Okay, so I know this is a long time coming, but I've been dreading sitting down to write this because I know that I've forgotten so much already! I'm going to do my best trying to remember how things went down and I'm going to vow that with my NEXT baby (in a few years), the first thing I will do when I get home from the hospital will be to document the birth.
Anyway....May 21, 2007
I had had a pretty non-eventful, textbook pregnancy with Penn. Things were actually going really well for me. Morning sickness was minimal and aside from the 50 pounds I gained and my hugely swollen legs and feet, I really felt great throughout my entire pregnancy. As I made it to the final weeks, I was progressing. I'm not sure how much and when but I was dilating about a centimeter a week from 37 weeks on.
On this particular check-up about three days from my due date, the doctor took one quick look (or grimace) at my "telephone poles (aka legs)" and swollen hands, and we were given the option head to the hospital to be induced as soon as a bed was available. At that point, I was three centimeters dilated and completely effaced, but I hadn't noticed any contractions. Pack and I both agreed to that (it was hard not to at that point), and immediately looked at each other thinking, "What the heck are we doing...we don't have a clue!"
There were no beds available at the hospital right then so we went home and waited on them to call us. I swept and nested like a mad woman! Finally, we got the call to be at the hospital at 7 to spend the night and try to "soften the cervix" before induction began at 6 the next morning. Holy cow! This is it!
I was so excited to get to the hospital! After getting our room, changing into a gown, answering dozens of questions, and getting the IV site ready (by far the worst part), I was ready to get some sleep. The doctor came in and inserted Cervidil to ripen my cervix. This part sucked. I was up all night feeling very uncomfortable and needing to constantly go to the bathroom. I was so happy to see five o'clock in the morning come!
May 22, 2007
I got up and put some make-up on and brushed my teeth and tried to look as good as I could for someone almost 10 months pregnant and in a hospital gown. The nurses came in right on time at 6 to begin the Pitocin drip. They also asked me if I was interested in having a doula present. Since I wanted to have a natural labor (as natural as induction gets), I said, "Yes!"
Roy (a female), the doula, came almost immediately/ She was a voice of reason and confidence when I needed it and I am so thankful that I was able to have her with me during my labor. As contractions got more and more intense after they broke my water at about 9 am, Roy constantly praised me and made me feel like I was handling labor like a champ. I really was enjoying the experience this far.
Also, my wonderful husband/coach was amazing. He was right by my side, scared out of his wits, but supporting me anyway! He was letting everyone know the updates and taking lots of pictures because he knew how important that was to me. When I think back to that day though, I picture him standing right beside the bed, head to head with me, telling me what a good job I was doing and asking how I was feeling. What a wonderful man!
I think the 10 o'clock hour is when things started getting rough for me. I kept setting 20 minute goals. I'll ask for the epidural in 20 minutes. Finally, Roy told me that if I thought I might want an epidural, it was not in my best interest to keep waiting because I may get to the point where they would let me have it and then I would be out of luck. This convinced me to go ahead and have it. By the time the nurses and anesthesiologists arrived to administer the medication, I was 5 or 6 centimeters (I think). Although I was terrified of having an epidural, it was no big deal and I was able to catch up on some rest that I hadn't gotten the previous night.
Roy still stayed with me, talking with my mom while I rested and labored. She would leave to go check the nurses' station and then come back to our room. At one point she came back a little excited and said, "Have they checked you recently?" I told her that it had been a couple of hours and at that point she suggested that I have a nurse check me again because the monitors at the nurses' station showed me having some pretty intense contrations that were right on top of one another. I really didn't feel any different, but they checked me anyway and by 12:30, I was at 10 centimeters. I thought Pack would faint!
What I never imagined was how quickly after those words come out their mouths that the room is transformed! My bed was being separated, the lights in the "baby area" were coming on, mirrors and lights were coming out of the walls, and they were trying to finagle my limp, fluid-filled legs into the stirrups without dragging me off the bed! I pushed several times before they went to go get the doctor. Meanwhile, A Baby Story is on in the background and everyone keeps getting a little side-tracked with HER delivery in between my contractions. The doctor arrived all gowned-up and ready to deliver a baby.
It is now about 1 o'clock in the afternoon. I push for so, so long, not having a clue what I was doing thanks to the epidural (doing it's job, I guess). The doctor says, "If I would have known you were going to take this long to get him out, I would have waited to come in!" Thanks, lady! Anyway, turns out, Penn is stuck and veering off the "traditional course," making it harder for me to get him out. Finally, after another hour and fifteen minutes, Penn was born squalling like a pterodactyl! It was 2:16 exactly when he was born.
The first thing I want is to hold my baby, but the doctor hands him off to a nurse who starts cleaning him up. My face in the background of his first pictures show me longing to hold him. I couldn't believe that I had just delivered that baby! As soon as I get him, I am amazed...AMAZED! What perfect little red lips, and beautiful, slick brown hair. My baby was THE most beautiful thing I had ever seen! After the finished delivering and "repairing" me, I was able to nurse Penn for the first time. He didn't really get it and as a matter of fact, didn't really start eating well until we were home from the hospital.
My doula, Roy had remembered the fifty millions times I had mentioned how bad I wanted a cold Diet Pepsi during the pushing phase and went and got me one to throw back as soon as the doctors had finished with me. It was obviously a shock to my system though because I instantly threw it up and very nearly threw up on my sweet little newborn. YIKES!
After two more nights in the hospital, we took our little baby boy home and kept falling in love. That was it...that one little day...eight hours...made me a mom and I am so thankful for that whole experience. When I remember Penn's birth, I actually get excited about doing it again! In fact, I was so excited about doing it again that I did...almost two years later, when my sweet Baby Jude was born, but I'll get to that another day:)
PS...Here's Penn's birth video for the experience in a nutshell:)