The long waiting period for us finally ended and we couldn’t have been more happy with the outcome. We were patient and let the labor come on naturally and it was certainly worth the wait. Although it seems like forever ago now, the waiting period lent itself to a very predictable pattern. Feeling normal during the day and then getting contractions beginning around 8 or 9 pm every single night that continued through the night until I would wake up. Thus, my mood had been up and down simultaneously; excited and anxious at night thinking that this could be it and we could be going into labor later that night or the next morning and then that feeling would melt away in the morning…several mornings in a row. Frustrating! Not to mention that there was more discomfort on top of the fleeting levels of patience. And I was certain that this baby was going to come late in the night.
But we persisted. We made the best use of the weekend prior that we could. Bryan was able to get his project for work more or less completed from home while I worked away at my cross stitch project, which I am shockingly nearly finished with. We enjoyed a night out on Friday; getting delicious burgers at 8 Oz Burger before walking from there downtown to watch Crazy Rich Asians, which we loved! Bryan made me banana pancakes one more time on Saturday morning and we had a home cooked dinner with movies Saturday night. We went out to McMenamins on Sunday night for a great dinner before coming home and having a romantic candle-lit evening as the power had gone out in several neighborhoods around us. And we got out for walks in the cool, refreshing air both Saturday and Sunday with walks in the Arboretum and Seward Park.
Bryan spent Monday at work, with plans of taking the rest of the week off as he was already in overtime hours from the previous week and weekend. We enjoyed our fig pizza, dining al fresco, at Tutta Bella the Monday night before. We had one more doctor’s appointment Tuesday afternoon, where we probably looked a little dejected from the waiting. It was only a few hours of being at home after the appointment, around 4 pm, that I started to feel contractions that felt quite different than ones I was having previously. We decided to walk and get Fat’s Chicken and Waffles for their 3 year anniversary and 30% off, earlier rather than later, and enjoyed some fantastic and comforting Southern food (fried catfish, collards and fried green tomatoes) while letting the contractions roll on.
After demolishing the meal we walked home and I got to relaxing in the bath while Bryan put the chocolate chip cookies he had prepped into the oven (bribes for the nurses). When the contractions were at just under 5 minutes apart we called the midwives and packed up the car to drive SLOWLY to the hospital. We checked in around 8 pm and had the most luxurious room in the Childbirth Center. They started taking my vitals and said I was still at 2 cm. We were suggested to walk around and did so, stopping to sit by the fountain that we had many dinners at before childbirth classes. Contractions were getting more intense so we headed back to the room where we were checked again at 11 pm, finding that I was still at 2 cm. We were given the option to go back home or stay the night with the option to take some pain killers to try to sleep through the night since it was looking to be a long night and needing as much rest as I could get. We opted to stay and around midnight asked for the pain killers.
…but our plan was quickly about to change.
Just as the pain killers were coming my water broke around 1 am. At this point, and with meconium in the water, we were told that we couldn’t take the pain killers and that this labor was progressing now rather than later. Here we go! From the point of my water breaking on, the contractions were coming fast and furious. I was getting very little time to catch my breath between contractions and they persisted for hours. At 4:30 am, I asked to be checked again because I knew that my energy was starting to fade. I was told that we were at 6-7 cm. Although I was happy to have progressed I was worried that if my labor lasted more than about an hour or two I could be in some serious fatigue trouble. At this point, I asked for the epidural and Bryan fully supported me on that decision. I then wanted the drugs NOW as pain was much more intense. I had to fight through several contractions while getting the needle in my back and for the first 30 minutes I was still feeling a good majority of the contractions so they gave me another dosage. Now feeling numb from the waist down we were advised to get some rest, and so we did, shockingly.
After a little under two hours of sleep we were waken at 7 am to check the progress. I was told that I was complete and that we would start pushing at 8 am (I’m guessing for the change in midwives). Right at 8 am we started the pushing. I still couldn’t really feel a thing below the waist but tried my best to push regardless. I was told we were progressing nicely but through the pushing and contractions the baby’s heartbeat would lower quite a bit. We had multiple people introduced to our room for various reasons; the neonatal specialist to check on the baby because of the meconium in the water and OBs just in case they would need to vacuum the baby out because of the lowering heart rate risk. Fortunately, we seemed to push past the most narrow point and the baby’s heart rate stopped dropping and we looked to be in the clear. It was only a bit more pushing left and at 9:02 am we delivered our sweet baby girl, wailing away.
We were both shocked that we had a baby girl, and both elated. It was a very emotional feeling when they placed her on my chest for the cord to stop pulsing and then Bryan cut the cord. The neonatal doctor checked her over and cleared her and then she was back on my chest for her first feeding. After 1.5 hours of feeding, the nurses took her back for measurements and to clean her. I was then able to take a shower which I definitely needed after a night of sweating and the delivery. My legs were slow to get feeling back in them but I was able to stand by myself in the shower. Feeling refreshed, we spent the rest of the day holding and taking in our new baby girl, Reese Elizabeth. It was indeed the most joyful day and exhaustion and any physical pain was forgotten for the time being. My parents had taken the earliest flight they could from Detroit and got to the hospital around 6 pm for a short visit with their new granddaughter. It was good to see them and share our story. Visiting hours ended at 8:30 pm and so we said goodbye to them and they left to go back to our place. Bryan and I had our celebratory dinner to enjoy at the hospital, which was a nice three-course dinner that we enjoyed with our best Reserve wine that we brought to the hospital.
That night we slept like logs, despite getting checked every few hours for vitals. Reese slept great through her first night, after having such a traumatic day too. We were up early the next morning and spent several hours with more physical checks on Reese and finally getting the necessary info we needed to leave the hospital. Reese also received her first bath by one of the nurses. Finally, at 3:30 pm, we were walked out of the hospital by one of the nurses and packed into the car for our first ride with her and to take our baby girl home. We were stepping foot into whole new territory now as a family of three…