The clean version of Evy's birth story will be first - for those of you not interested in messy details like hemorrhaging and catheters :P
After our doctor's appointment on Thursday, where my doctor told me I still hadn't made any progress since the week before, I was a little disappointed. We made an appointment for a stress test the following Thursday and I was trying to stay positive that she was only two days beyond her medical due date and in fact only 40 weeks on Thursday so in my opinion she wasn't even late yet. Friday night I spotted a bit of blood after going to the bathroom and I was pretty sure I'd passed my cervical mucus plug, a good sign that my body was beginning to dilate. Saturday morning I woke up and wasn't feeling very well. I began to have what felt like menstrual cramps, however I kept my plans of going to see my sister for most the day. I didn't want to be at home alone (Paul had to put in a few hours at work) anyhow, and my sister was my best pregnancy resource and I knew she'd make me feel calm and reassured that everything was okay. I wasn't quite sure what I was feeling, so I was keeping everything light with Paul as I knew he'd be on edge and anxious if he thought I was having "contractions". While at my sister's she confirmed my suspicions that they were contractions, but we were both convinced that I'd likely be having contractions for a day or so before anything happened. The contractions were slightly consistent if I moved around - spaced about fifteen minutes apart, however when I relaxed they spaced out to about a half hour apart.
I left my sister's at around two and on the way home my contractions began to get stronger. Still convinced that we'd be at it for awhile, Paul & I stopped and picked up lunch and even hit up some frozen yogurt :D Once home though, I really began to feel the contractions and we began to time them. From about 3pm to 8pm the contractions remained consistent at about 7 to 10 minutes apart. I'd called my doctor and confirmed that I need to call him and go to the hospital when they were five minutes apart for a least two hours. At about 8pm I began to get really frustrated with my contractions because they were not consistent at all and seemed fueled by my trying to lie down. I remember from my Bradley Classes, and also on the advice of my sister, that I should be trying to get as much rest between contractions as I could considering that once they really began to pick up I'd be working really hard. But every time I leaned back or tried to lay down a strong one would hit.
From 9pm to 10pm the contractions grew stronger, yet no more consistent. It was about 10pm as I was working through one of my contractions - a really hard one that made me think, "Oh I hope I can do this!!!" that my bag of waters broke! It was such a surprise as I was expecting to have it ruptured at the hospital. With my bag of waters broken, Paul & I had some decisions to make. We called our doctor who, of course said, go straight to the hospital. There is a slight chance of infection now that the bag of waters was broken and they don't take chances. I also called my Bradley instructor who told me that I needed to really consider before going to the hospital. She said most of her couples will labor for much longer after the bag of waters has broken, waiting until the contractions are consistent and they are sure it is time. She just advised to not take a bath - and of course not to have sex (I know, duh - but I guess it's happened). My sister warned me too, saying that once I get to the hospital I'd be on a time table and would probably be restricted from walking and continuing to labor as I needed to. Paul & I talked about it and decided that since this was our first and since I felt like everything was moving along that we'd take a chance and go to the hospital.
On the way to the hospital I was timing the contractions and they began to become consistent and only FOUR minutes apart. In fact, as I was getting out of the car one came on and I had to grip onto a pole to push through it. A hospital attendant saw me and rushed to get me a wheelchair and helped us get our paperwork going so I could go into L&D. During this time contractions were still four minutes apart and very consistent - and they wheeled me into L&D and let me change while Paul filled out all the necessary paperwork. Our nurse was named Kiley and she was WONDERFUL. She'd heard of the Bradley Method and was very understanding when I admitted that I'd forgotten our birth plan (I know, can you BELIEVE IT?!) but would do everything she could that we asked of her. We got a saline lock placed - so I wasn't hooked up to an IV - and she understood about not using Pictocin or any pain medications.
The next few hours are kind of a blur - everything happened so fast. When we got to the hospital I was measured at 5.5 centimeters and the contractions remained consistent. My sister got there and at first tried to get the staff to allow me to get up and walk around and asked about a birthing ball. But I think she soon understood how fast everything was going and realized I was probably bed ridden from then on. From when we got there, which was about 11pm until 1pm, I worked through each contraction with the help of my sister and the encouragement and support of Paul. They made a great team together, my sister making sure I was relaxing as much as I could during the contractions and Paul constantly giving me encouragement - which I really needed. I needed to know that I was doing good - I really needed that.
Soon I began to shake during the contractions. We learned in our Bradley classes that it could mean I was hitting Transition. Its during this time that most women ask for pain medications because it's the peak of contractions before women are ready to push. Its when women begin to think, "I can't do this - it's too hard" and its normal and common and we needed to just push through it. My sister suggested that I get checked again, and our nurse - Kiley - she was so on top of things and even reminded me that I'd asked for minimal vaginal exams. But I told her I was ready for one - I needed to know what kind of progress I was making. 6.5 centimeters! I wasn't very thrilled about that - but my sister assured me that it was really good progress and we continued to labor.
Surprisingly, soon after that I began to feel the urge to push! I was excited to feel it because I'd heard from everyone that the pain of contractions goes away when you're pushing. She checked me again and I was 9.5 centimeters (I think) and so we got into the position :) But just as suddenly as I was in the position my contractions slowed down and it was strange to just be lying there waiting for something to happen. So we changed my position back to lying on my right side and again the contractions began. It felt really strange to try and push a baby out on my right side, but I was having the sensation to push and it did feel good when I did push. After a few pushes in that position we tried my back again - I was definitely making progress.
I pushed hard from 1am until she was born at about 2am - the doctor was there for I believe the last half hour. He wasn't pushy or anything - but he was very... condescending about the mechanics of labor. What I mean is, as I was pushing he was trying to explain to me what I was doing wrong and how pushing worked. Um, duh - I know how this all works. I'm not doing anything wrong by breathing which I have to do. If the baby goes back in when I breath then so be it. She's just taking her time. Between pushing, I tried to relax. According to my sister, I relaxed between contractions very well, concentrating on my breathing and feeling the baby moving down the birth canal.
I hear that pushing for an hour isn't that bad - even if it felt like an eternity. But, after an hour she was born!!!
Now for the gory details - I may have had a quick delivery but I didn't have the best "after birth".
First, the doctor refused to wait to cut the umbilical cord and also refused to let anyone else cut it. I was really disappointed by that, especially because it shouldn't have been his choice - but mine. Second, he pressured me to pass the placenta immediately and its something that happens naturally after a few minutes - not straight away. Once I'd passed the placenta he immediately began to apply stitches to my tear. Third, and this isn't really anyone's fault I guess - but I began to lose a lot of blood and so they administered something to stop my bleeding - so I didn't get a 100% drug-free birth. Fourth, the nurse thought Evy was "really blue" and so quickly took her from me - but eventually brought her back after my sister had a few words with her while Paul was taking care of me.
All of this happened when all I wanted to do was have Evy on my chest and bask in the fact that I'd done it and she was finally here and the next stage could start. It was all very distracting, not to mention painful, and I wish they could have just let us have a moment before that all began. I know that it had to be taken care of - I just remember my sister's L&D at the birth center. After Eli was born everyone was able to just be silent and in wonder for a few minutes. I wanted that.
But those are the only things that I was disappointed with when it came to the L&D. The loss of blood I had caused me to have some problems with recovery - I was forced to use a catheter & then a bed pan all day Sunday & all of Sunday night because I passed out when I tried to walk. I don't think I've ever passed out before - it was strange. One second I was sitting up in bed and then the next minute I was lying back with a parade of nurses hovering over me. But Monday morning I woke up and felt a lot better and they discharged me when I was able to walk around easily. I was told to take iron tablets and continue with my prenatal vitamins and though I had a few days of bad headaches I feel much better now.
Anyhow - so that was that. I'm a mom now, can you believe it?!