Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Longest post ever.  This is your warning. :)

The number of hours I was in labor.  Yes, 31.  What the heck?  I think my body was trying to break all sorts of records with this pregnancy.  First, I got to be in the 1% of women who get the PUPPPs rash, and then I have 31 hours of labor.  I read somewhere that the average first labor is 17 hours.

On Saturday morning I was determined to get things going.  Jeff and I took Harper on a brisk 3 mile walk.  We ran into my doctor who lives about 5 blocks from us.  She was packing up her car to go to Des Moines for the weekend.  She told me she'd be back by noon on Sunday, so if I went into to labor make sure the nurses called her.

Well, my walk must've worked because I started having contractions later on that day. I was taking a nap with my first baby, Harper, when I woke up to contractions at about 2:30.  I wasn't getting too excited since I'd had a couple of contractions the week before and it turned out to be nothing.  Lo and behold, these contractions stuck.  They were about 10 minutes apart.  My goal was to stay at home as long as possible.  So, I did a few loads of laundry and cleaned up the house.  Jeff and I went out to dinner.  (We actually ended up running into my cousin and I think I did a pretty good job of hiding my pain mid-conversation when I'd have a contraction.)  We took Harper on a walk over to my friend, Katie's house.  Katie was sure I'd have the baby that night as my contractions were about 5 minutes apart at the time. (HA!)

Finally, at about 11:30 pm, we decided to head to the hospital. My contractions were 3-4 minutes apart.  We called our doula and headed to the emergency room.  We got checked in and I got checked out. I was shocked when the nurse told me I was only 2 cm dialated.  I got the slushies, walked the halls, and sat on the exercise ball.  The contractions were still going strong and probably about 2-3 minutes apart.  Finally, at 8:30 am Sunday morning, the nurse asked me if I wanted my water broken.  I hesitated, but she highly recommended it.  Dr. Benson was called and he came and broke my water at about 9 am.  (The nurse said it doesn't hurt to have your water broken, but she was mistaken.  Dr. Benson gave me 6 good pokes and it DOES hurt!)

After my water was broken, my contractions were extremely intense.  They were coming about a minute and a half apart and each contraction lasted 50 seconds.  They were so strong, I started dry heaving through them.  This went on for about 3 hours until I asked to be checked again.  Surely, I was going through transition labor and would be at least a 6 or a 7.  Not so.  I was only 4 cm, MAYBE a 5 said the nurse.  I immediately started crying.  I could not make it through another 21 hours of labor.  I requested an epidural and then cried some more.  I was so disappointed that I was giving up and not going to have an all-natural labor.  My doula said she agreed with my decision and thought that I requested the epidural at the right time.

The epidural was scary, but at the same time I was so relieved to not have to be in pain anymore. I think I even slept for 10 minutes here and there.  Eventually the nurses told me that my contractions were not strong enough, so they were going to give me some pitocin to get things moving more quickly.  (What?! Are you kidding me?  Those contractions could not have gotten any stronger in my opinion.)  At that point, I really didn't care.  I wasn't going to feel anything.  Give me whatever you want.

At 5 p.m. I was 9 cm dialated and when they checked me, they found that my dear little baby had decided to turn sunny side up.  Could I get on my hands and knees on the bed and use the exercise ball to try to rotate the baby?  Sure.  Why not?  Gah!!  Just when I thought I was almost done.  When you can't feel anything below your waist and you've already labored naturally for 21 hours, the simplest thing like moving your hips in a circular motion seems like a big deal.  I did as I was asked and was checked an hour later.  I had moved the baby!  But not far enough...I should try to move the baby again.  I said fine, but that I needed a break because I was tired.  They checked me again at 7 pm and the baby had moved on its own.  I was dialated to a 9-10!

The nurses called my doctor and got me prepped to start pushing.  Holy crap. I could feel when I was going to have a contraction, so the pushing went pretty well.  I pushed a few times and was doing really well.  I looked at Jeff and asked him what we were going to name our little boy.  We still had not decided on a boy name and were sure it was a boy.  Jeff had said that after watching me go through everything, that I could just name him.  To which I replied, wouldn't you just be shocked if it were a girl?  After only 45 minutes of pushing, we had our little baby girl!  I think we laughed in disbelief when the doctor said "it's a girl!"  Gemma Lorraine was born on 5/29 at 8:14 pm.

Gemma was quiet when she was born.  The nurses had to make her cry, but she was completely fine. (She's still not a big crier.)  She was extremely alert and just stared at me the whole time during our kangaroo care, and she even latched on right away to nurse and gulped like a champ.  I'm glad she knew what to do because I sure didn't!

Gemma is the sweetest little baby ever and we can't imagine our lives without her now.  Jeff says she looks like an Asian version of me.  I think she does have my nose, but I'm not sure about the rest.  Only time will tell I suppose!  She was definitely worth the 31 hours of labor and the 21 hours of pain.  She still might be an only child, though. :)  Ask me in a year.

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