful what that would entail. My dreams were full of tornados, bears, and last my high school basketball game- all of my anxiety go-tos when I’m asleep.
When I awoke to see the sun shining through the blinds and a glimpse of the Rockies saying hello from behind them, I felt relived I’d slept a few hours. Had my cervix ripened? I felt like it had.
“How do you feel?” Chris asked.
“Nice,” Chris responded, unsure how else to respond to such a … response.
We ordered coffee and a light breakfast of yogurt and fruit, although I’ll admit I wanted the burrito but I figured I should hold back.
“This menu reminds me of a cruise ship room service menu,” I said as I read every page for the fourth time.
“I was thinking the same thing.”
2020 had been hard on our travel plans.
When the nurse came back to see if the little troll guarding my cervix had surrendered I was feeling hopeful. Winner winner chicken dinner, I chanted to myself as she checked.
“Anything?” I asked.
“You’re still at zero,” she said sadly.
“What? No way. It’s been hours.”
“It can take up to 12 hours to see any dilation, don’t lose hope,” she said as I clearly lost hope.
Twelve. Hours. Ugh.
We passed the time by watching horrible court room TV because even though an Amazon Fire Stick was on my “things to pack for hospital” list, at the last minute I didn’t because I read the rooms at Rose had Apple TVs. I would soon learn “most of the rooms,” had Apple TV. Ours did not. I would like to take this time to say that while the staff at Rose Medical was incredible, as was the food, the lack of Apple TVs was slightly disheartening. Perhaps they should change their website from, “rooms now equipped with Apple TVs,” to, “a few rooms have Apple TV.” “And even when you get one of those rooms chances are it won’t work.” Just a thought, idk.
But back to my cervix.
When the twelve hour mark approached I was extremely anxious. My contractions were bad, my head throbbed, and we hadn’t left the room once thanks to Covid protocol.
The cervix check began and….
“Still no change,” nurse #5 said. “You have a cervix of steel.”
A cervix of steel? I was both insulted and flattered by this statement. I also knew it would be added to my Instagram bio the second she left the room.
“So now what?” Chris and I both asked.
“Well, I’ve talked with your doctor and I think the next step would probably be inserting a Foley bulb.”
My mind instantly heard a Matt Foley bulb, “a what?” I naively asked.
“A Foley bulb,” she repeated. And if this were a movie right now we’d hear the, “da da dahhhhh,” sound.
Because a Foley Bulb is not fun. I don’t want to scare anyone, but it is scary.
I’m going to use my own words here (not medical terms) but it’s when a catheter is inserted into your cervix and one side is deflated and then once inside your womb, the doctor inflates the balloon with a saline solution. This puts pressure on your cervix and encourages dilation. (Okay these are actually google’s words.)
The only thing I gathered from my nurse’s explanation is that a balloon would be put inside of me.
You know where I like balloons? At a children’s birthday party. Or maybe in a balloon arch at a fancy baby shower. Or at Wal Mart in the 90s when they had those large clear balloons that they’d put teddy bears and chocolates inside of, now those really blew my mind. Those are all examples of places where balloons are okay. Know where they’re not okay? In my womb.
My personal motto has always been no balloons in my womb.
In a few hours I would break my personal motto. But first I’d try everything else. I’d soak in the bath tub and sing hymnals. I’d bounce on a medicine ball while eating jell-o hoping to jiggle the baby out. I paced the tiny room hoping to walk it out. I did all the things hoping to avoid the “Foley bulb.”
But as dusk fell upon us and the screams of women laboring down the hall grew louder I knew it was time.
It was time to bring in the balloon artist.