So, we left off that I was headed to the hospital around 8pm on Tuesday (2/12) and had some pretty strong contractions about 5 minutes apart on the way there. We got there and I checked in. I had pre-registered a while back so that made things pretty easy. The only glitch was that I apparently WAS supposed to check in with my OBGYN office one more time before we actually went to the hospital, but I hadn't done that because it had been a little unclear to me from what the doctor had told me that morning at my appointment (we discussed me returning to their office for a recheck if I made it to 5 minute apart contractions before they closed, but not what to do if that didn't happen before then). It was no big deal though. The nurse took me to a triage room to check me out. I was about 6 cm dilated and 80% effaced, and the nurses and doctor I saw seemed surprised I had labored so far by myself at home! I was glad I had, because one of my concerns all day had been going to the hospital and either being sent home for not being far enough along in labor or having to labor a long time there.
I was set up in my room, which in my hospital is where you pre-labor, give birth, and stay after the birth. It's all inclusive. I ended up getting my epidural right away, because I was already at 6 cm dilated. At the epidural class I had attended they said that about 4-6 cm is a good time to get it, because you already have an established progression of labor and hopefully getting the epidural at that point won't slow things down. The epidural went well, I had been a little afraid of the needle and everything but it was no big deal. I did have some itchiness after (mostly around my shoulders and chest), and my feet and legs felt hot and very tingly, a lot like when your feet fall asleep, but it was well worth not feeling the pain of the contractions. The doctor also decided to break my water (it was around 9:30pm at this point) and put in a catheter since you can't feel when you have to pee once the epidural is in. Once all that stuff was set up, they put me kind at an upright angle in my bed hoping that my labor would continue to progress. I think about 10-11pm the doctor checked me and I was then at 8cm. The doctor gave me an eta of around 3am for when I'd have the baby.
In the meantime, my parents came back from getting food and everyone hung out in the room for a long time, while we waited.
My mom had brought a picture of Clyde for me, so he could be there in spirit :)
|Clyde picture was affixed above the mini fridge in front of me.|
A couple hours past and my progress was checked and I was still only at 8 cm. I was frustrated I hadn't made more progress after so much in the first few hours I was there. After a while, Pitocin was brought up, and although I'd hoped to labor without it, I also didn't want to be stuck getting no where all night, so around 2:30am they hooked up a bag to my IV and we waited to see if it would help things along. It was kind of a long night. I should mention that my labor and delivery nurse, Hope, was awesome. I loved her and over the course of the next few days with nurses in and out of my room, I realized how lucky I was to have her as my nurse during the rough times. We all really bonded with her.
Over the course of the night and through my labor I was nauseated and got sick about 4 times. I have a known reaction to Codeine and I think the epidural had something similar in it that made me kind of sick. The good news is the nausea would come on, I'd get sick, and then I'd feel fine, so it wasn't a constant thing. Still, it was unpleasant, and I went through a lot of ice chips.
Finally, at close to 6am, I was checked and was 9 cm dilated with just a "lip" blocking me from 10 cm. It was time to start pushing. Pushing is a weird thing. I didn't feel like it was intuitive at all, and often felt like I was just holding my breath and bearing down, but wasn't sure on what. I had a really hard time feeling like I was making any progress. My mom had pushed for 3 hours when she gave birth to me, and after an hour, and then two passed, I figured I was due the same fate. Hope had to leave and my new nurse, who I was not that crazy about, took over. She kept telling me she could see the head, but only like a quarter-sized portion of it, which really just made me frustrated and didn't help. Also, I was extremely exhausted. Three nights in a row I had only gotten a little bit of sleep and it was taking it's toll on me. I actually started falling asleep in between contractions/pushing, and was given an oxygen mask to wear in between pushes.
Despite my feeling like I wasn't making progress, at 8am, things started getting crazy in my room. My midwife was brought in along with a huge team of people ready to take action when the baby came out. It was apparent I was close to having the baby. In between my second to last and last set of pushes, I started to cry and got really emotional thinking about the journey I'd taken to get to this point. All the months of trying to conceive, the positive and negative pregnancy tests, the doctors, the surgeries, and the last nine months of pregnancy kind of washed over me. I was sobbing and looked over to see Greg was wiping away tears too. Then I gave it everything I could to push our baby out and she came out at 8:23am, crying and thriving. They wiped her down as she was placed on my chest and I realized I was finally a mother to a perfect little baby girl. Wow.
We did skin to skin for quite a while and then I was asked if they could weigh, measure, and do some tests on her. She was 7 lbs 13 oz, 19 inches long, and scored a 9 on her Apgar test. Pretty good stats!
Meanwhile, I delivered the placenta (Greg thought that was the grossest moment of the whole experience) and then got stitched up from my second degree tear. I didn't feel any of it, because of the epidural.
Once they gave Allie back to me, I did do a little breastfeeding. To be honest, I don't really even remember my first attempt. I think she latched and ate a little.
As for me, after not having eaten anything, since about 5pm the night before, I was pretty famished and REALLY thirsty. For about the last two hours of labor, I kept saying that all I could think about was a huge glass of apple juice and how bad I wanted one. Greg got me a couple little apple juices when I was recovering, and we ordered breakfast from the hospital- pancakes, hash browns (carbs with carbs, yes please!), bacon. I devoured it.
We spent the day getting to know our baby.
Seeing Greg with her was (still is) amazing. Holy heart melt!
Allie also received her first non-family visitor late afternoon- Kelly! Kelly was doing a little practice run, in case you haven't heard, she's pregnant too!
The next couple days and nights at the hospital are kind of a blur of nurses checking on me and Allie, lactation consultants, doctors, pediatricians, my parents coming back and forth from the hospital from my house, holding and feeding Allie, hospital food (which was actually pretty good), a million texts, emails, phone calls, etc... Lots going on as we adjusted to life with a baby and I recovered from child birth.
By Friday morning we were all ready to go home. We suited up Allie in her monkey onesie with one of four hats the hospital gave us over the course of our stay.
A nurse snapped our first family picture as we were heading out!
My birth experience was probably about as good as I could have hoped for. I am sore and know that my physical recovery still has a ways to go, but mentally, I feel as prepared and happy about motherhood as I'd hoped and everything is going really well. I will share more of this journey as we go!