Eloise’s birth story begins on a Monday. And it involves many nitty-gritty details.
Monday I had a nice day at work. My mom and Lincoln came to visit me for lunch, which was such a special treat. At lunch I told my mom that I was a little worried I might have been leaking amniotic fluid. I was pretty sure I wasn’t, but my mom was adamant that I go get checked out. I shrugged her off a bit, but once I got back to work and thought about it a bit longer, I called the nurse line at my OBGYN and asked them their opinion. They said it was best if I called L&D at the hospital, and they would likely want me to come in and get the fluid tested. I called L&D, and they said to come in soon.
I finished up some work and got ready to leave, leaving my computer in my office knowing I’d be back the next day. I drove myself to L&D and checked myself in for an assessment.
There, a kind nurse named Kim hooked me up to monitors to see if I was having contractions and to see how baby girl was doing. All looked good – I was having some contractions, which I knew, and baby looked great. Then after a little while of hoping whatever fluid would “pool” a bit, Kim took 2 samples to see if it was in fact, amniotic fluid.
She came back with the results – the first one was negative, but the second test (which apparently is a new, very accurate test) was positive. Kim also called my dr. and the plan was to keep me there and start the induction. I was slightly in shock. I knew there was no way I was leaking – Lincoln had come 9 days past his due date by an induction, so my 1 pregnancy experience was that my body doesn’t start labor on its own. Well this time it did – my water had broken a bit, and that meant time to have baby arrive in order to resist any infections. They told me that they would get me admitted, and start Cervadil (more on that) at 5pm.
I called Justin and told him. He was a bit shocked also, and asked if he could go to his 4:30pm meeting. I said he could, and he requested that I have my mom come stay with me until he got there so I wasn’t alone. I called my mom, who very excitedly said she’d be there soon, with Link.
I was admitted into a room – Room 248. Changed into the incredibly fashionable gown and ordered dinner. I had to order first because once I had the Cervadil in I couldn’t eat for an hour. Dinner came, as did mom and Link. Link enjoyed moving the bed up and down over and over. He also took a ride on the IV pole (it wasn’t in use yet).
Then I was all hooked up to the monitors again and at 5pm, the nurse came and placed the Cervadil. This is a gel on an applicator that is supposed to ripen the cervix. I had it with Link, since I was induced with him, and I was prepared for it to do basically nothing. Around that time my mom and Link left to go get Justin and help him finish packing the hospital bag. I sat with the Cervadil in for an hour without drinking or peeing (even though I needed to do both) and then soon after the cramps/contractions started. The cramps were mildly uncomfortable – nothing like what would come later. I spent a lot of time walking around the hallway by myself waiting on Justin (that sounds sad, but I was fine – I was happy to wait for him). Then the nurse said that when I would walk they couldn’t get a good read on baby, so I spent some time bouncing on the birth ball. Baby girl still didn’t cooperate, but as long as they got a reading on her heartrate (which was perfect the entire time, by the way) every so often, I could continue to do what I needed to do.
Eventually Justin arrived and was able to go on walks with me. Monday evening basically consisted of that – contractions, walking, and monitoring. I was given some Tylenol PM to sleep (I refused the muscle relaxer because they are awful to me) and I slept for a while. Around midnight I woke up and the contractions were a lot worse. I could no longer sleep. I believe somewhere around here they checked me, and I hadn’t progressed much. Some, but not much. I laid there for two more hours, and finally asked for some relief so that I could sleep. I was given morphine, which dulled the contractions enough to sleep through.
Tuesday morning they removed the Cervadil and wheeled all of the equipment in to start the Pitocin. I asked for the swat nurse to place my IV because I have awful veins, and once that was done they started the fluids and the Pitocin. I was able to eat breakfast and things started to move. My nurse was Kim again, who was wonderful. She happens to be good friends with Link’s teacher at Montessori, so it was a fun connection.
I don’t fully remember all of the details of Tuesday. The Cervadil did in fact “ripen” me, so that was great, and the overnight contractions also did their job. After a couple of hours on the Pitocin, I was feeling lots of contractions – quite uncomfortable, and I was dilating. Baby was also moving down, which was great. Throughout my contractions I used the same breathing technique that I did with Link, and that helped a lot. Around 10 or so, I was at 4 centimeters dilated – 1 more than I was with Link when I called “Epidural time”. I had to wait for the dr. to get finished in another room, so I just breathed through the contractions. If any of you are wondering what/how Justin is doing during this – he’s trying to be supportive, while I just make him be silent.
The epidural man came in and placed the epidural. I started to feel relief a bit after, which I was expecting because I felt complete relief with Link. Unfortunately, I felt the relief mostly on my right side. My left side was still hurting quite bad, and the contractions were getting worse. I told Kim after waiting a bit longer that I still wasn’t getting the relief. She called the epi-man back in, and he gave me another dose or something. This did lead to more relief, and made my right side incredibly numb. I still had a small “window” of pain on my lower left side. This was awful – with every contraction it felt as if someone was taking a knife, stabbing me, and twisting. Despite the pain, I told myself that contractions only last 1 minute at the most, so that every time it happened I started at 60 and counted down doing my breathing.
A little while later, towards noon, I was completely dilated and they called the doctor. Because of the “window” of pain I was having, the nurse turned down the Pitocin until the doctor would get there, to ease off the contractions. She arrived right before 1pm.
Dr. Flynn got into position, and the nurses and Justin got me into position – since at this point I had zero feeling or movement in my legs. I started pushing at 1:02pm, and Eloise Grey made her arrival at 1:08pm.
*Now at this point, I would like to remind you that with Lincoln, when he was born he wasn’t breathing, and he was taken away from me very quickly.*
The dr. placed Eloise on my chest, and I pretty much lost it. I was so incredibly happy. There she was, tiny, pink and screaming, laying on me with her long, black hair and deep blue eyes. I wept with joy. It was such an amazing, incredible, unexplainable joy, that here was my little girl, and I got to keep her. They weren’t going to take her from me, she wasn’t going to stop breathing, she was crying. A miracle.
After the rest of the “goods” were delivered, and I was stitched up (in 3 places, thank you very much), the nurses wiped Ellie off and I was able to breastfeed her right away. Eventually, I let them weigh her.
Eloise Grey weighed 6 lbs, 14 oz, and was 19.5 inches long. It was incredible – I had been praying and praying first and foremost for a successful delivery and healthy babe, and second for a dark haired (like her mama) little baby (unlike her brother, who was 8-2). God blessed me with exactly what I asked for, and I couldn’t be more happy.