I had an OB appointment on Friday, March 13, and my doctor told me that I was dilated 2 cm and could go at any time. Ordinarily, this would have been great news (I was almost 39 weeks, and we were all ready for the baby), but we really wanted the baby to wait until Kyle’s mom got into town. She wasn’t due to arrive until the night of Tuesday, March 17, and the plan was for her to be at home with Heather while Kyle and I were at the hospital when the baby came. Since Heather was born a week after her due date, we had rather hoped that Debbie and Heather would have some time to get acquainted before they would be left alone together. Alas, that was not to be.
Chapter 1: In Which a Baby is Born
I was awakened at 4:30am on Tuesday, March 17 (yes, St. Patrick’s Day) with some fairly painful contractions. I managed to drowse off and on in bed for another hour, but then decided to get up and start timing them. By the time I could verify they’d been coming every five minutes for an hour, it was getting close to when Kyle’s alarm would be going off anyway (7am), so I decided to just wait until he woke up to tell him. (Basically what was going on here was that I did NOT want to have this baby yet, so I was really dragging my heels. Not according to plan, dangit!) But I went ahead and had breakfast and called L&D, and when Kyle came out to the kitchen I told him to shower because we’d be heading to the hospital soon. Then I contacted my awesome friend Sarah to see if she could watch Heather for the day, as well as a couple of other awesome friends to let them know we might need their help later on, depending on how the day went. Heather eventually got up, so I filled her in on what was happening, got her ready for the day, then proceeded to shower and gather up the last few things for my hospital stay. Finally, we were all ready to go. (And yes, I continued to take my sweet time. I was still kind of in denial.) Kyle and I dropped Heather off and made the 45-minute drive to the hospital, finally arriving around 9:40am.
By this point, the contractions were every 3-4 minutes and quite painful. I was already looking forward to the epidural. We got up to triage, where they checked me, said I was 4 cm, and could be admitted. 4 cm is also the magic number for getting an epidural, so anesthesiology was notified, too. Yay! We got into the labor & delivery room, an IV was started so they could hydrate me before the epidural, lots of paperwork-type questions were asked, blah blah blah, and finally it was time for my epidural. I was so glad, because things were progressing and the pain was just increasing. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, which I was completely unprepared for. With Heather, I remember that the epidural was originally stronger on one side than the other, but they just had me roll a little bit to the other side and gravity took care of it. In no time I was numb and it was perfect. This time, that didn’t help at all. My right side was numb, but there was absolutely no effect on my left side. Even after I laid completely on my left side, there was no improvement. Eventually they had the anesthesiologist come back and she adjusted the catheter a bit, but it didn’t help. I actually think that I regained some of the feeling on my right side, but it didn’t seem to improve my left side at all.We started talking about having anesthesiology come back and completely redo my epidural (I was now completely losing it with each contraction, curled up on my side in the fetal position, clutching Kyle’s hands, crying and trying to breathe), but then I started shivering uncontrollably. In the back of my head, I knew exactly what that meant, but I was once again in denial about what was happening, so I asked the nurse if it was normal. She confirmed that it was, that I was going through transition. This really scared me, because I have never once in my entire life even briefly entertained the notion of giving birth without an epidural. The nurse asked me if I felt the urge to push, and I’m pretty sure I responded with “Maybe?” because, well, denial again. I did. But I didn’t want to. After a few more minutes, she checked me and confirmed that I was a full 10 cm and ready to go.
The nurse told me that she thought my best option was probably to skip redoing the epidural and for them to just break my water so I could have this baby! I was so terrified. I agreed to it, but I remember telling Kyle how much I didn’t want to do it. Then it turned out that both midwives and doctors on the floor were in c-sections and therefore unavailable—but they sent a doctor over from the clinic. When she got there, I started to second guess my decision: I told her how with Heather, I had pushed for 3.5 hours, so maybe it would be best to get the epidural taken care of first. She replied that based on what she had been told, she ran over; she was pretty sure it wasn’t going to take that long.So they proceeded to break down the bed and get everything ready, then broke my water. The doctor informed us that there was meconium in the water, so they called some additional staff down to do some extra checks on the baby as soon as she was born. Then they had me start pushing, but a couple of pushes in, we ran into yet another bit of excitement: the baby’s heart rate seemed to be down. The doctor used an internal monitor to verify, and yes, it was down. Since it had been down for a little while now, she wanted to use the vacuum to go ahead and get the baby out. Fortunately, the baby was right there and with the vacuum, it only took one more push before little Corinne was born!My first comment (as they carried her over to the warmer to clean her up and check her) was “She’s all purple!” because, well, she was. But the doctor assured me she was fine. And despite the meconium and low heart rate, she was fine: her APGAR scores were 7 and 9, and she was brought back over to us in a couple of minutes (though her hands were still purple). Corinne Olivia Dickerson was born at 1:15pm on March 17, 2015 (only 3 1/2 hours after we got to the hospital). She weighed 7lbs 6.9oz and was 20.5″ long.
Chapter 2: In Which Heather is Traumatized
After getting Corinne and I all settled, Kyle went back to Livermore to pick up Heather, feed her dinner, and get her to bed. A friend of mine then lent us her teenage daughter to hang out at the house while Kyle picked Debbie up from the airport and brought her back to the house. He then returned to the hospital to spend the night with the baby and me. All good, right? Wrong.
Despite having explained the situation to her many times, Heather was completely thrown when she got up the next morning and found Grandma in the living room instead of her parents. Apparently she started crying and ran back to her room, where she got back into bed and pulled the blanket over her head. And stayed there. For two hours. Not even the present Debbie slid in the door coaxed her out. When we found out about it, we called home and Kyle was able to talk and sing to her on the phone and calm her down. I called Sarah (whose house Heather had been at the day before) and she and her kids went over to cheer her up for a bit. Heather lost it again later, though, so Kyle ended up just going home and bringing Heather and Debbie up to the hospital for the afternoon until we were discharged that evening. It was so great to see Heather again! I really missed her, and I felt just awful about how the morning had gone for her. She did eventually warm up to Debbie, but it took several days to get over the lack of a proper introduction. And there was definitely some clinginess towards Kyle and me for a while. Heather was in love with Corinne from the beginning, though!
Chapter 3: In Which a Family Returns Home
I was feeling great (dysfunctional epidural sucked, but short labor rocked!) and Corinne was eating like a champ and being a super easy baby, so we were hoping to be discharged at the minimum 24 hours after birth, but we had to wait for some extra blood work to be done on Corinne. (My blood type is O- and hers is O+. The initial testing showed that there was some mixing of our blood, so there was an increased chance of her being jaundiced.) Her numbers kept coming back fantastic, though, so we were cleared to leave around 8pm. It was so nice to get back home with our new addition!