Labor and delivery... the fun part of having kids, right? My doctor in Illinois told me that he wasn't sure which scenario was worse: having never been through it and having no clue how labor really feels or having been through it already and knowing (somewhat) what is coming for you. I think he made a good point, but even with the long labor I had the firs time, I was actually looking forward to going through it again this time around. Never in my life have I experienced something as miraculous as meeting my baby for the first time, and to have the opportunity to go through that again was something that I was very excited about.
Before I get into all of the details about how Lillian arrived into this world, I will preface it (for those of you who don't know) that with each of my pregnancies, I have to give myself a shot of blood thinners everyday. When I was pregnant with Jake, a massive blood clot formed in my leg and so the doctors have me do this as a precautionary measure. You can read all about it here, and about Jake's delivery here. Because of the blood thinners, I am induced with each baby at 39 weeks, so that I can stop taking the shots 24 hours beforehand in order to prevent hemorrhaging. In the event that I go into labor before 39 weeks, there is also a shot they could give me to reverse the thinners... it all sounds very complicated, but it's really not... especially since we knew the drill this time and also did not have the fear that an existing clot could possibly become dislodged during delivery like we had with Jake. That alone made the idea of labor and delivery a little less stressful.
So anyhoo, just like with Jake, I really had the desire to go into labor on my own and have as natural of a birthing experience as possible. I had some major issues with the epidural the first time (and I only got it because I so desperately needed sleep, which I never got!) and was nervous about going that route again. I was measuring about a week and a half ahead (which was mostly fluid and not baby, thank goodness!) and having Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks, so I thought that there might be a good chance that it would happen. So once again, I tried every old wives' tale in the book and even baked a batch of "Break Your Water Cookies" two nights before my induction date. I could only stomach about seven of them before I felt like I was going to throw up... they taste a lot like gingerbread at first, but as soon as you swallow- look out! There is a kick of cayenne pepper that will surprise (and potentially gag) you! I would not recommend it, although they might be a nice thing to bake for that neighbor you don't like so much! I also had two different doctors "strip my membranes" the week prior to help kick-start labor to no avail. None of my efforts paid off, so by Sunday afternoon, I knew that we'd be heading to the hospital early in the morning for an induction. Josh managed to go to bed pretty early, but I stayed up making sure the house was perfectly tidy for when I would bring Lilly home. Once in bed, I laid awake and cherished every bump and move in my belly, knowing that I would miss it. I was pretty bummed that once again nothing about my labor would be natural. With Jake, they tried a "cervix-ripening" treatment to help me thin and dilate, but since I was already dilated to a 3 and 50% effaced, they would be going straight to pitocin from the get-go. The plan was to start on that in the morning, the doctor would break my water a couple of hours later, and then the baby would probably arrive sometime that evening... again, nothing natural about it at all. So as I laid there and thought about it, I went ahead and made the decision to stop debating about it and get an epidural. If I was already going to be hooked up to all of the other machines, I might as well.
Monday morning we were both wide awake bright and early. Josh and I were on the road by a quarter after five and drove through torrential downpours and thunderstorms to get to the hospital. We did manage a stop at McDonald's though so that I could get a sausage biscuit, which I knew might be my last meal for awhile that day. Once we arrived at the hospital, Josh dropped me off at the door and I went upstairs to get registered. A family getting out of the elevator saw me walking in with my bags and said that I was looking pretty good for it to be that time. I thanked them and did not mention that unfortunately I was not actually in labor. Once upstairs, I registered with the front desk and Josh came upstairs just as I was headed to our room. It was around six o'clock on the dot by the time the first IV went in, and it did not go well. The nurse missed my vein and it burst, causing a big bump on my hand. I teared up a little once it was pulled back out because I felt like everything was already going wrong and my nerves started getting to me. It was really the first time in nine months that I had any sort of anxiety, but Josh assured me that all was going to be just fine. A second nurse came in and put a new IV in properly and they started me on a saline drip... our day had begun!
|Bye bye, belly! And notice the really hot (I mean, they were literally HOT) compression socks I had to wear for better circulation. I make labor look GOOD!|
The first hour was spent with nurses coming in and out to check blood pressure and get things set up. The weather was still pretty terrible and we heard that there were tornado watches all around us. It has rained on every single one of mine and Josh's special occasions, so something about that news calmed me down a bit. Around seven, the nurse came in and turned on the dreaded pitocin, but assured me that she was only setting it to a 2. I wasn't sure what the highest number was, but a 2 sounded reasonable. We called my sister, Angie, and let her know that my induction was officially underway and she could head over whenever. I was given the privilege of seeing my friend Chelsea's baby come into the world back in January and once I learned that my sisters had never been given the opportunity to see it for themselves, I invited them both to be there for Lilly's arrival. Mindy had to work unfortunately, but she's got dibs (along with Chelsea... I owe her one!) on our next child... which will hopefully be a few years down the road! Angie must have been waiting by the door because she got there quickly! I'm not sure who was more excited!
A couple of hours passed and they had turned up my pitocin a couple of times when the doctor came in to check me around ten o'clock. I was at a 3 and a half, which made him decide that it was time to break my water. When I had Jake, my water broke unexpectedly and it was by far one of the strangest things I had ever experienced. This time it was much more methodical and the gush of water (sorry... from here on out it will probably get a bit more graphic, so if you don't want to hear about it, I recommend that you stop reading now!) was much more gradual. And when they had said that I had a lot of fluid, they were not kidding! I could literally hear it pooling underneath me and Josh said that it looked to be about twice as much as I had with Jake. She sure had a nice little private pool for nine months!
This is the point when my epidural debate started again. From all of the reading I had done, I knew that an epidural could slow down labor. I asked the nurse when she thought I should get it and she told me that it was up to me. I didn't want to get it too soon so I decided to wait until my contractions started getting stronger, which did not take long at all. Within a half of an hour they were right on top of each other and pretty intense, so I was breathing through each one and trying to stay relaxed. I started getting clammy and nauseous and was quickly reminded of how fun labor really is! The funny part about deciding that I would get an epidural is once I had my mind set on it, the anesthesiologist could not have gotten there quickly enough! I felt like I had to wait forever, but it was probably only about fifteen minutes of hard contractions that I had to endure. The woman who administered it was a sweet lady named Mae, and she quickly became my favorite person. She talked me through everything that she was doing and immediately put a booster in my line to help ease the intensity (and cool me off) a bit. I will say, the best part (in my opinion) about the epidural was how cold it felt on my back. I tend to stay really hot and sweaty, which leads to nauseous and throwing up (fun!) so I was grateful for the change in my body temperature. After about 10 minutes, the tingly feeling started in my legs and within 15 I could not feel a thing. NOT. A. THING. in my belly. My sister would watch the contraction monitor and comment on how big each contraction was, but I was oblivious. For a girl who was at one time pretty anti-epidural, I sure changed my tune! And the anesthesiologist clearly knew what she was doing because I could still move my legs and wiggle my toes unlike the last time. It was bliss I tell you.
The next hour was pretty uneventful, but I was able to joke around and chat with Josh, Angie, and the nurses. Around eleven the nurse came in to check me, and was just as surprised as I was when she announced that I was already at an 8! I had been at a 3 1/2 just about an hour ago! Apparently the epidural does not have the slow-down effect on me that I had read about! She left us alone again and we all just talked about how excited we were to meet Lillian. By the time she came back to check me again (around noon), she told me that it was time to call the doctor! I was tremedously surprised and ecstatic to say the least. She left to get the doctor and suddenly about four other nurses and four nursing students walked in. Two of the nurses were from the nursery and would be taking care of Lillian, one was another labor and delivery nurse, and one was the nursing students' instructor. Upon check-in that morning, I had signed a waiver that said that I was willing to have nursing students in the room with me to observe. Granted, I was expecting maybe one student, so it was a bit of a surprise to have four! But again, I was in epidural-heaven and just went with it. If it had been my first baby, or if I was trying for natural labor again, I probably would not have been too thrilled, but everything had been so easy thus far that I thought why not!
The nurse finally came back and told me that both doctors were in surgery so it would be about fifteen minutes "doctor time." Which meant that they'd be there whenever they got done. The room cleared out again and we just sat and waited. And sat. And waited. And sat. And... well, you get the point. It turned out that "doctor time" was really around an hour, and the whole time I could literally feel Lillian pushing on my pelvic bones every time I had a contraction, so every couple of minutes I would feel insane amounts of pressure. Had I not had an epidural, I'm pretty sure my body would have reacted and started pushing, so I was thankful that I was able to relax. I told Josh that I was pretty sure the baby was going to fall out at any minute!
Around 1:00 my doctor finally came in along with the parade of nurses. In total, there were eleven people in the room, not counting myself! Once everything was set up and ready to go (which didn't take long since they had everything ready about an hour earlier) she told me that she could already see the baby's head! Crazy! With Jake it had taken me almost an hour to get to that point, so that was awesome news to hear. I will say, the only downside of the epidural was that I could not tell when I needed to push. With Jake, it was such a relief to push through those painful contractions, but since I was numb, they had to tell me when to start and stop. And then I couldn't really tell if I was doing a good job or not. It was weird. I'm actually glad that I had been through it before without the numbness because I could kind of remember how to "bear down" and push effectively. At one point between pushes I looked up and saw all of these faces staring back at me and all of the students had these excited expressions on their faces. I started laughing because of the absurdity of it all! I'm still a little stunned that I could actually just laugh and enjoy myself at this point in the day. The doctor had me not push through one of the contractions and I learned later that the cord had been around her neck and she took that time to untangle it. I would have never known since she stayed so calm and handled it like it was no big deal... which I guess it isn't if you're a doctor who sees these things frequently. Surprisingly, after about 20 minutes, she told me that it would take one more push and she was right! At 1:29 PM Lillian Joy Mauney made her entrance into this world and even received a round of applause. Or maybe that was for me... either way, it was pretty awesome. They wiped her down and put her on me, which is always the most magical moment for me. She was pretty purple, but absolutely beautiful. I felt much more alert and lucid after delivery this time around, and those first moments of me and Josh holding her and loving on her were so very special. Angie took video of our "first meeting" and I tear up every time I see it... I still stick to my theory that those moments are the closest a person can ever get to physically meeting God here on earth. Josh stayed with her as she was weighed and measured and the nurses finished cleaning up. I could not believe that everything had happened so quickly and honestly, I would do it again tomorrow if it went that way every time! What a difference from the first time.
|How many people does it take to deliver a baby?|
|One of my favorite pics... the students were SO excited to observe!|
|First meeting our daughter... love those magical moments|
|Brand new beauty... love at first sight|
|Lilly and our wonderful doctor... we loved her!|
Our first visitors arrived shortly after she was born, and the first one in the room was Jake. It was so good to see and love on him! He climbed right up into the bed with me and the two of us shared some cookies. Josh brought the baby over, but he was much more interested in his snack. It's now 2 1/2 weeks later and not much has changed in that department! He says "baby" when he remembers that she's in the room or when she cries, but pretty much ignores her for the most part. He does try to put her pacifier in her mouth from time to time, even if she's sleeping, so that's pretty cute, and only once has he hugged her, which almost made me cry. I actually prefer that he leaves her alone because I don't have to worry too much about him messing with her, but I'm sure things will change dramatically when she starts doing more than just sleeping. He also hasn't had many jealousy issues, although he did get pretty upset when I wouldn't pick him up and carry him the first week that we were home. I'm glad that phase has passed.
|He looks even bigger to me now! He's going to be a great big brother!|
Throughout the day we had all of our family in the area come and visit the newest member, including Mindy and Michael who drove down from Cincinnati. Angie agreed that being on the "other side" of labor was an amazing experience and I know that Mindy was bummed that she had to miss out. We would've loved to have had her there, too.
|Our other labor partner... thanks, Angie!|
|Finally a girl! Lilly with her mommy and two awesome aunties!|
It was nice to have a couple of days to spend as just the three of us, but we were definitely ready to get home when it came time! And I must say, these first few weeks of being a family of four have been so great. I feel so blessed to have two beautiful children and a loving husband. Lillian has definitely turned out to be the easier baby of the two thus far, so I feel like I am enjoying this early stage even more than I did the first time. Plus, I am more confident in my mothering skills, which helps tremendously. And I am loving the time off from work to just love on the both of them everyday. It doesn't get much better than that! One of these days when I find some time (ha!) I will update my blog header so that she's included... Mauneyland now has an official population of FOUR!