11 weeks old and I’m finally prepared to start tackling my blog again and share Ella’s birth story. Bear with me, as it’ll most likely be a pretty lengthy post. *Yep, I split it into 2 posts*
April 16, 2012:
I woke up in the morning, exhausted as usual, to find quite a bit of pressure. I truly didn’t think anything of it because it wasn’t rhythmic or constant. I noticed when I would sit down, the pressure would increase, so I chalked it up to her head resting lower in my pelvis. I got Hunter dressed and ready for the day and we headed off to Costco with my girlfriend and her little girl. I mentioned in passing to her that I was feeling what I thought might be Braxton Hicks, or actual contractions. I wasn’t sure. Still, I lugged my very pregnant self through Costco, because lets be honest, I can’t pass up a Costco trip. I obviously needed the new microsuede blanket and supersized bag of Pirate’s Booty. We headed to In N Out (seriously, dream day…Coscto + In N Out!?) and I began to feel a bit more crampy, and I was done with Hunter running around like a banshee, so we left for home.
On the drive home, I noticed my ‘cramps’ were now starting to come in intervals-first at 10 minutes apart, then creeping to 5 minutes. Of course Steve was Northern California training and wasn’t due to be back for a week, so I texted my mom to come up to my house as soon as she got off work so that I could go in to be checked out. She thought I was just having sporadic ‘cramps’ and that it wasn’t indicative of early labor. Little did she know that when she got here, my (now) full-blown contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and becoming very painful.
Luckily, I’m OCD and already had the hospital bag packed, so I just packed a little bag for Hunter just in case I needed to stay. At that point I truly wasn’t sure if I was actually in labor, and kind of avoided thinking about that as a scenario because I knew I wasn’t even 34 weeks yet. My mom was briefing me on the ride to the hospital about what to expect if she was born today/tomorrow, and what sorts of complications we might face.
Once we got to the hospital, I was sent to Triage to be monitored. I was in fact having contractions every 2 minutes (as if that wasn’t obvious) but rather than just send me off to a Labor and Delivery room, the OB wanted to attempt to stop my labor since I was 33w6d. We weren’t sure what to tell Steve, because he was about 4 hours away, so of course I wanted to give him enough time to get to the hospital if in fact we were still delivering, but didn’t want to send him home if they were able to stop labor.
I was given a shot of Terbutaline, which within 30 seconds made me feel like I was on speed. Steve said I was talking a mile a minute and wouldn’t shut up. It wore off quickly and did nothing to stop the contractions. The OB came back in and decided to move me into a Laboring room, but not admit me yet because they wanted to see if my labor would stop on it’s own. A few hours passed, and the contractions were coming on stronger so she gave me a dose of Procardia (essentially the same thing as Terbuatline without the side effects…um WHY didn’t I get that the first time!?) as a last ditch effort to stop my contractions. At that point, I knew deep down that she was coming. This baby girl was determined to come that day, for whatever reason, and no drug was going to stop her.
My mom’s colleague, a neonatologist, came in to discuss what would transpire. He told me to expect a stay in the NICU, most likely a few weeks, and that the complications could range from mild to severe. I wasn’t too scared because I knew she would be in excellent hands, as I have known most of the doctors and nurses in my mom’s unit for 20+ years. They all knew I/she was coming, so I was reassured knowing we’d have a great team waiting.
April 17, 2012:
Steve was given the green light to indeed come to the hospital, after the doctor realized the Procardia wasn’t working. I was officially admitted and moved into a bigger delivery room. I hadn’t eaten since around noon, and it was now almost midnight so I was ravenous and lacked energy. Once Steve arrived, I was in a large amount of pain and requested to be checked to see how dilated I was. I was a whopping 2 centimeters, which meant it wouldn’t be wise to get an epidural yet, for fear of too many complications. I was given some Morphine through my IV to take the edge off, which felt like the worst panic attack and burning sensation imaginable. I was in such a daze after that, I tried to get some rest and told Steve to do the same. I was able to get maybe an hour of interrupted sleep in the span of 3 hours, so by 3:00 or 4:00 am I was nearing my brink. I told the nurses since I was only 2 cm a few hours ago that I probably wouldn’t be much more dilated by then, so to just get me another dose of Morphine, instead of trying to place an epidural (which I would kick myself for later).
A few more incredibly painful hours passed, and it was around 7:00 am. I felt an immense amount of pressure and called for the nurse to come check me because I NEEDED the Epidural. I remember I kept saying, “I need to push, she’s coming!” The doctor said, “No wonder you feel that way, you’re 8 cm dilated!” To which my response was, “You have GOT to be kidding me, PLEASE get me an Epidural RIGHT NOW or I might die”. In retrospect, I most likely could’ve done it without an Epidural, but because I had one with Hunter, I wanted a predictable experience and feared the unknown.
The Nurse Anesthetist walked in, I swear with a glowing light around her wearing angel wings, and got straight to business placing the Epidural. I began the typical laboring woman moan while hunched over Steve’s shoulders praying for it to be over soon. The urge to push grew greater by the contraction and I begged the Nurse Anesthetist to get the medicine going. Being the angel she was, she gave me a dose of Fentanyl to take the edge off while the Epidural started working. Literally just as I got numb and got a catheter placed, I was checked and told I needed to push!
Excitement grew, and I noticed the delivering doctor was someone my mom knew, so we struck up a conversation about when her baby was due, baby names, maternity leave and all sorts of non-pushing related subjects. Steve recorded the birth, and at 8:11 I was jabbering up a storm with the doctors and nurses and by 8:17 she was born.
A tiny little pink, squeaking angel girl. The first thing I noted was how alert she was. I think I was expecting her to be not as alert being so early, but she proved us all wrong! I was able to hold her initially, and Steve got to cut the umbilical cord. After I got to inspect her precious little body, the Neonatologist took her to the warmer and began assessing her. She was breathing well, had great color, and overall seemed to be doing well for her gestational age. Thank God.
To be continued….