The wait is over! Elaine Margaret Walter was born at 01:19 a.m. on March 25, 2012. She weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces and was 19 3/4 inches long.
We had been told at about 28 weeks pregnant that we may have to be induced at 39 weeks. While we were grateful to get my blood pressure under control so that our little girl could arrive on her own schedule, my mind had already firmly cemented that I was only going to be pregnant for 39 weeks. Once we hit that milestone last Tuesday, I began to get antsy. On Thursday, I launched Operation Welcome Baby (so dubbed by Stephanie Naylor). Thursday, I drank green tea, had acupuncture, got a chiropractic adjustment, had spicy food from Taco Deli, visited my midwife, ate some very rich cheesecake which has supposedly encouraged at least 3 other pregnant women into labor, went for a 1.5-mile walk, did some squats… Friday, I had a prenatal massage with reflexology on my feet, went for a 3-mile walk, got a pedicure, went to dinner at Reale’s pizza (the owner claims 40 births 12-24 hours after consuming the pepperoni pizza)… Saturday, I did nothing to encourage labor, but worked on a couple of outstanding projects.
Saturday evening, around 6:15 or so, I texted our doula, Shelley, to let her know that I had a mild backache and was “leaking pinkish goo.” She said it could be very early contractions and I was probably just losing the rest of my mucous plug (because I’d lost part of it Thursday morning). She told me to try to rest and not think too much about it. That’s what I planned on doing. We ordered Chuy’s for dinner and the 5 of us (Todd, Todd’s parents, Isaac, and I) had dinner out on our front porch, which was WONDERFUL. Todd had been working on the roof and around the yard all day and was exhausted. We decided to get Isaac to bed and then crash, as well. After putting Isaac to bed, Todd and I laid down about 8:30. I texted Shelley at 8:18 to tell her that I was having mild contractions, but going to bed. Once we got into bed, I had 2 pretty strong contractions within about 15 minutes of one another. I asked Todd to call Shelley. It was 8:51. We asked her to head on over because I was having trouble managing the contractions. She’d already started putting stuff in a bag and said she would be there soon. She told us to call either Andrea (Dr. C) or Liane (midwife) to let them know that we weren’t ready to come in yet, but to put them on alert. I called Liane at 8:57 and had a contraction on the phone with her that I wasn’t able to talk through, so she was aware of our status. She got in touch with Andrea to tell her what was going on. Todd grabbed a few things to start loading the car and I decided to go downstairs with him so that I would be there when Shelley arrived. As we walked down the stairs, my water broke as we were two steps from the bottom. That was a feeling I won’t soon forget! I rushed into the bathroom and texted Liane, “…and my water just broke.” The time was 9:07 p.m. She promptly wrote back to send me to the hospital. I called my sister, Kristin, to talk me through another contraction (Todd was handing the baby monitor off to his parents and loading the car), and then called Shelley. Shelley said she would meet us at the hospital.
Our house is about 15 minutes from the hospital. We stopped for several of the contractions and I think we actually pulled over 7 times before we arrived. (TW: If you were on the road with us, I apologize. We were the car that would fly by you in the fast lane only to then swerve to the side and hit the flashers.) Things were happening very quickly! Shelley met us at the door downstairs and got me into a wheelchair. Todd grabbed most of our bags from the car and we headed up in the elevator. As we arrived at the entrance to Labor & Delivery, Liane walked out to meet us. Since our midwife greeted us and knew my water had broken, we were able to skip the triage room and go straight into one of the L&D rooms. (TW: I however had to stay at the front desk guessing at answers… Do you have a pediatrician? Yes. What is the name? Um… Does Heather have any drug allergies? Yes. What are they? Um, penicillin maybe?)
I told Liane she wasn’t allowed to tell me I was only at 2.5 cm (where I had been on Thursday). She guessed that I was at about 6 cm and an exam confirmed it. I was 90% effaced. The next few hours are a bit of a blur for me. Shelley and Todd (and everyone else involved) probably have a better grasp of what happened when, but since I wasn’t doing things via phone any more, I don’t have a very good timeline. (TW: Heather was a rock star. Her contractions were coming pretty quickly and were strong but in between she was cracking jokes and was all smiles.) At some point, when I was about 9 cm, I thought I needed to pee. I was told that would be a great idea and that I might actually be more comfortable laboring on the toilet for a little bit. I walked into the bathroom to see the pillow draped over the flushing part mounted on the top of the toilet. It actually made me laugh out loud to see it. I sat backwards on the toilet for what felt like 5 minutes before I began feeling the urge to push and was shuffled back onto the bed. The top of the bed was raised up so that I could drape myself over it and then squat back on my heels during contractions. While this felt really good during the pushes, it wasn’t terribly restful to try to be up on my knees between pushes. I think I was moved to laying on my side for a few pushes, but that wasn’t at all comfortable. I ended up laying on my back, which was the one position I was SURE I wouldn’t labor in because I would be working against gravity. It was, however, the only position where I could genuinely rest between contractions/pushes.
I pushed for about 2 hours. Todd was an amazing coach. He counted for me because he knows how much I like to have something concrete and I prefer numbers. (TW: For other future coaches my conclusion was that it didn’t really matter what I was saying as long as there is something to focus on other than the current pain. It’s kind of like bar small talk. On the plus side counting is far easier than most small talk and apparently worked OK.) It was also great to hear the excitement in his voice when he could start to see Laine’s head crowning or when a push was particularly effective. (TW: That was awesome). It helped me to focus when I thought we were never going to get there.
I remember looking at the clock sometime around 12:45 and thinking that if I could have her in the next 5 minutes, she’d be born at the same time as Isaac. That time came and went. I did a lot of yelling at Andrea, who blessedly did NOT yell back at me. I admit I was a bit of a weenie. I got so tired that I was SURE I wasn’t going to be able to get this baby out. Thankfully, someone suggested I have some cranberry juice to get a little sugar energy to push us to the finish line. (TW: Again, she was a rock star, pay no attention to her comment on being a weenie, she did this all with no drugs. I wanted drugs just watching!) I told Andrea to just “Get her OUT!!!” about 200 times. At one point, Andrea said that if I really wanted her to, she could do that, but that wasn’t the birth story that Laine wanted to have. I am incredibly glad that she knew what my heart really wanted and didn’t listen to the things I *thought* I wanted when the going got tough. Toward the end, literally the very end, she said, “Heather, you can meet your little girl in 3 more pushes. Can you give me 3 more good pushes?” I told her I couldn’t. She told me she was going to ask Todd, Liane, and Shelley and see what they thought. I wanted to kill her. 🙂 Liane reminded me of a mutual friend’s phrase that “We can do hard things.” I briefly considered killing her, too. (TW: Thank goodness we had all these other people in the room. Not only did we really have a great birth team but somehow I was never the focus of Heather’s anger.) Then the next rush came and I began pushing. After that one, I thought, I only have to do that 2 more times! I pushed through the next contraction and Andrea told me to look at her. I didn’t think I could open my eyes. I did. WOW!!! I looked down and Andrea was holding my daughter’s head. As she turned her head, the rest of her little body slid right out and Andrea laid her on my chest! It was so incredible!!! (TW: It was also fairly scary. Again, thank goodness we had such an awesome birth team. Laine was grey and limp and didn’t look good. Only the positive happy faces around me convinced me that everything was OK. It was awesome and scary at the same time).
I am outrageously proud of myself that I never once even considered asking for drugs. (TW: Ditto on being proud of her). It never even occurred to me. I am disappointed that I was so mean to Andrea. (TW: She wasn’t mean at all. She didn’t even call her names or curse her family. If ever there was a time to be mean and be forgiven that was it and Heather did not take the opportunity.) I will be eternally grateful that she didn’t “listen” to me when I was yelling at her.
We waited a few moments for the cord to stop pulsing and then they clamped it so Todd could cut it. I believe the placenta was delivered a minute or two after that. It was a tremendous relief once that was out! Todd and one of the nurses took Laine over to clean her up a little and to measure her. Andrea sewed up some tearing I had done during all of the pushing.
Andrea, Laine, and me (funny to think I wanted to kill my sweet doctor a mere 30 minutes before this photo was taken! I am a little amazed that she was willing to smile for me and didn’t strangle me given the opportunity.)
Laine getting her first snack. I look like hell, but I was really glad to meet my little one.
The next day, Todd’s parents brought Isaac to the hospital. This is him meeting his baby sister for the first time:
We were released from the hospital 36 hours after Laine was born. Getting ready to go home:
ADORABLE bonnet made by Grandma and a VT blankie from Aunt Krissy:
Isaac greeted us as soon as we arrived.
He likes the toys on the carrier, but still isn’t sure about the little person inside of it:
Snoozing in the back yard:
Afternoon nap at home. So much better than at the hospital!
Todd’s mom has a zillion more photos that from her camera that I will have to post later as I get them. I wanted to get this out there so there would be pics for those that have been eagerly waiting.