lynthia: (polycon)
[personal profile] lynthia
Disclaimer: I feel like it should be obvious, but this is my record of everything I remember about giving birth this past weekend. That means that it is absolutely full of TMI. If I edited all that out, I'd pretty much just write "Had a baby, it was fine" and be done with it. :)



Technically, I'm still about a week away from my due date. But I'd been convinced since practically the beginning that she wasn't going to wait all the way until May. That just seemed far too long. And more recently I decided that this past weekend was the right time to get the party started. Nothing I could technically do about it, of course, but I suppose I just hoped that the universe would cooperate. Oddly enough, it did. Friday night at about 11 pm I started having contractions. After an hour they were fairly consistently 10 minutes apart, which is exactly how I remember labor with [livejournal.com profile] cwsmithiv starting. I let Charles know what was going on, and then went to bed to get some rest while I could.

I woke up on Saturday around 7 am, and the contractions were just the same. By lunchtime the spacing had shortened a bit, but they were oddly irregular. 7 min, 5 min, 6 min, 3 min, etc. It was annoying and unlike my last experience, and I found it to be very frustrating. After lunch I went out and walked around my neighborhood for 45 minutes hoping to kickstart some kind of change. The contractions did speed up a bit, maybe got a little bit stronger, but it did nothing for consistency. Timing them all day long and waiting to see if they became regular was mentally exhausting. I tried calling my doctor but she wasn't on call, and the physician who was could not have been less helpful if she tried. I explained what I was experiencing and asked what I could/should do. Her answer was that when I "felt ready" to go to the hospital, I should do so. THANKS FOR THAT. I took a nap, made some phone calls, did my best to have everything as prepared as I could. Having gotten a plan in place for the existing kiddo to be cared for I kind of felt backed into a corner: this really needed to happen now, while he was covered. I sat down and talked with him about it to see what he was going to want, and we had worked out a plan that he liked. He fell asleep at our house, and then we transferred him (still sleeping) to the car and drove him to Lily's house. He woke up a bit when we dropped him off but handled it well, and we were able to leave him there without worrying that he was just going to refuse to sleep at all in a strange house.

At 10:20 pm, we arrived at the hospital. Charles and I were met by a mom-friend of mine who is also a nursing student who had agreed to be with me for the labor and delivery, and we went in to check in with the nurses station. The general consensus by my friend (we'll call her D) and the nurses was that I was far too cheerful to be in labor, but they agreed to check me out anyway. So we went into the triage-type area of labor and delivery, I got into my very fancy gown, and the nurse did a check. Want to know how much I had dilated in the nearly 24 hours of contractions? ZERO. That's right, none. I was beyond frustrated. The nurse said I was probably experiencing a prolonged pre-labor, and it could be days before it turned into real labor. No way to know. She offered to give me a shot for the pain so I could go home and sleep, but I didn't want it. I wanted to be in labor! Since I was there, they hooked up a monitor to track the baby's heartbeat. That gave them pause. She wasn't quite sounding like they wanted her to. D and the nurse both tried to explain it to me, but the only thing that has really stuck was that it was dipping in places that it shouldn't have been. There are times they expect it to, and it wasn't following the right pattern. So they decided to keep me for an hour and keep monitoring, and then go from there. So we just hung out there in the little triage area and chatted, and I generally groused about my body really not getting the memo on this whole thing. After an hour (and change, the monitor had been out of place for awhile) the decision was made to admit me after all. Neither the nurses or my OB (who had been called) felt comfortable with the idea of sending me home when they knew the baby's heartbeat wasn't "normal."

At that point, we sent D home. It was just silly for her to sit there and not sleep when it was obvious that even though everything was going to be done to kick my labor into reality, it was going to take quite awhile. I was set up with an IV and saline to try to get me as hydrated as possible and see if that helped, and then Charles and I spent some time pacing up and down the hallway to do our part to get things moving. Walking is supposed to help, but when you can't go beyond the reach of the wireless monitors without being chased down by a nurse it gets very boring very fast. At about 3:30 am I started to get kinda light-headed so we nixed the walking. I was really tired, I wasn't allowed to eat solid food, and I still wasn't getting anywhere. So they started a drip of oxytocin and I settled in to try to get some sleep. I think I got a few one-hour naps in there in between being woken either by nurses or by contractions that were finally painful enough to keep me awake.

I think I gave up on sleep around 7:30 am. My OB was due to come check on me at 10 am. I chatted with a bunch of people via text, was generally frustrated that I was still only 2 cm, and waited. I think the oxytocin drip was turned up a bit at some point. My OB showed up and decided to break my water to kick things into gear. That was... remarkably unpleasant. I was still only 3 cm at that point, and I guess the usual water-breaking tool (looked like a crochet hook, seriously) wasn't able to get where it needed to be. So she used some kind of scalpel-in-a-tube thingy, and some portion of either it or her ring (or a combination of the two) caught some of my skin and it *really* hurt. Fortunately just as I started to protest that something was wrong I felt the warm gush that meant the job had been done. (Very weird feeling, by the way. Generally speaking you should be concerned when you start leaking fluid at a rate like that.) My OB left to go take her usual Sunday walk, and asked that I please wait for her to be finished before delivering. As this whole thing had dragged on FOREVER I assured her that she had plenty of time. Oh, Murphy...

Almost immediately my contractions went to 2.5 minutes apart, and they were getting strong. My original hope had been that with a second labor everything would go faster and I'd be up to making it through without any pain killers, but this experience had pretty much been the opposite. So I caved and agreed to an epidural when the nurse asked me if I wanted one. She was really nice, she knew I was trying to make it through without, but I was just so tired. I think the anesthesiologist showed up at about 10:30, and they got the epidural placed with little fuss. The nurse did make Charles sit down, which was funny. They won't allow non-medical personnel to stand during the procedure in case someone faints. ;) My thighs got a little fuzzy-feeling, and for awhile I was only feeling half of my contractions. As in, only on my right side. My left side was numb. Now THAT was bizarre. I told the nurse, and she suggested that I roll onto my other side and see if the medicine would flow in the other direction and correct it. Sadly, that just made it stop working, as far as I could tell. It might have been taking the edge off.

Charles had let [livejournal.com profile] shofixti and D know that things were finally really moving along, and they both showed up to check in and see how things were going. I have no idea when, but somewhere in there I had kind of a maudlin moment. I really missed C4, it felt like forever since I'd last seen him, and it was obviously going to be forever before I was out of this stupid hospital. It passed, but it didn't help my overall mood by much. By noon I had finally hit 5 cm. Yay, halfway! As it was lunchtime for everyone but me, there was a lot of coming and going. D went to see how all of our children were faring at a birthday party that was happening, and the guys had some fast food in shifts. They were being polite and not eating it in front of me. :) Charles came back from his lunch break and [livejournal.com profile] shofixti went out to use the bathroom down the corridor. Turns out it was good there wasn't a line. All of a sudden, everything changed. I had one really strong contraction, like, gripping the side rail of the bed for my life and crying, and then a couple minutes later another one that came with the intense need to PUSH. NOW. I hollered at Charles to call the nurse. He hit the call button, and I'm not sure he really even needed to say anything. The chipper voice asking "What do you need?" was met with my resounding bellow, and they probably got the memo.

Within moments the room was full of people. I didn't see any of them, my eyes were firmly shut for the next six minutes. I say six minutes because that was all it took. Charles sent a text to D that it was time while the nurse checked me, and responded that indeed, I did want to push. She tried really hard to convince me not to while we waited for my doctor. Yeah, not so much. I did try. I did the blowing thing they tell you to do. Turns out that the biological reward for making it through contractions is that pushing feels AMAZING. Not pushing SUCKS. Guess which one I did? So I pushed twice, and my nurse delivered the baby's head. Some random doctor from the hallway managed to be there to deliver the rest of her body, and my OB showed up in time to stitch me up afterwards. I don't even think she dealt with the placenta, I think the random doctor did that part. I just know that I didn't open my eyes again until my nurse said "You did it, look!" And I did, and there she was. And wow, did I feel better. :)

IMG_3759
Picture by [livejournal.com profile] shofixti

For the record, [livejournal.com profile] shofixti did make it back from the bathroom in time for the important part. He apparently walked up as a nurse poked her head out of the door to locate Random Doctor. That was his clue to walk a little faster. ;) Poor D came in about 10 minutes too late. I felt a bit bad about that, but certainly not bad enough to think I could have done anything differently. When it's time, it's time!


So there you have it. Clara Elizabeth Smith, born 4/27/14 at 12:54 pm, 6 lbs 6 oz (thank you for being tiny!), 20 inches long. All fingers and toes accounted for. We stayed one night in the hospital and managed to be discharged at 3 pm on the 28th. I don't regret it a bit, I really did get more sleep at home.

IMG_3763
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Hallie Smith

November 2016

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