Monday, July 20, 2009

La Jour De Gloire Est Arrive

First off, if you know me, you know how much I hate pregnancy. I have easy pregnancies, I love my babies, but the actual 9 months? I am miserable- a fact I conveniently and COMPLETELY forgot in between Owen and Bridget. Bridget's due date was July 25, but due to Owen's giant newborn self, induction at 41 1/2 weeks, and a rough delivery and recovery period, my midwife agreed to induce Bridget at 39 weeks. That was the plan, and I was convinced that nothing on the planet would make Bridget come earlier.

On Monday (July 13), I was miserable to the extreme. I hadn't been sleeping, I was uncomfortable, I was weepy. I called the midwives' office, and they told me to come in Tuesday. I went in at 10:30 am, saw Ronnie Jo (the midwife on call), and she told me I was a loose 1 1/2 cm dilated. I asked her to check again, and she said "Ooh, maybe you're up to 3! And 70% effaced!" She offered to strip my membranes, which I eagerly accepted, and told me she wouldn't be surprised to see me in a few hours. I rolled my eyes and said "not likely. I've heard that many times before!" With Owen, I was further along than that for at least two weeks before he was induced.

I got a hair cut, picked Owen up from Mimsie's house, came home, put him down for a nap, and made some lunch. By this time, it was around 2 o'clock, and I was a little crampy, but also more dehydrated than normal, so I chalked it up to "irritable uterus". As I had already visited the hospital on the night of our anniversary (July 5) for severe cramping and regular contractions, I did not want to have another false alarm. Marthe called, and we chatted until about 2:30.

At 2:45, I started to get really uncomfortable, so I ran a bath, called Craig and told him that he might want to wrap up any loose ends at work, just in case I really did go into labor that night. By 3, my stomach was upset and I realized that this might be it- that or the leftovers I ate for lunch had gone bad. I texted Craig and he offered to stop by on his way home from Buccholz, where he was looking at the air handlers on the roof. By 3:20, Craig was home, I was in a hot bath to ease the contractions, and he was timing. During our anniversary hospital trip, the LDR nurse had told Craig that HE would be able to tell if my labor was real or just Braxton-Hicks, because my contractions would be regularly 5 minutes apart for over an hour, and my personality would change- I would no longer be the sweet woman he knew and loved. By 3:45, I asked Craig if he thought it was the real thing, because they were getting more intense, but more bearable as I recalled the relaxation techniques we learned in class to prepare for Owen. He said that he wanted to time more and see if they stayed consistent or changed. I told him to call my mother to pick Owen up. By four, I told him to call again, and get her there FAST. When I asked if the contractions were still regular, he said no. What he neglected to mention is that they were now getting closer together. I was beginning to feel like I wasn't getting a break in between contractions, and he still thought this wasn't the real deal. I had to start acting like a bitch in hopes that he would begin to take me seriously, but I wasn't even positive myself that this was real labor. There was still the possibility I was just dehydrated.

At 4:20 I made him the call the midwife's office, and my mom came to wake Owen up. She stopped by the bathroom to see me first, and asked Craig how far apart my contractions were. When he said 3 minutes, she told him to get me to the hospital RIGHT AWAY- and he said "We still have plenty of time". At 4:30 , I thought I might throw up, and I remembered the feeling from Owen- it meant that transition was over and soon I would have to push. I was debating whether it was worth it to go to the hospital or just call 911 and have the baby at home. Craig fed the dog.

The pressure to push started, and I told him I wasn't leaving. He convinced me to get me some clothes on and go to the hospital. (Keep in mind- my contractions were three m inutes apart, and lasting almost three minutes, so I didn't have much time to actually accomplish anything in between). He asked what I would like to wear- and when I said the blue shirt (which I vaguely remembered I had left at the door to the bathroom on the floor) he went to the bedroom, looked in my closet, and came back with two choices- neither of which were maternity tops. I finally grabbed the blue shirt, threw it on without a bra and headed for the car. He asked me which car I wanted to take, and even while being mindful of the upholstery in the newer van, it was in the driveway and thus closer. (BTW- when a woman in labor chooses to chant "No, stay, not yet" to her baby during a contraction, now is not the time to ask her to make decisions).

I finally made it into the van (after having a contraction in the front yard for all the neighbors to see- nice) at 4:59, and all I could think was "5 o'clock traffic. Perfect". (Even while not in labor, I am intimidated by NW Gainesville's "rush hour", and avoid leaving my house at this time unless absolutely necessary). (Also, we live 8 minutes from the hospital) For some reason, the break in between contractions during the pushing stage leaves you more lucid, so by the time we passed Buccholz I asked if we should call ahead. Craig's response? "Nope. We still have plenty of time". I couldn't respond as I was back to panting "Stay. Stay. Stay." like Bridget was an unruly puppy, as opposed to a baby trying to exit my uterus on Newberry Road.

Thank God we did not hit any unduly long red lights, and traffic was relatively light. We pulled up to the awning at the Women's Center at 5:07 (I wouldn't let Craig park in the garage) and I demanded a wheel chair. He was beginning to rush a little bit now, after not altering his driving speed at all on the way over. We caught an elevator to the third floor, and at this point, I was hovering above the seat like a newly potty trained toddler who has to hold it but is about to lose it. All the while panting, more frantically, "NO NO STAY STAY" like a deranged, wet from the tub lunatic. I completely silanced the family of 27 gathered in the waiting room as we careened off the elevator. Once we got into the maternity ward proper and up to the nurse's station (at 5:10), Craig started to introduce me and explain the details when Ronnie Jo rounded the corner and I desperately said "I NEED TO PUSH". She had the good sense to point to the nearest room and we went in, followed by a few other nurses. They told Craig to help me out of my clothes (I was having another contraction) and he said "her underwear, too?" as I thought DEAR GOD WHY IS NO ONE TAKING ME SERIOUSLY. When they couldn't get my shirt off I told them to just cut it, but they insisted on helping me into a gown and onto the bed to check and see how dilated i was. When Ronnie Jo checked, she looked surpised and for a second I thought she was going to say "Well, you're four centimeters along". Instead she said "I don't feel any cervix, and there's a baby's head right there". NO KIDDING. I said "I have to push" and they said "wait" and I said "Sorry, I can't" and she barely had time to catch Bridget, who came flying out like a little fish (as my water had not broken during labor, and came out with her). She was born at 5:15 pm, on my Irish papa's birthday, and Bastille day to boot. I held her for twenty minutes as they set the room up, in awe that it was over so quickly. I felt like I had gotten a baby from a drive-thru- it was a completely surreal feeling.

Bridget Kathryn Gulledge
7 lbs 5 oz, 20 inches
July 14, 2009, 5:15 pm

She is a VERY relaxed baby, who is currently nursing ever 3 1/2 hours (which is good, because her jaws are somewhere between a lamprey and a snapping turtle) who is tinier than I ever could have imagined. I swear she has a sense of humor- she makes the cutest, most expressive little faces. Owen is very nonchalant about her, but we haven't had a full day at home by ourselves yet, so we'll see.

Physically, I feel fantastic, and anyone who ever hear Owen's birth story- do not fear. That was a fluke. This time, I have no stitches and no post-partum pain (other than standard cramping and nursing issues). I am more tired this time, but I think because I felt so amazing after little b was born that I am not resting as much as I should be- that's about to change, too.

Thank you for all your positive thoughts and good wishes- I know they made a difference.

1. If you have the option to labor in water- DO IT. Tub, shower, birthing tank, whatever you can use- the difference it made in my comfort during labor was drastic. So drastic, I wasn't even sure it WAS labor!
2. If you are even considering trying natural childbirth, take a class to prepare. It made such a huge difference in my comfort level, and I have used the relaxation techniques countless other times during uncomfortable procedures (dentist, anyone?). If you get into labor and you find it doesn't work for you, you can still get anesthesia (most of the time- I'm not a doctor!).
3. If your midwife tells you that you will only have a three hour labor and not to mess around- listen. Craig still thinks we timed it just right, but I told him that the next time he needs to poop, I'm going to make him hold it for 9 months and 45 minutes and see how he likes it.


Sleep Goblin said...

Holy cow!! I am so excited for you!!!

What an arrival! If my husband does that, I might punch him in the face. I do not believe I am a patient woman when in pain or when I'm feeling rushed.

mb. said...

Also the saint day of Lily of the Mohawks. She is not actually canonized (yet) but most of the saints in my pantheon that were have been demoted. Even better, her name Ketari, is Mohawk for Katherine.

Mrs. B said...

What an incredible birth story! Your daughter is just beautiful...congrats.
Thank you for the advice on the Petunia diaper bag, I'll definitely consider the flap issue before making a decision.

Uphill Downhill said...

So good. So well written. I can't wait to talk to you!!!!

Congratulations again!!!!! You're amazing.

aly said...

Yahoo! Congratulations. And I agree with Marthe, very well written.