Details: 1)When my water broke just before 6:00 on Sunday and I contacted important people like baby daddy, my mom, Andy, etc. I realized that I'd probably be having a baby instead of going to work on Tuesday. I didn't have my sub plans written yet. I got right to that and sent them to my dear friend Angela. 2) I had also been shopping earlier that day for items to pack in my birth bag. Since I was shopping for items, the bag obviously wasn't packed. (Though Pedro's was. There I go showing signs of being a good mommy early!) While I was waiting for my mom to, you know, finish her leisurely dinner and such, I packed my bag. (I'm giving my mom a hard time; you'll see she totally earned a mom of the year award and about a billion leisurely dinners on me.)
Aside from my amniotic giggles, not much was going on. Though I was totally amped, mom convinced me to go to bed and try to get some sleep. This is the advice that everyone gives to moms in early labor. They fail to acknowledge that sleeping on the most incredible, scary, intense, emotional day that a human is going to come out of one's hoo-ha is nearly impossible.
So, to appease mom I went to bed at about 11:00 p.m. (Note, I didn't put the mattress protector on the bed because it seemed like way too much work while in labor. Fortunately gravity plays a huge role in seepage, so I was fine lying down. Just in case you wondered. You probably didn't. And didn't need that whole image planted in your head.) I got a little bit of sleep, but contractions started to come at about 2:00 a.m. They weren't intense or regular enough to really keep me up, but really, who could sleep at a time like that?!
At 2:30ish Beau sent me a text asking if I was awake. I was, so we FaceTimed. (Yes, I made that a verb.) We had not fully committed to a name yet. Our plan was to wait until we met our little guy to decide which of the names on our short list fit him best. I was really sad that Beau wouldn't be there for that and I worried that I was going to screw the whole thing up. Then he said, "I guess we'll meet Carter soon, huh?" Done. Beau got to make the final call on the name. (It was both of our favorites, so it wasn't a huge surprise to us.) He also let me know that he was going to be on the first helicopter out of there and would be on an airplane headed in the right direction soon. Stupid me, I told him I'd try to hold it as long as possible and maybe he'd be able to see the birth of his son. That sounds sweet, not stupid, right?
Yeah. Do you have any idea how long it takes a person to get from Angola to Virginia? Longer than you want to be in labor. Trust me.
After our conversation (he was amped too!) I decided that sleep just wasn't going to happen. I wanted to get back on the sit up ball turned birthing ball to help move things along. My contractions were about six minutes apart at this point, but not consistently.
Since I was up, mom got up too. I forced her to watch way too many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress to try to pass the time. She kept telling me to get some sleep--because she's wise--but I knew it was definitely not going to happen at this point.
Because the twelve hour window was coming up, I took a quick shower at about 5:00 a.m., had breakfast (because I knew once admitted they weren't going to let me eat!), talked to Jen, my midwife, on the phone and headed to the hospital.
Since it was so early, we had to go in through the emergency room. I was chauffeured upstairs in style.
Because of the lack of sleep I was too delirious to remember I was going to push a baby out of me and was just excited about the wheelchair ride.
I got situated in my delivery room and Amanda my nurse filled out my whiteboard. I wasn't ready to commit to a name yet, so we stuck with Pedro for the time being. I love that Pedro is part of my photographic birth story.
Sorry for the view of the trash cans. Here's something prettier. ME!
Nice Gown, huh? I love that picture of my bump. I don't love that I have eighteen chins in that shot. Oh well. There's no place for vanity in the delivery room. Besides, in no time I'd be out of that gown and into the cute pajamas brought. I'd be holding my perfect little baby and watching The View. Little did I know, I'd be stuck in that bed and its immediate vicinity for the next twenty-four plus hours.
Jen came in to see me and told me she had an intern and asked me if it would be cool if she participated in our adventure. I was still excited about this whole thing and thought it would take all of two hours, so I said yes. The intern checked me to verify that my water had indeed broken and measured my dilation and effacement. My water had broken (durh, we all saw that picture!), but I was still only at a 1 cm dilation. (I have no idea what the number attached to my effacement was.)
Jen, or Amanda, or someone asked me if I'd prefer Pitocin or some other labor inducing suppository.
Let me take a moment to let you know that I had spent quite a bit of time considering how I wanted my labor to go. Beau and I discussed everything and came up with a plan that would give a directive for what was best for our baby. I had dutifully typed out a birth plan that had every one of my wishes and desires. I printed it and had a copy in my bag. I had my mom go over it before we went to the hospital. I had been very thoughtful and intentional in my planning.
Nowhere on that plan were drugs. I was going to do this cave woman style. This is not because I am tough or think that drugs are bad, but because I had done enough reading to know that Pitocin is from the devil and brings on some serious pain.
When Jen (or Amanda?) told me that not doing either was no longer an option because my water had been broken for twelve hours and my risk of infection got higher, I realized that my intentional planning was out the window.
Because I was going to get Pitocin, (I chose that over the other option because it is given via an IV and can therefore be controlled) I was going to be attached to an IV pole and both the baby and myself were going to be monitored consistently. The part of my plan that talked about how I was going to walk around, take hot showers, etc. was shot to bits as well.
The cords were, however long enough that I could move from the bed to the birthing ball or rocking chair.
I love this picture of my mom and me. This was still early on. You can tell because I'm smiling an almost genuine smile.
Angela was dying to know what was going on, so I called her. She let me know that she was on her way. She didn't ask, she told. I love that she came. She told me even if I didn't want to see her, she was going to sit in the waiting room in case we needed her. What an awesome friend.
Also awesome is that she braided my hair for me.
In high school and college Cyndi would braid my hair for me. I loved it. Not only does it get my hair out of my face, it is very soothing. Cyndi couldn't be there to braid my hair for me, but Angela stepped in. Later--many, many hours later--I'd be super grateful that my hair was pulled back from my face.
Shortly after Angela arrived, Jaimie arrived. (Jaimie, sorry about the red eyes in your C &C debut...) Aren't my friends pretty?
I suppose at this point it was probably noon-ish. My friends stayed with me while my mom went downstairs to get some lunch and stretch her legs. They kept me amused and entertained.
At some point I developed a low-grade fever, so Amanda added antibiotics to my IV cocktail. It wasn't a bad fever and the antibiotics were to prevent infection.
The Pitocin was starting to take effect and the contractions were getting stronger and stronger. My mom was there to hold my hand and help me breathe through the pain. (I also had John Mayer and Norah Jones on iTunes, so that was pretty nice.)
My friends left to go watch our school's soccer and baseball games since they were in the regional tournaments and playing not far from the hospital. Mom stayed with me. At some point mid-afternoon the intern came back in to check my progress. She felt around and let me know I was dilated to about a six. Jen got excited for me and told me that things will start moving more quickly because I'd made it over the hump. I was stoked; her encouragement was infectious. The contractions hurt, but I felt like they were manageable enough that I was going to stick to my plan of not getting an epidural. Things were moving along and I was going to meet this little person I'd fallen in love with already.
My timeline is fuzzy, but I think Jaimie and Angela came back to give mom a break for dinner. The contractions were getting worse and I was certain that meant I was making progress.
At this point Amanda had gone home and I had a new nurse. I don't remember her name, but I loved her. She was so encouraging. Anyway, she came in and asked me if she could check me because she felt like I should have made some more progress.
It didn't quite click when she told me that I was at a one. There are so many numbers associated with child birth that it didn't occur to me that she could be talking about my dilation (because I was at a six a few hours ago). She looked kind of sad for me and I realized that a one was bad, whatever it was. I asked her to clarify and she told me that's how far I'd dilated.
Let me recap: At this point I'd been in labor for almost twenty four hours. I'd had Pitocin, the devil's drug, coursing through my veins for just shy of eleven hours. I was still at a one, despite being told I was at six centimeters. The intern had somehow mis-measured me. I was devastated. All of that progress I thought I'd made was a pipe dream. I was just as dilated as I was when I walked in the door.
I asked my mom to tell Jen I didn't want the intern to touch me again. According to Jaimie, my mom may have ripped them a new one out in the nurses' station. Around me, she was a vision of calmness, but apparently the mama bear instincts stick around long after the baby bear is a baby. She got fiercely protective. needless to say, I didn't see the intern again.
At some point in the middle of all of this Beau's mom called. I had telephoned earlier in the day when I was all smiles and let her know her first grandson was on his way. She got so excited she booked a ticket south. She called to tell us she'd be here at about 11:00 p.m. I was in the middle of a painful contraction when she called, so my mom was on the phone with her. She thought she was coming to see her grandson, but I knew he wasn't going to be born yet. Surprise!
I was in some serious pain and morale had plummeted. I was running on about three hours of sleep and a bowl of cereal. I was absolutely exhausted, but in so much pain that I wasn't able to get any rest.
I hadn't heard from Beau, so I had no idea what his travel schedule looked like, and things seemed pretty bleak to me. At this point my freinds left. I'm not sure if mom sent them packing or what, but I needed some rest and it wasn't going to happen when we were hanging out. And, to be quite honest, we weren't really hanging out. I was clutching the bed rail in pain and don't really know what they were doing...
Around 8:00 p.m. the sweet nurse came in and asked me if I would consider an epidural. I didn't want one. She told me I'd be able to sleep. All of a sudden I wanted one. I knew I wasn't going to have the baby any time soon, and I didn't want to be so exhausted that I couldn't push. After talking it over with my mom, I opted to get a needle inserted into my spine. (Frankly, the reason I didn't want one is because the idea of needles anywhere near my spine freaks me out, not because I wanted to experience the pain of child birth.)
About an hour after it was offered, the most wonderful, handsome man in the world came into my room. Nope, not Beau, but the man who was going to put the lower half of my body to sleep. I have no idea if he really was handsome, but in my foggy memory, he is god-like. After stabbing me in the spine he told me he wasn't going to leave my room until I was smiling. Obviously he had no idea what labor was like. I wasn't sure I'd ever smile again. Then, all of a sudden, my legs went numb, the pain went away, and I was smiling like a simple minded fool. He was my hero.
I'm smiling under that mask.
I was able to nap now that my southern half was numb, and at some point someone came in an put an oxygen mask on me. I know she explained why, but I was so tired I just let it be put on me and went back to sleep.
Mom snapped that picture, by the way, because Beau was on FaceTime. He was in Barcelona (maybe?) getting ready to board a flight to NYC, then one home and would be there with me by 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday. I let him know that I wasn't going to hold the kid in that long, but we'd be waiting for him.
I'm grateful I got the epidural for many reasons, but the biggest is that I got to talk to Beau when I wasn't in pain. I can't imagine how helpless he would have felt seeing me in that amount of pain and knowing he was still twelve hours away.
At about midnight Beau's mom arrived. She was going to just say hi and then leave the hospital to sleep. She said she'd meet her grandson the next day when it was convenient, but I figured she'd flown down from Boston, she might as well hang out with us and then be here when her grandson arrived. It just made sense to me.
Here's Grammy updating the family on my lack of progress.
She spent the night in that uncomfortable chair. I'm sure it wasn't what she had planned, but I'm so glad she was able to be there.
Well, my patient readers. Here is where I'll leave off for the night. This one post birth story is going to turn into three.
I'd stay up to finish, but the little guy doesn't allow me to sleep in...
Moms out there: Did your birth go according to plan, or were you like me with what turned out to be a laughable plan? Were any of you realistic enough to not have a plan?