Before I start, let's get one thing straight: I'm no hero. For those of you who didn't hear (and I can't imagine there are that many people who didn't, I've let EVERYONE know), I had Abby without an epidural. Please know that this was in no way my intention! They say second babies come faster.....um, yes, this is true.
This pregnancy, I had A LOT of Braxton Hicks contractions. And I felt them really early on. I was told that's also normal for second pregnancies, so I didn't worry......much. :) As we got closer to my due date, they kept getting longer and more frequent. In fact, the last two weeks leading up to my due date, I kinda felt like I was in labor, just with practically painless contractions. On Fathers Day, during the 1 hour church service, I had about 6 or 7 contractions.....but completely pain free. Oh sure, I FELT them, and sometimes they took my breath away, but they really didn't hurt. That day at lunch, I was getting kinda nervous about it, so I called labor and delivery, told them what was going on: minute long contractions, about 5-7 minutes apart, no pain. "Sorry, nope, stay home and call us when they're painful." Grr, fine, I'll get a pedicure then! It's tradition apparently, I got one the day before I had Declan. (Also....check out that flip flop tan!)
5 am, Monday morning, June 21st: my due date. I woke to contractions, not too bad, but definitely the real thing! I started timing them and they were like they had been, lasting longer than a minute, 5-7 minutes apart. I took a shower, ate a poptart, and asked Trevor to call the hospital. He had been up (thank you World Cup) and had been slowly getting our stuff ready, taking care of me, and watching the Portugal v North Korea game. After the call to the hospital, where we were told to do the things we'd already done (eat and shower), we called Trevor's dad, who would be watching D, and my mom, who would be in the room with us. Originally, the plan was to take Declan down to Gary, who lives in Fountain Valley, but when I realized how close my contractions were, I asked if Gary could meet us at the hospital instead. Boy am I glad he could!!
My contractions were strong, but I was handling it pretty well. Until 7. They started getting really intense. REALLY. Intense. Declan was awake by then and wandering around the house, while Trevor was still getting things together. As the contractions got stronger, I was looking for new ways to cope. I got on our bed, on all fours, and all of a sudden, the contraction was so strong, I felt like pushing. So I said, quite loudly, "I need to push!!" Declan was in the room and his response: "Hee hee, funny mommy!" This was great, I'd much prefer he be entertained then scared.
By the way.....yes, you read that right: I was at home, feeling like I needed to push. Oh crap. So getting ready calmly went right out the door, and the scramble commenced. Poor Trevor was torn between getting everything, including Declan, into the car, and taking care of me. All I could do is scream in pain. Really, I wasn't made to labor without pain meds. At this point I was starting to worry that I wasn't going to make it in time for an epidural.
Finally, we were ready and Trevor helped me down to the car. I did my best not to scream from our back door to the car, I was feeling insecure about my screaming as it was, I didn't need to wake the whole complex. Thankfully, the walk was almost contraction free, one started just as I got to the car, strong muttering took the place of screaming at that point. From Trevor's memory, we left at 7:38. I couldn't tell you many details like time, all I could concentrate on was NOT pushing.
On our way, things got even MORE intense, and after passing the freeway on-ramp that was backed up causing us to take surface streets....I decided I would have the baby in the car. :) Seriously, I felt I couldn't hold it anymore, and I said to Trevor, "I need you to pull over, I HAVE TO PUSH!" Apparently Trevor was not on board with that idea, probably cause our car was only two weeks old at that point. He grabbed the phone (sans bluetooth....the rebel!) and called the hospital. "Hi, my wife is in labor, we're on our way in, but she's telling me she needs to push......." "Oh! Ok......hold on........ok, we can send an EMT to you, where are you?" Heh. Trevor assured them we would make it to the hospital as fast as the EMT would get to us, so we continued. Throughout all this, I'm still screaming and yelling "I HAVE TO PUSH!!!" I was very Hollywood about it. :) And Declan was behind me saying "Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy?" "Yes Declan?" "TREE!!" Again, better to not be freaked by mommy.
I really can't describe to you how freaked out I was. As each contraction ended, I would pray and pray that the next one wouldn't come till we were at the hospital. All I really wanted was to lay down, I did not want to be sitting anymore, and of course, I wanted to PUSH! Obviously that prayer was only answered once, and it was unanswered many, MANY times.
Trevor was told to go to the ER. (When you have a baby at Kaiser, throughout all classes and appointments pre-baby, they tell you that when you're in labor, DO NOT go to the ER; go to Labor and Delivery. L&D is on the 3rd floor of the hospital. At the end of a REALLY long hallway.) We thought this was odd, but they assured us that was where we should go and they would have a team ready for us. Yes! "A team", which to me meant "a gurney"! When we arrived, Trevor pulled into the drop off area, and I noticed there was no team. Mmmm.... Trevor ran into the ER and after a minute, he came out with a nurse and a wheel chair. No team. Sad face. And apparently the nurse tried to turn Trevor away. T: "Hi, my wife is in labor and I was told to come to the ER." Nurse: "Oh no, you need to go to Labor and Delivery." T: "No! I was told to come to the ER. I am here, I'm not leaving!" Go Trevor!
When I saw the chair, I was really disappointed. Let me try one more time to impress upon you how freaked-out-in-pain-screaming-like-a-crazy-person I was. I was freaked out. In pain. Screaminglikeacrazyperson!!!! I begrudgingly got into the wheelchair and continued my crazy person screaming. Trevor grabed Dec from the car....oh yeah, we still had him. And we had no idea where or even if Gary was there. We were seconds away from either handing Declan off to a stranger/nurse or Trevor not coming with me when through one tiny window, Trevor saw my mom! Out of all the entrances to the hospital, my mom just happened to choose the one right next to the ER, thank you God!! Seriously devine planning there. Trevor yelled for her, and she ran over. We basically threw Declan and the car keys into her arms and took off.
Now I'm telling you all this as though I remember it. I do....vaguely. Trevor filled in the gaps for me a bit, mostly what I remember is trying to lay as flat as I could in the wheel chair....and screaming. I'll never forget the screaming.
It turns out, the ER has a shortcut to L&D. And it was the fastest elevator ride I've ever been on! Perhaps it was the lady in scrubs who was in there, too, saying brightly: "Hi! I'm an OB! Hi!" I swear that's all she said over and over, as if to make me feel better. I later learned she was slightly worried I would have the baby in the elevator. Rad.
The elevator opened, and the chippy OB asked if there was a room ready for me. I was immediately taken into a delivery room, and Trevor was held back by the receptionist asking for my Kaiser card, name, social security number, favorite movie, hobbies.....seriously, she kept asking questions that Trevor, in his worried state, could not answer. He had left EVERYTHING in the car, the two most important things to remove were me and D and he had taken care of that! :) In the room, I pretty much leapt onto the bed, and as soon as I was in a gown (2 seconds later) I was pushing! Nurse: "Wai-wai-wait! I need to check you!!" Grr, fine, DO IT! "Yup, 10 cm, fully effaced, you're ready to go." Trevor had escaped the receptionist's trap and made it into the room for that bit of news.
T, to the midwife: "I would be remiss in my husbandly duties if I did not ask this: is it too late for an epidural?" Heh heh, yeah. Cue the tears.
Trevor had been asked on the phone if my water had broke, and since I had taken a shower that morning, we didn't know. I've not felt that feeling ever, they broke my water with Dec. I've been told that I would surely know, but still, this time I wasn't sure. Low and behold, my water had not broken, and it was virtually the only thing holding Abby in. So they broke it. And I pushed. And to make a long story short (too late) we arrived at the hospital at 8am and Abby was born at 8:19am. Fastest. Labor. Ever. Ok, not really, but for me it was! :)
It was definitely a whirlwind birth! It all happened so fast it was just crazy. I do believe she was born before a chart had been made for me. My mom and Gary (who had gotten to the hospital before us) were still getting Declan's carseat switched over from our van when Trevor called them to tell them she was here. Sad for my mom, she was supposed to be in the room. :( It was such a different experience from Declan's birth. An event that took all day, pushing for two hours, and feeling nothing (as in no pain) vs. an event that took less than 3 and a half hours!
So what do I think about the whole experience? Well, there is a little pride that I did it naturally, but women have done that FOREVER, so, like I said, I'm no hero. Some people have felt a stronger connection to their baby because of the lack of pain meds, but I have to say I did not. With D, I could totally focus on him because I didn't feel anything, there was nothing to distract me from his presence. With Abs, I had a hard time with being excited because I was in so much pain. And to answer your question, yes. I am the biggest wuss in the world. Am I happy that the pain of birthing made me less thrilled with her arrival? Heck no! Do I wish I was a stronger person? Of course. But that's not me. And I'm ok with that. I am currently, and forever will be completely thrilled by her presence in my life. And she's got a great story of how she entered this world.
Trevor, on the other hand, preferred this experience waaaaay more than the last. Nice and quick. Way more stressful and scary of course, but over fast enough to get past the worry. And I did seem to recover faster this time around. I could walk sooner. We left the hospital sooner. Trevor only missed one world cup game. :) Seriously, we watched the early game while laboring, and we were in the recovery room by the time the last game started. Another bonus for Trev. :)
So there is her story. Crazy huh? I almost had her in the car! What if Trevor had taken Dec to Gary's? I would have given birth at home....ALONE! The midwife wasn't called into the delivery room, she heard my screaming and came running. :) I was talking to the nurse taking care of me later in the day, telling her how I didn't have an epidural (I was telling everyone), and she said "Yeah, I know, I heard you." Talk about embarrassing! What. A. Day.
She's now a month old, and we are starting to see a new normal. I still have yet to cook dinner or do much cleaning, but I've (sorta) been doing laundry. Once breastfeeding gets easier, I'll be better.....I hope. That's my goal anyway.
Here's a few pics from the day:
This may look like her being born, but she's just getting her first hospital bath. :)
"Enjoying" bath time.
I didn't have a chance to blow dry my hair that morning. I think my hair looks like the wig Norman Bates keeps on his mother.
Grandpa with Abs...
Grandma with Abs.
Leaving the hospital, waiting for my dad to bring the car up.