Thank you to gradstudentmommy for letting everyone know when my water broke and when Caitlin was born, and thank you to everyone for the ELV's! They certainly worked for a while anyway! Here's how the last several days have gone down, not particularly easily, but still totally worth it for my amazing, wonderful, perfect, precious daughter.
First, some pictures, then the long story of the birth and the five rather miserable days since then:
I couldn't sleep, so I grabbed a bowl of cereal around 4:00am on Thursday, September 2 and went into the living room. I only took a couple bites, and felt an unstoppable gush of warm wetness, so I ran to the bathroom. Amazingly, my pants were totally soaked with fluid, but the chair I was on didn't get wet at all.
I called birth center triage and waited for a nurse midwife to call back. When she hadn't called back 45 minutes later I called again and finally talked to someone. I was having no contractions. She said there was no need for me to come in, but if I felt more comfortable at any point having them check me out to be sure it was my bag of waters that was fine too. I opted to just stay home and sent my husband to work, figuring labor would take a while since I wasn't feeling anything. This was about 6:15.
I tried to sleep a little more, but that didn't work so well, so I rechecked my hospital bag and just fiddled around with nothing for a little while. About 9:00 I was thinking I should either bake something or clean out the fridge drawers when I started feeling definite contractions. They hurt, but were tolerable. I got into the bath, but that didn't really help with the pains at all. Not deep enough water, probably.
I got out and felt like the contractions were really hard and really often. I tried timing them with my timer, but it was hard to concentrate enough to remember to hit start and stop. I called my doula, and she timed a couple, saying they were about 3-4 minutes apart, lasting about 40 seconds each. I was in a lot of pain, so I called my husband and told him I might be jumping the gun, but I'd like him home. This was around 9:30, and he got home about 10:15. I was in a LOT of pain by then. The car ride to the hospital was not fun, and it was only about 15 minutes. I don't know how women who have long drives to birth centers manage it!
I got into triage still leaking water everywhere, and they realized there was meconium in the water, which at the time I simply didn't care about. I was already 7 cm, so I guess that was a pretty productive couple of hours!
We moved to my room and my doula arrived shortly thereafter. Up to that point I'd been dealing with the pain by standing against a wall and rocking side-to-side. I decided to try the shower, and that definitely helped, but I had horrible chills and had a hard time keeping warm. They draped towels over my shoulders and kept warm water over them and eventually it was better. I was in the shower for about 2 hours before my doula suggested moving to the bed to get on my hands and knees.
Change sounded horrible, but I decided to try and it was an okay position. Very shortly after that my midwife checked and I was 10 cm, so she told me to push whenever I felt the urge. I didn't for a while, but eventually I did and pushed in what felt like the right way. I think I started pushing around 2:00 maybe.
I pushed for a couple hours and baby really didn't make any progress. She was about +1 or +2 position and just sitting there. They hooked the squat bar to the bed and lowered the foot so I could rest on a ledge and squat to push. It felt pretty good in that position, but another hour of pushing, even with the midwife's fingers in me directing me where to push, did nothing to move baby, and it was hurting really, really bad, especially with her fingers in there.
They strongly recommended I try an epidural because they felt the pain was causing me to push less than I needed to. I consented and was in misery for the next 45 minutes or so waiting for the anesthesiologist to get everything ready.
I felt much better after, obviously, so I rested for a bit before getting back to pushing. The midwife checked me, and baby's position was the same as before, so I spent maybe another hour and a half pushing. She checked me again, no progress. I changed positions back into the modified squat and pushed for another hour. Still no progress, and she'd been able to tell this time and the previous that baby's head was presenting "military style" instead of chin tucked to chest, so she really wasn't helping with any progress through the birth canal. Nothing I was doing could change that.
We finally agreed to a c-section, but I opted to keep pushing for the 30 minutes or so it would take to get an OB there, hoping maybe I could move her far enough down to allow for a vacuum extraction instead. She didn't move at all, so I was wheeled off to the operating room around 10pm.
Caitlin Renee was born at 10:27pm, weighing 8lb 7 oz and measuring 19 inches long. She didn't aspirate any meconium, and passed all her newborn tests with flying colors. She was truly perfect, and my husband got to hold her almost right away. I got her on my chest for a couple minutes, but couldn't hold her for long.
I, unfortunately, was having a bad allergic reaction to something they gave me during the surgery. I was really chilled, mentally completely out of it, and had a lot of trouble breathing. After benadryl, steroids, and epinephrine I finally started to feel better and got to really hold my daughter and even nurse her around 1:00 in the morning.
We moved up to a shared recovery room around 2:00 and proceeded to sleep not a whole lot for the rest of the night, since if our baby wasn't crying, the other baby in the room was.
It was a really bad setup, but the birth center was crazy busy that night (a storm system had just come through!) and it was the only option for us.
On Friday we had lots of poking and prodding done and didn't sleep much either, though we tried. Nursing proceeded okay, but I had really sore nipples and couldn't get good help from the people at the hospital, though they did give me some Lansinoh, and that stuff was amazing!
Saturday we pushed and pushed and pushed to go home and finally got discharged around 1:30 in the afternoon. Yay!
Since then I've had bleeding nipples that hurt tremendously, but have magically cleared up and breastfeeding is going perfectly fine.
I came back to the hospital last night because I'm having severe pain in my back and side that make it very difficult for me to breathe. They've run tons of tests and ruled out the worst possibilities, which is good, but leaves me no closer to feeling better. I've been admitted for observation, and we're waiting for one more test to look for kidney stones, then I'm not sure they have any further ideas.
It's been a rough five days so far, but every time I look at my daughter's face I'm so grateful that she hasn't had any difficulties through it all. I'll take the pain if it means she doesn't have to, that's for sure. But I'm still really looking forward to feeling human again one of these days.