Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Ella's Birth Story
As I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, I began to worry a little about delivery. I knew what I was going to experience. It was only 16 short months before that I had delivered my son and it was a painful process. I remembered all the problems that were experienced with the epidural and I was afraid to get one with this pregnancy, but I was afraid to not get it, since I also knew how uncomfortable it can be. I remembered all the back labor and I was afraid of having that again. All this fear was apparent as I went to each doctor's appointment, since I mentioned to my doctor, who has become a friend, that I wanted to go natural, but knew I was also not that brave of a person. I really expected our daughter to arrive after her due date. Jack was late and I felt now signs of things happening any sooner. In fact, when my doctor asked if I wanted to be checked at my 39 week appointment I said no. What was the point? I knew I still had another week to go.
Of course, I was uncomfortable and I felt contractions every now and then, but I had been experiencing braxton hicks since I was about 25 weeks along, so I didn't think to much of them. Then on Wednesday morning, four days after my 39 week mark, I woke up through out the early morning hours with contraction discomfort. I was every dreaming about them. I might have even mentioned this in a facebook post, once again, figuring it was just braxton hicks. Joe had decided to take the day off (he wasn't feeling all that well and needed a mental health day). So we played with Jack, completed some daily chores, and pretty much hung around. I happened to noticed that the contractions continued throughout the day. Usually it hurt when I got up and started to walk around, but they would also feel like they went away. Nothing was consistent. And since they were never regular, I figured I was just getting closer to the end and I would probably have these contractions off and on. Don't get me wrong, they were definitely uncomfortable, but since they were so irregular, I really didn't mind them too much. So I went to the grocery store.
I guess secretly in the back of my mind I wondered if I really was going into labor. They weren't going away, so I thought I might be headed to the hospital the next day and it might be better to have a house full of groceries, just in case. So I loaded Jack up and we headed over to Walmart. I finally decided something might be up when I realized I had experienced three very painful contractions at the store (in about an hour's time). I'm sure I looked funny as I had to stop pushing the shopping cart and lean forward to breath through the pain. For whatever reason, I really felt like I needed to buy Ella's baby book, so I searched in the baby section until I found one and then I called my mom. It was about 1:30 in the afternoon and I wanted to give her a heads up that she may be heading this way the next morning...I still didn't believe I was in full on labor. I didn't want her to to get in the car just yet, because I wanted to head home and lay down for an hour to see if they went away or continued.
So off we went, back home. I told Joe that I needed to lay down and he was in charge of Jack. I kept my phone by my side to keep track of the time and of course I had three more contractions, but they were irregular. One at 16 minutes apart, then 10 minutes apart, and about 20 minutes apart. I debated calling the doctor to go to her office and see if I was dilated. I asked Joe for his opinion and he thought we should wait. When I was in labor with Jack everything happened very regularly, so we decided to wait until they were at least 10 minutes apart before we called. So I called my mom back and told her it wasn't labor...little did I know that she was already planning to come down that night. I think she would have left within a few minutes if I had not called her. My sister was also planning to come down too. She was going to be there for the delivery and my mom was going to watch Jack. I found out that she had called my sister and that my sister had already made sub plans and called out of work the next day. I felt bad because she had to cancel the sub and it was a mess, but really, I wasn't in labor yet...at least, I didn't think so. Only, these contractions were getting more painful.
This was about the time that I really started to wonder if I was wrong, maybe this was labor. It certainly was starting to hurt more. That's when it all came back to me and I remember how painful labor really was. The fear set in and I just didn't want it to be real. I needed one more day to prepare for this. However, by 6pm, I was on the phone again with my mom. I was wrong and she needed to leave ASAP. She was making brownies and said, "well, I will leave in an hour once they are done cooking, since I told your dad I would make some for his work." That's when I reminded her that it was a five hour drive and I didn't know how long I would last. My first labor was 24 hours, so I figured we had time, but then again, these contractions were coming on faster and closer together. I practically begged her to forgot about the brownies, since we needed her to watch our son (my friends in town that had said they could help, just happened to be out of town for that one night). By 7pm I realized I needed to call my doctor. The contractions were at 6 minutes apart and the pain was beginning to be unbearable. She suggested that I head to the hospital...but who was going to watch my son?
After talking it over with Joe we decided that we needed to call a friend from my church. She was about thirty minutes away and said she would leave right then to watch Jack at our house. I thanked her for agreeing to help at the last minute, but almost immediately after getting off the phone I realized, I was not going to make it thirty minutes, because it was so painful. We decided to all load up in the car and I called my back up babysitter and asked her to meet us at the hospital.
By 8pm we were registering at Summersville Medical Center. It felt like forever to give them our insurance information, but thankfully the hospital was pretty quiet. At this point contractions were coming regularly, but I noticed that I was having two lighter contractions and then one really long and painful one. That made me a little concerned and I was totally afraid that it was false labor. Fortunately, I was the only patient in labor and delivery, so they were able to check me right away and I found out I was already at 4 centimeters. That felt promising, and I knew I was in labor. With Jack, I had the same amount of pain, but was only at 1 centimeter when I arrived at the hospital, so this actually made me very happy. Thankfully our babysitter arrived about fifteen minutes after we were brought back into the delivery room. Jack was so good, but probably just tired as he watched me deal with the pain.
I wanted to try going without the epidural so I requested the IV medicine, which definitely helped numb the pain, but I knew at that point I definitely wanted an epidural. I kept thinking that this pain would only increase while the medication decreased. Within an hour I was given the epidural after two bags of fluid (I had told them about my blood pressure problems while delivering Jack). It was a great relief and actually wasn't as strong as I remember with Jack. At this point I called my sister to check on them and found out she would be there in about an hour. The lights were turned off and I just relaxed and in fact Joe and I slept. Let me just say, sleeping while in labor is amazing. I am so thankful for the epidural, just so I had the rest that I needed. I awoke when my sister arrived and we talked casually for about an hour before I decided I needed my rest only to finally close my eyes and my water broke. The nurses came in to change my sheets and we ended up talking with the nurses for a while until I realized I was going to throw up.
I didn't know this until then, but apparently many women vomit when they are transitioning to the point of pushing. My nurse decided to check as we guessed how much longer it was going to be and she said, not long at all since I was ready to push. I couldn't believe I was already dilated 10 centimeters, when only 45 minutes before I had been at a 6. This was nothing like my first delivery and I was surprised I didn't even feel the urge to push. My doctor was brought in the room and we all joked about how nicely things had progressed so far. Then my doctor said that we would all wait until I was ready to push because there was no reason to try until I felt that urge. This made me feel overwhelmed, since I didn't have that urge and everyone was there waiting for me. So I just decided that the slight pressure I felt down there was good enough and I prepped to push. That's when my doctor said, "wow, her head is right there." It literally took about two contractions and Ella was out! In fact, I think the doctor had to almost hold her head back so she didn't come out too fast. Once again, nothing like my first delivery, where I was pushing for almost an hour.
Ella was placed on my chest and I was thrilled. She was healthy and I didn't have to worry about them taking her away to the nursery. I was able to hold her for a while, which was when we discovered that one of her feet was bent (as I have mentioned before). The nurses took her to clean her up and I was supposed to delivery the placenta. This might have been the most uncomfortable part. It didn't want to detach, so my doctor literally had to reach in and get it. That was a strange feeling and uncomfortable, but I was just so happy to have a healthy baby that I would be able to try to breastfeed. A baby that would be able to be in my hospital room with me. A baby that was just as beautiful and wonderful as my first. I'm just so glad it was an easier delivery for me. It almost makes me want to have another, almost.