I am happy to announce that A) I am no longer pregnant, and 2. Allie decided to come early! Here’s how it went down.
Thursday, July 16th – I went to the OB that morning for a regular check up. He said I was 3 cm and 60% effaced. He also said, “Let me encourage the membranes”, a statement I am still unsure of how to define. I don’t know what his magic fingers did, but all day Thursday and Friday I had contractions that felt like bad menstrual cramps. I wasn’t in extreme pain, and the contractions weren’t timeable, but by Friday morning I was convinced I would have the baby within 36 hours.
Friday, July 17th – After a day full of more frequent cramping, I decided I was pretty uncomfortable. So we put Lexi to bed, called the grandparents to come stay with her, and Elian and I left for the hospital around 9 PM. The triage nurse examined me and said I was 5-6 cms and 80% effaced. The admission process began, and by 10:45 PM I was in a delivery room having my water broken. Within 15 minutes I was 7-8 cms and experiencing THE MOST PAINFUL CONTRACTIONS KNOWN TO WOMAN. I basically thought I was going to die. The contractions were coming one right on top of the other, and I was afraid I might’ve been too far along to get an epidural… The anesthesiologist was called and FINALLY showed up around 11:30 PM. She introduced me to the student anesthesiologist who would be working with her. I was not thrilled at all to be having a newbie doing a potentially paralyzing procedure on me, but, he had to learn some time, right? Maybe if I wasn’t so afraid of confrontation I would have demanded the real anesthesiologist do the job, but that’s an entirely different post.
I had an epidural with Lexi, when I was 1 cm and barely contracting, and I never felt a thing. This is important. Because this time around I not only felt the catheter going all the way down my spine, but it HURT! Between the contractions and the epidural administration, I was screaming loud enough for the nurse across the hall, in mid-delivery, to leave her patient to come check on me. I was convinced the whole process was going to end with me paralyzed for life, but apparently, I was a pretty standard case of forcing an epidural to work on a woman who is nearly too far along to get one at all. I’m sure all the screaming made the student anesthesiologist completely question his choice of profession, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he dropped out of the medical field all together.
Saturday, July 18th – They spent about 30 minutes upping the pain medication until I was finally numb on both sides of my body. Meanwhile, I finished dilating to 10 cms and started pushing at 12:30 AM. With Lexi the epidural left me with no sensation at all – I had to be told when I was having a contraction and had no idea if I was pushing effectively or not. This time I could feel some pressure and was able to sense when a contraction was coming. I guess this was helpful, as the doctor thought I was pushing well. I pushed for 1 hour with Lexi, and the second delivery is supposed to go even faster. But not this time. I pushed for 2 hours when all was said and done. The nurse noticed pretty early on that Allie had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. This didn’t seem to alarm her, especially since Allie’s heart rate was good. But after an hour and 45 minutes of pushing, Allie’s heart rate dropped and wasn’t recovering between pushes. That’s when the doctor calmly said, “Ok, baby is getting tired, we need to get this baby out.” The nurse began buzzing around the room, dressing the doctor in surgical garb, handing her instruments, and making phone calls for vacuums. Within 5 minutes I had been given an episiotomy, pushed twice, and, with the help of a suck from the vacuum, Allie’s head popped out. The doctor snipped the cord around her neck and pulled her out at 2:27 AM. They placed her on my chest for 30 seconds before whisking her over to the incubator to check her out. It didn’t take long for the nurse to realize Allie wasn’t pinking up. Although she was crying and taking plenty of air into her lungs, she wasn’t maintaining her air on her own – a side effect of having an umbilical cord wrapped around the neck. The nurse slipped an oxygen mask on her and picked up the phone to call NICU. A 3 person team of NICU nurses barged into the room, calm and cheery despite the perceived seriousness of the situation. They looked Allie over and monitored her for 5 minutes as she breathed in the pure oxygen. Thankfully, that’s all it took for her to begin breathing properly on her own.
So after a long, roller coaster ride of labor, little Allie was born on July 18th – 8 days early! She is a sweet-tempered, laid back baby who LOVES to sleep. Lexi is enamored with Allie, and loves to kiss and hold her. I’m not sure how I will survive these first few months of having to be up all night nursing Allie and all day chasing Lexi, but I am thankful that God has blessed me with the privilege to be the mother of 2 sweet girls!