So I thought it would be great to sit down and record the whole birth, especially before I start to forget! (which I already have a little). I will try to leave out the gory details but hey, to a certain extent that's the way this works right? :)
Things got started...
On Tuesday 4/17 I got up and ready for work like any morning. Jeremy had started driving me in just the day before in case I would need to be picked up during the day. Good decision! On the car ride to work (8am) I felt what I would call 'crampy' but I've been feeling that way alot lately.
About 9am after sitting at my desk for a bit I began to note the consistency of the cramps, and at about 10am logged onto www.contractionmaster.com (awesome tool!!) to begin tracking. At that time they were happening 10 min apart. So I waited it out and worked quietly at my desk. I ate lunch with my coworkers like normal- a labor salad!- and don't know if any of my lunch friends observed that I was picking at my food and kinda quiet :)
Contractions continued at 10 min apart and Jeremy came to get me at about 1:30. I only let my boss and one other coworker know what was going on. My other coworkers may not have even noticed when I quietly snuck out. I was still not convinced this was the real deal and assumed I would be back on Wednesday! On the way home I was suddenly ravenously hungry so we swung by Chick-Fil-A for a sandwich- yum!
Things continued at home...
When we got home I was starting to feel them for frequently and laid down on the couch. Jeremy logged into contractionmaster.com and I would call out when one started and ended and he tracked. When they were 5 min apart I got into the bathtub which was SO NICE. It felt really great! Jeremy normally plays his guitar while I'm in the tub but I had to put a stop to that so we could concentrate.
After the tub I finally decided it was the real thing and I should prepare myself for the hospital. We had discussed eating a light high protein dinner because I knew it would be a long time until food again, but just as Jeremy was starting to think about cooking I told him we couldn't wait any longer. Contractions were 3 min apart a getting stronger so we called the doc and headed that way. The 20 min ride to St.Francis seemed alot longer!
And off to the hospital......
When we arrived at the hospital the nurse asked if we would like to make bets on my dilation. My guess was 2 or 3 but no, we were 5 cm upon checkin! We were very lucky that of the 5 docs in our ob/gyn practice we actually got my regular doctor, Dr. Bowers. He came in to review our birth plan and was happy with all of our choices. We were admitted at 7pm, and Doc Bowers asked if I would like my water broken to move things faster or let it go itself. Since there was no reason to use extra measures we said no.
So I labored for several hours pretty well using the techniques we had used. I walked around, sat on my yoga ball (which was really nice- I recommend!), and tried to avoid laying down. Mom, Dad and Erin showed up at the hospital and we had a pretty nice time in the room for a while. It was nice to listen to the extremely random music selections on Jer's Ipod (think Abba followed by Garth Brooks)
Things got tough....
At 6-7 cm my water broke and things weren't quite as jovial as the pain came on. When my water broke they noticed it was brownish, meaning Tessa had taken her first poo in utero (called meconiam) and odds are she would ingest some on her way out. They told us that the NICU team would be there at delivery to pump it out of her.
Soon after that is when I started to turn all Exorcist from the pain (pea soup spewing and all :) My labor nurse said it was my last opportunity to get an epidural as I was dialated to 8cm, so I caved. As you know I really had wanted to go as natural as possible so I got a little upset. As the story goes on I'm glad that I made that choice and don't regret it. The nurse consoled me by saying that waiting until 8cm to get it was a great thing and we had made the best choice by not getting one earier.
There was a minor scary moment when I got the epi. My blood pressure plummeted and I almost fainted and when the nurse rolled me on my side the tape from the epi on my back stuck to the bed and started to pull it out. At the same time Tessa's heartate dropped quite a bit. It was all hands on deck for a minute or two then all was okay. From then on I wore an oxogyn mask to keep things in check.
I was then at 10cm and the nurse agreed we should start pushing but it would still be a while. So we started pushing at about 2:15am. Jeremy did a great job of helping the nurses hold up my legs and counting. I pushed through every contraction for a long time, and rested and sometimes even joked around in between.
My major concern with the epi was that I was be too numb to push, which is something I've heard horror stories about. I'm happy to say it didn't turn out that way. I could still feel the contractions a little and was able to push just fine. Whew!
At about 4am the nurse said I needed to start pushing harder as Tessa's head appeared to be pretty big and might be getting stuck (this is the part where I am grateful I had the epi). She said if we went on much longer the doc might call for a c-section. A senior nurse then came in and worked some sort of magic with her hands, squeezing the head out a little.
So finally after all that time it was time for the doctor to come. I guess I didn't realize how much the labor nurses really do before the doc even shows up. And I have to give major love to our nurse Anna. She was amazing and funny and really supportive. I was sad to see her go come morning time :(
An army of people came including the NICU nurses and we were ready to go! Several pushes later she arrived at 4:41 am. Jeremy unfortunately didn't get to cut the cord as she was wisked to the nurses to pump the poo out of her lungs. She finally gave a good cry and the room rejoiced! We saw her for just a few minutes and they took her off the NICU.
I had a tear but didn't even realize it, and had to have a few stitches. They cleaned me up and at about 6am we were okay to wheel to the NICU to see Tessa. Anna was impressed at the mobility in my legs and said I was willing it to happen so I could get to the NICU sooner.
Tessa spent alot of Wednesday coughing up amniotic fluid. They gave her an IV and started antiotics as a precaution. They watched her breathing and coughing carefully and she was doing better every time we saw her.
The NICU nurses agreed not to give her formula or sugar water until we had had a good run at breastfeeding. Finally she took to it sometime Wednesday afternoon and again we rejoiced! They offered to give her formula overnight so I could sleep and I refused (the lactation consultant later gave me major props!), so they woke me up every two hours during the night and boy was that NICU room a long walk!
Because she was eating and breathing so well they released her to the regular nursery on Thursday afternoon. She had to get one more good round of antibiotics Friday morning before we could go. The pediatrician was super happy with her progress and we were all released to go home on Friday afternoon.
That brings us up to speed! We are home now and all doing very well. She is eating like a madwoman and I am healing suprisingly well too...I guess I thought I would still be in a lot of pain at this point but not really too bad.
Praise God that everything turned out so well for us in the end. Even the unexpected things-- the epidural, the NICU stay-- all turned out well in the end. I know we have alot of wonderful friends and family supporting us and praying for us and we couldn't have done it without you. We are truly blessed :)