Sunday, August 14, 2016
It seems like with all our VBAC babies we've had a "false alarm." (Apparently, I still haven't got this birthing thing figured out even by number 5.) The evening of May 20th (the day before my due date), I started having mild contractions.We decided to go for a walk around the curve to try to get things moving along more. Along the way, we saw our neighbor, Kathryn, out, whose due date was 4 days after mine. I told her she should join us for a labor-inducing walk. She declined though, because she had to go into work soon. So we went home and relaxed with the kids. Probably not 20 minutes had passed since Kathryn and I had posed for a picture together, she sent me a text saying that I jinxed her, because her water had just broke! She was heading into the hospital. My contractions were getting pretty "timable" and I told her that we'd probably meet her there later. I let my mom know, so that she could be ready to come over at some point that night. She got there around 11pm and by the time Adam and I were ready to leave around midnight, my contractions were 3 minutes apart, but still pretty mild.
When we got to the hospital, they sent us to triage for monitoring. By the time we got there, the contractions had spaced out more to 6-ish minutes apart, and I was dilated to 2 cm. The nurse talked to Dr. Arnold, who was on call for the weekend, and he said they could admit me. After being admitted, my contractions just about stopped and after two more cervical checks with no changes, we decided to go home after 4 hours and get some rest in our own bed. I texted Kathryn that we were leaving and I was rather jealous that she was going to be having her baby on my due date, even though she still had 4 more days to go! Adam told the nurse we'd be back in 12 hours. I didn't think we would be, I was guessing she'd arrive on Sunday.
While I was super disappointed in not getting to meet our little girl, it was nice that she waited so that we could both go to Hope Walks and Rolls 5K on Lily's due date, May 21st, to celebrate her big sister's life, and raise money for Faith's Lodge. While I was very tempted to walk to try to induce labor again, after a night of very little sleep, I decided to wait at the start/finish line for our family and Adam's co-workers. But my body was feeling pretty great after feeling uncomfortably pregnant for several weeks, so that I was thankful for.
Thankfully, I didn't need to walk to induce labor, because at 3:30am the next day, I woke up with stronger contractions. I let Adam sleep, but I eventually got up and showered so that I'd be ready to go in when the time came. After getting the kids up and fed, I had Adam call mom to head over. By that point my contractions were 7-ish minutes apart, and I figured I'd hang out at home while mom entertained the kids, but shortly after she got there, they were less than 3 minutes apart and they were much stronger. I didn't want to head into the hospital and be told that I was still at 2 cm, or that I wasn't progressing. When I told Adam that they were less than 3 minutes apart, he said he thought we should go, but would leave it up to me. After a couple more painful contractions, I decided that he was probably right. I kissed each of the kids goodbye. Nora was really excited that her baby sister was going to be born, Nate wanted to give the baby (my belly) a hug and kiss, and Sam looked rather concerned (I don't think he had a clue what was going to be happening).
Of course, as we started driving to the hospital my contractions slowed down, and I told Adam that if they checked me and I was still a 2, that I was going to punch someone. Luckily, when my nurse, Lisa, came to check me at 8:55am, I was 3 cm. Not what I was hoping for, but at least I didn't need to punch her. I was also 90% effaced and Lily was sitting low. With each contraction, I was thinking about an epidural more and more, but didn't mention anything to Adam or Lisa for a little while.
We talked about getting the IV started and labs taken since I had such horrible experiences with Nora's and Sam's births, and because I needed a bag of fluids and labs taken before I could get an epidural. We explained that they only had one chance to draw blood, and that was when a member of the SWAT team (their team of people who are really awesome at placing IVs) placed the IV. I also said that I wanted the area numbed, and of course to wait until I was between contractions. The lady was really sweet, but said she wanted to try without numbing because it usually collapsed veins. She tried in my hand without numbing it, and the vein collapsed anyway. So she tried again in my arm and after digging around and me crying because it was worse than the contractions, she finally got it in, BUT she couldn't get blood to come out. That meant that the lab tech that was standing by would have to poke me again. Since it takes a while for the the bag of fluids, we decided to give me a break and have the lab tech come back to get any and all AND extra blood taken, just in case someone decided that they needed more for some other crazy test (that was Dr. Mahan's idea). Once the fluids were started Lisa started the Penicillin and got me a half a dose of fentanyl to help me through the blood draw and to last me until Dr. Kent could come place my epidural.
When the lab tech came back, she pulled out extra vials, and I asked her to use the butterfly needle. She did such an awesome job, that I told her that even though the lab people don't have a "SWAT" team, that I thought she could be part of them anyway.
Lisa wanted to do another cervical check to make sure I was progressing or that I wasn't too far along for the epidural. Two hours after my last check, I had only gained 1 cm. I figured it was going the same route as the last to VBACs, and that I'd be here for several more hours before I got to meet our daughter. The fentanyl was at least helping with my contractions for the 45 minute wait for Dr. Kent and the epidural meds to come. I asked at one point if he would he there soon, because I wanted the second half of the fentanyl, but Lisa urged me to wait. So, I did.
With both Nora and Sam, I was able to lay down for the epidural, but I know they prefer you sitting up, so I tried that. Lisa had a foot stool for me, and wanted me to hug pillows while he placed it. I wanted the foot stool gone and to hold Adam. So she moved it, and I rested my head on Adam's chest. I don't remember either of the other epidurals hurting as much as this one did. Danni's spinal probably hurt more, but there were also a lot of other anxiety-driving factors to consider. He gave me a test push of drugs to make sure it was working, and then had me lie down so Lisa could hook up the drip bags of meds. I could feel the feelings leaving, but I could feel the pressure of her descending lower with each contraction. Lisa had me telling her when I could feel the contractions to make sure the monitor was picking them up correctly. At this point it was lunch time, and since I was comfortable, Adam asked permission to run to get lunch quick. I was fine with it, so he went, and Lisa stayed in the room with me while making sure the epidural was working properly.
This epidural was so much better than the one I had with Nora where I couldn't feel anything at all. This time I could wiggle my toes, move my legs (though my right leg needed a little aide often times), and turn side to side with a little assistance. After my first turn from my right side onto my left side, I had a contraction and suddenly felt a gush of fluids! My water had broken! Lisa checked me again, and I was now at 5 cm. As with Nora and Sam, I started progressing at a quicker rate once the epidural was going. I still expected it to be a while though. Lisa and I chatted for a while until I started feeling like I could use a rest. I shut my eyes and relaxed, but enjoyed each contraction feeling without pain the movement of my youngest daughter lower and lower.
Adam came back from lunch, and shortly after Lisa left the room. Adam was hanging out on the couch, while I continued to relax and enjoy the my body birthing our daughter. I don't know at what point, but eventually decided that since I could feel when the contractions were coming and since it usually takes me a while to get these babies out of me, that maybe when I felt a contraction, I could give a little extra push, just to help things move a little quicker. After a couple contractions like that Lisa came in to check me, and so she could hook up my second dose of penicillin, since it had been 4 hours. But, apparently I was complete! I told her that I how I had thought I would try to move things along by pushing a little with my contractions. She laughed a little and said not to do that! I was supposed to tell her if I felt the urge to push! (Which I never felt the urge to push like I did with Sam, I just wanted to get the show going a little faster.)
A quick 5 minutes later the doctor was in the room and everyone was in place and ready for me to push. Normally they have you grab the back of your knees and pull them towards you to push, but the baby was up in my stomach still (even though she was partway down my birth canal!), and so instead of pulling my knees to my chest, I was pushing her down out of my stomach with my hands just to try to stay comfortable. But, after a few contractions and pushes of doing that, Dr. Arnold said that she wasn't moving anywhere and we needed to try something different. I'd rather meet my daughter than have my stomach be comfortable for those few minutes, so grabbed my knees for the next contraction and pushed with all my might. She enough she started moving outwards into the world. I can't remember how many pushes it took, but it was only 11 minutes of pushing total, according to Adam's notes.
Once her head was out, I had to stop pushing for a moment, as the cord was wrapped around her neck. Dr. Arnold quickly took care of it, and the rest of her body came out quickly. I could see her blue little body, it wasn't turning pink, and she wasn't breathing or crying. Strangely though, I was calm. I knew she would take her first breath, I knew everything would be okay. And after a what seemed like a lot longer time than it actually was, she did start breathing! Dr. Arnold cut the cord, and since she didn't breath right away, the nurses took her over to assess her and put a diaper on her. While they were attending to her, I could feel myself effortlessly birth the placenta. As Dr. Arnold was checking everything out "down there," I asked if I was going to need stitches. He looked, and he looked, and said, "Maybe one," then he looked some more, "Naw, it's just a scratch." I had to laugh, "just a scratch!"
And then my third daughter, my fifth child, Lilianna Quinn was placed on my chest. She was finally here! She started nursing well right away, and was totally happy and content to be on my chest. Adam snapped dozens of pictures on my DSLR and on his phone to send to family and friends. Once he had his pictures all taken and texts and emails all sent, he wanted his time with her. So, he took off his shirt and grabbed her and a blanket to cuddle up on the couch with her.
My neighbor, Kathryn, had her son on Lily's due date at the same hospital and was four doors down from us, so we stopped by with Lily to meet Ethan the next day.