Clara was born on Friday, 3/9/12, at 4:29pm. 7 lbs 14 oz, 21 inches. Perfect and beautiful and we are so in love!! DS1 is very curious and excited about his baby sister and loves to point out all her body parts and count her toes.
As many of you know, I had been having contractions and false alarms for the past two weeks. Contractions would often settle into a pattern of every 3 minutes and be fairly intense, but then eventually fizzle out. They started up like this early Friday morning, around 6am, and were still going by 9am, so we decided to go to L&D. I was thinking it was another false alarm, but also just really wanted to be done being pregnant. When they checked me I was 4 cm, so eligible to stay. It was 11am when my midwife got there. She said with being 4cm and my second baby, she would like to try breaking my water to give my body the kick it needed to get into some serious labor. The contractions were pretty weak by this point. But when she checked me she found that she couldn't safely break my water because baby was still pretty high and there would be a risk of cord prolapse. We discussed some options and decided to start a low dose of pitocin. I was feeling unsure about this because my birth plan was for an unmedicated birth and I knew I was heading down a road of interventions. I have also heard pitocin-induced contractions can be brutal, so I was now considering an epidural. But my midwife and my nurse were both so supportive and encouraging me that I could still go unmedicated if they could just get things going, so their commitment to that goal helped me a lot. Pitocin was started which unfortunately meant I had to be hooked up to IV fluids, continuous fetal monitor, etc. But DH and I still managed to walk the halls with all my gear attached, and contractions were not unmanageable pain-wise at all. I even asked them to turn up the pitocin twice because I wanted to feel like the contractions were doing more. 3 hrs later, at 2pm, I had only progressed from 4cm to 5cm. But baby had dropped lower and my midwife could safely break my water. Lots and lots of clear fluid! And that's when things got really intense. They turned the pit back down to the lowest dose because by 2:30 my contractions were coming fast and furious. I was coping with them fine by trying different positions and DH and my midwife were both applying counterpressure wherever I needed it. An hour later, at 3:30, my midwife asked if she could check me. I was starting to get emotional, saying things like "I don't know what to do! Why am I doing this? I can't do this!" I thought we still had hours and hours to go, but when she checked me I was 9cm!! Baby still had some descending to do (she was +1 station) so I focused on breathing her down with each contraction and trying to relax my pelvis, but the contractions were incredibly strong. They turned off the pit completely which freed me from the monitors and helped a lot. I was stuck at 9cm for 30-40 minutes and that was the most difficult part of the whole thing. All my hypnobabies practice was out the window. I was too overwhelmed to relax the way I needed to to use those skills. I did a lot of yelling. I remember saying at one point that I hoped I wasn't traumatizing the patients in neighboring rooms. Just when I felt like I could not do it for one more second, I felt this intense pressure in my bottom, and I knew it was time to push her out. (For this whole past hour or more, I had two midwives, two NCB-experienced nursese, and DH by my side cheering me on, suggesting different positions and applying counterpressure, and I could not have done it without them.) I started pushing on the next contraction, and I could literally feel her head move down and then up under my pubic bone. And she was crowning! Two more pushes and her head was out. The most amazing relief I have ever felt in my life!!! One more little push for the shoulders, and I was holding her. She started crying right away, and DH and I were teary-eyed, too. He kept saying "look at her! you did it!" I am so glad I did it. I will never do it again.
We begged our way out of the hospital yesterday after 24 hours despite her bilirubin being slightly elevated. We have a blue glowing thingy we have to lay her on as much as possible, and I am nursing her every 1-2 hours. She has a great latch but gets sleepy after eating for a few minutes, so that's the challenge. We will take her in later today for a weight check and lab draw. Hopefully the bilirubin will be normal so that we won't have the use the blue light anymore and can just snuggle our little sweetie all the time!