DH and I have been so lucky in our lives. We found each other, we have an amazing son, and we now also have a beautiful baby girl who recently joined our family.
Some of little lady's birth story (the introduction) was posted in a previous post the other day. Just in case someone is new to the blog or missed that post, I've included the early parts of little lady's birth story again here.
FYI- This post is long and may contain more information about my birthing than you want to know- there is definitely some TMI present!
Here we go!
My due date with little lady was December 28th, 2012. On Christmas, I was having a significant amount of contractions. I bounced on the birth ball for a while, and then decided around 9p that I'd go lay down for a bit to see if I could get the contractions to go away and I could rest for a while.
It worked pretty well as I was able to fall asleep for a few hours and had no further contractions.
In the morning on December 26th when I woke up, it was somewhat questionable as to if I was going into labor. I thought that (tmi!) my water had broken, but it wasn't anything like when my water had broken with little man, so I wasn't quite sure.
Hey, so um, did I mention we had predictions for at least 10 inches of snow and a blizzard that day?
Yep. That was happening, too. It was already snowing by the time I woke and where are midwife was located is supposed to get more than 13 inches.
Because of this, and the fact that in our midwife's county they were only allowing emergency vehicles on the road, to the Ob's office we went to get checked. Mainly because I wanted to be sure that I didn't just pee my pants and think my waters had broken when they hadn't.
So, over the river and through the woods atop ridiculously messy roads and cars planted in ditches along the entire way we went.
At the Ob's office, they confirmed that my water had in fact broken. When they were testing to see if my waters had broken, we also did allow a cervical check and I was maybe 1-2 centimeters dilated. At that point, I was not having significant contractions or pressure waves and I was not in 'active labor', as they call it. The Ob (that I had not met until that day, the fourth in the group, who is married to the only male Ob in the group), listened to our concerns and was actually extremely accommodating to them.
When I birthed little man, my water broke with no contractions to follow, pretty much the same exact scenario as this birth had begun. After 12 hours, my temperature was somewhat raised (as it had been for the past month with a consistent cold), and they really began to push the need for me to take pitocin. As a first time mom, I was concerned for the baby and went ahead with it. I took the pitocin for 6-7 hours prior to getting an epidural, which I also had not wanted.
This time around, the Ob told me that I had two options. I could go home after our appointment and continue to labor at home until my contractions began more significantly or it hit 48 hours past my water breaking. (Thankfully much longer than the 12 hours my old Ob previously had given me last time.) My other option was to get admitted now, because of the storm, and they would leave me alone minus intermittent monitoring for 48 hours in the hospital. Even if my temperature did raise or cause them concern with my waters being broken, their option was only to give me antibiotics to combat any possible infection preemptively. She gave us some time to decide and DH and I went out to get some lunch.
We decided over lunch that we'd prefer to just go home, and I called the Ob to let her know that we'd try to brave the weather and come back later as my birthing became closer. However, when we called, she asked me to please go into the hospital because of the weather, reporting she was really nervous if we'd make it back in time because of how bad the roads are. She promised that if we did, they would basically leave us alone minus the intermittent monitoring for up to 48 hours if we'd prefer, just like we'd be doing at home.
After talking to our midwife, because of the fact that she was unable to get to us, and we were in the middle of a blizzard, we ended up just being admitted into the hospital, around maybe one o'clock in the afternoon on December 26th.
(So thankfully at that point- my parents had been with us for Christmas and hadn't left to go home yet, so little man was quite happy and taken care of at home playing trains with Grammy & Grampy!)
When we were settled and into our birthing room, the nurse did put in a saline lock and said they'd like to do intermittent monitoring once per hour during the day. Initially they'd asked if they could also monitor me at night, but we'd discussed with nursing who approved with the doctor that if nothing was happening by nightfall, we wouldn't have to be monitored throughout the night.
The male Ob (who again was married to the female we'd seen earlier in the day) stopped by our room and chatted for a few minutes with us. He said he was glad we'd come in and that he had been very nervous we'd have gone home and gotten stuck somewhere. He also reiterated that they didn't feel any need to augment my labor with anything at that point, and would continue to let me be that way for 48 hours. He also said that if we felt okay later that night and if the storm had cleared somewhat, he would feel okay with us going home and spending the night at home.
For the rest of the afternoon, we mainly walked the halls between monitoring. I had intermittent contractions throughout the day, but nothing serious. At around 6p, I ended up sending DH home for a little while. I wanted to make sure that everything was going okay at home with little man and that my parents didn't have too rough of a time getting him to sleep for the night. Thankfully, he did SO well for my parents and they didn't have any trouble, so DH returned later that night around 9 or 10p after doing a little more snow shoveling at our house.
While he was gone, I started to have more significant contractions while sitting on the labor ball, but nothing I couldn't just breathe through easily. I had previously been watching some television, but at one point before DH came back, I did start putting on some of my hypnobirthing tracks and listening to those throughout some contractions.
When DH got back up to our L&D room, we began to walk the halls again for a little while. Walking really, really seemed to help me not only get through the early labor stages, but actually progress some in my birthing. DH was actually teasing me at one point, because in our loops around the circular L&D unit, I was having contractions almost consistently at the same point in the hallway on each loop for some time.
Because it was later on at night at that point, we hadn't been monitored for several hours, and the nursing staff was keeping to their promise and mainly leaving us be. However, as my contractions began to progress, I'd needed for them to wrap the saline lock one time for me to get into the bathtub and then we'd also asked for some heating packs for my back and lower stomach. I initially was nervous to get into the bath because I was concerned it was too early in labor and I may stall or slow things after all of the walking had picked up my contractions in both intensity and frequency. When I first got into the tub, that was the case. I was really comfortable in the bath though, so I tried massaging a few pressure points on my feet and ankles just to see if that would work. Surprisingly to me, I began to have significant contractions again almost immediately after massaging my ankles in a few spots, to the point where I needed to get up on my knees and lean over in the tub to get through them.
After sitting in the tub for a little while, I got back out of the tub and my contractions REALLY began to kick in. I believe it was at this point where the nurse came in and asked to check my progress. Per DH, this was probably around one o'clock in the morning on Thursday, December 27th. Initially, I was somewhat reluctant to be checked, as I didn't feel anywhere close to pushing and did not want to increase the chance of infection as I'd already been checked once on Wednesday morning at the Ob office appointment. However, the nurse said that I was obviously moving into active labor and she'd like to know what my body was doing before I walked myself into fully dilated around my room without ever being checked or monitored. I understood her reasoning, so we went ahead and she checked my dilation at that point. I believe at around 1 a.m. she told me that I was between 4-5 centimeters dilated.
For a while after that I pretty much paced back and forth in the room, applying heat packs to both my lower back and lower belly. I also put on a few of my hypnobirthing tracks, which helped me quite a bit during the next hour or two. I completed some of the visualization tasks from the hypnobirthing tracks while pacing the room, and for whatever reason, a few words stuck out in my head from the tracks. As I walked the room, I kept repeating in my head over and over throughout the contractions 'soft, flexible, open, relaxed.'
There was a short period of time in which I sat and bounced on the labor ball with DH pressing my back and pressing in on the sides of my hips, but that quickly became uncomfortable, so I went back to standing and walking and listening to my hypnobirthing tracks.
Very soon after my check at 1 a.m., the pressure became much more uncomfortable than it previously had been. I was trying everything I could remember, including positioning, heat, pressure, movement, etc.- and nothing seemed to be helping. Unfortunately, during this point in my birthing process, I became very nauseated on top of the contractions, and began to vomit several times as well. However, it was very uncomfortable to be still, so I basically walked around the room throwing up, with one hand holding a bucket and one hand continuing to apply heat on my back.
At that point I called the nurse in and asked what my options were for pain. She said that mainly with how far along I was, the only thing that they would do was an epidural. I had asked if they had the option of a 'walking epidural', but was told they were not able to do so. We briefly discussed my getting back into the tub again, but after another contraction hit, I asked them to call for the epidural.
While waiting for the anesthesiologist, I became extremely shaky. The nausea stopped, but my whole body began to shake uncontrollably and I couldn't do anything to stop it. A new nurse came in to begin to prepare me for the epidural, I believe her name was Mel, and she'd asked me to sit on the side of the bed. The anesthesiologist came in and began to set up as well. All throughout this time, I was trying my best to sit on the edge of the bed but shaking like a leaf. The doctor actually made me more nervous at that point by asking the nurse several times if it was normal for someone to shake that much in labor. Thankfully, Mel the nurse was extremely calm natured and explained to him that could happen with many women in labor.
Having the epidural placed was really difficult, as I could not sit still for the life of me while the doctor attempted to place it. He asked a few times for me to be still, but there was no way that I could with all of my shaking. He finally was able to place it and they asked me to lay flat on the bed while we waited for it to kick in, which was possibly the hardest point of my birthing process. I was exhausted, shaking like crazy, feeling a bit sick again, feeling every ounce of contraction I was having, and lying still was miserable. During this time the nurse checked my dilation and in the past hour I'd gone from around a four and a half to a seven.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, but probably was mere minutes, the medicine began to work and my pain started to decrease slowly. I continued to shake for at least the next half hour or hour, but it decreased as well. I remember the anesthesiologist becoming somewhat frustrated as they couldn't get an accurate read on my blood pressure because my arm was shaking so badly. Again, thankfully, Mel the nurse was able to reassure him that it obviously wasn't an accurate read and they weren't going to get an accurate read at that point, but that was okay.
Once the pain began to abate, the doctor left and Mel the nurse told us that they'd be back to check on me in one hour, and to try and rest until that time. This was at about 2:30 or 3 a.m., I believe.
(Obviously, I'd gone into this birthing not wanting any medical interventions, as I'd gone into my last birthing with little man. And, obviously, I'd just asked for an epidural. This time, though, I felt much, much better about getting the epidural, to be totally honest. Instead of being pumped with pitocin to begin my labor progression, my body was able to do everything on it's own. Instead of progressing on someone else's schedule and needs, I was able to let my own body progress on its own and on my baby's own time. She knew when she wanted to come into this world, and we were allowing my body and her movements to get us there. When I took the epidural, I had gone through everything I'd remembered in my head to try and get myself through laboring on my own, some more than once. I really wish our midwife had been able to join us, especially during this portion of my labor, as she is wise to the ways of birthing and always seemed to have an extremely helpful suggestion or technique during little man's birthing. Again, though, she was not able to make it out due to the inclement weather. Overall, though I was happy with the medication choice that I made. I was happy because I'd made it on my own terms, being educated and aware of what my options were, and making an informed decision at that point.)
DH and I both almost immediately fell asleep at around 3 a.m. as we were pretty exhausted. The nurse let us sleep until about 4:15a, and then returned to check on me. When she woke us, I realized something pretty wonderful this time around- that I could feel and move both of my legs. During my last epidural, I couldn't move my left leg at all, and only felt sensation in a portion of my right hip. This time, I could feel my contractions and pressure and I could move my legs.
When Mel the nurse checked me again, I was 10 cm dilated and little lady was at a +1 station. Since she needed to move down just a little bit more to a +2 station, we were asked to put on the call button as soon as I started feeling pressure and they would start preparing the room for pushing.
As soon as I sat the bed up a little bit when we woke, I felt immediate pressure and knew my body was getting ready to push. I put the button back on and Mel the nurse returned to get started. This was right about 5 a.m. She had me do two 'test' pushes to see where I was on my next contraction, and then immediately had me stop and try to just breathe through the next few contractions while she got the doctor, which was the female Ob I'd seen for my labor check that morning.
During the test pushes, they'd already wheeled the mirror over to the edge of the bed, and I was able to see little lady's head. Yeah. Last birth with little man, I pushed for over an hour before I saw anything happening down there.
The female Ob and Mel the nurse came back in at 5:05 or 5:10a. I began to push on my next contraction. I don't remember exactly how many times I pushed, but it was not long at all. Little lady was born at 5:19a. She was placed on my chest immediately after she was born and was absolutely perfect. When little man was born, I remember immediately feeling this rush of love, emotion, and amazingness, and the feeling with little lady was no different. The first few moments with her in my arms were just as life changing as the first few moments with little man.
Little lady and I were left to cuddle while the Ob did her thing down in my nether regions (I had one very small tear that required a stitch or two) and Mel the nurse assisted her. This time, as opposed to little man's birth, the nursing staff was very supportive and encouraged me to breastfeed little lady almost immediately after birth, which she did for at least a half hour. After that, we cuddled for a bit more and then DH went with little lady and Mel the nurse over to the weighing station in our room and checked her out. Little lady is at least two inches shorter than little man was, and almost a full pound lighter than he was. I can't remember what her head size was right now, but I know just by looking at it that she is also smaller than what little man was when he was born as well. Her feet are also quite a bit bigger than his were (sorry, little lady, you inherited your mom & dad's wide feet as well!) and her fingernails and nail beds are much longer than his were at birth. Overall, though, DH and I agree that she looks very much like little man did when he was born. Same nose, same mouth, maybe a twidge bit more of DH's eyes, but very similar overall. Little lady has a full head of brown hair just like little man did, as well as deep blue eyes.
We were transported to the postpartum unit at about 7 or 8 on Thursday, December 27th, and will be here for one more day, until December 29th. I have to say that I am 100% ready to go home now, but DH asked if we could stay until tomorrow morning. I'm ready for our own home, my own bed, my own shower, and most of all to be back with the little man I am missing so ridiculously much at this point. But, DH does make his own point that it was kind of a pain when we left the hospital early last time around and had to bring DS back for a repeat newborn test a few days later, which is what we'd have to do again. I guess we can stick it out here for one more day!
After 9 long months of uncertainty, confusion, love, hope, and waiting, our baby girl is here. I cannot be more overfilled with happiness or joy at this point and am 100% satisfied and thankful for the birthing experience we were able to have. My healthy, sweet, squishy baby is now in my arms and I couldn't ask for anything more.