(I get pretty detailed in some parts of the story so consider yourself warned if birth-goo bothers you)
All photos from the hospital and first few days home are here.
After a relaxing lunch with my friend, Jen, on Saturday I started noticing some regular but spaced apart contractions around 1 or 2pm. They were regular enough with their ‘irregularity’ for me to suspect they could possibly be the onset of labor. After heading home Eric and I took Miles to the park so he could run around and so I could try and gauge my contractions. I started noticing a definite increase in frequency and strength. By 5pm we both began to suspect this was really labor and it wasn’t going to stop. We headed to Waterloo for dinner and started paying attention to the timing of the contractions. They were close to 5 minutes apart and lasted a little less than a minute. We notified our doula, Cindy, that we suspected the real thing was here. She confirmed it was probably a good idea to have my mom come and get Miles.
After heading home, Eric and I finished packing for the hospital and then Mom headed off to Batrop with Miles and Travis around 8:30. The contractions were still close to 5 minutes apart and were starting to get stronger. Humming through the contractions became a nice diversion and helped me stay calm and breathe. We called our doctor around 9pm and she said the contractions were still a little short in length but we could come in if we wanted to. We decided to stay at home awhile longer. We both laid down in bed and watched a movie until around 12:30 to attempt to rest. Sleep was not an option at this point. Eric helped distract me during the contractions and was a great labor partner. When the contractions started to get strong enough that a bumpy car ride was starting to sound completely unappealing, we decided to head to the hospital. After talking to the oncall doctor to confirm that the length and timing of contractions were definitely enough to warrant going in – we were off. Eric drove and I rode in the backseat on my hands and knees. Yes, I’m completely aware that it was not the safest thing to do but there was nothing Eric could do or say to get me to sit in the front seat on my butt. It was WAY too uncomfortable.
We arrived at Seton Central around 1am on 2/8. I will admit that a highlight of the evening was the wheelchair ride to the labor and delivery ward. The gentleman who was pushing me was practically running – and I’m not sure why – it wasn’t like the baby was crowning or anything. I had to keep myself from shouting “faster, faster!!”. Our doula, Cindy, was waiting for us as we got off the elevator. We got to the room, unpacked all of our goodies (cds, snacks, gatorade, etc.) and settled in for a long night.
The nurse checked me and I was 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. After the cervix check I noticed that my full mucus plug came out in her hand. There was not denying it at this point – definitely labor! I was a little surprised I wasn’t more dilated considering I’d already been contracting since 2pm that day but figured more would happen as the evening progressed.
Since my plan was to have an unmedicated, natural birth it was very helpful having our doula, Cindy, there to help us. She suggested different positions for me to labor in, rubbed my back and gave me encouragement. It was great being able to hang on her and have Eric rub my back during contractions. Within the first hour of being in the hospital my water broke on its own. Thank goodness it didn’t happen in the car on the way to the hospital!! I should clarify that my water didn’t all break at once. It trickled out all over the place for hours. I left a trail of clear water any time we walked the halls. I was very happy that the nurses were able to find a wireless monitoring machine so I wasn’t tied to the bed for the labor. Since I had a previous c-section, I was required to be monitored 100% of the time to watch for problems with the baby’s heart rate. All throughout the labor the doctors and nurses told me that baby girl was tolerating the labor very well. I was able to walk the halls, try different positions in and out of bed and even take a shower.
Between 1am and 9am my contractions became much more painful and stronger but were still only 4-5 minutes apart. I learned a few things in those 8 hours. First of all – what I thought was unbearable pain during my labor with Miles was NOTHING to whine about. Secondly, time flies very fast when you are in contraction-labor-land. I was able to relax during the contractions and breathe through most of them. My humming turned into moaning and an occasional yell. Unfortunately, my body was not really working for me. Changing positions would make the contractions come on amazingly strong but they would never get closer together. In all of that time from 1am-9am laboring, changing positions and walking, I only dilated 1 more centimeter. Because of the previous c-section, I couldn’t have any pitocin to try and get the contractions closer together. The oncall doctor, Dr. Yuim, was aware of my desire to have a VBAC but during my last cervix check with her at 9am she informed me that she was concerned about the lack of progress (I was still only 3cm dilated and 80% effaced) and even more concerned about fatigue. I felt pretty good because I had been able to eat and drink while laboring but there was no way I was able to sleep during contractions. She told me I was in for the ‘long haul’ and I needed to prepare myself for the fact that I may still end up with a c-section because there could be something with my body or the position of the baby that could be keeping me from dilating more. She also told me she really thought an epidural was a good idea so I could rest. I could tell by her face that a VBAC wasn’t looking promising.
This was not what I needed to hear. Having a trial of labor is a great thing for the baby to go through because it squeezes out the amniotic fluid from the baby’s lungs. But having to go through all of this pain now knowing that I was barely progressing took its tole on me. They kept telling me that once I got to 5cm things would happen fast. But in my mind, 5cm became this unobtainable goal. I toughed it out until 10am. My contractions were still only 5-6 minutes apart but they felt MUCH stronger and like someone was stabbing me repeatidly with a knife. At this point I was frustrated, tired, and not optimistic. I’m sure my frame of mind made the contractions unbearable to deal with. A few incredibly hard contractions and I yelled my code word for get me the epidural now (“marathon”).
Within 30 minutes I had an epidural and was comfortable. I will admit – I didn’t like the anesthesiologist. He had to keep poking my back with the needle/ catheter thingy because he wasn’t hitting the right spot. He also had the personality of a toad. He made me go through having the epidural during a strong contraction and was unwilling to wait a few minutes for it to stop before starting the procedure. Eric agreed that he was a jerk. The nurse, however, was very nice. They wouldn’t let me lean on eric during the procedure so instead I got to bury my face into her pregnant belly.
After the epidural and another cervix check I learned that I was still only 3cm dilated. After all of that pain there was NO change. At this point I was very happy I got the epidural and didn’t continue toughing it through contractions that weren’t doing anything. The doctor wanted to wait another 4 hours to see how things would progress and then would recheck me and reevaluate whether or not a c-section was an option. Eric and Cindy took naps.
I munched on ice chips here and there and tried to sleep but couldn’t. At 2pm Dr. Yuim came in and confirmed that I still had not dilated any more. No more effacement, no more dilation. And now my contractions were 5-9 minutes apart. At this point it was obvious that continuing to try for a vaginal birth was most likely a lost cause. We decided it was time for the c-section. Surprisingly enough I was ok with it. I felt like we had done everything we could and I gave it all I could have. I drank the nasty, acid-neutralizing stuff, almost puked, and off we went to the OR.
After getting me all prepped Eric came in. He convinced the doctors to let him watch the surgery over the curtain instead of having to hide behind it with me. He was very happy Just a few minutes later and I was hearing a crying baby! She sounded beautiful and looked amazing. Eric was beaming. All was well and good until I got a sharp pain in both of my temples and all of a sudden I was paralyzed. I had enough in me to tell Eric “my head hurts and I can’t breathe”. Then it was like my body shut down. I couldn’t open my eyes, I couldn’t talk, move, blink, swallow or move a muscle. I have never been so scared in my life. The doctor was in my ear telling me that I was breathing fine and everything was ok. I heard him tell Eric that I was just light headed. I was stuck in my own head screaming to myself “I can’t breathe, I had a sharp pain in my head, something is wrong, help!! This isn’t light-headed-ness!!!”. Well – I had to be breathing ok because no monitors were going off and my oxygen was ok – I just couldn’t feel myself breathing (as I found out later). I couldn’t feel my chest moving or my lungs expanding. It was terrifying. I don’t know how long I was paralyzed like that but it seemed like an eternity. They asked me to squeeze their hands and I couldn’t respond. The doctor put a mask on me that forced air into my mouth and nose. It gave me comfort that I wasn’t dying but I still didn’t understand what was wrong. Eric was rushed out of the room. After some amount of time I slowly started to come around (was it only minutes or seconds I was like that??…it was hard to tell). The doctor said something about my blood pressure dropping and also about having too much of the epidural medication in my system being the cause. Whatever it was, I’m glad I never have to go through it again!
Eric stayed with Lyla in the nursery and Cindy kept me company in the recovery room.
They brought Lyla into me about an hour later and I was immediately able to nurse her. Maybe it’s something with having a second child or maybe she is just easier to handle. Whatever it is she was a million times easier to nurse than Miles. Eric and I were able to rest in the hospital and were even able to nap during the day. It was fun visiting with friends and family but we were glad to get home.
We are only 6 days from her birth and she has already gained back most of the weight she lost after birth -short .5 oz. From what the doctor says it usually takes 2 full weeks.
Miles really doesn’t seem to care too much about her. He walks by her and will point and say “baby”. Last night he patted her on the head a few times while she was in her swing.
Then he decided to ‘share’ his plastic truck and threw it at her head. I don’t think it was malicious…but who knows! I’m trying to spend one on one time with him and at least read him his stories before bedtime and naps. Recovery from the c-section is going well. I feel better every day. It’s been a huge help having Eric home but I’m sure he’s ready to get back to work. All in all I couldn’t have pictured things going better for our first few days home. I just hope Lyla’s easy-going attitude continues. So far she has definitely proven herself to be easier than Miles was at this age. I’m still not a big fan of the not sleeping thing but Lyla has been fairly easy on the as well. So far I’ve been up 2-3 times a night and she always goes back to sleep with little fuss. I’m hoping this keeps up!
Thanks again to everyone for your well wishes! I’m sorry for not being able to get back to most of you individually but sleep and free time are hard to come by at the moment. Miles wanted me to tell everyone Happy Valentine’s Day!
(yes, that is his new ‘smile’ for when you take pictures)