These next few posts are guaranteed to contain detail that nobody but me, Scott, and Mackenzie will ever care to read. That notwithstanding, I’m blogging about every detail my sleepy brain can remember at the moment. 🙂
Right now it feels like each detail will be burned into permanent memory, but the emotions I’ve felt in the past 5 days are so new to me and fresh in my mind that I wanted to write them out just in case.
Here’s the basic timeline:
December 18th– Grandma Bean comes to visit for Christmas. Ah, who are we kidding? She was totally there for Baby Bean’s arrival.
December 19th– Could have been induction day, but Scott and I wanted Baby Bean to come on her own time and we felt it likely that she would (I had been having contractions, etc.)
December 24th– A fantastic Christmas Eve, filled with contractions that I tried to ignore. I didn’t *really* want a Christmas baby, I had an induction scheduled for December 27th, and my dad was flying out on the 26th so I wasn’t in a huge hurry.
December 25th– A fantastic Christmas, filled with contractions. It was very fun to have Scott’s mom there to spoil us with a Bean Traditional Christmas Breakfast (biscuits and gravy, hot chocolate, and orange slices with powdered sugar). We spent the day relaxing and giving updates to family members on the phone. They pretty much went like this: “No, no baby yet. We’ll call you when she arrives.” 🙂
December 26th– After a pretty awful night’s sleep (I stayed up way too late putting together a Christmas puzzle and then had every pregnancy symptom in the book keeping me awake. Reflux, restless legs, anxiety, etc.) we rolled out of bed and headed to my 9am scheduled Dr. appointment. On the way out the door, I took a quick shower, grabbed a small roll and a half a glass of water. Scott put on a hat.
When we arrived, we got a bit of a shock. My doctor pulled out the doppler and the room was scarily quiet for a few very long seconds as she looked for a heartbeat.
This was, of course, silly. I could feel the baby moving around inside of me, so I knew she was alive and kicking (literally).
Still, though… the moment was tense. Then, the heartbeat was found but a few seconds later the baby rolled and the heartbeat slowed down. A lot. To the point where my doctor took my pulse to make sure she wasn’t picking up on that instead.
Scott and I just kept exchanging anxious glances as the doctor tried to get the baby to move and the heartbeat to pick back up. She took us to another room and got me hooked up to a fancy monitor. I shifted every which way on the table, but the heartbeat registered at most around 100 (I believe they look for it to be 120s to 140s). That was an improvement over what she found with the doppler, but low enough that she wanted us to go straight to the hospital to be monitored and induced ASAP.
We called our moms on the way there, and only stopped for a minute to say a quick prayer for our daughter’s health. We hustled (um, I *may* have waddled instead, but I certainly intended to hustle) to the 6th floor. My doctor had given me strict instructions. I was to tell the registration lady that I needed to be put on a monitor immediately and that I should NOT sit in the waiting room under any circumstances.
We hurried up to the desk and the lady there asked if she could help. Why yes she could. 🙂
I informed her that my doctor had called ahead and I needed to be hooked up to a monitor immediately. She replied that we’d need to take a seat in the waiting room because “This woman is in LABOR!” and motioned to a lady sitting calmly at the desk, filling in paperwork. I tried a different tack: “Actually, my doctor told us it was quite urgent that I be monitored immediately and she specifically told me NOT to sit in the waiting room”.
“Oh,” said the registration lady, “Well, you’re welcome to STAND in the waiting room…”
No, I’m not kidding.
I went to the bathroom, wandered around a few minutes, and finally it was our turn to sit calmly at the desk and fill in paperwork. I had already registered at the hospital, so they had all my info. However, the vigilant registration lady pointed out that I had failed to fill in a work phone number, so I dutifully supplied that and a dozen other completely irrelevant pieces of information before she asked “Now, what exactly did you want to be monitored for?”. Scott, for his part, did a good job of keeping his cool.
We were put in a room and waited and waited. Finally a nurse came in saying that my doctor called and was “quite upset” that I hadn’t been put on a monitor or induced yet. So, she got busy. They put two internal monitors in to measure contractions and the baby’s heart rate, and they broke my water. I got an IV with pitocin to encourage labor to start. It turns out I had been having regular contractions 4 minutes apart that lasted about 30 seconds a piece. They were so mild, though, that I had hardly noticed them. The pitocin fixed that up nicely. 🙂
I had been dilated to a 2 when I arrived, and it took many hours to get up to a 4. Scott actually took off for several hours to collect his mom from our apartment, facilitate the entry of new couches into our family room (why oh why they were delivered the same day as Mackenzie remains a mystery) and the exit of the old couches. When he got back, the contractions were coming a lot more strongly, and I opted to get an epidural sooner rather than later. Best. Decision. Ever.
It was extremely uncomfortable leaning forward and breathing through contractions while the anesthesiologist inserted the catheter and needle. But oh boy, things were much happier very soon afterwards. Scott and Grandma Bean stayed by my side after that while I tried to catch a few Zzzs and wait for labor to progress.
At 6:30 pm, I was checked and dilated to a 5. We figured things were going sorta slowly so Scott would be safe to go pick up my dad from the airport. He took about an hour to get back, but I wasn’t too worried because the contractions weren’t regular yet (2-4 minutes apart).
It was great to have my dad arrive and we chatted for a few minutes before he decided to head downstairs to get a salad for dinner. I had clicked up the epidural dose a bit because there were a few contractions that were starting to get really painful, so I figured the epidural had worn off some.
My dad was gone only a few minutes when I started feeling “pressure” down low. I mentioned this casually to Scott and Nancy (my mother-in-law). Scott said “oh, interesting” and Nancy said “you better page the nurse”. After a brief internal debate, I decided to take the mother-of-7’s advice. 🙂
The nurse came and checked me and said simply “You’re complete”. I remember asking “completely… a 6?” and her response was to laugh and call the doctor and ask him to come to the hospital. We called my dad and said “forget the salad.. this baby is coming!”
I believe I pushed for 25-35 minutes or so. Feel free to hate me for this if you’ve given birth, but I really really enjoyed this part. I felt like it was an athletic event and it was really exhilarating. Scott was a gem and kept telling me how well I was doing. We both watched the whole thing in a mirror (something I thought would totally gross me out but which ended up being really beautiful and motivating).
The doctor started to talk about the possibility of using a vacuum to help her come out because her heart rate was dropping to 60(?) through each contraction. I guess that motivated me because the next push, her head came out. The doctor was pretty surprised as he unwrapped the cord from around her neck… three times! The cord was also wrapped around her leg and we’re told it was 2-3x as long as a typical cord.
Of course, the doctor and nurse marveled at the cord and Scott and I couldn’t take our eyes of our sweet baby. The shoulders came out quickly. Mackenzie was born at 8:49 pm just as beautiful as can be. Scott cut the cord, Mackenzie was put on my chest, and I remember thinking “woah, it’s over?” Little did I know… things had just begun! The next few days will be burned into my memory for a very long time as well. But, those are for a later post. 🙂
The rest of Mackenzie’s birthday consisted of being weighed-in (she peed on the scale) in the delivery room, and being wheeled up to the post-partum ward where Mackenzie was weighed-in again (she peed on the scale) and given her first bath. Lots of photos, phone calls, and tears of joy.
I remember being helped into bed, knees buckling, and my whole body shivering a bit. The nurse had Mackenzie on the other side of the room and was poking and prodding, etc. Poor Mackenzie was whimpering and wailing and my heart broke to have to sit and watch. Luckily Grandma Bean was there to comfort her and talk to her until they were finished. It gave me just a tiny glimpse of how lucky I am to have a healthy, full-term baby. I can only imagine how hard it must be for NICU mamas to have to watch their babies from a distance and not be able to hold them and comfort them personally. 😦
Scott opted to stay with me at the hospital that night and in hindsight, we were insane to consider any alternative. After having such fantastic labor and delivery nurses, we were disappointed to find we weren’t as fond of our post-partum nurse that first night. When we expressed to her our desire for Mackenzie to be breastfed-only, no pacifiers, sugar-water, or formula, she was less than supportive.
That meant Mackenzie was rooming in.
I suppose the high of giving birth hadn’t worn off yet because I considered sending Scott home to get a good night sleep. Well, the high wore off and so did the epidural and the reality of recovery set in. Without getting too gory on those who have stuck out this post to the bitter end… I will say that getting in and out of bed, getting to the bathroom, going to the bathroom, and breastfeeding with an IV in, were all challenges I’d never dreamed of before. And they all sucked. I will be forever grateful for how well Scott took care of me that night.
A few random things I forgot to work into the story:
– Little Mackenzie was mistakenly labeled as “bald” by all persons present at her birth. However, much to our surprise, we later discovered she has a nice head of blond hair.
-Apparently my bladder is as impressively big as Scott’s is impressively small. I had a catheter put in after the epidural, and though I hadn’t felt the urge to pee yet, my bladder emptied more than 1000ccs into the bag. Think 4 cups of pee. Yeah. The nurse was even impressed.
– Hmm… there were other things, and I hate to end a post about one of the best days of my life with a note about bladder size. However, the other vital details elude me at the moment. Maybe it’s because Mackenzie is sitting next to me on the couch right now, watching me type absolutely enraptured and every time she makes an adorable sound, every last thought leaves my head except one: How did I get so lucky to be an angel’s Momma? 🙂