e-Babe: 9/24/06, 3:57 am, 8lb 7oz, 20.5 inches, APGAR scores: 8 (1 min) and 9 (5 min). Punctual, overachiever. Brilliantly smart, charming.
10 minutes old!
Sorry about the delay- we've been a little bit busy, but we are home now.
The whole story? No way. Some of the story with some parts edited out for terrifying graphic content? OK.
So yes, early labor (the kind that feel like menstrual cramps) lasted 17 hours. Frankly, I never expected it to last that long. At 2:30 am, I was certain our baby would arrive ON THE 23RD. I imagine the baby expected as much, too. Seventeen hours of early labor was a piece of cake, really. I had a shower, SNG and I walked around the neighborhood a little, we went to the mall with mom and Dianaverse and looked at stuff, went home and had a nice bath, and then we waited to see what would happen.
At 9:15pm we decided to take advantage of the lull in football stadium traffic and head to the hospital. At admission time I was at 2cm. For those uninitiated to baby-making, you start at 0 cm. A baby can be born when your cervix opens to 10cm.
First of all, SNG is the best. birthing. coach. ever. I'd have fainted dead away if I had to do his job. At least my job was one of those can't-run-away-no-looking-back jobs. SNG's was, in some sense, voluntary. He's amazing under pressure.
I got my favorite doctor from the OB practice (there are 6 doctors, all of whom are fantastic, but 2 of whom are outstanding, as far as having personality and medical philospohy that matches me. Your baby is delivered by whichever one is on call. I got one of those 2). The doctor came in and told me that I was there very early in the labor, and that she expected the baby to be born sometime Sunday afternoon, and that I should settle in and just get the epidural whenever the pain got to be too much.
Our nurse, Kate, told me with a sly wink that if she had anything to do with it, we would be finished well before Sunday afternoon.
10:00- water broke naturally. That's when the hospital people consider labor to have "begun" since that triggers active labor. For the next 2 hours or so, the labor got a LOT harder, and went from bearable (can't talk through it but not freaking out from pain) to unbearable. Kate "checked" and said I had only made it to 3.5cm in 2 hours. WAAAAAH! The doctor said that I'd need to be given pitocin to speed up and intensify the labor. WAAAAAH! But wait...
I remembered the Yoda Jedi wisdom of my childbirth instructor who said that sometimes, intense labor is totally unproductive because the pain causes the mother to be tense, keeping everthing "closed up." Literally. I knew the only way I'd relax would be with epidural pain relief, so I asked for the hook up and we decided against the pitocin just yet. Two tries later (first time the epidural went into a vein instead of the nerve) and at about midnight I was juiced. It didn't feel like anything-- it's essentially novocaine for the lower body-- but I could tell when there was a contraction and I'd focus on RELAX RELAX RELAX. Sure enough, I was dilating at last.
A funny thing about epidurals, though, is that they can only keep up with labor pain if it progresses at a normal rate. If it goes fast, the medication has little or no effect at all. The doctor told of a phenomenon known as "outrunning the epidural." All that good relaxing, and within an hour I was feeling the contractions. For real. By 2am I was at 7cm. With no pitocin, I might add. The nurse decided I didn't really need it after all. Fine, as the labor was PAINFUL ENOUGH WITHOUT IT, since the epidural wasn't working. Did I mention that?
SNG was busy busy busy with massage, encouragement and talking to the nurse/doctor on my behalf (they said I sounded like darth vader with my oxygen mask on, but luckily, SNG speaks Dark Side).
By 3:15 am I was at 10cm. Apparently this is kind of fast for a first baby. The nurse had just paged the doctor at about 3:13 to say "we're progressing, you should wake up and be aware it'll be sometime this morning." Two minutes later she had to call to tell her to GET IN HERE WE ARE DELIVERING NOW.
I was not really all that cognizant of much, as by now the epidural was little more than a tube in my spine delivering something as effective as saline. I pushed. I don't want to talk about it. The nurse and the doctor were blown away that I pushed for 42 minutes, as this is very quick for a first pregnancy. They said it was all a matter of strong muscles, overall fitness, and cardio endurance. PIC, my wise Yoda-Jedi advice is to continue exercising somehow-- anything-- through the whole 3rd trimester, unless you aren't allowed to.
The bottom line, for the curious, is that other than the epidural not working, there were no complications, no forceps, no vacuum, no episiotomy, no pitocin, no c-section. Just a few stitches and the doctor told me I could start jogging again the next day, if I felt up to it. Hahahaha. She's such a funny lady (she did also say that I wouldn't feel like it for a week or so, but whenever I want to is safe).
SNG stayed with me at the hospital, and the baby slept in the room with us. We were initially told we'd be in for 2 more nights at the hospital, but Monday morning the doctors all said that she and I were fit enough to go home after 24, if we wanted to. So we came home at noon on Monday, and we're home now.
She's absolutely, totally, completely perfect in every way that a baby can be perfect. Pink, plump, and beautiful.