Monday, July 12, 2010

Lil' J's Birth Story: Part 1

I met with my OB on Tuesday after having contractions for days. I busted out my contraction tracker iPhone app a few times to time them and while at times they were 2-3 minutes apart for hours I knew they weren’t strong enough to be doing much, and if I went to the hospital I’d be sent home.

I was checked at my appointment and still just 1.5cm dilated and 50% effaced. Still a long way to go. We did an ultrasound and saw that my amniotic fluid levels and placenta looked good, and my baby was still doing well. They didn’t guestimate how big she was during the ultrasound and tell me I needed to induce because of her size, but I knew in my gut she was big.

My OB doesn’t induce before 41 weeks unless it’s medically necessary; so the first day I could choose to be induced was Saturday. I’d be 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant, huge, and ready to evict her.

My maternity leave had already started, and my husband had already been off work for a week, waiting for our daughter to arrive. I asked my doctor what the benefits of waiting would be and if she thought it would be better if I waited until 42 weeks, or went with inducing Saturday. She said it’s really hard to tell before. She said there’s a chance the baby isn’t quite ready to come out when you induce early, but there’s also a chance she could get too big the longer she’s inside. My husband and I decided going with Saturday, July 3rd would be the best choice.

My OB picked up the phone, set my appointment and said we needed to go to the hospital Friday night to check in, and get Cervidil started to help get my cervix softer and ready for pitocin. There was a chance contractions would start that night and that I wouldn’t need pitocin in the morning, but I wasn’t counting on it.

In the mean time I tried every wives tale and natural induction method I had heard of. Contractions would start and go and go and go but they were never very painful. Either I had higher pain tolerance than I thought, or nothing was really happening.

I went about that week getting everything ready for her new due date. I cherished every night my husband had to sleep in, stay up late, take naps, and have our last few moments of time alone as non-parents.

Thursday night, our last night together before going to the hospital, neither of us could sleep. I remember looking at my husband and telling him I felt like I was waiting for Christmas. He smiled and said him too. We were both so anxious.

Friday morning we woke up with a list of things to do before heading to the hospital. The last few things on my list were to put my hair in rollers, put in my fake eyelashes, do my makeup and pig out.

I ate some pasta, turned on some tunes, bounced on my yoga ball, and rolled my hair for the next hour. I figured I may have time to freshen up and do my makeup after my daughter was born and before taking photos, but I may not, so I did it beforehand just in case. I wanted good pictures dangit!When I came down stairs my husband looked at me and laughed.

"Are we going to a photo shoot or going to have a baby?" He asked me.

I thought for a second. "Both."
We dropped our house key off at a friend’s house so they could let Snoop out, and decided to take a trip to IHOP. Another reason I love my husband… He’s not afraid to be seen in public with me, 41 weeks pregnant, with rollers in my hair.

After eating a scrumptious meal—French toast and eggs—And giggling at the awkward looks I was getting in the process, it was go time!

Although we weren’t rushing to the hospital because of outrageously painful contractions making me scream, we still were in a bit of a hurry because we were running late for my check in time. We were supposed to be there at 6pm, so we pretended like we were on the verge of having the baby in the car.

It was pouring rain outside, and since I had done so much work to get my hair straight, then rolled, I tried my best to stay dry. The sight of me, big belly, in hair rollers, carrying a huge hospital bag and a pink umbrella was too good to pass up. We stopped to grab a picture before we went in.I carried one of my bags and a woman spotted me in the hall—shocked that I was carrying it (I know she was looking at my husband wondering why he was letting me do that). I insisted that it was my choice. I was doing everything I could to help my baby out! Plus, it wasn’t like I was in labor or leaking amniotic fluid all over the place.

Once we got to labor and delivery I realized how nice it was to be checking in with a clear mind.

“Jennifer?” the woman behind the counter confirmed my appointment. “You’re in room 260.”

As we walked down the halls I distinctly remember feeling like we were getting VIP treatment and checking into a hotel. This is my style, I thought to myself.

Or first nurse—Jennifer—Came in and said hi. She was a nice lady, sorta soft spoken, but friendly. She asked me to change into my hospital gown and I let her know I brought my own.

Once I changed, and hopped into bed, it hit me that this was really happening.
The nurse put my saline block in so I’d be ready for an IV in the morning, and put the Cervidil in. I got hooked up to monitoring, though she showed me how to detach them in case I wanted to move around.

I had a lot of questions for her: Was wireless monitoring available? Could I get a foley catheter to help me dilate if the Cervidil didn’t work? What could I do to get my bishiop score from a 6 up to a 7 or an 8? If the Cervidil worked really well could we skip the pitocin all together?

I could tell she was surprised I knew as much as I did, and did her best to answer all of my questions.

My husband told me to calm down, and kept reminding me everything was going to be ok. He asked me to try to remember why we were there—To have a baby. And said we’d be blessed and happy if she and I were both healthy at the end of the day.

He could tell I was stressing out about how everything was going to end up. I was over thinking things.

She told me contractions could get started that night, but gave me some sleeping medication so I could sleep through it. I took one and saved the other—Thinking I’d use it to help me sleep through active labor in the morning. I ended up never using that other pill.

Jennifer brought me some surprisingly yummy hospital food and my husband went out to get us more food. I figured I should eat as much as I could before we got the show on the road.
Contractions picked up stronger than they had been before, but they still weren’t as painful as I knew they could or would be. So I prepared myself to get pitocin to help in the morning.

That night I slept to the sounds of my daughter’s heartbeat on the monitor, and dreamed about what meeting her would be like.

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