all the things

E’s Arrival

So I realize I’m 5 weeks late in writing this, but better late than never, right? Without further ado, E’s birth story:

I had hit 40 weeks, d-day, which to me felt like being grossly overdue since my first came at 39w+3. My doctor had me come in to do a biophysical profile and ultrasound and to chat about our plan. We decided to make the appointment a family affair and everyone attended. That day we learned my doctor was going on vacation that Friday. I seem to always have the fortune of his vacations being near my due dates… anywho, he gave us the option of being induced on Thursday versus the following Tuesday (being Valentines’ Day), but he was surprised I hadn’t already delivered since I had dilated to a 4 (and was just at a 2 or 3 four days earlier).

We left the doctor discussing what we would do (induce Thursday) and met up with my brother-in-law at Chipotle for dinner. Pretty sure my doctor stripped my membranes, I wasn’t altogether surprised that I started feeling contractions while we were at dinner. I wasn’t sure they were the real thing though so we continued about our evening like normal (save a call to the doc regarding bleeding) including going to bed around 9:30pm.

I actually think I slept through the night, maybe waking once and thinking to myself, “yeah, those were just braxton hicks” before falling back to sleep. However, when I was awoken at 4:45 feeling more crampy than before, I decided it was go time so I woke up my husband and told him I thought we ought to head to the hospital. He called his brother so that he would head over to babysit our oldest. And I took a shower in the meantime (to deal with the cramps and the shakes that I was experiencing … and to be clean, let’s be honest).

I had loaded our car with my bags the day before so all we had to do was go over V’s routine and leave. We arrived at the hospital just before 6 am. I instructed my husband to park in the patient parking near Labor and Delivery (not realizing valet started at 5:30 am – not 6). Grabbing the diaper bag and him my overnight bag, we walked into the hospital.

My biggest fear as we arrived, were checked into triage, etc. was that all of this would be for naught and was just false labor. However, I was thankfully proven wrong and encouraged that I actually did identify my labor correctly. Yay! At that point, I had progressed to a 6 and I was hopeful to have a baby by lunchtime although it appears that everyone else thought it would be much sooner than that (including my husband who thought we’d have a baby by breakfast and the hospital staff who set up all the delivery equipment before the shift change at 7).

Seeing that I was in active labor, they moved us from triage to a labor and delivery room and she checked me again before shift change at 7 am and I was at a 7. She was an awesome coach and encouraged me through my contractions. She also didn’t question my not having an epidural which I so appreciate. I had kinda hoped she would stay to see me through!

About 30 minutes later, I could tell nature was calling so in the confusion of shift changes, I went #2 which is apparently a no no when your labor is as far along as mine was. So after upsetting the new nurse, we rolled right back into the onslaught of contractions and she had to keep the fetal monitor on me while I sat on the yoga ball. Not an easy task by any means.

I was clearly in transition at this point. Mark was having to apply counter pressure on my tailbone. The contractions didn’t cease and I’m pretty sure I lamented not getting an epidural and thought this tiny baby was going to kill me. A little after 8 am I thought I felt a trickle on my leg and mentioned it to the nurse. By that point, my doctor had made his way back to me and checked me again. I was complete, a 10, and my water still had not broken. So they all got into position. They put me in pushing position and broke my water causing me to emit an audible sigh of relief.

With Mark on my left side, the nurse on my right, they coached me through pushing. It felt like such a team effort and they kept me from despairing. I had my memory of pushing for 2.5 hours with my first in my head and I was incredibly worried I wouldn’t be able to do it this time. I don’t remember how many pushes or contractions I had during that time but in less than 30 minutes, our little girl made her debut.

I vaguely remember what I saw during all of this. Instead, I remember more distinctly what I heard and felt. I remember the feel of the pillow as I gripped it, the way the monitor beeped every time I shifted on the ball, the squeeze of Mark’s hand. I remember the struggle to get into bed, the mattress underneath my head, the heaviness of my arms and legs. I remember hearing, “next contraction, take a deep breath and hold it,” “I see her head!”, the giddiness of both Mark and my doctor’s voices, their cheering and increasing excitement. I remember saying, “Baby girl, I just want to meet you. Come out!” I remember the burn and knowing I must be close and then the slither of her body out of mine. That’s when I opened my eyes and said, “you’re here!”

Then, Mark cut her umbilical cord and she was thrust onto my chest. The pains ceased but the chill and shakes returned. A warm blanket was draped over me while we got to know this new bundle of joy. Needless to say, we’re smitten and couldn’t be happier.

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