Hannah Hope Ashcraft
Born 10/17/13 (12 days early)
7 pounds, 1 ounce, 19 inches long
With her Great Grandmas.
If you like to hear a delivery story, I've got one! If not, you can skip this post. =) (Although I will try not to be graphic.)
So on Wednesday night I was having contractions. But, I had been having contractions, even some pretty regular contractions, for ten weeks. So, I mostly wasn't paying too close of attention, so I can't pin point when I started contracting Wednesday. I went to bed around 11:30. At 1am, I gave up on sleep, because I was too uncomfortable. I had had two bouts of false labor where I contracted really regularly for several hours, so I was not convinced. I started doing laundry and chores and timing contractions. After about 2 hours of contractions 5 minutes apart, and increasing some in intensity since I was walking around the house, I decided that I should go to the hospital. I really have fear of going to the hospital and having them say that I am not really in labor. I don't know why I feel like that might be the most embarrassing thing ever for a third time mother, but I do. However, the fear was also up against the problem that I was GBS positive, which essentially means that I needed to have two rounds (four hours) of IV antibiotics before I delivered to prevent needing the baby getting all sorts of blood work. Because I had had so many weeks of contractions, my doctor had said several times that she thought my labor would go quickly, so I didn't want to take the chance. (My first labor was around 24 hours and my second around 12, so I was nervous that I had some kind of radioactive half-life and this one would only be 6 hours. Spoiler alert: the nerves were for naught.) I had officially decided to just go in and see if I was in labor by myself (Greg had been asleep for many hours at this point) and just call him and have him join me when our babysitter arrived, but last minute I decided to wake him up first because I didn't want him to not answer the phone when I called. So I woke him up and said I was going to go to the hospital and he could go back to sleep, but he needed to answer his phone if it rang. After about 3 minutes he came out of the room and was like "duh, I am not going back to sleep." So, we called the various family members we had on call, and finally woke one of them up to come watch our kidlets. My grandma and mom both came; my grandma came right away and my mom came a little later to relieve her and then watch my kids for the rest of the day.
Around 4am we set out to the hospital, which is just a few minutes away. The nurse checked me at around 4:15, and said I was at a 2, but that she wasn't really convinced I was in labor. While I understand where she was coming from, I am not one of those people who has some degree of progression for weeks and weeks at the end of the pregnancy. Two centimeters dilated is how some people spend the last month of their pregnancy, but based on my others, two centimeters means I am in labor. I told her that, and we decided to walk around for a little while and see if things progressed. Greg and I walked for just over an hour, and when she checked me again, I was at a 3 (I think I was really at a sort of 2+, but she saw some progression, and that was good enough for her, based on my other experiences.) At that point she admitted me. Contractions are monitored on this machine that sort of scores them from 1-100. At this point they were 3-5 minutes apart, but only around 40-50 in intensity.
After 5:30am, I continued to labor for the rest of the morning. Nothing much really happened. They told me that my doctor would come at 1pm to break my water, so I just tried to progress as much as possible until then, and watched a fair amount of HGTV. One sort of funny thing that happened was that I sent Greg home to get Charlie ready for school and drop him off, since we were still in the very early stages of things and I knew nothing would happen while he was gone. However, he was gone during the shift change of the nurses, so when my new nurse came in, I was alone in the room. She very tactfully said "...and will anyone be joining us today?" But it made me wonder if she ever had someone who went through labor and delivery without any sort of birth partner or coach. I certainly hope not.
Around 12:30pm I started feeling sort of nervous that the water breaking would hurt. I was in a fair amount of pain from the contractions (they were peaking in the 70-80 range at this point) but I was managing fine without the epidural, and I didn't want the epidural to halt the progress, so I was trying to put it off. I asked my nurse if she could check me and see if I'd made any progression, but she said it might be better to just wait for my doctor to come and check me, since she was coming anyway. So, wait I did. The doctor got held up, so she arrived around 2pm to check me and break my water. I was only at a 5! After 8.5 hours I went from a 3 to a 5. I was annoyed, but I knew the water breaking would get things going. (Note: having your water broken hurts.)
She wasn't sure she actually got it at first because there was no gush when she broke it. They decided that the baby's head was blocking it, but it didn't really matter. She went back to her office and said she would be back when it was time. Greg stepped out to grab some lunch (he had been waiting for the doctor to come at 1, so by this time he was starving) and I needed to use the restroom. While I was up, the baby shifted, and the water breaking happened.
After the water broke, contractions got very strong, peaking in the 90-100 range. I labored for about another hour before I asked for the epidural. I got it put in around 3:30pm. And let me tell you, it was the most glorious epidural ever. Once it spread properly, I could feel all the pressure of the contractions without pain. My other two epidurals successfully blocked the pain, but I didn't feel like I knew I was having a contraction other than watching the monitor. This one kept me totally in the whole labor process. Around 4:30, I told them that I thought I was pretty much ready to go. They were a little skeptical I think, based on the fact that I had been laboring for around 15 hours and barely gotten to a 5, but they checked me, and confirmed that the baby was right there and ready. They called my doctor, and she arrived around 5:30pm. They set the whole room up and when everything was ready to go, I was mid-contraction. My doctor said we would wait for the next contraction and then start pushing. But then she said "why don't you just do a little push now?" so I started pushing. I delivered her head in that contraction and the rest of her in the next one. She was born at 5:49pm.
The baby nurse (who is a dear friend of mine; I was so happy to have her there at my delivery!) gave her a 9 on the Apgar for 1 minute, and a 10 for 5 minutes, and apparently that doesn't happen very frequently. She came out with just the most beautiful color and all vital signs raring to go! For the first hour they leave you alone with the baby and let you nurse or just gaze and enjoy each other, so we did that. My mom and sister had my kids and we had told them they could come at 7:30, so at 7 we called the nurse back in to check everything and bathe her. She was 7 pounds 1 ounce (waaaaay smaller than my other babies) and 19.25 inches long. She nursed some during the hour, but mostly we just stared at her. (I stared at her a lot during the first 24 hours because I was REALLY stuck on her name. We added two names to our short list during the labor for some reason, and I felt really conflicted. In the end, I chose my number one first name, and Greg chose his number one middle name. It was not a combination we had discussed during the pregnancy at all, which I find funny, but we love it!)
It was love at first sight for my other two babies when they arrived. We were able to have them visit us in the hospital for about an hour that first night, and for several hours the next day (Charlie pretty much just came to the hospital after school and then stayed until we were discharged on Friday night, and Felicity was there until she had to go home and take a nap.) They are loving having a new sister! (Charlie especially is hyper aware of what's going on with his baby. He has woken up a couple of times in the middle of the night and come running in our room to check on her, and demanding that we bring her in his room to sleep.)
All in all, it was a little longer than I was expecting, but I think it was my most peaceful labor experience so far. And she has so far been a very sweet-natured human (it's still early days, but she just seems to take things in pretty calmly), and we are overjoyed to have her in our family.
We are SO grateful to the wonderful humans who made everything go so smoothly, including those who drove my kids to and from school while I was in the hospital, my grandma, sister, mother, and mother in law, who all took shifts watching my kids, the fabulous hospital employees, wonderful friends who have visited, brought meals, and sent sweet messages, and for me, most most most of all, my husband, who takes such good care of me. Thank you!!