So look who decided to show up right on time...
It has been quite the adventure getting this little one here but we are so happy she is here and doing so well.
I have lots more photos from her early hours and days. I am still contemplating if I want to post those here or start a new blog for her like the other kids have and post them there. For now, I have a very limited window of blogging so I will post these with and over view of her birth story.
I had been having contractions on and off for about 4 weeks. Prior to her birth, we presented to the labor and delivery department twice for consistent contractions. Hence, the last time there was a lot of hesitation for going in too early or even at all.
I was scheduled to work on my regular days but the Thursday before my regular Friday I started to have painful contractions all day. Actually, they started during an impromptu play date at the aquarium. I recall driving home around noon and thinking how these contractions felt different. Still, they were about 7-8 minutes apart and I was very skeptical. They continued until 7:00 am the following morning. Then once again, they stalled. I was glad we did not go back to the hospital just to be sent home. Because I did not sleep that night I called my office manager and said I would not be in. She blocked my schedule for that day and thereafter. I was pretty frustrated. I went ahead and took the kids to school and came home, rested for a bit, and then started cleaning. Cleaning more out of frustration versus nesting.
Then amidst my cleaning I started to notice I was having some light spotting. This was interesting to me as I had never had that prior to labor. However, I'd also never had full on spontaneous labor so I was encouraged. But still no contractions. That was about noon. I picked the kids up at school at 5:00 and while I was standing in the parking lot I actually had to pause from discomfort.
Also a couple other tidbits - the power went out while I was picking up the kids. Also, I forgot that I was going to take a bath before I picked up the kids and left the tub water running. Luckily, the emergency drain picked up most of it and there was no flood but I sure felt terrible missing my bath and waisting all that water. I guess I was more preoccupied than I thought. Glad I did not go to work, I could have given the wrong meds or dosing.
I texted Hubby with the update. He offered to take us to dinner so I would not disturb my clean house. Initially, I agreed but then as the contractions continued and were getting more and more uncomfortable I opted for take out. I texted the take out order to my neighbor by mistake. Again, was starting to be a little out of it.
As the evening progressed the contractions continued but still about 8-10 minutes apart. When they hit I was on my ball or doing my hyponobirthing relaxation techniques. In between, I was fine. The kids were awesome. They snuggled me on the couch and we watched Stuart Little. They would jump out of the way every time a contraction hit so I could get on my ball or on my hands/knees. This was the preferred position of comfort. Lil Sister would even pat or rub my back to relax me.
We put the kids to bed and I put my sister on stand by as well as the neighbors. I told Hubby there was no way I was going to sleep but he should try to sleep and I would work on my relaxation in preparation for the hospital. He took a shower and packed some last minute items so we would be ready to go.
Around 1:00 am the spotting was getting worse and I was having more frequent (about every 5-6 minutes) and more painful contractions. My relaxation techniques were working but it was taking all my concentration. I really wanted the contractions to be 4-5 minutes apart for a full hour before heading to the hospital. At 1:30 I texted my sister to wake her - no response. Still, I felt there was time.
At 2:00 am I was certain we needed to head to the hospital. I called my sister a couple of times and still no answer. I was starting to not be able to speak or stand during contraction so I could not keep calling her. Instead, Hubby called Good Neighbors D&M. They were already awake having seen our lights on and they were over in 4 minutes. I did not even go out to see them, I went right to the car.
I tried calling my sis again at 2:40 while en route to the hospital, I had about a 2 minute window of pain free where I could speak but I still could not reach her. Instead, I left a message to call the neighbors and coordinate with them. They were both at the house with their books while the big kids continued to sleep.
We arrived at the hospital around 3:00 am. It is a short walk into the labor and delivery section but we had to pause three times due to painful contractions. My relaxation techniques were still working.
When inside, I was assigned a room and asked to change. I could barely give the urine sample they wanted or even put on a gown. It took what seemed like forever for a nurse to show up. Apparently, it was a busy night and only the charge nurse was available. I did not care. She started by hooking me up to monitors. This is where I started to struggle. I was very uncomfortable sitting still in a bed. My relaxation techniques were starting to fail me when I could not shift positions. She asked my pain management plan - I explained I was trying to do hypnobirth. She said she just needed to get a good 20-30 minutes of readings with me laying down and then she would fill up the tub for me to continue laboring. This she said before she had checked anything.
Then she started asking all the same questions I had answered during my previous two stays. I was a bit annoyed. I understand why the questions need to be asked but I was not in the mood to reply I was a non-smoker and non-drinker for the third time. Then the nurse looked at the monitor and saw that the contractions were coming every 2 1/2 minutes and off the charts. She stopped what she was doing and checked my cervix. I was at 6 cm and full effaced. Plus, she could feel baby's head. She left to call the doctor but I had to stay hooked to the monitors and in the bed.
I was extremely uncomfortable laying in the bed. I tried shifting from side to side. Finally, I had Hubby sit me up. The monitors were not all that happy but I did not care. I could not focus on my relaxation if I could not control how I could position my body.
Then other nurses started coming in.As one said, when you come in at 6 cm dilated you will meet all the nursing staff as they need to get things done before they run out of time. The charge nurse came back and said my doctor was on his way - poor guy, woke him up again at the wee hours of the morning, this time for good reason. Next a nurse said she had to do an ultrasound to ensure the baby's head was down. She was a really sweet cheerful nurse so it was hard to get grumpy with her but I had to lay flat on my back. I explained she had about 1-2 minutes of time when I would be comfortable enough to do it. She did her best. But that's when I was starting to lose control over my relaxation.
Next, another nurse came in to start my IV. Again, had to sit up. My relaxation techniques were continuing to fade. The IV hurt horribly, worse than a contraction, but it only took one attempt. I asked her to run the fluid bolus and send out my blood work as I may ask for pain management. She said I needed to make a quick decision if I wanted pain management because we were running out of time. Hubby and I took a few moments to discuss but he said ultimately it was my decision. He was supportive of whatever I wanted.
All this time, I recall seeing very little as most of the time I had my eyes closed and was using my breathing and relaxation techniques. They were keeping me pulled together during contractions but as the position restrictions and questions continued, I could certainly feel them slipping away. Plus, I did not have my suitcase with my relaxation music and I just had no free moments to focus.
Then the shakes set in. I could not stop shaking. A nurse tried wrapping me in warm blankets but I was not cold and when the next contraction hit, Hubby was pulling blankets off of me as my urgent request. Because of the shakes, the nurse was worried that I was in transition. She check my cervix again, 7-8 cm and yes, I was in transition. They stopped filling the tub since I was not going to be able to use it because the baby was coming and coming fast.
I also recall Hubby wanting to do something to help. We had practiced all these massage and light tough techniques during birthing class. All that went out the window as I wanted nothing touching me - no blankets, nothing. Period. So he offered some ice chips. That was welcomed but it seemed the staff kept putting me on my back and when he would try to feed me ice chips, they would spill down my gown. I know he felt so helpless and just wanted to do something to help. Actually, just knowing he was close was important to me. I know he wanted to do something.
At that point I realized I was not going to have the chance to continue my hypnobirthing. Because everything was going so fast and I could not focus from all the interruptions, I asked for pain management. They immediately called the nurse anesthetist. He came in and started going over everything with me but at this point things were really starting to pick up. I was violently shaking and the contractions were every 2 minutes. Plus, I could feel the baby pushing down.
I recall sitting on the edge of the bed and the CRNA scrubbing my back to do an epidural and the nurse holding my knees in place. I was continuing to breath through the contractions and the CRNA would only work in those brief windows between contractions. Then I heard a pop. Apparently no one else heard it but it seemed really loud to me - my water broke. That CRNA was awesome - he would just pause keeping his sterile field in place during these moments. Again, my eyes were closed and I was breathing. The nurse asked if I was pushing and I said no but I could feel my body pushing the baby out. I think had the doctor been there I would have probably just pushed the baby out but we were waiting for him and then he walked in as the CRNA was threading the epidural catheter. Then he said he was going to just give me a shot of anesthesia because he did not think there would be time for me to actually use the epidural. However, he went ahead and hooked it up if I needed something should it take longer.
I was completely amazed that the CRNA was able to get the pain meds into me in time, with all the violent shaking, and during brief windows between contractions. I also recall the nurse telling me I was doing a good job - this helped and kept me going. Mostly, though, I was so tickled that I was experiencing spontaneous delivery without pitocin.
The doctor came in and he wanted to wait for the anesthesia took effect. The shaking and contractions continued but I could feel the pain easing. He and I chatted for a while. He really adores T and wanted to hear some stories of his latest adventures as a budding super hero. I know he was trying to offer distraction. Plus, this little bit of a break offered me the chance to compose myself because up to that point, all my efforts had been toward concentrating. It was nice to relax and be able to enjoy the final moments of pregnancy and actually see our daughter being born. Plus, I could see the relief on Hubby's face as I relaxed and had relief. My phrase for the morning was "Rob Rocks" because that CRNA saved the final moments of our labor - had he been like my last two epidurals with 2-3 attempts each, we would have lost our window of pain relief. He had one shot and he did it. I was completely impressed. And no, I did not end up needing the epidural drip just the spinal shot he gave.
Baby was born at 5:07 so about 2 hours after we got to the hospital. And we ended up finishing the questions and signing the consent forms after the birth. And yes, I had tearing. This little girl's head was bigger than either of my last two children. It was not horrible like with T but still I had to be stitched up which is never a pleasant experience.
I was also starving and Hubby went to get me some food from the pantry down the hall. Then at 7:00 I had breakfast delivered. My sister did call at 6:00 having received my voicemails. She had set her phone by her bed but forgot to turn it to ring.
When things were stable I sent Hubby home to sleep. Neither of us had slept in over two nights but he had to take care of the big kids so he went home and slept, my sister took the kids back to her house, and I hung out with our new baby daughter.
She was 7 lbs, 1.3 oz, 20 inches. Apgar scores were 9/9 at all times. This little one was roaring and very alert and active. And all the nurses and the doctor were intrigued by our cloth diapers. They all wanted to feel and touch them and the baby nurses were very excited to put on a cute purple diaper after her bath.
I also was able to hold the baby immediately after she was born. I was not able to do this with either of my other babies. That was pretty awesome.
Overall, I was very happy with my birth experience. Seriously happy I went into labor on my own and had no pitocin to induce labor. It is standard protocol following delivery particularly for mutiparous mothers. I also experienced about 90% of a natural delivery and it actually worked out perfectly that things could calm down at the end and I could regroup and enjoy the last of the experience and actually open my eyes. I think I just waited too long to go to the hospital. Had I been able to get there, spend some time in the tub, play my calming music, and move around, I bet I could have gone all the way without pain management. However, when I had no control over what was happening, I lost my ability to use the tools I came prepared to use. I am grateful that it all worked out for me to have that extra help at the end and ultimately enjoy and embrace the final stages of labor.
So, there you have it. Our birth story. Lots of details but this is for our records and history.
We are tickled to pieces at this charming little girl - she is spectacular and wonderful. I love her soft coos and little squeaks. She has the sweetest breath and gentlest spirit. She is already adored by all who meet her.
We are honored to be her parents and be with her as she starts her life journey.