So, for those of you who haven't heard, we had a baby. Right after the last post, really. If I'd been thinking, I might've blogged a little during labor. However, since we'd just been told we were still at 1cm for the 3rd week, we didn't necessarily think it was real labor. And, the contractions were fairly distracting, so I didn't get a lot done that day.
The trouble started about 11:30 pm when I woke after an hour and a half of sleep with what I supposed were contractions. Rick was still up, so we googled false labor and figured it could be either. Around 2:30 am, they reached 5 minutes apart and 1 minute in duration, so I called the service. When the Midwife called me back, she said to try to labor at home as long as possible and head into the hospital when they got about 2-3 minutes apart. Shortly thereafter, P got pretty tired and asked if I'd mind if he went to sleep. Although I would have welcomed the company, I figured there was no real point in both of us having a rotten night. And, if he had to drive me to the hospital, he should be alert. So, I grudgingly said no, he could sleep and I wouldn't hold it against him.
Then, I tried a bunch of different things. The birthing ball, pacing, laying down. Around 4:30 I got violent chills. Could not stay warm until I grabbed the queen sized down comforter and wrapped myself up. Then, the contractions would hit and I'd be burning up. It sucked. That part lasted about a half hour. Finally, I discovered if I sat on the couch, I could lay back my head and sleep between contractions and it was easier to get up to pace when they did hit. During this time, the contractions were varying from 4-10 minute intervals. Just when I thought they were emerging in a pattern, they'd change. Around 7, I gave up trying to sleep and figured I'd better get some sustenance while I could. I made a cup of tea and opened a banana. My hunger fled as soon as I took a bite. I made myself eat half of the banana, and about that time, P came downstairs. He poured a bowl of cereal, took one bite and pushed it away. At this point, both of us were beginning to think it might not be a false alarm.
Since it was Thanksgiving, we decided to mostly keep to the original game plan. P made my dishes and we headed over to his parents house around 11 am. Just in case, we threw the hospital bag in the car. I warned everyone that I would not be eating with them and that I'd probably keep pretty aloof. I spent a bit of time in the bathroom and did a lot of pacing. Contractions got longer, but staying pretty sporadic in interval. The closest I ever got was about 4 minutes apart. Finally, about 4, things broke up and we got in the car to leave. P asked me if we were heading home or to the hospital. I voted for hospital because the pain had gotten so uncomfortable and I wanted a professional to tell me if I needed to buck up and bear it or if I was going to have a baby soon.
About 4:30, we parked illegally in the drop off circle at the hospital and made our way to the Labor and Delivery department as instructed. The nurse who greeted us asked what we needed and I said I just wanted to be checked out since the contractions were getting to be a might unbearable. So, she had me strip, put on a robe and get in the bed. After taking a look, she announced that I was 95% effaced and dilated to 8cm. P asked, "So, does that mean you're admitting her?" The nurse looked at him with a priceless look and said, "Uh, yeah." So, he went to move the car and started sending texts to a few people.
Once they hooked me up to the monitors, the contractions became like clockwork at 3 minutes. Apparently, I just hadn't been able to accurately pinpoint starts and stops. I started to notice that my hands were tingling and shook them a little. The nurse noticed and asked if they were tingling and said I was hyperventilating a little and should breathe slower. I tried to, but it didn't work. I asked if maybe they had something that could take the edge off. So, they gave me a shot of Numorphan. Ideally, I wanted to labor without drugs, but I wasn't going to be pigheaded about it. Already, it hurt more than I'd mentally prepared for. However, it wasn't unbearable. I did ask for a hep lock so that it would be easy to get drugs if I needed them later. I directed the nurse to the packet of registration info and birth wishes. She disappeared with them and apparently read them since I never had to correct them about what I wanted later.
About 7, P called his mom when the nurse said I was at 9 cm and she was calling the doctor in. She came in for the delivery. The doctor gave me the option of breaking my own water or having them do it for me. I, in my naivette, chose to try it myself. After about an hour of pushing and listening to the woman next door screaming her baby out, I finally delivered the water, which was like pushing out a water balloon. Once it was out, it burst and I remember hearing a gush hit the floor. There was a pause as it then hit me that I'd have to push out something even bigger.
But then, the next contraction hit and I got to start pushing again. We tried the squat bar, stirrups, and these little foot shelves. In the end, the most effective was using the foot shelves in conjunction with a crunch type action. After another 60-90 minutes, I was getting very tired of pushing but was informed that the head was in view, so I should keep going. With each push, my screams got a little louder. After the fact, my husband informed me that he was super impressed with my volume. Since I'm normally so quiet, he had no idea I could achieve that kind of volume. Honestly, I have to say I never had need of that kind of volume, but that seemed to be the only way I could get the pushing done. Not having much practice at screaming, I did not use my diaphragm, so afterward my voice was rather husky.
Once I managed the last agonizing push to get the head out, the rest was easy. P helped deliver and later cut the cord (something I signed him up for in the birth plan but neglected to discuss with him, figuring he could always abstain if he was uncomfortable). As they were cleaning her off a little, I asked what the baby was. The doctor threw the ball into his court and said, "Dad, what is it?" And so he looked and like me he saw two bulging fleshy bits that could have been scrotum. But, he had a better view of the front and saw no penis, so he said, "I think it's a girl." The nurse said, "You think?" So, he confirmed with an actual statement, which sounded a little disappointed, but was actually mostly shock since both of us had convinced ourselves that we were getting a little boy.
After, they put the baby up on my chest while the doctor sewed up my second degree lacerations. I tried breastfeeding, but in a sign of things to come, she closed her eyes and showed little interest. So, I settled for some quality skin to skin time to supposedly help the uterus contract back down. We had a good hour and a half of quality time before they rolled in the scale to weigh her. Uncle A stopped by on his way home from a Thanksgiving celebration and we called the Texas grandparents. Then, they offered to take her to bathe her while they helped me clean up and transferred me to a post-partum room. A little after midnight, we finally settled in our room and I was able to relax for the first time in 24 hours.