I have said for ten years that any amount of labor time under 24 hours would be easy. I was right! 21 hours were fine.
First: this could not possibly have gone so well without our wonderfully kind friend who moved in for a week so that when I had a full day of contractions and they petered out I had no extra stress about feeling guilty about prodromal labor. I got to ride the waves and take whatever experience. It was a gift. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
My official labor got going around 8:30am on Monday. My contractions built in intensity and regularity all day. I went in around 7pm because my contractions were about 5 minutes apart and a minute long and consistently more than 10/hour. Mostly I was fretful because she had slowed her moving down and I was worried. It’s so hard not being able to see if the baby inside of you is ok.
I got to the hospital 3cm dilated (which isn’t that much and they could have sent me home) and 90% effaced with a bulging water sack. They wanted me to stay. Around 10:30ish they started Pitocin. The epidural was started around 11. Then I went to sleep. I was checked at some point. I was woken up/checked again around 4. During the 4am check the doctor accidentally broke my water bag because whoops it was in the way. At first she said 8cm. Then a minute later she declared me complete and instantly there were six extra people, lots of lights, and a whole bunch of beeping machines.
When my water was broken my blood pressure and her heart rate dropped dramatically. I was put on oxygen instantly. They started IV meds to support the baby.
Between 4:30ish and 5 I was in position and they started encouraging me towards pushing. Another moment of intense gratitude: my friend’s mom came to the hospital with us around 10pm. She was there talking and being supportive whenever I needed her. Her voice did sound above the crowd to give encouragement and feedback.
I might actually send out thank you cards. I’m really in awe of how people showed up for me.
The nurses also did a good job of giving feedback and support. But Ma’s voice was louder and more insistent.
Noah did a wonderful job of supporting me this time. He kept his face soft and loving the whole time. No grimacing at my pain. Well done, fantastic husband.
Ze baby emerged at 5:28am. I didn’t tear or get a skid mark or nothing. I am shocked by how relatively comfortable my external genitalia feel. I’m sore but it’s not bad. Internally the continued contractions to get my uterus back to size suuuuuuuuuuck. And why don’t I take 400mg of Ibuprofen three times a day and I wont have pain, right?! Oh man.
Several folks, including the lactation consultant, asked me about my THC usage. We clarified that I don’t smoke it basically at all (inhaling it is one of the most dangerous steps–we know there are problems from breathing smoke) and I went into details about why I use it and what I have replaced with it and why my medical team thinks this is the best choice for me. I was rather stunned by the extent of support I received. Most folks were like, “You are clearly very educated on this topic and you are making the best choice for your body. Alright. Excellent.” My pain management doctor telling me that my next line is Oxycontin and Ativan really helps. No one wants me on those meds. Definitely not when I’m breeding/feeding a kid.
I didn’t find out till we got home that one pediatrician had a judgy conversation with Noah about my THC when I was out of the room. I’m tempted to follow up on that because it might be a HIPAA violation for her to discuss my medication without me present and that kind of bugs me. What if I had been using birth control behind my husband’s back and she just wanted to mention that it might impact my baby and I am going to go home and get in trouble? You don’t report on other peoples medical care when they are not present. That shit’s not cool.
What if my husband didn’t approve but it was still the best mediation option and now he is going to make my life a living hell? That’s very realistic.
The baby feels slightly more fragile to me than my previous kids. Specifically: she’s having trouble with reflux. Her first whole night of life I barely slept because she would spit up, fill her mouth with fluid, and be unable to do anything about it. She couldn’t move her head to let it fall out and she couldn’t swallow it. So I spent a lot of time flipping her over and clearing her mouth. The lactation consultant agreed that putting her in the bassinet would be stupid. She needed to be up against my body with me paranoid and watching her. It was a festive/non-restful/wonderful night. Oh, I sent Noah home so he could sleep because otherwise we would both be exhausted and useless.
8:30am-5:30am. 21 hours. It was great. The first day of hospital recovery was lovely.
She was 20.5″ long (so .5″ shorter than the two older kids) and 8lbs 9oz. So heavier than both siblings, who were 8lbs and 8lbs 4 oz. I am steadily gaining 4ish oz per kid and that’s a great time to stop. Ha.
It took us till 1pm to secure check out because the hospital kind of wanted me to stay an extra night. But I got shifted from the maternity section to the pediatrics section and I kind of fell out of the “we will pay a lot of attention to you” rotation and that was difficult for me. I didn’t feel good about calling my nurse all the time to get the same care I had previously gotten for existing. So I didn’t drink or eat almost at all the second day in the hospital because she wasn’t offering anymore.
That was suboptimal. I came home and scarfed a big bag of salami because I needed protein before I killed someone.
Our friend went home last night. Her dog was experiencing a lot of stress from the new rules with a baby. My house had already been hard because there were more rules than usual and it was just not fair to keep cracking down on her. I am so so so so so so grateful my friend stayed as long as she did. The dog’s behavior was great. She never did anything inappropriate. She was just done with the restrictions. I would have flipped out long before she did. Such a good girl.
I tried to tell Noah to watch the baby and let me sleep in between nursing last night. Ha. That uhhh… didn’t work very well. He did a 7.5 hour shift and I probably got 1.5-2 hours of sleep. Sigh. It’ll be ok. I will sleep today.
It is fascinating to me how excited and complete I feel. I am so happy I get to learn about this wonderful daughter. She gets cold! Like me! She shivers a lot. She needs a fair bit of bundling in our frigid California weather. Ha. I really can’t tell who she looks like yet. She looks like a whole new person and it is so neato. She’s beautiful and I feel completely overwhelmed with gratitude that I get to keep her and take care of her. She is my responsibility. I am allowed to love her with my whole heart.
I can’t express what that means to me.
I don’t feel sad about wanting more children. I feel like I am at my limit emotionally and physically. This is my family. This is what I want/wanted. In the future I will have the spoons to foster, but I don’t think I will ever take on a baby again. This is my journey.
I feel so lucky.
Big kids are ecstatic. They are snuggling her and talking to her and trying to learn how to be helpful. It will be a process and I’m glad to be on it with them.
I get to have two daughters and a non-binary kid. I get to have a husband who thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread. I get to have friends who show up to help me and support me through complications and challenges. I get to have a home I am allowed to alter and be safe in however I want. I get to have healthy meat and vegetables every day so that my body achieves a level of functioning I didn’t believe possible for me.
I can’t believe this is my life. I am one of the luckiest people ever born. I have so much. I am so grateful.
I am glad I am still alive for this feeling.
Ze baby has already had 8, maybe 9 poopy diapers and 2 or 3 wet diapers. I’m getting confused already. This is a great sign though. Her digestion is working. Her kidneys are starting to function as we hoped. We have a pediatrician check up in about 6 hours.
This is going as well as something can go. I am eternally grateful.
Random note: to the best of my knowledge my child is the only person in the entire world with her legal first/last name combo. I will do my best to never put it on the internet for her. That will happen when she chooses.