Friday, December 12, 2014

E's Birth - Part One

So. It's been awhile. I had a baby 2 1/2 months ago. He's a precious, snuggly baby boy. I'll be ordering a printed copy of my pregnancy journal soon, so tonight I sat down to finally edit the birth story I pieced together in the middle of the night in those early weeks at home. I love reading birth stories, so I thought I'd share. First draft completed on October 6th.

Henry and I both had our suspicions that we'd have the baby before the end of the week (September 27th). Henry actually told his supervisor he needed to have his performance appraisal completed by Thursday (the day E was born) because he felt so strongly that he wouldn't be at work on Friday. It had been 10 days since my last appointment when they'd declared me still 3 cm dilated, and judging by a couple successions of good, steady contractions, I was pretty sure I was more dilated. My guess was that I was probably at a 5 based on how I progressed with Elle.

Normally I have free time on Thursday mornings because my SIL watches Elle for a few hours, but on the Thursday E was born, she and her kids were sick with a stomach bug. We decided we definitely didn't want to risk catching that, so Elle stayed with me that day.

On Wednesday night I'd been disappointed that I wouldn't have the chance to get a pedicure before my doctor's appointment (my feet were really gross and I wanted some R&R!), but things turned out for the best because I got something better: one last morning running errands with my girl as an only child. Looking back, I wouldn't trade that experience. We went to Ulta where she unzipped kits and caboodles and eyed the nail polish colors, and I quickly picked up more foundation. Then we walked around JCPenney just to get Shopkick points. She enjoyed seeing all the mannequins, touching some of the kiddo-sized ones. She made more than one salesperson smile by loudly and excitedly declaring "they're naked!" as we walked by the mannequins in bras and panties. She thought it was so cool that their underwear matched. And she loved looking at all of the character costumes in their children's department. 

We went to Target after. She was perfectly well-behaved even when we had to cut our walk down the toy aisle short, and I wouldn't bend down to pick up large toys from lower shelves. She charmed me that morning, and since I've felt a bit disconnected from her following E's birth, I'm relying on that memory to let me know that things will be ok again.

My OB appt was scheduled for 3 o'clock that afternoon, and Henry planned to come home at 2 o'clock to watch Elle. Elle and I had lunch at home and passed the time until Henry arrived by reading books and doing some low energy (for me) activities. I remember parking myself on the floor of her room, feeling like a beached whale, as she made "lily pads" by spreading blankets, lots and lots of blankets, around her room. Whatever to keep her occupied at that point.

I tried to catch 10 mins of shut eye before leaving for my appointment, but I wouldn't exactly call it "beneficial rest." Off I went, grabbing my hospital bags as I headed out the door, just at the off chance of induction.

My doctor came in to examine me around 3:30 PM. She said I was 5 cm dilated and asked if I was having contractions. I said yes, that I'd just started tracking them for the last 35 minutes, but they seemed to be 5-10 minutes apart. She asked if the contractions were painful. I said no, but they were just uncomfortable enough to make me take notice. At that point we must've discussed the option of going to the hospital for observation. At first she left it open to me, but then what I clearly remember her saying next is "where do you live?" "South Austin." "Ok, I do care. I don't want you going home. From how comfortable you are, I don't think you're in active labor now, but I think you'd likely go into labor tonight." She then explained that she'd call over to the hospital to arrange for my arrival. She gave me the choice of 1. being observed overnight to see what my body would do on its own & being induced the next morning if I wasn't progressing or 2. getting induced that evening. You will note that both options involved going straight to the hospital.

I told Dr. M that I didn't like the idea of just hanging out at the hospital overnight because I was afraid of a terrible night's sleep and food deprivation wherein nothing would happen and the next morning I'd be starving and exhausted at the start of induction. I will always say no to that, so option 2 it was! She explained that she was about to go off her hospital shift, so Dr. Loar would be the one to deliver our baby. She asked where Henry was and then said that nothing had to be done until he got there; I was just to go over to the hospital when I was ready. She then asked if I was ready to have the baby, and I think I said "I guess so!" I felt very anxious about the whole thing. This time I didn't have the luxury of leaving and going about my business with a day to prepare and mull it over. I worried I was making the wrong decision. 

Dr. Meritt told me she'd see me and baby the next morning and left me in the exam room. I immediately texted and then called Henry. He asked me to call two friends from church to see if either of them could watch Elle. (Like I mentioned before, Henry's sister's family was sick, so we really wanted to find someone else to take her if we could.) After getting no answer from either friend nor my parents, I started to freak out. I called Henry back, crying. He said not to worry, that he'd figure something out, and he suggested I get something to eat before checking in at the hospital. Wise man. With everything running through my mind at that moment I wouldn't have thought to do that. I was just going to have the granola bar I packed in my hospital bag, but getting an actual meal seemed like a much better plan. I went through the drive-thru at PTerry's and ordered a cheeseburger and a cup of ice water, which I ate in the women's center parking lot.  

Sitting there eating in the quiet helped me calm down and make peace with what was about to happen. I gave myself permission to dilate, and the contractions came. They weren't terribly strong, just slightly uncomfortable still, but they consistently came for that hour or so that I sat in my car. I called and left a voicemail for Henry letting him know I felt a lot better after eating and having time to process, and then I finally reached my dad. He said he'd call the main number at my mom's office to fill her in. I started to feel at peace. I remember even being a little amused at the thought of eating my "last meal" in the parking lot, having a nice conversation on the phone with my dad during contractions.

If I remember correctly, it was around 5 o'clock when I finally went into the hospital, calmly carrying in all of my bags. I thought I must look a little odd walking into labor and delivery by myself. It did feel odd walking up to three different desks and announcing that my doctor had sent me over to be induced. I finally got back far enough to meet my nurse, Leah, who said, "So you're the one who's 5cm?!" Yep, that's me.

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