Friday, October 12, 2012
I woke up this Friday morning in a little bit of pain. I was already 6 days overdue at this point, so I was watching for any possible sign of labor. I had a lot of cramps that morning, but I’d had cramps several mornings before so I wasn’t too hopeful. I got up about 9 or so (Keith was long gone to work) and right away that morning I lost my mucus plug. I was so happy! I text Keith right away, and he was very excited. We both had a strong feeling that Liam would be with us before the weekend was up.
Keith worked until about 2, and then we headed in for my 40 week appointment. At the appt., they were going to check my cervix and strip my membranes (which can sometimes help to bring on labor.)I was almost 2cm dilated, about 80% effaced, and we scheduled my induction for the following Monday just in case. I absolutely did not want to be induced, but I was already almost a week late, and didn’t want to wait much longer. Still, I was still holding out hope that Liam would come on his own.
Since I was about to hit 41 weeks, the OB clinic sent me up to Labor & Delivery for a Non-Stress Test (something I guess they do with all pregnancies once they are a week overdue). That went great, everything looked perfect & healthy. Liam had a good, strong heartbeat, was surrounded by ample amounts of fluid, and the doc estimated him to be about 7 and a half pounds.
(yes, that is the T.V. remote in my hand)
That night, Keith & I went and played mini-golf with some friends, and then went out to dinner. Little did I know, that delicious Italian food would be my last meal before my son entered the world!
Saturday, October 13 (Keith’s dad’s birthday...)
About 3:30 Saturday morning, I woke up with some very intense, painful cramping. (I’d only gone to bed at 1 a.m…so I didn’t get much sleep!) My first thought was that maybe they were contractions. I tried to go back to sleep, but the pain was too severe. I took a hot bath, and started timing the contractions. At first they were sporadic…20 minutes apart, then 10, then 20 again. Everything I’d read/heard said that contractions lasted about 90 seconds-ish, but my pain was going on for sometimes over 3 minutes, so I was a little confused.
During all of this, I’m in and out of the bath/shower, up and down the stairs, bouncing on my exercise ball, just trying to do something to keep my mind occupied. Keith had gotten out of bed and loaded the car immediately at around 4:30 am when he realized I was having contractions. He was so excited. :)
About 6 or 7, I was going to try to eat breakfast. That didn’t work out...I was so sick to my stomach from the pain that I couldn’t eat anything except a little soup. I made some hot tea and put in Bridesmaids to try and put my focus somewhere else. Let me tell you…when you’re having contractions, especially ones that were lasting as long as mine (We’ll later learn that even the L&D nurses were marveling over how long they were lasting) it is very, very hard to focus on anything else.
Keith got out of bed around 7:30 and got his parents on FaceTime. Then he went to get us Starbucks…I really think he just had a hard time sitting still. I talked to one of my friends on the phone for a while, and did a TON more pacing around the house. Keith came home with the Starbucks, but again, I was too sick to my stomach to even drink any of the coffee he brought. You know it’s bad when you can’t drink coffee!
My contractions had started getting closer together, at this point 8 or 9 minutes. The hospital had instructed us in our childbirth class not to come in until they were about 5 minutes apart. (I was totally ok with laboring at home as long as possible). I decided to get up and get ready since I knew we’d be leaving for the hospital that day. Yes indeed, I did my hair and my makeup.
I knew we were going to have to leave soon because the pain was getting really unbearable. (It was about 9:30 a.m.) I gave myself one more hour before I was going to tell Keith we needed to leave. Throughout all of this, we were both very calm & relaxed, just making sure we had everything ready to go. We even decided to take the dogs for a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. (I kid you not…that is the last walk they have taken since then. Poor things. I’m sure they hate us now.)
The previous week, friends of ours had often joked about my water breaking when we were at the movies, the mall, mini golf, etc. etc. and I kept telling them that only a very small percentage of women’s water breaks on their own (true story!). Well, at 10:55 am on the 13th, I became part of that small percentage! I always wondered what it would feel like, and I’m glad I got to experience it. It was a HUGE huge gush of water (thankfully, I felt a small trickle first and ran to the toilet, so most of it went in there). After grabbing a few last minute items, away we went! I was so happy my water had broken. After nearly 8 hours of regular contractions at home on about 2 hours of sleep, I was ready to get the show started! On the way to the hospital, my water ‘broke’ again… another HUGE amount of fluid came out. I’m telling you, it was like Niagara freaking falls. There was so much!
On our way!!
We got to L&D and they sent me into triage to be checked. They took a sample of the fluid (to make sure it was actually my water breaking). The midwife on call came in and told us that it was (I mean, did I mention it was like Niagara Falls?!) but that there were traces of meconium in the fluid (meaning Liam pooped inside there). It wasn’t a huge deal, but what it meant was that I might not get to do skin-to-skin right away with him like we were hoping for. If he wasn’t crying right away, they’d have to take him and suction the meconium out of his mouth so it didn’t get into his lungs.
We waited in triage while they came and started an I.V. and got me a hospital bracelet. L&D was super busy that day, so they actually sent me off to another small room to wait while a delivery room was cleaned for me. While we were in there, my pain got so bad that I actually had to throw up. Pretty much all I had in my stomach was water at this point, but up it all came. Keith was such a sweet, sweet husband, holding back my hair and holding the trash can at the same time. He even put my hair up in a ponytail for me...most awkward looking ponytail of my life. :)
My best 'smile' during a contraction.
Finally (glory hallelujah) the nurses came to get us and told us our room was ready.
My original plan was to go as long as I could without the epidural. Well…I’d gone as long as I could. I was so exhausted and sick to my stomach from the pain that I was absolutely miserable. I told them they could give it to me as soon as the anesthesiologist was available.
While we waited for her, I bounced on the birthing ball some more and answered some of the nurse’s questions—family health history, etc. etc. She eventually decided to stop asking me the questions and wait for the epidural…during contractions, I literally could not even talk to her.
I’m surprised at how quickly the anesthesiologist got there--it was probably 20 minutes from the time I had asked for the epidural. It went in without a hitch, and wasn’t nearly as bad as I’ve heard some people say it is. I barely felt a tiny pinch at the beginning and then it was over! Let me tell you…I WAS SO GRATEFUL FOR THAT EPIDURAL! I felt like a new woman! I felt like I could run up and down the halls, but my dead weight legs said differently…
After that, all we had to do was wait! I don’t remember the exact order of everything for the next 12 hours or so, but it was a lot of nurses coming in & out, checking checking, a few (very small) cat naps, and one very excited husband.
(Side note, we had the MOST AMAZING nurses the entire time we were there! Seriously…lucked OUT! I loved every single one of them. )
Keith was such an entertainment the whole time. We brought my laptop, and he logged on to my facebook to update everyone with the ‘minute-by-minute’ of what was going on. I just re-read through all the comments (there were 180 total!) and I’m so glad now that I have that to look back on. In between facebook and making me laugh, he was facetiming our far-away family, and even our friends right here on the island. I’m so glad that, even though not many people got to be there, he found a way to include them in our special day. My husband really is the best.
Well, throughout the afternoon, my epidural started to wear off, so I asked for more drugs. It was partially because they had me lie on my side, and all the medicine pooled up on that side of my body. (Liam had never really dropped before now, so in order to help get him into the right spot, I had to lay in the most uncomfortable position with my leg up on a table).
I progressed pretty well…not super fast, but not too slow that I ever had to be given pitocin (hallelujah! I was so glad.) Liam had a strong heart rate the entire time.
Eventually Keith went down to get some food (he didn’t want to bring it up since I couldn’t have any) and I got a good hour or so nap. Around 8 or 9 the shifts changed, and a midwife came in to check my progress. I was 100% effaced and 6cm dilated. They were estimating Liam’s arrival to be about midnight….(he ended up coming sooo much later!!) We did some more facebooking (well, KEITH did) and I sent him out about 8 times for ice. I was SO parched the entire time. I kept asking for ice & chapstick and sneaking as much water as I could when the nurses left. Actually, CHUGGING as much water as I could.
My epidural wore off again (actually, it kept wearing off…I think I asked for more drugs at least 4 times.) At one point, the nurses were in staring at the little chart that measures your contractions saying they had not seen any as long as mine before! Some were lasting 6 minutes, and when I started to be able to feel them again it was RIDICULOUS PAIN. I threw up again at some point. I was gripping the rails of the bed and my hands started to shake, so the bed started to shake…I wasn’t going to ask for any more because I actually felt like I was ‘bothering’ the nurses, but Keith took one look at me and got the nurse right away. The anesthesiologist finally gave me a stronger drug. GLORY. I’m not kidding, I wanted to give him a hug.
Well, the night wore on..slowwwlly….I kept thinking, ‘He’ll be here in the next few hours’…and then a few more hours would go by! Man, babies sure do have their OWN agenda to follow, what’s up with that.
Sunday, October 14 – Keith’s brother’s birthday
Liam’s estimated arrival time (midnight) came and went. I was still progressing, so the midwife said I still didn’t have to get any pitocin. Keith decided to finally take a nap, and I think I got a bit more sleep myself. Part of the reason that it was taking so long was because Liam never really did drop, & they wanted him down a bit farther so I didn’t have as much work to do. They must have thought I was really lazy or something. :)
Roxy (the amazing night nurse) and the midwife, Diane came in around 1:15 to check me, and I told them that my epidural had worn off again! Argh! They checked and I was about ready to push, (finally!!), but that meant there would be no more epidural. Thankfully it hadn’t worn off completely. I could feel a lot of pain from the contractions, but not nearly as bad as before.
Keith was snoozing in the corner, and once he joined the land of the living, he was in dire need of coffee…No joke, he stood up and asked the entire room, ‘Can we get some coffee for dad?!’ …well, at one in the morning, there was no place to get any…but then they told him I was ready to push, and all of a sudden, coffee was no longer necessary.
I started pushing at 1:45 with what I thought were going to be practice pushes…but weren’t! We didn’t do any ‘practice’, just went right to the real deal!
The whole time I was in L&D, we had Owl City playing on Keith’s iPod. With the dim lights, it was the most perfect, relaxing, peaceful environment. I’ll never forget it. There was absolutely no stress or tension, and that mood continued when I started to push.
It’s crazy how much time passed in what seemed to me like a flash. Before I knew it, I looked up and I’d been pushing for an hour. At some point shortly after that, Keith asked if I wanted the mirror, and though I’d been undecided before, I definitely did. (Best decision ever! Seeing my progress really helped me and gave me the strength to give some fantastic pushes).
I kept on truckin’, and though to me it seemed like there was no change, Roxy said there was so I took her word for it. I seriously think Keith was on the phone or facebook every other push updating someone on the progress.
Before I knew it, I heard Diane (my midwife) tell Roxy it was time to call the Pediatrics staff, that it was a matter of minutes! All of a sudden, the room was flooded with people! Man…what a feeling! I knew I was minutes from meeting my son. Keith was excited, too. In addition to being such a phenomenal coach, holding my hand and cheering me on through it all, he was actually going to get to help deliver Liam.
Well, there I was, pushing away, and it seemed like it was. Taking. For. EVER. (IT WAS!!) The pediatrics staff were kind of just standing around waiting…(they had to be there for Liam’s delivery because of the meconium) and I heard a nurse tell them sorry, that they shouldn’t have called them so soon, they thought he’d be here by now. That was all I needed! I was so sick of pushing at that point, sick of the pain since my epidural was worn off, and really didn’t want these people to have to stand around and wait on me. Couple that with the fact that I had been able to see Liam’s head and FULL head of hair in the mirror for an hour, and you had one determined mama! They had been coaching me to do three big pushes and then we’d take a break until the next contraction, but at that moment, I decided there would be no more breaks, I was giving it all I had until he was out! And that’s what happened. I pushed with allll my might…and a few pushes later, I watched my son enter the world. Most beautiful sight I’d ever beheld.
3:46 am, after 24 hours of labor and two hours of pushing, Liam Greyson changed our lives.
We thought we’d cry. No, I was sure I’d be crying my eyes out, and that Keith would be crying his eyes out, and that Liam would be crying his eyes out, and that we’d have one big ole’ emotional family cry fest. WRONG. Instead, I found myself laughing! Keith was laughing! (Liam was not laughing.) I was just so happy! After all the anticipation, all the work, & all the pain…dang! He was here.
He was originally supposed to go right on my chest for awhile so we could do skin-to-skin and try to nurse, but they had to check him out first because of the meconium.
When they finally brought him to me, I took him and was thinking I’d have him for a long while, and we’d do this beautiful mommy/baby look like you see in the movies...when all of a sudden….CRAP! SOMEONE TAKE THIS BABY BEFORE I BARF ON HIM!! Yes indeed, I had not been barfy my whole entire pregnancy, yet I now found myself throwing up like it was goin’ out of style! Damn! AND I had the worst headache of my life to boot!
SO I’d nearly barfed on my newborn baby, felt like my head was going to explode, had several people all up in my biz-ness in the land down under doing who knows what with those tools, hadn’t slept for over 24 hours…And still this was my happiest day.
Finally I got to hold my Liam.
**Just a side note about the amazing hospital I delivered at. I know sometimes military hospitals get a bad rep, so I wanted to say what a great experience I had at mine. I would definitely choose to deliver there again in a second! They are a very baby friendly hospital, with 24 hour rooming in as the only option, as the hospital doesn’t even have a nursery! That’s right! From the time Liam was born, he slept right next to our bed in every single room we were in. They are very pro-breastfeeding, and provided us tons of education, including a class given by a lactation consultant. I truly feel like they really focus on helping your baby get the best possible start, and I’m grateful to have been able to deliver at such a place!