Monday, July 26,
Had weekly appointment, which involved another internal (had gone to L&D on Saturday, July 24, due to some bleeding) and had not changed from Saturday. I was still 2cm, 75% effaced, 0 station. My midwife, Nora, stretched me from 2cm to 3cm. Later that day I walked a few laps around the yard, made a few trips down and up the stairs, and bounced around on the exercise ball in hopes of making progress.
Thursday, July 29
Forty-one week ultrasound. All of baby?s measurements were great; she scored 8 out of 8 points on certain items (spontaneous movement, breathing ability, etc.). She also was shoving her tongue in and out of her mouth. Dan & I were quite happy to find out that all was still great. Placenta was looking healthy for 41 weeks. After our ultrasound, we went back to the North Campus for my 41 week check-up. My midwife, Joani, told me I was at 4 cm (I was so surprised, I said, ?Really?! Wow! I didn?t think my contractions had been any stronger than before to do anything.?), and said she was going to do some ?midwife magic,? and stretched me to 5cm. Which was nothing compared to the pain of Monday?s membrane stripping. She also told us to go home, I could have a light lunch and then make sure we are all set to come back to the hospital that night. She confirmed what Nora had said about my water breaking, that it would definitely be a gush and could happen later that day. We were so shocked! Holy cow, we could be meeting our little one that night!
At 5:05pm, Dan called to say that he was going to work a bit later after work if that was okay with me. He said it would only take about half an hour, so I told him that as long as he didn?t waste time and came right home, I would be fine. I had the urge to go the bathroom, which was weird because I had just gone not quite ten minutes earlier. Well, I went and went and went and continued to leak afterward. I figured that my water had broke and called the after-hours answering service and was told to come in as soon as we could get there. I called Dan back and he was three-quarters of the way done with his extra job and would be out of there as soon as he could. He made it home in good time. While he was on his way, I had made him a sandwich he could eat on the way and packed some other stuff for him to have for dinner.
We made to L&D triage about 7pm. They checked me, and I was still at 5cm. Also, they were surprised that they did not keep me at the hospital earlier while I was there. We were not quite prepared, as Dan had driven his car and our bags and car seat were all in mine. I was admitted, did all that happy paperwork, and was moved to an LDR room by 8pm. I was having regular contractions and they were getting stronger. We walked the halls and I was monitored every hour or so (fetal monitor, contraction monitor). Since we were up before 7am to get to my 8am ultrasound, we were quite tired and I wanted to just lay down for a bit by about midnight. Dan slept off and on as well. I took a warm bath around 1230am and then tried to get some more sleep after that. A bit hard since I was still being monitored. Baby?s heart rate was always strong, so that was not a concern. My contractions were still somewhat sporadic (times kept varying) but definitely stronger.
While in triage, I told Dan that I had become partial to one of the names on our list (we had five names and were going to choose one when we met her). When I told him which one, he said that was the one he liked most as well. Dan came up with this name, and the middle name too.
At 3am the nurse said she would let us get some rest and would not be back right away to monitor me. I did my best to rest, which was not easy as I could only sleep when I was not having a contraction.
I woke Dan up around 6am so that we could start walking the halls again. That lasted only 20 minutes or so, because my cordless monitors kept picking up my heart rate instead of baby?s. So back to our room I went. I could move around our room, but not out of it. My midwife, Mary Alice, told us we had a couple options: 1) She could send us home; or 2) start me on Pitocin to see if that would move things along. I told her I was not leaving, so we needed to do something to get things going faster.
At 7am Mary Alice broke my water (I was wrong on that one!) and then my new nurse, Nancy, started the IV of Pitocin. By 8am my contractions were coming closer together and definitely stronger. My birth plan was to go natural, and I was going to do my best to see that happen. Dan had already been instructed to tell me that I was doing great and that I could do this if I ever said that I wanted to stop and have drugs. I did reach the point of being near tears from the pain and telling Dan that I could not do it. He was so wonderful this entire time, doing whatever I needed him to do. He massaged my back, held my hips as the contractions hit, massaged my shoulders as I sat on the exercise ball?all that I needed to help me make it through each contraction.
Around 930am, Nancy checked me and told me I was at 9cm! She let me still move around and was going to start getting things ready. A short time later when Nancy asked me how I was doing, I told her my contractions were different. They were starting to ?push down? from the top. Nancy asked if it felt like I was going to have a large bowel movement, and I said yes. At that point I had to go back to bed and Nancy was paging Joani (the midwife at the hospital that day; also the one we had met Thursday morning). I was happy to hear that Joani would be my midwife.
Shortly after 10am, Dan on my left and Nancy on my right, with Joani at my feet, I started to push with my contractions. And it is true, you should push like you are about to have a bowel movement. And I was also trying to be conscious of not doing any facial pushing. At this point, the pushing was not (to me) moving things along. But Joani kept reassuring me that I was doing great and that things were indeed progressing. About 1030 I really started to feel progress with my pushing and that is when I consider things to have begun.
Dan was not interested in really seeing anything below my waist, but he had no choice. He was on my left, holding that leg and Nancy was holding my right leg. Joani told me that I could grab my legs to help when I pushed, which I did eventually.
Nancy checked with Dan to see if he was nervous, and he responded by showing how his hand was shaking as he brought my cup of water to me. That is the only way I knew that he was nervous. Otherwise, he was amazing and wonderful--reminding me of how I should breathe, encouraging me and brushing my hair back. I knew he would do great, but he went above and beyond my expectations. I could not have planned it better. Dan also remembered from our prenatal class that warm compresses would help me to not tear, so he was getting one ready when a contraction hit and I told him I needed him and he came running. Nancy proceeded to change out the compresses, which felt wonderful.
Between the warm compresses and Joani using Astro-Glide (to help Seree?s head slide out easier) and stretching/massaging my perineum between contractions, I did not tear. Dan and I had wondered at the reason for Astro-Glide being in the LDR room and I am so thankful it was there. I did experience the ?ring of fire,? and it felt like Joani said it would, like a mild sunburn. And I only felt it for a moment.
When I reached a certain point, Joani told me to reach down and I would be able to feel her head. After I did, Dan asked if I could feel her hair. I told him I did not. I felt like I was not pushing good enough, but Dan, Joani, and Nancy kept reassuring me that I was doing great. How wonderful to have such a great cheerleading team! Dan was amazed at how each push kept bringing us closer to meeting our daughter. I did not scream, yell, or tell blame Dan for putting me in this position. I did grunt and moan, similar to what I had seen on one of the videos from our prenatal class. I also had my eyes closed most of the time, as that helped me to concentrate on my breathing (with Dan?s help) and focus on the pushing.
I have never sweat so much in my life. I could not believe how slick my skin was and thought my hands would slip off my legs. I also did not believe I could bring my knees up to my shoulders! Chin on chest, bearing down with each contraction, and I did not realize at the time how hard I was gripping my legs and holding my shoulders stiff.
When I finally had pushed her head out, Joani briefly suctioned her, turned her, and asked if I wanted to help pull her out. I did and would do it again--what an incredible experience! I said I needed assistance, as my arms were so shaky, but I helped pull her out and place her on my abdomen. Our baby nurse Tracey did a minimal clean-up and I was able to have skin-to-skin with her. As I was helping pull her out, I said, ?Oh, it?s Seree Lynn!? I was crying, Dan had a look of wonder and we were just so excited to finally meet her and touch her and hold her. I had an hour of skin-to-skin, and that included our first attempts at breastfeeding. She was just over an hour old when Daddy was able to first hold her and you could see it was instant love.
Delivering the placenta was no problem. Joani palpated my abdomen as she gently pulled on the umbilical cord and it just slid right out. I felt another gush of fluids, but since I was holding Seree I was distracted. After I was cleaned up, Nancy put an ice pack down there and that felt absolutely fantastic! Instant relief.
Seree weighed 7 pounds, 5.4 ounces and measured 19 ?? long. She did not enjoy her first bath or being measured. She definitely has a good set of lungs!
Joani told me that I was one of the most calm labors she had assisted with, which made me feel great. At times I did not feel calm, so that was good to hear. I would love to have Joani be my midwife with our next baby.
I am still in awe and amazement at what my body was able to do. Overall, I did not think labor was that bad. I honestly thought the pain would be worse. I definitely will go natural with our next baby, as I already know that I can do it. :o)