I made some super spicy enchiladas for dinner and kept thinking "this will either put me into labor or I'll have the worst heartburn tonight that'll keep me up again." After dinner Josh and I went for a long walk up and down those famous steep hills in Seattle. I told Josh I wanted to speed walk, so we were cruising and I'm sure I looked really funny waddling after my husband who was bounding up those hills.
We got home around 8:30 PM and I sat on our couch and got on the computer. Then at 9:00 PM I felt a gush of water leak out. I went to the bathroom and told Josh that I thought my water broke but wasn't sure. At my last appointment with the midwife she said if I ever thought my water broke to put a pad in my underwear and if it was soaked in fluid within an hour then it did indeed break. So I stuck a pad in there and not even 10 minutes later it was full.
But there was something definitely not right about the fluid because it was green (sorry if that grosses you out but this is after all a birth story). I thought that was so weird and knew if it was supposed to be that color someone would have said something. I took a picture of it and sent it to my mom and she said that my water did break and I needed to call the hospital. So I called them and said how my water broke and it was green and the nurse got real serious and said I needed to come in immediately because the baby had pooped meconium which can cause the baby to go into distress.
Keep in mind it was still 12 days before my due date and I was NOT prepared at all. The nursery wasn't done, our hospital bag wasn't packed, we hadn't washed any of her baby clothes (except her coming home outfit-thank goodness for that!). After I hung up with the nurse Josh and I started running around the apartment and throwing things into a duffle bag.
While we were packing I started getting some contractions, at first I barely noticed them but then they started getting longer and more intense. About 15 minutes later Josh and I were on the road heading to the hospital which is about 30 minutes away from our apartment.
When we arrived they put us in a little curtained room to monitor the contractions and see if I was being admitted or not. When the nurse arrived I told her my water broke, she asked if I was a first time mom and I said yes. Then she gave me this "Oh brother, you don't know what you're talking about then" look and asked how much fluid came out. At this point I dropped my pants and showed her my pad which was again saturated in green fluid. The nurse then said I was not leaving this hospital until I had my baby and checked me in. That's when another nurse came and took me to the labor and delivery room. By this time my contractions were 90 seconds long and 3 1/2 - 4 minutes apart. I could still talk through them so they really weren't that intense.
I got hooked up to an IV since I was GBS positive and needed antibiotics. Let me tell you, ouch. Those labor and delivery IVs aren't just a needle, they're literally a catheter stuck into your arm and I was not a fan.
After we settled in the nurse gave us the go ahead to walk around the hospital to try and get labor to progress. She also gave me permission to eat :) and said I could continue to do so until I'm in "active labor." (Notice how happy I am in the above pictures, this was when I scored my pain about a 2-2.5 out of 10, definitely not in active labor yet.)
Josh and I started to do some laps around the hospital floor and we even stopped by a vending machine to get some snacks. And boy, once I was walking and moving the contractions started getting a lot worse. About every minute I had to stop and close my eyes until the contraction passed. I practiced my hypno-breahting techniques which were actually pretty helpful and Josh was SO great at comforting me. He kept saying "You just have one more night to get through until Madelyn is here," "You're one contraction closer to bringing our baby into the world," it was all exactly what I needed to hear.
We continued to walk for about 30 minutes and by then I wanted to get checked because the contractions were starting to come on top of each other and I believed I was officially in active labor. When I got back they checked my progress and I was 4 centimeters dilated, 80% effaced, with contractions every 1 1/2 minutes and lasting 90 seconds. Yep, definitely active labor.
That's when the real fun began.
I hopped on my birthing ball and tried bouncing through contractions but it only made them come closer and they were starting to get really uncomfortable. Josh would rub my back and he let me squeeze his hand, I was so proud at how comforting he was. I tried picturing each contraction as a wave in the ocean that would rise and then wash over me. I wished I would have practiced the visualization techniques a little more before going into labor because I didn't feel ready and was having a hard time focusing.
By 5 AM they checked me again and I was 6 centimeters dilated and 95% effaced. They told me once I was completely effaced the contractions would get much more intense and it wouldn't be long now. I heard "much more intense" and wanted to cry. I was already so exhausted from not sleeping for now 2 nights straight and it took about one more contraction for me to beg Josh to get the nurse because I wanted that epidural.
Poor Josh didn't know what to do, I trained him for 9 months to tell me that I didn't need an epidural when I asked for one. I saw some hesitation and as I felt another contraction coming on I very sternly said, "Get me the drugs NOW!" Looking back that moment reminds me of the scene in What to Expect When You're Expecting when the woman in labor asks her husband for an epidural and he tells her she doesn't really want one and she says, "Get me the juice! And don't come back without it!" Yes, that moment was pretty similar to that one. So Josh ran over to the phone, paged the nurse, and explained that I wanted the epidural as soon as possible.
A few contractions later the anesthesiologist came in and he was quite grumpy. And man that epidural hurt! Seriously though, I thought the IV was uncomfortable - not even a close comparison. Of course he stuck me once and realized he wasn't in a very good spot so he stuck me again. And every time I said "Ow!" he replied that it wasn't that bad and to just breath. I wanted to tell him it obviously hurts when I'm focusing on that pain more than the contractions! But about 5 minutes later the epidural catheter was put in and within minutes I was completely numb from the waist down.
They warned me that epidurals don't get rid of the pain, only make it more bearable but that doctor really knew what he was doing (so maybe his grumpiness wasn't that big of a deal). I didn't feel one single thing until it was time to push. I kept having to look at the monitor to make sure I was still having contractions.
Now that I was drugged up Josh and I were able to rest a little, him more than me. I was so anxious and excited to meet Madelyn that I couldn't sleep. Josh on the other hand, well, just take a look for yourself . . .
|Josh enjoyed my epidural as much as I did.|
The next time the nurse came in around 8:30 I told her I felt like I needed to push, I opened my legs and she got really excited and said the baby's head was right there and she had made her way all the way down the birth canal on her own.
Within minutes she was paging the midwife and NICU (they had to be there since there was meconium in the amniotic fluid). By 8:50 AM I was pushing, and man that was tiring. I asked for a mirror to watch and at first it was so discouraging because after every push she would just go right back to where she was. They kept telling me I was making lots of progress and I wouldn't be pushing much longer and they were right.
Her head finally started coming out and I was so excited that I got this gust of energy and I just started to push and push even after the contraction stopped and then she came flying out which is probably why I tore in three places. (I only pushed for 45 minutes which is pretty good for a first time mom.) I started crying and I don't remember this part but Josh said I started saying over and over "My baby, my baby! Give me my baby!" and that's when he started to cry.
They kept telling me through my labor that if she didn't come out screaming then they'd have to take her away for a while because it meant she inhaled some meconium and would need immediate attention. But that moment when she came into the world she was screaming her head off.
Josh clamped the cord and the midwife placed her on me. It was one of the most emotional and beautiful experiences of my life. The moment I became a mother. There really is nothing like seeing your baby for the first time after they've been growing inside of you for 9 months. It's like you know them because they've been a part of you, but you haven't actually met them yet. It is so tender and powerful.
The hospital was really great and they let me hold her skin to skin for a whole hour before they took her measurements and weight. As you all probably know in my previous post she was 8 lbs 2 oz, quite bigger than anyone was predicting.
Overall my labor and delivery was an amazing experience. Throughout my whole pregnancy I kept praying and telling God that if I had an awful birth after the extremely difficult pregnancy I had then I would definitely not be having another child. Looks like he was listening because it really couldn't have been any better. Even the recovery has been much easier than I thought it would be.
Now here are some pictures Josh took in the hospital, I wish we would have gotten a photographer so he could have been in them, but either way I'm just glad we have some to remember that absolutely beautiful and perfect day.
|She looks so much like Josh as a baby in this picture.|
It's weird how I've spent my whole life being afraid of becoming a mother. Afraid of how different my body would be, that I wouldn't have any freedom, and that my life would never be the same. But from the moment Madelyn came into the world I just know that this is what I was born to do, to be a mother. It's amazing how natural and instinctive it all feels. My fears of inadequacy are gone and now all I want to do is take care of her, hold her, and kiss those soft cheeks. And I'm sure it helps that she truly is such a great baby, so calm and easy going - we really lucked out.
I feel so bad for being so scared and not trusting in God enough, because he obviously knows what he is doing and I'm so grateful that he is allowing me to raise such an extraordinary girl.
|Madelyn Elizabeth, my tiny miracle baby.|