What a whirlwind! Team green turned to team pink with the arrival of Quinn Avery on Monday, 2/13.
My last doctor's appointment was my 38 week check-in, where I measured 50% effaced and about a fingertip dilated. That was last Tuesday. On Sunday Morning, I woke up with contractions around 4 a.m. I paid attention to how far they were apart and started measuring around 8-10 minutes a little after 5 a.m. Everything fizzled out by 9 a.m. and I figured that was that for a few days. DH and I did stuff around the house and finally took some full bump pictures (which were more comical than artistic, but that was good for us).
Sunday night, around 6:20 p.m., contractions started again. They were coming every 4 minutes, but only lasting around 30 seconds. By 4 a.m., they had lengthened a bit and were spaced about 5 minutes apart. I called the doctor and he said to wait it out awhile since 1. I was a FTM and 2. hadn't been dilated much at the last appointment. Things stayed about the same for the rest of the morning with the exception of the intensity of the contractions. Finally around 10 a.m., I called my doctor again and they suggested coming into the office for an NST and internal exam. Everyone was surprised to see that I was 100% effaced and 4 cm. dilated. By 12:30 p.m., we were on our way to labor & delivery.
Once we checked into our labor room, things got a little intense. They started lining up the IV (for the GBS and saline drip). The anesthesiologist came in for my epidural consent, even though I didn't plan on getting one. They also pulled out a bag of pitocin and DH (so thankful for him) spoke up instantly saying "that's not part of her birth plan". Turns out that my BP was highly elevated by the time we arrived and they were thinking the pitocin might be needed if my panels came back skewed. We talked them into waiting and I called my doula to discuss our plan for her arrival. I was hesitant to ask her to come so soon, but I'm so glad I did.
She arrived within the hour, and things started to get more intense. Soon after, we found out that I had developed severe preeclampsia, bordering on HELLP, and pitocin was a necessity instead of a recommendation (they were actually going to send me home to labor more if I wasn't pre-e and refused it). Also, they had to start a magnesium drip, which would erase my goals of being mobile through labor. Plus, they wanted to put in a catheter since I would be stuck in the bed. All of a sudden, I felt like my entire birth plan was going out of the window and I almost broke down. As a bonus, my mom had called to say she was already on her way to the hospital, even though I'd specifically mentioned calling when we were out in recovery in all previous conversations. I definitely didn't feel like I could deal with the pressure of comforting her through this kind of ordeal.
Thank goodness for DH and my doula! They were able to keep me calm and focused on agreeing to the medically necessary interventions. I did manage to fight the catheter by saying I would use a bed pan as needed. Pride be damned, that was my call and it made me feel like I had at least some say in what was going on. We also told my mom that she could stay in the delivery room until it was time to push and then she'd need to stay in the waiting area.
Magnesium started and I felt like crap almost instantly. Pitocin was started low and raised ever 20-30 minutes until I hit 2 minutes in contraction spacing. Around 7:30 p.m., my doula said it was time to start talking about pain management. I was exhausted and reaching my limits. We requested an exam to see how much progress I'd made. I decided that if I hadn't hit transition yet, I would probably agree to an epidural.
The on-call doctor completed the exam and commented on how her measuring was usually more conservative than who I saw in the office, so I shouldn't get my hopes up. Luckily, I was at a 10 and it was time to push! Lights dropped from the ceiling, people started filling up the room and the nurses tried to explain what I was supposed to be doing. My mom was ushered to the waiting room, my doula took a place by my head and DH grabbed one of my legs.
About 1.5 hours later, our sweet girl was born. Her sac was still unbroken till her head came out. I didn't see it because I had an oxygen mask on by then... apparently it was pretty cool to see and all the doctors and nurses had put on face guards & booties to protect from the fluid bursting. I have to say that the pushing process was the most intense and difficult thing I've ever faced in my entire life. I honestly felt like I wasn't going to be able to do it, all the while realizing that it was my only way to get my baby and be done with labor.
But I made it through. The baby arrived, a girl! They placed her on my chest for skin to skin, DH cut the cord and they started the final steps of cleaning me up. Since I didn't get an epidural, I got to feel every poke of the local they used, plus some of the stitches (I tore on the sides, in a starburst pattern, instead of up and down). Eventually, after realizing how many stitches were required, they offered me morphine. Baby's out? Yep, please drug me! So much better.
The next 24 hours were rough, and I felt like I really missed out because I was stuck with the magnesium drip, in my bed, in delivery (not recovery). I wasn't able to eat anything for that whole time and I was so happy when they finally stopped my IV and transferred us to our smaller room (for about 12 hours till discharge). Now, we're home, and I'm so excited to start setting up our routine and figuring out how the heck to be a mom.
Sorry for the book. The last days have been so different than what I expected and hoped for. I definitely feel like I have a lot of processing left.