Photo credit: © Christina Lyons 2013
At long last, a photo-illustrated explanation for my long blog-and-Facebook hiatus:
Yup. I did it. I’m SO proud of myself. So, the story
you all I have been waiting for [let’s be real here, *everybody* but me knew the pregnancy would eventually end, despite the many false alarms, read on for the “deets”]…
Really I guess the tale begins around my 30th week – basically I started having contractions then, and they continued off and on until 3 weeks ago when I actually I did start labor. But due to a funky presentation, I got to about 3 cm and everything halted. And we stopped and started for the next three weeks, during which I dilated 2 more cm, bringing my total dilation to 5 cm. But I still wasn’t active cuz I couldn’t seem to get beyond that. Whoo.
Skip ahead to my due date, and though I didn’t think so at the time, my Sweetie thought I started sounding different during the contractions, despite the fact that they weren’t any closer together than 30 min. After 24 hours and a[nother] restless night, he did the responsible thing and called our great friend and doula, Amanda, who by that point had already come over a jillion times anyway but knew that I was going to pop any ol’ minute.
She got to our house at about 7:00 am the next morning, and agreed with my Sweetie that I was, indeed sounding different. Time to call my sister, who very generously agreed to be our photographer for the event – fortunately, we hadn’t cried wolf enough times yet for her to not believe us. 😄
The contractions still weren’t any closer than 15-30 minutes, but they were lasting an insanely long 3 minutes per contraction. After calling around a bit, we concluded that I was doing something called “double-peaking,” which as I understand it means that in addition to contracting to dilate, I was having a second “peak” with each contraction in an attempt to flip my wee one from “sunny-side up” to right side up – or in more technical terms, from posterior to anterior. [For those who are wondering, yes, it was ALL in my back.]
Skip ahead again to noon – we checked again and learned that despite a full day’s proper [more or less] laboring, I’d only progressed another centimeter, Amanda stuck me in a nice warm shower with an exercise ball covered in a towel and ordered me to sit. So I sat. For an hour. And it was SO nice. And it totally worked – during that hour she successfully turned, and the contractions went from being 3 min long and 30 min apart to 45 sec long and 3 min apart. [YAY.] But I was also starting to lose my coping skills, rapidly descended into sleep-deprived irrationality, and began panicking with each contraction.
Between her and Dale, they finally convinced me that I should, in fact, cave and go to the hospital and get some pain relief so I could sleep and rest a bit before moving forward, so around 1:15 pm Dale called the hospital and let them know we were on our way in. Incidentally it was my OB who was on call, which has never happened to us before so we started looking forward to that. After bustling around for a bit, gathering last minute things for our hospital bag, Dale got me on my feet to walk out/towards the door, and…
My water broke.
Dale told me later that he silently asked Amanda over my shoulder if we’d make it to the hospital, and she shrugged and said, “Uh… maybe? If we leave right now.”
We made it about 5 steps. That’s to say, I made it from the foot of my bed [where I’d been sitting] to just outside my bedroom door. I started another contraction and felt a strong urge to kneel down and rest. I remember sensing this exchange go between Dale and Amanda, this feeling of “If she goes down, she ain’t gettin’ back up.” They both confirmed that feeling afterwards, that they were like, “Uh sure, right here’s good. Apparently babies really ARE born in the tiniest space in the house.”
Anyway, I was still in “go to the hospital” mode, and as the contractions intensified still more, I remember hearing Amanda say to me, “If you feel the urge to push, don’t fight it. Go ahead and push.” I thought, “Pfft. Push. Not here, I’m not in my bed OR in the hospital. I’m not ready to push yet anyway.” Well, uh… turns out I was. The first “pushing” contraction came, and I didn’t realize until it was halfway done that it hurt so much more because I DID need to push. But by the time it dawned on me I was a long way into it and I wasn’t prepared to properly push, so it wasn’t very effective and felt like it lasted forever. Fortunately that meant I was ready for the next one and she was out in one huge surge.
I heard Amanda saying [very quickly], “I can see her head. Yep, that’s her head. Okay her head’s out… and now her shoulders… she’s out! She’s here!” I was thinking, “What?! No. She can’t be out… that can’t be right…” but the pressure was suddenly gone, so I rolled onto my back and Amanda put her on my chest and sure enough, there she was!
Where were the kids this whole time, you ask? Well, that’s a fun little story in itself…
When we decided to go to the hospital, Dale went and updated his sister [who’s been filling in as our live-in nanny for the last few months] and the kids that we were on our way out the door. So when we came out a few minutes later and I “went down,” Dale suggested that she take kidlets into their bedroom. I’m still not quite sure why, but I remember hearing that and shouting, “No. OUTSIDE.”
So… they went outside and down to the playground on the property. They tell me that they made it all the way to the playground when B announced, “I have to go to the bathroom.” Of course he did. So up they came… right in time for me to start pushing. They hid out in the bathroom and their bedroom [which adjoin each other].
Cut back to me on the floor with a baby on my chest.
She didn’t cry right away, which resulted in all of us staring anxiously at her for several tense moments, before the prodding and towel-rubbing commenced. Her cord was still pulsing, which meant that she was still getting oxygen, but she still hadn’t cried.
After several prods and rubs, she opened one eye a crack, peered out at all of us and gave a squawk that clearly said, “Cut it out!” Then she yawned and… curled up and tried to go to sleep. Apparently getting born really takes it out of you…
At which point B popped his head out from the bathroom and said excitedly, “Is that a baby!?” He charged over to have a better look, saw her and exclaimed, “I found my sister!” That prompted C to run in to see for herself. I remember her materializing at my shoulder and saying animatedly, “It’s my sister! It’s a baby! Can I touch her? Can I hold her?”
I said, “Sure you can touch her, but you probably shouldn’t hold her yet since she’s still kind of attached…” which she seemed to accept. She reached out her hand and touched her shoulder, then stopped, withdrew her hand, rubbed her fingers together and commented, “She’s… sticky.” That didn’t stop her from touching her over and over, wiping her hand off in between each touch. B seemed to have seen his fill after his initial investigation, because he left to go play with something in the other room.
The rest is much better said in pictures, I think, so I’ll let those do the talking now:
In the understatement of the year, I’m SO glad to finally have my little girl. So far, she seems happy with us too. ♥