There were times near the end of this pregnancy that I thought I was going to be pregnant forever. Seriously. Until the end of time. I had a lot of amniotic fluid and had created this warm, comfortable place for my baby. Why on earth would she want to leave that?
|The last day of my pregnancy!|
At my 40 week checkup on August 12th, I overheard the secretary at my doctor's office mention that he would be unavailable on Thursday and Friday of that week. When I asked for details, I learned that he was taking his son to Florida to drop him off at college.
My OB, whom I trust completely, was leaving town. I joked that I would probably go into labor while he was gone. As upset as I was about him possibly missing my birth, I was even more upset that his absence meant my midwife would also be unable to attend my birth. She did most of my prenatal care and I was really hoping she would deliver Baby M.
Over the next couple of days I came to peace with the fact that I would possibly have some doctor I didn't know attending the birth of my daughter. When I really thought about it, I realized that I just needed someone to catch the baby, as I was the one doing all of the work!
On Thursday the 15th around 10PM I posted on Instagram that my to do list included one item: go into labor. I was just being clever and trying to find humor in the fact that I was still going to be pregnant with this child come Christmas.
Around 11PM I crawled into bed. I noticed I felt a little bit of cramping. Every night for the last four weeks I had been praying to God that I would go into labor soon. This night was different, though. If this was a prelude to the big show, I was going to need some help. I prayed for the strength to get through this delivery. And then I went to sleep.
I woke up just before 2AM to use the bathroom. That's when I realized I was having contractions. I got back into bed to see if it was an isolated incident or if they were kind of regular. I didn't have to wait very long to find out. I told Michael that I was having some contractions and that he should go back to sleep. I also told him to plan on going to work in a few hours because I could be in labor forever.
While he slept I decided to go downstairs. I figured I should move around and see if my contractions stopped or slowed down and figure out if I was in labor. I cleaned my kitchen and answered a couple of emails while I timed things. My contractions were coming steadily every 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
2 1/2 to 3 minutes. I always thought that contractions started out far apart and got closer together as they intensified. I am apparently not that lucky. I realized during this time that I never asked my doctor when I was supposed to go to the hospital. Oops. I took a quick shower and called my OB's answering service. The on-call OB called me back, asked how far along I was, and told me to head to the hospital to be checked out. It was 4AM by this time, so I called my friend and let her know that we were dropping Gene off and heading to the hospital. Then I woke up my husband, who sprang into action. I've never seen the man dress so quickly and get out the door.
We arrived at the emergency room around 4:45AM and I was in a bed ready to be checked at 5AM. The nurse told me I was only 1cm dilated.
Yep. Still 1cm.
I was devastated. I had been having contractions every 3 minutes for 3 hours by this point. I learned that my midwife just happened to be at the hospital and insisted on talking to her. When she showed up I started crying. I'd been pregnant for 200 years and now I was convinced I was going to be in labor for days. It wasn't fair. I wanted to labor at home but these contractions weren't messing around. She calmed me down and told me I was going to do a great job and it'd go by faster than I thought. This is around the time I was trying to figure out how to politely beg for a c-section because contractions were not fun.
Around 6:15AM the nurse came in to check me again and to admit me. It took her forever to check my dilation because my bag of waters was seriously bulging. It turns out I was 5cm dilated. It turns out my frequent contractions were useful after all. I then uttered the words I hadn't planned to say. I asked for an epidural. I was told it would take about an hour because I had to take in a liter of fluids through my IV. I let the nurse put the IV in my hand and start the drip. My IV kept stopping because I was moving my wrist. Each time the alarm went off I'd hit 'start' again. My husband thought my determination was amusing.
Sometime around 6:30AM the floodgates opened and my water broke. There was so much fluid! This is around the time I decided sitting on the edge of the bed to labor was better than laying down. Fluid continued to gush out during contractions and splashed on the nurse's shoes. Between all of the excitement she was still trying to go through all of the admission forms and asking me questions.
The anesthesiologist came in around 7:15AM to give me my epidural. He was just in time. I was 8-9cm and in the middle of transition. Here I am on the edge of my bed, amniotic fluid gushing out, trying to break my husband's hand with my laboring woman death grip, and the nurse telling me to breathe, don't push! It was terrible. Luckily, the epidural started working in 15 minutes. Perfect timing, too, because I was 10cm dilated and ready to push!
I started pushing around 7:45AM. If you're keeping track, I had been at the hospital at this point for 2 hours and 45 minutes. My cervix had gone from 1cm and 70% effaced to complete in less than 3 hours.
Unlike my last birth, it was mostly myself, Michael, and the nurse in the room while I pushed. Another nurse brought in supplies and got the room set up for delivery. My epidural was strong enough that I wasn't in pain, but light enough that I knew when I had the urge to push.
Pushing was interesting (Gene was a c-section after 20 minutes of pushing). I had no idea if anything was really going on down there. The nurse said she could see the top of Baby M's head, so of course we asked if she saw any hair. She could see some! I was feeling great from my epidural and got really chatty between contractions. I asked all kinds of questions. When could I breastfeed my baby? Could we go home the next day? When could I eat? Yes, I whispered to my husband that I was kind of hungry while I worked on pushing our baby out of my body.
Before she started crowning, I could feel Baby M descend and then pop back up into my pelvis between pushes. I also felt the "ring of fire" people mention. It was unpleasant enough with an epidural. Once she was crowning, the second nurse called for the doctor. He showed up for the last three contractions and put the baby on my chest.
I did it! I had my vaginal delivery! I had a beautiful, goop-covered baby on my chest and she had come out the right direction! Michael cut the cord and went over to the warming table while they checked her out.
In the meantime, I asked the doctor if I had torn. I had. Ugh. I suffered a second degree tear, which required sutures. I felt every last suture as it was pulled through my skin. Yuck. I occasionally asked if he was almost done and he would tell me there were two sutures left to go. He said that several times. Luckily I had my baby to focus on behind him.
Moxie Elaine was born at 8:51AM. She weighed 8 lbs 5 oz and was 20 in long. She has a head full of bright blond hair and beautiful blue eyes. We got to do skin-to-skin less than 30 minutes after she was born, at which time she began nursing like a champ. I had breakfast, a shower, and we were moved to a postpartum room. We were discharged a little after 1PM the next day, less than 30 hours after her birth.