Today, my darling babe is two. TWO!
Even though we've been referring to her as two since January, today is the day it officially happens. Not until 5:18pm though. I remember this day two years ago in hazy clips of hospital lighting, pain and a lack of desire to do anything but sleep. Seems an odd way to describe the day your first child was born but it's how I remember it.
Yep. I'm finally getting around to writing Noella's birth story two years after it happened. I'm a slacker.
I had finally made it to the week of my due date. Wohoo! I was bigger than a beached whale with cankles the size of a small elephant's. I was ready to have this baby! I was, however, not prepared to be induced. I was prepared for mother nature to do her thing and labor at home for a while before going to the hospital.
The decision to be induced was made by my doctor. They were concerned about the swelling in my legs so they had me do a 24 hour urine catch. Yep. I had to pee in this little bowl and pour it into a biohazard container (which had to be kept in the fridge by the way) for a full 24 hours and bring it back to the hospital. The collection started on a Tuesday after my appointment. They checked me at the appointment to see if I had gotten anywhere with the few contractions I had had over the weekend. I was only 1cm and fully effaced which meant I could go into labor myself but they weren't sure about waiting for it to happen. Anyway, all of Tuesday, I collected my pee and returned it to the lab. They tested it and on Thursday morning I got the call that were were to be at the hospital on Friday morning at 7:30. We were being induced.
I can remember a mixture of relief, excitement and panic all at once. A very unsettling combination of emotions. I called Jason and told him we were having a baby tomorrow! He only had one day worth of vacation time from his job we were saving for the big day. He took the time off because we were certain to be holding our bundle of joy by the next night.
We were wrong. We showed up excited to start the process. I was all like "Yeah! Let's have a baby!" and the doctor was all like "Sorry. It doesn't happen like that. We are going to start labor slowly. With a couple doses of pills so soften your cervix and unless your water breaks, you're going to go home tonight". We were confused. Didn't the lady on the phone say we were coming to be induced for labor? Doesn't that mean pitocin and lots of pain and then voila!? Apparently not. Not that I don't appreciate the slow start looking back but boy were we deflated!
We spent the day hanging out in a room in the maternity ward being hooked up to a monitor every 30 minutes or so and occasionally heard other women yelling as they pushed their little bundles into the world. We didn't have a contraction that was worthy of even a moment of teeth clenching.We were encouraged to get out and go for a walk around the hospital grounds. Which we did. And got lost and ended up being escorted through the cancer center back into the main part of the hospital so we could get back in time to be hooked up to the monitor again.
We could order meals and watch TV. We read and played games. Mostly we watched bad TV and talked. We were bored. Almost to tears. Our baby was never going to come. We were sure of it. Or at least, I was. I was positive I was going to be pregnant forever.
Dinner time rolled around and we were told that since we weren't really progressing, they were going to send us home but we needed to wait to be seen by a OB. The only OB got called into two emergency c-sections so she didn't come in to see us until 10pm. Lucky for us, we lived 45 minutes from the hospital, it was late and they had extra beds. We were going to spend the night and try again in the morning. That night wasn't too awful for me. It sucked big time for Jason.
I was given another dose of the magic cervical softening medicine in the morning. I was determined that today was going to be the day! It had to be! It was another long day. My parents stopped by for a little while. I was hit with a mother of a contraction while they were with us. For those of you who don't know me well, I don't like to be touched while in pain unless I ask for it and my mother can't stand to see other people in pain and not try to soothe them by touching. I remember swatting her away while I laid in bed through the contraction trying to remember to breathe and not swear. It flippin hurt. I was excited. This meant she was coming! Baby girl was on her way!
We didn't have any other really good hard contractions like that for a long long time. I had a few smaller ones I could bounce through on the birthing ball. I loved that thing. It made me feel so much better. I was certain they were going to send me home again. We made it through that whole day without much action. My parents brought us Panera Bread for dinner. I couldn't get through my meal because I was hit with nausea and some more contractions. The nurse (an awful awful one but more about that later) came in around 8pm and informed us that we were going to be sent home and that the doctor had sent her in to see how I was doing. I was on a birthing ball at that point. I stood up and walked over to the bed to be hooked up to the monitor once again. I sat on the edge of the bed and felt a very distinct pop. I told the nurse I felt something pop and my belly felt a lot lower.I told her I thought I peed myself because my bottom was wet and warm She told me it was probably just the baby settling down more and she highly doubted it would have been my water breaking because there was no way I progressed far enough today. I asked to go to the rest room before she monitored me to make sure I could make it through the whole session
She was wrong. That pop was my water breaking. I stood up again and there was a puddle of warm liquid around my feet and then a trail of it from the bed to the bathroom. I felt SO gross. She brought me in some of the fancy hospital disposable undies and a pad so I could get cleaned up. She went to talk to the doctor.
They moved us back into the room we had spent the night before in. We were going to be here until that baby arrived! We were finally on our way!
They came in before we moved to find out if I'd like something to help me get some rest through the contractions that were currently kicking my butt. I opted for the drugs to help me through the night. Big mistake. They made me hazy and unable to open my eyes. That night was a hazy flash of moaning and Jason flopping around trying to sleep over the noise I was making. It was too late to send him home for rest now. We were certain to be holding our darling babe in a matter of hours.
The next morning they moved us into a birthing suite. I remember my midwife asking if I wanted to try the birthing tub for a little while. I enthusiastically answered YES! The water was warm and inviting. I labored in the pool for a while. For me, it felt like 15 minutes. From what I was told, it was closer to two hours. By then our doula showed up to give Jason some rest. She was so sweet and so encouraging. I got out of the tub and started to walk the halls. I couldn't walk through contractions but she was right beside Jason making sure I was making it through them alright.
After a while my contractions started to slow down. First by only a little and then by minutes. They were going to have to get a pitocin drip going for me. I was too far along to just wait and see what was going to happen. I remember the pain getting super intense. I was having a hard time focusing on anything other than the next contraction. I still was hazy from the drugs the night before I wasn't able to open my eyes for longer than a minute or so. I was at the point where we needed to decide whether or not I was going to have an epidural. I was so tired. I was so ready to just have this baby out of me already. We opted for the epidural. The anesthesiologist came in quickly. We had to re-do the epidural because the first time he tried it only worked on the right side. Once I had my epidural going I was finally able to rest. Mentally anyway. I was comfortable. I was able to have conversations while contracting. It was wonderful to know what was going on. It took me an hour to go from 4cm to full dilated after I had the epidural.
It was only 40 minutes later that the tiny person I had been growing in my belly was placed on my chest all slimy and warm. When I think back to the moment I met my daughter, I can still remember what she felt like laying on my chest. I was in heaven. It was the best moment of my life. She was so perfect and alert. She looked up at me with big deep blue eyes. We were smitten. Jason was crying. We had done it. We made it through three days in the hospital to meet her and she was finally here. I hummed to her while the doctors stitched up where I had torn.
When it came time for her to be weighed and measured I didn't want to let her go. I wanted to keep her with me. It was the first moment in 9 months that she wasn't with me.
My epidural hadn't worn off yet so they had to wheel me on the delivery bed down to the room. My legs were so heavy and numb feeling. They kept slipping off the bed. I felt like a pile of mush. But I was the happiest pile of mush around.
It's been two years since that day. She has grown so much! She's walking and talking and feeding herself. She's coloring and running and picking out her own clothes. She's got hair long enough for pigtails and loves bath time. I'm so glad every day (yes, even on the hard ones) that she's mine.