I’ve been putting this together in snatches of time I’m able to find. It’s not as detailed or well written as I would like, but it’s going to have to suffice. If you make it through the whole thing, I’d be surprised. I just wanted to get it down before I forgot the details.
Sunday, December 27th, contractions I’d been having seemed to pick up in intensity, and I had a hard time getting to sleep wondering, “is this it?” The contractions, while not painful, were pretty uncomfortable, and I had a hard time falling asleep. They were coming between 8 and 12 minutes apart for a good three hours before I finally got to sleep. They woke me up intermittently but seemed to slack of during the night.
Monday, December 28th, I went in for a regular pregnancy checkup. I was 40 weeks 1 day pregnant.
At the appointment, the midwife decided she was not happy with my blood pressure, plus I’d gained 6 lbs within 2 weeks. Both of those are warning signs for preeclampsia. My blood pressure had been slowly creeping up the whole pregnancy, so they’d been keeping an eye out for the warning signs. Given that I was past my due date as well, the midwife decided that it was time to induce. As the doctor that delivered Blythe later told me, they really want everything to be 100% perfect to keep you pregnant past 40 weeks. I was more than 50% effaced and dilated to 3 cm, so they decided induction would be a pretty safe option, although since the baby hadn’t dropped down into the pelvis, it did put me at a higher risk for needing a c-section.
I never left the hospital; Chris came to take the girls to a co-worker’s house, and I went to labor & delivery to get things started. I got there at about 11:30 pm. Chris returned to the hospital around 1:00, and they started pitocin at 1:30 pm.
The process was slow, and I wasn’t really dilating. Dr. P (the doctor who delivered) wanted the baby to drop into the pelvis before she broke my water, which she felt would really get things going. I didn’t want to get an epidural too long before she did that, as I didn’t want to be tied down to the bed for hours and hours, so I forced myself to work through the pain, which was slowly increasing. Finally, at about 12:30 am, I decided it was time for an epidural. There still wasn’t that much change, but I was exhausted, and really needed to get some rest before things really got started.
The anesthesiologist came to get the epidural started and that’s when the nerves really kicked in. With both Cate and Meg, the epidural is when I really lost it; started crying, whining about how I didn’t want to do it anymore, the whole bit. After a whole bunch of sweating and uncontrollable shaking and teeth chattering (my stress reaction, it turns out) I had the epidural started and all was good (or numb, to be more precise.) Chris and I both settled down to catch a few hours of sleep.
At about 4:45 am, the doctor came to check my cervix again. The baby dropped to where she felt she could safely break my water, so that’s what they did. I went back to sleep when they left, but was waking up a lot, feeling my contractions getting stronger. Finally, at 6:00, I told Chris he had to wake up, too. I hit the “magic” button they give you for extra medication as often as I was able to but despite the epidural, my contractions were getting really intense, and I needed him up to help me work through them. Not too long later, they checked again, and I was ready to push! After 15 hours to get me to 4 cm, it took a little less than to go the rest of the way. (I guess the doctor was right when she thought I’d go quickly once she broke my water.)
There was someone else who was ready to push at the same time as well, so they had me give a “test” push to see how well I would do. I suppose I “won” over the other woman, as she told me it wouldn’t take me long to deliver, and helped me first. Never a competition I thought I’d win.
Within two pushes, he head was out. Unfortunately the cord was wrapped around her neck so tightly they couldn’t slip it out; they were going to have to cut the cord before she was fully delivered. Both the nurse and the doctor were amazed that the baby was tolerating the labor so well given the circumstances.
Here’s where it gets exciting.
Chris had been holding my leg and excitedly helping me through the entire process. They cut the cord off the baby’s neck, and I felt my leg drop and something flash beside my bed followed by a long “bang!” Chris passed out. Cold. I’ve no idea why it happened this time around. He was a champ during both other deliveries.
I screamed when I realized what happened, and there were probably six other nurses and corpsman that came rushing into the room. Everyone but the doctor left me for a moment.
Within that same 30 seconds, and one more push, Blythe was also born. They put her on my chest and she was purple. It scared me a lot to see her color, but the nurse assured me that she was fine. She was screaming just as she should be, and she was just as amazing as I could have hoped. I was so surprised to see her head full of dark hair!
Chris came to as quickly as he’d passed out. The medical staff made him sit down for a minute and checked to make sure he was okay where he’d hit his head on the bedside table. After a few minutes, he was able to get up and see his daughter (more than just her head) for the first time, and take pictures.
I don’t think I’ll ever had a more exciting or eventful 30 seconds of my life, nor do I wish to. Chris likes to joke that he passed out because Blythe was so beautiful. We’ll stick with that story.