Well, it has been a week. Let's see if I can crank out this birth story for ya. It all started at my 38 week appointment on the 23rd. My doctor does not check his patients to see if they are dilated, unless they ask, so I asked to be checked to see if anything was happening. With Syd I was at a 3 for three weeks before she was born at 39 weeks. The nurse checked me and I was at a 3, meh, whatever. I had been having painful braxton hicks for the last week or so, but not one real contraction. The next morning I woke up at about 4:00 with a really strong braxton hicks. I got up and went to the bathroom. I was washing my hands and felt a small gush of water. Ahhhh! I about freaked out. It was only a tiny bit and there was no more. But then I had a contraction, a real one. I got back in bed, but could not relax and Syd was taking up my side of the bed. I came downstairs and ate something and started timing my contractions. About 6:00 Neil and Syd woke up and Neil was getting ready for work. I went upstairs and said "well, who wants to have a baby today?" Neil stopped shaving and said "Really?" and I said "I think my water broke a few hours ago". Then he said "Are you serious?!" His eyes about popped out of his head. I told him to not worry but that he needed to stay home if he could. We hung out for a while and my contractions started to slow down which was kind of disappointing. I called my mom and told her she should probably get here sometime today. Then I went back to bed for a few hours, probably from 9-11 I slept, woke up to have a contraction, then fell asleep again. I felt pretty good when I woke up. I decided we needed to get out of the house and walk around to see if my contractions would keep going. My mom called and said she and Andrea were on their way and that she was funding a Target shopping trip to keep me busy. What a nice mom:)
Before we left I had Neil take this 38 week shot.
We went to Wendy's for lunch and then to Target. I was having more contractions and they were starting to get more regular, no more water breakage but I was losing my mucus plug throughout the day. I called my doctors office and told them I think my water may have broken, but was not really sure. They said I should either go to the hospital to get checked or come to their office. If my water had broken and I didn't go into labor soon, they would have to start labor (noooo!). I told them as soon as my mom got here I would come to their office. This was about 1:30. We had a great shopping trip and then headed home, mom and Andrea got there soon after. We talked and I finished packing my hospital bag. I was having contractions this whole time. I was breathing and squatting through them and doing okay. About 3:45 the doctors office called wondering if I was coming in so we decided we'd better go. On the way there (a 20 min drive) I was having contractions every 5 minutes. Yikes! We got there, the waiting room was pretty full, I knew they were closing pretty soon. Neil signed us in and I tried to discretely have contractions without anyone noticing. Finally the nurse said to come back and get checked. She was going to do a test to see if I was indeed leaking amniotic fluid but then seeing how many contractions I was having decided to check me first because if I was dilating then I would just go to the hospital anyway. She checked me and said "you are at a 6, get in your car and head to the hospital. The hospital was another 20 minutes away so we got out of their fast, all of the nurses and staff were cheering and congratulating us, it made me want to cry:)
Part II The hospital
When I had Sydney I had an epidural, it was great, but I could not feel to push and she had a hard time being born, her heart rate dropped and they had to use the vacuum to get her out. She was born pretty fast for a first time baby. A few months after I got pregnant with Nora I started thinking about doing an unmedicated birth. Even a few months before I thought that was CRAZY. Why on earth would you give birth with no medication, when there were epidurals available, seriously? But after talking with my sister Andrea and some good friends and cousins I starting to warm up to the idea, if my babies were going to be born fast, why not give unmedicated birth a try? I read a book on the Bradley Method and one on natural birth at the hospital and talked to everyone I could find who had had an unmedicated birth. I was feeling pretty confident about my decision until I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. Now this pregnancy was a whole new ball game. I learned that I would not be allowed to go over due and may even be induced early. I was pretty discouraged and kind of put my new education on the back burner. Neil and I talked and I decided I may as well be prepared and we would see what happened. I was scared if I was induced I would not be able to do the contractions because I know pitocin makes them stronger. Anyway... it all worked out.
I had a few fears about this birth. #1 I would go into labor during rush hour and we would get stuck on the 215 and I would give birth in the car. I asked Neil what we would do if we did indeed hit rush hour traffic, he said he would drive up the shoulder of the freeway. Well, we left the doctor around 4:30 ish. Woops. Rush hour. It was bumper to bumper. Then we saw that the shoulder was shut down. Like torn up, barricaded off shut down. Yikes. Poor Neil was sweating bullets. I was in the back of the car trying to breath through the contractions. Then I moved up front because I didn't want to get arrested and have my baby in prison. I kept telling Neil it was okay, I still had a ways to go, I was not having this baby in the car. Finally we pulled up to St. Rose San Martin hospital. Neil dropped me off with some of our stuff and went to park. I had a few contractions in the hospital lobby. Good thing they were so regular that I knew exactly how much time I had to walk before I would need to stop for a contraction. We made it to the hospital in about 20 minutes. Whew, nice job Neil!
Fear #2 was that I would get to the hospital too early and break down and get an epidural because I would have to be hooked to iv's and monitors and would not be able to move around to labor.
We got to labor and delivery. The staff saw us coming and I heard one girl say "Oh no, I don't have anymore triage beds!" We walked up and they asked us to sign in. When I saw the last question I said "Neil, you'd better write something really funny there"
I told them I had just seen my doctor and I was at a 6. They seemed shocked and sent us right into a labor and delivery room. Our nurse came in and told me to change into the hospital gown. I told her I wanted to wear my own nightgown. This really bothered her until I promised they could cut it off if they had to and I was planning on throwing it away anyway, I just wanted to be comfy. She finally agreed. I did have to be hooked to monitors and an iv. But I could still wander as far as the lines would go and lean on my exercise/birthing ball. As you can see it was 5:06 when we checked in.
The nurse made me get in the bed while she did the iv. I jumped out as soon as I could.
This is the part where I give props to my amazing husband. He was calm, steady, supportive and did not freak out for one second. I squatted through every single contraction and held onto his hands or fingers until they turned white. Then he would hoist me up or help me lean on the birthing ball to rest. Those few minutes of rest between contractions were heaven! From here on out things are a little fuzzy. About an hour after we came in the nurse checked me and I was at a 7, I was a little dissapointed thinking this was going to take a loooong time and I was getting worn out. Then it's just a blur of contractions. At some point the nurse made me get on the bed. I was squatting at the end of the bed holding onto Neils hands. The nurse said to tell her if I felt like I needed to push. I could hear the nurses out in the hall yelling to call the doctor. It was about 6:45. I heard them say "he is 20 minutes out" and I was thinking "There is no way he is going to make it".
Which brings us to fear #3. My baby would be born so quick the doctor would not make it.
At this point they made me lay down in the bed. I think so I wouldn't squat and push the baby out. Well, all it did was make things 100 times more painful, since my body was going to push no matter what. I forgot to mention that when I woke up at 4 am to go to the bathroom I realized I had a horrible cold and cough and my voice was really horse. It's probably a good thing because it muted my amazon woman screaming. I know the door was open because nurses were rushing in and out trying to get ready to bring Nora into the world and between contractions and pushing I was thinking "I hope there are no first time moms out there listening to me, they will be totally freaked out" At some point the nurses stopped telling me to NOT push and said to push. Neil thinks I pushed for 5 or 10 minutes and her head came out. Then the rest of her followed. Then in walked the doctor about 60 seconds later, it was 7:20. Neil says it took him 30 minutes to get there, he must have hit traffic, dang it! She looked a little grey and they were trying to get her to cry. Syd didn't really cry either so I knew Nora was fine. They paged the NICU but when they got there she was fine. They gave her a little oxygen for a second and she cried a little bit and started to pink up. They let me hold her and she even nursed a little bit:) Then they took her to do all of their work.
She weighed 6 lbs 14 oz and was 20 inches long. Syd was 6 lbs 13 oz and was 19 inches long. So you can see that the gestational diabetes really made her one huge baby! ;) wink wink. One of my other fears was that I would have a blood sugar crash during labor because of the adrenalin rush and not eating. But it went so fast, I ate on the way to the doctors office and I think the iv fluids helped too. They checked my blood sugar twice during labor and it was actually a little high. Because of this Nora's after birth blood sugar was low so I fed her some formula and they checked it an hour later and it was fine. I kept feeding her formula as well as nursing her until my milk came in when we came home from the hospital.
All in all it was one amazing, primal experience. I was able to work through the pain and felt so proud of myself! The only time I doubted myself was during those last 30 minutes or so and I kept thinking in my head "what the $#% was I thinking!!!?" But obviously it was too late to change anything by then;) The second she was born all of those feelings were gone, I was so happy to have my baby in my arms! She is the sweetest, most contented little girl and we are so happy she is part of our family.