At first, I was giving myself a little time off thinking " Everyone will understand! I just had a baby!". And then I think the idea of sitting down and writing out the WHOLE story looked a little daunting. And of course there was also the fact that probably only a handful of readers will actually be interested in all the tiny details, and probably only a fraction of those would actually have the time to read the entire thing! And even after I had overcome those obstacles and determined to just sit down and do it, my lazy nature set in and put it off for Monday. How about Tuesday? For sure Wednesday! Nevertheless, here I am. And here's my first novel ( otherwise known as "My birth Story"). I recommend that you pour yourself a cup of coffee ( or even better, Earl Grey tea!), grab a blanket and get comfortable!
So, for those of you who don't remember, I've never gone early. I've continued to get later and later with each birth. My sister is getting married on February 13 and I am the matron of honor, so I was desperately hoping that this little one wouldn't come too late so that I would have some hope of wearing a dress that didn't look too much like a maternity gown! Also, by the end, I CAN NOT WAIT to meet my baby. My poor husband had the same conversation with me about 100 times day for the last month about how excited I was for the baby to come and how ready I was for labor to start. He endured graciously.
I did everything I could to naturally encourage labor. Don't ask, I did it all! People kept telling me "Walk! That always brings on labor." Believe me. I walked. I walked 39 miles in the fifteen days before I went into labor. I figured that God must be laughing at how I often I told Him how a specific day would be a perfect time for Baby to come. I was reminded once again how God really does have a better idea of perfect timing than I do!
I was due on January 21. On the morning of January 16 there was a small shower planned for Mary. It was a blast! When I came home, I felt funny. I can not describe at all what I mean by that. Pretty much, I knew it was almost time. No contractions, just a feeling. I went for one more 1 mile walk, took a short nap and then started to make dinner.
(WARNING!!! Graphic content ahead! Okay, nothing too graphic. Just slightly tmi)
As I was putting the meatballs in the oven ( Wow those were good meatballs! I'm hungry!), I felt a slight dripping. No gushing, just dripping. I was confused! Only once have I had my water break previous to labor starting, but it was very obvious! I then tried to convince my husband that yes, I think (maybe, sort of, pretty sure...) my water had broken and that he should probably make plans for someone else to lead the worship service the next morning. I didn't take long for me to be about 99.7% sure that my water had indeed broken so I gave my midwife a call to see what I should do. She advised me to wait it out at home for the night to see if anything picked up, and then to come to the hospital in the morning if nothing happened. All night I had contractions every half hour to forty-five minutes apart. Nothing too serious.
After a sketchy night's sleep, we picked up Mary in the morning, grabbed some Earl Grey Lattes on the way (Note: David drank coffee! I would hate to give him a bad reputation!) and headed for one of my favorite getaways (a.k.a. the Silverton Family Birth Center)! When we got there, they checked me and said I was at 3cm, group b strep positive and posterior. Not incredibly encouraging considering I was at 2cm the week before and I hadn't been told I was group b strep positive. Because my water had been broken for fourteen hours, they never considered sending me home (which is always one of my greatest fears!). I was very thankful for that!
So we walked. My one complaint about this hospital. Because it is so small, you feel like you are wearing a path in the carpet as you walk the same path over and over and over. But still nothing picked up. A contraction here and there, but nothing to really take notice of. We soon came to the conclusion that the dreaded pitocin would be needed if we wanted this baby to come sometime in the next week.
Before they started that though, they wanted to give a dose of penicillin for the group b strep. Now I have always been a person who just checks "No" "No" "No" "No" on those medical forms where they want to know your allergies and medical history. I even joked as I was filling it out that I almost put "No" for weight. It became apparent quite quickly though that I have an allergy that I never knew about. Only a few minutes after the penicillin was injected I began to itch. I didn't think much of it at first. Then I began to really itch! Everywhere. From my feet to the top of my head. Also my ears felt like they were three times their natural size. Oh, and David said my face was bright red. Also I had tiny bumps that looked like bug bites all over my arms and legs. It was actually pretty cool! I called my midwife in, told her that I thought I might be allergic. It took her about half a second to believe me and have the whole IV unhooked. From that time until I left the hospital I got to wear this fashionable red bracelet that read "Allergy Alert!!!".
I couldn't believe how quickly everything vanished ( every single bump!) as soon as I was unhooked and given a small dose of Benedryl. They were able to find a different antibiotic that didn't make my body want to explode so that was good. Finally around 1:00 in the afternoon they started me on pitocin. After not having to be on it with Havilah's birth I was really hoping to do without again. By this time though, I was all for getting something going so that I could finally hold my baby!
My body responds very well to pitocin. I have a friend with whom it takes forever for the pitocin to kick her body into gear. Not so with me. As soon as it begins to drip, my contractions come fast and hard. It didn't take long for me to have to start breathing through them. Mary was fabulous at this point (really she was the whole time!). She has such a sweet and calming nature. She rubbed my back for I don't know how long while I sat on the birthing ball. With her rubbing my back and David holding my head, it was actually pretty nice for awhile. And then nothing was pretty nice for awhile. It got quite intense. Those of you who have been there know what I mean.
At 4:00 my midwife checked me. I was at 5 cm. She was so positive and encouraging. It really didn't work. I am almost always at a 5 when I first get to the hospital. Feeling like I'm almost at the end of my ability to cope and finding out that I'm basically at the beginning was not a good feeling. I wanted to just quit, but somehow the fact that I couldn't quit was good incentive to keep going. And besides, I was ready to meet my baby!!!
I labored for another 30 to 40 minutes. By then my body was so tense and exhausted that I couldn't relax at all between contractions. I asked to get in the jacuzzi which my nurse promptly got ready for me. Did I mention that I had the most amazing nurse ever? Her name was Vickianne and we all loved her!
After about 10 seconds in the jacuzzi I felt completely relaxed. For about 3 seconds. That was quickly followed by the overwhelming sensation to push. After trying very hard to fight it off for two contractions I told my midwife that I really felt like I needed to push, but "I knew I wasn't ready". She told me to get out of the tub so she could check me because " I think you're closer than you think.". I desperately told Mary as I struggled out of the tub, "Pray that this is it or that it lets up, because I can't keep going like this!".
I barely made it to the bed before another contraction hit and I couldn't keep from pushing. "It's crowning!" my midwife said, followed right away by another half push and she was out. Completely! I WAS IN SHOCK!!! I expected hours more of labor and suddenly I was holding my baby! I'd gone from 5cm to delivery in one hour, unheard of for me! Mary and I cried, David beamed and even our nurse was praising the Lord with us! Our fourth precious little girl was placed right away in my arms and I was in absolute awe of the goodness of my God. What a perfect little treasure she was (and is!).
I'll write more soon to let you know who our sweet Ella is. For now I'll just say that she is an absolute treasure. One o f the most perfect creations I've ever seen.
We had a wonderful time in the hospital, introducing Ella to her family and dear friends. I'm so thankful to be home now though and enjoying life with our new and improved family. If you read all of this, I applaud you and I award you with the "Super, Fabulous and Amazing Blog Reader Award" which unfortunately is just my admiration. Now hopefully I can get back to more easily digestible topics like "Getting Ready for a wedding" or " Days of 3 in diapers".
This is exactly how she came out. Two hands up by her face.