Well, here we are at four weeks. Sheesh. That was the fastest and longest four weeks of my life. I hope the rest of my life doesn't go that fast now that I am a mom of three. Adjustments are being made all around. I asked Jac if things were getting back to normal or if they were still crazy. He said, definitely still crazy.
Before I completely forget what happened, here is Stella's story.
At about 10am on the 21st of November, which just happened to be a Blue Moon, the real contractions started. They were rhythmic and a bit longer in duration and by the way, they hurt a little. I am not sure that I knew for sure that this was it, but I was going to make it happen because in just 48 hours I had elected to be induced and although in the end it was my choice I didn't want it to go down that way.
So I started getting ready. Repacking the bag that had warm weather clothes in it instead of cold weather, getting the baby book, charging the camera. I told Jeff that I thought this was it and he wisely took a nap; which is exactly what I should have done. I did think about hanging out at home longer but I was very worried that these contractions like all the ones in the past would just go away.
At midnight we rallied the troops. First, I called my neighbor, Mary. There was a bit of confusion as her husband was on a conference call with his IT team in India and I sort of busted in on that. But she had just gone to bed so was able to make it to our house in record time. (We live about 30 seconds away from each other on a bad day.) This is the same friend who had naked running through the dark to get to my house dreams, I was glad that her worrying wasn't for naught. She got to have her midnight oncall appearance. Then I called Jeff's parents. My mother-in-law literally answered after the first ring. I am not sure if she had the phone by the bed or what, but it was fast. They were the second line of defense for the kiddos and would relieve my friend around 2am.
Then I called my mom, who again answered after half a ring, unbelievable. I guess everyone was as anxious as I was for Stella to make an appearance.
It was around 12:30 when we left and the contractions were five to seven minutes apart and didn't hurt terribly, but were uncomfortable enough. We got to the hospital and Jeff suggested that maybe we should walk around before we went in. So we took a walk, it was actually fairly warm although a cold front was on the way. It was very windy and we walked through the parking garage and around the hospital until we got blocked by construction. We walked back and I was antsy, so we went ahead and went up to registration.
We were checked in around 1am and luckily didn't have to stop at triage. Not because my labor was so quick, but simply because it was nice to get a room immediately. They found out I was over 40 weeks, and due to be induced on Tuesday morning and said, "congratulations, you get a room!" Too late to turn back now, I was officially in the system and would definitely be having a baby soon. When they checked to see how dilated I was, I was a four.
I really think that everything would have gone very smooth if not for the IV access that had to be put in. I have read quite a bit about natural child birth and if your cortisol levels and adrenaline levels are made to rise you can stop the labor or slow it down. This gives a mother in the wilderness being attacked by a bear a chance to get to safety and not have to deal with contractions while she is running for her life. Well my bears were two nurses who thought for sure that they could get an IV in me even though I warned them that I was extremely difficult. They each tried twice, which meant four blown veins, two on my left hand and one on my right hand and one on my right arm. By the time I actually got the IV by an anesthesiologist my contractions had completely stopped. This was around 4:30 or 5am.
The nurse came in and basically said, what do you want to do? We have to get this labor started again. She checked me and I remained four centimeters dialated. I admit it, I cried when I heard that news. So I opted to rest until 6am and then have my water broken. I was opposed to getting my water broken because then you were really on a timeline and also, contractions are supposedly much worse when you don't have the cushion of the bag of waters anymore. But I decided that getting my water broken would be a better alternative than getting a Pitocin drip. This is basically when I lost control of my labor. I really didn't see any alternative, it was either that or go home. I was getting really tired and am glad I took an hour to rest. But at this point was pretty sure I should have just stayed home as long as possible. Jeff and I had bet on when we would meet baby and his guess of 8am and my guess of 6am were looking like bad jokes at this point.
At 6am the attending doctor for the floor came in and broke my water. It is pretty gross when they do it and remains messy and gross until you actually deliver. Enough said.
Then I started walking. I walked the halls with Jeff and then would come back and rest on the birthing ball. The ball felt good, took the pressure off a little and the walking hurt. I could definitely tell I was progressing, at least from a pain standpoint. My doctor arrived sometime midmorning. She wanted me to get the Pitocin in order to move things along. I really like my doctor, but I am sure much of it had to do with her having a full patient load that afternoon. Although I do feel like she wanted me to deliver as soon as possible because I clearly was getting fatigued. I said I would think about it, but that I really doubted my ability to deal with contractions if I was put on Pitocin. I knew then and there if I opted for Pitocin I would need an epidural.
What felt like an eternity later, the nurse checked me again at 10am. I was in real pain and was managing it by making a lot of noise; surely I was getting close. I was a 5.5, boo. I didn't cry this time, I got mad. How could I be in so much pain and still not be in transition? What was transition going to feel like if this was just plain old labor? I started to freak out a bit. This was when I threw in the towel. I was tired and in a lot of pain and couldn't imagine going many more hours. I said, let's do it. All of it. Give me the Pitocin but first get me an epidural so that I don't lose my mind when you turn that drip on.
The nurse said that anesthia would be called as soon as she pushed a bag of fluids through my IV. Yikes. My nurse, who I have failed to mention so far, was completely inept. I am sure that she looked back on this birth and felt guilty. She had forgotten to keep my IV access primed. They are supposed to push fluids through it every hour or so to make sure it doesn't seal up. Well, she was able to push fluids through it with a syringe but the IV wouldn't work with the regular machine. Again, I started to freak a little. I didn't think I could deal with getting another IV put in. Somehow, she managed to pump fluids in me, but instead of the 15 minutes it is supposed to take it took at least 30, maybe more. So there I was in LOTS of pain with contractions coming faster and more intense, waiting for these fluids.
Enter the anesthesiologist. She came in a few minutes before or after 11am. She was not too impressed with the situation. I was in real pain, moaning, etc. She was talking to me and not getting a lot of responses. I will say she was impressive. She put an epidural in me really fast. By 11:20 the epidural was in and she said she was going to give me a whopper. She shot me up with an enormous dose of pain medicine, of which I don't know that I ever felt.
As soon as the epidural was in they swung me back around on the bed and that one motion changed everything. I immediately felt "the pressure". I told everyone in the room, I feel pressure. I hadn't been checked for dilation since 10am. My lovely (hear sarcasm) nurse checked and announced that I was complete. Lovely. Actually all this would have been fantastic; I didn't have to have Pitocin, I made it through transition without pain meds and my over 12 hour labor was finally coming to a close. Only one problem, they had only just called my doctor who was at the other hospital she attends delivering another baby.
At that point, Stella started to come. There was absolutely nothing I could do. This is where you remember that a woman in a coma can have a baby. You don't really need to do anything, your body will take care of it. Trying to tell me to not push was like telling the sea not rise at high tide. The doctor left, presumably to get someone to deliver the baby. My nurse, who although inept was the only in the room qualified to deliver the baby, tried to leave. I remember yelling, you can't leave. I thought she was crazy, clearly she didn't know that my husband COULD NOT deliver this baby.
Finally, a nurse who knew what she was doing joined us. Lily, she was lovely. She cut or ripped off the hospital underwear (yes, I was still wearing underwear). She announced that the baby was crowning and literally with no effort on my part Stella's head popped out. I heard something about no cord visible, which was good considering we had no doctor present and they told me to push. I wasn't even contracting at that moment, but I said, what the heck, let's push. There is no other relief in the world like the immediate relief you feel when baby is fully delivered. It is a thank the Lord kind of relief. It is complete and immediate, it is wonderful. I believe at that point the attending doctor walked in.
She suctioned Stella, cut the cord and handed her to me. Stella promptly pooped all over me. She was perfect. She scored a 9 and a 9 on the Apgar, the best of all my children. She cried a high pitch squeal that she has been perfecting over the past month. They tried to take her and I wouldn't let them.
It wasn't exactly how I envisioned her birth. But it was our story and very memorable. It was loud, mostly because I was screaming and then Stella was screaming. It was messy, both mommy and baby again. And it was beautiful, mommy, daddy and baby all cried. It was perfect and so is Stella.