I HAD MY BABY! For those who want the play-by-play, here’s how it all happened. 🙂
The Final Countdown
You may remember my post about my irritable uterus. Let me tell you, that is not a situation I’d wish on anyone! Having constant contractions for weeks on end, even if they aren’t that painful, is hard to deal with mentally. The stress in the weeks of contractions when Scarlett would still have been pre-term if I went into labor was tough, but then the false hope every five minutes once she hit 37 weeks was emotionally exhausting.
Earlier this week, on Tuesday, I woke up feeling DIFFERENT. And not in a good way. I know many women experience “dropping” as their baby moves down lower into the pelvis in preparation for birth. Well, I carry all my babies low to begin with, so feeling Scarlett drop was absolutely horrendous.
The pressure on my pelvis was intense. My walk became a total waddle. Luckily, she shifted position now and then so that I could walk and move pretty comfortably, but when she’d settle into that lowest position I wanted to curl up in bed and cry. Neither of my other two babies had dropped (at least not that I noticed), so this was new to me. And I wasn’t a fan.
A few days went on. The pelvic pressure was come-and-go based on how Scarlett was situated, but I never felt great. Wednesday was the 37-week mark (where baby is no longer considered a preemie), so from that point onward I decided I’d actively do any natural, non-dangerous things I could to encourage Scarlett to come soon and put me out of my misery. You may have seen my post about BAD ideas to induce labor naturally. Well, I also found a few ideas that didn’t sound like they could hurt anything—at worst, they’d do nothing—so I launched those efforts full-force.
Wednesday through Saturday were full of raspberry leaf tea (not bad if you mix it with orange juice!), long walks when Scarlett’s position made that possible, a bit of caffeine, and foot rubs from Mark. And nothing changed. I figured any of these things might push me into labor if my body was legitimately ready but that none of them would make a difference if Scarlett needed to stay put. But remembering that got harder with every uncomfortable day.
Saturday morning I woke at 4:00am extremely nauseated and wide-awake. After trying to settle back down for about an hour but having no luck, I decided to go to my local rec center and walk on their treadmills and indoor track. It was dark and rainy outside, so I opted for a safe (and warm!) indoor option. I took this picture when I got there. Little did I know Scarlett would be in my arms within 24 hours, and that this would be the last picture of me taken with her still inside of me. 🙂
I came home. I was worn out from my walk, so I spent most of the day resting while Mark took my older girls. That night I had plans to go to dinner and then the LDS General Women’s Conference with my mom and sister, so even though I didn’t feel great, I headed out with them around 5:00pm.
We got dinner, but on the drive over and at the restaurant, I noticed that my contractions felt different than the ones I’d been having for weeks. Whereas I’d felt lots of tightening in the front of my belly since week 34, these ones began much lower in my core, hit my back next, and then moved to the top and THEN felt like what I was already familiar with. They started coming every 3–4 minutes over the next hour of dinner, so I had my mom drop me off at home instead of going to listen to Women’s Conference. I was pretty sure I was in labor!
Headed to the Hospital
Mark sped me up to the hospital. It was so crazy to actually be in labor. My previous 2 kids had been induced in the hospital after my water broke at home with zero contractions going on, so this was my first “real” going-in-to-labor, should-we-go-to-the-hospital-yet experience. I was genuinely frightened over the 25ish-minute drive as the contractions stayed consistent but built in intensity. I really didn’t want to have this baby in my car! As it turns out, I’m a drama queen with no pain tolerance because I was only at a 4 when we arrived at the hospital.
The nurses kept me in a room in L&D and watched for progression for the next few hours. I was really scared of being sent home because my gut told me this was really it. Around 10:00pm we got word that my doctor wanted me admitted. By this point I was at a 5+ and the contractions were still rolling through every 3 minutes or so. Hooray!
My progress was slower than the textbook definition of active labor (getting from a 4 to a 5 took me several hours). But my contractions continued to not just come but build in intensity.
I was at a 6+ when a nurse came to put an IV in my arm. Now, I promise I’m not a complete wuss. I donate blood several times a year and really do just fine with needles typically . . . but this nurse happened to miss my vein and then try to float the needle around inside of me to find it again. OUCH.
Well, the walls of that vein blew and it hurt like HECK. I was biting my lip and trying not to cry—seriously, it was worse pain by far than my contractions at this point. While the nurse was wiggling the needle around I had a contraction come on and as it hit its peak I passed out. Ha! It was only for a second but I think it scared the nurse and my husband to death. I felt really dumb afterwards, but now I can cross passing out off my bucket list.
Right after the IV fiasco I got an epidural. They are glorious. Props to moms who go unmedicated, but I think epidurals are great. Both the contractions and my arm were hurting pretty badly by here, so total pain relief felt amazing.
I slept for about an hour after the epidural was placed. I was BEAT from being up so early and having gone through 5 hours of contractions. The same nurse who botched my IV came in around midnight and woke me up to check how far I was dilated. She got a look of complete terror on her face and let me know that while she was checking me she felt me go from an 8 to a 10 and that it was time to push. I was thrilled and panicked at the same time—I wanted to meet Scarlett but I REALLY wanted my doctor to be there!
Luckily my OB was just down the hall. He ran in the room and took over. In just 2 easy pushes, little Scarlett came out. I think that’s a combination of both luck and all my workouts this pregnancy. Yay for zero tearing too!
A Scary Few Minutes . . .
Scarlett let out a little cry when she first came out but then stopped making sound. It felt like my heart had turned into a cold lump of metal and dropped into my stomach. For what seemed like an hour, the respiratory team of nurses huddled around her syringing fluid and gunk out of her little mouth. I was praying, praying, praying that she’d breathe, that she’d scream, that she’d live. And then, all at once, she began crying and breathing normally.
The nurses said they think she may have just gulped a mouthful of fluid on her way out, and that nothing long-term appeared to be a problem with her lungs or anything else. It was all of 2 minutes before she was declared perfectly fine and put into my arms to snuggle. She’s been 100% fine since, but I’m still extra grateful for the miracles of modern medicine and her mercifully safe arrival.
Once I was no longer terrified I was able to really take in the wonder of having my baby HERE AT LAST! She was stunning. Perfect. She weighed 6 lbs 8 oz. She seems so tiny and delicate with her skinny little limbs and itty-bitty features. And I love when I can get her to keep her eyes open for a few minutes at a time. Those big, bright eyes on such a little face with all that dark, fuzzy hair just melts my heart.
We were able to leave the hospital about 36 hours after her birth, mid-morning on Monday. I’m looking forward to the next few weeks of snuggling my tiny one and trying to take it easy and let my body recover from pregnancy. I’ll see how things go, but if things quiet down here on the blog over the next few weeks you’ll know why. 🙂
I’m so grateful for another healthy baby! And I’m so proud of all I was able to do to make this my healthiest pregnancy yet. Keeping my weight gain in check and working out up through delivery day made such a difference, physically and emotionally. Thanks to all of you for your ongoing kind words and support. This blog has been such a fun little journey for me, and I’m grateful to all you readers for coming along for the ride.