I can't believe it, but its been three weeks since we met our little girl. She is so much fun and has made adjusting to life with a baby so easy. We just adore her...you should see Grant with her - it will melt you for sure. I thought I should get the blog caught up with pictures and stories and to do that I need to start back at the beginning with Edrie's birth...
40weeks! taken between contractions on Edrie's due date/birthday
I will start by saying that I was beginning to feel like I would be pregnant forever. I was beginning to just accept that as my fate and move on. Little did I know, this munchkin would be making her appearance right 'on time.' Sunday, September 11th I met a friend for breakfast and noticed I was having a few mild contractions. Nothing of note, but it made me happy to think my body was getting ready to deliver this baby. It was a hot day so Grant and I decided to spend the day on the Washougal River. As we drove up there, the contractions from earlier started to get a little more serious. We decided to see how things went and just head home early if necessary. Almost as soon as we arrived to our spot the contractions stopped. We spent the day eating a picnic lunch and lounging in the cool water. It was so dreamy. Lindsey met us up there and we talked about if the baby could feel the cold water and wondered when we would get to meet the person in the big belly. Grant skipped rocks and Olive accidentally tried her hand at swimming for the first time. After a full day in the sun we got in the car and headed home. Almost on cue - the contractions from the morning returned. They were pretty mild and continued through the evening. I didn't feel like eating much dinner and left the table to go upstairs and lie down for a bit. I think this was the first time I started to wonder if this was actually labor. I've had a few friends contract at night for a few nights before moving into active labor so I tried to remind myself that it could be awhile still.
Grant and I spent the rest of the night in bed watching tv to distract me from the contractions. We never timed them or anything, but realized that they were gradually increasing in intensity. Around 10pm Grant got ready for bed since he had to work in the morning. We considered calling the midwife, but decided to wait until things were more of a sure thing. I tried to get some sleep too, but had a hard time falling into a deep sleep. I kept waking up every so often for a contraction, I'd breathe through it and kind of fall back to sleep. By 2:30am I was lying there awake and decided to get up and do something to get my mind off the contractions. Our birthing class had recommended having a project to work on while in labor so you don't just sit there and wait for each contraction getting too caught up in how far apart, etc. My plan was to cook freezer meals, but I never had gotten the ingredients for what I wanted to make. Instead, I decided to work on a blanket for the baby I had started a few days before. Within a few minutes of pinning the fabric together I noticed that the contractions had stopped. I worked for a bit longer to see if they'd return, but they didn't. I knew I should try to sleep as much as I could in case they came back so at 3:30am I headed back to bed. The minute I laid down, they started back up. Something about lying down brought them on. They were more intense, but still something I could talk through. Between 3:30am and 5:30am I slept between contractions and quietly moaned through them. I should mention, now that I'm thinking of it, that I didn't ever use Hypnobabies while I labored. I needed to be loud and move and I had gotten out of the habit of practicing the hypnosis the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I did continue to listen to the positive pregnancy and birth affirmations and found them endlessly helpful. I remember many times having the familiar affirmations run through my head during a tough contraction.
Anyway, at 5:30am Grant's alarm went off for work. I told him I had been contracting all night and that I didn't know how things would progress but that I thought he should stay home to see. We went back to sleep for a few hours and I continued my cycle of sleeping and waking for contractions. I have no idea how far apart they were or how long they lasted - I was just going with them. I think around 7:30am Grant got up and made us breakfast. I spent the morning laboring in bed and in our room. I'd just lean over the bed and sway my hips for each one. They were completely manageable. At some point, we called the midwife to give her a report on how things were progressing. We had timed some contractions and I think they were still kind of random. Sometimes less than 5 minutes apart, sometimes longer. The midwife thought we were 'on the verge' of active labor and wanted us to keep her in the loop.
I spent the rest of the morning laboring around the house. I felt best when leaning over a counter or banister and moaning. Between contractions I felt fine - I helped Grant get our bags packed for the birth center. When those were all packed I asked him to clean out the car - Olive had puked in it a few days before and we'd cleaned most of it up, but there was a bit that needed scrubbing and I couldn't imagine bringing the baby home in a pukey car! He obliged and I just hung out making my way through one contraction at a time.
At some point, maybe 11am, I decided I wanted to walk outside. I was hoping it would move the contractions along. Grant and I walked up and down a little path near our house. I'm sure the whole neighborhood knew there was a woman in labor - I wasn't quiet. We walked slowly and when a contraction came we'd stop and I'd lean on Grant and moan. Moaning was SO my way of coping through the whole thing. There was a little uphill part of the path and I noticed that the contractions got more intense during that so we walked up and down that part a few times. Grant timed the contractions and after about 45 minutes, we decided to head inside so I could pee and get some water. Every time I sat on the toilet while I was in labor, my contractions got crazy intense. I remember almost wanting to avoid peeing. I specifically, remember that they were pretty intense that time when we came inside. I was really loud and they started coming pretty close together. They were anywhere from 1.5-3 minutes apart lasting 45seconds to 1.5 minutes. Grant called the midwife and she said it was time to come in. I remember being unsure. I really didn't want to be sent home. Looking back on it now, its funny because I was so obviously in active labor.
It was around 12:30pm that we headed to the birth center. The car ride wasn't my fav - it was hard for me to sit still during a contraction and all I could do to cope was moan. It was kind of a warm day and our car doesn't have A/C so the windows were down - I'm sure people thought I was nuts. Grant was an awesome driver and got us to the birth center fast and also got all our friends and family notified that we were heading in.
I remember being really self-conscious when I got to the birth center. I felt like everyone was looking at me. It was the first time that day that I considered how I was laboring, etc. I tried really hard to avoid that feeling getting to me, because I'd read about things like that stopping labor completely. I set myself up to lean on a dresser that faced a wall and put my back to the door - this way I was less aware of everyone in the room and more able to stay focused inward. Despite this, it took about a half hour of being at the birth center before my contractions returned. They returned full force with little to no breaks in between. My midwife made a comment about me not getting any breaks. I remember being proud that I was totally in control still and felt like I could handle even more. My midwives don't check dilation, so I have no idea how dilated my cervix was at this point and I'm grateful because I think it would have been easy for me to get caught up in the numbers.
Anyway, I really started to lose track of time at this point. I think it was about 2pm when I decided to try laboring in the water. I remember it feeling really really good at first, but then I just got so hot. They cooled the water down, but I was still SO hot. After an hour I got out to pee and again, sitting on the toilet made things much more intense. I stayed there for a while just rocking back and forth working my way through contractions. I'd still not describe contractions as painful, just incredibly intense and powerful. Definitely something you have to allow to take over and then its not so bad. I think if you were fighting against it, it would become a painful experience. As I sat on the toilet I started to feel like I wanted to push. I tried a few times and it felt really good. I think it was around that time that my water broke. It felt like a water balloon popped inside me and a huge gush came out into the toilet.
Around 3:30pm Dana suggested I get back into the tub if I wanted a water birth. She thought the birth was imminent and though I liked laboring on the toilet, I should get back in the tub if that is where I wanted baby to be born. I pushed for half an hour on my knees in the tub, before Grant got in with me and I leaned back on him to push. We tried that for another half hour before the midwife suggested trying something else. I wanted to go back on the toilet. I was SO hot in the water, I couldn't handle it. I think this is the point that the midwives started worrying about failure to progress. I was so in another place that I didn't sense it.
After a bit on the toilet everyone left me alone in the bathroom and I really started to push. I was using a bar in the shower to hang on and squat. It was probably 45minutes or an hour when the midwives noticed straight meconium on the floor of the shower. I think it was about 5:30pm and Dana asked me if she could check me, because she was concerned that the baby was breech. The meconium wasn't mixed with amniotic fluid so it is a sign that baby's butt is right at the cervix. I remember trying to process what a breech babe would mean as they helped me lay on the bed. Did this mean a c-section? Why wouldn't we have known? Dana was pretty sure she felt a baby booty and not a head. My other midwife specializes in breech births and she confirmed that baby was trying to come out butt first. We had some options. We could try for a vaginal breech delivery, but they are risky. Babies can get stuck and 1 in 100 die. Or we could go straight to the hospital for a c-section.
Everyone left Grant and I alone to try and make a decision. Remember I am fully dilated and contracting every minute or two at this point. It was SO hard to think clearly. I told Grant to make an educated decision and I was fine either way. He went to get more information about the risks and how the baby was doing. We were lucky in that our baby was always 'happy' - never had any concerning heart rate decelerations or anything. Somehow we decided to just go to the hospital. They called and let them know we were coming and we all headed out to the cars. In the parking lot, Grant stopped and asked me if I wanted to just try for a bit - we could go to the hospital if things got dangerous or I got too tired, but I was still doing well with lots of energy and the midwives assured us that the baby was handling labor well. Dramatically, we decided to go back in and try to get this baby out!
The rules were that I only could push for three hours and that I had to make significant progress every hour. The first hour - 6ish to 7 I made great progress - probably a few inches and baby was still doing great. After another 45 minutes Jesica checked and I hadn't made any further progress. I had been pushing with all my might while squatting and using Grant's leg as counter pressure. Jesica thought we should go to the hospital and we agreed. I remember being really scared of having surgery, but I felt at peace with the fact that I wasn't just going to get a c-section and assuming my body couldn't do something. We had tried and I was sure that this is what was necessary to bring a healthy baby into this world.
OMG! That ride to the hospital...once we decided for the c-section they told me to try not to push. I had been pushing for the better part of 4 hours and now I had to stop?? SO hard. This was, by far, the hardest part of labor for me. Grant drove, the midwife monitored me and baby and we did our best to get to the hospital as fast as we could. It was like something out of a movie - I was moaning and doing all I could to resist pushing - only being successful half the time - Grant was trying to keep us safe while driving and worrying about his wife and baby. When we got to the hospital they threw me in a wheelchair and I moaned while we rushed upstairs. Then things started happening real slowly. We thought they'd rush us in for a c-section...nope. They asked me a million questions while putting in IV's and once they realized baby was doing so great they let someone go to the OR before us. We ended up waiting an hour or more! I remember they kept telling me not to push and I kept saying...you have to get me an epidural if you don't want me to push! Finally they got the epidural in and I could relax. The only time I felt really tense all day was while they kept telling me not to push. It was just too hard to resist.
Eventually, they took us to the OR and Grant looked so hot in his scrubs. He was SO good and exactly what I needed that whole day. He was extremely present and encouraging. While they cut me open and took our baby we just looked at eachother and waited. Sad, but excited. At 10:33pm on our due date our baby was born! We asked the doctors to avoid announcing the sex of the baby, so he just held her up and Grant made the announcment. It took him a minute - the anesthesiologist kept saying, "I know what it is" and finally Grant surprisingly said "Its a GIRL!" I was SO surprised. I cried while Grant followed her to the warmer.
I could tell there was something wrong. They had announced her APGARS and they were good, but there was still some hubbub. The nurse came over and asked me if we had used a vacuum to try and extract her...umm NO we hadn't, why? Apparently, she had an abrasion on her butt. I know they didn't believe us, even after the surgeon assured them that it is common for breech babies to have bruised butts after pushing. She was fine and her butt cleared up in a few days.
They wrapped her all up and Grant brought her over to meet me. I just touched her face and couldn't believe SHE was here. She was rooting all over and I wanted to feed her SO bad. Eventually they got me all sewn up and I got to hold our little girl! So amazing. They wheeled us back to the recovery room. We thought our family would be in the waiting room, but as we turned the corner we saw them all there. The baby had a pink hat on so I assumed everyone caught on, but no one said anything. I announced, "It's a girl" and I felt like the whole room erupted. Brings tears to my eyes. It was an amazing moment. The surprise was SO good. Everyone crowded around to meet her - she was so very loved already.