As you all know, I had been waiting quite some time for little Miss Twoey to make her grand debut into this world. I started having issues with contractions and a shrinking cervix very early on in the pregnancy, and everyone expected that I would be lucky to make it as far as 36-38 weeks. So, all pregnancy, I planned for a very early delivery.
As is par for the course, someone up there must have been laughing at my plans! I scheduled regular work hours up through 36 weeks, and from weeks 36-38, I cut back on my schedule and for every meeting, I gave everyone the caveat "unless I go into labor." When I actually made it to 38 weeks, I was shocked. I continued to schedule some work meetings, but never more than a day or two in advance. I had completely cleared my schedule from week 39 and for most of June and July...with the exception of doing a 1 1/2 hour presentation at a conference on June 26 (what I had originally expected to be at least 3-4 weeks after Twoey's birth - my first "post-baby" tentative venture back into the working world). As the date drew closer, I started to worry about how labor would affect that presentation. Last week, when we concluded Little Miss Twoey would never arrive on her own and scheduled the induction, I was relieved - attending the presentation pregnant would be much easier than attending with a newborn baby. Ultimately, I decided to roll the dice and not cancel my presentation - I was certain I would be able to make that meeting.
After my appointment on Wednesday, I was convinced that Twoey would never arrive on her own. My contractions were regular and non-progressive, my cervix was not dilating any further, and after long stretches of intense contractions, the severity would subside. On Thursday morning, I went with the babysitter to attend Micah's classes. My contractions seemed to pick up during class, and I was quite uncomfortable. They were about 3-4 minutes apart and fairly intense. As had become my practice, I did my best to ignore them. They continued all day long, and often were too intense for me to walk or talk through. I had scheduled to meet a friend for a manicure/pedicure at 3:00 pm, and for a few minutes, I hesitated to go in case I went into labor. I then scoffed as I recalled all the other times I stayed put for fear of labor, and decided to go pamper myself.
My manicure/pedicure were wonderful! It felt great to get a leg and foot massage, and I painted my toes a nice pink in honor of Twoey. My contractions continued throughout the appointment, and even on the drive home. I arrived home a little after 6, and DH and I fed Micah dinner. After dinner, DH ran a quick errand and came back and informed me that there was a nice outdoor concert happening down the street, so we decided to walk over. I warned DH that my contractions were quite intense, and I did not know how far I would be able to walk or stay out. We made it to the concert, and I found a chair (next to a friend I spotted). We sat and chatted, and every 3-5 minutes I had to stop to close my eyes and focus on relaxation breathing during the contractions. We stayed for the concert and then headed home. I found the walk quite difficult, and by the time I got home I was extremely uncomfortable.
We bathed Micah and put him to bed, and I took a shower to relax a bit. After my shower, I tried to stretch out and relax on the couch. DH has gotten so sick of my constant contractions that all of my whining about discomfort did nothing to elicit any response from him. I begged for a back massage or a leg massage...but DH was not interested in obliging. Instead, he told me his hand hurt!
I tossed and turned on the couch, and around 12:00 I managed to fall asleep for a few hours. I woke up at maybe 1:30 or 2:00 with a contraction, and once again needed to run to the bathroom. I decided to head upstairs and try to get comfortable in bed and get some rest. I was extremely restless and uncomfortable - I could not find a good spot in the bed, and every 10-20 minutes I needed to run to the bathroom. DH came upstairs to bed around 2:30 or so, and once again I whined about how much discomfort I was in from the contractions, and told him that I might actually be in labor. He asked me if I wanted to call the midwives, and I said that I knew if I'd called, they would either tell me to stay put until my water broke, or tell me to come in and get checked at the hospital...and then send me home because nothing had changed. So, we decided to wait it out. I asked DH to massage my back through some of the contractions...and he told me he was tired and going to sleep.
So, all night, I sat up by myself contracting and laboring. I was breathing through the contractions and trying to stay relaxed, but in the back of my head I was fairly certain I was in labor. At 6:00 am, I told DH that I thought I was in labor...and he said "okay" and went back to sleep. At 7:00, I woke him again and suggested that we should call my father to come down "just in case" because I did not want to be alone while he took Micah to daycare. I also wanted to call the midwives - possibly go in or get checked at the office. We briefly debated the pros and cons of calling my father, and ultimately DH thought it would be easier for me to just wait things out at home while he took Micah to daycare. A few minutes later (7:39)...my water broke! There was no longer any time to debate what to do.
I immediately called the midwives and my parents. I was a bit sad because I knew that my mom had to go get an iron infusion, and I knew she would not be able to join me for the delivery. I've known this whole time that she was unlikely to be there...but I kept hoping that maybe Twoey had waited all this time so that her Grammy could be with us. My mom started to get emotional on the phone, and I cut her off...I knew I just could not think about what was not going to happen, and I need to focus on getting through it. I then sent DH into Micah's room to wake him up and dress him while I hopped into the shower to rinse off. Like last time, I felt a bit of relief when my water broke...but it was short-lived. Within 5 minutes, my contractions were coming in intense waves - I was doubled over in the shower and barely able to stand or talk. I realized that things were happening quickly, and I worried that we would not make it to the hospital in time. We were out the door a few minutes after 8, and we drove Micah to the daycare. We literally dropped him off barely dressed, with milk and some cheerios and said "here he is - feed him!"
By the time DH returned to the car, I was extremely uncomfortable. The contractions were coming in waves so quickly and so strongly. Unfortunately, while I could play my ipod birthing/relaxation mix, I could not recline, get comfortable, or truly physically relax during the contractions. As we started our trip to the hospital, I realized that I was getting nauseated - a symptom that hit about 20 minutes before I needed to push with Micah. Suddenly, I thought I might give birth in the car. DH drove like a maniac to the hospital to get us there, and about 5-7 minutes out, I told him I thought I needed to push. We arrived to the hospital, and DH had to go get a wheelchair because I could not walk. During one of the contractions, I had to get out of the car and squat down because the pressure was so intense.
We finally made it up to the admittance area around 8:45. The admitting nurse started to ask a ton of questions. I could barely open my eyes or focus, and all I could say was "I need to push." Next thing I know, they are whisking me into a room. I did not have time (or the energy) to change into a gown, so I simply took off my shorts and kept my shirt. The nurse came in and checked me and said "we've got time - you are only 6 cm dilated." I was scared...when I gave birth to Micah, it was about 3 or 4 hours from the time I was at 5 cm until he was born. I was experiencing fairly intense and quick contractions, and I really was not able to get in a comfortable or relaxed position because things had happened so fast. I was extremely nauseated, and worried that I would not be able to keep up that level of intensity for very long and experience natural child birth again. In my head, I started to wonder if I could handle it, and I started to think I might not be able to do this again.
They continued to try and ask me questions and try to hook me up to the monitors, and about 5-7 minutes later, I again repeated "I need to push." They checked me again...and realized it was go time! I was so relieved...I knew that if it was time to push, we were almost there and I definitely could get through it. They suited up, and asked me to hold on for 1 or 2 more contractions. It must have been around 9:15 or so at this point, and I started to push.
Things were happening quickly - I could immediately feel the baby descending, and apparently the top of her head was easily visible. They kept asking me to push a little harder and longer, but she seemed to move down during the contraction then bounce back up. While things happened faster than with Micah, it was somehow more exhausting. A few times when I was pushing, I wanted to just stop and quit, and it just felt like maybe I wouldn't be able to push hard enough and finish this out. All of the sudden, I heard some whispering and the midwife sounded a bit anxious when she asked me to push a little harder and longer. My first thought was "I don't think I can" but I asked what was wrong and she responded that the baby's heart rate was dropping during contractions. I immediately knew that meant her cord was likely wrapped around her neck. I had a moment of panic...often, when they suspect the cord is wrapped around the neck, they rush to have you do a c-section. I then focused in on the midwife and did my best to push her out as quickly as I could. Since I was only pushing for about 10 minutes, it must have only been another 3-5 minutes. I think I pushed about 3 more times and finally felt her head push through. It stung for a moment, and then the relief was instant. A second later I did one more push and her shoulders started to follow. I heard the midwife yelling "wait" and taking over from DH (who was helping to "catch" the baby). I then did one more small push and she was out! There was some scurrying to quickly cut the cord, and she seemed quiet for a minute. After what seemed like a very long pause, I heard her crying out! They then placed her on my belly while they finished cutting the cord.
I later learned that when she popped through, her cord was wrapped around her neck...twice. They scurried a bit to untangle her, and did not want me to finish pushing her out for fear that the cord would tighten. Because of the commotion, DH was deprived a bit of doing the final part of the delivery...but her safety obviously came first. They cut the cord and collected the cord blood. We also learned that there was some meconium in the amniotic fluid, so they had to bring in a neonatalogist to check her lungs. Luckily, she had started breathing on her own and her lungs were clear. I managed to escape without a single tear...no need for any stitches and minimal swelling/bruising.
Her apgar scores were perfect...9 and 9. She weighed 6 lbs 10 ozs and they measured her at 19 1/4 inches long.
My best friend was waiting outside, and they sent her in a few minutes after I gave birth. About 15 minutes after she was born, we received another delivery - a pink teddy bear and some balloons from a family friend! It was amazing. They had to give her a couple of vaccinations, and then I got to breast feed for a bit. Unlike her brother, Twoey latched! She seemed to be doing well. They had to test her blood sugars, and those were perfect. About an hour or so later, the nurse gave her a bath and cleaned her up, and then we were moved into our room.
My parents came by to visit as we were moving and got a chance to meet her. They only stayed for a little while, though, and then they went home to take care of a few things. They returned a few hours later, and my father and DH went to go pick up Micah from daycare. Micah met his sister around 5:30...but, to be honest, he was not so interested in her. In fact, he would not come anywhere near me while I was holding her! Micah spent most of the time playing with the balloons.
Around 7:00, my friend returned to the hospital with dinner for all of us - we sat together in the family room and ate dinner before everyone went home. It was a nice evening. I guess all I can say is that Micah, while indifferent to his sister, seemed just fine.
Remember that I mentioned my Saturday afternoon conference that Twoey conveniently mucked up? Well, they have been quite kind and are setting up a conference line for me, so I will be giving my presentation by phone from the hospital today. In the end, it all worked out!
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