Happy Monday, friends! I have been itching to share my labor and delivery tale with you, so here goes!!
As many of you know, labor really began last Wednesday on MG's due date. We had been to the splash park south of the river in the morning and were back home. I noticed regular Braxton Hicks contractions about every 20 minutes throughout the afternoon and was cautiously optimistic. We had been through this two previous nights, so I wasn't going to hedge any bets on being in labor. I was hopeful though. My two previous labors had been very much the same, finishing off the next morning. Little did we know that MG would take a bit longer before making her grand earthly entrance! This was all part of the prodromal 24-hour lead up to birth. Whew! I think I prefer the former labor experiences to this one, but I'm just so happy all turned out healthy and well. Can't ask for anything more!
I had crampy aches and continual BH contractions all night, accompanied by leg cramps that prevented me from walking well. Overall, though, I was able to sleep and that was a blessing seeing how LONG the next day ended up being! At 5am I awoke to begin timing contractions--they were 10 minutes apart. With the other babies, I would have had the baby by 10am, so I felt it very necessary to begin being super vigilant on the baby front. I went on a walk (early, before the 104F temps!), bounced on the birth ball, and timed. We timed contractions all morning--they were more intense than the ones the day before and seemed to be getting stronger, but compared to what?! I was having trouble assessing their intensity. My doula thought I was in early labor and made arrangements to be at our house at a moment's notice. I spoke to Red on the phone and she, too, thought I was in labor, but with some time left to go.
I had to be patient! Ahhh...
At noon GG decided we needed to do more walking and get out of the house, but to where? Temps were already at record levels and we had few options. One seemed to make the most sense--To the gym we went! On the walk to the car I experienced my first can't-talk-need-to-focus contraction, so we saw that as a good sign. At the gym GG ran on the treadmill next to me and I rigorously walked. I would take breaks when contractions were too painful to walk through, but overall, it was good for us to be out and about. I don't think many people were onto the fact that the very pregnant walker was in labor! ha! :) We had 'em fooled.
At home again contractions slowly intensified. GG got some administrative tasks done. My parents occupied the boys. I hung out on my own a bunch and tried to rest in between. By 5pm it seemed like things were continuing as they had been and I was getting annoyed! Let's get this over with, for crying out loud!!! I was ready to have the baby...
Thankfully by 7pm my contractions were hard enough that we started considering heading to the hospital. We made arrangements to meet the doula there and I went ahead and called over to my obgyn practice to let them know I was coming in. Unfortunately, there was one small problem: NO L & D BEDS were available. With my history of having a very quick active portion to my labors, the doc felt it necessary to send me to the other hospital down the street, an exact mirror image swap of what happened with our L & D with Baby J. No beds at Hospital A, sent down the street to Hospital B. This time, no beds at Hospital B (where my doc had transferred to), sent down the street to Hospital A. We couldn't believe our luck/misfortune! In the end, the change was fine, but did end up giving us a few hiccups along the way...
Upon arrival, we met our nurse and began the check-in procedure. Because I had been diverted, though, the new hospital had NONE of my records. I began giving an oral history of my last 3 labors (all while experiencing some intense contractions). Our nurse also happened to be less seasoned, so upon checking me, we learned I was only 3-4cm dilated and partially effaced. WHAT?????!!!! What in the world was my body doing?! I was beyond bummed and could only feel guilt and responsibility for getting everyone all hyped up about coming into the hospital. She recruited another nurse friend to double check her assessments--the new nurse gave us hope: "You are 4-5cm dilated, 80-90% effaced, and the baby is really low. Your body has been doing a lot of work today!" Hallelujah! It was just what we all needed to hear.
Contractions started picking up, coming every 2 minutes and lasting 40sec +. The doula, GG and I began really working well together as a team. We tried some different labor positions and I began meditating on some prayer intentions to offer up for the pain. It was awesome! That was until the doc entered the room... Because I was at a different hospital than my ob practice, we were forced to use the hospitalist on call. It was a bummer because from the get go the man's bedside manner was anything but charming. He was clearly put on guard by my choice to go without drugs, the doula present, etc. Poor guy also had no records to use, so he was relying on me to give him unbiased information. Who was I to him? At one point things got a bit contentious and GG stepped in to my and the doula's defense, arguing that we were well-educated women and deserved respect. Whew! Just what one wants when she is experiencing unimaginable pain! For those of you who know me, I also avoid conflict at all costs, so this was really uncomfortable!! (I almost get the willies typing it out! :)
Things settled and the doc left without an internal check, assuming I had a ways to go. He also ordered a battery of tests because my bp was slightly elevated (a common thing for me in labor). A little while later, though, none of it mattered because I felt the urge to push! It was about an hour and a half after check-in. Praise God for that--the least amount of time we had to spend in this environment, the better. I had to be checked twice again--very painful as I was having to experience contractions while on my back--but hopeful because we learned that I was almost ready to push, just had to wait for my water to break and then "the baby would be born"! Hooray!
A few contractions more with GG pushing on my hips (to open the pelvic floor) and me leaning on the doula, who held a cold washcloth on my head, and my water broke! The room was a flurry with baby prep. GG and the doula had to encourage me NOT to push yet... At this point I was so delirious and ready to be done that I had difficulty focusing on what was around me. GG's words, "She's right here!" brought me back to earth and with two pushes, we had our little MG!
I couldn't believe her dark hair and loud cry, right from the start. Everyone commented how vocal she was (probably more alert!) and I was so relieved it was all over!! Praise God for a healthy little one... The doc finished up with me and we all parted on good terms. He even had offered to let GG deliver the baby at one point! We thanked him for his expertise and I was glad when it was finally time to sit and enjoy MG. She was so cute and loud and took to nursing right away. My mom assures me its a "girl" thing--we're just a little quicker on the uptake. Whatever it is, this little lady has gotten nursing and sleeping down to a T!
Despite the outside variables, our natural labor and delivery experience was AWESOME! We loved having a doula and thought she was the *perfect* compliment to our "team". I asked GG later if I did anything during labor that embarrassed him and he assured me that all was very calm and never felt frantic. Excellent! That was my perception too. Things really went swimmingly.
And really, what could be better in the end than a healthy, sweet baby girl?! Love her!
Thanks for sharing in our joy and reading our (novel) tale...
You all are the best,