Our little Peanut finally arrived on Saturday, August 27th, 2011; twelve days past her estimated due date.
|Around 9:30 pm…heading out to birth this babe; finally!|
With this pregnancy, I was quite committed to starting labor naturally, but the wait was starting to wear on me. Now that all is said and done, I’m so very thankful that I waited and let my little girl arrive on her own terms. The birth was beautiful and without any of the complications that I had with Pumpkin’s birth.
Friday morning, my mom, Pumpkin and I went out for a late breakfast, and had a quiet, easy morning. I started having some noticeable cramping around noon that day, but the timeable contractions didn’t begin until around 1:30. I called the Captain to tell him that I thought that this was it, and he told me to download a contraction timer app for my iPhone. I did, and it really made it easy to track the contractions. At that point, they were definitely uncomfortable, but I wasn’t in any pain. The Captain came home, and I went out for a pedicure. I’d been impatient for so long, and I didn’t want to just sit around and wait for things to pick up momentum on the chance that it wasn’t labor beginning. I had contractions throughout the entire pedicure, and they were definitely picking up in intensity and frequency. But the foot massage was heavenly!
When I was past my estimated due date with Pumpkin’s pregnancy, the Captain and I went out to dinner at an upscale restaurant called Firebirds, on what ended up being our final date as a couple without children. When our server found out that we were overdue, she must have passed it on to her manager, because when it came time to pay, our meal had been comped, courtesy of the restaurant. It was a wonderful night. Friday night, we decided to go back to Firebirds while my mom kept Pumpkin. Once again, it turned out to be our last meal before our family permanently changed. I kept my phone out on the table next to me with the contraction timer up, and timed contractions throughout dinner. We shared coconut shrimp and lobster dip, and a gloriously delicious filet and loaded baked potato. It was outstanding labor food! We did end up having to pay for the meal this time though…we couldn’t get that lucky again. Though this time, we were leaving with yet another delightful surprise…I really was in labor! Finally!
By this point in the evening, it was clear that I was officially in labor. It seemed rather surreal to finally be experiencing what I’d been waiting so long for. Contractions were coming strong and uncomfortable, and ranging anywhere from three to six minutes by 9:00 pm. We called the hospital, and the OB on call wanted us to go ahead and come in. I showered and we rounded up the last minute items that we needed, and we were off! We arrived at the hospital around 10:00 pm. We joked around about Peanut’s incredible timing…she was coming on a weekend (so minimal missed work for the Captain), and my labor was beginning right around the time I’d normally be going to bed! I knew that I’d be going into hard labor in the wee hours of the morning on no sleep, and was more than a little bit apprehensive. The OB did a cervical check when we got there, and I was right around four centimeters dilated.
The hospital where we delivered really has their act together when it comes to supporting as natural of a birthing experience as is possible in a hospital setting. The maternity suites are dimly lit and cozy, with hardwood floors and medical equipment isolated to the periphery as much as possible. I required an IV for antibiotics because of my GBS+ status, but they allowed me a heparin lock so I could move around freely. They had a birthing ball available for me, and a jacuzzi tub to labor in as well, but both of these were remarkably not helpful for me, which I found surprising. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about hydrotherapy during labor, that I really looked forward to being able to labor in the tub. Perhaps it was the type of tub that they had there; nice and deep, but the jets were placed in uncomfortable positions, and once the jets were on, it was impossible to turn them off until a twenty-minute timer ran out. Possibly a malfunction with the equipment, since they were relatively new. I also had to keep my hand with the heparin lock out of the water, so I was unable to brace myself adequately in the tub, for fear of getting the thing wet. I was really disappointed that I didn’t get more comfort from the water. Additionally, the birthing ball put way too much pressure down there as I sat on it, so once my contractions were full-on, it was too painful to sit on.
The shift change at 7:00 am that brought our new nurse was a welcome one. Her name was Arden, and she was their self-professed “natural nurse”. She had five children of her own, and the last two were born naturally, without any interventions or pain medications. By this point in the morning I was in a lot of pain, and each contraction was really, really hard for me to get through. The pain in my back was actually worse than the contractions themselves, which was something I had been really afraid of. I’d had back problems for most of the second half of this pregnancy, and trips to the chiropractor on a bi-weekly basis over the last five weeks of the pregnancy failed to touch it. Arden and the Captain really helped me get through the pain, but the agony in my back with each contraction was starting to provoke something worse than pain in me; fear. I’d been laboring for somewhere around fifteen hours without any interventions or pain medications, and I was now considering calling for the epidural, for no other reason than the excruciating pain in the left side of my lower back.
Around 8:00 am, Arden offered to do a cervical check, just so I could see what kind of progress I’d made. The only other check I’d had was the one that the OB did when I checked in the previous night, so I was curious and hopeful. I’d rejected all other offers of checks until that point. I really wanted to know how close I was to being able to push, since I was considering getting the epidural. Arden told me flat-out that she figured I was around five or six centimeters, based upon my outward displays of discomfort and my facial expressions as I rode through the contractions. That really discouraged me, and I’d hoped that I’d progressed more than that. So, I let her check me. To her surprise (and my delight), I was at eight centimeters! This strengthened my resolve to power through without drugs, at least for a bit longer.
By 9:00 am, my back pain was too much for me to bear. I was throwing up and then dry-heaving from the pain. I hadn’t slept in twenty-four hours, and I had begun to doubt my ability to push through the fatigue and the back pain. I finally decided to call for the epidural, and though I was initially quite disappointed in myself, I don’t regret it at all. When the OB came in to check me before the epidural was in place, I was complete! I was really surprised that the last bit went as quickly as it did.
The epidural was very different than the epidural I got with Pumpkin’s labor. I’m not sure if it was because it wasn’t placed until I was complete, or if my back pain was simply too strong for it to touch, but it successfully dulled the sensation of the contractions, and did little to nothing for the pain in my back. It took about twenty minutes for it to reach that pain. Otherwise, it was wonderfully done. I wasn’t like a motionless veal on the table; I could actually still move my legs, and feel the contractions and the pressure of the baby. The Captain and I wanted to wait until Pumpkin arrived before the baby was born, and by this time, my mom was on the way to the hospital with her. Peanut’s heart rate was strong and steady, and I was now comfortable from the epidural, so they let us wait for Pumpkin to arrive. It was just before 11:00 am.
Time to Push
Once we knew that Pumpkin had arrived at the hospital, it was time to start pushing. It was just before noon. They had me in an awkward reclined position on the table, and I couldn’t get the kind of leverage I knew I needed to push the baby out. After two rounds of pushes, I insisted that they let me sit straight up. It was much more comfortable and I had a lot more power to do the job. I could feel the baby moving down with every push, and it was exhilarating when we saw the top of her head. She had silky dark hair, just like her sister! It only took four more pushes, and Peanut was born at 12:33 in the afternoon.
|Welcome home, darling.|
They put her on my bare chest immediately, and did their initial suctioning and assessments right there with her on my skin, unlike they did when Pumpkin was born just shy of two years ago. The Captain cut the umbilical cord, and I kept her on my skin. This is another testimony to the hospital’s commitment to maximizing natural birthing practices…they didn’t immediately spirit my baby away from me. After about thirty minutes, Peanut latched on for her first nursing session. Bliss. I kept her on my chest for another hour or so before they took her to the nursery to do their routine assessments. It was so hard to let her go. I can only imagine how lovely a homebirth would be, not having to give my little love up to a stranger at any point. It felt so unnatural.
Peanut is a remarkable baby girl. She is alert and bright-eyed and beautiful. She has a peaches and cream complexion, and she is strong, strong, strong! She’s a hungry little thing, too…my milk came in on the second afternoon in the hospital, and she nursed about once an hour that night. I’m dealing with some oversupply issues (which I plan on blogging about later), but she powers through and is ever the little lady about it; not getting frustrated or angry when she has trouble latching or my letdown is a bit too much. The Captain doesn’t like for me to say it out loud (he’s the superstitious sort), and I know it is still early, but I’ll say it anyway. Once again, we seem to have been blessed with a wonderfully easy, beautiful little girl. I’m not sure how I possibly got to be this fortunate.