Last week I was preparing myself for a long week of post-due-date pregnancy. I had a case of the sniffles and sneezes, and was still having lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, which were no longer exciting in the slightest.
Then Sunday came along, and I started feeling contractions that were a little bit different than the ones that had preceded them. Only a few here and there, but they were definitely more uncomfortable than the BH ones I had been experiencing the previous weeks. I stayed home from church along with my parents who also seemed to have come down with colds as well. We celebrated my Dad’s birthday that evening with salmon for dinner, and an amazing chocolate cake. I didn’t have a second piece, because I was sure I would get to have a second the next day before it was all gone. Bryce and I put in my Christmas gift movie “How Do You Know?” that evening, and we were both curious as to whether or not these contractions were the real deal. For the record, the movie was kind of strange, but entertaining nonetheless. A good early labor movie. By the end of the movie I was convinced it was time to pack my share of the hospital bag, something I had been procrastinating for weeks.
I was planning on being able to sleep for at least a few hours through the contractions, but the bed seemed to be the most uncomfortable place to be. After probably less than an hour I realized I wasn’t going to be sleeping that night. So I got our balance ball, the ipad contraction timer app, water bottle, and ipod. . .and I bounced on that balance ball ALL. NIGHT. LONG. At about 6 AM I woke Bryce up and asked him if he wanted to go have a baby. His enthusiasm was less than I hoped for (he only got about 3 hours of sleep) but we called the hospital, gathered our stuff, and were on our way. I was nervous that they were going to send us home, because even though I had been having 45+ second contractions anywhere from 3-6 minutes apart for at least six hours, I wasn’t dying of pain as I sort of expected to be? Lucky for me, the nurse measured me at between 4 and 5 cm dilated upon arrival. We were admitted, and I got back on a balance ball. Around 9 AM the nurse came in to do blood work and to put in my IV, in case of an emergency. Those who know me know that I have little veins, like really really little. I knew getting an IV was going to stink big time. She tried and failed twice, then got another nurse who also tried twice, but succeeded the second time. Then she tried to draw blood for testing and failed, so THE lab guy came in (meaning all he does is draw and test people’s blood) and it took him three more pokes to get a vein. So. . .after 45 minutes in the bed (my least favorite place) I had eight holes in my hands and arms and blood on my hospital gown. That was the queasiest Bryce got during the whole birth experience.
I got back on the balance ball and bounced away.
At noon-thirty my doctor came in to check on me. After six more hours of labor I had only dilated a couple more cm, now around 6-7. She broke my water to get things moving a bit more quickly, and boy oh boy does breaking your water make contractions more intense. After about 3 or 4 more contractions I told Bryce I was getting an epidural. Lucky for me, the anesthesiologist had just gone into the OR for a c-section. So I got a dose of fentanyl in the meantime to take the “edge” off. I’m not sure how much time passed, but I must have looked to be enduring more intense pain during contractions because my nurse left to “light a fire” and almost immediately the anesthesiologist was there prepping my epidural. I’ll admit that I didn’t love the feeling of being numb from the waist down and being constrained to the bed, but it was much more enjoyable than the other option. Having not slept for nearly 36 hours, I was able to sleep for about an hour. My body continued to shake somewhat uncontrollably, but the nurse assured me it was a good sign that my body was working hard. I think some of it was nerves, too, since the idea that my baby girl was so close to being born sort of blew my mind. I was dilated to a 10 for at least an hour before we decided to try pushing because baby was doing fine and slowly working her way down on her own with each contraction. Apparently I did really well at pushing, considering I couldn’t really feel anything, even pressure like they suggested I should. Bryce did great at encouraging me and helping the nurse. After about 45 minutes, I got a small episiotomy, and little Natalie Rose was brought into the world at 4:48 PM.
Needless to say, I didn’t get a second piece of birthday cake. That’s okay with me, though.
She was placed right on my chest immediately. Everything from that point on is somewhat of a blur, but I remember she smelled pretty funky, her cry was precious, and she seemed to know I was her mother, so that was nice.
The hospital stay went well, and after being home for a few days I’m feeling nearly back to normal. It’s amazing how much she’s changed already.
Her first week in the world has been pretty awesome – minus the whole no sleep thing. Some of my favorite things about her so far are her goofy smiles after nursing, the fact she loves snuggling (especially right on momma’s chest with her bum in my hands), the fact that she’s a quadruple sneezer (four in a row, nearly every time), and her super soft baby head of hair.