NowBlowPoMe: The Birth of Emory. (Chapter 2)

(Read Chapter 1 here.)

The room we were given had a most spectacular view. Unfortunately, I would spend most of my time there paralyzed from the waist down and therefore bedridden. But my mother and TobyJoe were able to look out over the East River. We had a view of the 59th Street Bridge, Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, Brooklyn and boats moving to and from someplace different. I thought about the cars moving along the 59th Street Bridge and I wondered if any of them knew we existed, knew what was happening. Probably not. I promised myself that the next time I was on the 59th Street Bridge, I would make sure to think about an unknown woman giving birth from that very room.

TobyJoe made himself as comfortable as possible in a chair by the window and insisted my mother take the chair that folds down into a bed. After watching the two of them take part in the kindest of arguments, my mother finally gave in.

A nurse came in and hooked me up to a device similar to the one shown below. (Image taken from the Philips Medical Systems Web site.)

(Usually, the pregnant person wrapped up in it looks a lot less perky, however. Also, add about 40 pounds to that chick.)

At New York Presbyterian, every patient is represented by a frame on a monitor in every room so the nurses can keep track of everyone’s progress (both mother and baby) no matter where they are. We, too, were able to watch the graphically depicted contractions for every other woman giving birth that night, which made for some interesting conversation during the wee hours of the night. For example, much later, whenever room 9 began screaming bloody murder, I was able to watch her contractions fly off the chart and imagine things to come.

A doctor came in just after midnight to administer the Cervidil. The process hurt a little bit. It felt like a bad period cramp. At that point I found out that I was still only 2 centimeters dilated. The Cervidil should help things along. The cream is inserted up into the cervix. Its only job is to thin out the cervix (effacement) and ready it for the Pitocin later. It’s supposed to be a painless process, which is why they hit you with a sweet dose of AmbienCR right after insertion. I had been told by several women that the first night of induction brought with it one of the best night’s rest they’d ever had.

(Foreshadow: I turned out not to be one of those women.)

It doesn’t happen that often, but sometimes Cervidil triggers labor, something I was kind of hoping for as it would cut down on the time I’d spend in a hospital bed. Another rarer and more painful side-effect, is that it can trigger an intense and constant contraction but not actually induce labor. I didn’t know about that until later.

Once given the Cervidil, I could not use the bathroom for two hours. Since Cervidil is a cream, if a woman were to stand up too soon, it could drain out. At least that was my understanding. So, if I did have to use the bathroom before two hours were up, I would have to do so using a bedpan, and that didn’t sound all that appealing. (All fear of peeing into a metal container fell by the wayside later on. That was nothing compared to what I would learn to overlook later.)

I must have been hormonally challenged because I spent the next hour thinking about Murray at home by himself. I begged my mother and TobyJoe to go home and get a good night’s rest. And I really meant it; I really wanted them both to get a decent night’s rest, especially since TobyJoe was about the spend the next two nights on a cold, hard floor. But I also wanted someone there with Murray. I know now that this was entirely irrational, absurd even. But he became my focal point. Perhaps thinking about him kept my mind off what I was about to endure.

Truth be told, I still have no idea why I care so deeply for that cat. Perhaps it’s because he was my buddy throughout my entire pregnancy. Or maybe it’s because he spent most of his youth growing along with my belly.

Even after my persistent badgering, it was decided that sending my mother out driving through the city by herself in the middle of the night was a dumb idea. TobyJoe made a nest on the floor. My mother made herself as comfortable as possible on the chair next to my bed.

And of course an hour after the doctor gave me the Cervidil I had to pee. Normally holding my urine in for two hours wouldn’t be a problem for me, but the IV was pumping me so full of fluid, it all made a beeline right to my bladder. There was no way I could wait another hour. If I had to use a bedpan, then so be it.

I paged the nurse.

“I realize we’re not supposed to use the bathroom, but I really have to go.”

The nurse spoke with the doctor and the two of them decided that I could get up to use the bathroom early.

They unhooked the fetal monitor, my monitor, and my IV bag, and I hobbled to the bathroom.

And I peed. Forever.

When I returned to my bed, the nurse hooked me back up to the plethora of gadgets, and I waited for the Ambien to do its thing. To this day, I am not sure why it happened. I blame myself for having to pee, of course. But fifteen minutes later, I started to have a constant and very painful contraction. The frame that represented my room on the monitor – room number 8 – was maxed out entirely. It looked as if our room alone was being hit by an earthquake. I looked over the monitor while clutching my upper abdomen. All the other women looked so peaceful!

I turned to my mother. “If this is what they consider painless, I’m screwed when it finally comes to giving birth.”

Meanwhile, my fuzzy focal point was across a bridge, over a river, through a city and up three flights of stair.

It became abundantly clear: I was going to need a lot more AmbienCR to get me through the night.

Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). I will continue this story every day until it’s finished. Each chapter will live in a section titled The Birth of Emory.


  1. This is a great series. I love hearing about Emory’s birth.


  2. I’m curious to see where this is going! I’m one of those people who went into labor with Cervidil (two doses) as well—of course, once I got the epidural, it stopped everything in its tracks and I had to have copious doses of Pitocin and then a forceps delivery! I guess labor is never quite how we planned, eh? Mine wasn’t as unpleasant as yours (although the recovery has been a bitch) but it was awfully medical. Next time, if there is a next time, I won’t be quite so eager to be induced (unlike you, I did not have the good sense to be afraid of getting induced).


  3. I am scheduled to be induced on Monday and sort of need to know how this ends!


  4. You blame youself…well, welcome to parenthood – you will discover that we blame ourselves for everything!

    Enjoying reading your blog here in Spain and looking forward the rest of the story…


  5. i really don’t want people to think i sound bitchy or judgemental when i say this; please don’t. but all of the weird monitors and the waiting around in a bed, unable to move easily, those are some of the reasons that people choose to have a natural birth. not for everyone, but you can see that there are some logical reasons to try it. (of course, you still get the incredible pain.)


  6. They don’t use fetal (and mommy) monitors for natural labor?


  7. Nina—I have lots of friends who were induced, got the epidural, and had a speedy and relatively pleasant “normal vaginal delivery,” so don’t stress! I think my particular problem was that I was 0 cm dilated at 41 weeks and my body was just not going to cooperate. I am curious to see what Mihow has to say about her experience!

    PS: Mihow, thank you for fixing my italics problem in the above comment :-)


  8. I’m eagerly awaiting the rest of the story! Like KidKate’s friends, I had the cervidil once, then started a turbo labour, and just over 4 hours later, had a relatively normal delivery. But no epidural. :P

    I don’t know what it is, but after giving birth, I just want to hear everyone’s birth story. Perhaps to reassure myself that no one really has the birth they planned?


  9. We didn’t have a birth plan at all. All I know is that I wanted the baby to be born safely. My body wasn’t going into labor and my blood pressure was through the roof. I basically let my doctors call all the shots at that point. That is there job after all.

    A lot more babies and mamas live through it now a days with all the modern technologies. So, I guess there’s something to be said for all the medical stuff.


  10. KidKate, I am convinced that in situations like that, the doctor got the due date wrong. I would be interested to know what your Ultra Sound at the hospital said your due date was. I was 41 weeks, scheduled induction with a doula. I have the cervadil and went into 1 minute apart contractions. Hard labor. It took from 1am til 3:30 pm the next day before I was ready to deliver. I had grace at 4:09 pm. Super easy once I got to push.

    However, my ultrasound from the hospital when they measured the neuchal fold said I was due a week later than the doctor estimated.

    Congrats to you all!


  11. Rachel—I’m pretty sure the due date was just off by a day, based on my own calculations and the fact that the baby was over 8 pounds. Also, they moved the date up four days from my original date of the 12th to the 8th (I had her on the 15th) based on the ultrasounds (we had five, including a growth scan at 37 weeks). I think my body is just stubborn! But next time I might wit till 42 weeks to be induced to see if it happens on my own. Like Mihow, I had no birth plan other than, “Get baby out safely!”


  12. Yeah, in my case as well. Barely dilated at 41 weeks. But I know for a fact my due date was dead on.

    I was told by Dr. Kauffman right after I pushed my little guy out, I asked, “What would have happened to me had we not induced?”

    She said, “You would have had him just fine, it would have happened within the 42 weeks on its own. First pregnancies are like that”

    They induced because of my blood pressure. If it hadn’t gone apeshit, I may have gone into the 42 weeks.

    So, KidKate, chances are the next time our bodies will know what to do. :] First pregnancies are like that.


  13. michele, they don’t use monitors for natural labor. they do check the fetal heart rate using some crazy-looking tummy stethescope though. i remember the doula doing that while i was in the bath having major active-labor contractions. that was when i transitioned from just groaning to saying, “f##k”


  14. Yeah, in the UK they induce at 41 weeks as a matter of policy, although they will let you go to 42 weeks with close monitoring. But I had an irrational (and entirely baseless) fear of cord accidents my entire pregnancy, so I decided to go ahead with my doctor’s recommendation be induced at 41. But then, I know people who didn’t even go into labor at 42 weeks—I think it’s the first pregnancy thing. Better luck to both of us next time, Mihow!


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