in 39 weeks and 13 pushes.
WEDNESDAY MORNING: OB appt. 2 cm dilated. Otherwise no activity. Back to work as usual.
WEDNESDAY EVENING: Impromptu lasagna and salad at Chip and Joy's after work, where Luke has spent the afternoon. He goes to his gig; I go home.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Begin to have sporadic contractions, which I think may be Braxton-Hicks contractions (did not experience much in preceding weeks). They increase in pressure and I text Luke to please come home early!
THURSDAY MORNING: Luke comes home, with a chocolate milkshake (best labor coach). Continue to have sporadic contractions between 15 to 45 minutes apart through the night. I e-mail my section chief that I cannot come to work because I may be in labor.
THURSDAY: Contractions continue irregularly. Increasingly uncomfortable. We hang around the house, watch Louis CK Chewed Up, eat my requested lunch of caprese sandwiches and Terra chips. Still wondering if this could be false labor. Time contractions with handy app.
THURSDAY NIGHT: Around 8 pm, contractions increase in tempo and severity and end with irresistible urge to pee, akin to the feeling of a urinary tract infection. STARTING TO REALLY HURT. The pain is not in the small of my back as I anticipated, but in the large of my front (Luke's words).
THURSDAY NIGHT, LATE: Same as above, but with vomiting. As I writhe in pain in the grip of a wicked contraction, simultaneously vomiting and peeing on the bathroom floor, I am convinced that this is active labor.
FRIDAY MORNING: Contraction app comes in handy. With contractions every 5 minutes, we rush to the hospital and make our way to L&D triage at 2:30 am.
The resident checks my cervix and to my relief I am 5 cm dilated and completely effaced. Throughout my pregnancy I had said I did not want an epidural so as I am being evaluated I moan:
I WANT AN EPIDURAL PLEASE PAGE ANESTHESIA
I WANT AN EPIDURAL I SAID I DIDN'T BUT THAT WAS CRAZY TALK!
Admission consents are signed, I am moved out of triage, and anesthesia arrives, my savior in scrubs. He promises to take my pain from an 8/10 to a 5/10. The epidural is placed and the pain vanishes, aside from a 2 x 2 inch spot in my groin. I mention it, a bit more drug is pushed, and then I feel nothing. No contractions, no pressure, nothing. Ahhhhh. I wiggle my toes. I feel so glad to be living in an era of modern medical intervention. We wait.
Soon after I am 8 cm dilated and the OB resident breaks my water. Less than one hour later, it's 10 cm. Fetal heart decelerations bring about 20 people in the room in a few seconds. Upon examination she is turned such that we are spine to spine - the OB discusses with me the need to turn her, the possibility of forceps/vacuum/C-section. While pushing, they successfully turn her. I push through three more contractions, and at 6:03 am she is born. [I am uncertain whether she is out, due to the epidural.] She cries, is taken to be cleaned, and the team turns its attention to the perineal aftermath (the repair of which takes much longer than the delivery). I ask to see the placenta and am satisfied that it is big, beefy, and normal.
Luke holds her and then she is given to me. And here there are no words.
FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY: We spent the required 48 hours in the postpartum unit. The hospital has a skin to skin and rooming-in policy (there is no well baby nursery). The lactation consultants provided invaluable assistance and support (BREASTFEEDING IS NOT EASY. The childbirth experience, even as alleviated by the epidural, provided a parade of different pain types from deep, crushing, and visceral (contractions), sharp and stabbing (postoperative), and ending with blinding excruciation in the instance of BF. Everything has gotten much better, however.)
My mom arrived Friday afternoon and my dad on Monday. Luke's parents visited us at home from Thursday to Saturday.
As I type this, Clementine dozes at my feet and my heart feels unbearably full with love for my daughter and my husband.
We are absolutely enthralled by her. The scent of the top of her head, the expressions that flit across her face: we are in love.