When we got to about 35 weeks our doctor let us know that unless I went into labor early or we wanted to induce early (at 37 weeks) he probably wouldn't be there for the delivery. I was bummed about this, but I knew that I wanted to avoid being induced so we decided to go with it and be satisfied with whoever we got.
When I was 36 weeks pregnant we had a follow-up ultrasound (at my 20 week appointment they thought they saw something on her brain but it was gone at her 36 week check) and discovered that she was not yet head down. My doctor discussed with us all the options, giving us as much information as he could and as well as telling us what he thought the best choice was (and he worded it "This is what I would have my wife do"- which I LOVED). So we decided that we would go have her turned. This was scheduled for the day after I hit 37 weeks and meant checking into the hospital for it as it had a risk of inducing labor. We were really nervous about this, but we knew that if she stayed breech it would be a c-section and that was something I REALLY didn't want. After sitting in the hospital for about an hour, being hooked up to machines and an IV, the doctor came in, ran the ultrasound over my belly, and discovered that she decided to turn on her own. And her "I do things on my own time" attitude hasn't changed, might I add.
So fast forward two weeks to my 39 week appointment with the nurse practitioner. I had just had 2 appointments being told "any day now", so I was not a happy momma. I was also dealing with PUPPs. I will say that this was one of the most not fun things I have ever gone through. PUPPs pretty much consists of itchy little bumps all over your body for which the only cure is having the baby. I was absolutely miserable and was toying with the idea of being induced because I simply didn't think I would take it anymore. When she checked me and told me I was at a 2- the same number as last week- I wanted to cry, and I am pretty sure I did.
The next morning I decided that I needed to just resolve myself to the fact that I would be pregnant at least a few more weeks. After all, I was 39 1/2 weeks. They wouldn't let me go past 42. And wasn't this what I wanted? For my baby to choose when to come? I had really reached an acceptance.
At about 3:30 that afternoon I was at work. I had gotten up to get something on the other side of my office. When I sat down, I felt that "pop" I remembered so well. I was pretty confident about what had happened but wanted to be sure. A quick trip to the bathroom confirmed it- my water had broken. Luckily it must have broken at the top of the bag because I wasn't gushing. I went back to my office and calmly called up to the front office... "Um..; Carmen? Can you drive me to the hosptial? Because my water just broke" "What, are you serious". "Um... yeah." Carmen got back to my office and looked instantly at my pants, which weren't wet. I reassured her that I wasn't joking and that my water had really broken. She informed me at this time that she was half expecting it to be a joke that Shaun and I were playing on her.
On the way to the hospital I called Shaun. He was a little grumpy because he had to work early that morning and had just laid down for a nap, but I was happy to hear that he wasn't freaking out like with Jameson (probably because I was already at the hospital). But I was happy he was at home because he was able to grab my bag for me! Next I called my mom at work. It was really fun to tell her "Thundercats are go!!!!" (Re: Juno).
After they got me all settled my mom and Shaun arrived. I was rather bummed about one thing this time: The hospital had really strict visiting rules going on so I could only have two people with me other than for a few hours in the evening, which meant that Shaun's mom wasn't going to be able to be there. We were really hoping to have her with us since this was something we were cheated out of the first time and our new doctor didn't set limits as long as there were no problems. But I was also feeling lucky since not long before she was born they only allowed you one person for the duration of your stay.
A few hours after arriving in the hospital the on call doctor came in to discuss starting pitocin as I hadn't started any contractions on my own yet. After some begging and pleading he agreed to hold off for a few hours to see if they started on their own. He was actually more than happy to agree to this request which really set the tone for the whole experience. About 1 1/2 hours later I was finally starting to have contractions. They were barely strong enough to feel but they were registering. I was so excited! Finally I was going to have the experience I wanted. At the two hour mark the nurse came in to check me and said that they need to make a decision if they were going to start the pitocin. I was so certain that she would check me to find that I had changed enough that we could avoid the pitocin, but I hadn't changed at all. I was heartbroken. The nurse came back and said that the doctor really wanted to get the pitocin started and I just started to bawl. I told them about my first child and how I really didn't want to be bound to the bed and wanted to avoid the epidural. They were so sweet and explained that I could sit in the rocking chair as long as I kept the monitor on and that he had ordered a very low drip so it more mimic natural labor. After a few more tears we agreed to the pitocin knowing that if I didn't start dilating we were looking at a c-section. I put my trust in what the nurses were telling me.
It turns out that they were trustworthy afterall: The contractions started, but they came on very slowly. With each contraction I was able to learn how to breathe through them. Even as they started to get worse they were bearable. Don't get me wrong- they hurt! But I was able to fully relax through each contraction. I also had about a minute of break in between each contraction so I was able to collect myself and give requests to my mom and Shaun. I was actually in the bed most of the time since my back labor made the rocker really uncomfortable. Around 9:40 they checked me and told me I was at a 6. At this point I was getting really scared for the transition period that I knew would be coming soon (during the transition the contractions get stronger, longer, and closer together). I really, really didn't want an epidural, but I figured I was looking at a few more hours of labor and needed to just take a little of the pain away, so I asked for Stadol. Stadol is a drug given through the IV that doesn't take the pain away completely, just takes the edge off. For me, it actually only made me feel drunk and didn't take any pain away. Didn't like it!!!
Shortly after they started the Stadol I started to have a weird feeling in my stomach. It came with each contraction and felt like little muscle spasms. I couldn't figure out what was going on until one made me start pushing. I asked the nurse if I should be feeling an urge to push yet. She smiled sweetly at me (crazy lady- you are at a 6) and checked me again. Her facial expression changed and she ran to get the other nurse (the nurse who checked me was training). The other nurse came and checked me and calmly said "Liz- go call the doctor, she is ready to start pushing". Pa... what??? I am not ready for this, I was thinking! But my body sure was! With each contraction my body would be pushing. The nurses were trying to get me clean and help me with panting so I could avoid pushing, but there was NO avoiding it- it was all my body's doing. As they started to get me set up in the bed for pushing, which I DIDN'T like. Throughout this time I was apologizing to the nurses repeatedly for pushing (which my mom and Shaun still laugh about) which just kept making them giggle. They kept trying to encourage the panting, but you could tell that they could see that it was out of my control.
I can tell you now that there is one part of childbirth that I have NO sweet memory of- crowning. I am not going to go into detail, but, ouch. Like, BIG ouch. Right before the crowning was when the more senior nurse turned to the one in training and said "We might be delivering a baby tonight". As I started crowning the doctor came in, literally throwing on a gown as he walked. During this time I really started to get scared and was asking my mom to pray for me. As much as I didn't like it, I knew she was coming, and I could feel it. And it was still my body doing everything. As I was pushing her out, there was only once when I made myself push and that is when she was almost out. I could sense that I was one push away so I purposefully pushed her out. She was here! We aren't entirely sure, but I was probably pushing somewhere between 5-10 minutes.
All I could think was how she was just beautiful, and she was here. My attachment to her was a little different than Jameson, though. I think the rush of everything and the lingering Stadol made things a little slower. I remembered the same missing her while she was at the light table that I had with Jameson, but I didn't believe that she was mine yet. I actually didn't get this "this is my baby" feeling until the first time she nursed. I will actually never forget that experience because it surprised me- she nursed totally differently than Jameson. Jameson had to be taught how to nurse so his nursing was always softer and more formed. Delaney was a natural. And, ahem, not a soft nurser. She went to town on the first shot! I remember looking down on her gazing up to me while she nursed that first time and thinking "this is my little girl." It was just another testament to letting your body decide when the baby is ready.
The afterwards of her birth was quiet. It was 10:19pm when she was born, so no one else would get to come meet her until the next evening, including my dad, Shaun's parents, and Jameson. While they took her to clean her up we ordered some food (yea!!!!!) and discussed what her name would be. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that? We hadn't decided on a name yet. We had a list of names that we liked, but we really felt like we needed to see her first. It was actually the next day before we would decide on Delaney Pearl Ann. Delaney was a name that I had always liked. Pearl was for my maternal grandmother who lived with us until she passed away when I was 11 and was very dear to me. She was an absolutely amazing woman and I have known for as long as I could remember that my first daughter would share her middle name. Ann is actually for my mom, Shaun's mom, and Shaun grandmother. And the two middle names? This was something we decided to carry on. My parents had given me two middle names because they couldn't pick just one. I always loved having this little thing "different" about me and thought it would be neat to pass that on to my daughters.
The next evening we finally had the family meeting time that we craved. Though, I will admit, that first morning with only having my mom as a visitor was kind of nice, especially knowing that Delaney's time getting mommy and daddy to herself would be limited with brother around!
The first time Jameson met his sister was priceless. He was literally shaking he was so excited.
And something else about that morning? I couldn't be bothered to sit down. By this point, I had been nesting for about a week (a stage I never reached with Jameson) and apparently childbirth hadn't cured it (though my PUPPs had already started to heal!!!!). I was reorganizing our room, getting our bags sorted out, just being ridiculous. And you know why??? I was in VERY little pain. I actually didn't ever need any pain meds except for the cramping that the nursing caused, and then I just took Ibuprofen. A few of the nurses were calling me the "champ" mom which cracked me up. I know my description of the pushing with Delaney wasn't great advertising for a pain meds free delivery, but I promise you- it was worth it. I recovered within just a few days. I wasn't completely back to normal, of course, but I was able to be up and moving around with very little limitation. Shaun actually scolded me about a week after she was born because I was up on a kitchen chair pulling our bay window down to clean it by myself.
Delaney's birth was so incredibly precious to me. It was amazing to feel my body at work doing what it was made to do. I felt so in control of everything, even when a few medical interventions were needed (I also had to get an internal monitor due to the crazy girl not wanting to be still). I owe so much of that to the doctor and nurses who put MY needs and the needs of my little girl ahead of their convenience. The fact that both the on-call doctor and the nurses were willing to listen to what I wanted meant the world to me. I will never, ever forget the night I got to meet my baby girl- my little one who got to come out when SHE was ready, and by that, I mean the SECOND she was ready! :)