After much sitting and waiting, Adventure Baby arrived on March 30, 2013. What follows is a birth story I originally wrote as a note on my iPhone a few nights later when the only way she would sleep was on my chest. Enjoy.
When I melted down in my doctor’s office at my 39 week appointment, he agreed to strip my membranes and see if that would move things along. I bled that night as I always did after checks, but the bleeding continued Thursday and Friday and at some point Thursday morning I was pretty sure it was actual bloody show and not just from the exam. I also had some, uh….other signs of labor. So I talked to the doctor on Thursday – he thought I might be in early labor and wanted me to get checked again. Went in and there wasn’t any more dilation than the day before (still 2cm, where I had been for a while) but he said Adventure Baby had dropped to zero station. He sent me back home with assurances that things were changing and it wouldn’t be long. I had contractions off and on all day Thursday but they ended in the evening. Friday, I had basically nothing. More bleeding, but no steady contractions.
My dissertation advisor used to be on faculty here and he got us a gift certificate to one of the nicer restaurants in town for our wedding. We decided to use that Friday night and joked that it would be our last supper. Not a single sign of labor the rest of Friday.
Saturday morning I woke up at 2:30 unsure if I was having contractions or just had a very upset stomach. I got out of bed and sat long enough to decide they were contractions, then bounced on my exercise ball some to see if they were going to stick around. They got worse as I did that and I had to stop bouncing during each, so at 3:30 I went in and told Adventure Guy it was time. True to form, he was maddeningly calm about it :p. I took a shower, he walked the dog, and we were off. We got to the hospital around 4:15 and to our room a little before 4:30. As I was in the bathroom changing into a gown I heard the nurse say we had gotten the last room – whew! Just before I walked back into the room, my water broke. Yay! Didn’t wind up happening in front of my class after all.
The doctor was extremely busy (see note about the last room) so the nurse checked me and tested to make sure my water really had broken. No more dilation but she thought I was 90% effaced. After a few minutes monitoring we were up and walking the halls. I had to stop and lean on a counter with every contraction. Adventure Guy was great, rubbing my back with every contraction and taking while we walked so I had other things to think about.
A little after 6 the nurse had me get back in bed for more monitoring and another check. Only 3 cm. By then the contractions were right up there with the worst pain I’ve ever felt and I asked about an epidural. The doctor wanted me to dilate more, so we waited. It didn’t take long for the contractions to become unbearable so that I was crying through each one. Finally around 7 they at least brought the consents for me to sign and they started an IV for fluids. I wanted to kill someone when they said I had to get a whole liter of fluid before I could get the epidural. The CRNA came in a little before 8 when the bag was about 80% empty and got started. She gave me a spinal first and then the epi, so things kicked in pretty quickly. She also said I had the strongest back muscles of anyone she’s seen in a long time and that made me giggle – 7 weeks of bed rest!
When the epi kicked in I took a nap. Apparently during that nap my contractions slowed down and they gave me pitocin. I likely would have told them to go ahead and do it anyway, but it irritated me that they didn’t even wake me up and tell me what they were doing. Adventure Guy was also sleeping so he didn’t know it either. The doctor came in and checked me again at 11 and said I was 6cm and progressing nicely. I went back to sleep again then until maybe 12:30 when husband decided to go to the grocery store so he could stockpile food and maintain his blood sugar. Somewhere in here they also put in a Foley catheter. I felt like I might pass out at that point so I said something and my blood pressure was only 63/31!! Got a shot of speed at that point which brought my BP back to the low normal range.
A little after 1 the doctor checked me again and said I was fully dilated. Adventure Guy was still at the store so I asked, on the verge of panic, if it was time to push. Thankfully the doctor said no, baby was still sort of high so she wanted me to “labor down” for a while. So I texted AG and told him to get a move on.
Shortly after 2 the CRNA turned the epi down a little so I could feel that I was having contractions and could at least sort of control my legs.
At about 3:30 the nurses came in and started preparing for pushing. Doctor came in at 3:40 and we got started. I was TERRIFIED. Nervous it would hurt and I wouldn’t be able to handle it, or that I would suck at it, etc. AG was amazing again, counting out the length of each push and rubbing my head for encouragement between each contraction. There was also a nursing student who was fantastic, and the nurse and doctor both gave really helpful instructions and feedback. Again they talked about how strong I am and again I wondered how I managed to fool them all. Ha.
With the second to last contraction the doctor said it was about time she got her booties so she stepped out and said I could keep pushing with the nurses. Rested the 2 min or whatever and then did the first of my usual three pushes at the start of the next contraction. Nurse Barb suddenly went “oh! Stop pushing!” And dove for the call button. The nurse at the desk answered and Barb said “we need [the doctor] NOW.” The contraction continued and Adventure Baby’s head came out with no pushing. Barb caught her head and the doctor made it in the room just in time for the rest of her body. After only 35 min of pushing little miss Adventure Baby was here.
Oh, I was such a teary mess. All I remember from the first couple minutes is crying, the huge grin on my husband’s face, and this squirmy beautiful little girl crying pitifully on my chest. It was so amazing, now I’m crying again.
She was born at 4:15 PM on the 30th, 7lbs 6oz and 20 inches long. Her mop of brown hair is already long enough that it curls around her ears and her eyes and little mouth are just gorgeous. She’s perfect. I absolutely could not be happier. It feels like this is what I’ve been waiting for this whole time, my life is complete now. I didn’t know it was possible to love someone so little so very much. All I want to do is cuddle her all day long.
Adventure Dog is learning what it means to have a baby around but clearly already loves her baby sister. What a wonderful little family we have :hug: