Sunday, March 11, 2012

The birth story -- Part I

The due date was set.  February 16, 2012.  I gained 45 pounds.

She came at 3:23am on Thursday, February 16, 2012.  She weighed 8 pounds 4 ounces and was 20.25 inches long.

Six months pregnant
I was pretty comfortable being pregnant.  I felt great – including the day I went into labor.  My only complaint in the last couple of weeks was that my pubic bone ligaments were STRETCHING beyond belief.  I wasn't sleeping well, because every time that I would try to roll over (and believe me, it took me at least 20 seconds and lots of groaning to roll over), I would wake myself up from the pain of having an unstable pelvic bone.  I really didn't gain weight anywhere but my stomach.  I felt so beautifully pregnant.  But I did have some major swelling the last week and half.  I had the textbook definition of "cankles".  I would put on a pair of socks and in less than 10 minutes, there would be an indent where the elastic of my socks sat.  Dr. Emery (my doctor) stated that although it was more than normal, he wasn't concerned as my blood pressure was also normal and there were no other signs of pre-eclampsia.

I had absolutely no early signs or symptoms of labor in the last weeks of my pregnancy.  During my weekly visits with him, Dr. Emery would ask me each week – “Do you want me to check you?  With you having no signs, I don’t have to.”  To which I would respond, “It won’t change anything, so no.”  I went in for my 39 week appointment and Emery told me that at my next appointment, my 40 week appointment (which was scheduled for the day before my due date – Wednesday, February 15th), he would definitely be checking me and we would talk about inducing, in case our baby girl decided to come after her due date.

The final weeks of my pregnancy

 On Tuesday, February 14th, I woke up in the morning & went to the bathroom with a small sign that we hadn't stalled out.  It could mean that she would be making her appearance within the next two days or next two weeks, but it was a sign that we were progressing to our end goal.  I wasn't that concerned – still thinking that she was going to arrive the following week – being late and making a grand entrance.  (Sidebar -- I was born an month and a day date via C-section.  So in the preparations for my labor, I had only planned for a long, slow labor that would start after my due date.  So I'll note to all you ladies out there reading this that haven't had a baby before -- prepare for everything!)

Tuesday afternoon, I developed some light cramping.  It felt just like normal menstrual cramps.  Nothing painful, nothing regular.  As E & I went to bed and I mentioned them to him, E asked if we should be timing them.  I said no.  Based on my unofficial timing, they were very irregular and didn't feel like "the real thing."  “This was just false labor,” I was thinking.  They kicked up a little bit at about 3:00am on Wednesday morning (the 15th).  I was having about 3-4 cramps every hour, but still nothing super regular and definitely not painful.

For my 40 week appointment, I had asked E to go to the doctor with me, because if we were going to be talking about a possible induction, I needed him there to hear the information as well.  Four ears are better than two.  I was still having “cramps” that morning.  They were very sporadic and more annoying than painful.  In fact, I drove to my appointment, E was driving separately as we were leaving for work directly after.  We arrived at the doctor's office at 8:00am and all vitals were fine.  Emery came in and we listened to the baby’s heart rate.  All good.  As we were getting down to the nitty gritty and getting set up to check me, he told me that on my way out, I would need to make three appointments for the following week (one for the biophysical profile on the baby to ensure there was enough amniotic fluid in there for her, one with him as our weekly appointment, and one to set up the induction the following Friday (the 24th) as that was the day he was on-call next week).  (Sidebar – the Clinic has two maternity wards; one of the Eastside where we live and one on the Westside.  All OBs in our system have on-call dates where they delivery babies in Labor & Delivery.  In order for you to have your own doctor deliver your baby, you have to go into labor during one of his on-call 12-hour shifts, which are once a week; a one in fourteen chance.)  He asked how I’ve been.  I told him about the light cramps that began yesterday afternoon and the discharge that I woke up with yesterday.  Then he went in for the check.   

“Well, you are 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced.”   

"WHAT!?!?  Hold up, there doc -- you said what?"  E & I exchanged glances.  We both didn't expect to hear those words.  I started questioning my doctor about labor.  Once labor kicked in, would my contractions were going to become full uteral contractions, as these were only lower cramps, exactly like menstrual cramps.  He confirmed that I would be able to feel them all the way across my stomach when labor had kicked in.  Emery said that I didn't need to make any appointments before I left – that if I didn't have the baby by Monday, to call the office and we would schedule all appointments then (should took that one as a sign).  He also said that I needed to go to the hospital if my water broke or if my contractions were “5-1-1”; (5 minutes apart lasting more than one minute over the duration of one hour).   

His parting remarks to me were “I am on-call tonight, so if you want to have her before 8:00am tomorrow, it would be great.”  I jokingly told him that I would have a talk with her and that I would see what we could do.  If I'm being honest with myself right now, I still didn't put it together that I was going to have a baby soon.  Maybe I was blocking it out -- maybe I was in denial (that's a recurring theme through this story).  Thoroughly thinking that I was going to have at least a 36-hour labor and lots of pushing, I didn't foresee the stroke of luck that it would take for my own doctor to delivery my baby or that my baby was going to come anytime soon.

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