Some of these details may be jumbled and out of order a bit, because the whole night is kind of a blur. Craziest 24 hours of my life, that’s for sure. And sorry, long post. Wanted to get it all out before I forget. Plus, I know when I was pregnant (and before) I ate up posts like this because I wanted every. single. detail.
At my last scheduled doctor’s appointment, 5 days overdue, my doctor “stripped my membranes” (which is as fun as it sounds). I was still only 1cm dilated (the same as the previous week). This releases labor-inducing hormones and often gets things started. Will went back to work after that and I went back home, feeling fine but a bit crampy. I make dinner for Will when he gets home from volleyball – I haven’t felt like eating all day (which will turn out to be good later on). Fast forward to about 8PM, and Will and I decide to go to bed early. Except I get up around 9 and move to the couch because things are starting to huuurt. I knew at that point that it was only a matter of time. I figured I’d try to at least let Will get a few hours of sleep.
I didn’t get any sleep on the couch because contractions kept coming, but Alice and Hank came and snuggled with me. I laid down. I got up and walked around. I timed contractions. It was hard to time them, though, because they never really went away and weren’t all that regular. Finally, at 1AM, I felt like they were definitely at or close to the 5-7 minutes apart requirement, so I went in and told Will we should go to the hospital. Slight chaos ensued, as I laid in bed in pain and Will finished packing and hopped in the shower. I calculated all the things we both said we were going to get done tomorrow (finish packing, get food, put gas in car, etc). We got to the hospital (which is thankfully very close to home) at 2AM.
At first, I thought they were going to send me home when they checked and I was only 2cm. But by the time I’d stayed long enough for the observation period, I was farther along. Which is good, because I would have been pissed if we’d had to go home and come back. The contractions suuuucked. And the stupid belly monitors they put on me kept moving because sitting up through contractions felt sort of better to me, so the alarm thing kept going off and they’d have to come back in and fix it. (The first nurse we had was a former dance mom and knew me, which is weird but not unusual for me. The second one was the same nurse we’d had a couple weeks earlier when we came to the hospital thinking I was leaking fluid.) Will and I discussed names. No consensus. Well, we’d decided on her first name, but still not the second. I throw out Anna, which is a variation of Anne, of of our considerations. Still can’t decide.
They finally admitted me at about 6AM, I think, and Will called the parents. We didn’t let them come in until after I got my epidural at about 7AM, though. I was a mess and feeling terrible and didn’t need a bunch of people in there thinking they were helping, but actually stressing me out. Will did a great job of being gatekeeper. The epidural was awesome (I got the shivers pretty bad for a while from it, and my chest was itchy – but as the nurse said, an itchy chest is better than the alternative). And people say getting is terrible, but it was more annoying and awkward than painful for me. I haaaate that numb feeling, but at this point it was a welcome respite from the pain. I could still move my legs around, they just felt all tingly and super sleepy. The parents (I guess I should say grandparents?) came in and chilled for a bit. The doctor came in and introduced the midwife, who I’d never met. They asked if it would be OK if she delivered the baby as long as all was normal.
Eventually, I started feeling bad after they checked me again, and Will ushered the (grand)parents out. From then on, every time they had to tilt me up or down for something, I puked. Fun. At some point they broke my water, but I’m not sure when.
With the grandparents gone, I was able to actually get some much-needed sleep. Will got some, too, but also watched the monitors. Having seen the pain I dealt with at a contraction metered 30, he was happy to see me be able to sleep through ones rating at 80 and 90.
Eventually I woke up when they came in to check me. They had been concerned that the baby was in distress and possibly had ingested meconium because she was late, and nothing had really “happened” when they broke my water. So they decided to hook up an internal monitor to her. The midwife did a really great job of telling me this in a way that didn’t freak me out. And while having something else stuck up my hoo-ha might sound terrible, at this point I was toootally numb down there and was actually glad to have them put a monitor there so I could take the ones off my belly. I think I stayed up for a bit after that, and soon they checked again and said I was ready to start pushing.
Slight freakout. But here we go. I keep feeling like I want to cry (happy-type cries), but I hold it in because man, there’s work to do. Will was great – rubbing my head, giving me icewater when needed, holding my legs and doing a very good job of not seeing that which cannot be unseen by instead watching the monitors for contractions. I pushed for an hour – the nurse and midwife were wonderful. Encouraging, helpful with directions, and just great in general. I can feel the baby moving down (and kicking me still as her head is about to see the real world), and feel her when she’s finally out. 3:07PM. I see them pull her up and plop her on me, and then I cry. And she cries. And Will cuts the cord. They give her some skin-to-skin time before taking her to clean and weigh her (she pooped immediately after being born, while being weighed, and while having her first bath. Once we got her home from the hospital, she didn’t poop for 3 days).
They give her back all fresh and clean and OMG, I have a baby and she is beautiful and this was in my stomach?! and Will, look what we made! They let us chill and let baby figure out what happened to her for a few minutes before coming back in and helping me feed her for the first time. She has no name on her birth bracelet because we still hadn’t decided when they were doing that. But at some point around now we decide she is Ainsley Anna. After a few more minutes alone, the grandparents come in and shower her with more love. We are happy.
The rest of the night is a blur as they move us all into the recovery room. Between feedings and people checking on us, we get no sleep. Will is also much too big for the daddy couches. Plus I’m still puking occasionally or feeling generally sick. I’m very glad when they give me some more meds for that that finally seem to work.
The parents come back in the AM after we’ve eaten and I’ve had a shower – glorious shower. Will has to run to work for something (I know, can they not give a guy a break?) and also goes home for a quick shower. Ainsley’s first non-family visitor is my friend Anita, who rocks her to sleep. We decide we’re going to leave that day at 4, 24 hours after her first feeding, rather than spend another night getting no sleep. Ainsley passes all her tests (the great eater only lost 2% body weight!), and we’re out of there at about 6PM.
Not long after we get home, more visitors! Friends Katelyn and Joe bring us pizza from our fave pizza place, and BFF Jessica comes for a visit after chomping at the bit to see the baby all day long (she’d driven down from VA as soon as she heard the baby was coming for sure). We get to bed at about 10. And now she’s ours. <3