Monday, October 12, 2009

End of one journey....the beginning of the next

Olivia is one month old today! So in honor of that, I want to close out this baby-in-waiting blog with the story of the day she was born. It's probably going to be a long one so here goes....

I will confess, the last week leading up until her birth was very stressful. God had answered my prayers with Carter's birth and things happened almost exactly like I wanted them to. So I just figured, things would go as planned this time too. I had also really wanted to have a natural childbirth this time and had been preparing myself for that. But I knew if I had to get induced, the possibilities of that would be slim. I didn't tell many people about my desire to give birth without an epidural because if I couldn't go through with it, I didn't want to feel like a failure.

I have already blogged about how stressful it was the week she was born between being told I could come for my induction, to being told I would have to wait a few more days, to stressing out about my mom not being here for long after Olivia was born. I was a hormonal wreck! But then finally, Saturday morning at 5:15 we were on our way to the hospital. It was dar, cold, and raining and I was nervous the whole drive there.

Once we got there, I was a little more calm. The nurse said Dr. R wouldn't be there until around 8:00 so it was just more of the waiting game. When she checked me, I was dilated to 3-4 cm and was 70% effaced. Theo slept on the couch and I tried to will myself into labor so I wouldn't have to actually be induced. That didn't really work. :) Dr. R. finally came a little after 8 a.m. and I asked her if she would just break my water and see what happens before starting the pitocin. She obliged. So at about 8:20, she broke my water. At that point, I was still 4 cm and about 80% effaced. I was expecting that part to be painful for some reason but it wasn't.

It was a good hour before I started having any contractions and when I did start to, they were pretty mild and about 4 minutes apart. I thought, ok, I can do this without an epidural. Then they started getting stronger and stronger and closer together. I was able to walk around in the room without being attached to the monitors and that seemed to help. I remember Theo massaging my back which was killing me from having sat in the bed for so long in the same position.

At 11:15, the nurse checked me again because I felt like I had been having stronger contractions. But no change really. I was about 4-5 cm and 80% effaced. She said she didn't think I needed the pitocin and to hold out for the epidural. Around lunch time, while I was in the bathroom, we heard a knock on the door. I assumed it was my nurse or Dr. R but was so excited when I saw my mom walk in the room. She said my best friend Meredith had driven in to watch Carter to my mom could be here with me for a little while. I was so happy! She was there with us while we had Carter and I was so thankful for that.

At 12:30, Dr. R checked me again and I thought for sure I had made some progress because I was hurting really, REALLY bad! I knew at that point I wouldn't need the pitocin but that my labor would probably be longer than it had been with Carter. I told Theo that if I had had some cervical changes and was making progress, I would still hold off on the epidural. But I was still the same and had only dilated 1 cm in about 4 hours, forget that, I want the epidural. Sure enough, I was still at 5 cm. I was hurting so bad that I couldn't imagine going for much longer without any pain relief. So I said, I'm ready for the epidural now.

At 12:45 the anesthesiologist came in. He looked young but he was friendly enough. He asked if Theo was the dad. I said yes of course. They were getting everything set up and Theo got to stay in the room with me. That was nice. I wasn't nervous about getting the epidural though. All I wanted was to stop hurting and to able to relax a little. I made a comment about "my husband something or another" and the anesthesiologist asked if we were married. I said "No, I'm married but he's just my baby's daddy!" And the doc said that I had made it seem that way and we all laughed. It was so funny! I was thinking DUH, of course this is my husband. But I guess you never know these days!

By 1:15, the epidural was in and I was immediately much more relaxed. I could still feel pressure and I wasn't completely numb (which is normal) but the pain was gone.

At 1:40, I was dilated to 9 cm and had bloddy show. I couldn't believe I had progressed that fast, but that is exactly what happened with Carter. Ten minutes later, I had the strongest urge to push, as if she were about to come out. But I didn't want to get the nurse just yet. My contractions were coming relaly close together. Finally, at 2:00, I said, please go get the nurse. She checked me and said I was complete. She called Dr. R. and said "We're about to have a baby!". I pushed a couple of times before Dr. R. came in. Man, it hurt! Dr. R was awesome though. She did a couple of things that prevented me from having an episotomy. I remember feeling like my face was about to explode as I was pushing. I remember the nurse, who was a little drill-instructor-like telling me to push, push harder, push her to the ceiling. That helped me so much though. My mom is holding one foot and the video camera (all filming was done tastefully, nothing I wouldn't show other people) and Theo is holding my other foot. I guess they didn't have stirrups on those beds or if they did, didn't want to use them. And then finally after 18 minutes of pushing, Olivia Gabrielle Elizabeth was born!

I remember Dr. R telling me to look down and see her and hold her but it took me a few minutes to register what she was saying. I was so relived to finally have given birth and when I held her, I just cried. I will never forget hearing my mom cry too and how exciting this must be for her too to watch her daughter have a daughter. I remember Theo got to cut the cord and when he clamped the scissors down, I said "Oww!" Dr. R laughed and said in her 18 years, she had never had anyone say that. I just wanted to play a joke on Theo. Olivia cried right away. The nursery nurse put her on the scale and she weighed 7#s 11 ounces. I couldn't believe how much bigger she was than Carter! I thought she would be because of how uncomfortable I had been. We all held her and passed her around and made lots of phone calls. What an amazing day!

After my bleeding was under control, we were sent to the postpartum wing and the nursery nurse had requested the "suite" for us. It was a huge room, mainly used for when hospital employees give birth and I was so lucky to have it. It had a queen sized bed, a dining room table with four chairs, a full sized couch. It was great. The nurses from that day were awesome! About 28 hours after she was born, we were on our way home. I couldn't wait to get back home to Carter. I didn't want to stay in the hospital one more minute even though it was a great hospital and we had a wonderful experience. I was just anxious to get our new life started.

When we got home, mom and Carter had made some signs for outside and hung balloons on the window. When Carter saw us, he started screaming excitedly and saying "Olivia is home!". What a sweetheart.

So now a month later, things are good. We are adjusting to life as a family of four. I miss being in Louisiana though close to that part of our family. But thankfully, I have a wonderful and very helpful husband who makes things so much better. And I have a God who is able to meet all my needs and who has brought me the greatest blessings in life. Happy one month birthday Olivia! We love you more than life itself.

Until next time.........