Some people might celebrate this by having a half birthday party. Or listing all of their darling baby's accomplishments so far. Or perhaps by doing...nothing.
I, however, have decided to celebrate by sharing Lilli's birth story. I could wait until she turns two, that is very true, but if you know me you know I have a need for instant gratification and now that I've decided to share her story, waiting will just not work for me.
So! I've kept the blood and guts to a minimum, but if you'd like to not know me that well, this might be the post to skip. I'll give you a minute.
Still with me? Awesome!
July 13th, 2007: The day before my due date, (also the first day of my scheduled maternity leave) with Lilli I went to the OB and I was 0cm dilated and not at all effaced. To the un-initiated, that means nothing was going on down there. He told me that since it was almost my due date and no progress was being made and Lilli was practically up in my neck instead of down around my knees where she should be, that they would just go ahead and schedule an induction for the next week. So I went to his assistant to schedule it, and she told me that if for a second baby (when they tend to practically fall out according to her, hah!) I wasn't dilated at this far along in the process, that chances were the induction wouldn't work and I would need a c-section.
Well, I panicked. Because even though some people really love their c-sections I have a friend who has had unpleasant recovery experiences with both of her children and I am deathly afraid of the thought of a scalpel anyway. So I was all crying and freaking out and calling my husband and C and my mom to say noooooo, I don't want a c-section . *sob* *sob* My mom, who has not experienced childbirth herself, and couldn't give me any suggestions (although she held my right leg during Elizabeth's birth and was so interested in the proceedings that she kept wandering away with my leg while I was trying to push), asked around at her work and one lady was excited to tell her about how well Castor oil had worked for her sister. The miracle potion or something like that. So, I said "I'LL TRY ANYTHING LEGAL!!" and went right to Publix to get me some.
I took it at 9:30 at night after the girls were in bed and I'd cleaned the kitchen and the usual stuff. It is not pleasant stuff let me tell you, even with an OJ chaser. Or half a carton of OJ as the case may be. Instead of going to bed like a smart extremely pregnant person, I started surfing on the web. Then I realized it was getting close to 11. So I got in bed with my book to fall asleep. I don't remember what I was reading, but I remember that I got sucked in. Next thing I knew, it was 12:30am on the dot and I started to feel that the castor oil was working. And boy did it work. It worked so well and so intensely that I did not realize at first that the continued cramping sensations I was experiencing could be anything other then the effects of the castor oil. Around 1:15 I started to get the hint. "Honey?" I said, "I think it might have worked" Well, he was playing World of Warcraft and was finding that much more interesting then the possible impending birth of our child.
So, I quickly skimmed the "How to know you're in Labor" sections of all the pregnancy books I had lined up on the night stand. I was induced with Elizabeth, so this was my first experience going into labor. Everyone says "You'll know! You'll know!" Like the going into labor would be so obvious that you couldn't miss it. Well, I must be the exception.
All the books agreed that if I thought I was in labor I should get into the bathtub. And if the contractions went away it was false labor and if I really was in labor they would get more intense. They got more intense. And I was like Whooooooa. I told David that I was most definitely in labor. And he said that he was in the middle of his First Heroic Instance and this wasn't really a good time for labor and that it would probably go away. I actually was too involved in the contractions to yell at him. Since I was having to time them myself.
I realized they were happening every 2 or 3 minutes. Which, as it happens, is a sign I should already have been at the hospital. So, around 1:50am or so I called the "labor number" I had been given, and got called back by a poor woman I had obviously woken up. I had a contraction while I was on the phone with her, and she asked me how far away I was from the hospital I'd chosen. About 45 minutes. She told me to leave 5 minutes ago. So I called my dad and said "NOW!!!" He made it to my house in record time.
In the meantime I was busy showering and packing my bag (yes, I know, but they had told me I wasn't having a baby for another week so I unpacked) between contractions, and the official go word had spurred David into action, so he was sprinting around plastering the backseat of his work Jeep (with the nice big backseat) in trashbags just in case. Good thing as it turned out.
My dad arrived, I contracted my way into the back seat and off we went. At a good clip. Right up until I was informed that we didn't have enough gas to make it to the hospital. So we stopped. And I contracted. And it Was Not Cool. Off we went again at somewhere between 2 and 2:30 in the morning and definitely faster than the limit. Somewhere on the way I felt an unusual sensation and said "Either I just peed myself or my water broke". At which point my contractions were like, "hey, just kidding, THIS is a contraction."
So we got to the hospital. Instead of pulling up in the loading zone and nicely escorting me up to the maternity entrance, like you see on TV, David practically threw me out of the Jeep shouting, "GO! GO! I'LL BRING THE STUFF!" I had a contraction in the elevator so intense that when the doors opened I couldn't get out of the elevator and had to ride it down and back up. I had another contraction in the lobby and couldn't open the door the first time they buzzed me in. I made it in to hear the nurse talking to labor triage telling them that they had a patient.
From this point I'll skip some of the details except to say that while it seems that I am focusing too much on each contraction each one was a significant event in my opinion. And I remember where I was when each one of these initial hospital contractions took place.
Triage got me into a gown, asked if my water had broken, determined that it had and sent me to a room. After much, much ado I was hooked up in bed and "settled. It was now somewhere between 3 and 3:30am. They kept wanting me to sign papers, but were explaining them during the contractions and having me sign them between so I have no idea what I signed. They wanted to hook me up to an IV because I said I was interested in an epidural, but I wouldn't let them stick me while I was contracting and they moved too slow in between and the contractions were coming faster and faster. So that was a struggle, although they did manage to get me on the IV eventually.
At some point as all this was going on they checked me, and after all this misery I had been going through, I was only 3 cm dilated. 15 minutes later I started to feel like I needed to push and, even though they didn't believe me, they checked me again and I was a good 7. The nurse who was checking me didn't believe it, so she got a more senior nurse to check me. Checking is not pleasant. My body was trying to push out their hands.
At this point my contractions started to "couple" which means they were so close together it didn't feel like they let up between. That's not a pleasant thing. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was "transitioning". Good times. I had said I didn't want any pain medication (because it had made me very out of it with Elizabeth), I just wanted the epidural, but they had only just gotten my IV hooked up and my blood sent down to the lab, which has to be tested for something or another before they will send the blessed anesthesiologist guy to you. So this random nurse (who I had not seen previously and never saw again, she must have come by to hang out on her break or something) convinced me that the drug would take the edge off and it would happen RIGHT NOW because it could go in the IV so I said ok. Well, it certainly didn't kill any pain, which is what I recollect of the last time I had it, but it did put a tiny space between the contractions again so I could sort of cope. Ok, that's a lie. I did not cope. At least not well.
My body was freaking out a little bit because things were moving so fast and there was some shaking and some major bloody show happening. What seemed like forever later, but was really around 4:15, a nurse suddenly appeared in my field of vision (which was like one eye partially cracked) with the glorious news that my blood work was ok, and they would call the epidural guy as soon as they checked me one more time. So Junior Nurse checks me, pauses, looks at me, feels around in there some more and asks Senior Nurse to have a go. Senior Nurse says. "Well, looks like its time to push". I said "WHAT? I WANT AN EPIDURAL!!!" Yeaaaah. They don't give you one of those when its time to push.
So, this pushing urge. You can't resist it. Your body pushes even if the rest of you doesn't want to. Doesn't mean its effective, but it sure means you feel it. The best way to describe it is that it feels like you are throwing up. From your behind. It's not a pretty description, but I imagine you've got a pretty good idea now, right?
Now, when I had Elizabeth, she was facing the wrong way and they didn't know it. So most of my labor with her was in my back. However, I have scoliosis, so I'm used to back pain, and the places she was applying pressure on were fairly tolerable. But little miss Lilli was facing the correct way and was somehow putting all her force on my tail bone. There definitely was also some sciatic involvement. Which meant that when a contraction hit I would try and lift off my tail bone to relieve the pressure from the other side. My nurses did not understand that when I said (or mooed, or moaned or whatever) "It hurts in my butt", that I didn't mean normal sensations of a baby getting ready to exit, I meant "My tail bone is going to explode". I kept asking them to help me get up onto my legs and they kept telling me no. Which meant I reeeeeally was not having a good time with this.
At 10 centimeters, the nurses have you do "practice pushes". This is so most of the work is done before the doctor comes in to make his triumphant catch of the baby. For first time moms pushing can take 2 or 3 hours. For a second time mom it can vary a lot, but they still don't want the doctor to waste his time on you counting to 10. So these unsympathetic nurses had me practice push. So from 4:15 to 4:30 I only pretended to push. I was NOT a happy camper with this whole process. Finally one of them said "We aren't calling the doctor in until you give us a real push". At which point I realized that they were never going to let me get up and the only way to stop the tail bone pressure was to get Lilli out. I had pretty much been panicking and not thinking this through until I realized that i might be practice pushing forever.
So I PUSHED. And they said "STOP!!!!!!!"
They called the doctor, he set up, the team of baby handlers arrived, the nurses hovered. David held my leg, I PUSHED, Lilli's head popped out, I PUSHED, and out came the rest of her. At 4:44am.
And 18 months later I still think it was worth it.