getting ready to leave for the hospital
The process of checking in was long and tedious, but Trever ran out to find me a milkshake giving me something to look forward to. I also go to squeeze in watching some trash TV. Since we don't have TV at home that was a fun treat. Once we turned the TV off that night it never came back on... clearly a sign that it's really not that important.
We started a super low dose pitocin drip around 12:30am. Just enough to ripen my cervix, we didn't want to risk starting labor. Hoping for a daytime delivery. They also gave me an ambien which helped me get a few hours of sleep and then go back to sleep for another hour or so.
Kylie was our nighttime nurse. Love her. She was confident and fun, and she encouraged us to make the decisions that were right for us. She really embraced us leading this experience while giving us guidance. By the time Kylie left we were just getting ready to increase the pitocin and hope for the start of labor.
Vivian was our next nurse. Again, such a great fit for us. She was calm (is there a trend for the type of personality I like as a nurse???), and again embraced us and our journey. We increased the pit drip throughout the day and just like my induction with Andrew, my body wasn't interested in kicking in.
Around 4pm Dr. Bell dropped by and broke my water... not an easy job. My body was in line with my heart, wanting to hold on to Abby as long as possible. Living in a bubble might protect us but it doesn't allow us to have experiences... so we had to commit to letting her out into the world.
We thought labor would start to kick in, I was at 4cm at this point. Dr. Bell thought she could be here in 4-5 hours, Trev put his money on 8pm. I was voting for 7pm (quicker is better). I was hoping for anything quick since I had decided against getting an epidural. I didn't want anything to keep me from being able to enjoy Abby when she arrived. If it was still light outside I was hoping we would be able to go outside for some pictures... so I had to be able to be up and about. This was going to be the first time I was determined to go the whole way naturally. I think I was having unearned courage... but I knew for the first time it wasn't an option, and Trever and I were determined.
Around 7pm we made calls and invited family to wait it out at the hospital. And Oona, our photographer also came to wait in the hopes of being there for delivery. Hindsight says that maybe they would have appreciated staying home enjoying wine and conversation.
Excited to meet their baby sister
As time progressed we called friends who were local to let them know they were welcome to come also. I was standing out in the waiting room when Marissa and Katie walked in... a bit of a shock for them. It was about 10pm, I was finally starting to feel uncomfortable. I think my pit drip was set at 19 units. For anyone unfamiliar... that's high.
Around 10 or 11pm we asked Beth to bring the big kids back so they could go to sleep. They were SO tired. Nathan was a sight, literally finding the bed, crawling in and tucking himself under the covers. He barely even looked up... just laid his head down and was asleep. Natalie stumbled over to go potty, back to bed and then we cuddled both of them up under the Abby's Love Quilt. I loved having them so close and knew that they would probably sleep through the whole experience.
Back in the delivery room Kylie did what she could to help my cervix open. My friends were in the room... it's probably not appropriate to repeat the funny things they were thinking at this point. Nor is it appropriate to describe the scene that Beth got as she walked into the room while I was getting "examined". But it does make me laugh just thinking about it... and that is super good right now. Thanks Beth for taking one for the team!!!
Just before midnight the contractions were going from uncomfortable to painful. Our pitocin was set at 21, we had the ability to go to 30 but we were hoping to stay below 24. My friend Jen was having fun timing my contractions and gauging them as I tried to breath and relax. It was nice being surrounded by friends who were comfortable continuing the conversation while I checked out during the contractions.
At about 11:55pm Amy said "in 6 minutes things are really going to get going for you". Suddenly I had a very strong contraction, definitely intense... the clock was just so slightly past 12... seriously? As my girlfriends made their exit just a few minutes later Amy said "I think she'll be here in 12 minutes".
14 minutes later Abby came rushing into the world. If you would like to borrow Amy for a future birth, let me know. I'll send her over. Girlfriend has got it. "Amazeballs"
Those 14 minutes were intense. I quickly remembered why I enjoy ending labor with an epidural. But I am also thrilled that I was able to experience each moment of her birth, the pain was nothing compared to the pain of missing her.
The nurse could tell that her arrival was imminent, she had called for a doctor. She asked me if I wanted pain meds or if I wanted to push. I just remember saying "can't I do both?". She gave me a quick injection, then turned to walk out the door to bring another nurse in... suddenly I was doing everything I could to keep Abby in... Kylie hadn't even made it out the door. She and Trever were quickly by the bed, asking me to open my legs and push... I told her I couldn't and she gently but firmly told me I could. As I relaxed my legs my body pushed Abby out into Trever's hands. He tells me that the cord was around her neck but I pushed the rest of her out so quickly that it didn't matter.
In such a quick flash I went from panicking that I was going to deliver Abby onto the bed without any help to having her lay on my tummy... and then that shot took effect and my head dropped back into fuzziness. (the picture is super funny). I felt so much relief when they told me that she was alive. We had gone 4 hours during the evening not feeling her after my water was broken. The only time that we had her on the monitor we saw that she was having a decreased heart rate with contractions. For a couple of hours we really struggled with holding onto hope. Somehow we found our hope, and soon after that she gave us a kick. For the rest of labor I still didn't feel much, but I was able to hold onto that hope and it made all the difference.