Our long awaited special delivery arrived with great fanfare, drama, and of course much earlier than expected…. Even after having this time to reflect on it, it seems so surreal and I wish that there would have been something to record each second of the special day (night).
On Sunday (the 16th), I had a mad case of “nesting” going on…. I totally cleaned and scrubbed the refrigerator, vacuumed my bedroom with our new Dyson Animal (I think I might have vacuumed up a small animal in the process), laundry; AND then Mom and I went to the Bay Area for a Toby Keith and Trace Adkins concert. I know.. I know… I’m nine months pregnant… but they were THIRD ROW seats and so worth it! ( :
So waking up on Monday after only five hours of sleep and being grumpy and feeling like poo was more attributed to a late night at the concert than what might have been early signs of impending labor. It was my first day of Maternity Leave so since I had time on my hands, Mom and I went and got mani/pedi’s (thank goodness for pretty toes during labor!) and then lunch and shopping at Old Navy for a nice girls afternoon out! I also had a regularly scheduled 37week pre-natal appointment later that afternoon and Jason took off early to take me.
For some reason, I had a feeling that this would be my last appointment! The Nurse Practioner- whom I love- said that my cervix was 100% effaced (thinned), but not dilated, and that she was at 0 Station (situated low in the pelvis- the right position for delivery) and was measuring between 38 and 40 weeks; heartbeat was strong and that she could literally come anytime. HA HA- little did we know. During this exam they also took labs in preparation for delivery- more about this later. Jason was reading in the little newsletter that they give us that the exams could possible cause labor, so I thought it would be fun to walk down all of the stairs on the way to the car.
After every appointment, we have, er, had a ritual to go to RiteAid and get ice cream cones…(mad cravings for Chocolate malted crunch for the last 6 weeks!) well this particular store was going out of business and although the ice cream counter was closed, everything in the store was marked 50% off. Believe it or not, I was not in the ‘shopping mood’ so we left and went to the grocery. That is when my contractions started… but they felt like the ‘regular’ Braxton- Hicks contractions that I’ve had for weeks and weeks. They didn’t hurt, and were irregularly spaced so I thought it was another practice trial. Here’s where things start getting weird: at the grocery store, I decided that I wanted to have BLT’s for dinner- remember this is coming from the preggers chick that hasn’t really ate meat for months and months- at least I went for the turkey bacon! So Mom made dinner and I ate a whole sandwich and corn on the cob- a very big dinner for me in my present state (perhaps a subconscious note to self to consume fuel for labor??). After dinner, Jason and I went for a walk with the dogs and my contractions became pretty regular- about 6 minutes apart- but not much stronger than before. And Cynnamin- our chow/ Sheppard mix dog- who usually is a very excited walker, stayed by my side the whole time. When we got home I had a pretty brutal contraction; I decided to go and sit on the balance ball in the shower. The hot water felt really good on my back and also on my stomach when I did have a contraction. At this point I am still thinking that it might be Braxton-Hicks and I was looking forward to laying down for some rest. Right before I shut the water off, I told Jason that he might not be going to work in the morning…. HA! So, I stand up and shut to water off and I feel a pop down 'there' and then a trickle of hot water down my leg…. Was it from the shower? “Um, Jason, I think that my water just broke.” This was about 11:55 p.m. And then the next contraction nearly brought me to my knees it hurt so bad- and then I started crying. The reality set in - my water broke, and I was going to have a baby- soon. Jason helped me to the bed and then he called Kaiser Labor & Delivery for me- I couldn’t talk through contractions. Even though my contractions were irregular, they told us to come in if my water had broken and they would check me. I called Leah, my back-up labor coach, and then it was time to go to the hospital. Although I had had all of my stuff ready to go for the hospital in one area, with the exception of the car seat installed, so Mom and Jason got it all ready and loaded into the car- meanwhile, I managed to get dressed while having about 4 more contractions.
The ride to the hospital seemed like it took forever- between nasty speed bumps that seemed the size of mountains near our house, to a seat belt that felt like a vice when each contraction hit and trying to find some ‘zen’ music on the XM… I also noticed the little clock on the satellite receiver and my contractions were nearing five minutes apart. Thank god for no traffic at midnight and a relatively quick trip. I was whisked into the Triage area of the hospital (green light line pass through security- wahoo!) and asked to sign here, print here and produce a urine sample. Holy Mother of Bambi, these contractions hurt like hell… I have no idea how much actually made it in the cup….
Room One was going to be my domain for awhile. I put on the customary arse-baring gown as well as an ace-bandage like band around my stomach to hold the monitors and tried to get comfy in the bed. When I get settled, I see the clock says 12:50 a.m., and then if, big, if, my water didn’t break at home, it certainly just did…. About 15 minutes later, Jason and my Mom make it in to the room, which is getting smaller and smaller with each contraction and practioner that walks in. I’m hooked up to four different monitors, and a faulty blood pressure cuff that keeps getting stuck on constrict when it goes off every 15 minutes- which is about every third contraction.
Jason kept himself busy watching the monitor for the baby’s heartbeat and the contractions- he mentioned how different that they registered from our Week34 test run…yeah, they felt a whole lot different too! The pain and discomfort was starting to become unbearable at this time, but my mind was pretty numb and I didn’t think to ask what was going on (much of this I only know from Jason recounting to me). I do remember at one point telling him to not touch me… this was actually the only time that the evil labor fairy made me nasty- mostly because I was on sensory overload and was feeling claustrophobic in the little room.
They monitored me in the Triage room until about 2, and once the midwife was able to assess me and claimed that I was dilated 2.5 centimeters, they decided to admit me. Jason then asked her about how long would “this” last so that he could make some calls to the rest of the family. She said that under ‘normal’ circumstances, once you get to 4 cm, it would take about an hour per cm to get to 10, which would mean that I would probably deliver between 8 and 10 in the morning- so we were going to call the family around 6 to let them know I was in labor. He did call Leah to let her know- “She’s a 2.5?” (She was a 5 when she GOT to the hospital with her son last year!!)-- since she couldn’t sleep she decided to come to the hospital.
I had to use the restroom prior to getting wheeled down the hall to our private Delivery Suite- it was not an easy feat with that gown and in between contractions… but none the less, success! The Delivery Suite at Kaiser is huge- enough room for a small party (I’ve heard that some people have their entire families in the room… not modest little moi) and all of the medical staff. This is the part where I don’t remember very much- especially after Nurse Ratchet screwed up on my IV- ugh. At this point my contractions were very, very, very close together and extremely strong… it was scaring Jason- he asked one of the nurses if that was how it was going to be for the duration of my labor- perhaps another 5- 6 hours, and thinkin’ where the heck the epidural was.
Although Jason was a great coach, and as comforting as could be in that situation, I took great relief in using the bed rails to brace myself during every contraction. Finally around 3 a.m., the gave me some Fentanyl to ‘take the edge off’ until the epidural fairy arrived. I’m thinking that there is no way in hell that I would be able to stay still enough for five minutes for even the swiftest anesthesiologist to poke a big ol’ needle in my spine…. Bring on the IV drugs. This worked for a total of 3 contractions- and Leah arrived around that same time. At this point, I had to pee in the worst way… due to the IV and the intensity of my labor they wouldn’t let me get up to go to the bathroom nor did I have a catheter… they told me to just go on the pad… so I did, and proceeded to tell the entire room… thank you Fentanyl!
Jason managed to find a focus point for me- a pair of the Baby’s shoes that had rabbits and flowers on them… "rabbits and flowers, rabbits and flowers"- that was my mantra during the contractions…. And then another level of pain struck me… in my lower back. As they were leaning me over to try to put my epidural in, and Jason was trying to support me, I had the worst contraction yet- I had to resist the urge to bite Jason and let out a primal blood curdling scream… “I have to push…”
“I don’t think I’m going to be able to give her the epidural…”
“No shit… we waited a bit long..”
They situated me back on the bed amidst another contraction.
Another scream (my throat was raw by the end of this…)
“Did you take the classes, Carol- remember what you learned in the classes.”
“Yes, I took the classes, but that’s all out the window now!” I have to push…
“You can’t push- you aren’t ready.”
“It hurts, it hurts, I have to push.”
As I’m screaming through a contraction, they are telling me to breathe and pant…. I have to push… Leah is trying to help me pant.
“Pant, how the hell can I pant?”
Another blood curdling scream brings Nurse Midwife Marcy running in to check my progress… “I have to check her NOW.”
Nurse #1: “I just checked her about 10 minutes ago and she was a 5…”
She leans down and immediately announces- “She’s a 10!”
Jason’s eyes pop open as big as saucers… which I didn’t see although I was looking up at him. He was shocked that I progressed 5cm in less than 20 minutes… let alone the FIVE HOURS that they had guessed.
“Okay, Carol, you’re ready to have this baby- we can give you the epidural or you can have the baby.”
“Okay. Baby it is.”
During my entire pregnancy, I’ve been scared to death of labor and the pain associated with it, but at this point I didn’t give a second thought to not having an epidural now… I just thought that getting one would be more so and also that once I actually had the baby, the pain would go away.
There was a blur of people doing stuff- Leah grabbed a leg, Jason was rubbing my head and holding my hand, someone was pushing my back up and the midwife was giving a play by play. I barely had the strength to do anything on my own, and I was honestly scared to death.
Two contractions and she was crowning…
“Okay, Carol, one more good push now- she’s almost out.”
Liar! ( : It actually took four pushes….
Before my very last contraction, I had this Zen, Yoda-like moment. Those bunnies and flowers… well they were running through a meadow in my mind at this point. I just felt really peaceful and not very much pain. Honestly. But the rest before this was a bitch- I actually had what I consider an out-of-body experience to deal with everything that was happening. I figure that zoned out and removed myself from the moment up until the last contraction. When somebody compares something to childbirth- well, I get it…
I turned to Jason and said, “Let’s do this.”
One last push and Kiera Mckenzie Waggoner was born at 3:49 a.m. on August 18, 2009 in Roseville, California three weeks early and after only 3 hours and 54 minutes of intense labor. Nurse Marcy lightly toweled her off and set her on my chest, Kiera was crying… I’m crying… Leah is crying… Jason is crying…. all tears of joy, of course- but there wasn’t a dry eye in the room!
After a few minutes Jason cut her umbilical cord.
“I don’t know what to do with her- what am I supposed to do?”
“Nothing, just hold her like you are doing.”
“You did it, babe, our little girl is here. You’re my hero.”
“She’s here, Carol, you’re a rockstar!” (Leah also knew how petrified I was of labor.) Oh, and you didn’t poop on the table!”
That elicited a hearty laugh out of both Jason and I---- if you only knew that that I was mortified of that and actually told the class that during our Childbirth class!
My placenta came out quickly and was the talk of the room- Midwife Marcy remarked that I had a beautiful placenta (um, thank you?)… and Jason said it was larger than Kiera… eww…
After a few minutes they took Kiera to the warmer to give her a little bath and do the procedures and testing…she scored a 9 on the Apgars. At this point they told me that due to the short labor and lack of test results, we would be staying in the hospital for 48 hours…. And this was my first time in the hospital!
Weighing in at a dainty 5 pounds, 13 ounces and measuring 19.5” inches long… a skinny little thing!
Jason went over to go see her and talk to her…. She actually turned her head at the sound of his voice calling her name. (He talked to her in my tummy all throughout my pregnancy!)
Meanwhile, they spent the next 30-40 minutes carefully stitching me up…. Due to the pace of the delivery, I unfortunately tore and required about 20 stitches. You can’t feel it while it’s happening, but I did feel the repairs, and it was a bit uncomfortable… both the sewing and the close proximity of the midwife to my hoo-hoo for that long- but all the modesty was out the window along with the childbirth classes and breathing practice!
Shortly after 4 a.m., Jason called my mom to tell her that she was a Grandma! She was about as shocked as we were that Kiera made her arrival so quickly! Leah went home to grab some much needed sleep to go to work (she’s a rockstar!) and we got moved to our private Recovery Room #317- Kiera bundled in my arms and Jason trailing along with all our bags- one for labor, one for Kiera, one for recovery and five pillows! I think he had to make a few trips- I’ve never been one to pack lightly.
A note about our “labor” bag- most of the stuff we never used during labor- with the exception of the balance ball at home and the pillows, the chapstick, and my iPod (I listened to one of my favorite bands, Train, during delivery as I forgot to update my iPod before coming to the hospital with the Baby Kiera’s Arrival playlist!) that was about it- there were another 30 or so items in the ‘little’ bag though!
Once we got moved into our room, we made a few calls, sent out our announcement text message and spent some quality time with our precious little girl. It was only hours, but she was amazing so far!
At 6:45 a.m., Baby Kiera got her first visitor- Grandma Karen! Followed by Auntie Erika, Grandpa Don & Grandma Linda, Grandma Helen… Auntie Nanette… and the trail went on! Her fan club grew over the next few hours… and is still growing! I am completely biased- but how can you not love her! ( :
After 40 hours of being awake, I finally got some sleep on Wednesday morning- nearly 24 hours after Kiera was born…. Ahhh…. But that whole time I had an ear-to-ear grin plastered on my face- it was literally the BEST day of my life.
The entire labor and delivery experience was nothing like I thought it was going to be- it wasn’t completely horrible, but it was very intense and fast. It was extremely painful, but short lived (the recovery has been another matter and is a separate post) and Kiera is worth it- despite what they say, I have not forgotten about the pain. I feel blessed to have had such an easy pregnancy and short labor free from any major complications, and as a result, a perfectly healthy baby girl. Will I have another baby? Probably not at this point, but Jason and I said we would revisit that in a year. For right now, I just want to concentrate on enjoying every single second of Baby Kiera’s life!