I've always had this (potentially very annoying) habit of complaining about things that in reality make me very happy. For example, I was feeling pretty run down by the end of my pregnancy - like REALLY run down. My doctor was all "stop working - you have the diagnosis for it - I will give you whatever paperwork you need. So just stop". I was all "No! I must work until the last minute - how wussy and horrible of me to stop early." Eventually I "gave in". Of course deep down I was so happy to stop working - to have some time to just chill before we became a family of four. I made lists of things I would get done while Lily was in day care and started thinking up activities for Lily and I to do together in our last remaining days of "just the two of us."
On Thursday May 7th I wrapped up things at the office. Gave my final flight readiness review presentation, got the HR paperwork in order, said my goodbyes and turned in my badge. I didn't even cry when I got home this time. That evening we celebrated a friend's birthday and I bemoaned the fact that I couldn't eat the Carvel ice cream cake. Friday morning I woke up ready to celebrate my first day of freedom from work. I made my way to the bathroom and seconds before sitting down - SPLASH. Huh - I thought - that was pretty weird. Have I become totally incontinent now? Then I sort of woke up and realized that it was more likely that my water had just broken. At this point, however, I was still hoping for the "really forceful pee" explanation. I called Gordon in and my mind started racing. I had no bag packed, there wasn't a newborn diaper in the house, I WAS NOT READY!
I slowly pulled myself together and got in the shower. When I went into labor with Lily I didn't eat breakfast or take a shower before going to the hospital. I was not going to make that mistake twice. I even tested my fasting blood sugar and ate my usual GD-safe breakfast (I'm such a nerd). We called Mimi, Lily's day care provider, and confirmed that she could spend the day there with her. I called my doctor - I considered not bothering since I had an appointment at 10AM anyway - ha ha. And finally called my upstairs neighbor and my Mom to make sure that Lily had a ride home from day care and that someone would be waiting here for her. Oh and I threw some stuff in bag. Taking care to be sure that I had clothes for myself to wear home, so I wouldn't have to beg for hospital scrubs like last time! I also put about 6 outfits in there for baby - you know, in case I was actually carrying sextuplets or something.
The whole "water breaking" experience was pretty new to me. I had a little puncture with Lily that leaked a bit, but NOTHING that compared. I naively thought the first SPLASH would be the end of it. Umm.. no. You just sort of keep SPLASHing every time the baby moves or something. So I sort of hobbled around the apartment getting ready, yelping each time more water appeared. We finally got in the car and drove Lily to Mimi's. Oh I should mention that I wasn't yet contracting at all - at least not in any real way that I could feel.
Dropping Lily off at Mimi's was hard. I cried when I got back in the car. I felt sort of cheated of any chance to savor those last moments of life as we knew it - before everything changed again. Not that I wasn't excited about the upcoming change.. but still... We had a good thing going in our little family of three and heading to the hospital, leaking more and more with each bump, I couldn't help but feel a little sadness and apprehension.
By the time we got to the hospital my pants were soaked through and I was thoroughly mortified. I hurried in and grudgingly sat through the registration process in a wheelchair. Then I insisted on walking up to labor & delivery instead of being pushed in said wheelchair. At this point I had pretty much given up all hope of being sent back home - there was no way that my water was not broken. However, I was a bit concerned that I wasn't really feeling contractions. Visions of pitocin and C-sections began dancing in my head.
My doctor (whom I love so much I think about having more babies just so I can hang out with her for another 9 months) wasn't in yet that morning so I was seen by another OB. She suggested that we get started on pitocin, but I was reluctant. To be honest I was somewhat frightened of induction due to some other labor stories I'd heard. I also didn't want to sit around all day just to end up needing to be induced in the evening and then be up all night in labor. So with the support of the L&D nurse (who rocked) we decided to just wait it out a bit until Dr. Bayer arrived.
So for the next couple of hours Gordon and I kind of hung out. I was contracting a bit, but still nothing regular. We watched some anime and chatted with our L&D nurse. At some point I was examined and found out I was 50% effaced and only 2 centimeters dilated. I figured we had a while to go. Dr. Bayer arrived sometime between noon and 1PM. She recommended induction with an oral medication called "meso". I had never heard of it, but decided to trust her instincts and go ahead with it. I took the pills and sat back to await the results.
Soon after the room was filled with people. Apparently I had a number of strong contractions back to back and the baby had a little deceleration. Now, reading about meso a bit online, I wonder if I was experiencing uterine hyper-stimulation. Thankfully everything stabilized quickly - both my contractions and the baby's heart rate. So it was back to business as usual. The contractions started coming regularly and gaining in strength. By about 2:15 I was at the pain threshold that prompted me to get the epidural with Lily. I was hesitant to do it - I'm always afraid of the actual "epidural insertion" process - but decided to go ahead and ask for it when an exam revealed that I was only 4 centimeters. I thought I had a while to go still.
So anesthesia came in and I wussily sat through the epidural procedure. In the middle of that my neurologist stopped by and wanted to do a quick muscle exam. It's really fun trying to follow directions like "squeeze my hand" and "follow my finger with your eyes" while contracting and getting a large needle shoved in your back at the same time. The epidural was in by 2:45. I got some relief with it, but not as much as with Lily. It seemed that my left side went completely numb, but my right was still feeling things. So the contractions were dulled somewhat, but not entirely.
At this point, things really sped up and I frankly am not sure what happened when. I know that sometime after the epidural was administered I was examined again and was suddenly 7 centimeters. By 3:20ish I was fully dilated and Dr. Bayer was calmly sitting by me telling me the baby would be here "any minute now". It really happened very fast. With Lily the room was full of people - residents, NICU, etc. This time around it was just me, Gordon, Dr. Bayer and our L&D nurse. The whole atmosphere was pretty chill. She told me to let her know when I felt like pushing and within a few minutes I was ready to do just that.
Four pushes and about 8 minutes later, Quinn was born. Just like that. Dr. Bayer says it was only three pushes - that I "wasn't really trying" on the first one. I pushed for an hour with Lily - so wow, what a difference. The only one that hurt was the last one. Quinn emerged with two loops of umbilical cord around his neck. That really freaked me out, but he was totally fine. We had chosen not to find out the gender, so when he arrived and started crying I immediately asked "is she okay?". Turns out "she" was perfectly fine and of course is actually a he.
And that's it. Six hours after arriving at the hospital a sopping mess, but not contracting, I was holding my baby boy. It all happened so fast - and so much earlier than I expected! But nothing is quite like the first time you get to hold your baby. All that waiting and wondering and then suddenly there he is - perfect little fingers and toes, munchable cheeks, adorable little hungry cry. Although you may have wondered while pregnant how you could possibly find more room in your heart to love another child as much as you love your first, you feel your heart swelling so you can do just that. And now - there are four - and it feels just perfect.
(If you're still reading - ummm thanks and I'm sorry!) So that's it - Quinn's birth story. Just a few more bits to relate. I had a little tear and needed a few stitches - I really hate that part. But it was minor and no big deal. Although Dr. Bayer remarked that she remembered having to "chase me up the bed" last time too. Earlier that day there had been a big sheet cake to celebrate the birthday of one of the doctor's. My L&D nurse snagged a piece and saved it for me. Let me tell you that was a really really yummy piece of mediocre cake! Gordon went home at some point to fetch Grammy and Lily and we did have the whole family together that evening. Lily was proudly sporting her new "I'm a Big Sister" T-shirt. Also.. ummm I need a new name for this blog for real now... help?