After a slightly disappointing report at my 39 week appointment, I didn't have very high hopes for a speedy arrival for our little girl. Yet, 3 am on Tuesday found me wide awake having an exceptionally painful contraction. I didn't think much of it at first, until another one started just a few minutes after the first one ended. I grabbed my iPod and started timing the waves of pain; they were still irregular but definitely not getting any easier to breathe through. At about a minute and a half each and 6 to 8 minutes apart, they were much the same as what I had been feeling the day before, just stronger.
I didn't want to get excited, but when my shuffling woke Shaun up, I explained what was going on. Since we figured that this meant she could come any time, he actually got up and went to work around 4 am. I got up and showered with the intention of going in early also. At that point I decided that the pain was too much and I would have been useless at my desk and called in to my boss. After eating a little fruit salad I camped myself out on the couch with a movie on to try to distract myself from the contractions. When that didn't work (I didn't think there was a problem that Robert Pattinson couldn't get me through but I guess I was wrong) I tried a warm bath. That helped a lot, but I found myself falling asleep in the tub and missing the contraction timing. I went back to my movie, and then watched some episodes of "Bringing Home Baby" and "A Baby Story" on TLC. Around 9:30 I decided I couldn't take any more and attempted to reach my nurse at the OB's office. She was on vacation so I spoke with another nurse... I figured I had a long way to go, and really wanted to get some sleep, so I was hoping she could suggest something (ANYTHING) I could take to knock myself out so I could rest. Even though my contractions were still more than 5 minutes apart and I hadn't shown major signs of progressing at all the night before, the nurse decided (after hearing me breathe through one contraction) that I should come in for a labor check. I let Shaun know to come home and got busy gathering all the last minute things we would need for our hospital stay. Even though I was certain we'd be sent home for the time being, I wanted to get everything together in hopes we'd need it all soon.
We got to the doctor’s office a little later than my appointment time, and sat in the waiting room FOREVER. All the while I was noticing that the contractions were getting closer together. By the time we finally got back to see the doctor, they were about 3 to 4 minutes apart and coming on strong. When Dr. Tedeschi checked me, I was amazed to hear that I was 5 centimeters dilated and going to be admitted to labor and delivery!
A little after noon, we were getting settled into our room and waiting for the midwife and anesthesiologist to come in. Marilyn checked and found me to have dilated another centimeter and made the decision to break my water. This was when they discovered that there was meconium in my fluid. Kayla had already had her first bowel movement, and so would need a little special attention upon her arrival. This eliminated the possibility of skin to skin contact right after delivery, which made me sad. I wanted her to be healthy no matter what though.
By 1:00, I was getting my epidural and preparing myself to settle in for delivery. I waited anxiously for the medicine to take effect (after Marilyn broke my water, the contractions quadrupled in intensity. I no longer questioned my decision to get an epidural at that point) and hoped that being able to relax would allow things to continue progressing. Unfortunately, it only slowed things down. My contractions spaced and Kayla's heart rate started to dip regularly. They wouldn't give me Pitocin because they didn't want to stress her out any more than needed until her pulse stabilized. An internal monitor was put in place so they could more accurately watch her heart rate. I lay in bed flipping channels incessantly, although the only thing on EVERY SINGLE CHANNEL was the Michael Jackson memorial service. Hours later there was still no change. I switched sides several times and breathed some oxygen to help her out. At least 3 nurses were in and out, pouring over the printouts of my contractions and Kayla’s heart rate, and discussing what to do. I was starting to feel a really bad headache coming on. I hadn’t eaten anything except a popsicle (which didn’t stay in my stomach long) since that fruit salad at 6:30 am. Initially a nurse said she’d bring me some broth. A few minutes later, she returned saying that they were going to hold off on that. It was then that I started to panic. I was certain they weren’t letting me have anything because a c-section was imminent and I was about to be wheeled to the OR any second.
While the nurses and midwife continued to discuss options, the epidural started to wear off. I began to feel the contractions in my right side again, and I suddenly became aware that I felt like I needed to push. A quick check revealed that I was complete and ready to start pushing. That was the last news I got from Marilyn. The midwives changed shifts and Claire came in to check up on me. A little after 8 pm I started working to bring my little girl into the world.
At 9:10 PM, Kayla Anne was born and quickly tended to by a NICU doctor. They had warned me that she might not cry right away - I held my breath until I heard that wonderful sound; she was alive and well. They cleared her airways, wrapped her in a blanket and then brought her to me. I honestly believe that she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. At 7 pounds 2 ounces and 19 3/4 inches long, she was so tiny and delicate. I was absolutely in love.
Although we still have a long way to go towards establishing our routines and getting her day/night straight, we are so thrilled to have our little angel at home. I don't know how I ever lived without her.