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This is really super long because I wrote a birth story for myself, including all the details I could remember. So I just copy/pasted it to here! If you have the time to read it all, enjoy!
I was due April 22, 2012. With my first pregnancy, I donít remember really experiencing Braxton hicks contractions. Upon reading my birth story recently, I guess I did. Oh well! Either way, with Emmaís pregnancy I had a ton of BH contractions starting at around 30-32 weeks I think. I quickly got used to them. They were just so annoying. I could be simply cruising the Internet while laying on the couch and I would get contractions. No big deal though, they were normal! Then I started getting them at work while doing my work chores. They would come on especially strong while I would sweep out the locker room floors and vacuum. I stopped vacuuming all the floors except the track and even that didnít help. It began to kind of worry me. When I was 35 weeks along, Nick and I dtd. I was so very sore all the time at this point and had absolutely no interest in sex, so it was a quickie for his sake. When we were done, I planted myself on the couch and got online. I began to have BH contractions that seemed to be coming regularly. I pulled up a Note on the computer and wrote down the time every time a contraction came. Sure enough, they were indeed coming regularly. Every 3-4 minutes! And then I began to have a little bit of back pain with them. I told Nick what was going on and as the pain increased to where it was really bothering me, I began to panic a bit. I was worried that it might actually be labor. I was too early! And I didnít have my hospital bags packed yet! We both went to lay down for bed at the same time. I was still having the contractions and decided that if they woke me up being worse or were still happening in the morning, I would call my doctor. I woke up several times because of them, but I think it was because I was so afraid and was keeping myself from getting normal rest. They finally stopped completely at 5:00 AM. It was Sunday morning and the back pain had made my back sore, so I stayed home from church. By the end of the day, I felt fine and normal! I was back to having spontaneous BH but no more back pain.
I had an OB appointment the following Tuesday. I told my doctor about what happened Saturday night and she said that it sounded like preterm labor. I think she had already planned on checking me, anyways, so out came the gloves and gel. Turns out I was 3 cm dilated. I was so surprised. She said I had indeed been contracting for real and the 3 cm was the result. I was told to refrain from vacuuming at work and to avoid anything else that caused BH contractions. Also, I was told that if I started having regular contractions like I had again that I needed to come on in to the hospital to be monitored. I left feeling super excited! I called Nick and he was also very surprised and excited. And I guess dilation is not really a personal thing because by the time I told one or two people about it, my entire work seemed to know about it and everyone was soon on edge for me to go into labor at any given moment. Fun!
Fast forward to 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Nick and I had not dtd anymore for fear of putting me into labor. We didnít want the baby to come early if she didnít have too. I didnít believe the contractions would happen again, but Nick was convinced that he could get her out. We had a good few laughs over it and made lots of jokes. But it had been almost 3 weeks so I gave in for his sake. Somehow, he was right. As soon as we were done, I started feeling the back pain coming and going regularly, but the uterine contractions werenít always happening. So I ended up timing the back pain. I had back labor with Jayden, so I knew something was up. They were averaging between 3-5 minutes apart and 30-45 seconds long. I once again ended up sleeping them off.
The next day was Saturday and we decided to go into town to do some shopping. We just had a baby shower and got a gift card to buy the baby monitor we had been looking at. So we got it and also picked up a new crib mattress and a changing pad. We had also returned a bunch of the diapers and wipes so we could exchange them for the brands we preferred. We ate lunch and just did whatever we wanted. We all had a good time. The whole entire trip though I was having BH contractions. The back pain from the night before was gone, but every time I thought about it, I could feel the BH. But when we were busy shopping, I really wasnít noticing them too much. It was enough though that I asked Nick if he thought I should call the doctor and tell her what was going on. He said I should, considering the time before had dilated me to 3 cm. So once we got home, I called. My doctor listened to what I had to say and told me I should go ahead and come on in and that she would let the nurses know I was on my way. Nick and I agreed that I would more than likely be coming back home, so instead of rushing Jayden out to our friendís house, we decided that they would stay home and I would drive myself to the hospital. If for some reason it was baby time, Nick would get Jayden taken care of, grab the bags, and drive our other car to be with me. He would just ask his dad to come pick up my car from the hospital and take it home for us.
I felt so silly on the way. I just knew there would be no change and that I would be sent home. I mean really, who goes to the hospital when you know the contractions are just BH? Me. I got to the hospital and checked in. They put me into a small room that is used for simple monitoring. I gave a urine sample and got changed into the gown. They hooked me up to the monitors. I was still having the contractions, but I wasnít sure if they were showing up on the monitor. My nurse put her hand on my tummy while I was having a contraction and agreed that it was a pretty good contraction. She looked at me and asked if I was in any pain. I shook my head no, so she asked if I had a high pain tolerance. Haha, no way! I must have looked confused because she said that I was contracting pretty strongly. I was really surprised. I wasnít even having the back pain I had had the night before. I began to wonder what they were going to do. A couple minutes later, my nurse brought in some gloves and gel and said she was going to check me. I was a 5. I simply couldnít believe it. Wow. These contractions were once again the real deal and were making me progress. So my nurse went to call my doctor to see if I would be admitted. I was. It was baby time! So I texted Nick how far I was and that they were admitting me. He was so excited. He started gathering all my last minute items and tried to call my best friend to watch Jayden. Turns out she and her sister were both away from home and wouldnít be able to watch Jayden. So he tried Jaydenís daycare provider, who is another good friend of ours. She was out of town. I just knew something like this would happen. Luckily, Nickís dadís girlfriend was home and able to watch Jayden. I really didnít want him to go stay with her without Nickís dad, but in the end it worked out. Jayden was a good boy for her and told me that he had a lot of fun. So Nick was finally on his way to meet me. He called my grandma for me, too, and to my surprise she and her husband Joe said theyíd be on their way. I really didnít expect them to come while I was in labor. It was already evening and knew it would be several more hours before Emma would be born, so I was concerned about them getting too tired. Oh well.
The nurses moved me into the labor and delivery room, which was the same one Jayden was born in. I had already gotten my IV and so they started me on antibiotics since I was strep B positive. My nurse asked me if I was ready for my epidural. I said no, surprisingly. I just still was feeling no pain. The thought had fleetingly crossed my mind that I might not need it. Soon, Nick arrived. My best friend, who was supposed to be watching Jayden for us, also showed up. Since we had gotten Jayden taken care of, she went ahead and joined us at the hospital. I was really glad she came. It was nice to have her there. My grandma and Joe got there soon after. It was just a fun little party for a little while.
I began to have some pain with the contractions, but only in my back. Oh how I dreaded the back labor. My epidural with Jayden did nothing for it. I donít remember how far along I was at this point, probably a 6 or 7. I asked for the epidural since it was getting uncomfortable. By the time he finally got there, I was really, really ready. And oh the relief! It was amazing. The back pain was gone. I couldnít believe it. I was so sure I was stuck with the back labor, but that epidural took care of it. I was also really surprised that I could still move my legs, enough even to be able to move my entire body around when the nurses needed to change the pads under me. With my first one, I was so numb from the waist down that I was literally paralyzed. So I was a little afraid that I was going to feel more pain when it came time to push. But for the moment I was a happy girl because the back pain was totally and completely gone. It was a bit scary after the epidural was placed. My blood pressure dropped and I became very sleepy. It wasnít enough for them to panic because my nurse didnít even tell me what happened until after it had already come back up and I was feeling better. I think they do that on purpose because I would have totally freaked out.
I labored for several long hours. We had predicted that Emma would be born by midnight, but midnight came and went. For these several long hours, I reached an 8 and stalled. Everyone was always so hopeful when I would be checked, but the results were always an 8 still. I was getting frustrated. Then at about 8:00 Sunday morning, my nurse said that they were going to put an internal monitor on the babyís head. I knew exactly what it was for, but didnít understand why they needed it. As far as I know, Emmaís heart rate had been fine all this time. They never mentioned any decelerations. But I just went with the flow. I felt so bad for my baby girl. Once it was on her head, her heart rate got really fast. She had obviously felt pain. The nurses said it was fine and said she was just ďexcited.Ē I was rather upset but what was done was done. I did like that this new monitor was louder and much more consistent than the belt one.
When they put that on her head, my water had to be broken in the process. It was so nasty feeling the gushes every time I contracted. Sometimes it was a little bit, sometimes it felt like a ton! I was still stuck at 8 cm, so my nurse had me lay on my side for 20 minutes and then flipped me over onto my other side for 20 minutes. She said that this might help the baby move down more and dilate the cervix more. I think the combination of the water breaking and the side-to-side flipping really helped. I started feeling this immense pressure. I felt like I had to have a huge bowel movement. The pressure was just crazy. And I made it worse for myself at first because I really thought it was poop, so I was holding it in. That made it hurt worse. I did that for 2 contractions before I just let go and thought to myself that I didnít care if I pooped in the bed. The pressure was that great. Theyíd clean me up. So it felt better to just let my body relax during the contractions and pressure, but within minutes it was getting stronger and stronger. My nurse came to check me and I was finally at a 9. I was so upset. I was telling Nick that I felt like I wanted to push, but I was still able to relax through the contractions. Then I started feeling a bit panicky when I really did want to push, I felt like I could not relax anymore. Iím not sure if Nick went to get the nurse at that point, but she came back in and was going to check me. I again told her that I felt like I really needed to poop. She checked and I was finally, finally, finally at 10 cm. They had already called my doctor when I started feeling the pressure, so she was on her way. In fact, I think she came in within a minute or two of me being a 10. Grandma and Joe left the room. My legs were put into the stirrups and it actually relieved a ton of the pressure and poop feeling. So I was able to just watch them get everything ready, even while contracting. They adjusted the lights, which I got a kick out of because the nurse used a remote to control them. She would point it at me and it would light up and the lights would adjust themselves to wherever it was pointing at. Totally cool!
It was time to push! I was dreading the pushing because it took a full hour when Jayden was born. I was so tired from that. I pushed through the first contraction and was surprised when my doctor was saying how quickly this baby was going to be born. In total, about 4 or 5 contractions with 3 pushes each was all it took. I will never forget the feeling of Emma being pulled out. It certainly didnít hurt, but it was the strangest, oddest feeling.
I opened my eyes and there was my baby girl. They put her on my belly and said she was all mine. So I picked her up and put her into a more comfortable position and just stared at her. I said nothing. I could only stare. Iím not sure why, but I never came close to crying with Jayden. I was just so ecstatic and happy when he was born, crying was the last thing on my mind. But a good friend once told me that your first baby teaches you how to love. I think that is exactly what happened. Jayden had taught me how to love a child, and as soon as I saw Emma, I loved her so much that I cried. I cried silent tears while I just stared. I was also thinking about my mom. I know she was there with me.
The nurses started cleaning her up and she started crying. Nick jokingly told me that she was still a girl. I had worried so much that all my ultrasounds were wrong and that she was going to be a boy. I had to laugh when he told me that. My doctor told me that I had no tears or rips after I delivered the placenta. Nick went over to the warming table to take pictures. I started shaking like I was cold and the nurse told me it was just hormones. Strange!
Emma was weighed, wrapped up, and placed in my arms. Oh how I loved her. I wanted to try to breastfeed her. So I tried! She really didnít take to it. She just nosed around even when I put her right to the breast. I have flat/inverted nipples, so I wasnít surprised. Jayden had done the exact same thing. He never did take to the breast. By this time, it had been about 15 minutes and Nick leaned down and whispered, ďCan I hold her?Ē I had totally forgotten that he hadnít held her yet! Of course I let him. Emma instantly had him wrapped around her finger.
My grandma and Joe came in and held her. After they stepped out again, I was ready to get up and be moved into our new room. When I got up, blood gushed everywhere. With the help of my nurse, I made it into the bathroom. She helped me clean it up and wasnít worried at all. I put on those amazing pads and hospital undies and went to sit down in one of the chairs while they got a wheelchair for me. When I stood up, I had already leaked out of the underwear and onto the chair. So I sat on one of the pads they keep on the beds and went into my new room. When I stood up in there, the same thing happened. Blood gushed everywhere. It was all over my legs and the floor. I was even leaving bloody footprints. It was like a crime scene. I again went into the bathroom and the nurse helped me get cleaned up. She also wiped up the floor. I finally made it to my bed. It felt so good to sit down even after those couple of minutes standing up. I still had my IV hooked up. They had brought some pitocen and had it dripping to help my uterus contract back down. At first it was okay. All was quiet for awhile. They had taken Emma to have her first bath and hearing test. Nick had laid down on his cot and was already asleep. I was served lunch and at first I was eating some of it. But my back was really bothering me. It was the same back pain Iíd had at 35 weeks and the previous Friday night. Except it was bad. My uterus did not feel like it was contracting, but my back was. Every 2 minutes I think it would build and build and was so painful. It was an easy 8 or 9 on the pain scale. I didnít realize what was going on, so I debated calling the nurse back. It ended up getting so bad that I was almost in tears. I punched the call button and waited in agony. What was going on!! It seemed like an eternity before the nurse came back and she had Emma. She could tell by the look on my face that I was hurting. I told her that my back was killing me and that I needed pain medicine right away. She looked at the IV and said that it was the pitocen causing the pain. She had turned it up pretty high to try to stop the bleeding. As soon as she turned it down, the pain level went down, too. I was rather angry that I was feeling labor pains after my baby was born. I understood why, but it hurt so stinking bad.
I had been feeling gushes of blood this whole time, so I told the nurse that I needed to change my underwear again. She pulled back my sheets and the entire pad under my bottom to protect the bed was full of blood. She called the other nurse who had been with me during the delivery in and they both started pushing on my stomach. That hurt really bad, too. Blood gushed out every time they pushed on me. And I guess a huge clot passed, too. They finally let me up, I got cleaned up and changed (again), and was finally back in bed and feeling better. Since the pitocen had been turned down, I felt much better. It was a happy moment for me when it started beeping and I saw that it was empty. I really hoped they wouldnít give me more. They didnít! The rest of my stay was comfortable. I had more episodes of gushing bleeding, but it was nothing the nurses were terribly worried about. I did pass a clot the next day that actually startled me as it came out and plopped into the toilet. I didnít flush it because I figured they would want to see it. Sure enough, it took two nurses to examine it and declare that it was huge. They said to make sure to tell them if I passed anything else of similar size. I never did. I got to go home the next day. Life has been crazy the past couple weeks. We have totally adjusted to having Emma in our family, but the hard part has been dealing with our son. He is so full of energy and is also experiencing a growth of independence. Itís been really rough and he has really been toying with my patience. But I know everything will settle down eventually.