At my last appointment before Meredith was born I was telling the doctor how I was amazed at how much more pain I have been in, compared to the last three pregnancies. The pain was different, in that it wasn't just an uncomfortable-belly-type uncomfortableness, but it seemed more "structural," if that makes sense. After the exam he told me that my ligaments were stretched pretty badly and the baby was sitting on my pelvic bones with not much support, which was causing the pain I felt the majority of the day and causing me to get little sleep.
He suggested being induced on the following Tuesday, and somewhat jokingly I said, "What about Monday" because my Grandpa's 90th was that day and I had been hoping that the baby would come on that day, anyway! He checked the calendar and said that would be fine because it would be a week earlier than the due date and that fell into the hospital's policy. He said I could have a couple of days to think it over and then let him know.
I struggled with it, talking it over with Kevin, weighing the pros and cons, and we came to the decision that it was something we should do. So, two days before, I called and made the appointment to be induced, which turned out to be a very good decision.
My Aunt Cassie had already had plans to be with us that weekend, as it has become her tradition to come down and spend time with us before the baby's born (read: clean every inch of our house and take care of the boys so I can relax. Yes, I realize I am spoiled!) So when Kevin and I left on Monday to go to the hospital the boys were being taken care of. By the time I got into the labor and delivery room it was 9am and they started me on the petocin. I was 3 centimeters at this point, same as I was at my last appointment. The nurse checked on me periodically, asking what level of pain I was at and for the first few hours it was about a 2 or 3. I waited for my doctor to show up to break my water, which was to happen at noon. He couldn't make it then, so they had a resident come in to do it for him. This happened at 1:30pm, when they also checked me to see how dilated I was and I was still about 3-4 centimeters.
I'm not sure if anything could have progressed more quickly after that. By two o'clock I was asking for the epidural. The pain had gotten increasingly worse and I knew that it took a few minutes for the anesthesiologist to insert the epidural needle, so we had to get the show on the road! To the woman in labor, the time it took to insert the needle was excruciatingly long, and when the doctor was finished I asked through clenched teeth how long it would take to start working. She said I wouldn't feel pain in about 15-20 minutes. I didn't have that long. The baby came in about 10 minutes.
I told the nurse and anesthesiologist that I was feeling a whole lot of pressure and that I was pretty sure it was more that just contractions. I love how the nurses want to tell me that the epidural isn't going to relieve the pressure, that I'm going to feel some of it, that's it's nothing. I was trying to politely tell them that I'm pretty sure the baby was coming, but I wasn't sure if it came out as polite as I was hoping. After I insisted that the baby was ready the nurse checked, calmly agreed with my diagnosis and before I could blink there were twelve other people in the room getting ready for the delivery, yet none of them wanted me to go just then. They kept saying that the doctor was going to be there any minute and I was pretty much telling them that the doctor was going to miss the big ending and someone needed to decide who was going to be the one to catch the baby.
No one wanted to step up. They called in the resident who had broken my water, and for whatever reason she looked like the hospital version of someone dealing with nuclear materials. She had a gown and rubber gloves that went above her elbows with a hair net type thing on her head and not only did she have a mask over her face, but she had some sort of iron-worker's shield covering her eyes. Oh, I should tell you that they cut off my epidural supply immediately, so I am not describing this from a delirious, foggy memory. The resident kept saying, "If you need me, I'm here." Whaaa?! Of course I need you! The baby was halfway out at this point, the doctor is walking in, putting on a gown and gloves. He had one glove on when the nurse told him that the baby is coming and he said, "Do you mind if I get my other glove on?"
He told me that if I pushed once the baby would be out and although I didn't believe him, there she was after a push, my brand new baby girl! As terrible as the pain was before she was delivered, I felt that good after she was placed in my arms. I'm not trying to sound cheesy, but physically, mentally and emotionally I felt better than I had ever remembered. And in shock. I'm not sure if I told you, but Kevin and I aren't capable of making girls. We only have boys. So when the nurse asked us if we wanted to get the camera out it was only then that we realized that we were sitting there for five minutes with our jaws in our laps. Kevin went scurrying for the camera and was able to get some shots of Miss Meredith on the scale and getting cleaned up.
While this was going on my doctor finished up his job, showing me the umbilical cord. It turns out there was a knot in the cord. He told me that it was fine then, but if had been pulled any tighter her circulation would have been cut off. My father-in-law brought up a good point that it wasn't like she had five feet to walk away and pull it tight, but if she got her arm caught in it or found another way to pull on it, there was the possibility. Regardless, I was feeling very good in the decision we made to induce the labor. Everything happens for a reason!
We were moved to our room about 5pm and we called our parents to let them know that they have a new baby granddaughter. For whatever reason the room they put us in, although on the second floor, felt like we were in the basement. We got zero reception on our cell phones, unless you sat on the window sill, which Kevin did. When I made the call to my mom, every time I went to say, "It's a girl" it cut out exactly at "girl." I called back on room phone and the disbelief began. Ninety-nine point nine per cent of people who know us assumed we were adding another boy to our litter. What a nice surprise Meredith has been!
We had a nice group of visitors on her first day. Grandma and Grandpa R came by with the boys, Aunt Cassie and Katie, bringing us a delicious La Rosa's pizza! They soon had to leave for Louie's baseball game. Afterward, Grandpa and Grandma H showed up and were able to enjoy some quality time with their first granddaughter. After the game, Joanie, Josh and Nate stopped in to see our angel.
Being in the hospital is not as relaxing as they'd like you to believe. There are doctors, nurses, nutritionists, lactation consultants, and a number of other people coming in about every 10 minutes. When my doctor and the pediatrician came in to check the two of us out, I asked that we be let go when the baby was 24 hours. They said that we were both doing fine and that we could. With the boys staying at my parents house, going to our silent, peaceful, uninterrupted home sounded like heaven.
There was a brief shower and then the sun came out to welcome us out of our dungeon-like room and we had an uneventful trip back to our house. So far, our little angel has been so sweet and quiet, the much needed addition to our crazy household!
If you made it this far, that's pretty impressive and I'd like to reward you with this little video of the newborn while we were at the hospital.