Emma was due Monday, February 25. We met with our wonderful doctor the Friday before and she told us that I was 3 cm dilated and 90 percent effaced. She asked if I wanted to have my membranes stripped, but I was reluctant. I asked if I could have the weekend and do it Monday and she said that was fine, she thought I'd go into labor that weekend anyway.
But the weekend came and went and by Monday morning I hadn't made any progress. I went in and had my membranes stripped (far less painful than I expected), but nothing happened. I was having no contractions at all. My doctor said she was surprised I'd made it that far and she started talking about scheduling my induction. We set a date for Thursday, February 28.
Tuesday night we went to Chuy's (where I asked for whatever was the spiciest on the menu) and then went for a long walk around the mall (we went in Janie and Jack where the two sales ladies were asking my questions about baby. "When are you due?" "Yesterday" "hahaha, I bet it feels that way" (sales lady #2, eyeing my misery and belly) ".... no, I think she's serious...")
I had trouble going to sleep that night... I was just feeling so anxious. I finally fell asleep around 1 am. But then I started waking up frequently with an ache in my back. Around 3, after waking up several times, I woke Hans and told him I didn't think he'd be going to work that day. He didn't really respond, just turned his alarm off and rolled back over.
Around 8 on Wednesday, I woke up because I felt something... weird. I rushed to the bathroom and discovered I'd lost a lot of fluid, but not nearly enough to make me think my water had broken. I texted a good family friend who recently had a baby and asked her what it was like when her water broke - she told me it was quite a lot. She recommend that I take a shower and walk around and see how I felt before calling the doctor.
I got in the shower and five minutes later it felt like I got hit by a train. I grabbed the side of the shower for support and I'm pretty sure I screamed because Hans came running. The contractions were so hard I couldn't stand up, couldn't speak, couldn't even really move until it passed. Hans started timing them and was surprised to find that they were two minutes apart. He wanted to go to the hospital, but I had always heard to do as much of early labor at home as possible - if you go to the hospital too early, they may send you home. I stayed in the shower until the hot water ran out and then I was kneeling on the floor next to the bed and kind of hanging off the bed to take the pressure off my back. After two hours of this, Hans was convinced this was not "early labor" and called our doctor. They asked if we could come in to the office and they would check me to see if it was time to go to the hospital.
We made it to the doctor's, but I couldn't make it down the hall. They had to bring me a wheelchair. In the exam room, before I even got on the table for the exam, the rest of my water broke. They did the exam anyway and found that I was 6 cm dilated. Yup, we should be at the hospital.
Getting to the hospital is all a little hazy for me. I was in so much pain at this point that I was pretty incoherent. I don't really remember going to the hospital or getting into the room. I had no clue who was in the room and I know they were talking to me, asking me questions, but I couldn't process what they were saying and I wasn't capable of answering. They had trouble getting my clothes off and getting me into the hospital gown and into bed because the contractions were so hard and so close together that we had to time each thing for the 60 seconds between contractions. I discovered later (but have no memory of it happening) that they blew two IVs in my right arm before successfully getting one in my left. It also took them three tries to get my blood drawn.
I could hear them talking and heard them discussing my birth plan. I had said that I wanted to consider narcotics before the epidural, based on how my delivery was going. I started violently shaking my head and they asked "epidural now?" to which I nodded emphatically.
I know the guy came in. I couldn't pick him out of a lineup. I don't think I spoke a word to him. He said I'd feel a bee sting, which I did, and then a lot of pressure, which I didn't.
Then the room was empty. And 20 minutes later I felt like myself again. It was so wonderful. I can't describe how good it felt to have that pain gone. Since I'd been hard laboring for over three hours, they said they'd let me rest for a little bit before coming back to check my progress.
I felt so good that I was convinced the epidural had slowed my labor. I felt nothing - I was lying in the bed texting people! When they came back 45 minutes later to check me, I thought "please, let me have progressed 1 cm, or even just half a cm."
She checks and says "ok, you're 100%" and Hans and I are both thinking, "Ok, that's good, I was 90 percent effaced for a long time, so at least we're making progress." And she tells us that no, no, she meant I'm 100% everything.. effaced and 10 cm dilated and it's time to push. And I say no! She looks at me like I'm crazy but I'm thinking... I don't FEEL like I need to push, so I'd rather wait for my body to catch up so that I can push with the urge to push (hoping that this might reduce my odds of tearing). She agreed to let me wait another 30 minutes and see if the baby descended more. When she came back, the baby has indeed descended further and she tells me I need to try pushing, even though I'm not quite feeling it.
I ended up pushing for two hours, which many people have told me sounds horrible, but really wasn't as bad as it sounds. It certainly didn't feel like two hours. For the first hour, my contractions had spread to five minutes apart, so my pushes were fairly far apart and weren't as effective as they could have been. My doctor wanted to give me some pitocin to bring them closer together, but I was reluctant - I'd made it that far without pitocin and I didn't really want to get it. But after the first hour and my contractions weren't getting closer together, she convinced me.
When Emma was born, I didn't even know she was out. I was all geared up for the next push (which made delivering the placenta quick and easy!) I didn't realize she was out until they set her on my stomach and then I just kinda stared at her. I kinda went into shock - I couldn't believe it was over and she was here, she was mine.
Hans was in a similar kind of shock, but a little more euphoric. The only part of our birth plan that we were firm on was that Hans would get to announce the gender. They held the baby up to him and he just stared with a big silly grin on his face, wondering why everyone was looking at him.
"What is it?"
"It's a baby!!"
"No, what IS it?"
"Oh... it's a girl!!"
|Daddy's first diaper change!|
|Her little coming home outfit|
Recovery has been a little challenging and I am so thankful for the wonderful support system we have. I ended up with second degree tears (the doctor won't even tell me how many stitches I have... she avoided the question twice when I asked) and I must have had a bad reaction to *something* because three days after Emma was born, I started swelling terribly. I had to go back to the doctor and had a ton of tests run, but nothing was found. They gave me some medication that helped with the swelling and then I was finally able to start healing (stitches don't do well with increased swelling. Ouch).
The wonderful thing about being one of the last in our group of friends to have a baby is that we have some very knowledgable friends to help us out. We were blessed to have the whole Powell family here for our first weekend home and Aaron and Karina were so great helping us figure out how to swaddle the baby, give baths, and Karina helped me a lot with breastfeeding. My good girlfriend Jess should really be a midwife - she had some amazing herb concoction that felt fantastic on my stitches. And my friend Erin was so sweet to come over in the wee hours of the morning on Emma's first night of cluster feeding to help me recover after my alien baby wanted to feed for 8 hours straight. And then we had so many people bring meals and stop by to keep me company while Hans headed back to work... it's been such a blessing. We are so lucky to have so many good people in our lives.
|Welcome home, little one!|
We are still adjusting to life as parents. I look at her beautiful little face sometimes and can't believe the hospital let us leave with this gorgeous little creature. We love her so much and feel so blessed to be her parents. And, of course, we always stick a camera in her face so expect to see more photos of her than you'd ever care to see :)