***Ye be warned- I will be talking about childbirth and some of the grossness that goes along with it.***
My date date (Sunday, November 20) came and went with absolutely nothing. Not that I minded, of course. I wasn’t ready yet mentally, and physically I still felt fine (barring some Braxton Hicks contractions on and off again). The next day I had a doctor’s appointment to see if I was dilated at all. It turns out that I was at 3cm, but not effaced. There was a brief discussion about induction, but I personally feel like induction should only happen if absolutely necessary. In my case, it wasn’t needed.
Matt and I walked around Costco for a while, and I was getting a lot of the same Braxton Hicks contractions that I had been getting before (for those of you who don’t know what those are, they are simple practice contractions that don’t hurt at all- they feel like you’re doing crunches against your will). So, my body was gearing up for labor, but it wasn’t quite time yet.
Tuesday the 21st was also uneventful. In fact, the only thing I remember about that day was that I went to bed WAAAY too late, as in 6am on the 22nd. That would come back to bite me in the ass.
Less than 4 hours after going to bed, I am awaken by real contractions. They weren’t overly painful, but they sure as hell weren’t comfortable. Told Matt what was going on and that once they occurred every 5 minutes we should head to the hospital. I should also explain that Sam was face-up in the womb, which can make labor more difficult. The back of his head was hitting my spine, causing back labor. So most of the afternoon was spent slightly freaking out and Matt trying to convince me that we needed to go to the hospital. He nearly had me convinced when my contractions stopped. So, we decided to head over to Dan’s to hang out with friends for a bit.
We head over to Dan’s house when the contractions start up again. We had the hospital bags in the car *just in case.* We pop in a movie (8mm) and during the whole time I am more or less in labor. Matt hovered and held my hand while I had contractions. They ended up getting pretty strong about 15 minutes before the movie ended (which was around 10:45pm). We didn’t stay too long as I was getting uncomfortable and some people had to go to work in the morning.
As we were heading home in the truck, I commented to Matt that I didn’t think I was going to get much sleep that night. He suggested that we head to the hospital just to see how far along I was and if there was anything they could do to help me sleep. At this point I was so tired and uncomfortable that I agreed.
We get to Progress West some time after 11p; the place was dead and slightly creepy. We had to go through the ER since the main entrance was closed. The poor lady had to push my fat ass in a wheelchair to L&D, although I offered to walk. We get into the triage room, where we go through the standard paperwork. The nurse, a lovely woman by the name of JoAnn, came in to check me out. I got into the standard (and oh so attractive) hospital gown, where she then hooked me up to an external monitor to see how both the baby and I were doing. I was only slightly more dilated than I was Monday (3-4cm), but I was starting to efface. She said there was about a 75-80% chance that I would be staying. It was around midnight at this point, and she wanted me to walk the halls for an hour to help speed things up, where she would check me again.
So, Matt and I did multiple laps around the L&D floor. He called both sets of parents to let them know that I was in the hospital, but that there was no reason for them to show up yet (there was a chance that I would be sent home). My contractions quickly got intense, and I only walked 30 minutes before I was unable to continue. We headed back to triage where we let JoAnn know that I couldn’t go on. At this point the back labor was so painful that I was unable to sit in a chair or lay down on the bed. I hung onto Matt and dug my fingers into his shoulders when things got bad. Around 1 am JoAnn came back in to check for any progress. I was a 5cm dilated and 100% effaced, so I was in active labor and checked into the hospital.
We get into our room, and the first thing I do is ask for an epidural. I always knew that I would likely have one administered, but I was hoping to wait until the last possible minute. With the back labor, I couldn’t even lay in the bed comfortably, so I requested on as soon as possible. Matt calls our parents around 2am to let them know what was going on. Turns out Matt’s mom didn’t bother trying to sleep and my mom immediately left work to come to the hospital. While this is going on the anesthesiologist arrived to give me pain relief. It didn’t hurt getting it done, but the problem is that it really didn’t work that well. I was able to lay in bed, but the pain never really diminished. Oh, and since I had an epidural, I had to get a catheter inserted. That was…um…interesting.
The nursing staff, meanwhile, was trying to get a hold of my OB Dr. Schuetz, to no luck. They kept trying, but the on-call physician came by to introduced himself in the event that she didn’t show up. Now, this should have upset me more than it did, but at that point, I just wanted it to be over. The actual time things were happening start to get a little fuzzy at this point- I was a little preoccupied. 😉 Both sets of parents arrive, which was a welcomed distraction. We talk for a bit, but thankfully they all go to the waiting room to give us some privacy. I remember laying on my left side talking to Matt when out of nowhere my water broke. Now THAT was a weird feeling, but JoAnn was awesome and took care of everything.
Sometime after my water breaking, I felt a definite need to push. Called in JoAnn, who started to get everything ready for the actual delivery. Turns out that they had been able to get a hold of Dr. Schuetz (finally!), who was on her way. The warming bed/station for the baby was set up in the corner, and the bottom 1/3 of my bed broke away for delivery. They say that modesty gets thrown out the window when you have a baby, and I always said that I was going to maintain mine as long as possible, but honestly, you just don’t give a fuck. I had Matt go and get my mom to come in and watch, which was something I had opposed for a long time. I love my mom, but like I said, I’m modest.
With the help of JoAnn, I start pushing, with no progress. Turns out the baby was stuck on my pubic bone. I also started to hurt again- my epidural was wearing off. The anesthesiologist was called in to top me off with pain meds, even though it could potentially stall labor. I was also forced to lay back a little to help get the baby off the pubic bone. After that, things progressed very quickly. JoAnn was helping me push while calmly asking the other nurses if Dr. Schuetz had arrived- she had and was scrubbing up.
Dr. Schuetz finally arrived, and two pushes later I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Samuel John Brenneke entered this world at 5:20am on November 23, 2011. He weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces and was 20 3/4″ long. Dr. Schuetz bullied poor Matt into cutting the umbilical cord, and my first thought was how much Sam looked like his cousin Addison (who has been mistaken as Matt’s child many times). He screamed for a good hour while they cleaned him up, put junk in his eyes, and gave him a shot. Matt and Mom stayed with him while Dr. Schuetz patched me up (I won’t get into too many details, but the child tore me a new one).
The whole pregnancy and labor can only be described as surreal and amazing. It hasn’t been easy; there have been some setbacks and difficulties, but we’re working through them. And believe me, when my son smiles at the sound of my voice, it’s totally worth it.