The past eleven days have been very busy, but very wonderful. I thought I would document Stella's birth story. It's a bit long, so hold on tight. So, here goes nothing:
On Wednesday, June 1, I had a doctor's appointment scheduled in the middle of the afternoon. I honestly was surprised that I made it to that appointment because at my previous appointment, my doctor said I was extremely ready to go into labor. At my appointment, I found out that my doctor was leaving to go out of town that Friday (just two days later), and she would be gone on vacation for over a week. BUT, she was on call that night! It was looking like she wouldn't be delivering Stella unless Stella came really soon. Everything at the appointment went smoothly, and I was basically in and out of there in about 15 minutes. Dr. Y checked my cervix and I hadn't progressed very much at all. I was a "stretchy" 4 cm dilated, meaning she could stretch me to a 5, but I wasn't fully 5 cm. She told me to walk, walk, walk. So, since the kids were napping at Jonathan's parents, my mom and I decided to take this baby to the mall where we walked around for about 1.5 hours. After the appointment, I remember feeling a lot of pressure and very uncomfortable, but I was hoping that the exam had perhaps gotten things "started."
After the mall, we went to pick up the kids and then met up with Jonathan for a dinner out at our favorite Mexican restaurant. I started having some strong contractions during dinner, and I had to pee like crazy for several hours. I was so paranoid that my water was going to break in public! After dinner, we came home, put on our walking shoes, and then we walked through our neighborhood for about an hour. Instead of the trek up and down the hills of our neighborhood making me have more contractions, I remember that by this point, I was beginning to feel normal again. The contractions had stopped, the pressure didn't seem as strong. So, we came in, put the kids to bed, and relaxed for a while on the couch and watched some TV with my mom.
I got a shower before bed and blew my hair dry, and then went straight to bed around midnight. I am not sure how much sleep I got. Liam was having a rough night and woke up a few times crying in his sleep. The first time Jonathan got up with him. I remember having two strong contractions around that time, but then nothing progressed. I drifted off to sleep only to have Liam wake up again a few minutes later. I got up this time to take care of Liam, and as I walked across the house, I remember that I noticed that my boobs were suddenly very sore. It registered to me that this was different, and I thought, well maybe something will happen. I went back to bed for a while and then started having some more contractions.
At 2:15 am I started timing them. I had had quite a few, and I knew they were coming pretty consistently. They were about 5-8 minutes apart and were continuously strong. I changed positions, got up to pee, sat up, laid down, etc. They still came. I thought to myself that I would wake Jonathan when I had been having the contractions for about an hour. At 3:00 am, I went to reach for Jonathan to wake him amidst having a very strong contraction, but I couldn't even reach for him. It stopped me still. I froze and breathed my way through it, but apparently my heavy breathing woke Jonathan up. He said, "What's going on!?" I told him I had been having contractions for nearly an hour. He quickly got up and started getting ready to go.
The next few minutes brought a lot of change. I called the Dr. and the answering service told me she would call me right back. Within mere minutes, I could not talk or walk through my contractions. They kept coming very fast and were getting much more intense. Jonathan kept asking me questions, but I couldn't think about anything but getting to the hospital. It was a funny and chaotic time. We woke up my mom and decided that we needed to go quickly to the hospital. We told her we would call Jonathan's parents on the way to the hospital, they would come to the house to relieve her and stay with the sleeping kiddos, then my mom could come and meet us for the delivery. The doctor hadn't called back, but there was no doubt that I was in labor, and all I could think of was that I wanted an epidural and I didn't want to have the baby in the car.
Jonathan cruised at the speed limit for the first few minutes, and then I realized he was taking his merry old time and told him to hurry up. My back pain was insanely painful. When we pulled up to the ER at 3:30 am, I opened the door to get out but then couldn't move. I just stood there looking at Jonathan and said, "I can't move. I can't move." He told me to get back in the car so we could park and then he'd help me in, and I was thinking, "Oh no, I can't wait that long." So I sucked it up and made myself walk. I was instantly put in a chair and they wheeled me up to Labor & Delivery. They brought me to triage to check me to make sure I was in labor, and I was quick to tell them that I had been at 4 cm just earlier that afternoon and that I would like an epidural.
The contractions were really rough. Wow. I had major back labor, and man do I have such respect for those mommas who have natural deliveries. The triage nurse checked me and I was at 6 cm. They admitted me to a room, and when I asked about the epidural, they told me that there was only one anesthesiologist on call and that he had been called in to participate in an open heart surgery. They had no idea how long it would take him to get there. For about 45 minutes I labored, and I remember just after a contraction telling Jonathan, "I don't think I can do this." No sooner did the words come out of my mouth did the anesthesiologist walk in the room. He told me he'd have me comfortable in 10 minutes, but he managed to get it finished in 9 minutes. I was so happy to see him! At 4:20ish, the nurse checked me again and I was at 8 cm. Any longer and I probably wouldn't have been able to get the epidural. I am so thankful!!!
For the next hour or so, I just relaxed in the hospital bed. I was really tired from having slept just minutes, but we were so excited about having our baby girl. My mom, Jonathan and I sat in the room just chatting, and we even listened to a Piper sermon while waiting. Before I knew it, a nurse checked me and I was completely dilated but my water hadn't broken. They called Dr. Y in to break my water and to confirm that I was ready to go. "Let's start pushing," she said. The nurses got the room ready while the doctor went to check on another patient, and before I knew it she was back to deliver Stella. I pushed about 3 times and she was here! It was an amazing delivery, the best yet! My epidural was great....not too strong. I could feel my contractions and the urgency to push, but there was no pain. Also, I did not have an episiotomy this time! I still tore a bit, but no actual cutting. Much better for recovery!
Stella came out screaming like a mad hornet! She was pink and mad and just a little peanut. She weighed 6 lbs., 15 oz. and measured 19.25 inches long. Her APGAR scores were very high, and she was just perfect. I got to hold her immediately after pushing her out, which I LOVE! They took her away to clean her and get her temperature up, and when they brought her back I nursed her. Then they took her away again to get checked by the pediatrician, so Jonathan still wasn't able to hold her. It was killing him!
In the meantime, my epidural wore off and I was able to get up and get a shower. This was just amazing! For my previous two deliveries, I was induced and was on Pitocin and the epidural. I was on those for like 8 hours, so it took much longer for everything to wear off. This time, I was up and in the shower in no time, and when the kids came to meet their baby sister, I was no longer attached to an IV or any medication. I was up and walking around and in my pajamas. This was helpful in not upsetting the kids, particularly Nora who is always concerned about me when I am at the doctor. I am so thankful for the way everything happened. It was a great day and a wonderful birthing experience, even with a few hours of intense laboring at home and in the hospital. Dr. Y even got to delivery me!
Here are some pictures of our Stella Marie's birthday:
|Stella still in.|
|My reenactment of labor minus the epidural|
|Mad. And Yucky.|
|Meeting each other for the first time. Love at first sight.|
|Daddy finally gets to hold his girl.|
|Meeting Big Sister and Big Brother for the first time.|
|He loves her!|
|Geegaw and Liam checking her out.|
|Stella and Aunt Mamy|
|Nora was very cautious at first and didn't hold her for a long time. Just checked everything out.|
|Granna and the new girl.|
|She FINALLY held her and was instantly a little momma.|
|Bradshaw Family of Five.|
|Stella Marie Bradshaw|
|Our two girls.|
I will write later about how things are with three kiddos! But now, I am off to feed a hungry baby girl.