Fair warning: This post will be long and may include some less than flowery descriptions of the disgustingly beautiful process that is childbirth. It also may seem disorganized as it is being written stream of consciousness style.
Another side note: I originally intended for her birth story to be a single post. However, it is not something I'm capable of telling in few words since I want a thoroughly detailed account recorded. Something I can share with her when she is older. So, it will be told in more than one post… here is part one.
My last OB appointment was on October 28th. At that time, I was scheduled to be induced on November 5th. Actually, at the beginning of that doctor appointment, I was scheduled to go into the hospital the night of November 4th to be given something to help my cervix dilate prior to the induction.
At that time, I was scheduled to begin my FMLA leave from work on November 3rd.
At that time, I thought I'd be coming home with a beautiful baby on November 7th. However, Miss Aerissa had other plans.
Let me back up a moment. I know posting slowed down here. Nearing the end of my pregnancy, I was feeling more exhausted and trying to prepare as much as possible for my daughter's arrival. I never felt the nesting experience the way I've heard so many women describe it. I didn't go crazy with cleaning the house and kept questioning my perceived lack of motivation. My focus was on my daughter's laundry and her room. It was also on groceries – making sure we had what we'd need for a few weeks (other than minor basics like milk), knowing that once babygirl arrived, we wouldn't be going out too much for the next month.
There were still preparations I was planning to make… including posts I was going to write/schedule.
I wanted to share that she continued to look well, even though I was switched to biophysical profiles (ultrasounds) (BPP) twice a week because the last couple non-stress tests (NST) weren't showing the heart rate accelerations the doctor needed to see. The first time this happened, I had to have a BPP right after, but she didn't show everything they needed to see in the half hour time limit. So, then I had to have an additional one the next morning – which thankfully showed everything was fine.
That day with the failed NST and BPP was a rough one. I was worried even though the doctor told me that she seemed fine, they just had to be sure. The next week, she failed the NST again, but passed the BPP that immediately followed it. It was then decided I would have BPPs twice a week until her arrival, which went fine. Although, her very last one she passed within the last minute (showing the last movement they needed to see). Talk about down to the wire! It would have been over with sooner if she wouldn't have napped in the middle of it.
The monitoring continued, I continued to keep my blood sugars under control, and my belly seemed to get larger. I was in the bathroom at least every 30 minutes and it was getting physically harder to get in and out of bed and my car. I moved slow. The cats seemed to grow more cuddly, especially against my belly.
But I never reached the point of wanting to crawl out of my skin.
I never felt the overwhelming desire to get her out.
Sure… I wanted her to arrive. I wanted her to be healthy. I wanted to be more comfortable – but it was a small price to pay. I suppose if I would have been allowed to go until my due date and/or beyond, maybe I would have reached that point, but I didn't.
So at the last OB appointment, I was 3 centimeters dilated. My doctor was really happy with that progress (The last couple weeks I was hanging around 1 to 1.5). This is why she said I wouldn't need to go in the night before the induction. We still agreed upon Nov. 5th. We wanted to make sure the induction wasn't scheduled before my 39 week marker (which was Nov. 3rd) because babies of diabetics (gestational or otherwise) apparently have a delay in lung maturity, but catch up at 39 weeks. Although, if the baby chooses to come on their own before that, they are usually fine.. more of a concern to remove them before then.
Anywho, my doctor joked at the end of my appointment: “Try not to have that baby this weekend.” She wasn't on call that weekend.
A lot of the girls at work kept telling me (before that appointment and definitely after it) that I wasn't going to make it to my induction date and certainly wouldn't make it to November. I thought I still might. I wasn't walking as much as before and we weren't doing anything to try and jump start my labor.
My sister-in-law told me she had a dream about me going into labor the night of Oct 30th and giving birth on the 31st….
I woke up around 2am on Sunday, October 31st needing to use the bathroom… nothing unusual, or so I thought. I had to use it again within 10 minutes. I tried to lay back down and sleep, but I felt crampy. The cramps seemed to come in waves and kept waking me up. I thought I just had to go to the bathroom again and “sit.”
Around 2:30am I gave up on trying to sleep and started to feel nervous/excited/scared.
Was something wrong?
Were these contractions?
I went to the living room and laid on my left side on the couch and drank some water. (I've read/heard this so many times to help alleviate Braxton Hick's) The cramping didn't stop. I dug through my info from my labor and delivery class. I began analyzing the differences between false and true labor and the various stages. Casually I timed my cramps. They were coming regularly. I thought it was about every 10 minutes, but I wasn't timing exactly. I tried walking around, but they didn't stop. After about an hour, I finally decided to wake up my husband.
I asked him to help me time my contractions. They were coming about every 12 minutes and worked their way down to every 7. I started to notice the way I'd feel it in my back and wrap around to the front. They weren't painful, just uncomfortable.. and getting more so as time went on.
I continued to analyze everything I had about labor and contractions. We talked it over and weren't sure how long false labor lasts if that's what it is. We camped out in the living room. A few times we thought it must be false labor because there'd be a few contractions that didn't seem to follow the pattern. (coming every 10 minutes, then 1 after 20 minutes, back to every ten…. then at 7 minutes, one at 14 and back….) We eventually concluded that either they were flukes or I wasn't always sure when they started and stopped.. might have missed a few.
They continued to come in regular intervals (except for a few odd outliers) and with increasing intensity as they got closer together. The discomfort was starting to make me pause to breath through it. But no more painful than making me wince a bit.
I'd been told by my OB to call once my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart for an hour. Brian seemed to wake up more when they moved to every 4-5 minutes. We both seemed to be more alert.
This had to be it!
When they were like that for 45 minutes, I called. I had to leave a message with an answering service person to have on call doctor contacted. She asked my reason for calling – I said my contractions were less than 5 minutes apart. She asked me if I was pregnant…. *facepalm*
The on call doctor called me back. He asks how long they are lasting. I tell him I haven't been timing their actual duration… only frequency as I had been told to focus on in class and by my OB. He says I need to be having contractions less than 5 mins apart for 2 hours before going to the hospital. I say “but I live about 45 minutes from the hospital I'm to deliver at!” He reminds me that “first time babies don't fall out.”
He said if my contractions continued to be less than 5 minutes apart for another hour and a half, to just go straight to the hospital. We watched the clock. My contractions were getting to be about 3 minutes apart. Brian asks if he should go gas up the car… I give him crap about not keeping the tank full for this very reason. We still have another 30-40 minutes before reaching the on call doc's time limit. Brian gets dressed and gases up the car. I change out of my pj's and work on packing the suitcase.
…. I did have a bag pre-packed, but it only had clothes for me and Aerissa, as well as my hygiene stuff. Since there was time, then I was able to pack additional things and let Brian pack for his stay at the hospital with us.
I was excited and nervous. This had to be the real deal. I even put a status up on Facebook saying that it must be happening because false labor didn't last for 6 hours, right?
We headed to the hospital since they hadn't stopped… it was about 8:30am at this point. I called my parents to tell them we were on the way. I also called my sister-in-law to tell her that we probably wouldn't be over today as planned. Brian called his parents too.
With the new route he figured out, we got to the hospital in about 30 minutes. I was admitted into a triage room so they could confirm that I was in active labor.
I was 5 centimeters dilated and 80% (I think) effaced. I was to be admitted.
We made another round of calls to confirm it was the real thing to everyone we called on the way! She was coming!
Ow. Ow. Ow.
The nurse had me hooked up so they could monitor Rissa's heart rate and my contractions. I figured out real quick how to anticipate a contraction based on the numbers… it knew before I started to feel it. They were getting more intense. The nurse seemed to think I was handling them quite well. As they reached new levels of intensity, Brian would remark that I hit a new high score on the monitor.
I told him that wasn't helping me… especially since he'd say that either before or just as I hit the peak of it. I still had my sense of humor with me, but I didn't want to know that it was going to be bigger than the last one before it hit!