It’s so bizarre to think that this time two weeks ago, we were getting ready to leave the hospital with our new daughter, learning the ropes to breastfeeding and staring at her in amazement. Now here I am with sore nipples, in my pjs with unwashed hair and a sleeping baby in my arms. Heaven.
Her birth story really starts on Sunday, May 22nd. I was only having sporadic contractions at that point and felt like she might be a good solid week late. As I was stepping into the shower that morning, however, I had a small gush of bright red blood run down my leg. At first I thought it was my mucus plug, but realized there was nothing mucus-y about it. It was just blood. I called S into the bathroom and while we were staring at my leg, there was another small gush. I took a quick shower and then called the nurses line at our hospital. I wasn’t too concerned, Mabel had been really active all night and I figured the blood was just from my cervix dilating. The nurse concurred that everything was probably fine, but she wanted me to stop by L&D anyway to check Mabel’s heartbeat and make sure she was ok. So off we went.
An hour later and after a disappointing cervix check (cervix hadn’t budged since my OB appt 5 days earlier), we left the hospital. I figured things were starting to happen but we likely wouldn’t meet our gummy bear until the end of the week.
I’m not sure if it was the cervix check or things just started moving quickly on their own, but Sunday night I started having contractions about 20 min apart. I timed them for awhile and then just decided to get as much sleep as I could.
When I woke up Monday morning, the contractions were about 10 min apart. S needed to run into work to quickly wrap up some projects before her maternity leave started, so I told her I’d call her as soon as the contractions were closer together and let her know when she needed to come home. While I bounced on the birth ball and tried to distract myself by watching reruns of The West Wing, S fed the cats, gave them their medicine (this is an important fact later) and left for work.
The contractions continued and around 1pm, I went out in the backyard to let our two cats have some outdoor time. I noticed our 15 year old cat was walking funny, as if he were drunk. He kept stumbling and falling over. I brought him inside and gave him some water and he continued to stumble around the house like he was drunk. Mind you, this cat has lost a lot of weight in the past year and our vet doesn’t know why – all his blood work and urinalysis results are normal for an older cat. So I freaked out, called S and told her to meet me at the animal hospital.
Off I went to the vet with our cat. S met me there and then we were called into the examination room. I noticed on the car ride to the vet that my contractions were a little closer than 10 min apart but I didn’t think anything of it. In the exam room, they definitely felt closer together, but I didn’t time them as I was listening to the vet. She was concerned for Burn and trying to figure out why he was so wobbly. She was using scary phrases like “degenerative neurological disorder.” We were discussing his usual morning routine and I mentioned that S gave home his glucosamine supplement that morning, so he wasn’t on new medication. (This cat has arthritis.) S then mentioned, “yeah, the white capsule, right?”
His glucosamine capsule is green. However, we do have cat sedatives in white capsules (for when we have to take our other cat in the car. If he’s not slightly sedated, he will pee, poop and vomit from the stress.) And when we do have to give the sedative to the other cat, we give him about 1/3 of the powder from the capsule, not a whole pill.
So it turns out our 15 year old cat was acting drugged out of his mind because he WAS drugged out of his mind.
With that mystery solved, we went to pay at the reception desk and I realized my contractions were about 5 min apart and getting stronger. We decided to drop the cat off at home, grab out hospital stuff, and head to the hospital. Exciting!
I quickly showered at home and got dressed, having to stop every few minutes to breathe through a contraction. We headed out and made it to the hospital quickly.
Once we were checked into triage, the contractions started coming in full force, taking my breath away. I was only 3 cm dilated, but the contractions were maybe 2 min apart. My water broke about 30 min after we arrived and the contractions got even harder to handle. It seriously felt like my hips were going to break apart. The only relief was to rock back and forth and have S push my hips together, as if to keep them from breaking.
They got us to a delivery room and did a cervical check. After just a couple hours, I had gone from 3 cm to 7.5 cm dilated. They were trying to draw blood, but my contractions were so close together, they couldn’t do it fast enough. At that point I realized I wanted an epidural. I thought I’d be able to work through the pain, but it was so constant I just kept fantasizing about relief.
It still took a couple of hours before they gave me the epidural. They had to put in an IV and draw my blood to check for platelets or something. Finally, I got it when I was around 8 cm dilated. The midwife told me if I didn’t get the epidural, the baby would likely arrive in about an hour and a half / two hours.bthe epidural would likely slow down labor. I still chose the epidural. The contractions were coming so quickly, one right on top of another, I couldn’t imagine even lasting an hour and a half. I would be exhausted by the time I started pushing.
The epidural was administered and I felt instant relief. I still felt the pressure of the contractions, but the pain was gone. Everything seemed to calm down and my body was relaxed for the first time that day. S and I ate Popsicles and napped for a couple of hours. It was heavenly.
A coupe hours later, it was time to push. It was so calm and quiet, I really appreciated how the staff made it an intimate experience. There weren’t a million people in the room. Just S, myself and a nurse. I got to watch in a mirror as Mabel’s head started coming into view. Once her head was about to crown, the midwife and pediatrician came into the room. It was still very quiet and calm, lights dimmed, people whispering. Mabel’s head appeared, along with a lot of meconium. They unwrapped the umbilical cord for her neck and then proceeded to bring the rest of her out. The midwife had me reach down, grab Mabel and pull her out of my body myself and flop her on my chest. It was truly amazing.
Because of the meconium, Mabel had trouble breathing at first. The pediatrician looked her over while she was on my chest and decided they need to intervene to help her breathe. So they took her over to the incubator and took a lot of gross fluid out of her lungs. S was over there watching the whole time. Once her lungs were clear, she was put back on my chest. It was the strangest feeling to see this tiny human that had just been inside me. She immediately started rooting around and trying to nurse. And that is the beginning of our love story.
Since then we’ve had issues with breastfeeding, which I’ll post about soon. This child is a passionate and impatient lady, but she is definitely the best thing to ever happen to us. I’m so excited we have the entire summer together to bond and get to know each other. She’s already completely stolen our hearts.