I swear this isn’t going to be an all-birth/pregnancy-stories-all-the-time blog, but I’ve been revisiting things I wrote in the last weeks of my previous pregnancy and first weeks of being a parent. It’s what’s on my mind right now, so bare with me as I remember and share some of these stories.
M was due on 9/15. My midwife, Abby, was a bit concerned about the amount of amniotic fluid (I had too much). That along with a period of days with no midwife on-call at the hospital and already being dilated several cm prompted me to have my membranes stripped on 9/15 in the hopes of jump starting labor. We went into the office early on Friday morning for the procedure and came home, hoping to head to the hospital at anytime. By late afternoon, with not one contraction, we figured it wouldn’t happen. I returned to work on Monday, trying to work as much as possible in an attempt to extend my maternity leave to the holiday shut down in December. We returned to the midwife on the afternoon of 9/22 and decided to have my water broken the next day. An ultrasound said that “Baby D” was just over 8 pounds and the amniotic fluid had reduced to a more normal level. Abby tried stripping the membranes again, in the hopes of getting things started (it failed, again).
Saturday morning arrived and we went to iHop for a big breakfast. I was admitted to the hospital very close to our house in Toledo around 8:15 and we were lucky to get the birthing suite with the labor tub as we requested. We settled in while our nurse, Velma, asked all sorts of questions and took my vitals. I even requested for the TV to be on so we could watch college football – Michigan vs. Wisconsin (yes, I’m that much of an awesome wife)!
Abby broke my water at 10:15 AM and I was immediately happy this had not happened at home and that I was in a place equipped to deal with the mess. Mild contractions started within 15 minutes. I felt better while I was up and about so Mark and I spent a lot of time walking up and down the hallway of the labor and delivery ward, having mild contractions and hoping things would get moving. Every time I laid back down, contractions stopped. Around 12:30 I laid down and rolled to my right side and I was struck with severe light headed-ness and nausea. Mark helped me to the bathroom and I got sick and felt better, but realized I was very hungry. I had some crackers, jell-o and ginger ale to get my blood sugar back up. After I was feeling better, Velma filled the tub and I got in. It was very relaxing and the contractions, which had been getting stronger, felt so much easier but came faster in the warm water. After about 20 minutes in the warm water, I got the urge to push and things got moving.
Again, lying down on my back felt uncomfortable and stopped the contractions, so Mark helped support me as I semi-squatted and pushed while standing. Abby suggested that I labor on my knees and adjusted the bed so I could kneel on the end and support my upper body on the top of the bed. I was an odd position, but it worked very well for me. Contractions started coming faster and the pushing, while it hurt, was not nearly as bad as I expected. Mark was great, getting me water when I needed it, keeping a cold washcloth on my neck and encouraging me to keep going. Abby was great, explaining to me what was happening and what I needed to do. After about 30 minutes, Baby D started to crown and I lost my will to go drug-free, saying “I can’t do this” and “This needs to be over”. The pain was intense, but between contractions was all calm. Abby, Velma & Mark were all very positive and encouraging as I proceeded. Abby worked me through the crowing and I felt the head come out. Two pushes later and I heard Mark say “it’s a girl!”. It was 3:03 PM. I was shaking and disoriented as they placed M on the bed between my arms. I was scared to hold her as my hands were shaking and my arms were half-asleep from leaning on them. Mark helped wipe her down and he cut the cord. Velma and Mark took her to the warming table while Abby helped my turn over and lie down. I started shaking again and Velma brought me M. I was overwhelmed – tired and excited all at once. I couldn’t believe I had just birthed this little baby, all without any drugs and it happened so fast. It all seemed a blur.
All of a sudden I felt the need to push again and out came the placenta. Velma and Mark took M to weigh her while Abby gave me three stitches. They brought me M and I tried nursing but she wouldn’t latch on. She finally did but only stayed on for a short time. Mark, M and I hung out for awhile while we continued to try to nurse. Mark made phone calls to family and friends announcing the news and we just kept staring at this tiny baby, who weighed in at 7 lbs 1 oz.
About an hour and a half after the birth M and I were wheeled down to the postpartum rooms. M went to the nursery with Mark for her first bath and I went to the room. I settled into the room, took a shower and tuned into the OSU game while the nurse brought me dinner. Mark came back and M followed about 30 minutes later, after being under the warmer post-bath.
My parents, who were at a BGSU football game, came to meet their granddaughter and stayed for a short time. That night, Mark stayed at the hospital with me after running home to let Mac out. Although I had been adamant pre-birth that M stay in my room all night, I finally did have a nurse take her down to the nursery since every tiny move and noise she made kept me awake. Other then being a little tired I was fine – no pain or anything and M became a champion nurser in no time. My sister and brother visited the next day and we all just sat around the small hospital room chatting and staring at M. I insisted Mark go home that night so he would get one last night of good sleep while I again sent M to the nursery and a nurse brought her to me for feedings.
The next morning, exactly 48 hours after my water was broken we arrived home as a family of 3.