Welcome to the 13th post in a series of birth stories that will run from August through September, Birth Story Celebration. Keep checking back on Tuesdays and Fridays for new, awesome stories of the miracle that makes us parents! Today our featured story is from Meredith.
Meredith is a mom of two little girls and writer of the blog From Meredith to Mommy. She shares stories and anecdotes about their life: the sweet, the funny and everything in between. Besides attempting to raise two little girls to be decent humans, she wastes time on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
From conception to birth, our second daughter kept us guessing.
First off, she was a (welcome) surprise. We weren’t planning on number two for another year or so.
Then, she was conceived a twin, and became a singleton at the end of the first trimester. Because of this, I was considered “high risk” until about halfway through. Lots of ultrasounds as we measured Twin B, and made sure that everything was ok.
As I entered the third trimester, her position started to be an issue. She was breech. Really breech. We tried all kinds of tricks to get her to flip, but she stubbornly refused. All that seemed to do was give me contractions.
With only a few weeks to go, we gave in and scheduled a C-section. Although I was pretty disappointed, since my first birth was as good as I could have ever hoped for, I tried to find the silver lining.
We could arrange for care for our older daughter.
We could set up help for those first few weeks.
And, maybe not the most important, I now had NO chance of a Leap Baby.
She was due February 28…or 26, depending on which ultrasound you chose to believe. In 2012. Leap Day was a definite possibility, and despite every acquaintance telling me how awesome that would be, I was not a fan.
With a C-section, I had no chance. In fact, my midwives and doctors were pretty sure that I wouldn’t even make it until the scheduled date. They were pretty sure that with all the minor contractions I was having that I would go into labor early.
Two weeks before that date, I had a stupid accident. I was getting my classroom ready for my sub, and in my rush, I tripped over my big pregnant feet and did a pratfall, directly onto my big pregnant belly. Naturally, the administration at my school started freaking out. They examined my room for any signs of wear in the floor. They took my blood pressure. They had me resting, feeling the baby move. Finally, they insisted I call my doctor.
And I ended up in the hospital for a night, being monitored, because I was – surprise! – having contractions. Baby seemed fine, still very breech, so after being chained to a fetal monitor for 24 hours, they cut me loose to go to my pre-op consultation.
And guess what? She’d flipped.
C-section canceled, and off I went to wait for labor – at home, since my midwife and OB decided that my klutziness at school could no longer be trusted.
February 26? Nothing.
February 28? Nothing.
February 29? Woke up crampy.
Since it was snowing, we decided to call my mother-in-law, and have her spend the day, and possibly the night, with our older daughter. My first was a very quick labor – I woke up crampy, went to the doctor in the early afternoon, and was deep into the 90-seconds-apart-dear-God-I’m-never-getting-any-breaks by rush hour. I got to the hospital, got my epidural immediately, and was pushing two hours after that. Thirty minutes and there she was.
I was betting on the same time frame this time, with one tiny exception. They’d warned me that second babies come faster, so to call the doctor slightly earlier.
One problem. The midwife on duty that day didn’t really buy that wisdom. She checked me in the late morning and determined that yes, I was probably in early labor, but nothing close to where she’d be ok admitting me. Second babies didn’t always come quickly.I was “handling” the contractions far too well. She told me she’d be on call overnight, so she expected she’d probably see me the next day, but of course to call with any questions.
I went home, ate some lunch, took a shower, prepped my mother-in-law, all while enduring contractions at 5 minutes apart. By late afternoon, the weather was starting to turn, so my husband called again. I was still solidly 5 minutes apart. We spoke to my OB this time, who determined that since I was “in labor” as of that morning, and he was at the hospital, that we should head in. Great.
My plan was to get settled, get the epidural, and pray that I could hold on until midnight.
Well once we got the hospital things didn’t go according to plan. My midwife still didn’t think I should be there yet and did not want me checked in. Before she finished the admit, she sent my husband and I on an hour long walk around the hospital, finishing with some dinner. She told us that it didn’t seem like baby 2 would move as quickly as baby 1, so she’d probably be sending us home.
Of course, it was sleeting, so our walk was literally around the hospital. Any unrestricted hallway was visited, at least twice, while I stopped periodically for contractions.
Then she sent us home.
Of course, I was given an option. According to her, I was almost four centimeters dilated and my water was “bulging”. But she told me that I was far too calm, handling contractions far too well for it to be advanced labor. She gave me a very mild sleeping pill and advised me to go home, take a bath and have some tea and light food. She expected us sometime in the wee hours. But she told me that if we stayed, if I hadn’t progressed in a few hours, they’d have to give me Pitocin, and may end up needing a C-section, and she didn’t want that if we didn’t need to.
So we went home.
I was frustrated. I was annoyed that she was downplaying my labor (seriously, should I have been screaming?), and I felt pretty patronized. I was nervous because my OB was certain that this one would be a fast birth. But I was relieved that my Leap Day birth wasn’t going to happen after all.
We got home (still contracting every 5 minutes), filled my mother in law in, kissed my little girl and put her to bed. I took the pill, drank some tea, and took a bath.
At around 10:30, my husband came upstairs and asked me how I was doing. I was still awake (contractions were not conducive to sleep, pill or not) and told him that things were still 5 minutes apart. He asked if he should try to sleep, or go brew some coffee. I told him to go to sleep.
Then all hell broke loose.
Within fifteen minutes of that conversation, I went from 5 minutes apart to constant contracting. No breaks, no chance to catch my breath, ripping me apart contractions. I moved around. I leaned over the bed. I tried to stay quiet, moaning softly, until I just couldn’t bear it. A little after 11, Adam was rubbing my back, trying to get a grip on the situation, as I said,
“She’ll probably say to take a shower. I think I want to shower”.
He looked at me and said, “Um, no you are NOT. Give me your effing phone”.
He called the midwife and told her I was pretty much afflicted with the everlasting, unending contraction. She said she’d meet us at the hospital, and jokingly asked if I could hold out until midnight, since I had made it clear that I didn’t want a Leap Baby.
Since the hospital was about a half hour drive, Adam was certainly hoping I could.
The snow and sleet had turned into frozen roads and endless freezing rain. Adam was driving as quickly as he could while I contorted myself in the passenger seat, crying out in pain.
About 15 minutes from the hospital, my water broke and I was feeling intense pressure, like the baby was coming right then. Adam asked if he should start speeding and hoping for a police escort and I remember saying, UNLESS YOU WANT THIS BABY BORN IN YOUR CAR, GET ME TO THE HOSPITAL NOW!!!
We parked in emergency, since it was so late, and immediately started dealing with the least excitable emergency staff I could have ever imagined.
In retrospect, they probably thought I was crazy, completely exaggerating how bad my labor was, and was auditioning for some documentary. I told Adam to go down and tell them the story once everything was done.
First, I could barely get myself out of the car. I was in a crouching position, fairly sure that the baby was going to be born right there. Somehow, Adam managed to get his hands on a wheelchair and hauled me out (my first daughter was a fast but messy affair and I think he was truly concerned for his car). Then there was the ER valet, who painstakingly wrote out a form for Adam, and the orderly, who waited calmly with my wheelchair while I kept crying that I had to push. Rather than bring me up, the orderly brought me through the ER to the regular admitting desk, past a group of chatting med students who were obliviously in the way, and then admissions staff who started asking questions like “Pediatrician’s name? Doctor’s name? How far apart are your contractions?”
Finally, after Adam yelled at them, they called up before finishing the paperwork (what was the point of preregistering if they basically did it again anyway?) and my midwife was anxiously waiting, wondering where we were. So I got an elevator ticket immediately, while someone followed us, finishing the forms and slapping my bracelet on.
I remember being helped from the wheelchair and my sneakers and sweats taken off and the midwife’s eyes widening and telling me that the baby was crowning.
Adam knew how much I’d enjoyed the epidural last time, and very politely asked “Is there time for pain relief?”
The midwife all but laughed at him as she said, “She’s having this baby now. That will be her pain relief”.
Three pushes later, in my t-shirt and hoodie and socks,with no pain management or even time to gather my strength, in the triage room, suddenly my daughter was there. No monitor for heartbeat or contraction strength, no measure of dilation, no IV, no blood pressure check, just “ok, go ahead and give in to the need to push”.
11:47 pm, February 29. Less than 10 minutes after entering the hospital.
That girl wanted to be a Leap Baby, and no matter what, she made it happen.
And she’s kept me on my toes ever since.
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