Labor started on Wednesday evening, March 7, but stalled out multiple times between then and early Saturday, March 10. It was a very long 3 days.
I woke up at 4:20am on Saturday with contractions and this time they didn't stop. They were 3-5 minutes apart from the beginning. After 3 or 4 contractions that were painful but felt familiar, the back labor started. It was NOT familiar and was quite unwelcome (except for the fact that it most likely meant that we were having a baby that day!). By 5:45am we were up and packing for the hospital. My MIL came to stay with Silas and we hopped in the van. We left the house at 6:30am.
The ride there was miserable because I couldn't move to try to manage the pain and each contraction was more intense than the previous one. I bolted out of the car as soon as we parked because I knew I didn't have long before another one would start. I had to stop and hug a "no parking" sign on the way in. Justin was grabbing bags and trying to catch up until I stopped.
By the time we got inside and to the Nurse's Station I was having another one so I couldn't really talk and just leaned over the counter. One of the nurses asked what they could help us with and had I not been in the middle of a contraction it would have been very hard for me to NOT smack her. What the hell do you think you can help us with?? Justin wasn't in labor and he had to work hard at not smacking her too. After the most idiotic question ever, they asked us to fill out paperwork to which I replied some not-so-nice words. They decided it might be best if we filled it out in a room. Yes, that would probably be best for everyone. ;-)
They put us in triage and checked me and I was 3-4cm.
We spent the next couple of hours doing this:
And trying to stay upbeat between contractions.
The plan was to have a natural birth. This came about mostly because of the craziness that happened a few months after my last epidural. In the car on the way to the hospital I looked at Justin and told him he couldn't hate me or be disappointed if I decided I couldn't or didn't want to skip the epidural this time. He told me I could do whatever I wanted and that it was going to be fine whatever my decision was. I pretty much asked for the epidural when I walked in the door. ;-) Surprisingly, I didn't feel guilty or disappointed that I wasn't sticking to the plan - which is what I had expected to feel. Instead I just felt peace about the decision which was a lovely surprise.
Justin applying the really hot rice sock to my lower back and rubbing as hard as he could
Justin was amazing throughout the entire labor/delivery. He was everything that I needed him to be.
I did not manage the pain well when I had to change positions or be hooked up to the monitors.
After we got moved to an actual Labor & Delivery room the nurse offered to give me something to help me relax and while I was a bit nervous about the baby getting the meds too, I decided to go ahead and get something to help with the pain while we waited on the epidural. The anesthesiologist was in the O.R. and we didn't know how long it would be before he got there. She gave me Staydol and Phenergan and I kid you not, about two seconds after I felt the first bit of coolness enter my IV I could feel it working. I started getting really loopy and I said, "My hands feel funny" several times. The next thing I know it is an hour or so later and time for them to check me again. It knocked me OUT and it was wonderful.
"I'm not sure what to do with my hands..." - Ricky Bobby
About to pass out :)
I woke up when my midwife , Stephanie, got there (she was not on call but had promised me that she'd come be with me and deliver) and I was sooooooo loopy but I was trying my hardest to be coherent for her. She checked me and I was at 6cm. She broke my water and then we waited for the epidural.
About 45 minutes after I woke up and the drugs started to wear off the anesthesiologist finally made it to give my epidural. I was extremely happy to see him. They had given me something else to help with the pain but it didn't really seem to help much and I was starting to lose it a little. I started getting really scared that I wasn't going to have time to get an epidural and I wanted to have a choice in the matter. But Dr.Vincent made it.
He was awesome and let Leslie watch and take pictures of the whole process (I'll post step by step epidural pictures in the next post) and I just really liked him a lot - and not just because he had the good drugs. :-)
**Speaking of Leslie - she was on call to come and be our photographer for the birth. We had made it clear that we didn't really know how this whole experience would go and that there was a big possibility that she would need to just be a piece of furniture and take pictures and that we might kick her out at some point. THAT didn't happen. From the moment she arrived at 7:45am she served as photographer, hand holder, water fetcher, rice sock heater, prayer warrior, and cheerleader. She was such a huge support for both me and Justin - neither of us know how we would have done it without her there. For the last stretch of an hour or so before the epidural, I was sitting all the way up strapped to the monitors and I had Justin on one side and her on the other pushing in on my knees (which applied counter-pressure to my pelvis/hips) with all of their weight. I can only imagine how exhausting that was for them since by this point the contractions were between 1 and 2 minutes apart. Bet she didn't know being a photographer was going to be such hard work!! We're forever grateful.**
It took 30 minutes to get everything set up and to complete the epidural and when they checked me right after I was 8-9cm. I didn't receive any Pitocin and I am still so thrilled about that.
That was at 12:35pm (when she checked me) and it was time to start getting ready to push.
I pushed for all of 4 minutes.
My epidural was great because it took away the sharpness of the pain, but I could still VERY MUCH feel the pressure and I enjoyed being able to feel what was going on this time but not being so much in pain that I couldn't enjoy it.
I had them bring in a mirror so I could see what was going on and that was really neat (and also affirmed my decision to have an epidural!!).
I started pushing at 1:08pm and she was here at 1:12pm.
Because there was a little meconium present when she broke my water, Justin cut the cord immediately and the NICU Respiratory unit came in and made sure she hadn't swallowed any. I'm not sure what all they did because I couldn't see her and Justin said he couldn't watch. Everything was fine with her though, so she didn't have to leave the room or anything.
With the Respiratory people
At some point they weighed her (almost the same as her brother - but they rounded up to 7.11).
I finally got to hold her about 15 minutes after she was born. I snuggled her for a minute or two and then they had Justin take her so they could do something with me (though I don't remember what it was exactly).
Daddy and Stephanie
After we were all situated, they unwrapped her so we could be "skin to skin" and she had her first meal - that lasted for nearly 2 hours! Leslie went and got us all Subway so I got to eat too. :-)
Stephanie was fabulous throughout the entire pregnancy and I'm so glad that she was able to be there with us. She seriously kept me sane that last month or so.
When she finished eating we were moved to our Mother/Baby room and she had her first bath and got her Hep B and Vitamin K shots and erythromycin ointment on her eyes (we delayed all of this so that she would be able to eat in peace).
In her little hat that Aunt Sarah had made for her. :-)
Since she was born during Silas' naptime, we had to wait a couple of hours to see him. His first words were, "Mommy has a bandaid! WOW!" He was talking about my IV. Then he crawled up on the bed with me and checked her out.
Meeting baby sister
Justin's parents and sister, Uncle Zach, and Micah also visited us on her birthday.
We spent one night at the hospital and were home by 4pm the next day. It was wonderful not having to spend two nights there. My parents drove in from Louisiana and made it to the house about 45 minutes after we did.
We are all in love with her and praise God for our little miracle.
First photo as a family of 4
She's 18 days old now and is doing fabulous. I'm doing and feeling great too. This recovery has been MUCH different from last time (both physically and emotionally) and I am so very grateful.