By Heather C.
**This memoir was written three years ago during the days surrounding when we welcomed our oldest daughter into this world. **
June 18, 2009
I researched the early signs of labor this morning, not because I'm convinced that it's going to happen any day now but more because I like to torture myself! I realize I am not even full term yet and the chances of going having this baby soon are so slim. I can't help but to read as many stories and examples as possible though. There doesn’t seem to be any consistency at all so it's not like I'm setting myself up for disappointment or anything. The baby has to come out at some point.
So, without further ado, I bring to you other signs of early labor that I am personally experiencing:
1. Restlessness. Even though I feel SO tired, I can't sleep. I haven't quite hit the crazy nesting this week, but Sunday I was all over it. This morning I was awake yet again at 4 a.m. and I couldn't think of anything to do to make myself fall asleep. My best idea was to finish packing my bags but Jeremy was sleeping.
2. Uh, intestinal stuff? Let's just leave it there.
3. Weight loss. Who knew the end of pregnancy could be so generous that you start losing weight before the baby even comes out? I'm down 2 lbs in the last 2 days.
4. Baby movement. Now this one surprised me but it makes sense. The last week or so before birth the baby is basically SO crammed that its movements slow dramatically. Some say it's even because they know what's about to happen and want to save up as much energy as possible. This is not to say that the baby doesn't move at all. It simply can't and won't move the same ways that you are used to. Supposedly you feel a lot of rolling as the baby prepares to get in that final position.
So I have all of those combined with the more obvious things like bloody show, lost mucus plug, pressure and Braxton Hicks contractions, lower back pain and cramping. I’ve had some of these at least a week now.
It's kind of cool to be like a test animal for all the signs. Do they really mean anything? We'll see!
It's kind of cool to be like a test animal for all the signs. Do they really mean anything? We'll see!
June 19, 2009
It’s a GIRL!
Lillian Rose was born at 6 a.m. She weighs 6 lbs 13 oz and is 19 3/4 inches long.
June 22, 2009
Our Lily was born bright and early on Friday morning. The day was crazy and getting her home was even crazier but now, here we are our family of three. She’s curled up on my chest as I type this out. Parts of the events of the last several days have already managed to escape me so I’ll do my best.
Thursday night I was calm. I wasn't super energized. I wasn't contracting. I was just resting. I did the dishes and put in a load of laundry to finish up packing my bag but for once, I felt just calm. The bleeding and cramping had almost stopped. I actually started thinking that maybe I really was going to be pregnant for a few more weeks. Lillian (although we didn’t know her by name then) was very active. After being so slow for the whole week, I was relieved to feel so much movement but ached with all the feet and butt in my ribs.
Jeremy had an extremely rough night. He managed to get through the colonoscopy prep without getting too sick but he was really weak. We had planned for a relaxing day. His test was at noon and the rest was just going to be catching up on eating and enjoying the three day weekend. We went to bed around 9:30 p.m.
Around 12:15 a.m., I woke up needing to pee. It was a regular event now that I was eight months pregnant. I could feel some wetness but it felt about the same as it had earlier this week when mistakenly thought my water had broken (but of course walked out of the hospital in shame being told I’d just peed myself) so I just figured I had some extra discharge again. As I stood from getting out of the bed, I felt an instant gush. It was a small gush but definitely not just a trickle like I’d had before. I was so delirious that I just went to the bathroom and blew it off like my bladder had leaked. I went back into the bedroom and lied down and was still leaking. It was a steady flow and not anything like I'd ever felt before. I stood back up and it gushed again, this time much more and ran down my leg. I walked back to the bathroom to turn the light on and realized it was the real thing this time. I wasn't contracting at all, just little cramps here and there.
A lot of things went through my mind at this point. I quickly put a pad in my underwear and walked back to the bedroom. I sat on the edge of the bed for a minute before the tears started streaming down my face. Two very prominent worries were going through my mind. 1. Jeremy’s colonoscopy. I knew how miserable he was. He was so tired and so weak. I didn’t want to wake him up. I kept thinking how this was my first baby and firsts are always born after hours and hours of labor. I wasn’t contracting. Maybe I could just stay at home until it was time for his test, drive him there then head to L&D when he was done. There was NO way I was going to have that prep go to waste. 2. I was only 36 weeks. My baby surely couldn’t be “done” yet.
Finally, I quietly woke up Jeremy. All at once I realized I was having a baby. There was no stopping it; whether she was full term or not, she was coming out. Jeremy suggested I would feel more comfortable if I showered first so I did. I used to wonder what would happen if my water broke while I was in the shower. Would I know? HA!
Even though it didn’t break in the shower, it continued to gush while I was washing off. And it continued leaking and leaking and leaking. Who knew there was so much “water” in there? No wonder my belly was so huge! Jeremy then showered after me while I called my mom. I wasn't panicked or rushed or anything. I figured I had plenty of time and just wanted to make sure we didn't miss anything. We finished packing. I thought about a snack but I was actually really nauseated so I just drank some cold water as we drove to the hospital.
By about 2:00 am, I was checked in to L&D. I was having some light contractions but they were completely manageable and I breathed through them easily. They checked me and I was just 1 cm dilated, even after all the contractions from the previous few days. I was highly disappointed to hear this and started crying when there were no nurses in the room. My L&D nurse was amazing. She was really, really encouraging and so supportive that I wanted to try and go without the epidural. Since I tested positive for Group B Strep I couldn't have a lock on my IV like I wanted. I’d only found out about the GBS a few days before and had been on oral antibiotics only 48 hours. She started my first penicillin drip and I tried to rest in bed for awhile.
Meanwhile, Jeremy tried to connect with his doctor through the on-call system to see what could be done about his test. They didn’t seem to think this was an emergency and just casually told him to call at 9 a.m. to cancel. It brought a little extra stress to the situation but he was a trooper. He drank some apple juice with me as he had no solid food the whole day before and was running on empty. Somehow he pulled through and held my hand through every contraction.
It was peaceful being in labor in the early hours. My mom was resting a bit longer before coming up. I had already requested that it just be Jeremy and I in the room when our baby was born. She planned to come up around 6 a.m. My doctor was not on call for the night but her colleague was. I hadn’t even gotten a chance to talk to my doctor about my birth plan so it didn’t really matter much. I met a few residents but otherwise no one bothered me.
I planned on walking a lot during my labor but with the IV that wasn’t as easy as I thought. Plus, I was leaking WAY more than I’d ever imagined. My nurse suggested sitting on a labor ball. I was hesitant but it ended up being perfect for me. Very comfortable as I rolled in and out of my contractions. I requested to not be on the monitors as they dug badly into my very pregnant belly but the doctor wouldn't allow it since I was pre-term.
She said I had to have them on at least 15 minutes of every hour. I found out that I didn't have to wear them when I went to the bathroom though and conveniently I had to pee A LOT. It may have been all the fluid leaking out of me or the baby dropping down. Who knows but I’ve never had to use the bathroom so many times in such a short period of time.
Around 4:00 a.m. my nurse checked me again and I was 4 cm. I was pretty shocked by how fast things were moving but knew I had a long way to go. Within about 30 minutes my contractions started coming every 1-2 minutes. These contractions were MUCH stronger. I started giving up and thinking about an epidural. I cried again, disappointed that I wanted to give in so soon. I wanted to make it at least to 6-7 cm before asking for it so I didn't stall my labor and here I was giving in at what I thought was just 4 cm.
At 5:30 a.m. I talked to my nurse about the epidural and asked her to check me again. 7 cm! She said it shouldn't be too much longer but I was in so much pain. To me, too much longer could be anything. I went ahead and asked for the epidural. By this time I was in so much pain. The contractions were still coming every 1-2 minutes and lasting about 90 seconds. (Go ahead, do the math. It was like one continuous contraction!)
Anesthesia arrived about 5:45 a.m. While he was getting everything ready I started experiencing a lot of burning and intense pressure. I knew this meant the baby was crowning but the nurse couldn't move me because I was already in the process of getting the epidural. He finished quickly and I had just enough relief to make it worth it. By 5:50 it was in. The nurse went to hook up an external monitor but instead found the top of my baby’s head. It got very scary for a few minutes as the nurse was paging any doctor on staff to deliver me at that point.
A doctor walked in at about 5:55 a.m., took one look and said, "Take a deep breath; you're going to be a mom in about 30 seconds." I had no idea I was so close. I still had full control over my legs; they were just much more relaxed. I got into position and Jeremy was instructed to fold me in half. With one push Lily slid right out. She was born at 6 a.m. exactly.
I kept looking for boy parts and soon realized there were none! Jeremy was watching me. The doctor didn't know it was a surprise to us so she didn't make an announcement or anything. I cried out that it was a girl several times. I was in pure shock! Jeremy then realized it as well and saw all the red hair. She was beautiful. Her cord was too short so she couldn't plop onto me right away but the nurses quickly had Jeremy cut the cord and put her on my belly.
I couldn't stop crying. She was tiny. I was afraid I was going to break her. She was crying but calmly. They wouldn't let me keep her long as they wanted to make sure she wasn't showing any signs of distress from being born early. They took her to the corner of the room and Jeremy kissed me and held my hand. I told him to go with her, that I was fine. The doctor delivered my placenta and stitched me up. My doctor made it in about 6:15 a.m. She was in the parking lot as they were frantically trying to find me a doctor and well, so was my mom! Lillian just didn’t want to wait.
If it was a girl, we were planning on naming her Abigail Rita but when she was born, I took one look at her and it didn't feel right. Jeremy said he felt the same thing as he watched her get wiped down and tested, etc. We had liked the name Lillian later on in the pregnancy but it wasn't the first choice and heck, we didn't worry much about it because we thought for sure the baby would be a boy. But we both agreed she was a Lillian for sure.
We are so truly blessed with our June bug. She is wonderful and amazing and everything we've ever wanted.
You can contact Heather by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Posts You May Like:
Racing to Deliver -- A Look at Fast Labors
A Grandma Welcomes Her Granddaughter
Three Things Parents Forget About Newborns