It's a girl!
Baby girl E has arrived!
Labor symptoms began the day after my due date, on May 28, 2011. I was feeling irritable, physically restless (wanted to stand, keep moving rather than sit still, etc), and late that evening had some frequent bm's. Contractions were there, but really irregular, mild, I could ignore them easily. At about 10pm that night, contractions got stronger for a little bit, but then went away for a little while, so I decided to go to bed early just in case they intensified again and I was in for a night of little to no sleep. That plan didn't work out so well. I started some laundry, took recycling out to the bin, cleaned up the basement a bit, and didn't get to bed until midnight. I was definitely nesting, but totally in denial that I was in early labor. I'd had a false alarm/practice run a week previous, with strong contractions every 2.5 minutes, lasting a minute long each, and when we got to the hospital, I was 1-2 cm dilated and contractions stopped about an hour after we got there. I wanted to be sure this was the real thing before I got myself ready to go to the hospital. Another factor probably contributing to my denial is that with Baby K, I'd had back labor because he was posterior (facing my front), and with Baby E, I did not, as she was anterior (facing my back). These contractions were very easy compared to his labor, so I didn't feel like I was as far along in labor as I was because I was comparing it to my labor with him. Well, I was able to sleep for a couple hours, but woke up at 2:30am to use the bathroom and saw I was having bloody show. This was a very good sign that labor was close, but I somehow convinced myself that it could still be hours or even days away and busied myself with more laundry and had some toast. Contractions were still mild and irregular, so I went back to bed at 4:30am. I woke Justin up getting back into bed, so I told him I was pretty sure we'd be having a baby that day, but I wasn't ready to time contractions yet. I slept for another hour or so, and then we both got up around 6am to time contractions. I texted our doula Becky then to give her some time to get back to town from her family's home 30 minutes away. She luckily realized I was in denial about being in labor and headed to town immediately. I had some breakfast and folded diapers while Justin timed my contractions. They were about every 2 to 3 minutes, lasting about 30-45 seconds each, still pretty easy, and still pretty irregular, and as I said, I was totally in denial, so we decided to call Grandma to come over soon so we could go for a walk to see if things intensified with activity. We called her at about 7:30am, and between then and when she got to our house at 8:45, things had already intensified. We'd woken Baby K up for the day, got him dressed and fed, and contractions were now about 2 minutes apart, lasting a minute each, and I was swaying and concentrating on my breathing to cope with the intensity. We never got our romantic walk in the rain. Instead, we called the midwife's after-hours service to tell them we were coming in, called Becky to have her meet us at the hospital, and after grabbing some more food for me, we were off. Baby K was cute and concerned. Every time I'd have a contraction, he'd watch me and say "Mommy, no sleeping. What's Mommy doing?" while Justin explained that the baby was telling Mommy it was time to be born, so Mommy was working hard to help the baby come out. Before we left for the hospital, Baby K kissed us both, and then blew the baby a raspberry on my belly. So cute. :)
I was having some achiness in my low back with contractions at that point, and swaying and rocking my hips helped tremendously. I couldn't do that in the car. Not fun. Even more not fun is trying to cope with those contractions in a car that is turning at relatively high speeds. Awful. Trying to keep your torso upright with practically useless abdominal muscles while contracting is not recommended. But we got to the hospital and I didn't have to deal with that again.
We met Becky in the hospital lobby and headed up to labor and delivery at about 9am. Having had a practice run the week previous meant paperwork this time was practically nonexistent, and we headed straight to a room. We met our nurse Deb, who hooked up the monitors and then checked me. 6cm, 90% effaced, and baby's head at 0 station! WHAT????? I told Deb to get the penicillin into me quick! She agreed and put in the order before coming back to start my IV. I needed penicillin during labor because I tested positive for Group Beta Strep (GBS) earlier in pregnancy. The protocol for giving penicillin in labor is two doses 4 hours apart before birth, and it takes about an hour for one dose to be administered via IV. At that point, I was positive we wouldn't get to the second dose. However, the fact that my water hadn't broken yet was reassuring; there is no chance of infection while the water is still intact, so we still had some cushion if we couldn't get the second dose before baby arrived. At some point before I got into the tub, Jill, the midwife on call from our office, and the midwife who'd delivered Baby K, arrived. Our midwife, Carol, was out of town for Memorial Day weekend.
We were heading in the direction of a water birth, but we didn't have our hearts set on one either, though I definitely wanted to labor in the bathtub, it was so heavenly during Baby K's birth. While Deb was waiting for my penicillin to arrive from the pharmacy, she started the bathtub filling so I could get in right away once the IV was running. I got into the tub and contractions were so easy again. I kept asking everyone if we were sure I was really in labor! And then I'd have another contraction and I was sure again for a few minutes. With all the water I was drinking and the IV fluids, I kept getting out of the tub to use the bathroom, which was good because it kept me moving and changing positions. The first dose of penicillin was in, my water was still intact, and labor was progressing. It was all still so easy, especially compared to my labor with Baby K! Such a difference back labor makes! I'm glad I'd had a back labor birth first, rather than the other way around! After I'd been in the tub for about 2 hours, Becky suggested I get out and walk for a little bit for a change of position. Jill and the nurse wanted to listen to the baby again in about 10 minutes, so we walked for 10 minutes. Contractions were more intense this time, and I was really feeling transition. Walking felt pretty good actually. It was a good way to keep my hips moving and relieved the low back pain. We got back to the room and I sat on the bed so Deb could take my bp, temperature, and listen to the baby's heartrate. I ate part of a chocolate chip granola bar between contractions while she listened. A couple contractions later, I felt a pop that was my water breaking. I told them so, so Deb listened to Baby E for a few more contractions. They felt so different after my water broke! So much more intense, more pressure, more painful. The rest of my granola bar was abandoned for the moment. Baby's heartrate looked good, and the amniotic fluid was nice and clear, so I was ready to get back in the tub. I needed to pee before getting back in the tub, so I stopped at the toilet first.
While sitting on the toilet I suddenly felt like I was going to vomit, so I told Justin and the others, who all frantically tried to get something to catch it in for me. The next contraction hit, and I suddenly realized that I wasn't about to vomit, I was about to have a baby! I was pushing and I was sitting on the toilet! I leapt off the toilet, jumped into the tub because it was closer than the bed and not blocked by people still trying to catch vomit that wasn't coming after all, leaned over the side of the tub on my knees, gave a monster involuntary push, felt burning, and heard Jill say that the head was out! Jill only had time to put on one glove! Thank goodness she was right in the room with me, or she would have missed the whole thing! She told me to stay low in the water so the baby's head would stay underwater (babies take their first breaths once they feel air on their faces), I gave another monster involuntary push and felt her body slip out. Jill passed her to me underwater between my legs so I could announce whether we had a boy or a girl, I brought her up out of the water, looked and said, "It's a GIRL!!!" I was so shocked! I was totally expecting another boy, simply because we already have a son! I delivered the placenta a few minutes later, then we got out of the tub so Jill could see if I needed any repairs. I got 3 or 4 stitches for a little first degree tear, and Baby E started nursing immediately. We had to give her sugar water because she had low blood sugar, and between that and the constant nursing for the first hour and a half she was born, she had her first poop all over my stomach, right before the nursery staff took her to weigh and bathe! Baby K had met her at this point, and Baby E pooping on Mommy was a point of interest for the rest of the day!
Baby E was born on May 29, 2011 at 11:55am, weighed 7 pounds and was 19.5 inches long. Over a pound lighter and 2 inches shorter than her big brother! Despite all the differences, her birth was just as powerful and incredible an experience for me as Baby K's was, and Baby E is such a blessing to our family! We are so thankful for her!