At this time last week, I was settling into my hospital room in labor and delivery...not knowing what was going to happen in the next hours, days or possibly weeks (eek!).
So I left off on the Monday before last...the 5th of August. Daniel's first day of school, an NST appointment and so on. Tuesday, the day after, was pretty uneventful as well. I'd been taking Zoloft for a full week at that point, and it was starting to take the edge off of some of the hormonal and stress driven emotional stuff (I'm sure that wasn't helping with any contractions I'd had).
Wednesday started out pretty tame. We got Daniel off to school, got Jared up and dressed and off to daycare, then made our way to the weekly doctor's appointment. It was pretty standard, and these visits were actually getting a little more depressing, since there was usually NO progress beyond what had already been made. My appointment was with the nurse practitioner, and on checking, she confirmed that I was still at 6cm. Group B strep was still positive (not surprising, but I thought MAYBE, perhaps, that all of the antibiotics shoved into me might have killed it off temporarily). She gave me a copy of my record to take to the hospital just in case as well.
Daniel had early release from school that day, so he got home around 12:45pm. I'd meant to go get a TDap shot at the doctor's office after lunch (I was supposed to get it the week before, but I think everyone including me spaced out on it before leaving the office). So we went to do that really quickly and went back home. I was feeling a little crampy, like contractions might start coming on. While playing with Daniel, I started feeling contractions again. They actually started kind of slow (for me!), maybe every 5-7 minutes. They got a little closer, and we made the call to go to triage sooner rather than later in the evening. By now it was around 3pm.
We (Daniel, Mike and I) got to hospital triage pretty quickly and went through all of the admitting stuff and right into a room. Got hooked up to a monitor again, and low and behold, contractions (of course). The nurse came in and checked me again. Still at 6cm. I swear every doctor at the office knows my MO, so it wasn't terribly surprising that when the nurse called that they said just to have me walk around. So we did that for a while...went down to the healing gardens with Daniel and all of that. After a bit, it was time to go and get Jared from daycare, so Mike and Daniel left for that while I sat in triage...contracting, but not "progressing" because I wasn't dilating further, and getting a little more depressed that all of these contractions were coming but nothing was happening.
And then I sat. And waited. And Mike and the kids got back and were hanging out in the waiting area. I just KNEW I was going to be sent home, even though both nurses that came in to check were dumbfounded that I was so dilated and nothing had happened. The nurse had the doctor come down and chat (and she also checked me too...although I didn't think anything would happen in that short of a span!). Mike and the kids came in at that time too, and I was pretty upset at the fact that I felt like I was crying wolf every time I ended up in triage with contractions...and expressed my fear that I had no idea when or if I was ever progressing when contractions started again. I didn't want to keep staying at home for fear that one of these times it WOULD be the real thing. Everyone pretty much reassured me that I was doing the right thing each time, and it still COULD be a few more trips to triage. However, the tide changed a little bit when Dr. Hebets suggested that I should stay the night, get some rest and see if things changed by morning. I was still a bit iffy on that (stay the night, then get sent home? Couldn't I just sleep better at home?), but it was reassuring to Mike and me to have me in the hospital for the night "just in case".
Mike and the kids went home and I got moved to room 341 in L&D. I mention that, because it was a repeat room (ha!)...my second try room. I was surprised that they put me in L&D (I was thinking antepartum again?). They suggested I take a shower, get some food and they'd give me an Ambien to help me sleep. So I did the first two...shower and light dinner...and got hooked up to the monitors again as well. The nurse confirmed from the doctors to start the IV just to be able to get antibiotics started quickly if needed. I also got the Ambien...they said it'd take about 15-30 minutes to kick in, and to stay put and call if I had to use the bathroom...Ambien sometimes makes people say silly things or something to that effect. I took the Ambien, THEN the IV attempts started. First try in my right arm started hurting more at first than I ever remember, but I tried to stay still and just get it done (after it's in, it isn't a big deal, I figured). It didn't go (the nurse thought she might have hit a valve or something) and so on to try number two. Yep, fail on that one too. She felt SO bad, so she got another nurse. And third and fourth try...nope! Nurse number 3 comes, and at that point I'm feeling REALLY lightheaded for whatever reason. They pop the cool washcloth on my forehead and give me a little break. Try number 5. Nope. Finally, the nurse looks at the nice vein on the top of my right hand (notoriously "wiggly" and sort of uncomfortable) and decides that might be her best shot. And it was definitely uncomfortable, but it worked!
I actually slept pretty well, courtesy of the Ambien. When I woke up in the morning, I wasn't feeling nearly as many contractions, and it really bummed me out. I really thought I had endured numerous needle sticks and a night in the hospital for nothing. The doctor from the previous night came in and said that since I was now officially "term" (37 weeks!) that they could do a little more to get me delivered. With the change in doctors came Dr. Jackson (the doctor I prefer to see in the office, even though I like them all!). He checked me again and he called me a "7 to 8cm". Either he was being super generous or I had gone from being stalled at 6cm to being just a little more overnight somehow (as an aside, he'd explained before that sometimes when the cervix gets to be in the upper ranges, it can be stretched or not depending on the person checking and it can be a little dynamic too...lower dilation measurements are usually more in synch from person to person). He also did a quick membrane sweep/strip to see if that would help as well (membrane stripping in previous pregnancies always resulted in a baby less than 24 hours later for me!). IV antibiotics got started just before 9am...and I got one dose in before they let me walk around a little bit more and contractions came on again, pretty handily, and I got kind of bored so I went back and waited for Mike.
By the time Mike got there, I was hooked back up to the monitor again, and the contractions were coming on fairly regularly, but they wanted to see them a little stronger. The doctor suggested that I go for the epidural before they decided to start pitocin, because those contractions are definitely more painful (and he didn't want to be responsible for any swearing as a result of wanting an epidural and not having one :) ). Within about 15 minutes of saying "yes" to the epidural, the anesthesiologist came in and set up. As he was getting started, the attending anesthesiologist came in and planted himself in a chair and started making jokes and spouting all sorts of random trivia (mostly regarding the Apollo astronauts). It was pretty funny.
Another doctor came by and asked if I'd like to consent to participate in a study that they were doing. Mothers delivering around 37 weeks (which I was exactly!), in their mid-30s, and having received steroids. That's me! All that they'd need was a couple of pieces of placenta once it was delivered, one for expression arrays and the other for FFPE. I'm totally down with that!
After that, Megan, Cathie and Monica came by to visit. For some reason, I had thought the nurse had already started the pitocin, but she hadn't...and came to hang the bag while they were there. About 20 minutes later as everyone was about to head back to work, I felt something akin to a water balloon breaking and coming out and then something warm on my legs. I had Mike look and it was my water that had broken! I was SO happy with that, and was laughing pretty hard. Since things might start to move kind of fast after the water breaks, and Daniel was due to get out of school soon, Mike headed out the door to get them and bring them back to the hospital (so Megan could take them for the night). I was still at about 8cm, so there was still a little bit of time, in theory.
Contractions started picking up in intensity and I waited for everyone to get back (and Mike hurried back pretty quickly, all things considered...distance, timing for Daniel getting out of school, packing up things for the kids and so on). During that time, the resident and medical student came in to check to make sure the baby was head down still by ultrasound (it was an easy one, and good practice for the med student). They also noticed that there was a little bit of hindwater trapped by membrane, so they broke that (weird, since I have never had my water break TWICE?). I still felt like I was leaking fluid periodically.
Mike came back with the kids, and we had a quick hello. The nurse figured it wouldn't be too long before things started happening, so Mike gave Megan a call to come over a little earlier if she could (instead of 4 or 4:30 like they planned). While waiting for Megan, the nurse lifted up the sheet and there was a pretty sizable pool of blood everywhere (I guess I was leaking more than amniotic fluid!). At that point, the nurse suggested that Mike take the kids out just in case, and made the quick call to the doctors. The resident and med student came in first and suited up, followed by my doctor. They didn't even really have to check to see that I was all the way dilated and the head was really low. So we all kind of chit-chatted (awkward in the delivery room, right?) and waited for Mike to get back. The nurse manning the baby warmer asked if I could call Mike to get him back in here (which, Jared had taken my phone, so no!), so I gave her the number and she called to tell him to run back or he'd miss the delivery!
They broke down the bed for delivery, got everything into position and pushing commenced! It barely took 3 pushes and she was out! I was the most clear headed out of all of the delivery/childbirth experiences thus far, probably just being pretty relaxed and also not having it be in the middle of the night. I could see her after she came out and was getting suctioned, watched Mike cut the cord and so on. It was even cool to see the placenta after it was delivered (something I didn't see with the other two kids). As the doctor looked the placenta over, he mentioned something about how it was starting to deteriorate a little, and it had quite a bit of old blood in there too, like it had been bleeding before. I don't know when that would have been, since the only bleeding I had was with a small subchorionic hemorrhage early on, and some bloody show before first delivery attempt at 34 1/2 weeks. Who knows if that could have precipitated some of the pre-term labor in the first place...it doesn't prove cause and effect, but just trying to figure out what might have happened that was different with this pregnancy just in case something like this happens with the next one.
In any case, I think I felt the best with this delivery compared to Daniel and Jared's (for various reasons), and in the end I don't think things could have gone better!
And so ends the birth story...Kaitlyn Elizabeth Stone, born August 8th, 2013 at 4:08pm. Weighing in at 6lbs 13oz and measuring 19 1/2 inches!