We've had a surprisingly easy week with Eliza, a lot thanks to my mom staying and helping out with baby, laundry, food and most importantly - taking a third nighttime shift so Jeremy and I can get some extra sleep :)
Little miss has been nursing like a champ with just a few hiccups along the way. She has even given me a few four hour breaks which is fantastic. She is lifting her head up a lot already, and the past two days has had some long wakeful periods where she just takes everything in. We have done a lot more than I would have expected, but are feeling pretty darned good all around. On Tuesday we had our doctor's appointment and everything looked great. Jeremy and I left the house to Target and Qdoba on day 4 and little miss slept the whole time. Yesterday was a big day, Eliza went to school with me and met most of the teachers. We tried out the Moby and took a walk to the park to get her some sunshine and fight off any jaundice, and even made a grocery store run in the evening. Today we made our weekly run to our favorite breakfast joint, Kings Chef, where all the waitresses were thrilled to meet her. We also *yikes!* test-drove a Subaru Outback and Forester. We had talked about buying one before Eliza came but decided we would put it off until winter, however getting the carseat in and out of the center seat of our Civic with Eliza in it is already quite the maneuver and she's only going to get bigger! The other big event today was Eliza's umbilical cord fell off - we had both been eagerly awaiting this as it's such a pain, but didn't expect it so soon. Our little girl is growing up! *sniff sniff*
Smilin girl, loves to be swaddled
Got to meet both of Jeremy's parents via Skype
Trying to eat Daddy's finger
Catchin some rays
(btw, this was yesterday - right now our lawn is white with snow!)
If you don't want to hear about water breaking or cervical dilation, stop here!!
Eliza's Birth StoryAs soon as Jeremy came to bed Sunday morning around 2, his head hit the pillow and he started breathing heavily. Within 5 minutes of him being completely out I started having my first contractions. We had talked about how he would be totally fine with staying up a long time for labor as long as it didn't start right after he fell asleep, so of course that's what happened!
I wasn't sure I was in labor because the Thursday before I had false labor pains and this felt totally different. I thought maybe I had eaten something that didn't agree with me, and decided to leave Jeremy be and try to get some sleep myself. From about 2:30-6am I had contractions in bed and was able to get little bursts of sleep here and there. Still not totally convinced I was in labor, I got up at 6, took a shower and ate some breakfast.
When Jeremy woke up at 8 I told him I wasn't entirely sure but I thought this might be it. He called our doula Desirre and described what was going on. Contractions were about five minutes apart and lasting a little over a minute- she said I was in first stage labor, gave us some tips and said to call when things started to progress. At that point I was able to walk around between contractions, grabbing last minute things to go to the hospital. Within an hour, though, Jeremy decided to call Desirre because I couldn't talk or move much through contractions.
By the time Desirre and my mom showed up, the contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart and getting pretty strong. I headed downstairs to our big tub and mom and Jeremy spent the next couple of hours boiling water and bringing it down to keep the tub full and warm which was a lifesaver. At this point I was pretty out of it and had myself convinced that I wasn't in real labor. Desirre kept assuring me that I was, but I just wouldn't believe her :-p
By about 11:30, I was down to less than 30 seconds between contractions, sometimes with no break at all and at that point Desirre said we needed to go ahead and head to the hospital. Getting me out of the tub and up the stairs and out the door ended up taking over thirty minutes because I had to stop every time I had a contraction. Between contractions I was booking it as fast as I could so we could get to the car.
I can't believe what I did to some poor woman on my way out of the house. Mom, Jeremy and Desirre were still in the house and I made it about halfway down our walkway when a couple walked in front of our house. She looked like she was about 8 months pregnant and right at that point a contraction hit me so hard. Jeremy came out and I ended up hanging on him and moaning my fool head off soooo loud for well over a minute. They kept looking back with horror as they walked down the block. I feel so bad for giving her such a graphic preview of what is to come :-p
Thanks to our excellent location and Jeremy's pro driving we made it to the hospital in less than five minues and it's a good thing. Desirre said that if we would have stayed at the house for another 20 minutes we would have ended up having Eliza at home.
When we got to the hospital we had the same issue of getting me to the maternity ward that we had getting me out of the house because I couldn't take more than 4-5 steps between contractions. When we got there the nurses were taking their time, going through the very long drawn out process of getting me checked in - until one of them checked me and found out I was 8 cm. At that point the process picked up as they rushed me to a delivery room and frantically called for the doctor. Unfortunately neither of my doctors were on call so I ended up with the hospital's doctor on call. I had a birth plan in place that my doctors had signed off on and knew they would follow our wishes for the delivery and after. One of my wishes was that I would be able to push in any position that felt "right", rather than only on my back. Laying on my back had been very painful for me since I was about 6 months pregnant and adding to my labor pains was not something I wanted to do. When I got to the room I ended up on the bed on my hands and knees and did not think I could move to any other position even if I wanted to. When the on call doctor walked in, she very snottily said "I have no problem with your birth plan other than having you push any way. I have back problems and if you don't push on your back I'm going to have a really sore back tomorrow."
Keep in mind I was in the most intense stage of labor and hearing this about sent me off the deep end. I was in such incredible pain and to have her tell me that her back would be sore for a day kind of made me want to kill her. When you consider that in reality all she had to do was wait for Eliza to crown and then lean over to catch her rather than sitting on a stool, it was pretty darned ridiculous. Instead of screaming at her which would have taken too much energy, I just turned my head the other way and completely ignored her. I don't think that she could have gotten me to flip over me if she tried considering that Jeremy was the only man in the room and he sure as hell wasn't going to help.
At that point, I started pushing which for some reason was the scariest part for me. As soon as they told me I could start I wanted nothing more than to just quit. Of course - quitting not being an option - I beared down and started. I didn't realize it at the time because I was so focused, but the doctor was called out for another birth which was having complications and a second doctor was called in for me. Apparently she was also unimpressed by my not laying on my back and just sat in the chair with a complete look of horror on her face every time I started pushing. Jeremy said he could see her thinking "please don't let this baby come out this time, please!" She kept insisting that they needed to get the other doctor back NOW. This whole idea of a woman only being able to deliver in one specific position only started because they are easier to sedate and strap down if they are on their backs. Doctors have become so accustomed to it that the majority of them are completely confounded by anything else. ANYway, sorry got sidetracked. The original doctor did come back and didn't push me anymore to change positions, but she was not pleasant to us at all.
At this point, my water still hadn't broken and we knew it was going to happen at any time. Jeremy was very happy that he was up by my head encouraging me through a push when it happened - let's just say Desirre took the brunt of my water breaking and she was standing a good three feet away when it happened. My head facing the other way, I obviously only felt it but with six people gathered around the end of my bed, it sounded like they had just seen an amazing fireworks display with the OOOOOOOHHHH that filled the room. Too funny. Shortly after that was Jeremy and mom's favorite part of the labor - between screaming like a crazy animal on a push, I suddenly stopped and turned to them and said "I'm starving!" in a totally normal voice. What can I say, it just hit me! They all burst out laughing and I kept on going. Pushing only took a little under an hour (which I still have a hard time believing - it felt like forever!). When Eliza's head finally came out, one of her shoulders got a little stuck because in addition to having a huge head she has very wide shoulders (Momma's little football player)! At that point I was able to flip over and that slipped her shoulder right out. Jeremy just sat there in awe that she kept on coming - when they put her on my belly I was in shock as to how big she was.
At this point the doctor started going against our birth plan again - and luckily I had Jeremy there - I was too incoherent and in shock to really stand up for myself. One of our unusual requests that had been approved by my doctor was to delay cutting the umbilical cord. When babies enter the birth canal, they push back 10% of their blood supply into the placenta. When the doctors immediately clamp and cut a cord, baby is cut off from this supply. By delaying the clamping and cutting, the cord keeps pulsing until all of that blood gets back into baby's system - basically just giving them extra oxygen and making them more alert and with it. So of course, the doctor immediately clamped the cord (even though she said she was okay with everything but the pushing on my birth plan - grrrr). I started to protest and she snapped "I have better things to do than mess with your umbilical cord!". I was so numb and in shock that I just held my baby and kind of blocked it all out, but Jeremy made her unclamp it - much to her disgust. Until the umbilical cord is cut, the baby and mom are still technically under the delivery doctor's care - so she couldn't leave until that was taken care of. She kept trying to tell Jeremy that the cord had stopped pulsing so he could cut it and every time he would feel it and refuse because he still felt a pulse. She was super annoyed, but Jeremy was strong and refused. I was just happy when it was done because it meant she would get out of there.
After that, things moved right along, Eliza had all of her tests done and passed with flying colors and we were moved up to mother-baby for the night. They were a little concerned because she was such a big baby that she might have blood sugar issues so kept coming in to poke her poor little foot and check it, but after three pokes she was still going strong (yet another reason I'm glad the cord wasn't cut right away) and they stopped torturing the poor little booger. At the 24 hour mark Monday afternoon we were on our way home and have been getting to know our little love ever since :-)
Overall it was a very good birth - things went pretty much exactly as we had hoped. We wanted to stay at home until right before I had to push and were able to do that with no complications. I didn't have any medication - something I'm not entirely sure I would have been strong enough to refuse if I had been in the hospital during the worst of the contractions. Though it felt longer, the entire labor lasted about twelve hours, with only five of active labor. Most importantly, we have a strong, healthy little girl that we can't get enough of!