Oct 30, 2012

Chapter 10: A Birth Story

It was Sunday, October 14. Rob was away at drill and I was finding ways to make myself productive. I had a list of things I wanted to do and I was ready to tackle all of them. I started first with a grocery store run and then just started checking things off my list. It was actually turning out to be a productive day and not one of those days where I want to be productive but aren't. Then my day slowed down dramatically. I noticed that I was feeling wet basically. As gross as it is, discharge is normal for pregnancy but I knew this wasn't normal. I wouldn't exactly say I was panicking, but there was some serious worry happening. Rob was gone. I had no idea what was going on. Was this my water breaking? Was this just pregnancy discharge I would have to live with for the next two weeks? Plus, I was three weeks early according to my due date, two weeks by my induction date. Or was all of this just in my head?

So I started looking at all the information I was given from this pregnancy. I looked in the books I had. I even looked online (which never seems like a good idea). All I knew was that this little problem was getting worse as the day went on. So finally I decided I would text Rob instead of call. I told him I would only call if I went into labor or the house was on fire, so I thought I would just text so I didn't panic him since I didn't know the problem yet. The only problem with me just texting him was my choice of words: 'Something's wrong.' Of course that worried him and he called as quickly as possible. I filled him in on the situation and we made the decision for me to call the on-call doctor and see what we should do. Meanwhile, he was hurrying out the door and heading home.

I found the nights/weekends number for the on-call doctor and with shaking hands dialed. I had no idea what was happening and frankly I was a little scared. I didn't feel ready for this to already be happening. What if all this was in my head? I had never done any of this before so it was very possible that this was just normal pregnancy stuff and I was overreacting. I fought with myself for awhile to even call for that very reason, but as the problem persisted there was no denying that I needed to make the call. I discussed what was going on the best I could with the on-call doctor and he told me it would be best if I went ahead and went to the hospital to get checked out. If it was indeed my water and I let it go unchecked then it could case an infection for both me and Addison.

Now I had to wait for Rob to get home from Belton where he was for drill, so to keep myself busy and in case this was actually it, I started packing a bag. A bag that I had thought about on multiple occasions but never actually started packing. I was definitely kicking myself for never getting around to it. I felt unprepared and had no idea what to put in the bag. What did I need? What did Rob need? Was I forgetting anything? What if I did forget to pack something we needed? I pushed aside any thoughts and tried to focus on what I needed to put into our bag. But worry was definitely taking over and I just wanted to be done packing and at the hospital, so it got to the point where I just started grabbing things.

Rob finally got home and rushed to change out of his uniform. Then quickly we were on the road to the hospital. It felt like the longest 20 minutes of my life. The appreciation. Was this it? Were they going to keep me? Would I be sent home? What was going to happen next? It was terrifying and exciting all at the same time.

We headed straight up to the third floor and quickly regretted never making it up to the hospital for a tour. But without problem, we found the labor/delivery desk and told them what was going on and they were indeed expecting us. We were taken back to triage where I was set up on a monitor (one for the baby's heart and one to watch for contractions) and we started going over information about my health, the current situation, and my pregnancy in general. Then the nurse checked to see if it was amniotic fluid. Imagine my disappointment when she said that the results weren't showing that's what was going on. But they would keep me a little longer just to monitor and make sure. We stayed about twenty-thirty minutes longer and still the tests weren't showing it was amniotic fluid. So they consulted the on-call doctor again and the decision was made to send me home and check in with my doctor at my next prenatal appointment, which was the next Wednesday.

So dejected we headed home. They told me it was probably just discharge because it generally gets worse in the last weeks of your pregnancy. I was doubtful but what did I know? I hadn't done this before. I hated knowing that I would have to live with all this at least until Wednesday, but it didn't look like I had a choice. So I would push on and continue to wait for my due date to come. And in the meantime I would get a bag packed the following day after I got home from work.

That night I went to bed, ready to get the next two week over with. The next week was my last week of work then I would have one more week before I would be induced. I had a list of things I wanted to get done before Addison arrived and I was definitely ready for Addison to arrive. I was done being pregnant, but according to the on-call doctor and the hospital, I wasn't done being pregnant just yet.

As per usual I had to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and I noticed I was having a few cramps. I didn't think much of them and was quickly able to get back to sleep. But then somewhere in the 6:00 hour I was awaken by a much increased pain. My brain did not immediately jump to contractions. My brain did immediately jump to intense pain, and I quickly realized I wasn't a fan. For the next hour, I laid in bed through the pain hoping it would stop or at least decrease. But before I knew it, it was almost 7 which meant it was time to get up.

I drug myself out of bed before seven realizing I wasn't going to getting anymore sleep. And it was then that I started to think that what I was experiencing was probably contractions. However, I didn't believe they were real. I was sure they were just Braxton Hicks contractions, so I was sure when I took a shower they would ease up and I could go about my day as normal. I couldn't have been more wrong.

After getting out of the shower, I woke a sleeping Rob and told him that we should start timing the contractions because they weren't easing up and they definitely weren't going away. We noticed a pattern quickly. They were coming about 4 minutes apart and lasting for about 40-50 seconds. According to the paper my doctor had given me the the Thursday before, I was at the point where I should be making a phone call to the doctor. We both called in to work and called the doctor, who told us we should head to the hospital. So we were off again. (This time with a better bag packed - Rob was able to pack in-between my contractions).

We arrived once again at the hospital. I had already convinced myself that this would also be nothing and once again we would be sent home. Rob, however, was sure that we would have a baby by the end of the day. Once again we were taken to labor/delivery triage and once again I was hooked up and monitored. Luckily since I had just been there the night before, all my information was the same so that was part was at least taken care of before I was having the pain of contractions. The night before I was 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced, which was where I was at my last prenatal appointment. After a morning of contractions, I was now 4 cm dilated and 100% effaced and my water was indeed broken. They would be keeping me and we would be getting to meet our little girl by the end of the day.

I was nervous, excited, scared, ready and a whole gauntlet of other emotions as we headed to my labor/delivery room where I would be spending the next 9 hours or so. I was hooked back up to machines and my blood was drawn (very messily I might add) and an IV set up in my arm just in case. So much kept happening around the room that my mind had barely a moment to take in what was happening and what was about to happen.

I requested my epidural and while we waited, we called our parents and let them know this was happening today. It was happening now. Much to my delight, I didn't have to wait long for my epidural. The pain was increasing quickly and was moving around to my back. I did my best to breathe through them as they came but I could barely think when they hit. I was prepped and within minutes my epidural was in and within a few minutes after that, relief came. I continued to have intense pain in my right hip for about an hour following the epidural but was told that was normal. That pain should decrease as the epidural spread and took complete effect. The nurse also warned me that I would start to feel pressure with contractions as I got closer to actually needing to push, but I still wouldn't feel pain. But in the meantime we wait (and while we did, I watched The Food Network).

A few hours later, I started to feel that pressure. I grew nervous because it had been awhile since the nurse had been in and I wasn't sure if I should call her in to let her know what was happening or if I just wait it out. I did my best to keep my mind blank and not obsess about the upcoming pushing. I didn't want to over-think, so I took whatever I could to distract myself. Throughout the entire labor, my blood sugar levels had to continue to be monitored but only at a three hour intervals luckily. My three hours were up and the nurse was back. While she was there, I mentioned the pressure. She was surprised and told me she would check to see how I was progressing. She was even more surprised to discover after just 6.5 hours or so of labor, I was already dilated to about 9.5 cm. She quickly left to call my doctor.

As we waited for my doctor to arrive at the hospital, nurses were in and out setting up the room for the delivery. I grew more nervous as I watched. This was happening and this was happening soon. When you get pregnant, you know this is coming because that baby can't stay in there forever (and you definitely don't want her to), but when you have no idea what to expect it is terrifying. Finally, about 15-20 minutes after four my doctor arrived. I felt ten times better knowing she was there. For one, I knew she would be delivering my baby and I wouldn't end up with just any doctor at the hospital. And two, I trusted her completely and knew she would do what was best for me and my baby.

She checked me out and also decided it was time for the pushing to start. We talked about what I needed to do and how I could achieve it. At the time, the information went in one ear and out the next. I was scared and overwhelmed. But once we started, I wondered why I didn't comprehend before - it was simple enough.   So away we went. The whole process was nothing like I thought it would be. In movies and shows, you always see the process as hectic, but actually we chatted between contractions and for the majority of the time it was only Rob, my doctor, and my nurse in the room. After about an hour or so of pushing, I could feel the pressure and knew we were close. I tried not to think about what was happening. All I wanted was to focus on what I needed to do. I could be excited, nervous, terrified of what would come next once she was born after I got through this part.

The room filled up with more people, but I barely noticed them. Following the same pattern I did for the last hour, I took a deep breath and pushed for a count of ten. Somewhere in the middle, I heard the nurse say to take a breath and then I felt intense relief. I opened my eyes and all I could see was my daughter, born at 5:37 pm.

**Sidenote:: Yesterday was the day that I was supposed to be induced and the day our little girl was supposed to be born. She definitely surprised us. It's been two full weeks since she was born. It's been exhausting but I wouldn't trade those two weeks for anything. It's amazing how much you can love something or someone so small and something/one that has only been in your life for such a short amount of time.

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