Miss Thea Lorraine joined our family July 28th at 12:28pm. She was 6lbs14oz and 18.5in long. For my memory, and for all those who enjoy reading birth stories, here you go!
I wrote in my 37 week post that my appointment for that week had gone great. My blood pressure was magically in a normal range. That I wanted to get through the weekend and then it was game on.
Apparently Thea took me quite seriously.
Saturday Chris and I had planned to spend the night in Kansas City and have dinner with friends as an early 30th birthday celebration for him (his birthday is August 3rd and I didn't know what I'd be up for at that point). Yes I was supposed to be 'resting', but one simply cannot pass up a night without children, right? Yeah... I really wanted to go to ikea as well, so Chris enlightened me. That is more or less when things started to go south. Halfway walking through ikea I started to feel terrible. We had to stop so I could rest for a while. After that we just grabbed the thing I knew I wanted and got out of there. We went to our hotel and checked in, and I laid down for a bit. It helped me feel much better.
That night we went out to dinner as planned, and had brunch the following morning with some other friends. I was incredibly thankful to have made it through the (majority of the) weekend and happy to have some quality time with Christopher. But by the time we made it home Sunday afternoon I was feeling terrible again. Chris took my blood pressure and it was in the 140/90+ range. I can't remember exactly. Damn. I took it easy, we went about our night. Our family had dinner at my parents and we all went swimming. I wasn't feeling awful, but not good either. Chris took my blood pressure when we got back home. It was in the 150/100+ range. At that point we decided I'd likely call my doctor's office in the morning. My hope was that they would just take my word for it and after talking to my doctor would suggest we come Tuesday for an induction.
Monday morning rolled around and I had Chris check my blood pressure one more time. Still in the 145/95 ish range. I laid down and had him check it again. No change. So I called the office. After some back and forth and my doctor not being in, the on call doctor asked that I come to the office for a blood pressure and urine check. I was so ticked at the time. I had zero interest in driving back to Kansas City. But I'm also not one to make a big fuss so I did what I was told. My appointment with the nurse was at 12:30pm. I refused to finish packing my bag and take it with me because I was coming home for the night. I was determined (why I have no idea). Dumb move number one, obviously. Actually I suppose some might say dumb move number one might have been not calling the on call doctor Sunday afternoon, but hey.
I got the girls all set up with my mom (without any clothes packed or anything of that nature, because again, I was coming home) and then set off for my appointment. I grabbed a cheese stick to eat on my way out the door since I knew I'd be having lunch late. When I got to the office it was so quiet, most everyone was out to lunch. It was kind of strange. But the nurse saw me right at 12:30. As she took my blood pressure I could see her make a somewhat surprised and uncertain face. She asked if she could take my pressure again. 165/98. Yikes. She had me lay down for five minutes and came back. 152/88. No bueno my friends. She went to consult with the doctors. But again, out to lunch. So she had to wait for the on call doctor to talk to her. They opted to send me to labor and delivery for monitoring. I asked her if it was likely I'd have to stay or if I had the opportunity to go home. She said that if I for sure wasn't in labor, and everything looked 'stable enough', I'd probably be allowed to leave. I certainly wasn't in labor, so I knew I had that going for me. Right? Right...
Thankfully the hospital is attached to where my doctor's office is located, so I was able to just walk over. I got checked in and settled into triage. I was in triage room three, but apparently they wrote my name on the sign for triage two, so it was mildly entertaining to listen to everyone go there first, and then come looking for me. The first nurse that came in told me she thought maybe I had bolted. Haha. I got all hooked up to the monitors and hung out while she filled out a bunch of crap on the computers. My first couple of pressures weren't great, but not as bad. In the 140/90+ range. But she said the baby was looking a little flat on the monitors. My next few pressures were in the 135/85 range. Progress! But as luck would have it, I started contracting every four minutes in triage. What the hell are the damn odds?
After answering the million questions they ask you, the nurse went to consult with the doctor. As she was walking out the door I asked her what the odds are that I get a chance to go home overnight. She responded with "If it was my decision, you'd be staying. Medically and financially it makes no sense to send you home right now. But I don't make the decisions, the doctor does." I could have cried. I knew it wasn't looking good for me getting to leave, and her brutal honesty left a lump in my throat. Of course I was ready to meet my baby girl. I wanted us to both come out of the hospital healthy. But I wanted to put Elsie to bed. I wanted to kiss them goodnight one more time. I didn't have the big sister bags ready because I had accidentally shipped some stuff to our old address and I was waiting on it. I just wasn't ready.
But like or not, it was baby time. The nurse came back. The doctor was ready to induce me, but wanted the nurse to check my cervix to decide whether or not they would start with pitocin or if I'd need cervadil over night. With all the contractions I'd been having, plus the fact that I started at 3cm with Elsie, I was hopeful that I'd be at least a couple centimeters. Yeah no. I was 'almost a 1, maybe'. Well great. I definitely wasn't going home, and I figured I was in for a long labor. By this point I'd been in triage for over three hours. It was after 4pm. The doctor finally came in to see me and explained her plans, but promised that we could hold off on the cervadil until 8pm so I could eat. Thank goodness. I was STARVING. They asked how I was feeling and honestly I couldn't tell the difference from feeling sick because of my blood pressure and feeling like crap because I had eaten half an apple and cheese stick as of 4pm.
When the doctor had left, the nurse got to work getting me admitted. She had to start an IV, which took two tries. Not near as bad as when I got my IV with Elsie, but seriously. I think getting the IV is one of the worst parts. They weren't planning to access it until they started pitocin, but I had to have it in anyway. Immediately after she was done I felt like I had lost use of my right hand, it was extremely tender. Then we gathered up my things and walked down the hall to my labor and delivery room. She offered me a gown, but I opted to stay in my clothes for as long as possible. Then I finally got a room service menu. At this point it was after 5pm. Honestly nothing on the menu sounded good, but I knew I needed something, anything. So I went with the chicken strips, fries and a fruit cup. When it arrived the fries were soggy, and my fruit cup was mostly honeydew, the only fruit I dislike. But whatever, the chicken strips were good and I no longer wanted to kill someone thanks to hanger.
Shortly after 6:30pm Christopher arrived. Woohoo! It was a relief to see him walk in the door. He had gotten to play scavenger hunt at our house for all the crap that I didn't have in my bags. Thankfully he is good at it and I wound up with everything I needed. We hung out for a bit until my nurse came in to hook me up to the monitors. They needed 30 minutes of monitoring before starting in on the cervadil. Once I was all hooked up and hanging out Chris ran out to grab himself some food. Meanwhile I watched So You Think You Can Dance. If I'm going to get stuck in a hospital thank goodness it was a Monday night. I don't think I could have handled any more HGTV.
At 8:15pm the nurse came back to insert the cervadil. It wasn't long after that, that I got really nauseous. I was still contracting and started having cramps, but I think the sick feeling was because baby girl was moving like crazy. I swear she must have been kick boxing my stomach because I kept having waves of feeling like I was going to puke. I had to stay in bed and not eat for two hours, I guess just to make sure I'd tolerate the medication. At 10pm she came back and offered me a snack because I was officially cut off after midnight. I really wasn't hungry, but I was worried that I'd be in labor all day and wind up starving, so I choked down some apple sauce, a cheese stick and some crackers. After that I took Seabrin (my nurse's name, who for the record, was a WONDERFUL nurse) up on some ambien so I could hopefully get some sleep. I think I passed out around 10:30pm.
Unfortunately it was short lived. Around 1am the machines in our room started beeping. Apparently the thing was out of paper. Chris tried to shut off the alarm and snag a nurse quickly, but I was awake. And having some serious cramps. I could tell the contractions had tapered off a fair amount, but man. The cramping. I think I managed to drift off again around 2am. But by 4am I was wide awake again. The cramping was so uncomfortable, and I really needed to pee. But I didn't want to bug anyone to unplug all my crap and I didn't want to wake Christopher. So I played on my phone and hoped the next two hours would go by quickly.
Around 5am I noticed that my contractions were stronger. Not any closer together, but definitely more painful. I crossed my fingers that the cervadil had done it's job and I'd be a little more dilated this morning. Finally 6am rolled around and Seabrin came back to free me from the monitors for a little bit. I went to the bathroom and took out the cervadil, and attempted to enjoy a shower. Easier said than done with an IV and a hospital shower, but I rinsed off and stood in the hot water for a bit. Then I put on a little make-up and attempted to fix my hair. What can I say, I'm vain, I don't care. Plus, what else was I supposed to do? I exhausted most of the exciting things on my phone in the wee hours of the morning.
My half hour of freedom flew by and at 6:30am I was hooked back up to all the monitors so they could have a strip before starting pitocin. Right around 7am the nurses changed shifts. I got introduced to my day nurses, one who was supposedly 'an experienced nurse new to the hospital' and one who was supervising her. Let's just say it didn't take long to establish that this new nurse was not an experienced labor and delivery nurse. I understand having issues with the computer or what not in a new facility, but she didn't know what she was doing. And she was SLOOOOOW. You could tell the other nurse was annoyed with her too. I was disappointed, having a good nurse definitely helps dictate your birth experience. Thankfully she was flaky enough that the supervising nurse ended up providing more of my care that day.
Also, I want to interject this in here. Chris always jokes that I tend to like the 'sorority girl' type nurses. A rather broad statement, seeing as there is no true sorority girl example in my opinion. I lived with 80+ girls and I can guarantee you we didn't all fit the same mold. But hey, I'll give him credit in the sense that I appreciate a nurse or doctor who is intelligent, kind, but no nonsense. They need a little bit of pep, but I don't want someone to be fake happy or coddle me. Just get the job done. And don't be stupid about it. Whew, sorry, we had quite the experience with nurses this time around. I don't recall being quite as annoyed with all of the nurses during my other two hospital stays. Naturally my favorite nurses were either on at night, or whose shift changed within hours of me having them. Sad story.
Moving on! Oh yeah, so the shift changed. New nurse checks me before starting the pitocin. "Still about a 1." WHAT?!?!?! No cervical change. I felt defeated. And like I was going to be in labor all freaking day. Come on body, third child, get with the program! Right? Right... anyway they got the pitocin started and with that came more frequent contractions. Nothing I couldn't handle, but something was definitely happening. 'New nurse' was in and out of my room for a bit doing who knows what on the computer. And then at 8:15am my doctor strolled in. I was happy to see her until she told me she came to break my water. Shoot they weren't wasting any time, I didn't expect that for another couple of hours. But, again, not one to argue. She broke my water and checked me. 3cm. BAM. That is what I'm talking about. My doctor said she'd be back to check on me over lunch, unless I was ready to push before then. But not to get my hopes up.
With my water broken it didn't take long for the contractions to really pick up and start to hurt. And with every damn contraction more fluid came gushing out. I swear my least favorite parts of labor are some of the most ridiculous. One particularly intense contraction managed to push out enough fluid to soak like half the stupid bed. I decided to take that opportunity to get up and go pee and convince someone to give me some new towels and sheets.
It was around 9am that the lovely Adrienne Maples arrived. She photographed Elsie's birth and I adore those photos so much. Birth is such a crazy whirlwind, it is priceless to be able to look back on that day, to have those photos spark my memory, to help little moments come flooding back. Needless to say I was thrilled that she was able to make it to this birth as well (another reason I was dead set on delivering in KC even though we had already moved). She is a great addition to the day for more than just the photos though, she kept me entertained and distracted with random stories. I couldn't talk long though. The contractions started getting pretty intense, and by 10:15am I decided I wanted the epidural.
Why I always wait until I'm miserable to get the epidural I don't know. I guess just to see how tough I am? Not that tough. Haha. I feel like I'd be cheating if I didn't endure some of the pain. Truthfully I felt like I had asked earlier than with the other girls, but it was ten to 11am before the anistesiologist came in. That half hour made quite the difference in the amount of pain I was in, and sitting through this epidural might have been on of the hardest yet. Maybe not, since it took two tries to get a catheter in my back with Elsie, but man. Painful. We got it done though. And for the first time my blood pressure didn't bottom out. Winning! Or my pressure was just awful. However you want to look at it. Once it was in they laid me on my back and I waited for the meds to take affect. For some reason I was still having a lot of pain in my lower back on my left side. It didn't really feel like contractions, but I didn't know what it was. They rolled me to my side to let gravity take over.
Unfortunately baby girl didn't seem to appreciate me being on my left side, so I couldn't stay like that. By 11:15am the epidural had taken affect as much as it was going to. I never truly felt a ton of relief, but the sharp pains from the contractions were gone and I didn't want to die anymore. So it had to be doing something. My nurse checked me again and I held my breath. I was sure I was only going to be a 4, maybe MAYBE a 5. But I was 6cm! Yes! Things were definitely moving in the right direction and I was feeling more like I would have the baby by 2pm ish. I tried to relax and close my eyes for a bit, but the blood pressure cuff was going off every three or four minutes at this point, and the contractions just kept getting stronger and stronger again.
Just after noon Adrienne (who had stepped out for a few to let me rest) called and asked if we thought she had time to run over to Chick Fil A for some food. I said of course. I really had it in my head that I'd be pushing sometime between 1 and 2pm. It couldn't have been more than two minutes after Chris got off the phone with her that I started feeling TONS of pressure. I didn't think I could possibly be ready to push yet. He told me to call the nurse. I refused. But with the next contraction I felt like my body was starting to take over. I conceded and told him to get someone. For the first time I couldn't help but audibly moan and breath through the contractions. I seriously felt like I had no control. And sure enough, the nurse said I was complete.
Christopher quickly called Adrienne back and told her lunch might have to wait. People came filing in prepping the room for delivery. I don't know what time it was when my doctor walked in (but it looks like it was 12:24 when she was tying her mask on based on that picture!). Everything was happening fast. Adrienne made it to the room in time. Really I don't remember much from this short period of time. SO MUCH PRESSURE. Everyone was ready, a contraction rolled in, and I started to push. And a few pushes and a minute later, at 12:28pm, Thea made her grand entrance into the world.
When Ryann was born my epidural was so good that I didn't even feel her come out. With Elsie I knew what was going on, and had a serious sense of relief once she was fully out. But nothing compares to the way my body felt this time. While I still only had to push for a minute or two, I had to work for it. And the wave of relief and joy that washed over me once she was delivered was amazing. I truly can't describe it. I was so happy.
Thea looked great, her color was amazing, but that kid didn't want to cry. She let out a few squeaks, but certainly didn't start screaming. The nurse asked if I wanted her on my chest or cleaned up first, and I opted to take her. And I swear she was the stickiest newborn I've ever seen. She was still very much covered in vernix. I was slightly grossed out :) but so happy to have her in my arms.
Apparently that is where I stopped writing, but not where the pictures stop. So I'll just leave it to those to do the talking. Ryann was in love with her new baby sister at first sight. Elsie? She was curious. But really she just wanted to jump on the bed and eat my snacks and be a typical two year old. No surprise there. :o)
Thank you, Adrienne, for capturing these wonderful images. I'm so incredibly grateful that you were able to be there for me! All photos are hers, expect the obvious three iphone pics snapped by me.