I will start with being 40 weeks pregnant since I didn't have a chance to write that post before going into labor and therefore, being too uncomfortable to sit at a computer long enough to write. I did make it to 40 weeks! I was in early labor beginning on Memorial Day, which was one day before my due date. Labor was off and on. I had had a few signs over that weekend other than regular contractions that indicated labor should be near. Sorry if that's TMI. I won't go into detail on those! I actually woke up in the middle of the night with regular contractions early Tuesday morning almost ready to head out to the hospital. I timed the contractions. They were still kind of irregular, going from every 3 or 4 minutes to every 6 or so. They weren't long enough to indicate active labor though. They were only about 30 seconds each. They were painful, but not excruciating. I figured that if I could still talk through them just fine, it probably wasn't time to go yet! Still I got up at 2 a.m. to time them closer and to take a shower. I felt pretty crazy showering at 2 a.m. Chris woke up and asked me if it was time to go to the hospital. I told him I wasn't sure but that he should try to get some sleep and that I would wake him up when I thought it was time to go. After my shower, I went downstairs to eat a bowl of cereal thinking that if I was going to the hospital, they wouldn't let me eat again until after I delivered! I thought I might need some food to have the energy to get through everything. While I was eating my cereal, I remember I watched the clock on the microwave in the kitchen. It had been a few minutes since I had timed a contraction. I sat and waited and waited. Then I realized they were spacing back out to every 7 minutes. At that point, I gave up and decided to go back to bed. It was a false alarm. I didn't sleep well, but managed to get a couple of hours of shut eye. Little did I know that would be the last time I would sleep for a long time! I figured there wouldn't be any harm in waiting it out until my doctor's appointment the next morning. If I was in active labor, I thought my body would probably let me know! I was still holding on to hope that the doctor would check me and I would be sent straight to the hospital. When I woke up the next morning, the contractions were gone. I was having some cramps, but nothing more. I was so mad!
So I went to work on my due date. I was pretty upset about that! Chris drove me because by then he was already out of school, was planning on going to the doctor's appointment with me anyway, and was scared that I would go into labor during the workday. He picked me up for my doctor's appointment mid-morning. I was so excited and anxious that the contractions could start right back up again. They didn't. Or that the contractions I had experienced the night before would have dilated me enough for my doctor to send me to the hospital. They hadn't. Everything with the appointment proceeded as normal. My weight had gone down by .2 pounds, so I was up 28.7. My blood pressure was up because I was anxious (130/90). The baby's heart rate was 156. I thought for sure I would be dilated to a 3 when he checked me, just on the verge of active labor. Nope. I was still only 75% effaced and a 2, but he did say it was almost a 3! The mild cramping I was experiencing was not acknowledged by my doctor as labor. As I explained that I thought I was in early labor, he was more interested in scheduling my induction for the following Tuesday. He said she was either still way up high or a large baby. He did go ahead and strip my membranes explaining that it could help move things along if the contractions I had been experiencing were in fact real. Still he said stripping the membranes wouldn't do much if I wasn't really ready for labor. I was glad he went on and did it. I think that might have helped get things going again. Within two hours after my visit, I was having those contractions again. This time, they were a lot more painful. When Chris picked me back up from work around 3 p.m., they were every 10 minutes! I was glad. That was better than nothing!
I was so tired when I got home from work. I hadn't slept well at all the night before. I fell asleep on the couch for a couple of hours. Around 5 p.m., I woke up with more painful contractions. They had sped up again to every 6 or so minutes. They were getting longer too, about every 45-50 seconds. I thought for sure we were getting close, so I ask Chris what he thought about eating dinner, making sure our hospital bag was fully packed and heading out for the hospital. We decided there would be no harm in going to get checked. They could always send me back home if it wasn't real labor. He agreed that would be fine if I thought it was time, but that after dinner we would sit on the couch for a couple of minutes and time them again just to be sure!
So we had dinner, finished packing our bag and sat down on the couch to watch The Voice and time some contractions. The first two were 7 minutes apart. The next was 8. The next was 10! They had eased up again to about 30 seconds long. I couldn't believe they were spacing back out again! What a bummer!
So it was back to waiting again! I called the doctor on call at the practice to check on the amount of bleeding I was having, and he said that was probably fine and a result of the procedure in the office that day. He did advise me to watch the contractions and really pay attention to the duration. If they were coming every 5 or 6 minutes again and lasting about a minute each, he said I should go on and go to the hospital. However, if they were staying around 30 seconds long even if they were coming sooner than every 5 minutes, I was probably fine to wait it out at home. Within an hour of that call, they were coming every 5 minutes and lasting about a minute and 15 seconds. I was so worried that they would space back out again, but Chris was done with the waiting and seeing! He said it was time to go, so we left!
When I got to the hospital around 10:45 p.m., the nurse checked me, and said I was at a whopping 3 cm. I was so disappointed. I was really hoping for a 4 so I would be considered in active labor. She told me that a lot of people get sent home that are just at a 3. The definition of labor to them was progress- dilating- not contracting more than every 5 minutes for over 1 minute even though that's when they tell you to go to the hospital. She said they'd monitor me for an hour and see what happened. In the meantime, the doctor on call would be notified of my progress and decide whether to send me home or call my doctor. Within that hour, they said my doctor had been called and that since I was already 40 weeks and my contractions were still getting longer and coming closer together, they'd keep me. I would be monitored through the night and if I wasn't progressing by morning, they'd start pitocin. Either way, I was told that I would be leaving with a baby.
I did not like that I was pretty much strapped to a bed as soon as I got there. It's hard to manage pain when you are strapped down. I had imagined being able to walk around the hospital a bit to manage pain. I could only get up to go to the restroom. Even then, the nurse had to help me to the restroom. I realize they wanted to monitor the baby, but I wish they didn't insist on doing that the entire time. At around 2:30 p.m. my pain was becoming more unbearable. At that point I figured out that I was going to have to ask to be checked through the night. They were not planning on checking me otherwise. I told them the pain had increased and that I was ready to be checked again so that I could get my epidural if it was time. I had to show progress before I could get an epidural, so I was relieved when they told me that I was at a 4! To be honest, I was still a little disappointed that I was still only at a 4 after all that work, but I was relieved that I had made some real progress. Still they encouraged me to wait a little longer for the epidural as it's sometimes known to slow labor. They suggested waiting until I was a 5 or a 6. I asked how long that would take and got an estimated average of another 2-4 hours! Heck no! I told them I didn't think I had 2 more hours in me, but that I would try to stick it out a while longer. They promised I could have it 30 minutes after I asked for it, but I think they knew I had reached my limit already. Without me even giving the final okay for it, they started setting my room up for an epidural. They said the reason it was going to take a half hour to get it was because I had to get two more bags of fluids in me first. I watched the IV fluids drain as they turned them on high speed! I prayed they would drain faster! The next lady that came in to help get my room ready said it would take 45 minutes to get those fluids. During all this Chris' stepmom and dad walked in. All I remember is that Chris was passed out on the couch/bed thing next to me, it was around 3:30 in the morning, and I could literally only talk for about 2 minutes between contractions. When a contraction hit, I fell silent and could not keep up with any of the conversation around me. By the time the fluids were in and I got the epidural it had been over an hour. I got it around 4 a.m. Although it was a bit one sided, it was the best decision ever!
Chris' parents had to leave when I got the epidural, and they decided that they'd stop back by in a few hours.
The nurse checked me again around 6:30 a.m. and I was a 5, almost a 6! This was all happening without any pitocin! I was so glad the epidural hadn't slowed anything down. Praise God! They started estimating that the baby would come around lunchtime! I started getting scared and excited! Even though I was making good progress, my doctor ordered that they start me on pitocin at 7 a.m. as they had planned. I think they were trying to make sure I delivered quickly, before the workday would be over. By then I didn't care anymore. Labor was progressing, so my fear of a c-section had subsided. I wasn't in pain anymore since my epidural was done. Whatever we needed to do to get it done quickly, I was okay with at that point.
So pitocin was started and increased every hour. It must have been working. My doctor came in around 9:30 a.m. to break my water, which also helped get things moving faster. He and my nurse started assessing my pain level at that point because I started to be able to feel my contractions again. They weren't bad, but I could feel them. They said they wanted me to be able to feel some to be able to push. I started getting shaky, scared and overwhelmed. I don't know if it was just me or the drugs, but I felt like crying. I was scared about being able to feel pain again and how much more I'd be able to feel in a couple of hours as I was pushing! So I started crying, and I was having a hard time regaining composure! I was terribly embarrassed that I was crying in front of the nurses, Chris and his parents. I couldn't even give a good reason for it. I just felt like crying. The nurse said they could re-dose my epidural if the pain was that bad. I told her it really wasn't, but that I just felt like crying and that I would be okay! So Chris' parents left again for a little while. Chris got me a wet washcloth to wipe off my face and help me calm down. I rested a while longer. At around 10:45 a.m. I was at a 10! They started setting my room up for delivery. Chris' parents came back in after they checked me and hung out until the room was set. Then they wished us luck and left again. Once it was set, my nurse started coaching me to push! She told me that this baby was right there and that I wouldn't be pushing long! She estimated about 30 minutes. She was close. It was around 35 minutes. I have no idea how people push for an hour or two. I was totally exhausted from pushing for that amount of time. My doctor made it in time to see me through my last few pushes, pull that baby girl out and make the necessary repairs.
Bridgette Renee Carter was born at 11:21 a.m. She was 8 pounds and 1 ounce (.8 to be exact) and 20.5 inches long! Praise God for our healthy little girl! I remember that she locked eyes with me as they handed her over. I'll never forget that little whimper she let out or that confused precious face! The doctor was shocked at her size. He was thinking she'd be smaller, but I knew she was going to be big! I guess since I had been carrying her around that entire time, I had a pretty good hunch!
Recovery has been a little rough. I did have a minor complication, but overall I am doing really well. I feel a million times better this week for sure!
I hope to have time to keep posting about my darling little girl. She keeps me pretty busy most of the time, so I'll have to find time to squeeze it in!
|40 weeks! This photo was taken just a few hours before heading to the hospital. Notice the pain on my face.|
|Memorial Day Weekend|
|Memorial Day Weekend|
|Meeting my baby girl!|
|Later on that night.|
|Such red skin!|
|First few days at home.|
|Penelope is coping as best she can.|
|She's had lots of visitors. Most of which I didn't get pictures of!|