I had started to feel pretty miserable towards the end of my pregnancy and cried through my 36 week OB appointment. During that appointment, the midwife agreed to check me the next week and strip my membranes if possible. I was surprised, since they had originally told me they wouldn’t start checking me until 38 weeks and strip then. I finally had hope that my baby girl would be born, and soon. I got through that next week with the hopes that I would be dilated enough for the midwife to strip my membranes.
As I went into that next appointment, I had two thoughts. One, that she would tell me that she would not check me yet and that she was only trying to help me get through the next week, and two, that if she did, it wouldn’t really work and I would be pregnant for another couple of weeks. I had started to be okay with that second thought. I was prepared to make the best of being another two weeks pregnant.
The midwife did check me at that appointment (2cm dilated, 50%effaced, baby at –1 station) and she did strip my membranes. After she stripped my membranes, she kept her hand underneath the sheet and told me I could expect some bleeding that afternoon and not to be concerned. She pulled her hand out to show me a bloody glove. I wasn’t surprised, considering how uncomfortable it was when she stripped the membranes. As Adam and I walked out of the office, I told him that Aidan’s delivery doctor definitely did not do that to me. He must have just told me he did it to make me happy, because it felt nothing like what the midwife had just done.
That was Thursday, March 16, 2006, and I remember really wanting a St. Patrick’s Day baby but thinking that fairy tales just don’t happen. What I didn’t realize was that my life was as close to a fairy tale as you can get, the awesome husband, beautiful son, and SAHM life I wanted, and that I was going to get my St. Patrick’s Day baby. I mean, who does that really happen to? 37 weeks pregnant, really want to have your baby tomorrow, get midwife to strip your membranes, and it actually works.
That was at 12:30 pm and by 7 that night I was having regular contractions every 3-5 minutes but not lasting too long. I was playing with Aidan and not paying too much attention, but while on the phone with my Aunt Cindy, she recommended that I start timing them. Adam was out for “one more night with the guys” at the cigar bar down the street and had just called to say that he was bringing 8 people back to the house with steaks to grill for dinner. I told him that it was time to stop drinking because I was having regular contractions, but I don’t think he really believed me (although he did stop drinking).
By 9pm, I had 8 people grilling and cooking in my house and I had called my OB to discuss the situation and decided that it was time to go in. I had been in contact with my doula and the postpartum doula we had hired take care of Aidan “just in case” and called both to have them come. The one woman who had been at the “guys night out” cleaned up the mess and helped to usher everyone out of the house. Thank god for her.
My doula got to the house at 9:30 and I sat on the birth ball and we talked until the post partum doula arrived at 9:45. At that point, I scrambled around, trying to show her everything she needed for Aidan (we were supposed to have our home visit two days later for this), but ultimately, it was decided that the doula and I go the hospital and Adam stay behind to show the post partum doula her way around. It was such a relief to me to have Adam making sure Aidan would be safe and taken care of while we were away.
The doula and I arrived at the hospital at 10:15 and were taken to triage where a very unfriendly nurse checked us in. She seemed annoyed with me right away, asking me how many weeks I was and then asking why they stripped my membranes. She checked me and I was 3cm, 80% effaced, and baby at –1 station. I couldn’t believe that I really hadn’t progressed very much since the afternoon, especially since I was having such intense and regular contractions. I was told to walk around until midnight and she would check me again.
Adam got to the hospital around 11:20 and walked into the labor and delivery halls with me on all fours and the doula rubbing my back. What a scene! At this point, I was really annoyed with my pain. I was really worried about Aidan and cried that I had abandoned him. I couldn’t imagine how he was going to make it through the night without me. Adam reassured me that he would be fine and that when he left Aidan was cuddled up with his caregiver. Adam was great, trying to ease my pain both mentally and physically. He and the doula took turns rubbing my back and holding me up.
When the nurse checked me again at midnight I was still the same. At this point, she got even bitchier with me and told me “We all get uncomfortable at the end of pregnancy.” She hinted that she wanted to send me home and I reassured her that I was in labor, but was progressing similar to with my first baby. My back labor was horrible. I was starting to get really discouraged. Every time I would go into that triage room with that nurse, my contractions would slow down. I was really pissed that I was in so much pain and not even in my own room yet. I wanted to be in the shower, able to move around, and be naked.
Adam got really pissed off at this point, listening to the nurse dismiss my pain and he used his cell phone to page my doctor. I guess she was finishing paperwork from a delivery at another hospital and didn’t arrive to check me until 1:20am. 4-5cm, 80% effaced, and baby at –1 station. I couldn’t believe it when she told me. I started crying and asked her if she gave hugs. “Of course” was her answer and she gave me a big hug. We talked about an epidural and she suggested I try and wait because she thought the baby was posterior and causing my back labor. She thought that waiting would give my body and the baby a chance to turn her around. I agreed to wait and was moved to my room.
On the way to my room, the bitchy nurse was holding my arm. I tried to stop a couple of times to make it through contractions, but she kept pulling my arm and didn’t want me to stop. I would ask her to stop for a minute and she would pull my arm. By the time we got to my room, I was over the whole thing. I told them I wanted my epidural now.
By the time they got my IV started and checked my platelets for the epidural, it was 2:50am. In between contractions, Adam and my doula tried to rub my back and help ease the pain, but I couldn’t seem to get ahead of it. At 3am I had my epidural (from a very young, stoned looking doctor) and had progressed to 7cm, 100% effaced and baby still at –1 station. My contractions started to slow again and by 4:15am I was 8cm and stayed there until about 7:30am. I rested as much as I could hooked up to IV, epidural, and baby and contraction monitors. Adam and the doula took opposite ends of the plastic futon and tried to rest as well. During this time, I started talking to my nurse about my birth plan and she disagreed with me on many issues. I let her have her argument and waited until shift change at 7am.
At 8:10am, my doctor broke my bag of water and my contractions immediately started back up. By 8:30 I was 9.5cm, 100% effaced, and baby at 0 station. My doctor left and I talked with my new, awesome nurse for a few minutes about my birth plan and she agreed with me on all counts. I brushed my teeth and waited.
When they hadn’t heard from me by 9:30, the doctor and nurse came back to the room to check me again. At 9:32am, I was fully dilated and ready to push. While the doctor was checking me, she told me to push a little to see how effective I would be. As I started to give a little push, she told me to “Stop, you’re going to have her” and she put her gown on. At the next contraction I pushed 4 times (with little effort) and her head was out. I pushed a little once more and my baby girl was born at 9:39am. She did one little cry and then rested on my chest. She was covered in vernix and sticky all over. She was so tiny and quiet, I worried a little, but my awesome nurse reassured me and I kept her warm and talked to her for the first time. Adam cut the cord and we both marveled at the miracle lying on my chest.
I delivered the placenta soon after and my doctor gave a tear one stitch. I looked over the placenta; amazed that it had kept me connected to and nourished my baby for 37 weeks, and felt the cord between my fingers. I tried to nurse my baby girl but she showed little interest at first. I had the nurse take her to get a weight and measurements, 6lbs 11oz, 19.25 inches long, 11.75 inch head.
I was anxious to get up and shower, so as soon as my legs felt ready I asked my nurse to help me up. She was behind me telling me how she was going to help me up and I just hopped off the bed. I guess my legs weren’t quite ready because as soon as my weight got on them they were gone. I fell flat on the floor, not knowing how I had gotten there, but laughed once I realized. My nurse was mortified, and she helped me up and into the shower where she told me I needed to stay sitting on the seat. I had the rest of the shift with that awesome nurse and she took great care of us, letting us rest and putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on our door. I nursed our baby and Adam and I spent time bonding with her.
We didn’t really know what to do during that time. It seemed so quiet and easy. How could it have been so difficult and crazy when we had Aidan? We laughed about how she was already a second baby and took comfort in that. We napped, ate, nursed, and enjoyed being just the three of us for one day, although I couldn’t wait to be back home with Aidan.
I still had to decide what I would name her. We knew her first name would be Anna, after Adam’s great grandmother, but I was undecided on her middle name, Gail or Nadine after my grandmas. She looked like both to me. I couldn’t make a decision. When Adam called the stork rental place, he made me tell him what they would put on the stork. I told him Anna Gail Nadine, and he said if I decided different I could cross a name off later. So Anna Gail Nadine it was. Such a big name for such a little baby, but she wears it well.