2/24/09, 3:33am, 7lbs 15 oz, 19.5 in
Monday, the 23rd, I had a NST and they said I wasn't having any contractions (even though I thought I was), but she was looking just fine. When the midwife checked me, she said I was a good 3 cm, which was definitely a change from the week before. She also said I would probably be crampy and spotting a little after the exam, and now I realize I should have asked her if she did anything to make it that way on purpose. Anyways, we went home, and I was a little crampy, but still just felt awful in general like I had been for a while. The midwife mentioned that they could break my water to see if things got going on their own, and I had pretty much decided that I'd call Tuesday to schedule breaking my water on Wednesday morning. Monday night after dinner, we all went to buy groceries together, and I was walking slow, but still fine! We went to bed around 11 and Dan fell asleep really fast, as usual. I never fall asleep fast, but I started feeling slightly different contractions at 11:35. I timed them as much as I could, but I was starting to doze off a little. The ones I kept track of were about 9 minutes apart, but they weren't every 9 minutes. I think I must have slept a little, but at 12:53 Dan woke up to me being pretty miserable. By 1am I knew it was time to get going. I called the midwife on call, and she said to head to L & D to get checked. We woke Marissa up, got everything together, and took her to our friends' house around 1:15. We stopped back home around 1:30 to grab the map of the hospital so we'd know where to go. Contractions weren't extremely consistent at this point, but they were at least 9 minutes apart, and very painful and tight. I made Dan run a red light on our way to the hospital, because since Marissa's labor was so fast, I was worried about the timing of things. We checked in to the hospital at 2am, and were put in just regular L & D, instead of the birth center right away. They wanted to check me first, and I needed an IV for GBS. There was also not enough staff at the birth center, so I had to wait a bit. Thus begins the longest hour of my life. Lol. They had me all strapped with the monitors, the IV for GBS, and I had to lay on the table thing. Contractions were really starting to pick up in pain and timing. At the end of every one, I thought I was going to throw up. I didn't, until towards the end, it was a really bad one, and I threw up 3 times in a row. They finally checked me at 2:30 and I was 5cm. Finally, the midwife came to see me, and she took one look at me and realized I needed to get going! She went to the birth center and started getting the tub ready. At 3 they were finally able to move me, and that was a long ride in the wheelchair (not really, but it seemed like it)! They unhooked the IV, I got right in the tub, and immediately felt some relief. I was cold from the wheelchair ride, and the tub was nice and hot. I got a short rest from contractions, but then they got really bad. I remember thinking that this better mean I'm getting close, because I couldn't do it this way for much longer! During one of the really bad ones, I felt the urge to push. So I asked the midwife to check me when it was over. She said I was 9, and I could push if I felt the urge. So the next one, I started pushing. Dan says I pushed for about 10 minutes. At one point, I remember asking if she was "right there" because it was starting to feel different. The midwife said she was, and I was relieved because I was starting to wonder if I'd make it! After that, I opened my eyes and watched for her to come out! I was gripping a bar in the tub with my left hand, and Dan's hand with my right hand. I was holding on soooo tight (my arm muscles were sore later), and for every push/contraction I completely suspended myself in the water by holding on to the bar and Dan's hand. Arianna was born at 3:33am and I saw her come out! Her head came out underwater, and it took a little while for the rest of her to follow. She didn't just slip out (like it looks like on tv shows), but the second she was out, the midwife put her on my belly. All of a sudden, both nurses and the midwife all lunged at her saying "there's a cord around her neck" - none of them were freaked out, but since they all said it at the same time, it freaked Dan and I out! They took the cord off her neck, and she just sat there and looked at me. They had warned us that waterbirth/natural born babies don't pink up right away, and don't necessarily even cry for a while. We were prepared for that, but when it actually happened that way, it made us nervous! The midwife assured us that she was fine, and I just sat in the tub with her on my belly for several minutes. She was all slimy and calm. It was wonderful (because I totally missed that part with Marissa). After a while (since I wanted to wait to cut it), Dan announced that he thought he might like to cut the cord. I was shocked, since he passed out during childbirth class for Marissa. But he actually cut the cord. They took her from me for the first time, and went to just check her out, while I climbed out of the tub. I went straight to the bed, delivered the placenta, and the midwife stitched me up a little. They brought her back to me as soon as I was on the bed, and she just laid on my belly/chest for a while. She was starting to root around, so I attempted to nurse her. At some point (not sure on the time), she nursed for about an hour on each side. I was never away from her until sometime around 7am when they finally weighed her. Sometime mid-morning, I was able to get up and use the bathroom. They gave me one motrin sometime around 7 probably, and I haven't had another drug since. The plan was to come home Wednesday late morning - until the wee hours of Wednesday morning, when the pediatrician informed me that they always monitor GBS+ babies for 48 hours, especially since I didn't have time to get the full dose. I was VERY upset, not to mention a bit hormonal and overtired, so I cried a lot that morning. It was surprisingly hard to be at the hospital all alone, since Dan went to get Marissa. He stayed til about 9 Tuesday morning, and they came back to visit throughout the day, but I was alone at night. But the thought of facing another night alone was tough. The nurses were so nice though, and one of them spent a long time with me during the night when Arianna wanted to nurse every hour on the hour.
All in all, it was a wonderful birth. It was everything I had hoped for, and I feel really great already. Arianna is a champion nurser already, and we are enjoying every minute of her! Marissa is a wonderful big sister, and is so gentle, understanding, and curious about Arianna. I love my girls!