At 38 weeks, I was content to be pregnant. As my due date neared, I was ready to meet my little girl and was done being pregnant. I had more severe Braxton Hicks contractions around 39 weeks and then some cramping contractions. Some series lasted a few hours and I sometimes wondered if "this was it."
I was scheduled for a non-stress test and cervix check at the doctor on 3/25, which was almost a week past my due date. The night before, I began having contractions around 11pm. My husband and I went to bed around 11:30pm and I told him, "this might be it" but also thought they might go away given that's what they had been doing. I slept until 1or 2am and then was awoken every 15 min. with contractions. I picked up on the regularity of them and starting timing them using an app on my phone. Eventually, I couldn't sleep. I went in the bathroom, painted my nails, cleaned up clothes in the closet, etc. I took a shower around 5am and told my husband that I would be shocked if "this wasn't it." The contractions were fairly painful, but I had a good break in between and they lasted about a minute. I decided I would go to my regular doctor's appointment that morning and figured I would end up going to the hospital after that so I packed up all my bags and got ready to go. My husband had an important meeting that morning and I originally thought I would drive myself, but as the time got closer to leave, I wasn't sure it was safe to drive while having contractions. So, my husband cancelled his meeting and drove me to the doctor. It started snowing that morning - this is the end of March on the east coast...very late for snow, but we got 4+ inches that day. We got to the doctor and they did the non stress test, and baby looked fine and withstood the contractions fine. The contractions seemed to slow down when I lied down. They checked my cervix and said it was still very posterior and had trouble even getting to it...thought I was maybe 1 cm at best. I was really discouraged by that considering all the Braxton Hicks in the previous weeks and the fact I had been having contractions all night long. My doctor said I could go to the hospital but if I didn't progress in a few hours they would send me home. I didn't want to do that, but it was also snowing and we live 30 min. away. We decided to go back to go home. As we drove, it became more and more difficult to withstand the contractions in the car. My husband would stop and I would get up and face the back of the truck. I couldn't sit down. I went up to my father in law's house (I couldn't go home and have the twins climbing on me) and was very tired from being up all night. I tried to lay down, but when a contraction would hit, I had to be up. I had to stand up and lean over and hold on the bed and just sway back and forth and breathe and count. It was so difficult to get in and out of bed. Also when I laid down, the contractions slowed down. On one hand it was nice, but on the other, I knew I was just delaying things. So, I got up. I watched the snow fall and the cows come up to the fence (my father in law lives on a farm). I looked at the cows and felt sorry for them, knowing they had to go through this every 9 months and if they didn't breed, they went to town. What a tough life. We probably got 4 inches of snow that day. My contractions got to about 4-6 min. apart. They were closer together, but not lasting quite as long. I was in pretty bad pain, but didn't want to go too soon and be told the same thing; that I wasn't far enough along. Finally, my husband said we better go. On the way, I called the doctor's office to tell them I was coming and asked that the NP that checked me that morning be able to check me again (they wanted an apples to apples comparison). On the way, the contractions got closer and closer together; about every 2-3 minutes. About half way there, my husband said we aren't going to the doctor; we are going to the hospital. I didn't disagree by that point. My controlled breathing and counting had turned into major groans and I could feel the intensity of things picking up. As we pulled up to the hospital, we were trying to figure out what to do with our car; it said 10 min. parking and the lot was far away. On the way, I didn't know if I had lost more of my mucous plug (which started coming out when she checked me that morning) or what had happened, but I knew I felt wet (turns out my water broke). When we pulled up to the hospital, I told my husband to park the car and I was going to find a bathroom. As soon as I got out of the truck, a contraction hit and I had to stop outside in the snow and get through it. Two women came up to me and asked if I needed a wheelchair. I told them no. The last thing I wanted was to sit down. The overrode me and said, "GET HER A WHEELCHAIR!" I sat after that contraction and they took me in the lobby. They asked if I wanted to wait for my husband. I said yes. Then another contraction hit and I got up. They said, you need to go up to labor and delivery; we'll tell your husband where you are. When we got up there, I saw my doctor and he asked if I had been back to the office since I saw him that morning. I said I was planning to, but things progressed and thought we better come here. They weighed me and tried to do the normal things like make me pee in a cup, get in a hospital gown, ask questions and do paperwork. None of that happened. I basically just took off my pants, my doctor checked me and said that I was at least 8 cm and almost complete. He felt it was really borderline about getting an epidural. Part of me wanted to just do it with no drugs; I had come that far. but the other part felt like I didn't know if I could take much more. I was on the fence until the next contraction hit and my husband basically said, "I think you should get it" and I agreed. So the anesthesiologist came in and it took about 15 min. to get the epidural in. We had to pause between contractions. Once I had the epidural, they checked again and said it was time to push. I didn't feel like I needed to push yet. I still felt every contraction, but they were a little more bearable. I think it did help with the pain I felt from delivery. So with each contraction they told me to push. I felt like there were a million people in the room and no one was helping me except my husband. One nurse was telling me some things, but I had to tell them a contraction was coming and basically ask that they help me with my legs. They were literally taking my fingerprints in between contractions and doing their computer work. I didn't feel like I was pushing effectively, but my doctor seemed encouraged. So I kept going. Finally I felt the head and my doctor said you can probably deliver her on your next push. That was the motivation I needed. So I pushed with all my might and here she came. I felt this amazing relief as she exited my body. They put her up on my chest and I saw my husband cut the cord. I was in complete awe of her. My doctor pushed on my stomach to try and get the placenta to detach and he and my husband began telling the doctor what happened with my placenta the last time; that they had to be manually detached (it was an AWFUL experience and caused lots of blood loss the last time so we were praying it didn't happen again). He stitched me up (level 2 laceration), while they waited, and I tried to concentrate on my baby. Then he pushed some more and the placenta was delivered and he said it was whole. The crowd seemed to exit and the baby was with us and one nurse getting info in the computer. I nursed her within about 45 min. after she was born. She got 9/10 and 10/10 on APGAR. She weighed 7 lbs 14 oz. and was 20 inches long. The staff seemed pretty disorganized, but I guess I put them in quite a tailspin coming in so late.
I felt amazing compared to my delivery with the twins. My Mom brought the boys to the hospital that night to visit. One of my boys didn't like the hospital gown that I was wearing and the hospital bracelets and IV. He did like the baby. The other twin didn't want to see the baby. It was going to take some adjusting with the boys.
I immediately felt so in love with this baby. Everything seemed so calm, controlled. Her little cries were the sweetest thing ever. She nursed like a champ from the very beginning. I am usually a Type A stress case; and I felt so wonderful and relaxed with this baby. So relieved she was here and healthy, and calm from being an "experienced" mom having done this before. One baby versus two makes a HUGE difference.
Will post more, but in general, I feel so incredibly blessed. I feel like this little girl was just meant to be. None of our embryos were girls; it wasn't in the cards, but somehow God brought her to us. I cannot wait to see who she will become; she is bound to do amazing things. I cannot even believe I have three beautiful children and just a few short years ago, I didn't think I would have any. The silence in my house was deafening; now I feel like wearing earmuffs to drown out the 2 year olds racing around the house with their firetrucks and four-wheelers.
Life is so complicated. I still feel tremendous guilt for being "on the other side" when I know there are so many people who are struggling. I have heard from a few people, mostly impacted by balanced translocations, saying my story gives them hope. I am so, so glad. That is what I want most...for people to know - I was there. I was you. I had all but given up. And now I have three beautiful children. Stay strong. God has a plan.