Finally getting a chance to write this out, because if I wait any longer I know I’ll forget some of the details. Not quite in story form, but with dates and times it’ll be easier for me to write out. Some info might be TMI, but I would really like to remember what I can.
Arabella’s Birth Story and Hospital Stay
January 5th, 2:00pm-After having a great morning and lunch with Teresa from our Bradley class I got home, and lay down to take a nap before Gary got home to go to my 41 week appointment. After a few minutes of laying down I started to have some contractions that were around 10 minutes apart and not very strong. I got up and decided to do some things around the house just in case they turned into something, though I wasn’t very optimistic because at my 40 week appointment I had only been 1-2cm dilated. Getting up actually either stopped or lessened the contractions so I didn’t really feel them as much as when I was resting, so I decided it wasn’t much of anything. The only good thing that had happened that morning was I started to lose my mucus plug which sometimes doesn’t mean much, but made me optimistic since I was past 40 weeks.
January 5th, 4:00pm-At the OB appointment I was still only 1-2cm and she hadn’t dropped really much at all so I had the doctor strip my membranes since I didn’t want to have to be induced (the induction was scheduled for Monday the 11th). The contractions still weren’t really much of anything at the office and the doctor wasn’t optimistic that anything was going to happen anytime soon.
January 5th, 5:00pm-Home from the doctors, and contractions actually started to become more intense and closer together. Gary and I start to get some things together that we hadn’t done, not knowing when the baby would decide to arrive. Over the next few hours the contractions still intensify, staying between 3-10 minutes apart and quickly getting more consistent.
January 5th, 9:00pm-Call doctor/midwife on duty and ask her about the contractions and even though they’re close together and I can almost talk through them *almost* she tells me I should stay at home a bit longer (office policy is to call when they’re 3-5 min apart, which they are at this point). Now I’m pacing the house to help out getting through the contractions.
January 5th, 10:30pm-Time to get in the tub and hopefully soaking will help out the contractions. I can’t talk through them at this point, but they’re still not to the point where I can’t function.
January 6th, 12:00am-After spending almost an hour and a half in the tub, it’s not helping any more and at this point I figure I should probably finish getting the last bit of stuff together since it looks like we would be going to the hospital. Also, hearing how some people don’t get a chance to shower for a couple days I figure that might be a good idea as well.
January 6th, 1:00am-My water breaks and it’s time to go to the hospital (hurray!). I didn’t anticipate this happening as she hadn’t dropped and there weren’t really any signs that it was going to come anytime soon. Gary does a great job of getting everything in the car and getting me settled.
January 6th, 1:30am-Admitted into the hospital and settled into the room I’d have for my entire stay. Mom and Emmy arrive and are here for the long haul! At admission I was 5cm, 80% effaced.
January 6th, 4:00am-14 hours into labor (after first contractions at 2pm), I decide to get the epidural. The staff at St. Luke’s was great, not offering it to me and only assisting after I requested it. I was hoping to go natural, but at this point I couldn’t really handle it any more. After the epidural I did feel a little bit guilty about getting it, hoping that it wouldn’t snowball into ending up with a c-section. This was probably the hardest decision, though now after everything I do feel better about it. At this point I was 7cm dilated. Getting the epidural gave me a bit of relief to be able to get some rest.
January 6th, 7:00am-Woke up from my “nap” and had stalled, hardly any contractions and the intensity wasn’t as much as they had been earlier. I had them turn down the epidural as I couldn’t feel my legs and I felt that it was a bit too much, and had potentially caused the stall in labor (will never know really). At this point I just relaxed and continued to doze here and there. Nurse also determined that there was a forebag of waters at the baby’s forehead that hadn’t let the baby come down and broke it at this point.
January 6th, 11:00am-12:00pm-Midwife and nursing staff determined that I needed Pitocin to get labor back on track, I hadn’t dilated any more since I got the epidural.
January 6th, 2:00pm-3:00pm-Finally complete at 10cm with a little bit of a lip which the nurse helped push back. This is when the pushing began.
January 6th, 5:05pm-Arabella arrives! I ended up with a 2nd degree tear and needed stitches, but at this point that wasn’t even a thought.
I of course bawled when I got to see her, it really was a surreal experience to finally have her here. We delayed cutting the cord until it had stopped pulsing so she would get all the benefits from that last little bit, and when it was time Gary got to cut it. We also delayed all the newborn procedures until about an hour-hour and a half after she was born so we could have some bonding time. We also had to kick everyone out of the room so we could decide on a name since we had quite a few that we liked. Arabella did great with nursing right away, but the night of the 6th was where things took a little turn.
We found on on Thursday the 7th that she had a jaundice level of 10 but the predicted levels were such that if they didn’t put her on the biliruben lights she would have skyrocketed to dangerous levels as they peak around the 3rd or 4th day after birth. She ended up being put on a bili-blanket the night of the 7th after her blood test was run.
Friday the 8th we ended up having to stay in the hospital another night because her levels still hadn’t come down. The elected to put her on a bili-bed which is the next step up in the bili-light progression. She was required to lie on the bed in only her diaper with little eye covers.
Finally on Saturday we were told that we would be allowed to go home after another blood test around noon, though she had to be on the bili-bed until then.
This was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I am extremely lucky that I have a husband that was/is 110% devoted and supportive. I couldn’t have done any of this without Gary’s help. You never know how much your heart can grow or how much your life can change in a single day.