Okay, so after I reached the 34 week milestone I was kind of like, "Alrighty, babies, come on out!" I was definitely uncomfortable but also totally willing to go the long haul should they decide not to come out for a few more weeks. However, Sunday morning I noticed that I was beginning to lose bits of my mucus plug. This was both really gross and really exciting. I've actually never had it happen before so I felt it was a good sign that my body was actually readying itself for labor. After a self check that night, I knew that I was beginning to dilate.
Monday I had an appointment with a chiropractor. (If you're local go see Dr. Rizer at Provance Chiropractic!) Unfortunately he is not certified in the Webster baby-turning technique but did a general alignment in the hopes that being straightened out properly would give the babies some room and motivation to turn head down. Jackie had had a big day Monday as well. He had met with a few different representatives from different state conventions in the hopes that we would get linked with a ministry to join after graduation. So that night we decided to get a babysitter and go out and discuss what he'd learned just the two of us. After remarking my impressive tummy size, our babysitter's dad (hello, Mitchells!) suggested I eat some eggplant parmesan. It seems his wife ate that once and was in labor within 24 hours. So guess where we headed? Olive Garden, of course. Jackie did not want me to order the eggplant, however, so I went with the chicken scampi, ha ha. I had told Jackie on the ride there that I just had a feeling that the babies would be born soon, and he said it was a good thing we'd gotten to go out that it might be the last date we got in a while. I had no idea how true those words were, no eggplant parmesan needed!
We arrived back home and went to bed but at 2:45 I awoke feeling different. There's no other way to explain it. Yes, I was having contractions but I'd been having contractions for MONTHS and these didn't seem distinctly different. They didn't hurt in the least; I only felt lots and lots of pressure. I mainly had to keep running to the bathroom over the next hour wondering if this was it. I even Googled whether bowel movements had anything to do with early labor. Apparently they do! At around 3:30 or 4 I woke Jackie up, and he sprang into action. I probably would not have gone to the hospital immediately; I was really just needing some company and support, but he was determined not to have an accidental homebirth so he said we must go. I must have a shower and makeup first, I told him. I thought the shower might stop the contractions but that ended up being one of the shortest showers I've ever taken. I knew then that this was serious. A quick blow dry, some makeup, and a call to one of the best neighbors EVER later, we were on our way to the hospital. I convinced Jackie to drive the speed limit this time and actually enjoyed the ride there as opposed to the last late-night trip to the hospital during Piper's birth. The city was lit up beautifully and there was a full moon out; I just soaked it all in.
I was a little afraid the ER wouldn't take me seriously when I came in because I was in zero pain, talking easily, and had no clue how close together my contractions were. Happily, they got me right up to labor and delivery, though, where it was confirmed that I was having strong, regular contractions which were lasting about a minute. Who knew? At this point I was dilated 3 centimeters. My doctor was alerted that I was there. She suggested they hydrate me to see if that would stop the contractions but the nurse wisely didn't listen. The doctor came in a little later and rechecked me to see if perhaps we could put off labor for a bit longer, finding that I was then at 5 centimeters. "Nope, this is it," she said. It was confirmed that the babies were still in breech position (both the little stinkers!) via ultrasound, and I was prepped for a c-section.
Prep includes them giving you informed consent which basically states that you might die or worse. It also includes a shave; the nurses apologized but I was like, "Are you kidding? I think y'all should do this at every office visit; I haven't been able to see down there for months." LOL. I downed the customary shot of super sour antacid. Holding your nose doesn't not help. Next I put on my cute little papery hat and walked myself to the OR. I wiggled my way up onto the table which obviously was not meant for short people and received my spinal block. Jackie was not with me at this point so I was so very thankful for my sweet nurse. She wasn't reluctant at all to put her arms around me and help me relax during the spinal. I was amazed at how quickly it started working. After that the big blue curtain went up and Jackie joined me all decked out in his surgical duds. I wish I'd gotten a picture of him. I also missed taking one last bump photo but it was too late at this point. They told me it would take about 20 minutes before the babies were born but before I even knew what was happening I heard a loud little cry ring out. Brooklyn Jubilee had made her appearance into the big world! Yes, after being Baby B for 8 months she became Baby A all of a sudden. I think it was at this point that I felt a huge amount of pressure. I know my eyes grew as wide as saucers and the nurse explained that this was the pressure she warned me about. For all I knew, the doctor could have been standing on my stomach at that point. (The other strange thing I noticed during the surgery was a burning smell. I didn't ask what it was because I was afraid someone would honestly tell me. I was sure it was me that was burning and after later investigation, I discovered I was right. Eeeew.) One minute after the first cry, Braelyn Joy followed her sister. They were taken to the warmers, wiped down, and checked out.
A nurse brought Braelyn over for me to see; Jackie was on his way over holding Brooklyn. I got one quick peek then a huge wave of nausea hit me (probably the result of having my internal organs removed then put back in, oh the joys of c-sections!). Because of this I missed having a cute picture of the babies being held up at my face like so many other people have. Rats. Jackie walked with the girls to the nursery and anesthesia gave me a shot of something wonderful in my IV to "help me relax". I am generally opposed to drugs and their over usage, but that narcotic had it going on. I had been given narcotics during Jathan's birth, and they made me feel foggy and confused; I found myself fighting their effects on me. This time though I just felt all warm and completely relaxed and wished that the doctor would quit talking to me so that I could just go to sleep. At that point I promised myself never to judge drug users again, ha ha.
The doctors sewed me back up. I listened to the resident explain what she was doing to the med student attending the birth. I was kind of hoping she wasn't giving him a go at it back there. I heard her tell the nurse to leave the placentas so that they could examine them. I looked over to see one of the placentas being lifted up. Had I been more awake I might have asked to examine it myself. Yeah, I'm weird like that. At least I don't eat them like some people though!
I was wheeled back into the labor and delivery room where Jackie came in and told me about the babies. He showed me the pictures. I couldn't believe how differently they looked! And Brooklyn had a head full of black hair! This is still completely foreign to me; I have BALD babies!
Unfortunately I had some minor hemorrhaging and required some medication to help stop it. Luckily my spinal block was still working at this point because the medication consisted of 10 little pills that you don't swallow. I'll let you guess where they had to go. They seemed to do the trick, though!
|Braelyn in the nursery|
|Holy cow at the hair|
The nurse informed me that it would be a while before the girls were brought to me. They were breathing quickly, a common thing for c-section babies, and would be observed until that issue resolved. I was very concerned about this because I wanted to nurse them. I asked my favorite nurse how the nursery really was. Would they really bring the babies to me as soon as possible or is this something I needed to stay on them about? She assured me that the nursery was good about getting the babies out as soon as possible, and I trusted her. The pediatrician visited me and assured me they were doing well. Around four hours after their birth, they finally brought me Braelyn. Brooklyn was still breathing quickly. We nursed and took pictures and enjoyed this special time. Eventually Brooklyn was brought to me as well but it was several more hours until I got to have both the girls with me at the same time. I was so glad to see them together in the bassinet!
They had been born one day shy of 35 weeks and were nice and healthy--Brooklyn weighed 5 pounds 14 ounces and Braelyn weighed 5 pounds 9 ounces. The only problems they had were the result of the c-section (breathing quickly after birth and retaining amniotic fluid which was either spit/gagged up or deep suctioned out). Of course I wish that I could have had a vaginal delivery but I was pleased that the c-section hadn't been traumatic as some mothers had described. I had the pleasure of going into labor on my own. I knew that it was truly my birthing time; I'd not had to choose it or allow someone else to choose it for me. The atmosphere in the OR was light and cheerful. If my c-section experience could have ended on the first day and I hadn't had to endure recovery, I would have been totally okay with that.
Sadly though the drugs wear off and they take your morphine button away then ask you to walk to the bathroom the next day. I'll save that story for another post, however!