I had planned on doing a pre-party post with sneak peek pictures of the decorations and favors Chris and I are making, but here we are 4 days away from the big day, and we are still not done. Anyway, I wanted to share this story if only for the sake of posterity. Disclaimer: This is pretty personal and may have too much information, so if you are not a fan of labor and delivery stories, you can stop reading here.
I actually wrote most of this when Adelaide was a week or two old, so that it would be fresh in my mind, but I have embellished my initial thoughts, so that the story flows better.
I like to think that my labor story starts much earlier than Adelaide’s actual birthdate. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions throughout most of the summer, which I attributed to the extreme heat and me sometimes doing too much. At my 36 week appointment (9/16/11), Denise (my CNM) told me that I was dilated to 2-3 and baby’s head was “right there” on my pubic bone. She told us that Adelaide would not make it to her due date (10/10/11). We got super excited and told our friends and family that our little baby would be here soon. That weekend, we went crazy buying last minute items and walking around trying to get things moving.
The same day of my appointment, my uncle Acey passed away. It was really hard on me, especially since I could not attend his funeral since it was in Texas the next Monday. Although I was sad, I was finally completely sold on Grace as a middle name, as a way to honor my dear uncle.
At my 37 week appointment, Chris couldn’t get off work, and when I was checked, I was still at a 3, but my cervix was thinner and baby was still quite low. By my 38 week appointment (9/29), I had started to lose a little steam since it looked like Adelaide was still taking her sweet time. Denise checked me, and I was at a 4. She asked if I wanted her to strip my membranes to get things going. I agreed and held Chris’ hand while she did the very uncomfortable procedure. I immediately started to feel crampy. Denise said the feeling would probably go away and return in the evening.
After the appointment, I went to my internship, shared what had happened and told my supervisor that there was a 90% chance that I would go into labor within the next 3 days. I got home from my internship and my back was really bothering me. I decided to call into work and take it easy for the day. Soon after I called my boss, I got a call from my coworker Tiffany. She asked me how I was feeling, and when I told her I was doing ok, she told me that the “staff meeting” that was on my calendar for the day was actually a surprise baby shower. I agreed to go in just for the party. It was very nice, and my coworkers were very understanding. I got home and put my feet up until Chris returned home.
Later, we went to my sister’s house for dinner. I continued to feel crampy, my back ached and I was having contractions off and on. By the time we went to bed, my contractions were about 10-15 minutes apart. Soon, I realized I wouldn’t be able to sleep, so I came out into the living room and tried laboring on the birthing ball my sister had given me earlier. It kind of helped. The bath tub felt better with the warm water from the shower head pointed directly on my back. My contractions started coming closer together and getting stronger, but they still weren’t perfectly regular. I tried to sleep in between them, but they were too intense, and when I wasn’t contracting, I had an intense urge to pee, so I spent the night in between the couch and the restroom.
At 2:30 a.m., the pain was way too intense to handle on my own, so I climbed into our bed and cried out, which of course woke Chris. I told him I might get in the shower again, because it hadn’t been a full hour that my contractions were 5 minutes apart. He left it up to me whether we would go to the hospital or not. I told him I tried to wait until at least 3 before I woke him up. He laughed. I decided we better head in. He called L&D as I went to the bathroom again and packed last minute toiletries.
Once at the emergency room, L&D was called and 2 nurses came down to wheel me upstairs. The contractions were super painful to the point I was seeing spots. The nurse wheeling me told me to breathe. Which, surprisingly, I needed to be told to do. I closed my eyes and breathed through the contractions, and they were much better. I got settled into a room, and the nurse (forcefully) checked me, and I was at a 5. She called Denise and came back and told me that they would admit me. The nurse asked about an epidural or if I wanted to get in the whirlpool. I told her I had planned on not having an epidural, but the whirlpool sounded nice. She asked if I was sure, and I told her maybe I’d have the epidural after all.
I labored in the tub while we waited for the anesthesiologist. The bubbles were very soothing, and I was able to relax. Then the nurse came in to tell me that the anesthesiologist would be there soon. I dried off and got back into the gown and “tube top” with the 2 monitors (for baby’s heart rate and contractions). A different nurse checked me, and I was a 6. The anesthesiologist had very cold hands, but she was very nice. She felt my back and hips over and over again to get the placement just right. It was hard to stay in that position for so long. My neck became sore, and breathing through contractions was even more difficult. She put in the test dose, and I immediately felt relief. I joked that I was a lightweight, and she said that was a good sign that it had worked so quickly for me. It was about 5 a.m. at this point.
After the epidural, contractions felt tight, but the pain was pretty much gone. My BFF Michelle arrived at around 6 a.m. I tried to sleep and did for about an hour until about 8 a.m. Another nurse checked me, and I was still a 6. After calling Denise, they decided to start me on Pitocin and that Denise would come break my water. After the Pitocin, contractions got more intense, but they still weren’t really painful. Denise came in and broke my water. I asked if she was done, and she said yes. I didn’t feel a thing.
Contractions got much stronger, and the nurse told me to tell her when I felt like I needed to push. She checked me again, and I was an 8 or 9. Denise needed to make rounds, and she told the nurse to let me “labor down” and wait to push even though I was close to complete. Soon, the pressure on my tailbone turned into intense pain with every contraction, and I felt an overwhelming urge to push. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long for Denise. They broke down the bed, and I got started pushing when I felt the first contraction. I held my breath through each push, taking a quick breath before pushing again. Chris was great at encouraging me, and so were Denise and the nurse. Soon, they told me she was right there and had lots of dark hair. I ended up only pushing for 13 minutes, and all I felt was pressure. When they placed her on my chest, I sobbed like a baby. I was so in love. Adelaide Grace was born at 11:40 a.m. Sept. 30, 2011 at 6lbs10oz and 19.5 inches long.