It’s been 13 weeks, about time I got Whitley’s birth story written up!
I hadn’t slept well at all. I kept waking up and unable to fall back asleep had been sucked into the live footage of the shooting/police chase of the Boston bombers-so I was exhausted. When 7:30 AM finally rolled around I debated skipping class but figured that I should go so that I would have less missed class time when the baby did come (which was going to be never the way that I was feeling that day!)
Around 8:30 I was starting to notice there was a pattern to my Braxton Hicks contractions, and that they were starting to hurt, but I figured they were nothing since I had been having them for several weeks at that point. This actually got me even more ugly because I was so hesitant to get excited and have them die down. David that he knew how to make sure that baby came tonight and cracked open the first beer that he had allowed himself to drink in about a month. He no sooner took the first sip and I was rocked with a pretty painful contraction. We were laughing about it, fully expecting the contractions to stop but they got increasingly more painful.
Around 10:00 we told my mother-in-law that if they didn’t die down we would be going in to the hospital and to be on alert. I cautioned her to not get excited, but not to crack open a beer either!! I decided to take a bath (which was a major flop because the dumb tub sprung a leak and I ended up looking like a creepy, oversized toddler stuffed in a tiny tub with 2 inches of lukewarm water) The contractions died down a little bit in the tub and were coming so sporadically. There was really no actual pattern and I was hopeful but expecting them to stop at any moment.I was texting with my dad and thinking that 4/20 sounded like a good day for a birthday-it had such a nice ring to it! (I did finally realize after her birthday was announced in the hospital why 4/20 had a ring to it....Doh!!)
Although I was still in denial about actually being in labor, at about 11 I decided that I would probably be going in at some point that night so I asked my MIL if she wouldn’t mind coming then just in case since she lived an hour away. I figured that it would be easier for her to come at 11, then to have to wake up at 3 and rush in. I decided to clean the living room hoping to help along these “BH contractions” (that I was still waiting to stop.) As I was vacuuming I suddenly was hit with the mother of contractions. My mother-in-law (who was a little excited) already had all her bags in the car when we called so had been able to just hop right in and go when we had called, and thank GOD for that! It was about to get crazy up in here!
Within 30 minutes my contractions were barely manageable. When she was 15 minutes out and I realized I was going to have to leave as soon as she arrived I went into the bathroom. Based on how long I had been laboring I expected that I could have only been at 5, maybe 6, cm. My labor with Nathan had been 18 hours after my water broke, and my water hadn’t even broken yet. I got into the bathroom and was gripped with the most violent contractions yet.
Now I realize that I must have been transitioning but still thinking that I was in the beginning of labor started rethinking my decision for natural labor. I was laid over the toilet puking and started to completely panic because I knew it shouldn’t hurt so bad at that stage of the game. David came in and tried to reassure me. I puked so hard that I peed my pants. A lot. Like needed a change of clothes. As I changed I realized that I was bleeding but just then my MIL got there so I went out to the living room.
I was contracting hard when she walked in and at that point they were 1 minute apart and so bad that I could barely breathe through them. I contracted on the couch, walked to the kitchen and contracted again, got to the door and contracted a third time and by the time I reached the bottom of my steps to leave the house I felt a pressure and the first urge to push. Still, being the dumdum I am and not acknowledging that I was about to have that baby in my dirty little stairwell, I continued to panic thinking something was horribly wrong.
We raced to the hospital and they wheeled me straight up to my room. They gave me a robe to put on and I asked to use the bathroom. Although I was feeling all that pressure, I couldn’t go so I stood back up. At that point I had the worst contraction of my entire labor and felt a gush of fluid.
I was relieved knowing that now they couldn’t send me back home since my water had just broken. But when I looked down I was surprised to see that it was actually bright red blood (which did nothing to help my fears.) I got into bed and the nurse checked me, made an alarmed face and started hollering to get a hemorrhage kit and a table in there immediately and that someone needed to find the doctor now. She must have realized that I was getting panicky because she looked at me, told me I was complete and that I needed to avoid the urge to push at all costs. I asked what was wrong and with a smile she told me it was baby time. David’s reaction was priceless. He had his back turned to me, loading my bags into the cupboard. He just froze in midair!
The OB nurses have that down to a science because in 1 minute flat the table was broken down, all the equipment was in the room and the on-call doctor (who I had never met before that moment) was standing in front of me breaking my water. It was time to push! And holy mother-of-pearl did that hurt.
And I just totally wasn’t ready for this. Ten minutes earlier I had been worried that they would check me and send me home, and now I was pushing??
After my first 3 pushes, I lost my grip and called a time-out. I wasn’t ready for this and I was not doing it! This went on for about 30 seconds. They brought me back to reality and I did one more set of pushing (and a lot of hollering “It burns! It burns!”), I started to tear so they did a quick episiotomy and her head was out with two more pushes. My next push and she was completely out.
Miss Whitley Harper-Grace was here at 20.5 inches long, 8 lbs, 2 oz and blonde hair! Only 9 minutes after checking in!!!
They put her on my stomach but I ended up with the spins so bad that I had to close my eyes. Thank God nobody was taping that because I looked like a total dick. I didn’t even look at her!
It turns out that she had her cord wrapped twice, and had come out so fast that she hadn’t had the chance to squeeze any of the fluid out of her lungs. The nurses convinced me that she was ok and just clearing out her lungs and the doctor stitched me up and delivered the placenta.
So, this being my third pregnancy and third issue with my placenta, and knowing just how devastating things could have been again, I think we are finally content with our decision not to have any more kids. Whitley gave us several scares throughout the night as she tried to clear her lungs, at one point she stopped breathing and had to be pounded and suctioned, but most of the night we had to stand over and help her work out all the fluid.
Thanks to my mother-in-law, Nathan was able to be there to meet his sister immediately after delivery. He stayed for a few minutes (it was 2 AM after all!!) and then she took him back home. While I didn’t want any visitors in the hospital it was really important to be able to have Nathan there without demanding all of David’s attention, so a special thanks Kathy!
I am amazed by how perfectly it went. Nathan was such a traumatic delivery, and of course Noah’s birthstory was just heartbreaking. I had really doubted my ability to deliver naturally(particularly because I was attempting a VBAC), so to have delivered without even having an IV was really empowering for me and somewhat redemptive of my body’s ability. She was my first take-home baby and really closed the door on my child-bearing years with the nicest end I could have asked for. She’s beautiful and an absolute joy. I have yet to figure out how two children can each captivate my heart completely, but they do!