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Ok, I began this last night at about 3am (we got home yesterday), and finished it up this afternoon. I originally intended for this to be super short, but it turned out being extremely long. I apologize for the length, but feel free to read what you like and skip what you donít care to know. There is definitely some TMI info in this post, so just be aware of that before you read! I promise to post pics very soon, but I need to get them online first. Thank you for all of your support and well wishes!
So as it is probably apparent, the contractions I felt really were labor pains. They began early Friday morning at around 5am, but were still 10 minutes apart. As I mentioned in posts, they very gradually became more frequent, but were never totally consistent. I had my childbirth class Friday night and Saturday. I think it is pretty amusing that I actually was in labor during my class- how's that for realism? I also think it's pretty amazing that I was able to hide how much pain I was in, for fear of looking like a complete idiot during the class. The teacher must have just thought I was getting really into some of the breathing! lol Anyways, I did not sleep at all Friday night but I managed a 2-3 hour nap Saturday. I think somewhere in my head I knew that I was in labor, but I was so afraid of "crying wolf" that I didn't want to call my doctor. Besides that, my dh didn't believe me! He told me to "stop whining, take some tylenol, and go to sleep." lol I don't think I'll ever let him live that down. He actually was mad at me for making too much noise at night and keeping him up! Of course, he profusely apologized when he realized later that I was actually in labor! Anyways, Saturday night, the pain was even worse. I still wasn't finding a totally consistent pattern to the contractions though. Sometimes they were 5 minutes apart, sometimes 3, sometimes 7, etc. I'm wondering now if I was just timing wrong or what. I lost the mucus plug Friday, and Saturday I started getting bloody show- a lot more blood than I thought was normal. I labored Saturday night at home by myself while my husband tried to sleep. My puppy was so cute though- I could tell that he knew something was going on and he stayed right with me the whole time. If they had let me, I would have brought my puppy with me as an additional labor coach lol. By Saturday morning, I was pretty sure something was going on, even if it wasn't labor. I started reading about all the possible explanations for pain and bleeding during late pregnancy and scared myself by reading all the possibilities. I think I was in denial that this was really it. I even starting second guessing whether or not they were actually contractions (not sure what else I actually thought they could be... lol). In any case, I decided I should at least call my doctor and see what they thought. I told my husband this at about 7, but he asked if he could sleep in first since he didn't sleep well that night. So I agreed to wait until 10:30. About that time, I called the doctor and told him my symptoms. He said that in his opinion, he didn't think that I was in labor, but that I should come in anyways because he couldn't really deny me since I hadn't slept in 2 nights. He said it was probably a UTI causing the contractions and that we would test for that and get me some antibiotics. He also said that they could at least give me something to help me sleep, so I agreed to come into labor and delivery (office is closed on Sundays). I took a shower and did a few things around the house before we left. I remember even saying, 'well, I'm not going to grab all my hospital things because we're really only going to be there like an hour anyways!' Oops. On the car ride over, I remember thinking that I was being such a wimp. I wondered how on earth I was ever going to deal with real labor if this wasn't it. The ride was only half an hour, but it felt like an eternity. I told my husband in the car that I didn't care if this was labor or not, I wanted an epidural now! lol We got to the hospital about noon, and they got me into a room right away. They made my dh go a different route and go through procedures before he could come back, so he wasn't there at first. They took a urine sample from me and had me change into a hospital gown. I apologized for getting blood on the gown. When the nurse saw how much blood I had, she said she was going to go ahead and check me for any dilation. As soon as she checked, she looked up at me and said, "Uh, you're at a 6." "Really?" I asked, "Uh, what does that mean." She looked at me and just said, "That means you're having a baby today!" I just kind of looked at her and said "Oh, um, ok." lol I didn't quite know what to think at that point. All I could think about was the fact that we had so much left to prepare for the baby, and that I wasn't ready. Although a little voice in my head said "See! I knew it all along!" When the nurses told me husband, he thought they were joking. Once it settled in though, he got down to business and was the best coach ever for labor. They told him that if he wanted to go get a camera or anything, he better do it now because things could progress very quickly. So while I filled out paperwork, he ran to k-mart and bought a digital camera, a handheld massager, and a few other random items for the day. He was back in no time at all! The first hour or so was filled with preliminary things, urine test, drawing blood, filling out paperwork, etc. Honestly, I don't even quite know what all I signed for lol. I tried reading everything very thoroughly, but by the end I just started signing at random. I spent another half hour or so talking to my husband and attempting to get a last belly shot to post on JM (I have one in the gown, but no great belly pics).
Phew, ok I fell asleep last night while I was writing this and havenít been able to get back on JM until now. Allow me to continue.
I decided to try a dose of Nubain, mostly because I just wanted to take some of the edge off the contractions. I had been in labor now for over 48 hours and I just wanted a little bit of relief. I hadnít done much research on IV medications though because I was afraid of it making me nauseous. The nurse told me though that most of her patients felt just fine with the nubain and that almost none of them became nauseous from it. Also, if it did make me feel sick, they could give me something to counteract that. She also said it would only last about 2 hours, so I could have a dose now to see how it feels and then decide later if I want to continue with it. She said things would only get more painful from here. So I decided to treat it as a trial run, and I received a dose of Nubain. Wow, that stuff was a lot stronger than I envisioned lol. Within seconds, I started feeling as though I had just finished a few glasses of champagne. I felt a bit drunk, but I felt really good. There was still pain, but now things were completely tolerable and I actually started to enjoy the experience. We took these couple hours to look at the random outfits I had thrown in my makeshift hospital bag, to joke around and take pictures, and to talk about the excitement of our baby to come. Time really seemed to fly. My contractions began to slow down a bit with the dose of Nubain though, and the doctor actually considered using some Pitocin. They decided to try breaking my water first though, and luckily that caused things to speed right back up again. The water breaking felt really strange- not painful at all- just a funny sensation as the water gushed out of me. Within no time, the medicine had worn off and I was at 8cm. The contractions reached a peak that I could not have envisioned before, but I held off on any more medication. The nurse told me that I actually couldnít have anymore anyways because it was too close to the birth and taking it could affect the baby. So I ended up doing all the pushing au natural. I know it may seem silly, but Iím actually really proud of myself that I didnít have an epidural. The nurses were amazed. I guess they are used to seeing most women on the high risk floor with medication. (They had me give birth on this floor because technically I was pre-term). They said I was one of the happiest people they had ever seen during labor and that I dealt with things very well. I was surprised because I thought that I complained a bit too muchÖ
Anyways, the pushing began with the nurse and my husband holding my feet. I couldnít believe that my dh stayed at that end during the whole birth, when he said before he didnít even want to cut the cord! I guess it all changes when youíre in the moment. Plus, I donít think they really gave him much choice besides saying, ďOk, now come hold her foot!Ē What could he do? Hehe I thought I would mind him seeing that stuff, but honestly I could care less at that point. My first few pushes were unproductive until I got the hang of what they meant by ďpush.Ē Finally, the nurse said, ďDonít worry, youíre not pooping! But when you push there, youíre doing it right!Ē Amazing how eliminating my fear of pooping on the table made my pushes more effective. Sure, they say you wonít care in the moment, but uh, even in all that pain, I didnít want to poop on the table in front of my husband. So, for all you eagerly curious minds, I made it through without any problems in that department. (Funny how labor makes modesty disappear on TMI topics lol!) The hardest part of pushing for me was taking the breath in between. I realized that I would much rather just push for 20-30 seconds at a time instead of pausing for a breath. When I breathed in, I felt pain. When I pushed, I knew that I was doing something productive. The doc later asked if I had a background in distance running because he was impressed with my lung capacity. (I knew my high school cross country years were good for something! ) The worst part was feeling so constrained. I had wires and monitors hooked up all over my body, and I couldnít really move around the way I wanted. Since I was high risk, all these precautions were standard and there was nothing I could do about that. I had the fetal heartbeat monitor, the contraction monitor, a pulse monitor on myself, and an IV hookup (my gbs results had not come in yet so I think they were giving me antibiotics, along with IV fluids and nutrients.) For some reason, my least favorite part of labor was the stupid pulse monitor on my finger. I donít know what it was about that thing, but it became my pet peeve and I absolutely could not stand it! lol I kept begging to take it off, but they said I needed it on. Eventually though, I actually ripped it off myself during a contraction and squeezed it tightly. OopsÖ felt so much better though! Also, Iím not sure why, but they told me that I had to stay on my back. There was some medical reason for this, but I canít remember what they said. I had not planned to push on my back because I know this is one of the most difficult positions to push, but I had no choice in the matter.
When her head finally came out far enough, the doctor came in to assist. I was beginning to wonder what his job was in all this! The doctor had said he would let me either stretch or tear naturally instead of an episiotomy, but when the time came, he said it was medically necessary to give me a 2nd degree episiotomy. I donít remember his reasoning- just that it had to be done. I didnít feel the episiotomy at all, and I think the numbing agent they used lessened the Ďring of fire.í I have heard that the crowning of the head is the worst part of childbirth, but for me it was my favorite part! After all that pushing, it felt so good to actually do something where I knew I was making progress! I knew that once she crowned, things would go quickly, so I was very happy. Also, the crowning took away a big part of the intense pressure I was feeling between contractions, so things felt so much better after that point. Ooh, also at some point during the pushing, they had to put me on oxygen. I donít exactly know why, but I know I wore an oxygen mask for a large portion of the pushing. The doctor later told me that she was OP when she came out, which is apparently the most difficult position to deliver. I donít think this was the reason for the oxygen, but it may have explained my long labor and some of the other measures that they had to take (like the episiotomy). Pretty soon, I felt her head come out and the rest of her body followed almost immediately. It was the best feeling in the world, and I couldnít believe how happy and relieved I immediately felt. I asked if I could hold her, and when they placed her in my arms I felt a rush of emotions. She is the most beautiful little baby in the whole wide world. I donít really know what my first words to her were, but my first thoughts were that I was the luckiest person on the planet to be holding such a precious gift in my arms. They took her for a second, but then allowed me to try breastfeeding. Afterwards, the nurse took London and my husband to the nursery for her first bath, weigh in, shots, etc. In this time, the placenta was delivered and I actually asked the doctor to show it to me. It actually looked really cool, not what I had expected. (I normally canít handle blood and things like that, but for some reason I was fascinated by this thing that had been in my body all these months nourishing my baby.) The doc stitched me up (the episiotomy and I had a couple lacerations) and I finally began to relax. I had to remain in the room for another hour or so while they monitored my condition, etc. Then, they helped me into a wheelchair and took me to the postpartum room.
The stats: Officially, she weighed 5 lbs 2 oz and was 18.5 inches long. The height is recorded differently on 3 different forms though, so depending on how she stretched, she was actually between 17.5 and 18.5 inches. She was born at 4:48pm with a head full of blond hair and some pretty dark eyes. When she was born, her head was cone-shaped due to her delivery position. Apparently the cone-headed appearance usually is on the back, but it was on the front of her little head along with some big bruises. Her little nose is still squished to the side as well, but both of these things are improving and will be gone soon. I had the same issues when I was born, so apparently she decided to take after me on this one. She looks so much like my dh with all her features. She has his ears, his lips, his eyebrows, etc. She also has little dimples on each cheek, which are adorable. Her hair is so soft, and she is so beautiful and tiny. She looks like a little tiny doll. Actually, the first morning I woke up with her in my room, I was still only about half-awake. I actually looked over and thought, ďOh, what a beautiful doll they brought in.Ē And then I realized it was my baby. Lol Guess thatís what fatigue will do to you!
They needed to keep her in the nursery for at least 4-6 hours for monitoring because of her size and since she was preterm. By the way girls, please donít wish for an early delivery! I was 36 weeks 4 days, and I really wish she could have baked inside longer. She is so tiny, and even being this far along, she has some small problems because of her size and gestational age. After several hours had passed, my dh went to the nursery to see how she was doing. (I wanted to come too, but they were not letting me walk yet at this point because my bleeding was a bit strong.) The nursery said she was ready to come to our room, but then when the nurse went to get her, Londonís temperatures dropped and she had to stay longer. She was not regulating her own body temperature, so they put her under the heat lamps until things stabilized. I got to visit her in the nursery (they combine the nursery and the NICU on this floor, but technically she was in the nursery portion). She looked soooo tiny next to the other babies, I was amazed.
At about 1:30, she was finally ready to come to our room. She roomed in with us during our entire stay, and now she seems to be doing very well. She hasnít quite gotten the hang of breastfeeding yet. Most of the time, she will latch on, but her mouth is so little that she canít actually feed very well yet. They think once my milk comes in and she is a little bigger, she will have enough strength to be successful. For now, I am supposed to pump every 2 hours for about 10 minutes on each side, then put her to my breast for at least 10 minutes on each side (sometimes using a little contraption from the lactation consultant), and finally supplement with formula afterwards. Luckily, she has been taking to the formula very well and her weight has not dropped too much.
Physically, I am doing pretty well too. I am still extremely sore (down there and in my back from tension), but I am feeling a bit better. I ended up with the episiotomy stitches, a couple lacerations, a hematode (or hematoid or something lol- basically a little blood clot type thing under my skin down there- quite glamorous, really), and hemorrhoids. So uh yeah, I feel really sexy right now. I also bled more than normal, which is apparently quite common for redheads. As of now, the swelling has gone down considerably and I am starting to get my energy back. I am still very tired, but I actually feel soooo much better than I did pregnant. Just thought Iíd give you girls some hope on that front! I am sooooooo happy to be done being pregnant. I love our beautiful result, but I am just feeling so much better having my body back and having a baby. (Well, ok my body isnít really back yet, but itís better than it was!) Iím just taking Motrin for pain. They gave me something stronger originally, but it made my throat swell up when I took that, so I decided it wasnít worth it. The biggest pain right now is just an open laceration that I didnít notice until today, but everything is definitely bearable.
All in all, I feel happier now than I think I ever have before. I already love my daughter more than I knew was possible and I know that love is going to grow each day. Also, my husband and I feel even closer than before. It was so cute to hear him brag about me and the birth to his friends. I love knowing that he is so proud of me, and that he is going to be such a wonderful father. Now, we really feel like a family, and all the little things donít matter anymore. Our dog is being soooo well behaved around the baby. He is very gentle and protective of her. He will come up and sniff her, and sometimes lick her feet or hands. He will also just stand there watching her sleep, especially if I get up for a second. It is as though he is watching her to be sure she is all right. Whenever I feed London, he will come right up next to us and lay down. It is too stinking adorable for words! He does not seem jealous and has even calmed down some of his annoying habits that he had before. I think he knows that this baby is precious to us, and he has really been on his best behavior since weíve been home. I couldnít be happier. DH and I have been taking turns with our sleep, but making sure to take time to be together as well. London does not cry much, and we generally have to wake her up for her feedings and diaper changes. While awake, she just kind of looks around with her big dark eyes, as if trying to take in every detail of this new world. She is already mommyís little girl- she loves to lie on my chest, and will immediately stop crying if I pick her up. For the most part, she seems to like her bassinet. And, donít worry girls. London could care less that her room isnít wonderfully decorated or that she doesnít even have her own crib yet. She just seems content to be here, and I couldnít agree more. I know this sounds uber cheesy, but it feels like London has really made my life complete. Our house is still a mess and there are a million things to get done, but I love being a mommy. I love my little girl and my new family. I know things will certainly become more difficult, but I know now that every second of that pregnancy was worth it (never thought Iíd say that!) and that Kevin and I will overcome every challenge we encounter because of how much love there is in our family.
Thank you girls if you have read this far! I will try to be as active as I can on JM, I canít wait for everyone to experience the birth of their little ones!! Also, I will post pictures as soon as I get them online, so stay tuned!
that is one long story....oh hi popping n from feb 08ddc congrats on a beauitful baby.
i was also afraid of pooping when i had my first son..but lucky me i didn't but like you said at that time your to busy trying to get urbaby out etc........have fun with ur new bundle ofjoy
thanks for all the detail -- as a Feb mama I'm trying to get as prepared as possible so it helps reading other mom's true stories! That is so funny about being at your birthing class and actually being in labor!
I hope London continues to do well and that your recovery goes smoothly!!!