Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How week 41 became Week 1

At last week's doctor's appointment, the doctor said that if baby girl didn't arrive on her own by Wednesday September 10 (my next scheduled appointment) that he was going to schedule me to be induced. 42 weeks would have been Sunday, and he didn't want me to go past that, for fear that the baby might start to be in distress, or that she would be too big to deliver vaginally. 

So I spent the weekend trying to induce labor naturally. I don't know if that is what happened, or if she finally decided to make an appearance, but we now have a baby girl to hold in our arms. 

I continued to go to the gym last week and walked 30 minutes on 3 days. I also walked Freddy each morning. Even the folks at the gym started asking when baby girl was going to make her appearance. 

Saturday, I worked in the garden, picking another 3 gallon bucket of tomatoes and peppers, and dried four trays of tomatoes in the dehydrator. I also chopped down all the corn that was not producing. The Hubs was mowing the yard and stopped by the garden asking, "What are you doing? You're 41 weeks pregnant." To which I replied, "I'm 41 weeks pregnant and trying to induce labor!" 

Sunday, we went to the fair and ate a funnel cake and king taters for "appetizers" and then went to Chan's (a local cook to order Chinese joint) and shared a plate of spicy Chinese food. I also walked about 2 miles in the driveway at home, and we had (too much information?? We're all adults here, right?) some good lovin'. The only thing I refused to try was castor oil because I read in several sources that not only does it cause mom's bowels to get really moving, it can also cause the baby to have a bowel movement in the womb which could be bad news if the baby inhales the poo. I, however, did not need anything extra as I already had the shits Saturday and Sunday. (This is a sign of impending labor!)

Red velvet funnel cake
For dinner Sunday evening,  we had grilled bbq chicken, corn on the cob and homemade mac and cheese. My stomach was really upset and I choked down half my dinner. I kept thinking "could this be the night?" And wanted to have energy to make it through labor if it was. I started having contractions when I laid down for bed around 930, and they did not feel like Braxton Hicks. They felt real. But they were only coming every 20 minutes and I was able to sleep between them. I slept on the couch for part of the night because I was afraid of waking the Hubs. I wanted him to be well rested in case we needed to go the hospital.

Monday morning, I told him I was going to walk a couple laps in the driveway to see if I could speed things along after breakfast. So I walked about 20 minutes and the contractions stopped. I felt fine otherwise, and decided to go ahead and go to work. I had some contractions throughout the day, but they weren't as strong as the ones I had overnight and weren't coming at regular intervals. For lunch, a coworker and I went to the fair again, as I had this feeling I wouldn't be making another trip. I had a huge corndog and cookies & cream mini donuts. Think: funnel cake made into donuts about the diameter of an oreo, then coated with white frosting and crunched up oreos. I ate the entire thing (and REALLY) wanted a glass of milk afterward. 

Monday afternoon, I called my OB's office. Sunday night, the contractions had stopped when I started moving around or snacked, but on Monday at work, I would have a contraction every time I started moving. Get up to go to the printer? Contraction. Go to the bathroom? Contraction. The nurse told me the best thing was to keep moving when they started, to help labor progress, but to not move so much as to wear myself out so that I would still have energy for labor. 
Cookies and cream mini donuts

I didn't walk Freddy that day or go to the gym. Instead I went to TJ Maxx and shopped and walked down nearly every aisle. I wanted to be moving but not at a strenuous pace, and I was leary of walking laps in the driveway knowing it would be two hours until the Hubs came home. I didn't want to collapse in labor pain in the driveway. When I got home I watered all the fruit trees. Again, low energy, but still moving. 

For dinner, I made cheeseburgers with diced onions and jalapenos in them and homemade french fries. The burgers weren't spicy at all, even though I used 4 jalapenos for a pound of meat. I also ate a pretty good sized tomato. I was stuffed when I got up from the table and was shocked how hungry I was compared to the previous evening. I snapped a quick 41-week photo before hopping in the shower.  
41 weeks, 2 days
Again, I laid down to read and unwind before bedtime, about 830pm, and the contractions started. I started timing them again and they were coming every 2 to 8 minutes and lasting for about 45 seconds. My OB had told me to head to the hospital when the contractions were 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, for at least an hour. I figured labor would progress pretty quickly. (Boy was I wrong!) I showed the Hubs my contraction counter app and told him we would probably head for the hospital sometime during the night. I told him to sleep and I would wake him when the contractions were coming per the OB's times. I went to the couch to rest between contractions, and when a contraction hit, I would get up and walk around the living room. This was partly to keep my mind off the pain because sitting through a contraction was torturous. Around 230am, the Hubs got up to eat a snack. I had called the OB floor at the hospital about an hour earlier and told them my contractions were about a minute long, but still spaced 2 to 7 minutes apart, and that they had been like that for about 4 hours. She told me to labor at home as long as I could comfortably, and that she expected they would see me sometime that night. I told the Hubs he should go ahead and eat his snack, and think about going to the bathroom and getting dressed. I thought it was about time to leave for the hospital. He was ready in lightning fast speed, and we were off! It didn't occur to me until that point that I would have to sit through the contractions on the way to the hospital. In the 25 minute ride, I had at least 5 contractions. 

On the way down the driveway, it also occurred to me that the next time I was home, I would be a parent. I would no longer be responsible for just me. I would be sustaining a life outside my womb. What an overwhelming thought!

When we checked into the hospital around 3 am, I was 9 days overdue. I expected to have baby girl by mid-afternoon at the latest. 
Around 6am the contractions became more than I could bear and I asked for an epidural. It was about 8 am before the anesthesiologist got to me. The epidural left me immobile, and so I also had a catheter inserted and IV fluids started. Once the drugs kicked in, I could feel pressure from the abdomen down, but could not feel pain. My right leg went completely numb; I could not feel it at all and could only move my toes. I was unable to move my right leg without assisting it. My left leg was tingly, like it was asleep with pins and needles, and I was still able to move it. After the epidural, the contractions seemed to decrease in intensity and frequency. I was able to doze. In an effort to keep things moving, the nurses would rotate me from side to side every 30 minutes. This was to help baby girl get in the birth canal. At one point, I agreed to try pelvic rocking, which involved me turning around in the bed, with the back inclined nearly 90 degrees, and rocking. But with my right leg not moving, that did not work very well. I was laughing throughout the entire attempt because I felt like a fish flapping out of water. Even with a nurse on each side, I couldn't keep my leg upright. 

At about 3pm, my contractions still hadn't sped back up, so my water was manually broken. I didn't want to be on Pitocin, so the nurse gave my body a couple hours to respond to my water breaking. I don't know if it was because of the epidural, but the contractions would not get more intense or frequent. The Pitocin was started sometime that evening, not much to start with, and increased every couple hours when the contractions seemed to level off again. 

At 5 am on September 10, I was finally nearly fully dilated, except for a small rim on one side that was stuck on baby girl's head. The nurse could feel the top of her head and informed me that she had a full head of hair. I started pushing with each contraction at 5 am. The nurse was also confident that baby girl was oriented incorrectly - instead of being face down in the birth canal she was face up. Around 7 am, my OB/Gyn arrived for delivery. The nurses and doctor kept telling me about her hair and how close she was getting with each push; at one point I asked them to bring in a mirror. I was amazed how much more motivated I was to bring her into this world once seeing the top of her head. 

At 7:55 am on Wednesday, September 10, our baby girl was born. In the final push her entire body came out. I guess I expected one push for her head and several for her body. But once her head came out, everyone encouraged me to keep pushing and she came out. She was momentarily placed on my chest. In that moment, I was so overwhelmed with joy and was crying, but I was also laughing because she had a severe conehead from being pushed out the birth canal for 3 hours. (I was told later that 3 hours of pushing is typical for a face-up delivery, and that some OB/Gyns won't even deliver if the baby is in that orientation because it takes so long.) The nurses took her to the other side of the room to clean her up and do some quick testing. It took several minutes longer than the Hubs and I were expecting. She had mucus in her lungs, and they wanted to take her to the nursery for oxygen treatments. They were afraid she wasn't taking in enough air. They expected to return her to my room around noon. This was quite scary, as we had initially been told that our baby would stay with us from the beginning, and that she would be placed naked on my bare chest and allowed to nurse at her own whim. 

Baby girl responded well to the oxygen and they were able to suction mucus out of her lungs that was causing her difficulty in breathing. She was returned to our room around 930 am. Such a sigh of relief, except I could not get her to nurse. It took quite a while of trying, and finally a nipple shield, before she would nurse. My nipples were so large (partly because that's how they are,  partly because the epidural and IV caused me to retain water and swell.)

The Hubs, whispering secrets to his baby girl
Baby girl swaddled. Mom - does the hat look familiar?
We were given the choice of staying another day or being discharged on Thursday. So we had more time to recover, take advantage of all the assistance from the nurses and lactation consultant, and the meals being prepared for both of us, we stayed until Friday.

Friday, the Hubs took a load of belongings out to the car and discovered one of our tires was flat. It was the front passenger side, and he said he wouldn't have noticed except that someone put a note under the windshield wiper (not because he's oblivious to these things, but because he didn't walk on that side of the car). He tried to put the spare tire on so he could drive to the tire shop, but it was low on air, too. So my MiL came in and took him to the tire shop. He ended up buying a new tire because there was a nail in the tire. Just our luck (thank goodness) that we didn't have a blowout on the drive in to the hospital on Monday night!

Baby girl was awake the entire ride home and didn't cry a bit. 

Monday we had our first pediatrician appointment. Baby A  is on track currently for the number of diapers and feedings each day. She weighed in at 7 lb 7 oz, so she is still a little below birth weight. We go back tomorrow for a weight check. (In the meantime, she is getting longer feedings. Momma doesn't want to feed formula!) She is still 21" long (even though her conehead has decreased - I can't tell that she used to have an elogated head, but I look at her everyday...) 

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