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As most of you know, I have never gone full term in a pregnancy. My oldest was 36 weeks and the other two were 33 weeks. I went into preterm labor at 22 weeks with this pregnancy and then again at 33 weeks. I was hospitalized and put on magnesium at 33 weeks and finally released from the hospital and bedrest at 34 weeks. I thought I would go into labor any day. I was hoping that I would have the baby before May 15 or after May 17 because that was the day of my husband's adventure race. Just to clarify, my husband is an adventure racer and he puts on a race every year and this year it was on the 15th of May. My doctor encouraged him to plan it for closer to my due date (may 31) b/c I would definitely have had the baby already at that point, so this was the best date for it. The race was over 30 hours long and logistically very hard to direct without alot of help. This year we had over 50 volunteers and 60 teams (each of 3 people). We had EMS crew and double the safety crew b/c of how dangerous things were prospected to be. Adventure racing is a combination of many outdoor sports (hiking, mountain biking, orienteering, canoeing, rappelling, etc.) over a period of 5 hours to 7 days. It's not some little thing, so I was nervous about going into labor during it b/c of how hard it would be for him to get away. I photograph the race each year and we had a backup plan for my absence, so I although sad to miss it, things would have been okay. On Monday, May 10, I started having alot of contractions and went into the hospital thinking I was in labor. False alarm. From that point until Saturday morning I felt perfectly fine. I was sure I would be at the race and that all would be well.
At 3:56 am on May 15th I got up to go to the bathroom. The alarm was set to go off at 4:30 am so I lay back down and debated whether or not to go ahead and get up or wait on the alarm. At 4:11 am I decided I'd get up and I rolled over in the bed. I felt a gush and a trickle. I thought, "Surely, that wasn't my water breaking. I must have just peed a bit more." I stood up and another gush of fluid happened. I bolted for the bathroom (my room is carpeted and I didn't want it everywhere) and a third gush happened in there. I actually got on my hands and knees to inspect the fluid b/c I was sure it was pee. It was clear and odorless for the most part, so I started to get anxious. I showered and changed clothes and as I was brushing my teeth a fourth gush happened. It completely soaked the pad I was wearing. It took 3 more pads and 2 more changes of clothing before I was convinced that my water had broken. I called my husband, he was already 2 hours away at the race and in a very bad area for cell reception, and left him a message. He called back about 10 minutes later and we had a quick chat. I told him I wasn't contracting and nothing seemed to be happening so he could tie up loose ends and come when that was done. He got home about 6:40 am. I spent the 2 hour wait making beds and such trying to get some contractions going, but nothing really happened. At 7 we headed to IHOP for breakfast and then at 8 I called the midwife. She suggested I come on in since my water had been broken for 4 hours and this was my 4th pregnancy.
At 8:45 am we got checked in and nothing was really happening. I had a few contractions but nothing significant. My husband was on the laptop trying to direct the race from the hospital and I was sitting around waiting for contractions. I walked the halls, had an enema, did a little nipple stimulation, but nothing was really happening. At noon they noticed that the contractions I was having were causing a bit of distress for the baby so I had to be monitored closely so that they could see how she was tolerating everything.
We made it 4 pm with no real action and the midwife suggested we try to get things moving. By this time I was ready to make some progress. At 4:30 they checked me and I was 3 cm and 70 % effaced. They started the pitocin and at 4:45 pm I had a REAL contraction. My husband got off the laptop and cell phone and decided to take a nap until I needed him. He was very worried about being tired and not much help b/c he only had about 10 hours of sleep the last 2 weeks. The contractions got closer and closer together and with each one the pain in my hips intensified. It was AWFUL. I could not get any relief from the pain no matter what I did. At 6 pm I told the midwife I thought the pressure I was feeling was the need to push, so she checked me. I was completely dilated!!! I could not believe how fast it happened! My husband jumped up and started doing what he does best- reminding me that I can do anything.
Shortly after I started pushing. I could not get the baby to move. I pushed with everything I had but she just didn't want to do anything. My hips were hurting so much. I tried pushing on my back and she didn't move, so I got on my hands and knees, still no movement. They brought the squatting bar out and finally we made a bit of progress. I was gripping that thing like it was a lifeline and I burst capillaries in my neck trying to get baby girl out. My arms felt like I was bench pressing and after each set of pushes I was shaking with adreniline. I could get no relief from the hip pain. At this point we were 45 min into the pushing and I was fatigued. I had them take the baby's heart monitor off b/c it was distracting me and she was tolerating all this fine (better than me anyway). The charge nurse called and demanded that I wear the monitor. My nurse came in to put it back on and I said "I don't want it. Just leave it off." The nurse said "I'm sorry, but you don't have a choice." This really made me mad. I replied "What do you mean I don't have a choice, this is my baby." The nurse moved to put the monitor on my WHILE I WAS PUSHING and my husband jumped up and told her to back off. My midwife told the nurse to inform the charge nurse that there was no anesthesia and no reason the baby would get into distress. I focused on pushing and let my husband be my advocate because I knew he wouldn't let me down. The midwife said we should change positions and if nothing happens we might consider a c-section since the baby wasn't moving. I was worried that I wouldn't get her out and I could see the panic in my husband's face. He whispered in my ear that he'd be there and told me that he was sure I could do this. I turned on my side and pushed like I was going to die the next second and finally felt Chance crown!!!! The midwife said "Great job! Now we can see why she wasn't moving!" Chance had her elbow up by her head and her little head was wedged against my hip bone (hence the pain) so she had a big bruise on her head. I gave little half pushes to get her out slowly enough so I wouldn't tear and at 7:14 pm Chance Avery greeted the world!!! They put her on my chest immediately and I got to cut the umbilical cord! This was the best experience for me b/c all of my other babies were carted off to the NICU before I really got a moment with them. It was the hardest delivery of the 4, but the best in so many ways! She weighed 6lbs 10 oz and was 20.5 inches long. She has a head full of black hair and looks just like her brother!
My husband was wonderful and though he had every reason to be completely distracted he was right where I needed him, when I needed him and completely focused on me.
My oldest son came to the hospital a few hours later and held his sister for the first time. He was so sweet and so excited to meet her. My husband spent the next 2 hours on the phone and the laptop still trying to get the race situation under control (a hail storm blew up and most of the racers were on the water, very very scary). I finally just told him to go if he needed to. He looked so guilt-ridden and said "no no, it'll work out." But I know him too well and I insisted that he get out of there and take care of his race b/c it's so much a part of him. So he left and Chance and I spent the night and the next day having some mommy/baby time.
We finally made it home on Monday, but sadly we are back at the hospital now due to rising bili levels and such.
Sorry this was such a novel! It was just such an experience.
Anyway, here is my precious girl!