Katie was born on April 10, 2011 at 5:50 PM, after a seven-ish hour labor, three hours of which were spent pushing. Her Apgar scores were 8 and 9, and she cried a little in the delivery room. She was exactly one week late, due date was April 3, 2011.
I felt the first contraction at 10:23 AM, though at the time I thought it was more Braxton Hicks like we'd had for the last week or so. I tried not to get excited about the fact that they hurt more than normal. Still, they kept coming for an hour, and those last ones were rather painful. I had to use my breathing technique through a few of them, even! Still, I thought that there was no way it was real. I'd had painful Hicks before and nothing happened, so I kept rather mum about it, despite my Dad asking how my day was going. *laugh*
By 11:30, though, I was in the shower to try and lessen the pain. They were already coming every seven-ish minutes apart, and getting rather painful. During the shower (11:29 - 11:48), I had three more contractions and noticed that they were finally forming a pattern. Woot! So maybe it really was labor, I thought to myself, and decided to give it at least another hour before we considered going in to the hospital.
By 11:58, however, I was back in the bath, wincing through the pains. My handwriting was getting to be very poor at this point (a fact that shouldn't amuse me, but somehow it does). By 12:12, the pains were tolerable again (read: my handwriting is legible), so I left the tub to labor a bit more on the toilet. Contractions at this point were 4 - 6 minutes apart, so I still thought we had a while.
However, while on the toilet (and lamenting the fact that I hadn't finished cleaning the bathroom entirely), the contractions started getting very intense. I moaned through them, stomping my foot and leaning on Nick (I'm surprised I didn't hurt his hands, I was squeezing so hard). He mentioned calling the hospital and asking if maybe we should come in. Contractions at this point were around 3 - 4 minutes, without a break in the pain in between.
I called the hospital and played a lovely game of phone tag with the different departments (seriously, if a woman says she's in labor and wants to see if she's supposed to come in, why did you transfer her to the pediatric ward? Wha?). Finally I got through to the labor and delivery floor, whose on call nurse said that sure, I could come in to be checked, and given that I was 2cm at the doctor's on Friday, I might be admitted for observation. Sure, whatever, let's go! This was at 1:04 PM. I felt a gush of fluid, but I figured it was more of my plug since I'd been losing pieces all day. I even went to check, just in case, and yep, definitely thought it was plug. Amniotic fluid is supposed to be clear, after all.
We made it to the car at some time between 1:04 and 1:13. I didn't actually write down the time, but did write down that I'd had at least one contraction between then. Nick made a comment about how I was shuffling faster than he had expected I could, to which I may have replied "believe me, if I could, I'd be running." It was funny at the time.
We pulled up to the hospital at 1:26 PM, at which point my handwriting was so poor, I could not longer write on a single line. Laboring in a car, apparently, was not much fun, but I had to admit that I remember very little of the drive over. I remember at one point, though, that Nick muttered to himself "one more light" and I thought it was weird that he was telling me so, given how often I'd been there. I'm sure we talked about that, but I don't remember what was said.
We walked into triage at around 1:30 PM (again, I'd stopped writing down times. I had a contraction at the registry desk, but I couldn't stop my hand from shaking enough to write it down). I was settled in and gowned within ten minutes, when the nurse walked in to check me. She said that I was obviously in labor (I might have figured it out by that point, since this proclamation didn't surprise me), but she didn't think I was terribly far along. Still, "you'll have this baby today!" I shuffled off to the restroom despite her protests because I really, really had to pee. I let her check me when I got back, and to our mutual shock she said
"7 cm." Holy, good gods! I was practically ready to push!! She said "well, good thing we've already called your doctor!" to which we all laughed, though poor Nick looked a little woozy. She left to go get a room ready for us, and another nurse came in to help us over there. She asked if I could walk, and I think I might be glad that I don't remember what I thought in response. I know my answer was a rather resounding "no." So she wheeled my bed down the hall instead, during which I had another contraction. Lying on my back felt surprisingly good, so I don't think I moaned much.
We made it to our room (the rooms in this hospital are very, very nice! Private, visitors allowed whenever you want them, loved ones allowed to sleep the night! They'll even wheel in an extra bed if you have more than one person staying! It's pretty awesome!), and the nurse told me I had to shift over to the laboring bed. Again, I'm glad I don't remember what I thought or said, but I remember her saying "I promise, you can do it." I did manage it, though it took me a bit longer than I thought it would (and I had a contraction while holding myself up with my hands over the edge between the two beds, lots of fun!), and I settled back with relief.
At this point, I noticed that Cathy, Nick's mom, had made it from her office. I was glad that she was there, though I was hesitant to actually hold her hand during contractions. She has very thin fingers and I was worried about hurting her. The nurse came in to check me, "just to see", and surprised us all again when she said "9 cm!" Ack! It'd only been maybe twenty minutes! My doctor came in a few minutes later (I was still reeling at how fast I was progressing) and checked for his records. "10!" *blink blink* No way.
The nurse asked if I'd like any pain meds, and apparently I impressed everyone when I said "what are my options?" Cathy and Nick were positive I'd jump right on an epidural, but I was hesitant. I really wanted to labor naturally, but these were a little hard to get through, so I was amenable to IV meds, which I had. This, I believe was just after 2 o'clock.
By a quarter to 3, the doctor said it was time to start pushing, and I almost asked Cathy to call my mom, who wasn't there yet. Thankfully, she walked in during the first push. I didn't notice she had come until it was over and I was suddenly holding her hand. *laugh* Again, I was hesitant to hold her hands since she, too, has thin fingers and I didn't want to hurt them. I was much more comfortable holding Nick's since I know for a fact that I can't break them. But he was very busy rubbing my back and applying counter-pressure, which felt amazing! It didn't take away the pain completely, but I fully credit him with the fact that I could continue to think throughout the whole labor, even if I couldn't speak at times.
I pushed for three hours. And with each push, despite everyone encouraging me and helping me hold my legs and pushing along with me, I was getting just too damn tired to make much progress. My doctor mentioned that we had to start considering other options, like vacuum extractions or maybe forceps, though he didn't like using those as much. Everything I've read about either intervention flashed through my head, but I knew there was no way I'd be able to birth her on my own. She was stuck on my pubic bone and I was exhausted, but I couldn't rest through contractions- my body was forcing me to push as hard as I could.
I gave my consent to a vacuum extraction, and things suddenly moved very, very quickly. Someone said "you're having a baby!" and had I not been in the middle of a push, I might have snapped back "what the hell have I BEEN doing?!" But they dropped the end of the bed out of the way (startled me, since I was resting on it a little bit) and Dr. Vogt assumed the delivery position, after showing us the vacuum (again, startled me. No way, I thought, was that suction cup thingy going to fit and it certainly wasn't going to work).
Two pushes later, her head was out, and they told me to stop pushing so they could suction her out. There was a LOT of meconium in my water, so they wanted to be sure her lungs were clear. Totally cool with me, but I couldn't stop. I didn't put any conscious effort into pushing, but my body still pushed a bit. Still "she's biting my finger when I suction her." I figured she was probably ok if I pushed a little bit. :) "One more gentle push, and she'll be out!" Gentle push? WHAT? All this time you've been asking me to push as hard as I can, turning me a "lovely shade of scarlet" according to Nick, and now you want gentle?! How the hell am I supposed to- Oh, that's how. Ok, that was officially the weirdest feeling EVER!! *shudder* I will never, ever look at jello the same way again.
So she was born at 5:50 PM, after three hours of pushing with a vacuum delivery and surprise episiotomy. I was told I'd torn, but the mothers have informed me that the doctor was actually the one who snipped. Part of me is angry about this, but really, I think he just had the same thought about the suction cups and wanted to make sure that he had enough room to work with. So I'm fine with it. Getting stitched up afterward hurt since I wasn't entirely numbed, but I was more focused on Katie, who had been whisked away to the NICU for a check up on her lungs.
She's still there now, but breathing on her own. She will possibly need a nasal canula to help clear up a numa thorax, which is air trapped between the lungs and chest wall. This can be caused by an infection (not likely in this case), the meconium, or pure dumb luck. The docs are keeping an eye on her for the next day or two to see if it clears up on its own or if she'll need a chest tube to reduce it. But all in all, she's doing wonderfully and already impressing the doctors. She's off the CPAP and is on room air with just a little pressure (like how Nick uses his CPAP now). I finally got to visit her at 10:30 ish, by which point she was out cold. Still, she looks adorable sucking on her little pacifier (which they'll use while she's in NICU to help encourage her sucking reflex).
So that's our story, and now we're going to collapse. :) Thank you all so much for your encouragement and well wishes throughout the entire pregnancy. It's so incredibly helpful having a community behind us every step of the way. :)
Crossposted to pregnant and my personal journal. Apologies if you see it several times. :)