Saturday, March 19, 2011

Labor & Delivery

The morning of Friday, March 11 was beautiful. I woke up on the living room couch, which had become my favorite place to sleep during the last couple of weeks. I felt so good that morning, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and I was strangely pain/contraction free. Dave suggested it might be good for me to get out and he offered to take me to the store and wheel me around to help me pick out seeds for my garden. I sat on a stool in my bathroom and did my hair and put on my makeup, I couldn't believe I felt so good. I had spent the beginning part of that week in the hospital passing kidney stones and laboring continuously, so it was a big deal to be feeling decent. I went downstairs to my bedroom and stood in my closet staring at my maternity jeans, neatly folded over a hanger. I couldn't remember the last time I had actually attempted to put them on, I had gained 65 pounds over the course of my 33 weeks of pregnancy and spent my time either on the couch or in the hospital, in a t-shirt and baggy gym shorts or a blue hospital gown. I reluctantly took them off the hanger and wriggled into them. When I pulled them up, I thought that I had peed my pants a little, because, let's face it, it wouldn't have been the first time! But as I walked to the bathroom, it just kept coming and at that point it dawned on me that I wasn't just being incontinent! I called up the stairs to David, "Honey, change of plans!"
             We got to the hospital about an hour later (we've learned there's no reason to rush!) I was admitted and my doctor was paged.

 All of the nurses know me, and they were all telling me that they were so proud of me for making it this far. I was like "What? This isn't over yet! I could go weeks with my water broken!!" Well, although that may be true for some, that wasn't the case for me. My body had begun to labor and my doctor was concerned about infection so they gave me one of two Betamethazone injections(steroid for the baby's lungs), the next would be given 12 hours from then. They had to keep me pregnant for at least another 12 hours so that the steroid could take effect and benefit the baby's lungs. It was 2:00 pm at that point, and my doctor, Gary Fowers, came in and chatted with us for a while. He said that unless I delivered within the next hour he wouldn't be the one to deliver the baby, as it was his weekend off. We chatted about the weather, gardening, and other random un-related-to-pregnancy things(a breath of fresh air), he wished us good luck and left. 

We had the most GORGEOUS view from my room. The sky was so blue, and the mountains just looked so big. It really was the nicest day we've had since like....fall! 

             For the rest of the afternoon we watched Japan earthquake footage on the Weather Channel, until I started to have anxiety about bringing another child into this scary world and I asked Dave to change it. I was feeling really weird, trying to wrap my head around the fact that by the next day I would no longer be pregnant, that this rollercoaster I had been on was finally coming to a stop. In a very strange way, I wasn't ready for it to be over. I had spent the last several weeks giving myself an attitude adjustment and convincing my heart and mind that I could go as long as I needed to, I wasn't ready to throw in the towel just yet. But at the same time I  also felt a sense of calm knowing that I had been faithful to the end, and that the good Lord was blessing me for it. I knew it was time, I knew it was right, and I was very excited to finally see our little girl. 
          We spent the evening watching movies, School of Rock, All About Steve, and some other chick flick, which I can't remember because by that point my labor had progressed so much that it was becoming VERY uncomfortable. It was about midnight, I was only dilated to 3cm, but the contractions were so intense, I finally submitted myself to getting my epidural put in. I don't remember having an epidural put in being so horrible, but I think I was making it worse by trying to visualize everything the anesthesiologist was doing back there. I didn't say anything or cry out, but I was squeezing Dave's poor fingers so hard that they turned white! After it was done, I laid back down and my neck and back began to tingle. I guess I was laying too flat because the medicine had gone UP instead of down like it was supposed to. I threw up a few times, then the nurse gave me a sucker and everything was better. :) After about an hour laying there hating feeling all cold and tingly, I finally fell asleep. At 2 am my nurse, Dee, came in and gave me the second steroid shot and then I went back to sleep. 
           I woke up around 4 am to my nurse telling me she was going to check me. I was 8cm. FINALLY. About an hour later she came back in and I was complete. She started getting things ready and I woke Dave up and told him it was time. It was about 5:00am. 

This is what Dave looked like when he woke up. He's such a trooper:)

Dr. Kirkman was the physician on call, and I was really glad, I had gotten to know him really well over the last couple of months, I am comfortable with him and we both really trust him. Plus, he was quoting Jack Black:) 
The nurse helping him in the photo is Dee, she had taken care of me so many times during my pregnancy, and I was so glad she was there for my delivery.
 The delivery was really smooth, it took 3 contractions and 7 pushes and she was out. It really couldn't have gone smoother. I have really hard pregnancies but insanely easy deliveries and recovery. 

   The moment I heard her first cry was such an emotional moment for me, as I had laid in labor and delivery night after painful night over the past 3 months listening to other babies being born, hearing that first cry and feeling like that was so far away for me. It seemed like it was never going to happen, but that moment when I heard her sweet little cry, it all suddenly seemed so worth it. The buckets of tears, the needles, the vomiting, night after night of kidney pain and contractions, infections, insane reflux, the emotional frustration, all suddenly seemed so small and so insignificant. 

          Below is our pediatrician, Craig Armstrong. The poor guy stumbled in at 5:45am, his hair sticking up in all different places..we so appreciate him. He has been our Dr. since Jared was one, he was there for us when Ashton was born, he called us every single morning to update us when Ashton was in the NICU and he has called us every single morning with Pepper. I love waking up to his calls, he totally makes my day with his upbeat attitude and positive outlook. We can tell he genuinely cares for our child. Every time our children are ill or need shots, we see Dr. Armstrong. He calmed our nerves while we watched him circumcise Ashton by telling us Jewish circumcision jokes! We definitely consider him a part of our family. I don't know WHAT we're going to do in five years when he retires!
 Pepper was 6lbs 6oz and 18 1/2 inches long. She was the talk of the unit that morning, NOBODY, not even the doctors could believe it. A baby of her gestation is usually about 4 pounds. The Doc kept asking me "Are you sure you're only 33 weeks?? Do you have your dates right?" Yep, pretty sure. 
We are just very blessed, we have large, healthy children. As my mother-in-law always says "You don't breed Clydesdales and get Ponies!"
Dave said the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck when she came out and it was also pressed up against her cheek. She was bruised and swollen for a couple of days, but otherwise totally fine.

 I've never gotten to hold my child right after the delivery. They are usually whisked away and immediately intubated, but not Pepper. It was so amazing to be able to hold her. She was and is more beautiful than I ever imagined possible. I'm so honored to be her mother.

1 comment :

  1. Oh Ashley. You documented this soooo BEAUTIFULLY!!! I have chills and tears. You are always so inspiring and i <3 you for that!