I was downstairs sitting at the computer, fuming because I was awake at that hour (see yesterday), when I got a contraction. It certainly felt real, but I kind of thought "yeah right" because I'd had so much false labour. And sure enough, I didn't get another for about 40 minutes. For the next while until anyone else woke up, I continued to get them and realized that even though they were all over the map (25 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.) I was truly in labour and this was most likely going to take awhile. I went upstairs around 8:00 and told Doug I was having contractions and that they were the real thing, but they were very far apart.
I tried not to phone everyone right away because I didn't want them all to arrive too early and sit there watching me like a tea kettle. Laura was the first one I notified by email and we kept in touch over the next while. As the day wore on I puttered around and tried not to focus too much on what was happening, although around noon I started to keep track of my contractions with the little timer I downloaded for my Palm Pilot. They were at ten to fifteen minutes apart and were gradually sliding closer and closer together.
By two o'clock I told Doug that we should figure out what to do with Kestrel. He looked at me for a moment and said: "Oh, you mean.....", and I said: "Yeah, I'm in labour" kind of in the form of a sarcastic question. He called daycare and asked if he could bring Kes over and they of course said YES!
After Doug took Kes to daycare, he came home and we laid down for awhile. I was beginning to make noise with the contractions in order to focus through them. I couldn't rest any more and got up and Laura arrived around 5:00. My mom and Karen were scheduled to arrive around 7:00. In the meantime, probably around 6:00 I called Patti and told her what was going on. I said that even though I did not have a definitive five minute pattern, I was vocalizing through them and that said something. She told me that she would send Lucy over in awhile to check on me. She called back to ask if Lucy could do one final prenatal with me because she needed to do three before the birth for it to count against her supervised visits. I said sure.
Lucy arrived around 7:30 and we proceeded and when she checked me she told me with a sort of apologetic look that I was 4cm dilated. I told her that was good and she perked up because I guess she was expecting that I would want it to be more. I told her that I wanted to hear at leat 4cm, but not less and that I was happy that things were on their way. I was in it for the long haul at any rate, and I felt my attitude was good. She agreed that I did not need to rush off to the hospital as that would put me on a clock and we agreed that she'd check back around 9:30. She left saying that if anything changed and I wanted to go to the hospital to just head up there and call.
45 minutes later I was having whopper contractions and thought to myself "Fuck this! Why am I putting myself through this? Get me to the hospital!"
We all packed up and I wanted to ride in my Mom's van so I could hang over the back seat because I could not possibly imagine sitting and having those contractions. However I did not expect to be the only one in the van with Mom and having to direct her to the hospital from my house. It was the worst car ride of my life.
When we arrived at Women's, Mom dropped me off and Karen dropped off Laura. I looked at Laura and said "My Mom's driving SUCKS!"
Everyone was instructed to wait until they could get me settled and I was ushered to the check in area. Patti arrived fairly quickly and Lucy soon after. When Lucy checked my cervix I was already at 8cm. No wonder they were hurting! A nurse administered the IV and told me I had to hold very still - YEAH RIGHT! At this point I was yelling through the contractions quite obnoxiously, but she got it in fairly quickly. They got me into a room and as they were setting up, I was leaning on the bed during a contraction. All of a sudden I felt a little "pop" and a "sploosh" and thought "uh-oh!" Just as I was starting to say "I think my water broke", it landed on the floor with a big SPLASH! I leapt out of the way of Lucy's bags which were by my feet! Pretty catlike stealth in my opinion.
I got into bed and tried to breathe through the contractions (while yelling - no small challenge). Patti asked me about the epidural and how we had discussed just having it in place without the drug. I told "I want the drug!", so the anaesthetist came and put in a very light epidural. It was so light I could still move my legs and feel them, but the contractions were way reduced. Right around then I had already started pushing, and no one told me to stop, even though I was not technically ready to. Everyone came in and we all hung out - I was jovial between the contractions and pushing and we tried several things, including a sheet from the birthing bar for me to hang onto.
Somewhere along the way, I guess the attending nurse got wind of my particular circumstances and consulted on the sly with the Doctor on call. She came in and announced that the Doctor wanted me to have continual fetal monitoring because I was only having intermittent monitoring. I saw a look exchange between Patti and Lucy and I was not pleased about having the thing on. I felt that this would increase the chances of people panicking and sending me off to OR. From what I understand, Patti and Lucy were quite outraged that the nurse had gone behind their backs when I was THEIR client and told her as much. I guess she spent the rest of the time apologizing to them. I agreed to it because I didn't want to make waves and wanted to be "un-noticed" and at one point I ripped it off of my body anyway. Things started to change after awhile and I was experiencing quite a sharp pain in my lower right groin area. Not for one second did I think I was having a rupture, but I saw a look exchange again between Patti and Lucy and thought "this is a one way ticket to a c-section". I asked for more pain relief because I was starting to fight against the pain and thought it was being counter-productive and there was NO WAY I was going to have surgery this late in the game. No. Way. Patti send everyone but Doug out of the room while we got the anaesthetist back in to top me up. She took awhile and when she finally came and put it in, it seemed ot take forever to kick in. It was explained that the drug worked by height, not weight and would take a little time to get through my system. Doug traded places with Laura and while she was with me, Lucy told me to not try pushing, to just breathe through the contractions and only push if it really felt right. Laura said immediately "Um, she's pushing!" Everyone was herded back in and the mirror was set up so that I could watch in the hopes that it would help encourage me to get things moving a little faster. Problem was that every time I went to look, someone was blocking the mirror! Finally, things got to where you could see his head and Lucy told me she was going to get some hot compresses to help ease him out. The very second she turned away from me and took her hand away, I thought "Um, he's COMING!" and BOOM! Out he came! I watched the tear happen, but did not feel it and just thought "That's gonna hurt later on!" Lucy turned back in disbelief! All I could think was "Damn that's a big head!" and once they placed him on me, I noticed how big his hands were, too. The other thing I noticed right away was that he was clubfoot in both feet. His little feet were curled so far in the toes were facing each other! I knew what it was and that it was treatable, so I didn't stress and revelled in the moment of having given birth without surgery again. Hayden was weighed and he was NINE POUNDS even and 20 1/2 inches long! Now THAT I didn't expect!
It became a flurry of activity right after that, with everyone bustling around and getting me prepped for stitches (a whole lotta stitches!) In the meantime, no one was saying anything about his feet and it was like there was a giant pink elephant in the room and no one was talking about it! Finally I said "So, what's the deal with his feet?" and Patti came over and started sort of trying to downplay things until she had a chance to look at him. I could feel Doug going into a quiet panic beside me and I wanted him to be reassured. Patti looked at him and said she had to go get the pediatrician. Even she didn't know what it was - she told the pediatrician that his feet looked like little ballerina feet turned in, although I am pretty sure that is not a regulation ballet position for the feet! The Dr. looked him over and told us he had bilateral clubfoot and told us that Children's Hospital (which is joined to BC Women's) had an actual "clubfoot clinic". I decided not to be worried about it for the time being because I just wanted to be in love with him.
Since he was born at 1:45am, it was getting pretty late and people started to drift home. Doug and Hannah left last and after they were gone the nurse wanted to get me to the bathroom. As soon as I stood up, something was not right - I was very very dizzy. I had not lost an extraordinary amount of blood or anything. Somewhere in all of the labouring I had been having really bad heartburn and they had given me some stuff to deal with it, but I had also eaten some toast right after the birth, so my guess was that my stomach was still upset and perhaps my blood sugar was low. I sat back down on the bed for a moment and the nurse went for a wheelchair to help me get to the bathroom. It was very hard and I thought I was going to pass out a couple of times. She left me in the wheelchair next to the baby in his little bed and while she tried to obtain a room for me, I sang "Rainbow Connection" to him and tried to get through it without bawling because I was so happy to finally have him here.
Finally I was taken up to Dogwood Square and told that the only room they had for me was a converted observation room and it had no bathroom. I had to go to my neighbors room to use it, which would have irritated me if that had been my room! But the worst part was that I was still so dizzy, that the nurses had to practically carry me the first time and the next time I had to get wheeled over on a commode. Talk about humiliating! I fell asleep finally and Hayden was next to me in the little bed. By this time, BC Women's had eliminated their co-sleeping policy that hd been in effect barely three years ago! I was a little surprised and not very happy about that.
Hayden had been quite "juicy" as they call it - with a lot of mucous that he was trying to bring up, so after about three hours I awoke to the sound of him choking on it. I bolted up in bed, reached over and grabbed the towel around him and reefed him out of the bed onto my lap. I rubbed his back and kept his head low and he brought some more junk up. I realized at that point that I was no longer dizzy, thank goodness! I could have dropped him! Also, had I had a c-section, I would never have been able to do that so quickly.
At any rate, I was up for the day at that point and looked forward to the day's visitors so I could introduce my beautiful little son!