My mom was going to be my childcare for my 28 month old while I was in labour, giving birth and for the hospital stay. On Wednesday, July 24th she had an afternoon shift and both her and I had the idea that it may be worthwhile for her to come over and spend the night just in case. As it turned out, I woke up at 2am that night with an urge to go pee. I stood up and felt a trickle, then a gush of fluid and knew it was my water breaking. Over the next few minutes I gently woke DH and my mom, told them the news and got on the horn with my midwife. She thought about it a bit and said "let's just go to the hospital now" since this is my second baby and my cervix was in great shape earlier that day. We got there, I checked in and the MW was there in a few minutes with her student. My contractions started on the way over and were very well established by 4 am. They were about 30-60 seconds, coming every 5-10 minutes. Then around 4 they changed to every 3-5 minutes, a minute or so in length and absolutely excruciating. MW felt my belly and said baby was posterior and that's why my contractions were so painful. DH was awesome, applying deep pressure to my lower back while I leaned over the windowsill breathing, then moaning, eventually swearing lol. It got to the point where I couldn't relax between contractions, they felt like one was leading into the next and I just couldn't cope without the downtime. I had hoped to go natural but wasn't progressing - only 5 cm by 6am - and the thought of further multiple hours in this agony was wearing me down. I felt like I couldn't go on. Eventually I broke down and said "Gimme that f*cking epidural!". Luckily the anesthesiologist was available and came right over. I had to sit still on the bed while the MW gave me the IV (very impressed with her, I have difficult veins) and then curl up so I could get the epidural. The whole time DH was sitting in a chair across from me, maintaining eye contact and talking me through it "breathe.... it's not gonna last forever... baby is coming... you're doing awesome... it will end soon... etc". My epidural was textbook perfect: enough to take the edge off the pain but I could still feel when the contractions were happening but I could still move my legs and wiggle my toes. The contractions spaced out a bit and I was completely relaxed between them. I felt amazing, like I can do this and birth this child. Around 7:30 I had a massive, painful contraction and I had to work VERY hard not to push through it since I had no idea if I was ready. I told the MW, who checked me right away and told me I was 10cm and ready to go. I got into a semireclined position with my feet up and the MW told me they'll just follow my lead and wait for the contractions to start pushing. By 7:50 we had figured out when the contractions were coming and how I was going to push through them. It took 5-6 big, heavy contractions where I pushed till I couldn't anymore, took a quick breath and pushed again and again. The MW said she could see light hair - baby was RIGHT THERE! With the next contraction I pushed like a maniac, putting every ounce of strength I could into it. I felt the head crown while I took a breath, then pushed again with all my might. The head came, I screamed, then a wet slippery feeling. Next thing I know, I had a hot, wet mass on my belly: baby has been born!! We were all so focused that no one really said "baby is out" or "congratulations" or anything in the moment. It didn't matter. I looked down and saw my sweet little baby and asked "is it a boy or a girl". MW chuckled and said "oh yeah... it's a girl!" DH looked at her and he said "That's Callie". I couldn't argue :) . Baby stayed on me while MW took a look at the placenta. Next, the MW student clamped the cord and DH cut it. The placenta showed no signs of detaching yet. The backup MW (who arrived right after the birth) suggested she could weigh and examine baby while the placenta was delivered to give us a little more room. We've had a good 20 minutes of skin to skin already so I said sure. Just before she was taken, Callie had a nice big pee on my stomach lol. Backup MW asked for guesses on baby's weight. We all guessed between 7lb 12oz to 8lb 3oz. We were shocked when she announced it as 8lb 15oz! She would have been 9lb before her pee for sure! Her length was 21" and she was chubby and pink. By 10, the placenta still hadn't shown any signs of detaching but luckily I haven't been bleeding much so there wasn't an emergency. I had already nursed Callie twice, I got additional oxitocin and MW tried gentle cord traction, then finally reached in, trying to get the placenta and NOTHING! MW asked if she could bring in the on call OBGYN to see if she could extract the placenta manually (poor MW has been trying!!). I said sure. The specialist came, tried and tried and got nowhere. That placenta was firmly attached and high up, right over the fundus so difficult to reach. The OBGYN said our best bet was to roll into the OR and do a D&C to get the darn thing out. DH had Callie at this point and I was ready to move on (it's been 3 hours since the birth!) so I consented and away we went. I was able to scoot onto the operating table and they turned up my epidural. There was a nursing student watching (with my permission) and she stayed by the head of the bed, holding my hand and chatting with me, keeping me distracted while the rest of the staff got on with business. It was pretty comical. The OB was practically on top of the table, elbow deep in me, digging around to get this blasted placenta out. I was cracking jokes and staying cheerful - I felt safe, in capable hands and in the best place to be if something was to go more wrong. After a while, the OB pulled out a length of umbilical cord, with ragged bits of placenta hanging off it and called out "congratulations! It's a placenta!". Someone else asked "what are you gonna call it?" My response: "Troublemaker!!" We all had a good laugh lol. It was done, with no further complications and I was wheeled back to the delivery room to reunite with my family. Baby Callie slept right through it. I was then released to the post partum floor, where we stayed 2 nights and established breastfeeding. She has already started to gain weight again and is thriving. She is filling out 3 month sleepers for length and nursing up a storm. Her big sister Kassie adores her and has showered her with hugs and kisses. We are very grateful for Calista's safe arrival and the completion of our little family.
P.S.: I felt a bit bad about abandoning my plans for a natural birth but my MW pointed out that baby couldn't turn until I relaxed my pelvic floor - something I couldn't do before the epidural. As it turns out, the existing epidural made the placenta extraction much easier as well. Had I planned a home birth, I would have had to transfer to the hospital anyways due to the placenta. Births may not always pan out the way we hope but in the end a healthy baby and mama is the greatest criterion for a successful and healthy birth.
Now for some pics: