The “Undilated” Labour

There is no greater oxymoron in obstetrics than that indicated in the title of this post. I want to make it clear that the content of this post represents my experience and while I appreciate others have had great experiences, theirs are not mine to own.

When I found out I was carrying twins, a lot of things ran through my mind. Paramount concern for me was the safe carrying to full term and safe delivery. I had a serious and frank discussion with my OBGYN and after serious consideration I decided to deliver at UHWI, as it is the ONLY hospital in Kingston with a labour and NICU unit. The latter was crucial as the delivery of twins is considered high risk under every and any condition and should there be a problem I wanted to be in the same hospital as my children. My previous delivery was at Nutall and I knew and did not expect the same royal treatment and service, but boy it was night and day!

Attending the UHWI private clinic was not bad at all. I was seeing my consultant who was going to deliver me and he had the greatest nurse I have ever had the chance to deal with. She was a gem. But that was the end of the pleasant experience.

Somewhere about two days short of 34 weeks, I started to experience tightening in my stomach and they came at intervals. Some how I was sure they were not contractions but since my pregnancy was considered high risk and my doctor did not want to take any chance I went to the labour ward. I later found out that because I was pre-term a nurse could not examine me. Somehow I had found comfort in that at the time, but that was a false sense of security. So I was stringed up to machine to check the heart rates and to see whether I was having contractions and then I had to wait on the doctor. I must say here that the nurses (all but one) on the labour ward are some of the best at the UHWI.

So in walks this young woman who introduces herself as a doctor and I proceeded with my 100 questions. Since she was only going to examine me to inform my consultant, I though oh well what the hell! She professionally examined me and informed me I was 2cm. My exact words to her was “2cm what?!” in shock and she informed I was 2m dilated and base on the reading on the machine I was having contractions. I saw no reason to question her assessment and my consultant ordered that I be admitted and be immediately medicated to stop the “contractions” and to develop the lungs of the babies. I went into frighten mood because it was not a safe time to deliver twins. However the contractions calmed down and I was released on Wednesday. And not a day too soon as I was not getting any sleep! Some time before being release I was examined a second them and the 2cm dilation was confirmed by another doctor.

I was now on labour watched and moved closer to the hospital. By Friday of the same week, I started to feel the same discomfort and once again went to the labour ward and was admitted for 24 hour watch. This time another doctor informed that I was not actually having contractions but that I was still 2cm dilated. On Saturday a very interesting personality in the form of a doctor attended to me. By this time I did not look like anybody in labour and I was sure my consultant was going to request that they release me. However upon examination I was found to be 4cm dilated!

My OGBYN was now on standby, family was praying and all the necessary staff was now on alert for the delivery of pre-term twins. Saturday night…nothing. Sunday I was examined by another doctor still 4cm and nothing. By Sunday evening I was sufficiently depressed, pregnant women came in and out of the labour ward and I was not even feeling anything near to a contraction.

Monday morning I demanded answers and my OBGYN, because protocol did not permit him, requested of the attending consultant to check me. He was quite a pleasant fellow who agreed with me that something was wrong. There was no way I was 4cm dilated and was not progressing into active labour. The man had not even finish the examination when he hissed his teeth and told me I could get dress and go home! I was like WHAT? Apparently I was not even 1cm dilated and was only having some abdominal tightness because of limited space.

How then did four different doctors got it wrong? There are two openings to the uterus and it is the inner opening that determines dilation…obstetrics basics. But none of these doctors was paying attending in class and so I spent close to a week in the hospital for no good reason! It was not until Thursday of that week that I was 3cm dilated and I opt to deliver by C-section at week 36.

I continue to marvel at the sheer incompetence but praise God that it did not lead to any harm to me or the babies!

This entry was posted in Babies.

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