I was really wanting to make it till a few days after Christmas. As miserable as I was, I was NOT wanting a Christmas baby. Plus we had rooms to rearrange and we couldn't do that until after the holiday, because it was Jane's birthday present. We had a lovely Christmas, spent the 26th and 27th getting everything set up and I was ready then to have the baby any time.
We'd arranged with my midwife to strip my membranes on Saturday 12/28 (1 week before my due date) while she was working at the hospital. A few days prior I'd had really itchy palms, feet and legs as well as a resurgence of extreme nausea, exhaustion and depression. I asked Ryan to give me a blessing that Saturday morning because I was feeling so awful and upset. In the blessing, he promised that everything would be okay and that I would be able to listen to the doctors and make good medical decisions for the safety of myself and the baby. (This is foreshadowing, folks.) He thought it was a great blessing, but I was worried because I really had a sense that things were going to be different and medically tricky.
We headed downtown for our midwife appointment and I brought my hospital bag--Ryan thought it was totally unnecessary--but I just wanted to be safe. We got to the hospital, checked in with the triage nurse (procedure since I was having an in-hospital appointment) and they did a non-stress test. When my midwife came in and stripped me, I mentioned my symptoms of the last few days. She was worried I could have cholestasis of pregnancy which causes sudden stillbirth and went to check with the doctor from her practice. She came back in and I could tell by her face that the news wasn't good. They urged me to check in and begin inducement. They wouldn't have test results on the cholestasis till the following Tuesday but it was too risky to wait and be sure as the disease can turn the placenta toxic in a matter of hours.
They began to check me in and I could tell my nurses were not pro-natural childbirth. Comments like "why are you doing that?" and "you must like pain?!" clued me in. I slowly got more and more upset. I don't change plans easily, was already nervous about doing it without drugs and everything was making it harder and more unlikely. Ryan was wonderful and kept trying to talk me off the ledge but the next 24 hours were pretty miserable as we waited to see if stripping my membranes would put me into labor naturally, then started a pitocin drip at midnight and I labored hooked up to machines and laying on my back. Ryan slept, I didn't and I got more frustrated and scared about the whole situation.
When my midwife came in around 5am and found out I hadn't progressed more than a 1 cm in the whole 12 hours I'd been there, she upped my pitocin and the pains really started. After an hour, she broke my water, ordered me off of the monitors and allowed me to move around. My labor and delivery nurse was pretty not helpful as I had crazy pitocin contractions sans drugs. (The midwife had another delivery and frankly didn't realize that I'd move so quickly, because the rest had been so slow). After 45 minutes I had them check me again and I had opened to an 8. Everyone began to freak out, yelling for the midwife and the equipment. I was just relieved because it was so hard and I was so happy that it was going to be over soon.
My midwife arrived and was so great. She knew just what to say and how to get me to focus and helped me through the next 3-4 contractions until I told her I could tell he was coming. I got on the bed and began to push. Pushing was CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY hard without drugs and there were moments where I didn't think I could do it. It only took 3 pushes, I think, and he was out. Levi Park Romney was born on December 29, 2013, at 8:16am. He was 7 lbs, 15 oz and 20 inches long. He had tons of blonde hair. Cutest thing ever.
The poor guy was dark purple and the staff began to see it and reassure us immediately that it was just bruising and he was okay. He seemed healthy and fine and was crying and so sweet. I could see immediately that he looked like Seth and Ryan and that was so fun. The bruising was nuts; a result of moving from a 4cm to fully delivered in 75 minutes meant he was slammed hard down the birth canal. One nurse said she'd never seen a baby so bruised. :(
I had a really hard time delivering the placenta and Ryan says he'd never seen a midwife have such a hard time getting it out before. She was pushing and I was pushing and I was bleeding a ton. I only needed a few stitches but that was painful too. I was very surprised at how uncomfortable the after-birth part was because I'd never felt it before. I'd always just enjoyed the baby while they fixed me up (numbed and happy)and I felt pretty unable to concentrate on Levi this time because it was so difficult.
He did seem a little more alert than the other babies and I did like that I could walk immediately after. I was also glad to have experienced a natural childbirth, to know what it was like. However, there wasn't any big endorphin rush or anything different from the other births and I was sad that I couldn't enjoy the 30-45 minutes afterward because I was so exhausted and uncomfortable. I ended the whole thing feeling pretty 50-50 on natural childbirth: glad I'd done it, but not raving about it.
He was here and he was cute and I was in love but the next four weeks had a lot of craziness in store for both of us. But that's a different blog post. :)