Noah is here!
I am actually awake while he is asleep (and hopefully will stay that way for 1 more hour) for the first time since Friday, and I really wanted to document everything I could so I wouldn't forget. I'm definitely having the feeling that time is already going by too quickly (and as though I'm a zombie floating through it).
Last Thursday we had our 39 week appointment. I went in at 4pm and asked if she could strip my membranes since it was something we had talked about the week before. She said she would and told me I was still only around 1.75 dilated, but I was 50% effaced, so we were making progress. She asked about inducing the following week and I did and did not want to do that. I did because I was SO anxious to meet him, but also I wanted to give myself the chance to go into labor without drugs if I could. I had had a ton of contractions all week (even days where I was convinced this was it and then they would just stop). So we tentatively set to induce on July 14, his due date, but she said I can call and cancel or move it sooner if I wanted after I had the time to think about it.
Well, we went home I was disapointed and stuck about the induction. I came home sat on the exercise ball awhile and I think I may have even done some step on the Wii Fit. (I'm still mad I can't get a decent score on beginner step on the wii.) Around 8pm contractions started again, but they were similar to the day before so I just walked and walked (paced the length of my house) and decided to lay down since the contractions were still 10 minutes apart. At 12:30am the contractions became stronger. I put each one into my app I downloaded (VERY useful by the way) and they were still 10 minutes apart, but I got up and kept walking letting Ben stay asleep. By 1:30 they started getting 2-3 minutes apart and getting much worse... and I walked. At 2:30, 1 hour of 2-3 minute contractions I woke Ben up and told him he may want to let the dogs out in case this was really it. He was convinced it wasn't really it. I walked... 3:15 - contractions STILL 2-3 minutes apart. Doctors orders were to call when they were at least 5 minutes apart for 2 hours and 60 seconds long. At 3:30 I decided to call since it had been 2 hours and I really needed someone to tell me something. I could not talk through them anymore and couldn't walk through them, but just stand and breath.
We paged the doctor and she called back telling Ben it sounded like it was really labor and I could either stay at home longer or come in, our choice. I knew I wanted to go in because again, I just needed someone who knew what was going on to tell me.
We got there at 4:30 (The car ride was the worst.) and they asked if I was going natural or not. (We attended the medicated AND natural labor classes in case and I wanted to be able to attempt naturally if I could, but had discussed my reservations about the epidural with my doctor at length so I felt like we were in good hands either way.
So they put us in a natural room (bigger) and told me to keep walking. The nurse checked me at 5:30 and said I was still only 2 cm (HUGE let down... I thought, all this and nothing?!) but I was now 80% effaced. She said keep walking. (I think the worst of this was how close the contractions were, I didn't have any recovery time between them.) My doctor would be in at 7 so we had awhile to go. My biggest concern was if they were going to send me home? I knew I could not handle going home at this point, it was way too painful. She said absolutely not since the contractions were still around 2.5 minutes apart, she was just hoping they would get a little longer to be more effective.
7 am finally rolls around and my doctor gets there. I am still pacing back and forth while Ben attempts his best at calming me through each contraction, we tried all the natural labor techniques and none of them were helping. Doctor checked me and I'm STILL 2 freaking cm dilated! Shoot me... I was 100% effaced at this point, but she said she was going to have to give me pitocin to help things along. I said that was fine because at this rate I felt like I may be in labor until Monday. She gave me pitocin and broke my water shortly after 7am. Still going 'naturally', except now I couldn't walk, I was confined to the bed.
The contractions got stronger and longer just as they were supposed to. 8am rolled around and it was unbearable. Ben's telling me to breath and I feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin, I just can't move in any position to cope with the contractions that were coming in couplets as they called them (one really strong one, then immediately a slightly less strong one, over and over). I didn't have any relief in between them still. Ben did the best job though. He stayed next to the bed, let me grab and squeeze any arm/hand I could get a hold of and calmly kept reminding me they would be better if I could breath and relax. At 9:30 they came to check me and I was 3cm.... only 3! I had had enough. 2 hours of pitocin and contractions, with such little progress and I said I do not care what on earth they give me, but I can't handle it any longer. Ben asked if I was positive and I called the nurse desperate.
My doctor came in and had gone over the nurse all of my concerns (low blood pressure - I have very low blood pressure as it is), sick (I do not handle any type of anesthesia/meds well) and panicking (again, just the fact that I don't handle things well I tend to get myself into a panic over being numb, etc.). So my nurse was very helpful about everything and I had previously told the doctor IF we got an epidural I would still like to feel as much as I could.
The anesthesiologist came in and did the epidural while I had 2 contractions to try to sit still through... very tough. But immediately I could tolerate them again, they weren't gone, but I no longer felt like I was dying.
The epidural was done very well. I didn't sleep though because I was afraid that if I fell asleep I would quit breathing (I'm telling you, way panicky about drugs), but the nurse kept telling me I need to rest as much as I could, I was only sick for a short time and they quickly put some zofram in my IV to calm that down. I turned on my praise music on my iphone and speakers we brought and just tried to stay with God as much as I could that I would be fine. I never lost feeling in my right leg at all and could still move both of them, one more so than other, and could still feel each contraction, just less.
Around 11am Noah's heart rate started dipping though so they had to put me on oxygen... no fun. It was more just awkward and made me worry about him, but they said it did the trick and it was likely the position I had been laying in, but I had to stay on it anyways.
12:30pm - My doctor's shift is over and she comes to check me, I am barely 4cm. She tells us to brace that it will be a long day, but that baby and me were handling it well so she had no concerns about an c-section. We called our family and said don't bother coming up anytime soon, we would likely be here another 6-8 hours waiting (..5-1cm per hour is what the doc said is normal). She said she'll pop back in to say goodbye, but was sending in the on-call doctor also.
Dr. H (on-call doctor) came in and we had already heard wonderful things about him from other patients of his, so I was very relieved that he was the one on-call. He was very nice, professional and reassuring about everything.
About 30 minutes later when the nurse came in I told her I was feeling like I had to go to the restroom and she said it was normal it was just the baby making his way down, but that I didn't likely actually have to go. I agreed, but could not shake the feeling. 30 minutes go by and I buzzed her and said I really really felt like I needed to and I couldn't stop thinking about it. She said she would go ahead and check me to be sure. When she did she said, "Oh! you are 10 cm!! are you ready to push??" I was shocked! The doctor had just left telling us it would be hours and here we were less than an hour later.
I could feel every single contraction still and knew when I felt like I had to push so I told her I was very ready. She let the doctor know and we started pushing. What Ben estimated about 10 contractions later (it seemed VERY fast to me), Noah graced us with his presence on 7/8 at 2:20pm. He weighed 7 lbs 1 oz and was 20.5 inches long. He was PRECIOUS!
My favorite part about our hospital is how much they stress kangaroo care and a peaceful recovery. (The labor/delivery rooms are not the same as postpartum rooms for this reason.) As soon as he was born they placed him on me and he screamed and screamed, so loud I had to nearly cover my ears, but it was a good cry they said. Briefly, they took him off did a quick check of him, cleaned him off really well and wrapped him under my gown. He laid there so contently as Ben and I stared in awe at him. I was so thankful for that time just being there with him quiet and peaceful without anyone rushing in to see him or whisking him off to a nursery. Ben called our moms, who were not so thrilled that we had a baby without their knowing, but we went from 4cm to 10cm so fast that there wasn't exactly time to make phone calls. It was rather sudden. (And since they could not come into recovery, they had plenty of time to get to the hospital before we would move rooms.)
I think we were in there with him for at least an hour or hour & a half before they asked if we were ready to move to our postpartum room. By that time both our moms had arrived and were biting at the bit to see him. They wheeled us upstairs and got us settled. I think at that point I was the most tired I had been in my life. I had not slept in 2 days and the pushing, which I thought went very well, made me feel like I had just worked out harder than I had my whole life. I felt everything, just not too painfully and never felt like I didn't know how to push (I've heard people can't push b/c they are too numb) so it went quickly and very smoothly. Ben doesn't remember much of that time, he was so in shock.
We spent a little less than 48 hours in the hospital after he was born. We had amazing nurses, doctors and staff who were so helpful. The lactation department came every day to help, but the nurses were so good at breastfeeding that they were just as helpful. They brought me a pump as soon as I got into the room since I had a reduction a few years ago, but I felt like Noah and I are doing pretty well at it so far. We kept him in the room with us the whole time and felt like we weren't too zombie like from no sleep, but we didn't have any visitors besides family so that helped with not becoming too exhausted or overwhelmed.
I am just in awe of this past week. I cannot believe I have a child. I cannot believe how much I love him and how precious I think he is. I cannot believe I am no longer pregnant and a little bit of me misses it, but I love where we are too.
Ben has been tremendous. We just are so blessed. I want every single second to just slow down. (I may need to re-read this in about 7 hours when he's been up all night.... currently we still have a sleeping baby.) Praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow. I am so thankful to God for getting me through labor, for giving us this child of His to raise and love and every moment of each day.