Our due date came and went along with the weekend. On Monday morning we went in for an ultrasound which showed low fluid levels in my womb. The staff tried to reach Doc B for his advice but he was in surgery. So they sent us on our way and said they’ll have Doc B call us when he’s free. So we left the office and did our typical Deerfield shopping trip with stops at Whole Foods and REI. By the time we got home the doctor called and said he wanted us to go to the hospital for an induction. He said there is a risk of still birth if a pregnancy continues with low fluid levels for too long…but that we shouldn’t worry (thanks doc). He wanted us at the hospital within the hour. I had heard of people being sent home after being induced to wait for labor to begin, so I asked if I would be admitted or not. He said that I’d have to stay once I arrived so they could monitor my progress, no turning back now. And with that, we packed up the car and off we went.
We arrived at the hospital at 2:30 and were promptly registered, only to be stuck in the family waiting room for 2 hours before our room was ready. Apparently there was a baby boom over the past couple of days and the hospital was overflowing with new families. Monsters Vs Aliens was on tv, which we watched along with a 2 year old and her grandma who were waiting on a delivery of a little brother.
When we finally go to our labor and delivery room I was told to change into a gown and get into bed. Three different nurses spent the next hour trying to get an IV into any vein in my arm they could. Both hands and wrists looked like pin cushions by the time they were done with me but luckily I didn’t bruise too badly.
When I got into bed they attached external monitors to my belly, one to measure my contractions and blood pressure and the other to monitor Kaylee’s heart rate. They also attached a blood pressure cuff to my arm, which went off automatically every half hour. From this point forward I had to call a nurse every time I wanted to use the restroom because everything had to be disconnected then reconnected. The saline drip made me have to go a lot and the cables forced my gown open in the back so my butt hung out for everyone to see every time I got up or turned over. Just one of many indignities of the birth process.
By 6pm a nurse came in to insert the induction suppository. It looked harmless enough. A smallish flat white tab attached to a long string ( so they could easily fish it back out later). Looks can be deceiving though, and I was soooo not prepared for the amount of pain involved in that procedure. They can’t use lubrication because it interferes with the medication in the suppository. Add to that a few latex gloved fingers used to insert and position it correctly (which seemed to take an eternity) – enough said? It was the longest 3 minutes of my life. As soon as it was over I was already dreading the next application in 12 hours. If I would have known then what I know now I would have asked for the pitosin drip first and skipped the suppository all together. Doc B likes doing the suppository first because it’s slower and less painful overall. Obviously, he’s never had anything shoved in his vagina without lubrication before.
The nurse tells me I may get nauseous and vomit at some point and that my diet now consists of water and ice chips for the duration of labor. I found myself wishing we had stopped for lunch on the way to the hospital because all I had to eat before we left was a clif bar and glass of milk. My stomach rumbled and grumbled in protest.
We watched bits and pieces of Coroline on tv and my slowly progressing contractions on the monitor for the next couple of hours. I urged Scott to visit the cafeteria before they closed which he begrudgingly did. He felt bad about eating in front of me but I reassured him that I really didn’t mind. There was no point in both of us being hungry and exhausted. He snuck me a bite of his rice krispie treat while the nurses were out. Now, that is love 🙂
At 7pm the fire alarm went off and bing-bonged for the next 5 minutes. Scott goes to investigate and determines it must be a false alarm because no one seemed to be worried.
We finally fell asleep at some point, the first night in separate beds since we moved in together 3 years ago. He was only a few feet away, but it felt like miles. Luckily I was too exhausted to let it distract me from getting some much needed sleep.
I was awakened every half hour as the blood pressure cuff automatically inflated around my arm. The nurse came in every hour to check my vitals. Scott asked if she could change the blood pressure monitor to every hour instead of half hour so her visit would coincide with the pressure cuff going off and I could get a bit more sleep in between visits. She obliged.
At 3 am the fire alarm goes off again.
At 6am the nurse came in to remove my suppository – She assured me it was better coming out than going in. Doc B showed up and determined that I’m dilated enough that I get to skip the second suppository application and go straight to pitocin – hurray! I still had not felt much pain yet, he said to be thankful. It’s like getting a free ride. And once the pitocin starts that will change.
My pitocin drip is started at 7am and I’m told that I will most likely dilate about 1 centimeter per hour. Doc B broke my water and said Kaylee should be born sometime this afternoon. I was hit with a wave of excitement along with a bit of sadness that this part of our journey together was almost over. My labor pains were getting more intense. People describe it as really bad menstrual cramps – I think it’s a bit worse than that. More like someone continually sticking a hot poker in through your belly and out through your back over and over and over again with short pauses in between. Doc B said to wait until I feel 3 painful contractions, then call for an epidural. I can tolerate a fair amount of pain and I didn’t want to get the drugs too soon in case they slowed my labor (and once the epidural was in I wouldn’t be allowed to get up anymore and a catheter would be inserted). Doc B assured me that the epidural would have no adverse affect on my labor. But, I sucked it up anyway and tried to make it as long as I could without them. By noon I decided I was done and called for the nurse. It took about 15 minutes for the anesthesiologist to arrive. The shot she used to numb the epidural site burned and sitting still through the contractions while she inserted the epidural tubing was quite challenging. I try my best to breathe through the worsening contractions and kick my self for not calling sooner. The pain gradually decreased and it took about an hour before I stopped feeling the contractions entirely.
My labor progressed at the same rate with the epidural, just like Doc B said. The pain was gone, along with most of the feeling in my body from the waist down in my left leg and from waist to knee in my right. I focussed on this fact, afraid that I wasn’t numb enough on my right side and would feel the birth. The nurse assured me that I would be fine, and that epidurals work based on gravity so they would just turn me towards the right side and it should get better. She also pointed out the little button I could push if I felt I needed to take the edge off (I could push it every 15 minutes if I wanted to but the machine wouldn’t allow for any more than that). I pushed the button to release more medication and oddly enough, my left side got more numb, but luckily it didn’t matter in the end. Not being about to feel my legs was a bit disconcerting so I never pushed the button again. I found it very strange to try to wiggle my toes, see them wiggling, but have no feeling while it was happening. After the epidural kicked in I could no longer change positions on my own and was forced to lay mostly flat so the medication would numb the right places. The nurses came in and rolled me over every few hours to help keep Kaylee active. At one point the monitor attached to my belly that measured Kaylee’s heart rate shifted while they were turning me and caused a panic. 7 nurses showed up in my room all at once and there was a flurry of activity. Before I knew it they put an oxygen mask over my nose and continued rushing about the room.
No one was told us what was going on, which almost sent me into a panic. It was very overwhelming and I think Scott saw the fear in my eyes. He held my hand and assured me everything was going to be OK which kept me from freaking out. Doc B came in shortly after the rush of nurses and told most of them to leave because “there were too many people in the room.” He checked my cervix to find I had dilated 2 more centimeters at once, which may have been triggered when the nurse tried to turn me over. He attached an internal monitor to keep track of Kaylee’s vital signs so that they wouldn’t have to keep repositioning the external monitors every time I was moved. Then, almost as quickly as they arrived, all the nurses left except my own.
After the excitement wore off we spent most of the day watching my contractions on the monitor and listening to her heartbeat. There are 3-6 other women delivering at the same time – we could see their monitors on the screen too. I was laboring at the same rate as another mother. Naturally, it became a race to see who would deliver first. Adding to the “game”, every time a baby is born the hospital plays a section of a lullaby over the loud speaker. That damn lullaby music taunted us all afternoon.
By 1:30 I am fully dilated and the doctor comes in and tells me it’s ok to start pushing, then he leaves. This does not fit my preconceived idea of the birth scenerio…I don’t remember ever watching a movie or tv show where the doctor leaves the mother to fend for herself during labor. I’m a little worried as Scott, my nurse and I start the process of watching the monitor for my contractions and pushing. Every time I push Kaylee’s heart rate drops. Something is wrong but the nurse is not sure what the problem is at that point, and Kaylee recovers each time so she is not that concerned. About a half hour into the process the nurse can feel the head. She calls the doctor to tell him I’m almost ready to have the baby. He shows up to catch Kaylee, along with a bevy of nurses each stationed at a different place around the room. I am coached to push and about a half hour later Kaylee Maxine arrived.
I didn’t feel anything, except a sensation of emptiness in my belly as the doctor pulled her out. Kaylee’s cord was wrapped around her neck and she pooped on the way out – some of which she swallowed. Doc B held her up for me to see but rather than putting her on my belly, they whisked her away to the warming table to get her vitals up, suction her out, and give her oxygen. She was less than 5 feet away, but my view was obstructed my the monitor cart and she wasn’t making any noises, so it felt like she was miles away.
After she was all cleaned up they weighed and measured her. She was 6 pounds 10 ounces and 19 inches long. So tiny in fact that she would not fit into any of her clothes we had for her at home. (Grandma remedied that by going out shopping and coming back to the hospital with a freshly laundered newborn sized wardrobe – some of which she was still too small to fit into).
It felt like an eternity before I was finally able to see her, but it was probably only about 15 minutes. During which time I delivered the placenta and the doctor stitched me up. Doc B said I didn’t need an episiotimy, he let me tear naturally. He said the tear was “Y” shaped and wasn’t bad at all. He made some small talk which helped distract me from longing to see Kaylee a little bit. I finally realized Doc B’s real value. The man may be a bit gruff (he’s kind of a jerk most of the time – although I don’t think he means to be) and has a pretty bad bedside manner, but he’s good at making you feel better during tough situations.
Finally, the nurses gave Kaylee to Scott and he brought her over to me. She was gorgeous, big blue eyes and a head full of long brown hair. Exactly as I had imagined her. I fell in love with her right away.
I had a chance to breastfeed her before they took her to the nursery. Scott, Kaylee and I spent the next hour together, then the nurses came to claim her and clean both of us up. My first trip to the bathroom was a bit of an adventure to say the least. They wheeled me into the bathroom and commanded that I go, which I did ( amazingly since I typically get stage fright if someone else is in the vicinity let alone watching me go ). They kept track of the volume of my pee over the next day to make sure all of the IV fluid and other fluids in my body were accounted for. That meant I had to wait for one of the nurses (We had 7 over the course of 3 days) when I had to go, who typically accompanied me into the room and assisted when necessary. I got over my modesty quickly, which is easy to do when you don’t have a choice I suppose.
After my first trip to the bathroom I was moved our post-partum room where Kaylee met up with us again. It took almost 5 hours before my epidural wore off, during which time I couldn’t walk, stand very well, or move unassisted. I got to change my gown but didn’t get to shower until the next day when I had full control over my legs again. let me just say, thank god for stool softeners and pain killers. I’ve never been good at swallowing pills, but I got over that quickly. Scott was so proud, although I’m sure he’ll still tease me about it from time to time.
They brought Kaylee back from the nursery complete with a pink knit cap. Here was this little being we created in all of her glory, sleeping peacefully in her tub on wheels. All of a sudden it was real for me. She was finally here and she was all ours and soon we’d be able to take her home and love her and each other more than we knew we could.
We sent Kaylee to the nursery at night so we could get some rest. They wheeled her in and woke me up about every 3 hours to feed her. Scott went home in the morning to take a shower and check on the cats. While he was out, and for the rest of the night, our room seemed to have a revolving door on it. Literally every half-hour to hour someone stopped in for one thing or another. I couldn’t get any rest and by the time late afternoon rolled around I wanted to strangle someone or nail the door shut. I had my vitals checked and med dosage every 4 hours, a blood draw, Kaylee had her hearing test. Someone came in trying to sell us pictures, the head RN and some other manager stopped in to see how our stay was going. At one point the lactation consultant, cleaning lady, nurse tech and another nurse were in my room at the same time. Then they also had to rub my belly and check my bleeding every few hours. Every shift change the current nurse introduced the replacement nurse. It was a madhouse. Thankfully Scott came back with food and a smoothie which curbed my frustrations for a little bit.
My doctor stopped by to check on my stitches and put in my discharge paperwork early so we wouldn’t have to wait for him on Thursday. We had a few visitors too. Grandpa came to see us first, then Jen and Shane. Grandma came the next day.
By the time day 3 rolled around we were anxious to leave. Kaylee’s pediatrician stopped by in the morning and put in her discharge paperwork. Our nurse had us watch a new baby video and sign a bunch of paperwork so we could be discharged. Scott started taking things out to the car and by the time he got back we were released. He went out to get the car and the nurse wheeled Kaylee and I down to the nursing desk to check out, where I signed more forms. Finally they wheeled us outside to meet up with Scott and we were on our way home.
Kaylee slept through her first car ride.
Daddy brought her into the house where Murray was anxiously waiting.
He was happy to see us and couldn’t wait for a game of string.
And then Kaylee and daddy took a nap together while I thanked my lucky stars for my lovely new life.