Where do I begin the story of Eliza's birth? The Thursday before, when I went to the hospital with contractions then got sent home later when they stopped? Probably not, but E tells me I can "count" all of those painful hours when I tell Eliza about her birth when she's older.
Monday morning, the 17th of October, I had a dr. appointment. At my appointment, I was 4 cm dilated and 70% effaced. (which was improvement from Friday morning when I was only 2.5cm.) Dr. C. thought she'd see me later that evening.
I had contractions all day Monday, and all night Monday night. When I say all night, I mean ALL. NIGHT. LONG. They were about every 10 to 15 minutes apart and painful when I was laying down.
Tuesday rolled around and I was still contracting every 10ish minutes. More often when I was standing or walking around, and a little less often when I was sitting.
I actually decided to go to bible study, since I couldn't really do anything at home but sit there and pray little girl came out soon. Half way through, though, I got very tired and decided to head home early.
I laid down for a nap when Isaac did, but continued to have contractions. Still the same strength and no closer together.
E happened to forget that Tuesday is dance for O, so I took all 3 kids to dance class. During the class, I took the boys to Walmart to 1. get out of the dance studio, and 2. get some groceries. While we were there, my contractions started to hurt a little more and a little more. However, they weren't any closer together.
When we all got home, I was close to tears. (okay, I was IN tears.) I was so tired from not sleeping and contracting all day. I decided to call my doula to see if she had any suggestions for stopping the contractions. (unfortunately, she was at the beach...) She suggested I take a bath and see if it slowed the contractions down or sped them up. I took a hot bath and nothing happened. Contractions were still the same. My doula then suggested I go get checked at the hospital. Just in case.
But, I didn't want to go to the hospital. Again. And get sent home. Again.
At this point, I did what every grown woman would do. I called my mommy, sobbing. I was just so dang tired. She prayed with me and for me to have wisdom to know what to do (wait it out or go get checked.)
After a few more contractions, I decided we should probably go in to get checked. We called my IL's again, and headed to the hospital.
When we got there, it was crowded and we had to wait a
little bit long time. While we were waiting, I noticed my contractions seemed to have slowed down. A lot. Like I only had one or two while we were waiting. I looked at E and told him "I think we're definitely going home."
My name was finally called. We went back with the nurse and the first thing I told her was that she was probably going to have to send me home since my contractions had stopped. I told her if I was the same as the day prior, I wanted to go home- and maybe with some Ambien to help me sleep if needed.
The nurse started checking me at 8:20. She got a very puzzled look on her face, like something was wrong. She picked up her phone and called the night shift's head nurse. She says "It feels like my patient is almost complete. can you come check?" What?? While she was continuing to check I had a contraction. Then she says to us "oh, I guess when you contract you're a loose 7 to 8. You're not going home."
I couldn't believe it.
I called my friend Devan to come to the hospital. (I had originally waited to call her until we knew what was going on, if they were going to keep me or send me home. Especially after thursday's events.)
The dr. on call came in to chat with us around 8:45. I asked how long my body could contract only every 15 minutes. How long would it take to deliver. She said it could go on a very long time. She couldn't be sure. I decided to go ahead and have my water broken.
I completely forgot how bad it hurts with contractions after your water is broken in comparison to before. If you don't know or remember-it's bad.
My body quickly went from barely contracting to having contractions every minute, then having them right on top of each other with a 5 second break. It's somewhere around here that I decided I was dying. (I now know it was transition, but it really was almost unbearable.) I went ahead and
screamed at told the nurse I wanted my epidural. (I was dilated to a 9 at this point.)
(a side note: E was trying to talk me out of the epidural, since he knew I wanted to have a natural birth. Devan was telling me she knew what it felt like to almost die. I just wanted it to stop. I believe one of my comments during this time was "Who's bright idea was it to do this naturally anyway?")
Those few minutes from the time I asked until the time it came were the longest of my life. (I was recounting it later and told E it seemed like 30 minutes. He said, in reality, it was about 5.) After the epidural was all in, I was still having a lot of pain with my contractions. The dr., who was still there, said that was because I got the epidural at 9cm versus 5cm, etc.
Somewhere around 10:45, I was having some pressure with my contractions, but not constant pressure. I thought we should let the nurse know. The dr. came back in and checked me. I told her that it was hurting. The dr. said "that's because she's ready to come out." While the nurse put my legs in the right places and the dr. was getting dressed, it started to hurt really bad. The dr. glanced over and said "ha! that's because she's half out! don't push!"
Now, there's a phrase I've heard in prior birth experiences. And, it's a big.fat.joke. I wasn't pushing. I was contracting. The baby was just coming out.
Luckily, the dr. was in the room, so she came over to talk to me and told me to go ahead and push whenever I felt like pushing. I gave a push, and the pain was so intense. (I asked later about the pain, and my OB said, again, it was the time issue. the epidural just didn't have a lot of time to get into my system.) I was certain that if I continued to push, I'd tear like I did with Isaac (super bad, people. I won't go into detail, but 30+ stitches.) I asked if she could give me a small episiotomy (my regular OB and I had talked about this prior to my pushing. that was our original plan to avoid the damage I had with Zeke.) She gave me a tiny little cut, and the baby came sliding out.
Now, when I look back on those last few minutes, it seems like it took forever. In reality, E said it was 3 minutes from my first push to birth. 3 minutes. Total time from getting into my room to birth: 2 hours and 33 minutes.
so, yeah. Maybe it was a good thing I went in and got "checked".
Welcome to the world, Eliza Claire!
Her cry was so loud! Several nurses commented on her "set of lungs"
She was still mad. We found out a few minutes later it was because she had pooped and peed.
Cleaned up and ready to eat.
All settled in our room, and just had a snack.