I got the birth I wanted!

Our 4th daughter was born on her due date, 3/16/2012 at 9:13pm.  Charlotte Claire weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds and is 20 inches long.  She has chubby, chubby cheeks, her sister’s hands and her daddy’s feet.  Lots of hair, but not as much as A had when she was born.  I haven’t had much time to get behind the camera, but I’ll be posting a few pics once I have an opportunity to photograph her.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the last 24 hours.

As you all know, I’d been walking around for quite some time with a more than ready cervix. My regular doc was on vacation this week, so my 40 week appointment was scheduled on Thursday with the midwife, Lori.  I presented at 5 cms dilated, 75-80% effaced with a bulging bag of water.  Baby was still at a -3 station.  My doc was going to require me to be induced on Wednesday, 5 days past my due date but I opted to schedule the induction for Monday morning instead.  I’d done just about everything I could think of to encourage C to come on her own and felt that if she hadn’t made her appearance by Monday, waiting until Wednesday wasn’t going to change anything.  So I went home, feeling defeated, like my uterus was broken in some way.  Even Lori couldn’t believe I still hadn’t gone into labor on my own and could offer no explanation as to why.  I did have her do another membrane sweep as my one final effort to encourage labor on its own.

My mother in law had offered to take A for a few hours after her nap which was awesome.  I’d asked the Hubs to come home after my appointment because I was feeling some pretty intense cramping/contractions after my internal exam and membrane sweep.  I wasn’t sure if anything was happening, but I knew I felt off and would be more comfortable/relaxed having him at home.  We were scheduled to meet his family for dinner around 6pm anyways to celebrate Aunt D’s birthday.  I rested, we went for a walk and since it was so pretty outside, headed to Starbucks for a latte.  My patience had been non-existent for several days and dinner was no different.  I’m so thankful for a husband and family members that love my child and step in to help out.  Dinner seemed to take forever and A was getting antsy, but we made it through.  We got home and put A to bed…me reading several books to her and everything.  I was able to fall asleep but woke up around 1ish on Thursday morning.  I just couldn’t seem to sleep so I headed out to the couch with Erika and we watched bad tv together.  Well, she slept, soundly, and I watched bad tv. I headed back to bed around 4 only to awaken around 4:30 to some pretty intense contractions.  The contractions weren’t new, but they were definitely more intense than anything else I’d felt up to that point and were coming at fairly regular intervals…4-5 minutes lasting about 70-90 seconds.  I woke up Hubs and told him I was going to take a shower.  He jumped out of bed and basically ran to the bathroom.  I was like, “What are you doing?”  He thought I told HIM to take a shower.  I find it humourous he jumps out of bed from a dead sleep and follows my command.  Anyways, I took a shower and he starts packing.  Sigh.  I was convinced this would be another false alarm and he was making me antsy by getting so worked up and excited.  After my shower I told him I really wanted to try to sleep so he let me go back to bed.  The contractions were still coming, and still intense, but they were all over the place.  Sometimes 4 minutes apart, sometimes 10.  Some of them I felt in my back, some I felt just tightness and several felt like a sharp pain right in the middle of my abdomen.  By the time A woke up, and I had something else to focus on, they’d pretty much fizzled out and I.WAS.PISSED.  We went for a walk, I tried resting, I tried squats, I spent a lot of time in the bathroom feeling like I had to poop with nothing happening.  And I peed.  A lot.  Constantly.  Monica called from my doctor’s office confirming my induction date and time on Monday and while I had her on the phone I mentioned the early morning contractions I’d been having.  She basically told me to go in if I wanted, it was unlikely they’d send me home.  We made the decision to go ahead and head in.  I wasn’t about to spend the next 3 days completely wiped out from contractions that weren’t going anywhere.  I was done.  Hubs got A all packed (I have no clue how she may be dressed over the next few days) and my mother in law came over to pick her up.  I tried to tell her good-bye, but she was all too excited to go to grandma’s house.  I fought back tears as I hugged my only little girl good-bye for the last time.  We took our time, got a few last minute things packed, picked up a few things around the house, left the dishes and the laundry for my mom and headed out.  I wanted to get my car washed.  Don’t ask me why (it’s storming now, by the way) but it’s something I wanted done.  Then Hubs wanted lunch which was fine with me but I didn’t feel like eating.  Once in the car, I started to have some more contractions but they didn’t seem very intense.  After lunch we headed back home to pick up copies of my Medical Power of Attorney and Directive to Physician.  I’ve delivered twice before and I knew we needed these things, but STILL managed to forget them.  We finally arrived at the hospital around 2ish only to find a waiting line in Triage.  W.T.F.  First of all, I’ve never experienced Triage before, second of all, a wait?  Really?  I, of course, don’t look like the other people in triage.  One lady is pathetically hanging off a wheelchair and no, she can’t walk to the exam room when she’s asked.  She also has her 5 other kids with her.  The other lady is clearly dealing with some contractions and the 2 small bags they’re carrying make us look like a freak show.  I, on the other hand, am cracking jokes with my husband and we’re both a little bewildered by this whole Triage thing.  Anyways…get checked in only to have the nurse ask us, I sh*t you not, “What we’re here for?”  Now, let me clear up any confusion.  This is L&D Triage.  In the L&D wing.  Lady, I’m pretty sure we’re here because of the whole we think we’re having a baby thing.  I actually told the second nurse that asked me that I’d broken my toe.  That’s why I was there.  I mean really people.  Really.  So I’m hooked up to monitors and I’m actually showing some pretty nice contractions on my own and baby’s heart rate is really high.  I’m checked, still at a 5 and 80% effaced.  They call the doc on-call and to make a long story short, leave it up to me.  I can go home and wait it out, or head to L&D to have my water broken.  After several weeks of doctor’s visits, I knew I was either going to have my water broken for me or end up on a pitocin drip.

I chose to head to L&D.  I get checked in, IV line placed, blood pressure cuff attached.  Pulse ox monitor attached and monitors on my belly.  Damn it!  Here I am, completely attached to the bed and I haven’t even been induced yet!  I was determined though.  I didn’t want to be difficult, especially since my regular doc was out and the on-call doc certainly could have sent me home, but I really didn’t want this experience.  The on-call doc came in, and she was fantastic, as were my nurses.  Seriously, I keep having the best medical care.  She talked to me about my options, knew I wanted a low-intervention birth and was totally cool with it.  We agreed to break my water and let me labor on my own for a few hours.  If I didn’t make enough progress, we’d start a low dose of Pitocin and go from there.  I said great and out came the crochet hook.  This was around 5:30-5:45pm.  LOTS of fluid came out.  And I immediately felt a sense of pressure release.  They wanted me to stay in bed for about 20-30 minutes to give C time to come down a little.  They didn’t want all her fluid coming out.  After about 20 minutes, I was terribly uncomfortable and I needed to get out of the bed.  I paged my nurse to un-hook everything so I could use the bathroom.  Once I was done in the bathroom I found myself swaying with each contraction.  The idea of getting back into bed was appalling.  My nurse said she was going to check if we could do intermittent monitoring.  Yay!  I didn’t even have to ask for it!  I was free from everything except an IV drip.  And I was contracting.  A lot.  Heavily.  All on my own.  Hubs was watching the contractions on the monitor and I wasn’t getting a break in-between them at all.  It was intense, but I managed.  I had discussed my pain-relief options with my nurse before we broke my water.  I knew I didn’t want narcotics and told her how I wasn’t thrilled with my first delivery because I was so numb and so out of it.  My choice to have this conversation early proved to be a wise move.

My nurse was back at 6:30 to do the monitoring and at that point, I asked for the epidural.  May I just say, Hubs was awesome at talking me through each contraction.  He stroked my back, told me what a rock star I was.  I was able to sway/breath/moan through them but man, it sure did feel like I was being sawed in half.  I also had a towel between my legs and towards the end honestly couldn’t tell if I was peeing on it or if it was fluid leaking out.  Not sure I really cared.  It took a few minutes to get a read on the baby but once she got the information she needed, off the nurse went to find the anesthesiologist.  Not sure how long she was gone, not long, but it kind of felt like forever.  The anesthesiologist already knew my concerns and what I wanted when he walked in the room thanks to my earlier conversation with my nurse and it took him 7 minutes (from the time he walked in the door) to place my epidural.  Took a few minutes to start working but I was finally able to converse a few minutes after it was placed.  It was great, I still felt pressure, could move my legs and toes, but the intense pain wasn’t there.  It was about 7, our new nurse had just shown up (turns out, she was one of the nurses when I delivered A…how cool is that?) and she was getting briefed on our chart.  She checked me…holy crap, I was at 9 cms and 0 station.  People, I went from 5 and -3 to 9 and 0 in under 2 hours.  Without drugs.  No wonder it felt like she was going to cut me in half.  I got in bed and was finally able to relax a bit.  Hubs and I were supposed to get some rest, but we were both so shocked I’d progressed so quickly and that I’d made it that far unmedicated!  I was feeling a lot of pressure/pain in the back of my legs but I was hesitant to get any more meds as I didn’t want to be loopy, so I decided against pressing the little button for more drugs.  Then the shaking started.  It didn’t take long for our nurse to come in stating the monitors we’re showing signs the baby needed to be checked.  Sure enough, I was at 10 and a +1.  Doc was called and I was put into a froggy-type position to help bring C down even further.  Our nurse left to get everything needed for delivery and I asked for a mirror.  I sprung this one on the Hubs.  I wanted to see but didn’t really want to discuss with him how he felt.  I started pushing at 9pm.  Baby C arrived 13 minutes later and I was totally able to feel all the pressure I needed to push with each contraction.  I think I had maybe 6 contractions and she was out?  It was so amazing to watch her come out, to be aware of the feeling of her crowning and exiting my body.  The only people in our room were the doctor and 2 nurses.  It was calm, dim, quiet and absolutely amazing.  I was able to push myself up and watch as the doc suctioned her, clamped her cord and had Hubs cut the cord.  Then she was placed directly on my chest where she proceeded to not make a peep.  She just snuggled.  Kept her eyes closed.  I had a 2nd degree tear and required some stitching, but it was all done while the Hubs and I peered at this amazing new gift on my chest.  The doc seemed to take her time getting the placenta out and took her time on the stitches, which I apppreciate.  If you’re counting, my water was broken about 5:45 and she was born at 9:13.  Yes…it would seem subsequent labors move along much more quickly.  I held onto her for what seemed like forever, and finally relinquished her to the nurse to weigh her and clean her up a bit.  (I had to laugh at my nurse that wanted to clarify that I initially wanted C placed directly on my chest after she was born, goo and all.  Those were the words she used…lol.  But yes, I wanted her, goo and all, right away.)  So after she was weighed and cleaned up a bit, she was brought back to me and I nursed her.  She latched on right away and Hubs snapped a picture of it.  I love that picture, it shows me, looking like I actually have a clue as to what’s going on this time around.  Much different than with A when I look completely bewildered in most of those early photos.  As much complaining as I did about C not coming early, I will take the 40+ weeker any day.  She’s much bigger and stronger which has made nursing her a breeze.  She also just seems happier and more content, probably because she got to cook long enough.  Or maybe because my life is so different now compared to when I was pregnant with A.

My recovery has been amazing.  In a way, I feel that it has taken me slightly longer to heal, probably due to her size, but I’ve been much more comfortable than I was after having A.  I’ve also been a thousand times better emotionally.  So much so that it has me thinking I was probably dealing with some post-partum depression after having A and just didn’t know it.  I’ve only had a few crying episodes and I generally feel like myself.  C’s calm disposition has carried over from the hospital.  She’s a generally happy and calm baby.  She’s a pretty good sleeper too, so long as a good chunk of the night is spent with her in my lap while I sleep in the recliner.  We’ve been thrilled with A’s response to her new sister.  She was smitten in the hospital and seems to be adjusting well.  The biggest issue isn’t so much the baby as it is my time that is now heavily devoted to C.  Things overall are going well though.  I’m sure we’ll hit some speedbumps along the way, but so far so good.

Hubs went back to work on Monday, he’d taken 2 weeks off which was great family time.  He leaves town tomorrow.  I’m sad about it.  We had some stuff happen during the past 2 weeks, that I’ll no doubt write about at some point, and, well, let’s just say that nobody in this family wants him traveling.  I was on my own yesterday, managed to take both girls to the bank and grocery store.  And survived.  Then again this morning I was on my own to get everyone up, ready, dressed and out the door to drop A off at preschool.  Then, it being Tuesday and all, C and I headed to Target.  Since Hubs is headed out of town, my mom is coming to stay with me for a few days.  I’m actually looking forward to it.  Not only will the help be nice, but it will be nice to spend time with my mom that is longer than a few hours one evening after work.  Plus, she’ll most likely handle all the meals, do some laundry and insist I rest when I can.