Saturday, January 21, 2012
"This kid is definitely coming tonight. Mark my words. If he doesn't come tonight I will be shocked." I said those words to Chris as I was draped diagonally across our bed at 7:30 pm on Friday, January 13th. I just couldn't be bothered to move anymore. I was in a lot of pain and discomfort. I felt sick. I actually fell asleep right there, having a painful contraction for good measure.
I startled awake at 11:15 pm with a horribly painful contraction that was long and painful enough to make me need to sit up and get out of bed. I limped to the bathroom to get some water and just shake it off. A few minutes later, another contraction hit long and hard. And repeat. And repeat. I finally woke Chris up and said "Honey, it may be nothing yet but I'm having painful contractions every 5 minutes and I need your help timing them…I'm in too much pain now to focus."
Not long after that we were bustling around packing our bags for the hospital. Having been through it before, I knew I really only needed my toothbrush, contact lens case and glasses. I grabbed at some comfy clothes to come home in and some outfits for the baby for good measure and we called our awesome neighbor. She had volunteered to come in the night to be here for Paige in case I went into labor. Arriving just after 12:15 we gave her some basic instructions on things and off we went! (We'd called the doctor in the meantime who recommended we go ahead to labor and delivery to be checked out).
I knew it wasn't a false alarm. I was in too much pain. I could barely pack that bag with those few items! We enjoyed clear highways all the way to the hospital, although every bump in the road was like torture on my body. I remember leaving the car, waddling through the doors and thinking that I was leaving a former life behind me and leaping out into an entire new realm that would include another whole member to our family. Forever editing our family tree. My fears melted away as excitement and purpose took its place.
We came in and settled into our spacious birthing room. After a million questions and some settling in, the nurse checked to see how far along I was. I was only 75% effaced and one centimeter dilated. Ugh. But, the contractions were regular enough to keep me there until my doctor arrived in the morning. We'd have to stay the night. She offered me a narcotic to get me through the pain but to also help me sleep and maintain my energy. I agreed; as I was in so much pain but knew I was a long way off before having a baby. I still hadn't really slept much since I'd only just gone to bed! It sucked. I would fall asleep for 10 minute increments and startle myself awake in paranoia. I couldn't relax! The drug (can't remember the name of it) made me so nauseous and confused. My vision was blurred and I felt so panicked. And I still felt the pain; although I must admit the edge was taken off. I spent most of the night in that state and I felt miserable in the morning.
I was so excited to see the doctor but was bummed when the nurse came and said she was going to see all her postpartum patients first before checking in on me. She'd wanted me to have plenty of time to progress before she decided whether I would go home or not. I was sweating, crying, and groaning in pain and just wanted to be checked for progress! After a lot of screaming and yelling through contractions on my part the nurse was begging me to take another narcotic. I adamantly refused and begged her to stop asking me to take it. She was convinced I had a long way to go and needed my rest. I was convinced that I would spend another 7 hours wanting to barf and jump out a window at the same time. No dice.
Another scream of pain on my part and the nurse decided we'd waited long enough and she checked me. Only 1 centimeter dilated but more thinned out. I could NOT believe it. No real progress? After screaming painful contractions for hours? I felt horrified. I didn't think I could go much longer without going crazy. She told me to try and relax until the doctor could come. (hee hee, good one!). When she finally arrived I was praying so hard that I'd progressed. Sure enough, I was 3 centimeters along. WOOOOO! She said I was officially in active labor and would be staying. She said "You can have your epidural soon! But the head is still really high and I don't want to break your water yet because of it. Also, you'll need to have 2 bags of IV fluids and a bag of penicillin BEFORE you can have the epidural." WHAAAAAT? Yep. The nurse had just recently told me that I'd tested positive for Group B Strep and the baby needed to have IV antibiotics while being birthed. I love how they were just telling me that news. Why hadn't I known sooner? *eyeroll* Furthermore, I was freaked out about how long it would take to absorb all that stuff before I could get my pain relief. Let's just say there was a LOT of crying, breathing, squeezing, grunting, and eventual screaming for God to help me before all those fluids were absorbed!
Once I had my precious epidural (hello, old friend!) I was able to settle down and relax. The started me on some pitocin to help get the contractions more strong and regular. All I needed to do was wait and and be calm. I switched laying on my left side to my right in efforts to help the baby move his head down which seemed to do the trick because my water broke and it wasn't long before I could feel pressure down in my nether regions. I'd recently been checked and was found to be 6 centimeters dilated so it seemed to be moving fast! I could feel the head in there and let the nurse know. She fetched the doctor and sure enough, I was 10 centimeters along and ready to push! It was now 1:30 in the afternoon on Saturday, January 14th. I had only just gotten my epidural at about 11:30 am or so. Nice!
Everyone got ready and I watched all the excitement in a good mood and pain free. I felt the big urge to push by 1:45 and only had to go through 3 sets of contractions before I felt baby Noah's body slip right on out of me at 1:59 pm. My body felt instant relief and a rush of elation. I looked down and saw the doctor cleaning out his mouth and nose. Chris cut the really thick and sturdy umbilical chord. I cried. The nurses then whisked Noah over to the warmer area to do the Apgar tests and other things. I noticed his little chest was heaving so fast. They noted he was having difficulty breathing and it was common for boys born at 37 weeks. I felt so worried and my throat clutched. I wanted to see him. I wanted to hold him. Instead, I was watching his little chest rise and fall so fast. I could hear is little voice grunting and squeaking for air. They decided, after some tests, that he was getting enough oxygen and said I could hold him for just a minute or two. They put him in bare skin on my chest to help him warm up quickly. He snuggled right against me and seemed to calm a bit as I spoke. His eyes rolled all around to look toward me! Tears streamed down my face in disbelief that he was finally here! All too fast, they took him away for the next two hours for testing, stabilizing and all that jazz over at the nursery. The nurses all assured me that this was normal and he was going to be just fine; so I began to feel a bit better. My mood also improved when I was allowed to order my meal! I hadn't eaten since dinner on Friday evening so I was more than ready! (lol) Noah eventually came back to the room; still unbathed but was ready for his first meal. He took to the bottle right away and sucked contentedly with these little squeaky gulping sounds. I felt so much love flood through my veins right then. I thought I might explode. I began to cry again; a joyful cry of course. He was real. He IS real. He is here. And he is so very loved. He always will be, forever more.
Here's some fun photos; he's now a week old already! sigh.