The second trimester was pretty uneventful pregnancy-wise, other than finding out that Baby #3 was a girl. Life got a little complicated, however, as we began the process of buying a new home. It wasn't planned or something we were looking for, but God gave us a wonderful opportunity to buy a home that we shouldn't have been able to afford. It's in the perfect location for us--close to town, but far enough out that we have a big yard, cow pastures across the road and all kinds of wildlife in the field behind us. It was a long process that didn't end til the third trimester, however. Lots of drama, but God worked it out.
The third trimester was sheer chaos. My body began to really feel the toll of another pregnancy, though everything we went through in the third trimester definitely added to the pain. We moved the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, hosted both sets of our parents for Thanksgiving dinner in the new house two days later, got into a car accident that totaled our van a week later, spent two weeks car shopping, bought a new van, settled into a new home, and hosted both sides of the family for Christmas--all in 5 weeks time. Of course, being in a car accident set off non-stop contractions and involved spending far too many hours at Labor & Delivery. Thankfully, they were unproductive in spite of the fact that they continued steadily up until the day Lucy was born.
The third trimester also brought about the diagnosis of gestational diabetes again. I was not thrilled. I weighed significantly less than I had with my previous pregnancy, so I was hopeful that I could avoid it. I was wrong and ended up with daily insulin injections again. Thankfully, it was fairly easy to manage since I'd done it all before. The diagnosis, however, brought about the possibility of a complicated delivery or of the doctor insisting that a C-section was necessary because of the size of the baby. I had an ultrasound at 36 weeks that estimated her weight at 8 lbs 3 oz. A week later, they did another ultrasound that estimated her at 9 lbs 3 oz...and there were still two weeks left before they would induce. Not a promising looking situation.
My last doctor's appointment was on Thursday, January 30th. I had my bi-weekly non-stress test which was fine. Baby looked good, as usual. I actually had the least amount of contractions on that strip than I'd had on any. The doctor checked and found I was 1-2 cm dilated. While that really doesn't mean much, it was encouraging to me that after two months of contractions, we were finally getting somewhere. The doctor scheduled my induction for Tuesday, February 4th, but I was still clinging to the hope of finally going into labor on my own. I was planning and preparing for a natural childbirth this time around, but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to handle the pain of pitocin induced contractions. I'd been through them twice before. I'd never planned NOT to get an epidural before, though. I really wanted the full birthing experience this time, for whatever reason, and I was fairly well prepared to handle it. Despite my best efforts, labor did not want to start without medical intervention. On Monday, we finished cleaning the house and preparing for our new arrival. Monday night, Kraig's parents arrived to care for the kids while we were at the hospital. It's definitely nice to have that part planned, rather than figuring it out when going into labor on your own--especially when you live as far away from your family as we do. We had a long list of people ready to help at a moment's notice, though. So thankful for our awesome church family!
After a basically sleepless night because of contractions and anticipation, I got up super early to shower and triple check the contents of my hospital bags. After I was ready, I woke Kraig to shower. I was ready way earlier than I needed to be, so I headed out to warm up the car and clean it off. We had gotten quite a bit of snow. After scraping the car off--which was coated in a layer of ice under the snow--I headed back in to carry stuff out and get Kraig. We headed out to the car where I soon realized that the passenger door was frozen shut. Despite our best efforts, we couldn't get it open. We shoved everything into the back seat (two-door car) and I crawled over to my seat from the driver's side. Not an easy fete for giant pregnant lady. but we were finally headed to the hospital!
Once we got to the hospital, the thumb twiddling began. After signing a thousand papers, we were taken to our room where I got dressed and hooked up to the monitors. Eventually they started an IV and did blood work. By the time all the preliminaries were done and it was time to get the party started it was around 9:30. The doctor came in, they started the pitocin and I was checked at 1-2 cm. Not as much as I'd hoped for, but more progress than I'd ever had before being induced. The pitocin was slow moving and we were quickly bored. The nurse adjusted my pitocin level fairly regularly. Contractions were steady at every 3-5 minutes or so, but not painful. In fact, they were much less painful than the ones I'd been having at home. Easy to ignore. We watched some TV and Kraig dozed off an on. The doctor returned around 1 p.m. Since I wasn't feeling any real discomfort, she decided not to check for progress. It seemed like there was still a long way to go. My nurse, by the way, was awesome. All the L&D nurses I've had at our hospital for both deliveries there have been awesome, but she was my favorite.
I asked to walk and was soon hooked up to a portable monitor. I wanted to do what I could to keep things moving along and to keep from being so bored. Kraig and I began walking around 1:30. This definitely helped keep the contractions coming every 2-3 minutes, but they still were not very strong. Around 2:30 we took a break. Kraig went to the car to get my birthing (yoga) ball and then I spent some time on it. Around 3:15 I decided to walk again. The walking was definitely helpful. This time around, the contractions began to get stronger (with the help of constantly increasing the pitocin dosage) and I would usually have to stop walking during contractions. Every few times that we circled by the nurses' station, my nurse would check to see how I was feeling and adjust my dose.
Eventually, I began leaning against the wall or swaying during the contractions to help deal with them. Still, they were very, very manageable, and I was concerned that we weren't making any progress. We stopped walking around 4:30, and I went back to the ball. My nurse agreed to check me again at 5:30. I was really hoping to see some progress after what felt like a very long day. My two previous inductions had definitely moved much more quickly. With Kate, they basically started the epidural and pitocin at the same time. Labor with her took about 6 hours. With Jackson, it was about 7 hours. I had my epidural around 4 centimeters and my water had broken on its own sometime before that. This felt very, very slow.
At 5:30, I was 5 cm dilated. Not at all the progress I was hoping for, but at least it was going in the right direction. I went back and forth between the bed and the ball for the next two hours. I was bored. Bored and hungry.
Around 7:30, the doctor came and broke my water. I was 6 cm. I told Kraig that he should go ahead and get dinner. Clearly, we weren't there yet. Thankfully, he didn't listen to me. That's when things started getting more uncomfortable. The ball didn't feel good anymore, so I got on the bed with the back raised up and leaned over the back. I tried a heating pad. Then I leaned over the ball while on my knees on the bed. The contractions were getting to be much more intense. I was still able to focus and breathe through them, but there was no comfortable position to be in. Sitting, standing, the ball--nothing felt good. Kraig rubbed my back and the counter pressure during contractions definitely felt good. I finally caved and asked for pain meds in my IV. They gave me the full dose, but things were getting more and more intense so they didn't help at all.
At 8:02, the nurse (nurse #2--since there was a shift change at 7) checked me again because I thought I was feeling some pressure. The pain was definitely picking up. I was only 7 cm. About that time things got very intense. I was struggling to keep it together during contractions. In fact, I wasn't keeping it together. From my perspective, I think I was growling/yelling through them. I had about three contractions like that after she checked me and I broke down and cried. I mean I sobbed. The nurse kept telling me how good I was doing, but I wasn't sure I could do it anymore. I told her I wanted an epidural. I was pretty sure if it was going to get worse, I had had all I could take. And it had to get worse, right? I was only 7 cm. About the exact time that I said I wanted an epidural, I felt the urge to push. I actually couldn't keep myself from pushing. The nurse thought there was clearly something going on, so she insisted that she check me again before she ordered the epidural. I thought she was stupid. It had literally been ten minutes or less since they told me I was only 7 cm. I let her check at 8:15, though, and I was almost 10 cm. The pain I was feeling was transition--we were ready to push!
I continued to push on my own. I literally couldn't not push. And pushing felt SO good. When I pushed, I couldn't feel the pain of the contractions. The doctor was quickly in the room and the bed was prepared for delivery. I think I had three or four contractions total from when she checked me to when Lucy was born. I kept thinking I was yelling at everyone. I know I wasn't super nice to Kraig. He had a cool rag for my forehead--which felt awesome--but when he first offered it to me, I basically told him to shut up. I apparently wasn't in the mood for talking. I apologized to the doctor and nurses multiple times. The doctor insisted that I wasn't yelling or being mean. She said she was used to being cursed at, so I was pretty mild. There was a small amount of cervix left that the doctor was able to hold back to allow her head to come through. Once her head was out, I think it took one more for her body. Fairly quick and easy, all things considered. Lucy Joy Bishop was born at 8:27 p.m. It had gone so quickly from comfortable to her being born that I was in total shock. It was exhilarating. Once she was out, they placed her on my chest and started cleaning her off. Her eyes were wide open. They really had to coax her to cry. It didn't seem like there was anything wrong, she just seemed very content to be out in the world. After a few minutes, they took her to the warming table to be cleaned, weighed, etc. She weighed 8 lbs 10 oz and was 22 inches long. The doctor told me I'm the only patient she's ever had whose ultrasounds were so far off in two different pregnancies. She may have been big, but she wasn't ten pounds! I'm quite happy that that's the case! Eventually, Kraig brought Lucy back to me. I actually had him hold her longer. I was so shaky and shocked about what had just happened that I didn't think I could hold her. Once I got her back, I got to see how perfect she was. A head full of dark hair and a beautiful little face. She has long fingers and toes. In that moment, I thought she looked a lot like Jackson. She nursed for a long time and I got to breathe and realize what had just happened. I think I was shocked that I had actually made it with no epidural--and quite proud. Haha.
Eventually, I got cleaned up and we made our way our room in the Mother-Baby unit. We got settled in there around 10 p.m. Thankfully, the hospital's Subway is open 24/7. I was SO ready to eat. Kraig went and got us dinner. After a long day with no food--and a pregnancy with limited carbs, Subway tasted like a gourmet meal. The cookies and soda helped :)
The night was long, of course. Kraig's parents were able to bring Kate and Jack over in the morning, though. They were SO excited to meet their baby sister. It was priceless!
Thoughts about it all:
Again, SO thankful Kraig hadn't left to walk to Subway for dinner when I had insisted that he should, considering how quickly the end went. If the exact same labor had happened on it's own at home, I don't think I would have made it to the hospital. Before the last 25 minutes, the contractions wouldn't have made me think I should go to the hospital. Maybe it wasn't that painful or maybe I was just more prepared for it, I'm not sure. I had gone through the Hypnobabies course during my pregnancy to assist me with a natural delivery. It was very, very helpful and I would recommend it to anyone desiring a drug-free delivery. Being induced wasn't what I wanted, but I was so glad I was able to deliver without an epidural. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Definitely a very empowering experience.
Lucy was one month old on Tuesday. Fastest month ever. Her one month checkup was today. She weighed in at 11 lbs 5 oz, 22 3/4 inches long. Growing fast! She's a pretty laid back kid. Some nights I even get a 5 or 6 hour stretch between feedings. Life's a little crazy, but we're loving it! So thankful for our blessings :)