The doorbell is ringing and the mutt starts whining and barking. I’m upstairs and rush to change from pajamas to something presentable. Whoever is at the door keeps banging on the door and ringing the bell. The dog is in a frenzy. I hurry down the stairs and Muttola comes to meet me. We get entangled and I land on the floor on knees, elbow and dog. It didn’t feel like I hit my pregnant belly though my stomach muscles felt a little achy from the jostle. I answer the door to find one of the workmen who’ve been repairing our front porch.
The rest of the day I work from the couch with my feet up and ice packs for my knees. Throughout the day I feel the baby moving and have no cramps or discharge, so it doesn’t seem like anything happened. Phew!
I end up working until 2 AM to whip the presentation for Friday into shape so the team can review it.
(the beginning of potentially too much detail...)
After my late night, I sleep in until 9:30, completely taking advantage of working west coast hours. I step into the shower at 10:20. While in the shower, it feels like I’m wetting myself, which is weird since I used the toilet just before getting in the shower. I finish cleaning up and use the toilet again. It still seems like pee. However, when I get up to put moisturizer on, there’s liquid trickling on my legs. Hmm...well, if it’s amniotic fluid, they have to get the baby out within 24 hours, so I put an overnight pad on, get dressed, head downstairs and upload the files I’ve been working on so that a coworker can take over the project. I email my teams that I’m heading to the hospital, call the doctor’s office, call Jrex, load the car and head out.
People had been warning us to have our bags packed. I’d sort-of done a bag for myself and one for the baby, but I was missing a bunch of stuff recommended in the birthing class (Depends diapers for one. Ugh.). Fortunately, I HAD installed the car seat base. So, my pioneer life/Amish pregnancy continued as I drove myself to the hospital. Since I wasn’t having any contractions, it was much less harrowing (or studly) than it sounds.
Jrex joined me in triage where they figured out it WAS my water breaking and admitted me. My fabulous OB met us in the room and inserted a device with meds that would help soften my cervix. There’s a scale for how inducible a woman is, they prefer to give Pitocin when she’s at 8 and I was at 2 (out of 10). The med would stay in for 12 hours and then, pending the result, they’d start the Pitocin at 4 AM. I started contractions around midnight: I could sleep around them, wake for them and then go back to sleep. By 4 AM I was 1 cm dilated, so a much better candidate for the induction.
I’d told the doctor I wanted to try natural, but I also knew that Pitocin induced labor would be fairly intense, so wasn’t holding natural childbirth too tightly.
With the Pitocin, at first I was able to geek out and use the contraction counter app on my phone to help. It was comforting to know I was at 30 seconds of the pain wave with only another 30-45 seconds to go. At first I lay in the hospital bed, but then they brought me a ‘birthing ball’ (i.e. a balance ball). It helped to be able to rock during the contraction. Of course, NEXT Monday was the birthing class on breathing, but I made something up that seemed to be helpful. Eventually the contractions were coming every 3 minutes for a minute long. I actually was falling completely asleep between each one, which was a little freaky given that I sat on a balance ball with my arms wrapped around a pillow on the bed. I had them switch the hospital bed to a birthing stool formation. Sitting in that meant that sleeping was easier between the contraction, but more painful during.
During the contraction, I kept thinking of things I wanted to tell Jrex, but then I’d fall asleep the instant the contraction finished. Eventually I was able to get out that if I was less than 4 cm when the Dr arrived to check me, I wanted drugs. I couldn’t imagine hours and hours of the pain wave.
Poor Dr N arrived to check me at 10:30 AM. He had to wait to do the check when I was between contractions. At that point, I had NO restraint in me and I exclaimed, “Ow, ow, OW!” the whole time he was checking me. When he was done he pronounced me completely effaced, but only two cm dilated. Without censor or care, I blurted out, “Fuck that! I want the epidural!” They all burst out laughing.
Within five minutes the doctor with his beautiful drugs rescued me and I fell asleep.
A few hours later, I was able to chat on the phone with my sister and send out text updates. A resident checked me at 3:30 PM and I was at 7 cm. Dr N arrived at 5 pm, found me at 10 cm and declared it was time to push. He left me with Jrex and our nurse. At 5:20 or so, they each grabbed a leg and helped coach me through pushing through the contraction. Jrex was awesome about having his arm completely behind my back and forcing me into a strong crunch position. I think it’s to his credit that after only an hour, Dr N and half the hospital were back in the room for the catch.
I believe my famous last words when I saw the purple cone-head child emerge were, “Look, Jrex, it’s a person!” The baby’s head was so big that his cone-head actually had a bend in it! They put him on me to say hello while Jrex cut the cord. Then the nurses and Jrex took the baby over to a warming station to clean him up while Dr N and a resident stitched up my 2nd degree tear (which was NOT bad for such a big headed baby).
When they brought the munchkin back and most people had cleared the room, I tried to nurse. Feeling a bit like a little kid who puts a doll to her chest, I went through the motions I’d seen in the videos, and to my shock, it seemed to work! He latched on really well and seemed to get a good drink from both sides.
We arrived upstairs at 7:30 pm. and the beginning of ‘your life will never be the same’ began!
It’s now Saturday morning and we’ll head home soon. My sister arrives this afternoon for a week (I’m very excited to hang out with her during this transitional week. She’s got lots of practical wisdom and is also a lot of fun. The next immediate adventure is introducing the baby to the dog!
How can you help? I need a name to use on the blog for the baby! Any suggestions?