So around 4:00 on Sunday morning I woke up with painful contractions that I wasn't sure about. Labor? Or just some wicked bad gas? The reason I doubted they were labor is because they were pretty much constant, and the "peaks" were painful, but very quick. I wandered around the house for awhile, then woke Martin up around 6:00 or so to tell him what was going on. He came downstairs and slept on the couch for awhile while I wandered around some more. As the morning progressed, I figured out that it was labor. I loved laboring at home. I took the longest, hottest, most wonderful shower ever. I was able to put into play all the natural birth techniques I've read about in my midwife books. Mid-morning things really picked up, and there was really not much break between contractions. They were maybe 3 minutes apart on average. So we called in-- Dr. Downey was on call-- and he said we should come on it. We didn't rush too much--we had to get Anja ready, get someone to our house to watch her, pack some things to take with us... but we eventually left and I felt pretty good about things. I had already been laboring on my own for six hours, and things were progressing quickly! Wonderful!
When we got there they checked me and I was at 6cm. Then the put me on the monitors and gave me an IV and Martin and I thought, "oh great, here we go again. Another long labor in bed, hooked up to machines, people telling us what to do and treating us like non-people." So when our [wonderful] nurse came back in, Martin said, "Annie would really like to be able to walk around." She looked at me with excitement and said, "Do you want the Birthing Ball?!?!?!?" I've always wanted to try one of those things after hearing people rave about them at prenatal yoga and other places too. I've heard they are really awesome. AND THEY ARE. For the next about 6 hours I mostly stayed on the birthing ball and it was so great. I got up and walked around a little bit, but I only got in bed to be checked. I was progressing, but the baby wasn't coming down into my pelvis. She was still swimming happily, way up high. Finally, Dr. Downey thought it a good idea to break my water, that maybe that would help the baby come down. So he did, and I got back upright and labored some more on my own. But--WOW. This was the only non-fun time of the entire day. A few contractions in, I said, "Martin, I think I might give in and get an epidural." The next one after that, I said, "Martin, I want an epidural." With the one after that I said, "MARTIN, I WANT AN EPIDURAL RIGHT NOW!!!!!!"
So they gave me that happy little catheter in my spine and labor got fun again! The best part about an epidural is that I was totally wrong about them. I thought they deadened you completely. WRONG. You can still feel everything and you can still move your legs--it just moves the pain from "One Zillion" down to "Zero." It was awesome!!!! Now, a little bit of information did push me in this direction--one of the nurses let me in on the secret that she'd been told by Dr. Downey earlier on--that he didn't think the baby was ever going to come down. I think it was so nice of him not to say that to me. He was only encouraging the entire time. But I could tell myself that the baby wasn't moving down AT ALL, even with all my upright laboring, and I thought I'd probably end up with another cesarean so I figured, what they heck, I might as well get the needle in my back now. So I did it! And I'm really glad I did.
So I labored on and on and on and I got up to 8 and kind of stalled out with still no baby descent. He thought he might put me on pitocin to try to get the baby down, but then he decided he didn't want to do that because the baby's heartrate, though not DANGEROUSLY jumping about, didn't look like it thought pitocin was a good idea, and he was still being encouragang about the vbac. So I just kept going awhile more. The next time he came in to check me, he said if there's been any change, we won't do a cesarean. But he checked me, and there had been no change and the baby was still swimming around above my pelvis. Silly baby. However, don't be disappointed in the outcome of this story!
I'd already had the needle in my back, so I didn't need to worry about that. Martin knew the routine, so he was not nearly as nervous. They took me back and prepped everything, including painting my belly orange, and they didn't even tie my arms down! They didn't raise the screen until the very end. Then Martino came in and the nurses wouldn't let him in without his camera, haha. Everyone seemed so happy and so festive and glad to be there.
Since I already had the epidural in, they just upped the dosage for surgery. When Anja was born, I had a spinal, which made me completely numb. With this epidural, I could feel everything they were doing. It was incredible! It was also not what I'd expected because I didn't know that they pulled babies out of little inscisions bit by bit as if they're being born. I thought they used more of a slice-and-scoop method. But they actually pop her out, and I could feel all of it being done. It was awesome! They told me as each part was being born--"big head, biiig shoulder, other shoulder is stuck... other big shoulder is born, aaaaaand... you have another girl!!!!" It was like a big celebration, a real birthday party. Everyone seemed so HAPPY. When Anja was born, almost no one talked to us. I had to ask them for information. It was still wonderful in it's way, since we got our Anja out of it, but it was definitely not the experience that Greta's birth was. Martin was so much more relaxed, too. When he went back to cut the cord, the nurses stamped the baby's footprints on the back of his hand!! Just for kicks!
I love it that I was able to labor my way for the entire time. I have no bad feelings about the way this went. I knew she wasn't coming down, and since she'd had 9 months of in-the-womb time and 15 hours of labor to move in that direction and never made it, AND since that was the same thing that happened with Anja (though I blamed that on spending labor in bed) I really think I'm just not made to birth babies. But that's okay! I gave it a fair chance this time--and more importantly, was GIVEN a fair chance--and I have no regrets about it. However, it was really nice when my doctor came to see me the next morning and showed genuine disappointment for me not getting the VBAC I'd wanted. He has been in to see me every morning and Dr. Downey has been in to see me too, along with the anesthesiologist, who just stopped in to say hey, and remembered both our daughters names. I'm telling you, the people around here are so cool. The nurses have been so nice too... one just came in to say goodbye because she won't be here tomorrow, and she reminded me about the sibling party! So Martin is going to bring Anja up in a little bit (they're out for a walk now) and we will have a little family party!! I'm excited. Then once Martin gets Anja down for the night his sister is going to go over and sit at our house for awhile so Martin can come up here for awhile by himself.
And speaking of Martin...
Let me talk for a little bit about my martyr husband. Starting on Sunday morning when I was in labor, he has been taking care of Anja, who not only is a handful because she is a toddler, but also she's not been feeling the best. He's been also taking care of the pets AND dealing with aaaaaaaallllllll of our family. It's great having so much family around, but everyone gets so excited sometimes it can get overwhelming. While I am holed up here in my overheated hospital room having people wait on me hand and foot, he's living on bites of meals and vending machine snacks he gets here, McDonald's coffees and almost no sleep. Anja has only had bad nights and he has been SUCH a trooper! Today he was worried about her ongoing cough and the fact that she was messing with her ears and was really fussy. So he this afternoon he took her to the doctor! He has been a real superhero these past few days. He's awesome!!!
I'm sorry for all the typos in this post, which comes to you courtesy of Sarah and Andrew, who sooooooo generously lent me their laptop!!!!! I'm just not used to the keyboard though and am making a lot of mistakes. But it's totally worth it!! I'm so excited to be blogging!!!! Martin got me a library book too, and though I've barely started it, I'm really happy to have it.
And MATT SPENCER sent a mysterious white box tied with a pink ribbon and topped with very special balloons welcoming our new baby girl! What a guy!
Oh, you might want the regular details of the new one:
Greta Jane Schap
March 22, 2009 7:23pm
20-ish inches... maybe 21 inches... ok, I can't remember how long she is.
She looks nothing like Anja! She has a very funny nose... kind of a grownup looking nose.
Other very cool thing: Laura and Dan had their baby girl on Saturday!!! So on Sunday night they came down to visit us. I'm not usually one for posting pictures of myself looking awful, but I posted this and then can't figure out how to delete it. So... um.... here's me looking disgusting!! And by the way, we're not holding our own babies. I am holding the beautiful Mary Grace and Laura is already looking like a professional mama, holding up Greta. How funny! Can I just say that Laura is going to be such a cool mom? She came in to say goodbye also as they were leaving on Monday, and my mom happened to be here and was very excited to see them and their baby. Laura walked in and just automatically handed the baby to my mom, then was kind of like, "oh, wait, you don't have to hold her if you don't want to..." It was hilarious! I didn't want anyone to come near Anja, I was a nazi, and everyone hated me! Hahaha!
Anyway. Good times. Now I have to finally finish this post and turn up the air conditioning because I am roasting underneath this laptop.