The best place to start is Wednesday morning, June 30. I had a check up with my Doctor and was 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced, at station +2. I was surprised to have progressed so far since I was really thinking I was going full-term or longer. I assumed it would be at this stage for awhile. Dr Harrison did mention on the way out that she'd see me next week, if not sooner. That second part went in one ear and out the other.
I had protein in my urine at the office, so I had to collect my pee all day to be tested. It had to be refrigerated. I didn't know how that was going to fly at work (and I had only gotten 4 hours of sleep because I saw the midnight showing of Eclipse on Tuesday night...hehehe), so I called in sick.
The day was pretty slow, with me taking it easy. I had been having on and off "Braxton-Hicks" most of the day since the movie the night before, but they were not even really noticeable. In the afternoon, I took a nap. Throughout the nap, I noticed more contractions and after I woke up, I started watching the clock. I was getting one every 20-30 minutes. Again, they were very light. No worries, right?
Olivia's party - Totally unaware I'm in labor.
My hubby came home and we got ready and went to my friend Olivia's birthday party. I continued to have contractions, but pretty light and infrequent. I was definitely feeling pregnant and tired, though. We left around 9pm and headed home.
For the next several hours, I had continued pressure. I listened to my Fear Clearing CD for Hypnobabies, but kinda fell asleep. I woke up to some stronger pains and decided to start using my relaxation techniques. Gosh, as I sit here and write this, it's SO obvious I was going to have a baby that night. I was oblivious. For about an hour, I did the Hypnobabies thing. I was very comfortable, but by the end I was falling asleep and waking up to the pressure. Then, I was unprepared for the waves and they seemed quite a bit stronger. At 11pm, I asked James to time them, since I was starting to think this was labor. We timed them and they were all over the place, like he said. Also, they felt better when I moved around. Braxton-Hicks, right? That's what all the books said. But, they were more powerful. And, I started to lose my mucus plug. In retrospect, this is when we should have started packing up for the hospital.
I went into the other room because James had to work in the morning and I didn't want to keep him up. I decided to listen to the Deep Relaxation Hypnobabies CD. Bad choice. There are all sorts of CD tracks that can help you cope, and since "I wasn't really in labor," I didn't want to listen to them until I needed them. The problem with the Relaxation CD was that it put me to sleep between contractions and then I woke up not in hypnosis and the pain was really shocking. Silly me.
At 1am, I asked James to time them again. They were still uber random. I re-read the signs of birth again and figured these contractions would either get regular or go away. I went back in the other room and read some, but I kept having the falling asleep, then waking in pain thing. At about 2:30am, I had one wave that I thought might kill me. I went to James and started crying and said I was really sorry to wake him, but if I had another wave like that last one, I might die. The reason I was crying was actually not from pain. I cried because I "realized" that I couldn't handle the pain with Hypnobabies alone. I was giving up, knowing that we needed to go to the hospital and I needed pain relief options. It was crushing to my self-esteem. James was amazingly supportive. He said he'd never have known that I was suffering so much until I told him I was going to die. He said he saw me coping like a champ. That was really comforting. I loved him a million right then.
James got out of bed and packed the bag in the car, as well as some other items. I sat on the bed and tried to breath. I had a pretty major one while James tried to help me up. We paused. As I got up to walk to the car, I had another major wave right away. I fell on the floor in the hallway and cried out. It kinda scared me. When it was done, I went to the couch in the living room to rest. I had another one a minute later on the couch. They were coming hard and fast now. As James stood in the doorway ready to come help me up, I said that words that scared him more than I realized, "I feel like I need to push."
I thought, well people push for a long time, we're still ok. James knew pushing meant baby coming very soon. I don't know why I was so absurd in continuing to insist in my head that I was just starting labor and I had only made it a short way in the journey to the baby. I honestly DID NOT see if coming. After the push comment, I made it to the car. Our dog Jack ran out the door. I wanted to have James put him inside, but James was all determination. He threw the dog in the back yard and took off. He was driving so fast and it hurt on the bumps, but again, he was all business.
He flew into the drive up and grabbed a wheelchair. It took me a minute to get into it, but as soon as I was, James was off. I put my head down and started to use Hypnobabies again because I could focus now. We went to the 5th floor and James buzzed us in. There was another couple, so we waited a minute. The women asked me a question and I kept my head down and tried to be polite and answer her. Later, she came and told me she had no idea how "in labor" I was and she was felt horrible she didn't move faster. Someone came up and took me to a room while James was giving our registration information. She left me on the bed with a gown and said someone would come check me. I looked at the clock and it said 3:18am. I got my top shirt off, but then I was paralyzed with more waves. AND, the feeling to push came back stronger.
James came in and I looked up and said, "I can't do it and I really need to push." Again, James saved us. Literally. Saved me. He pulled off the rest of my top, and literally picked me up yanked my pants off of me. In 10 seconds, I was in the gown and James buzzed the nurse and said my wife is pushing. And I was. My body forced me to push right then. But I knew we were NOT ready for her. A nurse came running in and checked my cervix. "Wow, you are dilated to a 10!" James said, "Yes, she feels like pushing."
I overheard, "Code White" paging overhead and in seconds, 5 nurses came rushing in. One was on the fetal monitors trying to get them on my belly. In one second, I swept the room with my eyes. One was setting up the tray of stuff, one on the baby table doing something and one was looking at me and saying something about Group B Strep. "Yes, I'm positive," I suddenly realized how important that was. I was shaking like a leaf. My legs and arms were convulsing. She said she'd try to at least get some penicillin in before the baby came. As she tried to calm my shaking hand and get in an IV, the need to push hit me like a truck. Someone had put my feet in stirrups. I pushed and felt the "ring of fire" on my cervix. It hurt, but I was still very confused about what was going on. I was having a baby now? And then, gush came my water.
Nobody was looking at me, they all had "jobs." James looked and called out, "Umm, I think the umbilical cord is coming out?" A nurse looked and said, "That's the head." And then she was back to her "job." A contraction started and I realized I was completely out of control and my body was taking over. I called out, "I'm going to push!" Nobody looked, but nobody said no. I had no choice anyway. I pushed and heard James say, "The head is out." A nurse looked and, indeed, the head was OUT. She said there was meconium to the others. I had a sudden thought about tearing, but my body pushed again immediately and I had a wonderful feeling of relief as her body came shooting (literally) out of my body. The nurse doing the fetal monitors on my right (ha!) and the one still working on my IV on my left for my penicillin (ha!) dropped everything and caught the baby about 2 feet down the bed from me. Blood from the IV squirted my hand, but was quickly stopped. One of them started to cut the cord and my sweet husband said we didn't want to cut the cord right away in our birth plan. She said we had to because of the meconium and he remembered we had talked about that. So, they cut the cord and handed him off to the nurse at the baby station job. I was in shock. My legs were still shaking. Everything had occurred in seconds. I glanced at the clock and it said 3:30am.
The on-call doctor came in and said, "How are we doing?" Someone said, "She's delivered." He came over and sat and started poking at me. Then, he delivered the placenta. At that point, Dr Harrison walking in. She said she had called on her way to tell them my birth plan specifics and they told her I had already had the baby. I thought that was so nice of her to call about my birth plan! We sort of laughed and she took over for the on-call guy. I heard him tell her there were no real tears, just a "skid mark." Wahoo! I thought for sure I had pushed her too hard to get away without issues. Dr Harrison said we don't need to do a stitch because it wasn't bleeding, but that she recommended it. She looked up and waited for me to decide...I love this Doctor...and I told her to go ahead. She did and was done just in time for someone to bring my baby to me.
I opened the gown at the top for skin to skin and they laid this tiny little person on my chest. I have to be honest, I didn't feel what I thought I would. I thought I would know her and recognize her. I certainly felt overwhelmed with joy, but she was this little stranger. So very tiny. I looked over at James and he was doing that thing where he's not crying but blinking a lot. He told me he was so proud of me. I could tell he really did think I was amazing for doing what I had. I felt so proud of myself. I was so empowered with accomplishment.
People started trickling out. Dr Harrison said she'd be back. My legs were still in stirrups and shaking. But, that was SO not important. A tiny little snuffling person was laying on my chest. It was surreal. It was wonderful. We were incredibly blessed and I feel extremely lucky that everything turned out as it did. Lily was born safely, at the hospital, without Group B Strep issues and completely healthy. (No thanks to me!)
I'll stop there, but I've learned some thing about hospital birthing that I think I'd like to share. :) After my next series of naps, I should have time to do that. PS Pics in the next post.