So, all that about not being induced on the 2nd and getting back on the work schedule...scratch that! I started writing this from my bed in L&D on the morning of the December 2 while waiting for them to come start an IV in me and check me. I have had some (understatement) interruptions and finally am finishing this lengthy post now. This is the story of how Lily Charkie was born!
Her due date was December 23 but they had been doing frequent monitoring since she was estimated to be small for her age (IUGR) starting at 29 weeks (now 37 weeks). So why would they choose to induce me early when they knew she was small? Basically, the doctors decided it would be best because of some signs that show she may have had to work extra hard to get the blood supply etc. that she needs in utero, causing her to be small.
In L&D, hooked up to Pitocin was the perfect time to wonder at how unprepared I was- I didn't have the hospital bag in the car, I had come to the hospital to work overnight, go to a quick routine appointment, and then go home and shower and spend the next 4 days off setting up the pack-n-play, watching labor tip videos on youtube, sleeping, and eating a bunch. That wouldn't have been very spontaneous though so as it was was probably better for me :)
Hooked up to Pitocin was also the perfect time to just rest and doze since I had worked all night while the drip worked its magic on my uterine muscle. Zeke was there putting the final touches on a final paper for one of his grad classes as I napped and we just took it easy while we could! The contractions didn't bother me much but it wasn't the easiest to sleep when I kept thinking about what the next day or so would all hold!
Around 7pm was shift change. I was 3 cm dilated and my nurse took the time to explain the process of getting an epidural just in case I should later decide that I do want it (thanks, no thanks). Being on bed rest gave me the opportunity to get the full patient experience: bed pans, annoyingly large hospital gowns, plastic pillows, wanting but not wanting to use the call light and/or asking for more ice chips, just wanting to sleep but them doing an assessment, having monitors and an IV drip hooked up at all times... At 9:28 my mom texted me "looks like a 12-3 birthday" and I couldn't have imagined differently based on how I was feeling at the time.
I come from a family of mothers who give birth quickly, a trait I am now very thankful for! Knowing this means I probably should've called my nurse and my husband (at class presenting that final paper) as soon as I felt the contractions change from simply uncomfortable to actually painful. Even so, it wouldn't have changed the outcome since minutes after the change there were about 15 people in the room watching the monitor and guiding me through pushes. Even though I hadn't used my call light, my nurse and the resident decided to check on me just then (a little after 10pm?) and were thinking about calling my doctor to see if he wanted them to check my cervix again or what. While they were at the bedside I was feeling like I might have to use the bedpan again along with the pain with the contractions that stuck around between the contractions. They didn't end up having to check my cervix or get the bedpan because her head was visibly crowning and those feelings were just the urge to push! They asked if I could just breathe through the contractions and not push yet: sure, I didn't see why not haha oh wait nope nope nope it was inevitable. One set of pushing- ouch! Are we sure I should be doing this before Zeke's here? Is anything coming? No?!?! Second set- ouchhhh, ok! I could tell that was her head! Phew! Third set- the rest! Woah! I just had a baby!
That was 10:28, an hour before I was wondering when the next morning she might arrive. They cut the cord, assessed her over at the incubator (apparently the pediatrician got there at some point along with the rest of the swarm of whoever was on staff- my own OB stopped by after the fact and said hi more or less), I passed the placenta (fourth push- I was glad I had learned about the fourth stage of labor or that would've been an unpleasant surprise), and they stitched up where I tore (the hospitalist guiding the resident through it, gotta learn on some patient!).
Then there was the fuzzy period of disbelief and wonder and surprise and who knows what else while waiting to hold her, waiting for them to finish the stitches, and waiting for Zeke to arrive. It made the time once Zeke got there and I got to hold her a seem clear in comparison. She was splotchy but perfectly beautiful, totally her own unique being, with a name but never have had been called by it, tiny and new! 18.5" long and only 4 lb, 14 oz. but wonderfully healthy with APGARs of 9 and 9 and a head full of beautiful dark hair, and us becoming a thing that is the three of us not simply a couple anymore.
I can't really relate to (nor want to relate to) those horror stories of long, drawn-out, excruciatingly painful labors where even epidurals barely help. One more thing of many to be thankful for! And for being so small and on the early side she could've had so many different health issues but we went to postpartum that night with her, she didn't need fluids or to be under lights or anything. That first 36+ hours with her in the hospital were full of snuggles, feedings, assessments (temperature and blood sugar for her, blood pressure for me), tests (hearing test, car seat apnea monitoring), visits from doctors, lactation consultants, nurses, and some friends. They did monitor her blood sugars for the first 24 hours so there was some extra pressure to get her to eat plenty. Most feeding attempts were successful but some were more frustrating: spending an hour trying to wake her enough to eat before they re-checked her sugar but just tiring her more and her not eating until later. The only other "issues" were a slightly elevated bilirubin level and a touch of jaundice in her face that cleared up on its own and a hip click that they will follow up on at 6 weeks to see if it's actually a problem.
We are so thankful to be able to hold Lily Charkie in our arms and have her home with us. So thankful for all the support we've received- from baby showers before to meals and visits and preemie clothes now and the reassuring and encouraging words of experienced parents to the countless prayers from so many. Thankful for insurance, for maternity leave, and for flexibility in Zeke's work schedule right now. Thankful for poopy diapers and for her just wanting to be held. Thankful for a safe comfortable place to live and for an even more-so place to move to shortly. Thankful that even though we welcome our daughter into a fallen world with some pretty messed up stuff going on that she is held in the sovereign hand of God and we're thankful for the hope that she will be a reflection of the light of life to the world!