Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Charlotte Mae's Birth Story

Fair warning- this is super long! I just wanted to write down every detail so I had the record of it.
With this pregnancy, I was kind of expecting the same sort of long drawn-out labor that I had with Hayden. However, things went quite differently this time around! On New Year's Day we travelled back from a mini-vacation in Carmel. We were both a little nervous that night because Hayden had been acting normally all day and then got really quiet and ended up having a random fever that night when we put him down.  He's been sick enough that I'm usually not worried about every fever but for some reason I was super concerned.  
That night, all night long, I had contractions that were irregular in length and intensity. Some were 10 minutes apart, some were 3 minutes apart. They were painful enough that I couldn't sleep thru them but not painful enough to consider going to the hospital. Plus we were 16  days from Baby Girl's due date so I didn't think she'd be that early. Eventually they tapered off and around 4:30, I was able to get some sleep. When Hayden got up, his fever was down but he definitely wasn't feeling good and had thrown up twice that morning and fallen to sleep on my contracting tummy in my bed (so unusual for him). So, I was preoccupied with him. I figured that if I was in labor, it seemed like it would be the same as his and I would have contractions off and on for the next 5 days so I wasn't getting my hopes up that she'd be here any time soon.  The rest of the weekend passed with no contraction action. 
On Monday morning, I made an appointment with Hayden's pediatrician because he was still not feeling well- his cough and general sickness had been going on since Thanksgiving pretty much and I just wanted to make sure it wasn't too serious. He told us that Hayden had a sinus infection and prescribed antibiotics for him so that he would finally get better. His doctor also took one look at my giant belly and said, I'll see you next week for the other one. For some reason this really buoyed my spirits because even if baby wasn't coming this week, she would be here so soon.  
On Monday afternoon, Hayden, Nick and I went to my 38 week OB appointment. She asked how I was feeling and I said, "Really ready not to be pregnant any more!" I told her about the contractions but said that my experience with Hayden suggested that they weren't doing much for my body just yet. However, after a check, she was like, "Actually, you're 4 cm dilated.... and this baby will probably be here in the next day or two!" I was really shocked, not expecting this at all. She cautioned us not to wait too long to go to the hospital because this baby was going to come really fast when she did arrive. I was a little skeptical, thinking she might just be trying to make me feel better about the whole thing. The last thing she said was that she didn't expect to see me at my 39 week check-up because I'd already have the baby by then.  
I was excited- Nick was freaked out! The nursery hasn't been finished and we couldn't even walk in there. He had a lot of last minute home projects to tie up before her birth, plus Hayden was sick, etc. etc. Also, he just went back to work that day after 2 weeks off so he was trying to catch up with things there.  
That night, we went over to his grandma's house for dinner and I was having some mild contractions from the OB check, but nothing serious. I went to bed that night with no contractions. 
Tuesday morning, I took Hayden to preschool and ran some errands, then came home and cleaned my house, caught up on a bunch of work, did all our laundry, and packed up the last of the hospital bag. Around 12, I started having contractions again. They were 4-8 minutes apart and medium strength. I thought this could maybe maybe be it, but was still not really. I decided to take a shower and do my hair (as you do when you're in labor), just incase we were headed to the hospital and it would be my last nice shower for a while. Anyway, I got all the way ready and my contractions were fairly strong, but not terrible. I debated going to pick up Hayden from school and then decided against driving through contractions and called Nick. When he answered, he was like,"It's time isn't it? I'm leaving now." I didn't want to be the boy that cried wolf so I kept saying I'm not sure but maybe.  I called the doctor's office, told them what was going on and they said to go ahead to the hospital and the doctor would meet us there. 
Nick and I made a plan to go together to pick up Hayden (though I waited in the car) and then drop him off at my mother-in-law's school which is right down the street from the hospital. I texted my mom on the way, who was going to be meeting us at the hospital to be there for the birth. 
The whole time we were driving, my contractions were getting worse and were consistently 5 minutes apart. When we got to the hospital, they checked us right into a room instead of having us wait in triage for a check to make sure I was in labor. Even at this point, I still couldn't believe this was the real deal. I felt sure we'd be sent home a few times, just like with Hayden. 
My mom showed up and I was hooked up to the monitors to see how the contractions were doing. When the nurse checked me, she said I was only about 4.5 cm dilated so I still had a ways to go. She asked if I was planning on having an epidural. Nick and I had talked about it and decided that I would try to do it naturally, but if I felt like I couldn't handle it anymore, then I would end up getting the epidural. So they started an IV line but capped it. 
After being in bed for about an hour being monitored, the contractions were about 2 -3 minutes apart and were still intense but not unbearable. I was able to breath through them and then talk  through them. When the nurse came in again, I asked for the wireless monitors so that we could walk around and try to get things moving. She had the worst time trying to get them to work and stay on my belly and it took her a good 45 minutes to get everything working. I started getting ready to walk around and the contractions got super intense. I didn't even make it past the end of the bed. For another hour, I sat there with my mom pushing on my back and squeezing Nick's hand. The contractions were so strong and I was having a lot of trouble breathing through them.  
The nurse set up the whole cart for delivery and she was like, you're definitely in active labor now. She did another check since it had been 2 hours since the first one and she sadly reported that I was  only 5 cm. At this point, I was in so much pain that I said I wanted the epidural. It looked like it would be a long road toward delivery at this rate.  
They were able to get the anesthesiologist into the room in about 10 minutes and by 6:50pm, I was feeling the full effects of the epidural. At 7:10, the doctor came in and checked my progress. I expected to still be around 5, but I was already 9 cm. While she was checking, my water broke. She told me that I would probably be ready to deliver in the next 2 hours.  
Not 5 minutes after she left the room, I started shivering. My mom asked if I was cold, and the nurse in the room said I probably had just dilated to 10 cm. I guess you can get shivery right before you are ready to deliver. She did a check and said I was definitely 10 cm. I couldn't believe how fast everything was going. She went to let the doctor know that she needed to come back into the room. While she was gone for a couple minutes, I started to feel the pressure that meant it was time to push. 
When the nurse came back in, she and another nurse got the stirrups up and told me how to push. My mom and Nick were each on one side of me, holding the back of my legs. The nurses had me do one practice push and then told me to stop really quickly since the head was already come out. I was waiting there for a minute when the doctor rushed in. She saw the situation and said, "I don't know if I can get my gloves on fast enough!" She was putting on her gloves and she was like, "Are you pushing?!" I wasn't, but Miss Charlotte decided she was ready to come out on her own. Luckily the doctor had time to position herself to catch the baby. That was it- half a push and she was here.  
They put her on my chest for a a few seconds and then took her away because she hadn't started crying. Once they cleared out her mouth, she gave a healthy cry and the nurses spent a few minutes drying her off and cleaning out her airways.
The whole experience happened so unbelievably fast. I couldn't believe that she was born just a few hours after we arrived at the hospital. 
We stayed for two days at the hospital. Since Charlotte was a little small for her gestational age (38 weeks, 4 days) they had to check her blood sugar for the first 24 hours of life to make sure she was getting enough nutrients. I also ended up getting pretty nauseous while recovering and had to be given anti-nausea medication in an IV so that I could keep some food down. But other than those minor things, we were both healthy and able to leave on Thursday afternoon. 

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