Ah, so much has been happening over here and I know that everyone is waiting for more photos. But I might as well start at the beginning. Friday was my last day at work - a full two weeks before the due date. I had visions of lazy, Oprah-filled afternoons and long, late mornings with pancakes and good books. I was going to finally finish the nursery. And figure out how to install that car seat. Oh yeah, and pack a hospital bag.
However, nothing went according to the plan, so at 6:15 am on Sunday morning - a Sunday morning that was supposed to involved freshly baked pumpkin bread - my water broke. The doctor told us to leisurely start making our way into the hospital. Leisurely? We had to pack and read car seat directions and do laundry and locate paperwork and pretty much do all the things that people warn you must be done well in advance of the due date. We finally arrived at the hospital around 9 am and got settled into our labor and delivery room.
We were hoping to try for a "natural" birth, if possible, meaning one without medication, pain or otherwise. I also wanted to remain fairly mobile throughout the process - able to walk around and assume whatever position I wanted. Once more, plans went awry. There was no sign of a contraction since my water broke. I was only 1 cm dilated and not at all effaced. The baby's head had not dropped and was not engaged in the pelvis. Nothing was happening. On top of all that, my blood pressure was disconcertingly high. The doctor told us labor had to be induced. So around noon-ish, they hooked up me to various monitoring devices and a Pitocin IV that pretty much confined me to the bed. And they informed me that I had at least ten to twelve hours, probably longer, until things would be ready for me to push. So we hunkered down and waited.
I started to feel tiny little contractions. And they started to get a bit stronger. Then a lot stronger. And closer together. Then they pretty much reached the level of excruciating pain. Around two-ish in the afternoon, after writhing around in bed for a bit, I mentioned to the nurse that I might actually be in quite a bit of pain. She said this was just the beginning. She told me that I had a long road ahead of me and that I should try to get some rest. (What?!?) She showed Charlie how to open up the sofa bed. Everone was very casual and chatty. They weren't even going to reexamine me for another hour. I started to feel like a major wimp at this point. Only the beginning? It gets worse than this?
I was able to bear these contractions. But if this was just the beginning, if the pain was going to get much worse and last another ten hours, there was no way I was going to be able to handle this without the drugs. I called for the nurse and told her to give me the drugs. Without even examining me, she gave me a shot of Fentanyl in my IV and said that she could readminster it every ten minutes until I decide I want the epidural. The shot took the edge off the contractions a bit. But I was still feeling this extraordinary pressure. I'll spare you the details, but once again I mentioned it to the nurse. She said it was way too early and that I probably just needed to go to the bathroom, but she would check me anyway. So she checks. And then she gives a little giggle. Oh, she says. You're actually 10 cm dilated and completely effaced. The head is right there. You're completely ready to push. Oh, I say.
NOW everyone is actually paying attention to the fact that I'm in full-on transition labor. Thanks. The nurse keeps saying that I didn't "seem" like I was that far along. And now I realize that this is it, the contractions are as strong as they are going to get, and that I probably didn't need the pain medication that I had asked for because I was handling it just fine. Oh well. And the nurses now realize that they gave me narcotic pain medication without checking me first. Oops. Fentanyl is not supposed be administered if you are too far along. Well, I was all the way along. That's okay though, because the doctor, who thought I had hours and hours to go, had GONE HOME!!! So now, instead of pushing, which is all I wanted to do, I had to wait at least half an hour for her to get back to the hospital. Awesome.
Anyway, doctor finally gets there. Reiterates that I was not acting like someone who is 10 cm dilated. I guess I should have thrown in some screams for good measure. Everything went quickly from there. I pushed for around forty-ish minutes. Charlie was an awesome coach. The little June bug slipped into the world at 4:15 pm. She had her cord wrapped around her neck, so she needed an extra bit of coaxing to give her first cry. Charlie cut her cord and the nurses worked on her for a few minutes. We heard Juniper's first little cries and knew that all was well. She nursed right away and proved to be a champion eater. We snuggled and cooed and got settled into our post-partum room for the night.
I felt completely fine, no pain, no discomfort, so it was frustrating having to spend another day hanging out in bed in the hospital (eating horrible, horrible hospital food). However, Juniper passed all her tests with flying colors and my blood pressure went down, so we got the go ahead from all doctors involved to leave the hospital 24 hours after the delivery. On December 15th, around 7pm, we brought our daughter home.
She's finally here:
Such a natural. Charlie has been taking wonderful care of Mama and Baby:
Serious Charlie face:
All bundled up to go home: