So, it has been many weeks since I have updated… and my sweet baby is almost 2 weeks old and I haven’t even posted her birth story!
Before I start, I have to say, that I feel like a real mom today. She didn’t want to sleep, so I am currently “wearing” my baby, with a cup of coffee (decaf) beside me, listening to Needtobreathe, blogging, even though I should be sleeping.
Also, as a disclaimer, there may be some gory details you may not want to know, so if you don’t want to hear about it… maybe don’t read on. Second disclaimer, this is long. I don’t know how to be concise… sorry.
So it all started the evening of Sunday, January 22nd… the contractions, that is. They were sporadic and 10-12 minutes apart… at times. Then they would go away for a bit. They were uncomfortable, but I wouldn’t say they really hurt yet. Due date was Monday, and that morning, I thought it was entirely possible she might be born on her due date. After a horrible night’s sleep (staying awake timing them… silly me), the contractions kept coming. I woke up early that morning and told Ansen, “you may not be going to work today.” But, they didn’t get closer together yet, so Ansen went to work and I walked around the living room. They would get more consistent when I walked. I tried to nap, but they were worse laying down. I called a great friend and went for a walk with her and her two boys. They really started picking up, so I thought any moment! But no… we made dinner, I worked online for several hours, no change. Something’s got to give.
Tuesday morning I decided to go ahead and go to my Tuesday meeting even though I had contractions through the night again. I desperately needed a distraction to keep my mind off of the fact that they were strong, but no more regular or consistent. :( That afternoon, I tried to take a nap again, but I couldn’t get comfortable. I tried the nursery recliner… but got restless. I sat on my exercise ball contemplating how to start a knitting project until I had to work online at 6. Ansen came home and made dinner and then suggested that we go to Walmart to walk when I finished working at 9. It was more like 10 or 10:30 before we actually left. We walked methodically up and down every aisle, stopping occasionally for the contractions, which now required me to hold onto the cart that we got, just in case.
When we got home, I was planning to take a bath to relax, but decided I was much too tired for that, so I climbed into bed and tried to sleep. Tried is the operative word. Ansen came in to go to bed about midnight… but promptly started timing. They were suddenly 7 minutes apart… and then 5 minutes apart. He kept saying, “If you keep this up, we’ll call the hospital and see when they want you to come in,” but when he did, they would space back out for a bit. Then about 1:30 am we had a string of 3 minutes, 4, 3, 3, 4… we called the midwife, she said she thought I should go! Now comes the fun part! We ran around crazy packing up the last few things we needed and got in the car. This is really it!
We left a little after 2 and made it to the hospital a little before 3. The whole time I was just praying that I was dilating at least a little bit, but secretly hoping that I was at a 7. When they checked us in, I wasn’t at a 7… but I was at a 4, which is better than I could have realistically hoped for. We got to our room about 3:30. I had to be on the fetal monitor for 30 minutes before they’d let me to the jacuzzi, and then they misspelled me name on the lab work, so we had to wait for the phlebotomist to come retake my blood. I waited in the shower, which helped. Finally, I got to go to the jacuzzi! I won’t say that it was heaven, but it was pretty close. Next time, I think a water birth is the way to go. From 4-5:30 I went from 4 cm to 8cm (or so… maybe less, but you’ll understand why in a minute). Normally, the average is a cm an hour… so 4 in an hour and a half is pretty much amazing! Thinking it couldn’t be too much longer now, I didn’t push to go back to the jacuzzi after more mandatory fetal monitoring.
I thought surely I would want to sit on my birthing ball, or stand, sway, something… but no, the pain radiating down my legs made anything but flat on my back exceedingly uncomfortable. I spent another hour like this praying for it to go quickly. Feeling the urge to push, I called the nurse in. She checked me and declared me to be complete! A full 10 cm and ready to go. While I couldn’t push because we had to wait for the midwife to arrive, I felt such a sense of relief. I would be over soon, and my baby would be here!
The midwife finally arrived (it felt like forever) and they said I could push when I felt like it. But then she checked me and said, “oh no, she’s only at an 8.” An 8? You’ve got to be kidding me? I was psyched up ready to get on with this and now I still have 2 cm to go? (Hence why I’m not sure I was really at an 8 earlier). It was also shift change and the new nurse noticed that because of the previous pushing my cervix was starting to swell. She suggested lying on my side and then switching sides… the most painful position for me. Though I burned with anger (and contractions) for her, I did as she suggested because she probably knew what she was talking about.
I called her back in several times demanding to push, only to find that we were not yet at 10 cms. These contractions were fierce and it took everything I had not to scream like the ladies in the movies. It helped that I had the best coach ever, who reminded me to keep my sounds low and breathe, who was watching the contractions on the monitor and telling me when they were peaking and when they would start subsiding. About 30 minutes after the last false alarm (which she declared me to be at a 9, another hour to go), I called her in. I’m sure she was thinking, “sure, honey, I’ll humor your, but you can’t possibly be a 10.” Thankfully she said, “I think you’re complete, but I’m going to have the supervising nurse check just to make sure before we call Mari (the midwife) back.” The supervising nurse jumped to the side when she checked me as I had a “bulging water bag” that she was worried would pop all over her, but she agreed. They pulled the blankets back over me, told me to push when I felt like it, left the room to call the midwife and told me to call when my water broke. The very next contraction I pushed and GUSH, there goes the water! Needless to say, we called the nurse back immediately.
She started popping all these gadgets up out of the bed. There were about 7 different options of things to grab onto. She started coaching me with pushing, thinking it could take a while. (Normal is anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours of pushing.) I can’t explain how my body just took over, I had no control anymore. After a few pushes, the nurse says, “um… Mari is coming, right? I can see the head.” She must have said something about hair too because I was thinking, “hair? really? my baby has hair?” Apparently that had never occurred to me before that she could be born with hair. They pulled in a mirror right as Mari got there and the real pushing began. Another couple of contractions and she was crowning. Then, there she was, I watched in the mirror as her whole little body popped out. I was amazing, there she was! After only 15 minutes of pushing! Mari said, “It’s a girl,” and I said, “Oh good!” I would have been perfectly happy with a little boy… if we would have known before. But with all the pink and purple clothes and bedding, he might have felt a little out of place. Though he was really not sure about it before, Ansen did cut the cord like a proud daddy.
They threw her on my chest to rub her down and she was flailing everywhere, this little stranger I had been waiting 9+ months to meet. I wish I could say I thought she was beautiful from the first moment, but it took a little bit to really see her through all the crazy newborn stuff, like the red splotches, swollen eyes, vernix and misshapen head. It didn’t take too long though before I realized she was the most beautiful child ever (though I may be a bit bias).
Then there comes all the stuff that no one every talks about, what happens afterward. There was immediately relief. The contractions kept coming, but I didn’t feel them anymore. The adrenaline was pumping and I was suddenly very awake! After they took the baby to the warming tray, I apparently had another contraction because the midwife had me push to deliver the placenta. I never would have thought I would have any interest in it, but she asked me if I wanted to see it, and I was fascinated by this bloody bag that had held my baby for the past 40 weeks and provided her every need. Maybe I realized that was now my job and I needed to acknowledge the previous worker. Miraculously, I had no tearing at all, just a few cuts that didn’t require any stitches. Then they had to knead my stomach to help my uterus shrink back and stop the bleeding from where the placenta detached. NOT fun at all. Then, they cleaned me up and gave me one of the best things ever, a ice pack pad…
Ansen took this moment to go announce to our families in the waiting room that Avelea (AY-vuh-lee) Wren Bayer was born at 9:07am, weighing 7lbs 3oz, 17 inches long. Stay tuned for more adventures of the Lady Avie and her poor first time parents!