I had just about given up on Abby coming early. I had thought there was a decent chance she would come up to 3 weeks early and thought for sure she could come 2 weeks early, based on the changes I noted in my body. My last week of work was uncomfortable to say the least. My heartburn was awful, I had been getting some back labor-pains for a week or so, and the Braxton Hicks were painful. Abby had been sitting VERY low in my pelvis for pretty much the whole 3rd trimester and kept creeping down further. But 37 weeks came and went. My final day at work came and went. That weekend, and all the things we had planned came and went. (Faux of July party at Nicole's, Ryan's beer competition at the fair, and of course 4th of July at Randy's). Still no baby. So I waited out that 38th week, my first week off work, just hanging with Aurora and enjoying my last time with just her. Still no baby. So at the start of that next weekend nearing my 39th week, I was resigned to the possibility that this baby could be 2 weeks late if she so chose!
Saturday, July 9th my boss and his wife had a Paella Party at their house.The food was great, and I ate way more than I should have. I had been sleeping the first part of the night on the couch due to my heartburn, then moving back upstairs to the bed around 2 or 3am once my stomach was settled and totally digested. So I was generally eating small meals in the afternoon, and not much for dinner at all. But this night I said screw it, I'm going to enjoy myself and eat to my heart's content. I especially enjoyed the TWO pieces of cheesecake I had for dessert. lol.
That night I started the night out on the couch. I woke up earlier in the morning to head upstairs than usual; around 1:30 am. I got into bed and couldn't quite get comfortable. After tossing and turning for about 30 min (unusual for me, even in pregnancy to not be able to get to sleep right away), shortly after 2 am on 7/10, I suddenly felt my water break. It wasn't a full on gush like it was with Aurora - it was just enough to soak my pantyliner and my underwear - but there was no doubt what it was. Game time.
I reached over and woke Ryan up - "Ryan; this is it, my water just broke - time to get up." His reaction was a repeat of when I told him we were pregnant. "Oh shit". Since I defied statistics once again as the 15% of the population whose water breaks before labor starts, I knew that while the second labor was likely to go faster, we still had some time since I wasn't in labor yet. I went to the bathroom, and took a shower while instructing Ryan on who to call and text. We called my mom so her and Wayne could come over. Wayne would stay at the house so we didn't have to wake Aurora up, and then in the morning take her to Harb. My mom would come with us to the hospital. Then I texted the other people who wanted to be a part of this experience; Meg, Nicole, Kimmy and of course Cheryl.
A little while later, I was showered, my mom and Wayne had arrived and we had packed the last min items for the hospital. I was still not having regular contractions, although they were happening (Like 5-10 min apart and about 50 seconds long). I was planning on waiting until they got a little bit more regular, but Ryan was fritzing out and wanted to know exactly when we were going to be going to the hospital. I told him I didn't know, it depended on how quickly things progressed. He was very uncomfortable with that and it was clear that we should just go and get checked in and everyone (Ryan) would be more at ease. I made him make a thermos of his good coffee (knowing he would appreciate it later on even though at the time it was the furthest thing from his mind). And just after 4am we took off!
We met up with Kimmy in the lobby, and then checked in upstairs. They took me into an exam room, to ask me the basics, and to confirm that my water had broken. Of all chances, my midwife was working the Birth Center. She told me that they were having staffing issues; basically they didn't have a nurse to assign to me, even though they had a room. They had one women in active labor who they hoped would deliver soon, and if so they could give me her nurse. But after a good hour in the exam room and still nothing, they decided to start me down in L&D, where they could at least give me an RN and a room. They hoped that soon things would free up in the BC, and they could move me back up. So down to L&D. There Nicole met up with us (she was a little freaked out at first when they told her I was in L&D - she thought, why is she there???). The nurse there asked if I wanted to go ahead and get a Hep Lock IV (last time I got one and they used it to give me my pain meds, and then pitocin after I delivered) and I said yes. After hanging out there for a few hours, finally around 7 am we got word that the woman up in the BC decided to get an epidural, so that left the room and the RN free for me to come up from L&D! It took them a while to clean the room and get it ready for me, but finally I got into my room, which happened to be the same room that I delivered Aurora in 2 years previous! My midwife, Rebecca had finished her shift and Beth, another of the midwives was on. She was super sweet and I was pretty sure she had worked with me at some point during the last pregnancy.
Everyone else started to arrive throughout the morning (Cheryl, Meg & Justin, Melinda & Nathan, Alyssa & Keira). Not too much happened over the next several hours. The contractions stayed painful but not too serious, and stayed between 2-10 min apart and not more than a min long. As the morning wore on I started to feel discouraged; things were not picking up! I didn't want another 24 hour experience - the second labor was supposed to go quicker! The nurse suggested that I pace the halls a little, so Ryan took me outside and we paced around the BC square. Things really started picking up while doing that and within 30 min of walking, my contractions got up to less than 5 min apart and were lasting up to a min and a half. I went back into the room, and they started slowing down! Clearly the walking was helping and hanging out in the room was not; so Nicole, Meg and Kimmy took a turn with me pacing the halls. It was funny - I had my own labor entourage! One of them was keeping track of my contractions, another giving me sips of water after every contraction and the other giving my spine counter pressure during the contractions. (Kimmy had been giving me massage and it was still pretty painful so at some point the midwife came in and showed us how to apply upward counter pressure on the bottom of my spine. She explained that the baby sitting low and coming down the birth canal was putting a lot of pressure on my spine and the counter pressure pushed the baby's head back and provided a lot of relief).
I knew I wanted to try the water tub this time, since I didn't get to last time, and I let the staff know that right away since I knew it takes a while to get it all set up. They started to get stuff ready (put in the order, fill the tub, etc.) but since it would be a while and things were getting more intense I decided to take a shower sometime around 1 pm. Ryan came in with me to keep track of the contractions and for a while I labored in the shower. It was really great last time and was just as good this time. Squatting through the contractions helped, and while in the shower I started to get the beginning urges to push, so I knew things were finally picking up!
She had the same sucking blisters on both of her hands that Aurora had, and that my mom says I had too. She was wanting to suck as soon as she came out, but while they were stitching me (I did end up with some minor 2nd degree tearing; two stitches inside and a few outside, all pretty superficial) it was an awkward position on my chest, so she sucked around my boob but didn't get a great latch until a little while later when I got propped up on the bed. She was born with a full head of dark hair, and was super bright pink. This was the dark baby who looked just like Ryan that I had dreams of before I even had Aurora! Kimmy got to cut the cord, and she was ecstatic. I was so happy to have gotten through it all, and in good timing too! 12 hours from my water breaking I had my beautiful baby Abby.