They aren’t kidding when they tell you that each labor and delivery is different. Even though I knew this, I couldn’t help but think, “I know how this will go, I’ve done this before.” But this delivery was much different than Clara!
I woke up to contractions around 2:30am on Sunday morning, September 1st. They were 5-7 minutes apart and growing stronger. I started timing them on my phone and tried to rest a little longer. Around 5am I called the hospital and talked to the triage nurse, who also happened to be the labor nurse I had with Clara. She told me to come in, and I told her we would be there within the hour. I woke Paul up, threw a few remaining things in Clara’s bag and Paul went to take her to his parent’s. While they were gone, I showered and got ready to go. Once Paul got home, he did chores, showered, got ready, packed his bag… and took his sweet time, never mind the fact that by now my contractions were 3-4 min apart. We finally climbed in the car at 6am. On the way to the hospital we stopped at the bakery to drop off eggs and then at the store so Paul could get things ready for the day – never mind the fact that I was puffing through contractions by this point...We arrived at the hospital a little before 7am, where we met our nurse Ashley, who happened to be a classmate of Paul’s. She hooked me up to the monitors and checked me – I was dilated to a 3-4. The contractions were still strong and I tried standing and walking to help ease the pain. Paul sat on the couch on his phone. At some point my doctor came in to go over our game plan for the day. My blood pressure was a little high, so they wanted to run a few tests to make sure I wasn’t pre-eclamptic.
Around 9am, the nurse let me know that there was a c-section scheduled for 10am, so if I wanted my epidural she would call for it then since there was only 1 anesthesiologist on. He came quickly and after 2 tries I was feeling a lot less pain! My blood pressure resolved back to normal and my pre-eclampsia tests came back normal.
We hung out for a few more hours, Paul left to get lunch. At some point my water broke. Then I started feeling a lot of pressure, and pain. I was still only a 9 with a little “lip” of cervix left, so I couldn’t push yet, but they had me lay on each side to help finishing the thinning. I have no idea what time it was (sometime after 2pm) when the doctor came in and checked me. I was still lying on my side, when he asked me to do a few “practice pushes” to see where we were at. 6 minutes later we had a baby at 2:24pm! It was very painful, and pretty much a blur. I have no idea where Paul was during the delivery, who held my leg (I was still on my side) or if the doctor even got gowned up. It all happened so fast!
I was still trying to wrap my head around what had just happened when Paul told me we had another little girl! He got to cut the cord (something he didn’t get to do with Clara). As the nurses were cleaning her up, someone said something about red hair and told Paul to get his camera. I couldn’t believe when they weighed her and announced the weight at 9lbs, 12oz! Clara had only weighed 7lbs, 6oz… I guess that explains all the hip pain!
Soon they had both of us cleaned up (no tears! Yeah!), and we were able to snap a few family pictures and give her a name. 30 minutes or so after she arrived, the lactation consultant came in to help us do our first feeding. I was interested to see how this would go since Clara never really had a good latch and feeding was a major struggle the entire time we were in the hospital. (in fact, we had to stay an extra day with Clara because the feeding was going to poorly).Not too far into the feeding session, I started to get really lightheaded and my ears started to ring. I told the LC I wasn’t feeling well, and she told me to close my eyes and lay my head back. I remember holding on to the rail of the bed, and my hand slipping down and having no control over it. I opened my eyes to a room full of people, laying flat on my back, and my doctor rubbing my sternum. I wanted to tell him to stop because it hurt, but I couldn’t form the words. I felt a prick in my arm and looked over to a nurse starting another IV. At some point I became more coherent and watched as they hooked up more IV bags and squeezed them into me. They drew blood, they pricked my finger, they talked in words I didn’t understand. I could see Paul standing in the back corner white as a sheet, but I had no idea where Hazel was.
I have no idea how much time passed, but eventually they asked me if I knew where I was, what I had named my baby, etc. At some point they announced I was, “back.” Later my nurse would tell me that my blood pressure dropped to 50/33. She said that her initial thought was that I was hemorrhaging, but thankfully, that wasn’t the case. They marked it up to a vasovagal syncope episode from the shock of how fast everything had happened.
A few hours after I was starting to feel better, I asked if I could get up, have the epidural equipment removed, go to the bathroom, etc. I was still hooked up to 2 IV’s, so my nurse helped me to the bathroom. While in there however, I suffered another episode which bought me a wheelchair ride back to my bed and a “revocation” of my “out of bed” privileges. J Clara came sometime during all that, so I really didn’t get to witness her first interaction with her new sister, which happened in the hallway with Paul and Hazel. Kinda bummed about that.
I ended up keeping the IV’s for another 24 hours, and wasn’t able to get out of bed on my own until late Monday evening. Eventually I was able to shower and put on my own clothes once the IV’s were gone. This was so much different that my experience with Clara – just a few hours after she was born I was up, showered, and had my own clothes on to meet company. This time I really felt like a “patient”.
Thankfully, Hazel was great at latching and the feedings went well. On Tuesday morning, we had both passed all our tests to be able to go home. I was anemic and my hemoglobin had dropped (I did end up bleeding more than normal), so had to have more blood tests before they would let me leave. Hazel’s bilirubin looked great, so around 1:30pm or so we were on our way home!
I am so thankful that everything turned out OK. We were lucky enough to have our 2 favorite nurses from Clara’s birth again, Kelly and Megan, and added a new favorite nurse, Ashley. The lactation consultants were great once again as well – so thankful for the “Ann’s”! I am thankful that I was able to cut 12 hours off my labor time, and that the “pushing” part was so short!
While my immediate post-partum didn’t go anything like I had imagined, I’m thankful that the overall experience was great!