Well, as my psychic powers predicted, Aurora had intentions of coming early. (Ok, so with Luke, Hazel, Boston, Keira and Aurora all earlier than their due dates, I am calling the whole "first borns go late" thing a myth.) Anyway, Monday was my last day of work. Tuesday, May 5th was to be my first day off; 2 weeks before the due date. And before I start my story, let me just say that as much of a planner as I am, I had prepared myself and tried to keep an "anything can happen" mentality going into this. And I just want to thank my amazing daughter Aurora, because she orchestrated the most amazingly timed course of events I could have imagined...
As previously posted, I had noticed changes the evening of the 4th and that morning of the Monday, the 5th and knew she would be coming sooner than later, but didn't know how soon. My wonderful co-workers took me out to lunch at my choice restaurant (BJ's) for my last day of work, and promptly at 12:45pm, just after they served Pazookies for dessert, my water broke - I begin to feel something slide down my canal, which I immediately think is the rest of the mucous plug or something like that... but then it feels like I am peeing in a pool and have no control over it, and water starts to pool in the chair I am sitting in and over the side down on the ground.
I turn to Shelly, who was sitting next to me and say, "I think my water just broke." Everybody starts to get all hyped, and ask what we do. I say, "We finish our damn Pazookies!" Knowing that it would probably be my last good meal in a while, and the fact that I was not in active labor yet and it would probably be a long drawn out process, I was in no hurry to leave one of the best desserts ever un-eaten, especially when someone else was paying! So I make a few basic calls (Ryan, my Mom and Cheryl), we finished up, (all the while the janitor guy is trying to mop up behind me probably thinking I am absolutely crazy for acting so nonchalant about peeing my pants) and head out front. Most people would be really embarrassed by this, but hey, what are you going to do? Besides, how cool is that - my last day of work, out to lunch with all my favorite ladies from work, my water breaks and we all have a good laugh, and they get to share that part of Aurora's birth with me. We take a few pics (above) and then head back to the office. I grab the rest of my things at the office (lucky I was already pretty much packed up for the day) and head home to meet Ryan.
I get home, and we call the birth center, since Ryan is concerned that my water breaking requires more immediate action than I am giving the situation (I wasn't in any rush since the contractions hadn't really started yet), and they basically say to take my time coming in, not to rush, but to come in as soon as is comfortable. Take a shower, and we pack the hospital bag. Still not having any noticeably closer or regular contractions (although I was not really paying that much attention at this point - too hyped from my water breaking and trying to pack things up, etc.)
Finally get to the hospital around 3:30pm. My Mom is on her way to the hospital, Cheryl has a dentist apt at 3pm that I told her she might as well go to anyway, and Diana is already there, since she thought the water breaking meant that things were already well on their way (her water didn't break until much further in the labor process and didn't realize they didn't always happen in the same order). Ryan drops me off and goes to park the car, I find Diana and she checks into the birth center with me. They have me strip and find some of the amniotic fluid (which is still leaking little bits here and there) to make sure that is what it was, Ryan shows up somewhere in the middle of this, and then they take me to my room. By now I am starting to get regular contractions, about every 10 min. The floor was empty at the time, so I end up getting one of the two biggest rooms they have there, (which we will need later on in the story).
We get settled, and throughout the afternoon, my Mom, Cheryl, Little Diana, Brian, Blake, Nathan and Melinda all arrive to keep me company as my contractions settle pretty quickly to every 5 minutes, but are completely bearable. Everyone wants to know how far along I am, but since my water broke already and I seem to be fairly comfortable (translation: still a long way to go) the midwives are not going to check on things yet. This is frustrating for everyone, because they all want to know how far along I am! (I can read their faces, and they are saying, "look like you are in pain so they will check you!" What they tell the nurses is that I have a high pain threshold and I could be further along than they think... the nurses don't buy it - I'm sure they have seen it a million times before. One of them says actually women with high tolerance have a harder time with labor, because they are not used to things hurting; and childbirth surprises them and then they have a harder time than people who know they have a hard time with pain and are expecting/prepared for it to be really painful.)
The contractions progress through the evening, and night. At about 2am, they are getting pretty painful, and I am no longer joking around with everyone, or assigning pain scale levels to each contraction. Using my breathing techniques and just pacing around, I get through each contraction as it comes. At this point, I want to get checked. So they do, and she is "low" in my pelvis, I am 80% effaced and 2cm dilated. Great. Still a LONG way to go. But we are all happy that she is progressing. One of the nurses ask me if I want to try taking a shower. This sounds great to me, so Ryan gets on his swim trunks and I walk across the hall to the shower that has been prepared for me. OMG a shower never felt so good. I labor in the shower for 2 solid hours, with my breathing coach, Ryan right there with me. Contractions even stronger, and I get out as they are getting intense enough that I need some massage to deal with the back labor. Cheryl is the only one who seems to be able to massage my muscles hard enough, and of course Ryan continues charge of breathing. (My Mom says that he had every woman in the room breathing per his instructions!) My favorite position for the contractions settles to be bending over the foot of the bed with lots of pillows, Cheryl grinding my back into mush, Ryan in front of me directing my breathing and each of my hands squeezing his two middle fingers like I am on the ride of my life (and incidentally, I am.)
At 5am, I am pretty much beside myself. The pain is extremely intense with each contraction, and I have been laboring for about 12 hours at this point, with no sleep. I am exhausted and decide that I want some pain medication. The midwife says that if I want pain medication, then I can't set up the hydro-tub to labor in (since the meds will make me a little loopy) and I am far enough along its basically one or the other. I think about it for about a mili-second, and opt for the meds. They need to check me to see how dilated I am before they do the IV to administer the meds. Ok, at least we will know how far along I am; 5cm dilated, 100% effaced, she is at station -1! Yay, that means things are really progressing, (at least the pain is not for nothing!). They give me some phenergan (an anti-histamine like a benedryl that can make you sleepy but also helps with nausea) and nubain (for pain - similar to demarol). OMG it's amazing. It really takes off the edge, and after laboring for about 12 hours at this point, all through the night I am so exhausted I fall asleep for about an hour. Ryan does too. Everyone gets a little break... then my contractions wake me back up and it's go time again!
They are manageable now at least - about the same pain level as maybe 2-3cm when I was in the shower... I labor with those for a few hours, and finally start to get the "urge". Which basically at a certain point, in addition to being extremely painful, they are accompanied by the strong urge to go pee and poop at the same time, and push for all you are worth! So not only do you have to get through the pain of the contraction, but resist the urge too... NOT easy. So by and by I REALLY want to push, so we decide to check me again. 9am, I am 9cm dilated and almost ready to go!!! Somewhere in this process the midwife who was there has to leave for something, and the midwife who was called in to take her place is... RITA!!! I am really out of it by this point and am just glad to have her there. I labor some more and I just about can't stand it anymore, and pretty much at one point just want to start pushing, I don't care how dilated I am, so Rita checks me and we are ready to go; I can start pushing!
I ask her what position is best for controlling the crowning for stretching purposes since I know that will be my biggest problem, and she says lying sideways. So I lay down, Cheryl holding up my right leg, and it's show time. I start pushing sometime around 10:30am, Ryan right up at the top of the bed with me letting me squeeze his hands for stability and strength with every contraction. Eventually she is crowning, and man, does it burn! Rita and I try to control it as best we can, allowing the perineum time to stretch and she keeps putting some kind of gel all over and where my skin is turning white (places it is stretching too much and will rip) she tries to give support by "holding" it together, but eventually we just call it - it's not going to stretch any more, and I want that baby out and on my chest! So for a few contractions I just push for all it's worth, feeling like I am taking the biggest crap of my life and here she comes... Rita catches her and then suddenly she is up on my chest - all wet and warm and crying with big strong lungs. A few minutes later my Mom cuts the cord, and I finally have my baby girl.
(This part I only find out about afterward since I was pretty out of it at the time) I am bleeding more than Rita would like, it's not stopping on it's own, and Rita needs to stitch up my 2nd degree tear, so since we have the handy IV, she gives me some pitocin which I guess helps the uterus contract and stop the bleeding. Then she stitches me up (2 internal 2 external from what Cheryl could see) and I get propped up on the bed to feed her for the first time. We don't even get her weighed and measured for like an hour while we are getting good skin to skin time.
Born 5/5/09 at 11:25am
6lbs, 3oz; 19 inches (they said 18.5 but didn't measure very accurately; at the first ped apt a week later she measured at 19.25 so I am saying 19 from here on out.)
Rita said later that Aurora really did me a favor coming early because a few more weeks and I would have had some very serious tearing. (See, I started this whole thing by saying Aurora had it timed out perfectly from start to finish!)
I forgot to mention that there were about 10 people present at the delivery. Let's see... there was of course Ryan, Cheryl, and Rita (we were all on the bed for the delivery) then watching from around the bed were my Mom, Diana, Carol, Nana, Brian - taking the video, Alyssa, Blake - who had a hard time watching his "sister" spread eagle delivering, did I miss anyone??? All I know is that the only people I was really aware of were the people on the bed with me; I call it the snow globe effect. Ryan, Cheryl, Rita and I were all on the bed inside the snow globe delivering the baby, and outside the snow globe watching the whole thing was everyone else. I knew they were there, but didn't really have any concept of who was there or how many, or what they were doing... It was amazing to be able to share that with them, as they wouldn't normally get the opportunity to do so in a "classic" delivery set up at any other hospital. I can't even express my gratitude to the Birth Center staff, who did such an incredible job, or to UCSD for offering such a wonderful program like the Birth Center for people like me who want that kind of experience.
Anyway, I am sorry this has taken me so long to get up, things have just been crazy and I have been trying to spend as much time with Ryan and Aurora as I can before he goes back to work on Tuesday. I'm going to miss him so much! And it's going to be even harder when I have to go back in the middle of July. Well, enjoy the time while we have it, right? More later...