I had been quite lazy and inactive for the majority of my pregnancy, but I think I made up for it in the last two weeks before I delivered. I went on maternity leave from my social work job the Tuesday after closing on our house. With so much work to do at home, I was going crazy being at my job. I enjoyed being able to walk out of the office that last day so I could do some serious nesting at our new home. I pulled down wallpaper, raked leaves, painted and cleaned. My clearest memory is being up on a ladder plastering the living room and foyer walls. Just picture me about 50 pounds heavier with a big ol' baby belly, teetering on a ladder and smearing plaster on the walls with a flat blade! Quite a sight!
As my due date came and went, I couldn't be happier. Most women are dying by the time they reach their due date, but not me. Our new house was not ready yet and I was determined to not have that baby until it was. Looking back I am amazed at how much work I was able to do. But suddenly on April 7th, I was not being quite so productive on the work site. I would work for a bit and then have to sit down for a long while. Then I would work some more only to have to rest for another long stretch. In hindsight, I can see that my body was trying to get me to rest in preparation for labor.
That night as I finally got to bed around 1 am, I felt a pang run through my body. I knew right away it was my first contraction. I laid in bed for another 15 minutes and the pangs continued. They weren't uncomfortable at all, but I knew it was the beginning of labor. Excited and not knowing what to expect, I jumped in the shower and started getting ready to go to the hospital. I woke Nate up around 2 am, and after a quick shower we headed to the hospital.
Up at labor and delivery, they hooked me up to the monitors and examined me. I was only at a 2. They sent Nate and I to walk the halls for an hour. I remember Nate and I giggling and joking as we walked the halls. I would get a contraction and we would stop, I would groan a bit from being uncomfortable, we would giggle some more and then keep walking. This part of my labor totally cracks me up, because I thought I was uncomfortable and experiencing some pain, but I had no idea how things would intensify.
After an hour's walk, I made no progress in dilating, so they sent me home. The nurse told me to take 2 Benedryl and get as much sleep as possible because I was in labor and would be back later in the day to have the baby. I came home, popped my two pills and went to sleep around 3:30 am.
Nate woke up around 8 am to head to the house to get some work done. I slept until 1:30 pm until the contractions kept me from sleeping any longer. I came upstairs to hang out with Nate's mother, Pat. I ate some breakfast and continued to be uncomfortable through the contractions. I decided to get in the shower for some relief. I think I must have been in the shower for an hour. I ran all the hot water out! When I came back downstairs, my contractions started coming more quickly. I had to walk around the house and lean on the back of the chair during each contraction. Finally, Nate's mom told me I was making her have contractions from watching me. She told me to call Nate to come get me and take me to the hospital. Nate came and got me and we were back to labor and delivery by 3:30 pm.
The delivery ward was crazy busy. After waiting a bit, they put me in an extra delivery room were the nurses normally eat their lunches! At 4 pm the nurse examined me and I was at a 2 1/2. She said that she would let me stay since I had already been there during the middle of the night. My contractions were intensifying and I asked immediately for an epidural. The nurse said that I would need blood work first to be approved. They never told me that in my birthing classes!
I have very small veins, and it took four nurses to finally get an IV into me. They finally called an IV specialist and she was able to get it in. The nurse examined me again around 5 pm and I was at 4 cm. The time in between the IV, getting the blood work and waiting for the results seemed to take forever. My contractions were getting worse and I wasn't prepared for the pain. At one point I remember starting to cry and saying to Nate that I was worried I wouldn't get an epidural in time.
A bit later, the nurse came in to tell me that my white blood cell count was too high to have an epidural. Later, I found out that a huge trauma case came into the ER and all the anesthesiologists were occupied with those patients and the first reason was just to make me feel better. Well, at that point I freaked out. In all 9 months of pregnancy it had never entered my mind that I would be denied an epidural. I was crying hysterically and my contractions were coming one on top of the other. The last time I had been examined I was only at a four cm. If the pain was this bad at 4 cm, how would I handle 8 cm or 10 cm, for that matter!
Because the delivery ward was so busy, Nate and I were frequently alone. Poor Nate. He was just as unprepared for this situation as I was. He had never seen me in so much pain and he didn't know what to do. He called my mother to tell her to head over to the hospital. My mother later told me that she could hear the panic in his voice and she could hear me crying in the background. My mother and Nate's mother arrived shortly.
I paced the room and leaned on the windowsill and cried.....a lot. Nathan rubbed my back and couldn't do much beyond that. The nurse came back in close to 6:00 pm. I was still freaking out and I even asked her for IV drugs, against my better judgment. She suggested I get in the tub and she started to run the water. She then said she better examine me before I get in the tub. As she examined me she looked very surprised and stated that their would be no baths for me because I was fully dilated and was ready to have the baby. She hit the call button for the doctor and said I could start pushing.
I pushed and pushed and pushed. The nurse continued to hit the call button again and again and again. First time mothers must be notorious for poor pushing. All that pushing and I didn't have anything to show for it. I think the nurse was relieved that I was not pushing effectively because the doctor was not coming. It turns out that the doctor delivered 7 babies that afternoon/early evening.
The nurse who had worked with me in the middle of the night came on shift and kicked the other nurse out of the room. I was happy because I liked her better. Finally, the doctor came in and he was ready for some productive pushing to begin. He went to break my water and found it was already broken. It must have happened during my hour long shower and I didn't notice. Poor Layla would end up having a scratch on her head from the hook.
Nate took one leg, and my mother took the other. I tried my best, but was still not getting the hang of it all. Don't forget the fact that I was still hysterically crying during this whole process. I was a mess!
The doctor yelled at me and told me to focus on him. He told me to get control of myself. It worked. I started pushing better and the baby was making progress. My mother wanted to help as much as she could, but she was pushing my back up for me and the doctor told her to let me do it myself.
As the doctor prepared the anesthesia for my episiotomy, he told me to "go to my happy place." The nurse laughed and called him out on being so cheesy. The doctor took the syringe and shot anesthesia across the room at her and it hit her in the face. She yelled at him because it made her lips go numb! Because I was half delirious at this point, all this seemed surreal. It was kind of funny, but at the same time I wanted to scream, "Hey, I am trying to have a baby over here!"
Finally at 7:00 pm on April 8th, after much trial and tribulation, Layla Jayne was born. She was 21 inches long and weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces.
The doctor asked Nate to cut the cord and he agreed, but he wanted to the know what the "consistency" of the cord would be like. The doctor looked confused. Nate explained that he needed to know what to expect so he wouldn't be grossed out. The doctor said it would be like cutting a thick sausage. Nate cut the cord and said he agreed.
I was exhausted. I didn't even feel I had the strength to hold her that well. But, she was beautiful and all the pain and agony seemed to dim in comparison to how I felt holding her. All my ineffective pushing left me puffy and swollen with lots of broken blood vessels in my face. I looked horrible and was sore for days.
Layla did not nurse well at first. It took almost six weeks before nursing went smoothly.
Nate and I took Layla home to his parents house and were able to move in to our home a week and a half later.
This delivery taught me to be prepared for the unexpected and made me be much better prepared for my later childbirths. That was five years ago. Nate and I can hardly believe we have a five year old daughter! The years go by so fast.
Layla at 2 years old
(sorry, I don't have her baby pics saved on my computer!)
(sorry, I don't have her baby pics saved on my computer!)
Happy Birthday Layla! We love you so much!