Warning: This is a long one. Settle in...
So, about three and a half hours after my 41 week update, my water broke. I was in bed, rolling over, trying to get comfortable, and I felt it break. I said to Jen, who I was farily sure was awake, what with all my tossing and turning, "Either I peed the bed, or my water just broke." I knew though. I'm sure Jen did too. I got up and went to the bathroom, thinking to myself, "This is when they tell you to rest. I need to sleep. It's going to be a long day." I wasn't back in bed for long before deciding that sleep just wasn't going to happen and decided to get into the shower. The warm water pretty much instantly made the pain of the contractions I was having stop hurting. I spent all night sitting in the tub with the shower on. (Because of my GBS positive status, the midwives advised against taking a bath when we called to update them.) At my request, Jen stayed in bed and slept off and on throughout the night.
At 5:00am, after what seemed like a lifetime of waiting, I called Jen's parents, who were planning on coming up later that morning, if they might be able to leave a bit earlier. I could tell from her mom's voice that she was surprised and excited. (I think we'd all pretty much been thinking that things wouldn't happen until I was induced on the 27th.)
The Bean, who had been sleeping later, was up at 6:00am. It's like he knew something was going on. Jen took care of him while I continued to labour.
The plan was that the backup midwife (F) would come and administer the antibiotics I needed in the morning because the 23rd was my primary midwife's day off. We got a call at about 7:30am, saying that a different midwife (J) was on her way over, as the F was quite sick. We waited and waited and at about 8:30am got call from J asking us to meet her at the hospital, as one of her clients had gone into labour and she needed to be there. We called my aunt to come over and watch The Bean until Jen's parents arrived. She willingly obliged.
We left for the hospital just after 9:00am. The Bean was not happy to see us go. We had the suitcase by the door and told him we were going to the doctor and would see him soon. He grabbed the suitcase handle, and told us "I go doctor". Poor kiddo cried as we passed him off to my aunt and headed out the door.
According to the clock in the car on our drive to the hospital, my contractions seemed to be about 3-4 minutes apart and lasting just under a minute. I felt fairly sure that we wouldn't be returning home from the hospital.
When we got there, we eventually got settled into triage where J administered the antibiotic and hooked me up for a non-stress test. The NST showed regular contractions and I was measuring 3-4cm dialated. We made the decision to stay at the hospital. I couldn't imagine driving home and back again for more antibiotics in another six or seven hours, really all I wanted to do at that point was get back into a hot shower.
We got set up in our labour and delivery room and I got into the shower. The contractions continued to get stronger. I was quite uncomfortable, and kept shifting position, getting up and down, adjusting the water, etc. Jen stayed with me the whole time, rubbed my back and was just generally awesome and reassuring. (She was proud when she saw in the J's notes that she had provided "excellent support", though I would have told her the same thing.) J would pop in and out of the bathroom, monitoring the baby's heart rate, which remained strong and steady the whole time.
At 2:15pm I got out of the shower and into bed. The contractions were getting strong and more painful, but the baby continued to do well.
At 3:10pm I made the decision to get some pain medication. At 4:00pm they gave me a shot of morphine and a shot of gravol (to counteract the nausea morphine can cause). At 4:15pm I got up to use the washroom and ended up throwing up into the sink. By 4:30pm the morphine was starting to kick in. I still had a lot of pain, especially on the left side of my low/mid back, but the morphine allowed me to rest at little bit, which I really needed at that point.
At 6:20pm I received my second dose of antibiotics (I needed to get them every eight hours) and also had a catheter put in, in anticipation of getting the epidural. I still was holding out hope that I had made progress. I remember thinking if I were at 6 or 7 that I could make it through the last little bit without it. Again, I tried to rest.
At 7:30pm they checked me again and said that there was no change in dialation. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I decided to get the epidural. It was administerd at 9:30pm, after 21 hours of labour with no progress. Not surprisingly, it slowed down the contractions, and at 10:00pm they started me on Oxytocin.
The epidural allowed me to get some rest overnight and regular contractions resumed with the Oxytocin.
At 5:30am they checked me again. I was told that my cervix was about 60% softened, but there was still no change in dialation.
At 7:30am the midwifes got the the doctor to change the order on the Oxytocin to the maximum dosage (I had been receiving 20cc and had it upped to 30cc, which is the most that they will ever give).
At 9:30am I was about 90% thinned out and my primary midwife, B, who had arrived a little earlier, told me that I was about 4cm dialated, but that she could stretch me to about 5cm.
I continued to rest through the morning. I wasn't feeling great that I had only progressed a few centimeters since arriving nearly 24 hours earlier but hoped that the Oxytocin would continue to help.
Sometime after noon, B checked me again and said that there still hadn't been any change. I was experiencing a lot of pain on the right side of my abdomen and it was spreading to my back. B called in the attending OB, I think because I was GBS positive they were watching the clock more than they might have otherwise. The OB was very calm and kind. We filled her in on the details of the labour to that point and she asked if she could also check me. When she was done she said I was only 3cm. I know you can't go backwards, and had a hard time processing that according to what she said, I had made NO progress since my arrival the day before. I wondered why B would say I was 4-5cm, if she was trying to be encouraging, or if she was just interpreting things differently, or what. I was also very upset when the OB looked at my catheter, asked if it had been amber (indicating blood) the whole time, which it had been, and if it had been emptied, which it hadn't been. She immediately removed and redid the catheter and my bladder started to empty. It had been put in poorly and despite my complaints of a sore abdomen and back, B hadn't thought to check it. I was very upset at this point, doubting B's competence, which I never had before.
With the news that I was only 3cm, and already receiving the maximum dosage of Oxytocin, the OB said that she would recommend a Cesarian. I felt like that was probably the best option at that point, consulted briefly with Jen, and then told her that we would go ahead with it.
From there things happened quickly. They gave Jen a gown and cap to wear and asked her to wait outside the OR until I was prepped. I also got a gown and was moved to the OR. The doctors explained what would happen --they'd put up a screen, sterilize my stomach, give me oxygen, cut into my abdomen, that I would feel pressure but that it wouldn't hurt, and that soon our baby would be born. Jen came in and sat up by the right side of my head. I was anxious, but felt that we had made the right decision and was excited to meet our baby girl.
I could feel a lot more than I expected to during the surgery and when they were pulling the baby out remember saying "I can feel it! It hurts!!", at which point the anesthetist asked me if I wanted laughing gas, to which I agreed. It helped a lot. With the gas I was able to hear what was happening still but dissocciate enough not to be so focussed on the pain.
At 3:52pm Sprout was born.
The first thing I noted about her is that she was loud. (She got 9 and 9 on her Apgars.) I couldn't see her as they cleaned her off and weighed her, but I could hear her! She certainly didn't have that bleating little newborn cry. Jen went over to see her and take some photos right away. And then brought her back over so I could finally meet her.
I was so happy and so relieved. I remember smiling so big and crying tears of joy. I wanted to hold her, but they wouldn't let me do that right away. They finished putting me back together (14 staples) and then moved us into the recovery room.
The nurse there was very kind. She explained that I would be quite swollen from labouring and all the fluids I had received. We chatted about babies and life and her love life, which was a welcome distraction. After a little bit I told Jen she should go home and help put The Bean down for bed. Grandma and Grandpa had been doing a great job taking care of him, but it was clear that he missed us and now that Sprout had arrived, I felt okay with her taking a few hours to spend with him and get him settled. She wasn't going to miss anything major by going home for a little bit.
So she went home and I was moved into a post-partum room. There was another family there, but they were very respectful and quiet. I got to hold Sprout and try feeding her. She was a natural. Jen came back and we dozed in and out of our first evening and night --Christmas Eve-- together.
Christmas morning came and the nurses were encouraging me to get up and move around. I didn't really want to, but since they said it was best for recovery, Jen and I took a short and very slow walk around the floor. I was swollen and sore.
As we rounded a corner, Santa and some firemen were entering the ward with toys for all the babies. They gave Sprout a polar bear stuffed toy and we got her first Santa photo taken in front of the tree by the nurses' station.
During visiting hours that afternoon, Grandma and Grandpa came by with The Bean to meet Sprout for the first time. We had wrapped a gift, from Sprout for The Bean --a children's flashlight. It was a big hit! He seemed much more interested in the flashlight than the baby, but that was okay. He and Grandma played. Jen traded off with Grandma so she could get some time holding Sprout too.
The Bean seemed very cautious around me, and wouldn't look me in the eye when he first came into the room (just as I was exiting the washroom). Though I know Jen had told him I had a sore tummy and wasn't feeling well, and he was likely just worried and trying to process things, it still broke my heart. The next day when he came back for another visit he seemed to warm up a lot more quickly, though he didn't like that he wasn't allowed on the bed with me. I made a point of not holding Sprout while he was there, so he wouldn't feel that I was favouring her over him. When we returned home on the 27th he seemed more himself and now (fortunately) you'd hardly know that eleven days ago his little world was turned upside down.
It's been a busy eleven days, but each day I'm feeling a bit better. Sprout has been a great baby, eating and sleeping most of the time, and despite what it may seem from the photos, does not cry much or for long. The Bean is adjusting better than we though he would to his new role of "big brother". Jen has been AMAZING taking 99.9% of the responsibility of caring for The Bean and the household, as well as helping me out and taking care of Sprout. In fact, she's resting with Sprout in her arms right now. It is one of my most favourite sights.
There is a lot to update on still --Christmas, life with a newborn, and at least a zillion more photos, but I have rambled on long enough. I look forward to sharing more about our life as a family of four with all of you soon.