Wednesday, Oct. 21st, was my sister's due date. Tomorrow she will be five days late. The same day we delivered our baby. She has been having contractions since last night and should be going to the hospital sometime tonight. I can't wait for the munchkin's cousin to arrive! So in honor of her, and before I forget, I am going to finally share our birth story.
On Tuesday, September 8th, 4 days after my due date, I had a doctor's appointment at 3:00 with Julie, the nurse practitioner. I wasn't having any contractions that were significant and I was still at 1 cm, the same as my last appointment. Julie went ahead and stretched me out to 2 cm and stripped my membranes. We hoped that this would cause me to have more contractions and get things going. I was scheduled to be induced on Thursday, September 10th, which meant that munchkin would probably be born on Sept 11th. She informed me that my OB, Dr. M, would be working at the hospital that night and that if I started to have any strong contractions to just go ahead and go to the hospital. She thought that since I was late, Dr. M would probably go ahead and admit me.
So we left the doctor's office in high hopes that tonight we would be going to the hospital. We decided to go to Schnuck's to buy some groceries and do some walking around. We then picked up some Arby's for dinner and headed home.
I had already been suffering from horrible pelvic pains and lower back pain. Other then a few new contractions, nothing really seemed to be happening. My back pain seem to be worsening though, so I decided we were just going to go to the hospital anyway. I feared they might try to send me home, but I was done being pregnant and I was just going to have to figure out a way for them to keep me there and deliver this baby. I hoped that with my doctor already at the hospital, and being past my due date, they would go ahead and admit me.
Around 7:30 we packed everything up, called our friends that were watching our dog so they would come and pick her up later, and headed to the hospital. As soon as we arrived at Labor and Delivery (around 8pm), I saw my doctor sitting in the nurse's station. I was so happy to see her. As soon as we walked up to her, I started on the waterworks. I wasn't even trying to act, or make it seem I was in more pain, I was just so frustrated with being pregnant and relieved to see her, that they just started flowing. It certainly didn't hurt though, I am sure it made me seem much more pitiful. She asked if I was in labor, and I told her, "I sure hope so". They put me in a room and started checking me in. I was now at 3 cm and having irregular contractions.
Dr M gave me my options. I could either hang out for a while, walk the halls of the hospital and see how things progressed, I could go home and wait there to see what happened, or she could break my water for me and get things started that way. I knew that after my water was broken, the baby would have to be delivered within 24 hours, so I chose that option. It wasn't exactly along the lines of my plan of doing everything naturally and letting nature take it's course, but my body was done. I could barely walk any more without pains shooting through my pelvic area. My feet were so swollen, I could barely even wear my sandals anymore. And with tomorrow's date being 9-9-09, that sounded like a much better birthday then 9-11.
At 9:15, Dr. M broke my water. It was uncomfortable, but not exactly painful. I couldn't really feel the water coming out. Joe had left the room to bring all of our belongings from the car. When he came back, I had told him she had broken my water. He seemed almost disappointed at first he hadn't been there, but then he seemed more excited that things were underway. After my water was broken, things seemed to actually slow down. My contractions stopped completely and the line on the monitor that represented them, had flat lined.
In order to pick things up, they administered the first round of pitocin at 10:15. I was extremely disappointed that we had to use pitocin. I knew that any hopes of going without an epidural were fading once pitocin was brought into the game. This usually causes you to have much more painful contractions. I was still going to go as long as I could without it though. At my request, they brought me out a birthing ball. It was much more comfortable to sit on that then it was to lay down in the bed.
At 11:45, my sister Amy and her husband J came up to visit us. It was nice to have the distraction for a while and they also brought us their video camera to use. I was so grateful later that they did. They left a little after midnight.
Pitocin was given every 30 minutes till the contractions become really intense. At 2:05 am, they checked me again. I was at 3.5 cm, 70% effaced and my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart.
The contractions started to become unbearable. At the onset of each one, I tried to find something to focus on, to relax and breath through each one. But each one, became harder to get through then the next. It felt as if someone was taking a knife and stabbing me in my uterus.
I have probably had nearly 20 kidney stones in my life. They are extremely painful and hard to get through. I have been told that kidney stones are worse then labor. I have heard this quite a few times, from doctors and other people. I can tell you though, with some certainty, that any kidney stone that I have had, couldn't even compare to the intense pain I was feeling from these contractions. I don't know if it was because of the pitocin or if I was just a big baby, but this was horrible and I couldn't take it any more. I was also exhausted from not having slept in so long. I hadn't even taken my usual afternoon nap that day. After each contraction, my body would slump over in exhaustion, and all I wanted to do was close my eyes and sleep, but I knew that within another minute there would be another contraction.
At 3:05 am I was given an epidural. I was dialated at a 4 and 80% effaced. I was so disappointed that I couldn't hold out any longer. I like to think that if I had been able to get some rest, or if we hadn't had to use pitocin, I would have been able to make it, but who knows. Getting the epidural was no picnic either. I sat on the side of the bed, as the anesthesiologist sat behind me, and Joe sat infront of me holding my hands. It seemed to take forever for him to finish. I cried and squeezed the crap out of Joe's hands as the doctor put the huge needle to my spine. After he was finished, I laid back in the bed and waited. from my waist down to my knees, I started to lose all feeling. It was so strange. I couldn't life my legs at all. And when I would touch them with my hand, I couldn't feel my hand there at all. Obviously, this is what was supposed to happen, but still, it was really wierd.
With that being done, they strongly encouraged us to try to get some rest before we had to start pushing, now that I wouldn't be feeling my contractions. They shut off the lights and left the room. Joe had no problem falling asleep. I on the other hand, as exhausted as I was, couldn't figure out any way to actually sleep. I was in the hospital, in labor, getting ready to have a baby. How the hell could I sleep?!
At 5:00 am, I was at 5cm. At 6:15 the nurse came into check me. I was at a 7 and jumped to an 8. My contractions were steadily 2 minutes apart. I texted my mom and told her she better hurry and get up there. At 6:45 I was at 10 cm and my doctor was called. She was at her office, which was about 25 minutes from the hospital. With Joe on my right leg, and a nurse on my left, I started pushing with each contraction. I wrapped each arm tightly around each thigh and pulled as I pushed down as hard as I could through each contraction. Even though everything was numb with the epidural, I could still feel each contraction and the intense need to push with the pressure near my bottom. I pushed with every ounce of strength in me and each one left me more and more exhausted.
After a few pushes, the nurse said she could see the baby's hair coming out. She told Joe to look. I had told Joe that I really didn't want him to watch the baby come out. I didn't want him to see me down there all mangled and stretched out delivering a baby. But at the time, I didn't care any more. Everything seemed different and my reasoning from before, no longer seemed important. So Joe looked and saw the baby's hair too. He said he couldn't believe how much hair he saw. The nurse asked me if I wanted a mirror. I declined without hesitation.
I want to take just a minute to say how amazing my husband was. Not as amazing as me, ofcourse (I was the one in labor after all), but he was such a great, supportive, loving, partner. He helped me to stay calm and to keep a steady head. He encouraged me and was there right by my side, the entire time, helping me through all of it. I was so grateful for him.
I didn't have to push for very long before we became really close. The nurse left the room to see how much longer the doctor would be, leaving me and Joe along to push through contractions. After one contraction, Joe thought he was going to have to catch the baby himself as her whole head almost came out. The nurse came in and told me to stop pushing and wait for the doctor. This may sound easy, but it's not. When the contractions came on, I couldn't help but push, it was nearly impossible not to. But I had to try. So with each contraction, I tried to relax (yeah right) and not push. This baby really wanted to come out though and there wasn't much I could do about it. Luckily my doctor finally arrived and after two more pushes, our little munchkin was born! Pushing was about an hour long, but if my doctor had actually been there when it started, it would have been more like 30-40 minutes.
At 7:58, she came in weighing at 7lbs, 4 0z and 20.5 inches long. I was so relieved that things had gone relatively smoothly and that I didn't have to push for too much longer. I wasn't sure how much more strength I had in my legs. As soon as she was born, they brought her up and laid her on my chest.
I couldn't believe how tiny and perfect and beautiful she was. I immediately started crying and was overcome with so many emotions, I couldn't even began to describe it. They took her over to the warmer to check her over and get her vitals. Joe cut her umbilical cord, as my doctor delivered the placenta. Without meaning to, or wanting to, Joe actually got to see the placenta as he headed over to cut the munchkin's cord. I only needed a couple of stitches. I had torn just a little, but not too badly, and not through any muscles.
After wiping her all down, they brought her back to my chest so she could nurse. One of the reasons I was hoping to avoid an epidural had to due with my desire to get breastfeeding off to a really good start. I had learned that epidural babies can come out much more tired and can have a harder time latching on and that if they don't latch on within the first hour or so it can sometimes make the first couple of days harder to get breastfeeding started. I guess that wasn't really true at all, or atleast it wasn't the case for us. She latched on right away and had no problems at all. She nursed for almost 3o minutes. After we were done nursing they brought in everything for her first bath. Joe watched her get her first bath, as the nurse checked over my vitals and made sure everything was okay with me. She wasn't happy at all during her bath.
Here she is all cleaned up. You can see me in the background. Look how big my belly still was!
My parents were so excited!
Mommy and Baby, together at last.