|taken the day before Elena arrived|
Due on March 13th, I planned to work through March 10. Monday night, March 10 was to be my last responsibility as an elementary music teacher for a while, Fine Arts night. Of course, no matter how much you plan and think you know what's coming, labor and delivery is never quiet what you imagine it's going to be. I luckily spent the 9 months prior to your arrival organizing and planning ahead because the Saturday before, I realized I was just too tired to handle working all day then leading a performance that night, knowing that you could be here at any time. I contacted my long-term sub and told him I would need him to go ahead and come in Monday.
That day, your daddy and I went to my doctor. After checking me, I was dilated to a 2, and fully effaced. She said you were already in pushing position. We scheduled your induction for Thursday. We called MaMa, PaPa, Grammy & Grandpa and made all the arrangements for your birth but you had other plans in mind. Daddy had a meeting to go to that night and I stayed home and had a bowl of cheerios for supper. I had lots of gas pains while carrying you and this evening was no exception. When I look back on it now, they were probably the beginning of contractions but they didn’t hurt so I didn’t realize what they were. I went to bed about 11pm but couldn’t sleep. At about 12 I realized that the “gas” was not getting any better, and there were sharp pains involved. I had been told that contractions would feel like really bad period cramps and the pains weren’t that intense so I didn’t think I could be in labor. Just in case, I woke up daddy at around 1a.m. and had him start timing them. We had been told not to come to the hospital until the pains were about 5 minutes apart and lasted about 30 seconds or more. When we timed them, they were about 1 minute apart but were only lasting about 10-15 seconds so I still didn’t think I could be in labor. At about 1:45 I think I said I wish something else would happen so we would know if we’re in labor or not. In the next minute or so I felt (and heard) what I can best describe as a pop in my lower abdomen. Daddy said, “what was that?” (he heard it, too) and I said, “I think my water just broke.” I went to the bathroom and exclaimed, “Baby, I think we’re going to have a baby today!”
I was nervous and scared, as most new mothers are. Of the six doctors in the practice that we were using, the one that I was least familiar with was on call and I think I started crying at one point because I didn’t want her to deliver you (she later became one of my favorite doctors in the practice and delivered your sister). Daddy began loading the car while I made some phone calls and got dressed in some knit pants (and grabbed a few more towels). I called Grammy and she began packing her bag. I called Grandpa who promptly got up to feed the chickens. I remember telling him with a shaky voice, “Daddy, it’s time!” They had a 2.5 hour drive to get here and neither of them wanted to miss the birth of their first grandchild so we were sure to call them first.
At 2am we got on the road. We called MaMa and PaPa on the way to the hospital. They said, Ya’ll be safe and we’ll see you sometime tomorrow. They were 4 hours away and thinking they might get there in time for your birth, they went back to bed with plans to leave first thing that morning. Since it was the middle of the night, there were very few cars on the way. The pains were much more intense and I encouraged Daddy to go fast but be careful. He put on his hazards and asked if he needed to run the red lights. We ran into a few and after looking to make sure there was no one coming, went through them. I remember him going over an old railroad track about the time a contraction hit and I told him with a small laugh (I could still find humor at that point) he didn’t have to go THAT fast!
We arrived at the hospital about 2:30 and I was able to walk into the entrance, elevator and admittance area only having to stop for two contractions. They took me into one of the admittance rooms and had me change, put a monitor on, checked me and asked me about my pain level. I was relieved and overjoyed to find out that my favorite doctor in the practice was actually on call that morning. I think I remember them saying I was dilated to about a 4 or 5 at that point. I was in a good deal of pain at that time. I had a pretty bad wave of nausea and got sick. It was then we began asking when I could get an epidural. They said it would take about an hour to get me checked into a delivery room and it wasn’t until then that I could get one. I think I let one dirty word fly while in admittance, quickly appoligized and surprisingly didn’t let out any more the rest of the time. Your Daddy was a trooper! He never let go of my hand (and had some pretty bad marks from my nails). He was watching the monitor and could see when I was about to have another contraction. They appeared on the monitor before I could feel them and he would start squeezing my hand. I remember telling him not to do that anymore. I didn’t want to know when they were coming.
At about 4am they finally checked us into a room. We found out later that we were pretty lucky to get a room because all the beds were full and they ended up having some deliveries in triage that night. Daddy left my side only to take calls from Grammy and Grandpa who were checking in often to let us know where they were and getting updates from us. When we were finally in our room, I was checked again and was dilated to an 8. I remember a sweet, sweet nurse coming in and introducing herself. She said they were pretty busy that night and she wasn’t my nurse but she would be there if I needed her. At one point, Daddy had to step out to take a call from Grammy and he left me in her care. I remember that at this point I was closing my eyes to the pain and crying. I had not planned to experience the “joy” of labor pain. I was supposed to get to the hospital and have an epidural before the worst of the pain set in. The nurse had such a soothing voice and she calmed me down and talked me through some of the pains but what seemed like a lot of time passed with no sign of a nurse or epidural. Daddy and I were surprised and a bit nervous to not have anyone in the room with us for such an extended period of time.
I was so upset and scared because I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get an epidural but finally the anesthesiologist came in saying how busy he had been. Daddy does NOT like needles and the plan was for Grammy to be there in front of me when I got the epidural. Since you wanted to get here pretty quickly that wasn’t an option but Daddy once again rose to the challenge. They told me I had to sit up on the edge of the bed and I couldn’t imagine moving but I managed because I knew it HAD to be better than what I was experiencing. Another wave of nausea hit as I sat up and I got sick again.I remember staring at my toes and wiggling them as fast and hard as I could (because that was the only thing I was allowed to move). I tried to stay calm by singing “I love you Lord.” Getting the epidural was not what I expected. I hardly felt anything and couldn't believe the fuss other mothers had made about getting the epidural being the worst part.
Now the story gets a bit more interesting: I had heard horror stories about epidurals before, had been through the informational meeting that the hospital offered for new mothers and was aware of all the risks involved. I also knew that sometimes it takes a while for the medicine to take effect on both sides. It was only about 15 minutes before I started feeling the medicine work, and (this is the gross part) they had to catheterize me before it completely took effect. I knew something was not right pretty soon. I could only feel the medicine working on one half of my body. The nurses had me lay on my right side (where I could feel everything) saying that the medicine just needed a little help from gravity, but it didn’t work. Having those contractions and being able to feel the catheter was excruciating pain! I remember telling the nurse I had to push because of the catheter and she said NO you CAN NOT!
|pre-epidural: note the grip on the bed rail|
Finally after another 30 minutes of agony, they got the anesthesiologist back in to perform an additional epidural (about 6:15am) Grammy got there about the time they were ready to put it in. Dr. Arnett arrived about the time the medicine began to take effect and said, “Let’s have a baby!” Under the effects of a properly working epidural and with my favorite Dr. in the room, I was FINALLY a happy camper. The nurses quickly got everything set up for your arrival. Lights, metal tables, and blue sheets appeared from nowhere and as they got me into position to push, Grandpa arrived at the door. With nowhere else to go, he hung back behind the curtain and listened as the next events unfolded.
|post-working epidural: see the difference?|
I was about ready to begin pushing and your heart rate began to drop so they gave me some oxygen. With two contractions and about 5 pushes (in about 5 minutes) you were here. My sweet plump pink bundle of baby arrived at 6:55am with a strong scream to let us know you were O.K. You weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces and were 21 3/4 inches long. Daddy was reluctant to leave my side but I could tell he wanted to see you. I remember him saying, “She looks like a baby!” (He thought you would be yucky and covered with blood). I told him to go see you. Grammy and Grandpa were both crying and proud to have been able to witness the birth of their first grandchild. I was relieved to see that you weren't born with a tail as I had dreamed several nights before :) I got to hold you for just a moment before they whisked you away to the nursery. The pediatricians were there first thing in the morning for examinations and they wanted to be sure you were ready for yours.You also needed to receive antibiotics since I tested GBS positive and my labor didn't last long enough for the antibiotics to be able to reach you in the womb.
|my pink and plump baby girl|
Unlike most first-time-moms, my labor was quick and what some would consider easy. I feel like I was able to experience the worst of labor pains though I was blessed to have a working epidural before pushing. The result was a beautiful and healthy baby girl. Nothing could compare to the first time I was able to hold you in the room. Only a new mom knows the emotions that come with staring into those precious little eyes for the very first time.
|my first chance to hold you in the room|
|sweet baby Elena|