January 8th, 2012
I realize I haven’t posted any pictures or said anything on the blog yet, but I wanted to get it all written before I forgot anything. The past 3 weeks have included a new baby, Christmas, traveling 3 hours away with 4 kids (FOUR KIDS!), the kids’ being involved in a wedding, New Year’s, and otherwise getting used to life as we now know it. I still haven’t taken down our Christmas decorations yet…
8:45 am – I went in for my 38 week check up feeling miserable. Every day for almost a week prior to this day, I had had regular contractions for about an hour, then they’d subside. My doctor told me to watch out for these contractions, because he said those who have had multiple pregnancies can get to transition (which is right before birthing the baby) really quickly. So I went in wanting to know “how much longer”?
The week prior, I was dilated 1 cm. My OB told me he didn’t want me to walk around at more than 4 cm because of fast transitions and because he worried about my water breaking and the cord being around the baby’s neck. I knew nothing would happen until I had contractions, but with them being so sporadic, I didn’t know if I should call my OB and come to the hospital to be checked. And, the baby had been so high up in my uterus that I wasn’t yet worried about her falling out.
My OB has a really great sense of humor and is very personable. I told him that that day I was headed to Kennedy’s Christmas program at 10:30 that morning. He told me (all the while doing the exam) to make sure I don’t miss a moment of the Christmas programs, because “it’s so important to take time to…” and then he stopped talking and his eyes got big. He asked me, “What did I say you were last week?” I told him 1 cm. He said, “You’re at 4 cm right now. Maybe even 5.” and then I started having bloody show. He pressed on my uterus and said, “You’re having a contraction right now. Do you feel that?” And I said no, because I had had way worse than that.
He said I needed to go to Kennedy’s program and then get myself checked in to the hospital. He mentioned Pitocin, which I told him I didn’t want, and he said he’d break my water, which I wasn’t opposed to doing. So, I left his office, called Kevin, told him to cancel his plans for the day, made some other phone calls to family, went home to pack my bag, swore at myself for not folding the 5 loads of laundry I had done the night before, and went to Kennedy’s program at school.
It was pretty neat to see and tell some people “Today’s the day!”, especially parents of Kennedy’s friends and her teachers, who kept asking, “When are you due? How are you feeling?” all semester long. It was also neat to be able to pack my bag rather than run around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to drop off the kids where they needed to go and worry about what time they all get out of school and who would pick them up…
11:30 am – After the program, Kevin and I went to Chick-fil-A for lunch. This wasn’t my first rodeo: I knew the hospital wouldn’t feed me until the baby was born. I saw some friends at CFA and they laughed at me when I told them I was in labor! I didn’t eat a lot (because of nerves), but I did get some nuggets and an Arnold Palmer (1/2 sweet tea, 1/2 lemonade – my favorite drink)
12 noon – We arrived at the hospital. I checked in downstairs, went up the elevators, and walked into a very empty maternity ward. I was greeted by nurses who asked me, “Are you thinking of having the epidural?” And I said no. Their faces lit up as they said, “Oh! She’s one of our kind! We love patients like you!” I really had no idea *I* was so rare.
1 pm – I kept laboring, much like I had labored the past week – heavy contractions for a little while, then a nice long break. My OB came in, checked me (I was at 6 cm by that time.), then asked if I wanted pitocin. I told him no, but I said I was ready for him to break my water. He did break my water and Kevin said it would be 38 minutes from that time until the baby would be born. Boy, I wish he would have been right.
1:30 pm – We took pictures, videos, and I kept laboring. Repeat for the next 5-6 hours. We kept getting texts from family asking “How’s it going?” or “Baby yet?” and that didn’t help me relax. Meanwhile, every time the ever-encouraging nurses would come in to check me and I was still at 6 cm. I kept changing positions, I tried all the things that I could possibly do with my water broken to try to get this baby out. I told Kevin “This baby is going to be laid-back. Not in a hurry. She’ll get here when she gets here.”
7:30 pm – At this point, the baby was starting to move into my birth canal, but she flipped posterior so that I had extremely intense [painful] back labor and Kevin had to press really hard on my back to alleviate some of the pain. (And because of this, I would have bruises and soreness for a week after the baby was born.)
Unfortunately, at this point I also lost my supportive nurses at this point because they went off shift. And, supportive nurses were replaced by epidural-happy nurse. EHN came in as if I hadn’t been laboring for the past 6 hours with my water broken, asked if I wanted an epidural, and when I said no, she hung around for several painful contractions.
8 pm - Also with EHN in the room, I remember screaming at Kevin that I couldn’t do this anymore and that I couldn’t handle the pain that was happening (with the baby being posterior). In my mind, I was ready to settle for a c-section, just to get her born. The pain was that intense. EHN suggested that I could try some staidol to alleviate the pain, and then some pitocin to make the contractions more intense. I didn’t want the pitocin because I knew the contractions would hurt like crazy. But, since it’s standard practice to give OB patients pitocin after labor anyway, in order to help the uterus contract back to normal faster, I decided to go ahead and have just a bit. My OB was also there at the time and told me, “We don’t have to give you too much, just enough to make those contractions come more regularly.”
So, he checked me before all these things happened, and I was still only at maybe 7-8 cm. And I started screaming at EHN to take the monitors off of me and to get away from me.. I begged for an epidural at that point. I’m pretty sure I wanted to rip my IV off too.. all of that is foggy because of the staidol.
And then, I needed to push.
Let me interject here to tell you all what a superstar husband Kevin is – he deflected all the texts and calls, he ran out of phone battery trying to get everyone up to the hospital when needed, and most importantly, he was the best labor coach I could have ever asked for. All those intense contractions and times when I didn’t think I could even breathe on my own, and he was there holding my hand and breathing with me. Sometimes I think he was more tired than I was at the end. I had to go through physical pain, but he had to endure the emotional pain of watching me in pain. There were many times when I wanted to give up, and the only thing stopping me was Kevin. If he hadn’t encouraged me and cheered me on and prayed with me, I definitely would have ended up with that c-section. Instead…
8:30 pm – Things got really interesting in the room; all the table setting up and taking down and nursery nurses entering and people trying to get me fully dilated. I pushed my way into 10 cm and then my OB took over. I forgot how to push. My OB helped me push. Kevin helped me breathe. I got into a position that was comfortable for me (forget grabbing my legs and laying on my back). After a few pushes, my OB said to wait while he got the cord untangled from her neck. And then, I looked down and saw her head.
8:41 pm – Karis Mercy Grubbs was born. 20 inches long, 6 pounds and 13 ounces big. The first thing I noticed about her wasn’t how big she was but how loud her scream was. It was a beautiful sound. She looked so purple but her apgar scores were 8 and then 9 (at 10 mins.) Kevin and I cried and kissed and then he got on the phone – my parents and our kids were just downstairs; they had brought Kevin’s phone charger just a few minutes before. The OB’s first words were, “She looks like her sisters!” and boy does she ever. And, then he prayed with us before he left the hospital that night.
We were so blessed to have such a wonderful experience. All things said, it wasn’t exactly how I pictured it, but it was exactly what needed to happen without too much intervention. I didn’t have any tearing or stitching, and all of the tests they ran on Karis came back a-ok, so we got to go home when she was 24 hours old. Everyone who took care of me did a fantastic job, and I’d highly recommend this hospital and staff to anyone looking for a great hospital L&D experience.
Other than that, all I’ll say is, “Don’t walk your infant by the elevators, or the alarm system will think you’re stealing a baby.”
And, because a picture is worth a thousand words, here are two – at Kennedy’s program, one of my last pics while pregnant; and our beautiful early Christmas present.
Just FYI – “Karis” is Greek for “grace”. So her name means “Grace and Mercy”. And she shares her initials with her daddy – KMG.