My labor started early evening, Thursday the 19th of June, 2008. Mildly uncomfortable "pains" (I wasn't ready to call them contractions yet!) came around anywhere from a few minutes apart to half an hour. Daddy wasn't home, so big brother Eli and I walked to the school playground and sent Daddy text messages telling him about the new developments. At this point we didn't know if this was "it" or not. I had a feeling... when Eli was born I had 32, yes THIRTY TWO, hours of contractions before they were regular enough to be considered active labor, so I figured we were just off to the same slow start.
That night we all went to bed as usual, but I just couldn't sleep. I wouldn't say I am a light sleeper, but I just can't sleep through contractions, no matter how mild! Around midnight or 1 AM, I gave up on trying to sleep and paced my torpedo-bellied self around our teeny tiny bathroom, logging the length of time between each contraction. Eventually (after maybe an hour or so??), I decided I needed some support, and woke up Daddy. For another hour or so we paced and contracted and watched the clock... I did NOT want to go to the hospital if this was not really "it." I wanted to be sure. The contractions kept coming. Every three to five minutes. Around 2 or 3 AM we decided it was time to call Grandma (my wonderful mother-in-law!) to come stay with Eli so we could head to the hospital!
We waddled through the emergency room entrance and told them the obvious, I was ready to have a baby! We made our way up to the birth center, where they hooked me up to the monitors to track my contractions and checked my cervix for dilation. As I rested, my contractions slowed... and I was not even 1 cm dilated, baby at -2 station. You have got to be kidding me! I wanted to cry. I probably did, I don't remember. We decided to walk the halls. As we walked, my contractions picked back up. I had to stop and lean on Daddy to get through them, breathing and swaying. We walked and walked and walked. We were TIRED, so we went back to the room. Again, my contractions slowed. Boo! They checked me again, SAME! I wanted to cry, I'm sure I did!
They wanted to send me home, since I wasn't progressing. I was frustrated and embarrassed and exhausted! I explained to them how I had gone through a long labor with my son, and how sick I was after he was born due to extreme exhaustion, and how I did not want to have that experience again. I begged for some sort of relief. I wanted it to either STOP or GO! But they wouldn't do either. You see, I was 37.5 weeks along. At our hospital, they will not give you medication to stop labor if you are past 36 or 37 weeks, and they won't induce until you are past 39 weeks. I made desperate pleas, until they agreed to give me a dose of morphine, to at least give me a break, so I could rest.
So for a few hours, something like 7 AM to 10 AM, I got a bit of relief. I dozed off and on, but the continual contractions kept me from experiencing a sound sleep. Just to be sure, they checked me once again, and I still had not progressed even a little bit. It was time to go home. :-(
Grandma had taken Eli home with her and Daddy had things to do, so I spent the rest of the day at home alone, doped up on Benadryl, sipping water and contracting. I tried to relax as much as possible, sleeping between contractions, which were back to being anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour apart. Fun times! I didn't want to waste my energy by moving around and getting my contractions going again, only for them to slow down when I stopped to rest. I was frustrated, and I figured when it was finally time, they would stay strong and consistent all on their own.
Although I had pretty much spent the entire day snoozing off and on, I attempted to get some sleep that night. It didn't go well. By then the drugs had all worn off, and for some reason every time I had a contraction I felt like I had to pee! So I got up and went, every time! But the contractions still were not regular, so I just kept waiting.
When morning finally came, Daddy had to leave again, which I was not happy about. I didn't want to spend another day like I had the day before. Daddy said he would just be gone for a few hours, so he asked that I just continue to rest until he returned. He left, and I started to feel desperate again. I was SO done with contractions! Either make it stop or get this baby out!
At 8 AM (this is Saturday morning now!) I decided to call a good friend of ours, who happens to be a nurse at our local birth center. Surely, she could could give me some helpful advice! She suggested that I take a warm shower or bath for 20 minutes, then lay down for 20 minutes and sip some water, maybe that would calm things down. So at 8:30 I hopped in the shower. Okay, I didn't really hop, that would have been dangerous! :-D The warm water must have been just what my body needed, because my contractions started to come hot and heavy! They seemed to be one right after another, and strong! I tried not to get excited, they would probably just die off when I got out. I finished up and managed to get dressed and grab some ice water.
I laid down on the couch as directed, and at 9:10 another contraction came, and my water broke! AAAHHH!!! I was home alone! Daddy was half an hour away! And my couch was soaked! I immediately called Daddy and told him to come home NOW! Another contraction hit and I felt pressure! "She's coming out!!!" Oh. My. Goodness. I was going to have a baby at home, on my couch, alone! This was SO NOT HAPPENING! Daddy decided that the smart thing to do, which had never crossed my panicked mind, would be to call 911 and get an ambulance on the way. What an intelligent man!
The ambulance, along with a fire truck, two or three police cars and half a dozen or more men, arrived a few minutes later. I was still frozen in fear on the couch, but had to get up to let them in. They started asking me what I viewed as the world's dumbest questions: "So you're having contractions?" "YES!" "About how far apart are they?" "I DON'T KNOW! SHE'S COMING OUT!!!" They asked me to have seat on one of my kitchen chairs, and another contraction hit. As you may expect, at this point my reaction to it was not what you would necessarily call calm... Their sense of urgency finally kicked in, and they carried me (on the chair!) outside and down the deck stairs, to load me onto the gurney and into the ambulance.
At this point, I was accompanied by the driver and two short of breath paramedics. This was one they hadn't seen before! One of them said they would need to cut off my pants to check me, which was fine by me! I was ready to get this show on the road! His response to what he saw: "WHOA! We have major presentation here!" Yes, that's right, by this time her head was partially out! We started driving towards the hospital as the other paramedic frantically gathered up the supplies he would need in the next few minutes! I asked, "Can I push now?!?!" They agreed, I pushed, and Lena Marie was born, traveling through town, at 9:39 AM on Saturday, June 21st, 2008. She cried, they cut the cord, and I said "Thank you Jesus!"
We arrived at the hospital moments later, greeted by a large crew of doctors and nurses. The paramedics handed my sweet girl off to a nurse, who brought her straight up to the birth center nursery, then rolled me up to a recovery room. Just then Daddy, who had been traveling at great speed to get there on time, arrived. He literally RAN through the hospital! When he got up to the birth center, he was so confused! He asked where I was, and they directed him to recovery. He told them that I had just come in, that I was in labor. They informed him that I had, in fact, already had the baby and was in recovery. He was still in disbelief, so when he entered my room he was shocked when I told him that she was here! He grabbed the camera (I had managed to get the emergency responders to grab my bags for me when we left home!) and headed to the nursery to see our new baby girl.
He took the nurse's word for it when she told him that this gorgeous dark haired, dark eyed, dark skinned little princess was his daughter. She looked SO different than our blond haired, blue eyed, pale skinned son! Finally, over an hour after she was born, she was brought to my room, and I got to hold her. And kiss her! It was love at first sight!
Her stats: 7 lbs 4 oz & 21 inches (although at her first doctor's appointment they said she was only 20 inches!)