One thing is true. It does happen as one plans. Flexibility is crucial while dreaming up your birth story. And I for one had no idea…
It's been a running joke/wish the whole pregnancy, being that Madely's due date was January 5th, that she needed to come just a tad bit early to be born in 2011 - tax deduction, insurance deductible, and Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend - all wrapped up in a few silly days. Not that money is everything and induction was not in the cards unless we had to, but you know to save thousands of dollars would not be the end of the world…:)
Friday, December 30th I had a doctor's appointment. I was 39 weeks and 2 days at that point, though I was a tiny bit dilated. It was clear my baby girl was not coming that day, and my doctor asked if I wanted my membranes swept. She said sometimes it just speeds thing along. We decided it was worth a shot, so she did. That night we went to the infamous restaurant in town that is known to serve a dish that encourages labor. The next day we went to the mall and walked at least 5 miles in circles (the only place in town big enough to avoid the sidewalks and outside), ate spicy food - basically every old tale that encourages labor.
Well, it worked. Saturday, December 31st I started having contractions. They got pretty strong and after a few hours of having contractions 3-4 minutes apart, one minute long for one hour (the 4-1-1 we learned about) we decided to head to the hospital. I'm pretty sure Matt was quite giddy as we checked in to triage at 11:25pm New Year Eve's night. He was convinced she could be born in 2011! I guess crazier things have happened.
When I first was checked I was only 2cm. A complete bummer. The nurse on duty was convinced I was going to have this baby very soon and that I needed to walk around for an hour. Thankfully it was in the middle of the night, so it wasn't incredibly awkward walking around the hospital halls in slippers and a hospital gown. She checked me again. Still 2 cm. So back to walking we went for another hour. Another check. Still 2cm. Talk about frustrating. At this point the contractions were very strong and I was beginning to feel them even more in my back. Since I wanted to have a natural birth, staying was not really an option. The longer I'm at the hospital the more likely I'll have to have interventions. I wanted to go home and get off those pesky monitors. Due to the amount of pain I was in and lack of sleep (since it was 5am at this point), they offered me some ambien and morphine to help me sleep. I had decided no meds, so I declined and we headed home.
After about 1-2 hours of on and off sleep, my contractions continued 5-15 minutes apart throughout the day. The back labor was getting really bad. I was doing everything I had learned to ease the pain - hot showers, baths, Matt pressing on my lower back, birthing ball, walking around - little was helping. Later that night I decided we both needed sleep. So I decided to go back to the hospital so get hooked up with the ambien and morphine I had been offered. Of course they have to do the big ordeal of checking my cervix, walking and checking again to see if I've progress before I can go home. I was 3 cm both times. At least it wasn't 2! So I took the meds and got home just in time before I passed out. Sleep was glorious.
I woke up on January 2nd (this is day 3 of labor) after about 5 hours of needed rest with contractions that were quite unbearable. Still only 5-10 minutes apart. My back was getting bruised from having Matt put so much continual pressure on it. Multiple times I pleaded with Matt that I changed my mind, natural wasn't working. But we had discussed how I would probably do that and he needed to encourage me that'll it'll be over soon. He said he didn't know what to do - listen to me or continue to encourage me. Poor guy.
At 11:40pm that night I basically decided he was going to take me to the hospital for more morphine or I was going to walk. We were both exhausted, so he obliged. When I showed up, I was 6cm. Wahoo! The nurse freaked out and I was immediately admitted to Labor & Delivery thinking the baby was about to pop out (I was feeling a lot of pressure). At 2am I was checked again and I had progressed…to 6.5cm and 80% effaced. Not great. For the next 4 hours, I was still 6.5cm. I decided to take an IV for a little pain relief, though I'm not sure how great it worked. At 7:30am with 3 days of basically no sleep for neither Matt nor I and incredible back labor pain that I could not bear anymore, I decided it was time to give. I needed a stronger alternative for pain medication. I didn't think I'd have the energy to push when the time finally came nor have anything to give to our little daughter when she made her appearance. I was frustrated and ashamed of myself for getting an epidural and yet knew that it was probably the wisest decision since neither one of us could hold our heads up we were so tired. Thankfully, I had progressed to 8cm by then.
My doctor arrived for her daily shift at 8:10am and broke my water. For the next 3 hours Matt and I passed out in the L&D room. The relief of pain was amazing. When my doctor showed back up at 11:20am, I was fully dilated and effaced. Madelyn's head was about a fingertip length away! She told me to get ready to push. Amazingly enough, after only about 10 pushes and 25 minutes, at 11:48am, January 3rd, Madelyn Grace made her appearance. 8lbs, 11 oz and 20.5 inches of her, she is the most beautiful gift. It is true that the agony of the days leading up to her is greatly dimmed by having her here. She is completely worth it.
Thinking back - though I do not wish to re-live any of those terrible pains - it's amazing how God had the birth unfold. She is a perfectly healthy and hungry little one. Matt and I had discussed that I would rather have a hard labor and easier recovery if I had to chose. That's exactly what happened. I'm thankful I didn't have to have a c-section or episiotomy. I am thankful for such a healthy and beautiful little girl.
After deciding to stay 2 nights in the hospital (the service can't be beat!), we headed home to start our lives as a family. We are a bit sleep deprived as Maddie has decided nights are her time she likes to be awake. But it has been such a sweet time with just the 3 of us this first week of our baby girl's life.
And for good measure...
And for good measure...
We definitely have a finger sucker on our hands. At least she's a self-soother to a degree. :)