Harper's Birth Story

 Down time. What is that anyways? We have only been home for 2 days but they have been a crazy whirlwind and I seriously don't know what to do with myself half the time. When Harper goes to sleep, I'm like "QUICK! Get something done before she wakes up again!" But at the same time, I've gotta choose between pumping, eating, or cleaning. I try to do a little of all 3 but its hard. Honestly, I think we need a few more days to really get into the swing of things. I'm sitting at the computer (obviously) with her beside me, just kinda stirring, so she'll be up soon. Not sure how much of this I will get done before she wakes, because she hasn't fed in a couple hours, but she's exhausted from company too.

 I wanted to write her birth story the day it happened, so it was fresh. So much for the plans of mice and men. I was so stunned after her delivery that I couldn't even process what happened. I just kinda stared around at all the people in my room, and wondered where my baby was. More about that later.

 So after waiting out the full moon, hopeful that it would bring out our baby girl, we had an appointment with our OB on Monday, Feb 25th. She came in, checked me, told me there was no change other than baby girl was down a little lower. She took her gloves off, looked at me and said "So, you're pretty much done, aren't you?" I said, "Yup, pretty much." She knew we had been in the city for long enough. So, she scheduled an induction.

 We went in for something called Prostin gel on Wednesday the 27th. It's something they put on your cervix to make it 'more favourable' to induction. They monitor baby's heartbeat for 20 mins before, and 1 hour after they put it on you. After that you can leave, and must come back 6 hours later for another check and another dose. So that's what we did. The nurse said I was at 1 cm after the first check, and 6 hours later, she said I was a 3. So, she didn't give us the second dose of gel.

 Sometimes this gel can actually throw you into labour, and that is kinda what we were hoping would happen. That night I was really crampy, and we went and stayed at a hotel with Casey's parents. Hopeful that I would go into labour that night. I got into the tub for a soak, and all the cramps went away, so I took some benadryl and slept through the night.

 We went to the hospital at 7 the next morning for induction. Neither of us ate much breakfast, obviously kind of nervous. We were put into birthing suit 7, and things got underway. They started an IV, which I was kinda nervous for, since I haven't had one since I was 7, but it was fine, they even put a giant one in, and missed the first time. My nurse was awesome. I'm so glad I had her and not the lady that relieved her for her lunch break!!

 They started the Pitocin drip at 8. This medication induces labour. It causes uterine contractions. The catch is that you have to start at the minimum dose and work your way up, so it takes a while, and sometimes it just doesn't work for people. We sat and talked with the nurse for a while. I got checked and they said I was only at 2 cm. So much for the 3 that the nurse gave me the night before! They even said was closed at the top, so I wasn't even actually dilated a full cm! Great! They kept cranking up the medication every 30 minutes.

 The intern, Dr Moore, checked me at 10 and said I there was no change, and that she couldn't break my water yet. At 11, the OB on call checked me (and was rather rough about it with his large man hands!) and said I wasn't even a 2. I remember thinking to myself, I can't be going backwards! He also said that if I was this uncomfortable with a cervical check, he recommended the epidural. I wholeheartedly agreed with him. After that check, I started getting worse cramps. I couldn't get comfortable in the bed at all, so I tried walking, a hot pack, and bouncing on the birthing ball. None of those things helped. They said I wasn't even having contractions, but just cramps. At 12 I couldn't stand it anymore and asked for some pain medication. I really didn't want Morphine, but the nurse recommended it, thinking that we were going to be at this for a while, and its effect is much longer. So I took it. I jumped when she poked me, and she had to poke me again. I'm a terrible patient!

 At 12:30 I got in the shower. I got Casey to spray my lower back with water, as hot as it would go. I had a hard time getting comfortable in there, and I was really tired from the medication, so I got on my hands and knees. My nurse went on her lunch break at some point, and the lady covering her was something else. She came in and saw that Casey was spraying my lower back and that my skin was red. It was already red when I got in there, from the hot pack. She accused him of burning me and told us we couldn't do that and needed to spray somewhere else so I didn't burn. I told her that I wanted it there, that it was fine, in fact, not hot enough. She insisted that he was burning me and that she was going to write up an incident report on us. So I got him to spray somewhere else until she left, and got him to go back to what he was doing. Then she came back in, and said that the monitors that were strapped to my belly weren't picking up the baby's heart beat. Fair enough, but how she addressed it was "Stand up, I need to fix the monitors, we can't hear your baby." At this point, I was having some pretty significant pain, and I was trying to breathe through it, and she was demanding I get up when I physically couldn't. I would try, and not make it, and she just kept saying it until the pain subsided some and I was able to stand. This happened 2 or 3 times before my nurse got back (thank God she came back). I started having some really intense pains, so I stuffed a face cloth in my mouth and chomped down on that until it stopped. I decided I was going to wait until my nurse got back to get the epi.

 After what felt like only 10 minutes, but it was really over an hour, I was standing and I said, I'm gonna pee a little, since I couldn't get to the flush. I did, and Casey said "You're bleeding." I wasn't too concerned. I bleed like crazy every time someone touched my cervix. After that, I started feeling the urge to push. I also said I wanted the epidural then. They said I had to get out of the shower and into the bed, so I did. The whole time, I felt like I needed to push, and did some. I got back in the bed, thinking I might be at a 5 or something like that, and got checked again. At 1:45, I was at a 9! Casey said that the intern said "I don't feel anything" and walked over to the nurse and whispered, "She's a 9!"  I didn't even realize I had been having contractions! I thought they were cramps and weren't leading anywhere! The nurse kept saying I was a labour queen, since I progressed so darn fast. I said to her, "You tell everyone that." She and the intern both joked and said, "No, when they're not, we just doing say anything!"

 After that, people started running. The OB on call came back in and checked me again at 2:00. He said I was a 10. He said he wanted to break my water, but when he tried, he said it was already gone. We have no idea when it broke, other than possibly when I was in the shower. The doctor said my baby was turned the wrong way, and he wanted me to get the epi, and then wait an hour and not push, so she would turn herself. I kept asking for the epi. I wanted it. The nurse said that I would have to sit on the side of the bed for 15 minutes in order to get it. I didn't know if I could, but I was going to try. Unfortunately, I was already pushing involuntarily with every contraction. Casey said he saw the anaesthetist come through the door and the doctors said that they could already feel the head, and I heard him or her (not sure which) say, "Guess I'm not needed here." And they left.

 I was terrified. I wanted that epi so bad. The nurse kept reassuring me that the worst pain was over, that I could just push a baby out now. I kept saying, "no I can't, I need the epidural!" Remember, I'm the worst patient ever. I wanted some pain medication at least, so they gave me Fentanyl.

So I really pushed from 2 until 3:31, when Harper was born. It seriously didn't feel like that long, and it didn't hurt as bad as I thought it would. Likely thanks to the Fentanyl! It was just a lot of pressure, and it felt better when I pushed, so I pushed at least 3 times for every contraction, sometimes 5, but by that time I wasn't doing anything but relieving the pressure. They kept saying to stop and breathe and I said no, I needed to push until the contraction was over.

 When she was born, she wasn't breathing. Her Apgars were 3 and 9 for those of you who know what that means. I'm assuming it has a lot to do with the medication I took while I laboured. She had a big poop while they brought her around, and they weighed her in at 6 lbs 7 oz. Not the big baby everyone thought I was carrying! They put her on my chest for maybe 2 minutes. I don't even remember it. Then they wisked her off to the NICU for assessments and whatnot.

 I had what I would call 2 second degree tears. I had to get stitched, and I swear, that hurt worse than any of it. They kept trying and I kept jumping up higher and higher in the bed until I was at the headboard. They kept threatening, saying the OB was going to have to put me under to stitch me, and I didn't want that either. They gave me laughing gas, and that did diddly squat for the pain. They ended up giving me more Fentanyl and I was able to let them work. Under the influence of the laughing gas, I kept apologizing for being such a terrible patient. I didn't want to be a bad patient, but I evidently was. I also said how much I would love to have a caramel apple from the chocolate factory. I just kept yacking and yacking. Casey was laughing. Apparently it was quite funny.

 Casey went out and told our family that she was born and scarfed down the cold big mac they brought for him at lunch time, anticipating that we would be in there all day. He was too nervous to eat that morning and started getting a little faint after it was all said and done. We were all worried that he was going to be a fainter, like the rest of his family. Totally the opposite happened. He was totally supportive and helpful the entire time. Sat beside the shower while I laboured. He held my leg when I was pushing. He watched our daughter come out, saying that after her head came out, she wiggled out like a fish! (When they asked me if I wanted a mirror to see her coming out, I believe my answer was "not on your life!"). He even had a look, for curiosity's sake, at my placenta! The scientist in him couldn't help it! All in all, I couldn't ask for a better husband and best friend, I was so proud of him, and couldn't possibly love him anymore than when I watch him with Harper.

After we got out on the recovery floor, it was more than an hour before they brought her out to us. Our families were in the room too, waiting patiently. We didn't get to keep her for more than a couple hours, they came back and told us she seemed to have an infection, and needed to be in the NICU for antibiotics overnight. So they took her back.

Our experience with the NICU is a whole other story. One that I'll write when I get time again. I can't believe she has slept long enough for me to write this! She was pretty exhausted!

Overall, I'm totally shocked that our little girl is finally here. I'm proud of myself (and a little shocked) that I was able to get through the delivery with no epidural. I am so proud of Casey, and didn't think I could love him more than before, but I do! I love my little baby girl, and can't wait to watch her grow! (Though I know it will happen so fast, it will make me sad).