(WARNING...this is very long and I leave nothing out so if you are squeamish or bore easily don't read it.)
It's been one week and one day since Ella Grace made her entrance into the world. I'm not really sure where to start her story. She tried for two weeks to get out. Sending Sean and me to Labor & Delivery 3 times before it was "the time". So I'll start the day before she was born.
Thursday January 28, 2010:
I woke up Thursday morning after a restless night. I wasn't feeling so great, but decided a shower was in order. After my shower I did my hair and makeup and was feeling really great. I put out an all-call on FaceBook. Someone please come take me to lunch! Right away out dear friend Patricia jumped to my rescue and shortly after our friend Molly said she wanted to join us! We went for BBQ and it was wonderful. I wasn't feeling any different. Still having contractions, but none stronger than usual.
I came home and spent the rest of the afternoon with my momma and waiting for Sean to get home. We had some baby work to do. I ran to my parents house around 7:30 for some spaghetti as Sean wasn't hungry.When I got back, it was rainy and gross and Sean was beat. He decided to head to bed early and I decided to hang out at my desk and goof off online. I ate 1/2 a fresh cut pineapple, hoping that it would be the natural inducer it claimed to be.
Around 9:00 I noticed that my contractions were getting stronger. I had a appointment at the doctor Friday morning so I was determined that unless my water broke before then, no matter how bad the contractions got, if I could still feel Ella moving, I was NOT going into L&D that night.
Through out my pregnancy I have become involved with a group of women on thebump.com. These women have become dear friends and a source of support both before, during, and after Ella's birth. Thursday night I was online chatting with the ladies and as usual we were complaining and commiserating. As the night wore on, and my contractions didn't let up, several of them expressed their concern and really wanted me to call the doc. I decided to take a bath and try to sleep and if things got worse I would call.
I hadn't taken a bath since becoming pregnant. It was simply not a usually relaxing experience for me. With out my leg on getting in and out of the tub is awkward enough, add in a huge belly and things become laughable(or scary depending on the viewing angle.) But that night, I was desperate. I took a bath around 11 and was in bed by 11:30. I took 2 Tylenol PM and fell asleep.
Friday January 31, 2010
I slept until 4:00 when I woke up to a very strong contraction. I went to the bathroom hoping it would help relieve the contractions and got back in bed. I dozed a little but just before 5 was awoken with yet another severe contraction. I stood up to go to the bath room and felt a little "pop". This was one of the signs that my doctor had mentioned to me, but I still wasn't sure. I went to the bathroom and when I wiped, it was pink! It took everything in me not to scream with joy. I put on my robe and went downstairs. I had a glass of juice and waited. I didn't want to wake Sean until I was sure my water had really ruptured. About 30 minutes later I went to the restroom and sure enough, things were still leaking! I called the on-call number and while waiting for them to call back, I woke Sean.
"Baby. Sean. Baby. We're having a baby." He sat up so quick. Not rushed and freaking out, but quickly. He looked at me and asked if I was sure. I told him everything and we got moving. Sean ran to put air in the tires on the Jeep (one has a slow leak : / ) while I showered and made sure my bad was packed. He took a quick shower when he got home. The doc on call called us back and it was Dr. Johnson. I wasn't really thirlled with this as she isn't one of my favorites in the practice, but then I realized that it was going to be near 7 once we got all checked in and that a new doc would be coming on! My contractions were still around what they had been Thursday night. About 5 minutes apart and becoming more intense.
We got to the hospital at 6:45. It took FOREVER to get in a room. Finally at 7:25 we were in our room and the nurse was helping us get all the papers that we couldn't do in advance done. My mom and Sean's parent's were on their way and we were settled in for the long haul.
The first medical thing they did was a swab to see if my water had ruptured. It's ironic to me that pregnancy starts and ends the same, waiting for the end of a stick to change colors. I've never been so happy to see something change colors in my life! That change in color meant I wasn't going home with out an outside baby! woohoo! The nurse said she would let the doctor know and they should be in to see me soon.
When Dr.Simonson walked in the room I almost cried. Her being the doctor that would deliver Ella Grace was wonderful. I trusted her and knew that with her there, everything would be ok. Sean and my mom also really liked her and felt comfortable talking to her as well. In retrospect, we should have known that her being the doctor was a sign that we were heading for a c-section. She was the doctor who weeks before had told me that she was concerned that my pelvis wasn't opened up more than it was, and she was the only one I totally trusted to make that call. She examined me and I was still only at 2. A long way to go...
At this point it was about 9. I still wasn't sure what I wanted for pain management, but I was determined to hold off on the possible epidural for a while longer. Around 11 I decided to get some pain meds through my IV as my contractions were one on top of another and really starting to hurt. The catch, the meds would only last a couple of hours and I could only get 3 doses. The first dose worked for a while, I could still feel the contractions, but they were bearable. When it wore off I got the second dose and they told me I should start making a decision about the epidural. I talked to Sean and he encouraged me to do what I felt strongly about, but also told me he thought I should get the epidural. About 30 minutes into the second round of the pain meds, it was already wearing off and I was hurting. I decided that since there was a chance for a c-section, I would rather get the epi now, as my own decision and not rushed to get into surgery.
This was the most anxious point of Ella's birth for me. My mom never had an epidural, so she couldn't tell me what to expect. I didn't take classes so I really had no clue. Sean sat in front of me and I looked at him the entire time. He talked to me and told me how wodnerful and brave I was and how proud of me he was. I was crying and having to stay still during contractions and simply put, I was scared. The Dr. who did the epidural was great. She told me just enough so that I wasn't suprised by her actions, but not so much that I was made more anxious. The end result of the the epidural? What my doctor called a perfect epi. I could feel pressure and could still move my legs (with some help) as directed but the pain was gone! Everyone but Sean left the room during the epi and then came in for a few minutes after. We needed to try and rest so they (My mom, and Sean's parents) went out to the lobby. Right before I got the epi, Grace came by. I was really happy to see her and that gave me a little more strength of mind too.
It's nearly 3 now and neither Sean or I can belive it! The day has flown by. We rest until I start to feel more pressure around 5:30pm. I call the nurse and she comes in to check me. She says I'm about 6cm! yay! progress is being made! 30 minutes later I'm calling her again, I really feel like I need to push. She says that it's not time yet, but I tell her again how strong the urge to push is. She checke me again and sure enough 9 1/2 and almost 100% effaced! wow! that was fast! She leaves to go call for the doctor.
6:10 and Dr. Simonson is back in the room. She checks me and says that Ella Grace is still pretty high, but if I feel the urge to push, lets give it a go. I'm 10! There is no time to call for my mom no time for anything, my legs are up and she's telling me how to push. Deep breath in and push to 10 then repeat 2 more times. Break. We did this 2 x's and I was feeling awful. I threw up after the second round of pushing and I just didn't feel right. They were having a hard time keeping Ella on the monitors as she was getting lower and said that they wanted to put in an internal monitor. I looked at Sean and said "I need my mommy." Before he could call her, she was walking in the room. HER mom sense had told her to get in there and they were right on. They got Ella Grace on the monitor and we were ready to push again.
We did this 3 or 4 more times with me throwing up after each set and feeling worse and worse. She wasn't moving much, and then she started showing signs of distress. Her heart rate dropped and they quickly turned me on my left side and things got hectic. I remember the nurse calling for more people and Dr. Simonson giving orders to get an OR ready stat. There was an anesthesiologist in the room ready to give me drugs for surgery and then things got a little calmer. They flipped me to my right side. Ella's heart rate was back up but not giving them the "spikes" they like to see. We had a few minutes to talk. Did we want to try to push again? We could all tell that the doctor wasn't telling us exactly what she thought. So my mom and Sean both asked her what thought we needed to do. She said she felt we were going to end up with a c-section and should go ahead and do it now. Sean looked at me and I said ok. And things got busy again.
With the decision to go forward with the c-section made, they gave me some more epidural meds and I had to drink some nasty antibiotic stuff. Our family members came in and said good bye to us. I hadn't cried about the c/s until my daddy walked in. He walked in and I felt like I was a little girl not like I was about to have one of my own. But he told me to be strong and that everything would be fine and that is what I needed from him.
They wheeled me off to the O.R., and I barfed the whole way there. A funny note, it was just before 7 when we headed down the hall and the nurses and OR staff were making jokes about me making them work late. Once in the room they got me on the table and hooked up to oxygen. Every move made me feel sick and I was really feeling ucky. After they got me settled on the table, they let Sean come in. He got settleed and they got started.
We knew Ella Grace was low in my pelvis, but we didn't know how low. When Dr.Simonson opened me up, we were in for a little suprise. Ella Grace was stuck. I mean really stuck in my pelvis. It took almost 5 minutes for them to pull her out once they had their hands on her. Sean could see some of the hilarity that insued and I could feel my torso bouncing around. (No pain) I kept asking what was going on and Dr.Simonson laughed and told me she would try to remember to keep me informed. Apparently most women don't want to know when they are being cut and what's being moved around inside of them. I can't imagine why. Dr. Simonson told me she had her hands on Ella Grace but that the suction around her head at my pelvis was very strong. She asked a nurse if she could get some more leverage from her end and her reply was "I have my whole hand in her" to which Sean and I looked at each other with wide eyes and I told him to look. He could see the nurse at the end of the table so we then knew that her hand was IN me. He could see her sliding back on the floor as she pushed Ella Grace from inside of me. He scrub slippers were slipping. A male nurse got on his knees behind her and braced her feet with his hands and placed his shoulder into her backside to give some added leverage. Finally, she came out!
I could feel an instant change in pressure. Not from them stopping what they were doing, but from Ella being removed. It was a relief and sad at the same time. They told Sean to come around and I waited to hear her cry. When she did cry, I cried. I was a mommy. I listened to them talking and making sure she was ok. Finally, they brought her around to me. They put her on my chest and I couldn't believe she was mine. I told Sean "We need a picture!" He said there wasn't anyone to take one of the 3 of us and I told him to give the camera to the anesthesiologist and we had our first family photo.
They said that they were going to finish me up and that Sean could go with Ella Grace to recover. I don't remember much until getting to recovery. Apparently they up whatever meds are going through the epi once the baby is out and they are working just on mom. It took 45 minutes for them to get me to recovery. Once there and settled I got my baby and the nurses were awesome! They unswaddled her and helped me undress on top so that we could have skin to skin time and so that we could let her breast feed. I was so happy and so over whealmed at the same time. Sean was beaming and while I had a few minutes with Ella by myself, he went out to show the pictures on the camera to our waiting loved ones.
She was born at 7:17 pm the exact time picked by her Uncle Joshua. She weighed 8 pounds 9.7 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long. Her forhead was bruised, she had two black eyes, and her nose was squished. But she was and still is the most beautiful girl in the world.