Wednesday, August 22, 2012

She's Here!

Hannah Louise arrived at 1:16 pm on Wednesday, August 15th. She weighed in at a normal 7 pounds 3 ounces and measured 20 inches long. She is absolutely gorgeous and we are totally in love with her. Matt has cried more times since she was born than the entire time we've been together.

Hannah is wonderful.

Labor and delivery were NOT. I had initially wanted to go as naturally as possible with my labor and delivery. Seems like life had other plans.

Mom and dad came up with the crib and changing table on Saturday. Over the course of Saturday through Monday evening, I slowly lost pieces of my mucus plug with the biggest piece on Monday night. Sure, I could have suspected something but since people around here had been losing pieces for weeks with no results, I didn't.

I went into labor on Tuesday evening. Driving home from training for work, I was frustrated about HWC training and felt some irregular contrations in the car. I'd had an on-off slight backache during the day, but those were my first contractions of the day. Once I got home, I got even more annoying news and cried at DH. It seemed like an odd reaction, but I've been crying more often anyway. I felt like I had a little more discharge than normal, but again dismissed it.
Until we got to McDonalds. The plan was to eat dinner, pick up some groceries, and then DH would drop me off at knitting. After arriving at McDonalds, I got out of the car and felt a slight flow of liquid. Enough to make me go to the bathroom quickly to make sure that I hadn't peed myself. Didn't smell like pee, but it pretty much stopped after I went to the bathroom so I put a few pieces of toilet paper in my underwear and sat down to eat. In the back of my mind, I wondered, but didn't want to spoil dinner by discussing the possibilities. Following eating, I stood up again to a similar but slightly larger little gush. I told DH we needed to go home rather than the grocery store, and that I was having some odd discharge. We drove home, and when I got out of the car, there was an even bigger gush. It was enough that I had to change my underwear and pants. I threw on a pad and sat down to see if I would continue to gush or if contractions would start or figure out what was going on. Contractions were mild, irregular, and not particularly noticeable, but when I got off the couch after about half an hour, I had another gush. I decided it was time to call.
I eventually spoke with the midwife on duty. I told her that I was gushing when I moved or stood up, and that it didn't smell like urine and felt slightly slippery. She told me to come in. She told me later that she was already pretty sure that my water had broken because I answered all the questions that she was going to ask before she even got a chance to ask them.
So we grabbed stuff and headed out to the hospital. I was pretty sure my water had broken, but since my contractions were so irregular, I didn't think we'd be admitted. I was wrong. Just in the 20 min I was in triage, my contractions became steadily about 3-5 minutes apart. I was also 3 cm dilated so technically, I was in active labor at that point. It was around 8:30/9:00ish when we were all set up in our L&D room.
I got hooked up to an IV to get my first dose of penicillin for my Group B strep and Matt ran home to get a few things that we forgot. I watched some TV, and Matt got back sometime after 10. My contractions had started to pick up in intensity and were still about 3-5 minutes apart. Nothing I couldn't handle.
The nurse had told me as had the midwife that orders had been put in for both an IV painkiller and epidural in case I wanted them. I told the midwife I didn't want them offered to me, I wanted to ask for them. That wish was definitely granted. They just let me know at the beginning that they were in the system so that they wouldn't have to track the midwife down to get an order for them if I asked for them later. It would take about half an hour from me asking for an epidural for me to actually get one so I was glad that we weren't adding additional wait time on top of that.
After an hour or so of intensifying contractions that were getting closer and closer together, I threw up for the first time. Puking during a contraction is THE WORST. Fortunately the only place I could get comfortable was in the corner of the bathroom, leaning on the handrails on either side of the toilet, so when it happened I was somewhat ready and didn't have to go anywhere.
Once that subsided, I stumbled my way back out to the room and told the nurse that I wanted to try the IV painkillers. Unfortunately, Hannah had other ideas about that. Her heartbeat, when monitored, was not responded appropriately to my contractions. It wasn't following the normal increase/decrease pattern. After almost an hour of monitoring, the midwife told my nurse that I could get an epidural, but she didn't want Hannah dealing with the IV painkillers since they would make her super sleepy. By now it was almost midnight, and the contractions were significantly stronger and only a minute or so apart. At least that's how it felt. I hardly felt like I had time to recover between them. Some of them, I never actually came down from. They would peak, drop about half way back, then peak again; these contractions were really long. I asked for the epidural. They got me started on rush fluids and I was also due for my next dose of penicillin. The pain was intense, but not on my belly. It started in my very low abs and spread to my thighs, hips, and back. I couldn't move due to the IV, so I had to make do with moaning.
It took over an hour and a half to get finally get my epidural. The anethesiologist kept getting called, and then went to the room that had called him after mine. Eventually though the woman in there needed further interventions and other doctors were called so he was able to come to my room.
The epidural itself wasn't bad, and it helped quickly. Unfortunately, it didn't work as well as we were all hoping.  I had significant drops in blood pressure following the insertion as well as throughout the rest of my delivery. Also, within a few hours, I was having severe pain in my low abs and left hip. They told me I could hit the bump button every ten minutes up to three times and if that didn't help, they could give me a boost on the epidural. We did that once, and I ended up needing the boost.
The boost helped me get another hour or two of sleep, but the pain returned around 7:00 AM. We followed the same protocol: three bumps then a boost. But this time I had a different anethesiologist. Turns out the epidural wasn't set properly for my height/weight and the bumps were set at every 20 minutes, not every ten. So I wasn't getting the right dose at all. No wonder the pain kept coming back! That got straightened out and I felt much better.
Around this time, the nurse checked to see how dilated I was. I was only at 5 cm. I couldn't believe it. After all the contractions, I had only gone from 3 cm to 5 cm in 9 hours! My midwife was concerned and we had our only c-section conversation. They did a blood type and cross to make sure they knew my blood type in case I needed the c-section and/or a transfusion for some reason. It was decided to add a bit of pitocin to my IV drip since I was due for another round of penicillin anyway.
So the pitocin started and in less than an hour, I went from 5 cm to 9 cm. Everyone was very impressed, and decided that my body heard us talking about c-section and said NO WAY. Baby girl was still really high, but the midwife, nurse and I (in a very small role) decided to start pushing when I was complete. Depending on how that went, either she'd be born or we would take a break to labor down, a term I'd never heard before. It just means that I would wait until my body moved her down on its own. My midwife was hoping that we wouldn't need to do that since they like to deliver within 24 hours of your water breaking.
Baby girl had one moment where we were concerned. They wanted to make sure that I was alternating sides, and Hannah didn't like it when I rolled onto my right. Her heart rate dropped and the nurse called for emergency help to get me rolled onto my hands and knees. I couldn't feel my legs AT ALL, so she needed help to roll me. Fortunately, just getting me onto my left side was enough and things were okay. They did insist that I wear an oxygen mask for the vast majority of the rest of my delivery.
I was complete by 10:45 AM and we started pushing. At first, it was weird since I couldn't feel anything down there and had no idea where to push, but eventually I figured it out. Over the next two and a half hours, feeling in my legs began to return and my hips burned every time I pushed. I also continued to wear the oxygen mask whenever I wasn't pushing. We got to a certain point and my midwife told me that come hell or high water, I was going to give birth vaginally. Either I'd push her out or they would use instruments if necessary since the doc who specializes in assisted deliveries was on call. In the end, I didn't need help; I pushed her out on my own.
On the final major push, I was actually told to stop mid-push. Turns out, the cord was wrapped around her neck. That's probably what kept her from dropping on her own. It wasn't super tight, but it was enough they couldn't just slip it over her shoulders and it had to be cut before she could finish coming out. It wasn't the final cut, just a cut to unwrap her. Once she was out, I reached down and pulled her up. I got to be the first person to call her her name, and I just cried. I know I pushed the placenta out within a minute or two, and I know they checked to make sure that things were clear in my uterus, but I was so focused on the beautiful child in my arms, it didn't matter. She didn't cry right away and was slightly blueish, but perked right up, and I cried when she cried for the first time. So did Matt.
I had a slight tear on the inside that needed one stitch and no tearing on the outside. My midwife said I did a great job following directions as she was crowning and being pushed out. It was tough to not push through the contraction and to stop pushing when I could feel she was RIGHT THERE was killer. But it all worked out.
While she was on my chest, they massaged the blood from the cord back into her before cutting it short. We stayed snuggled up together, skin to skin, for the better part of an hour before she had any of her weighing or anything done. It was an amazing time. Matt helped with the weighing and getting her into her first shirt.

I don't remember asking them to take her out or saying that I couldn't do it or anything like that. I just kept going and Matt was so supportive and encouraging. The nurses were great and I was thrilled that the midwife who'd been helping us with our trying to conceive journey was able to be the one to deliver her.

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