On 1.11.10 I went to my week 38 appointment at 2pm. My blood pressure was slightly higher than the two previous weekly checks. I believe I had trace amounts of protein too. My doctor said the baby felt big enough to deliver and that he was going to separate my membranes to "help things get started". I was told you might be holding your baby tomorrow. He said to make my appointment for the following week though and asked which day was best for induction, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. I said Wednesday because of our schedule with Joe's work and the girls. He told me okay but that he doubted I would still be pregnant by then.
I left and did what I always do - research - and cramped quite a bit. On the research I called my best friend to get her membrane stripping timeline and pain information. I went online. I came to the conclusion that it would happen in 72 hours or it wouldn't. There seemed to be as many stories of nothing happening as much as stories where labor came on 4, 8, 12 or 24 hours later.
I felt uncomfortable cramping until dinner when I ate the turkey, provolone and mayo on a plain toasted bagel I had ordered and intended to eat for lunch, but with the later appointment and subsequent research I held off eating it until dinner.
(Above written when Nicole was 10 days old. Below, on the eve of her 8 week birthday. It's not quite as clear but I'll give this my best shot.)
The cramping and contractions pretty much came to a stop after dinner. Heading to bed, we did nothing to prepare for her birth, just the regular bedtime prayers, feeding the animals, and letting Junior jump between the three beds pretending he was Nate on a mission. (One of his favorite ps3 game characters at the time.) Joe could tell I was disappointed and as I tried to explain that once contractions start they don't stop and since mine had stopped, I felt confident that it wasn't gonna happen. He told me it could still happen and it had to start sometime. Regardless, at least I still knew the following Wednesday was not that far off.
I don't remember falling asleep, but I can vividly remember waking up. It was 324am and I reached for my cell. Not to call the doc, but to start timing them. They were immensely different this time. They were like the worst "poop" cramps I've ever had. They seemed to be averaging 5 minutes apart. They lasted for 45 seconds and when they came I bent over or leaned on something to "try" to release the pressure and reduce the pain. I never felt it in my back and they never let off. I attempted to walk them off in the garage. Nope. Didn't help. I pooped 3 times in the course of 40 minutes. That didn't help either. Miss In-denial finally accepted it as labor and started preparing my bags and checking my lists. I couldn't figure out how to handle the girls getting to school though other than actually taking them. I heard that you have trouble thinking about anything other than labor and I did. I just kept thinking how is it gonna be driving 40 minutes out and back. Will it get worse in that time frame? Will I be physically able to drive through a contraction? I was attempting to get dressed in the dark in our room when a hard, close one hit. I had been able to time getting up and down the stairs between the other ones. But no more. Joe woke up and I told him the details and that I was waiting to call the doctor until I knew how the girls would be handled. We decided to wake them up. They were tired but quickly excited that it was happening today. They were so helpful getting my stuff together and so sympathetic for my increasing gas-like pains. Joe was Mister Funny Pants though cracking jokes every chance he got. I don't recall a single one because they were quite irritating in my physical and mental state. At this time it was 520am and we had arranged to drop them off as soon as we could so that they could get to their respective schools on time. It didn't quite work out that way. We were all running around like chickens with our heads cut off. I wish I had taped it. I bet it would be funny to see. On second thought, I could only stand upright for one out of every two minutes. And that means I was only coherent and able to speak (other than oh my God, oh crap or just relax) for the same time frame. We dropped off Junior first and then Jaime, realizing during that short jaunt that there was no way I'd make it another hour and a half in the car so Joe's Dad took Sabrina to school for us and we headed to the hospital. Oh yeah I almost forgot when I paged the doc and she called me back at 625am she said that they'd check me when I got there but that if I wasn't that far along that they'd have me walk around the hospital. I cried.
I had to stop twice and get Joe to support me through a contraction just walking across the parking lot. (We got there 5 minutes before the valet parking started.) And then when I got to the sidewalk I had to lean on the valet stand to get through a contraction and was actually approached by someone that wanted service. Joe told them no, she's just trying to get through a contraction. Funny now, but not so much then. We made it to check in. I leaned on the clerk’s desk to get through a few. And then a few more. The person with the wheel chair to take me to Labor and Delivery was LOST. But we finally got there around 720am and I honestly don't recall the numbers maybe 5 or 6 cms dilated, 90 percent effaced. I don't know, but they didn't make me walk around, thank goodness. My nurses jinxed me though. One said that third babies always throw you for a loop and the other said that the room I was in was a troubled room for her. Oh great! Let the nightmare delivery begin. And yes I do still wake up in a cold sweat after reliving this event in my dreams.
I have to say that this is all my fault. Instead of planning for the worse and hoping for the best, I had spent 9 months preparing for the best and hoping for even better. This one's gonna just fall out I would say, still halfway expecting a homebirth until the wee hours of January 12th, 2010.
My sister –in-law Anita was the first to arrive. Then Joe’s parents. I remember the epidural installer taking forever to get there. I was in sooooo much pain and feeling it almost constantly. I’m sure I wasn’t dilating much because I could not relax. At first I would nicely ask when the epidural would be there but that soon turned into yelling (well loudly speaking in a very direct manner). I was the woman that everyone hears down the hall and freaks out, like, I don’t want to go through what she’s going through, OR, like I used to think, what’s wrong with her??? I’m not feeling ANY pain (because they already had WORKING epidurals). I think I remember someone shutting the door to my room after the howl I let at the contraction that broke my bag of waters. I swear I thought Nicole was coming out. It was by far the most intense contraction I’ve ever felt. It truly felt like a wave coming up my belly full force and then - just before making me puke - it went back down and out with the power of a tsunami. I couldn’t hear it from my own wailing moan and the expectation of seeing a head and/or body popping out, but everyone in the room heard it. Lovely. And now I had no cushioning for the contractions that were taking over my body. I remember holding my hands out in front of me, they were shaking a little bit, but moreover they were cramped and not moving. I could no longer will them to move. It scared me. My body was in so much pain that it seemed to have shut down communication with “unnecessary” appendages. Again, kinda funny, but not in the moment.
I finally got my epidural. My FIRST epidural. Repeat of Jaime’s birth story. Same exact thing. He didn’t put it in right and it didn’t work. AGAIN it should have been a sign to someone when I had COMPLETE mobility in my legs. In an effort to give some sort of apology for taking extra long to show up, they gave me some kind of drug in my epidural to hit my system quicker while the epidural kicked in. Thanks but I should have said no thanks. Enter C-Section scare #1. I’m not good with drugs and whatever they gave me sent my “high” blood pressure plummeting, Nicole’s too. I wasn’t aware of that until later, much later. I did feel something though. I felt woozy. I told the nurse and she suggested I lay on my side. My thoughts? How am I gonna respond to text messages laying on my good arm???? I wasn’t really aware of the entire situation. I thought it odd that Joe came back from his break so quickly and that my doctor showed up at the same time. They made Joe get into his “spaceman suit” to prepare for the cesarean if our pressure didn’t recover and stabilize. But it did and we appeared to be out of the danger zone, but I think they told Joe to check with them before taking anymore breaks, just the same. Onto bigger and more painful things. I was STILL feeling it. I told the nurses. They thought it odd and excused it away that maybe I was just feeling it on “one” side. BS. After 30 minutes they upped the dosage. Didn’t work. 30 minutes after that they finally notice that I could move my legs and was up to a pain level of 7 or 8 compared to the 10 I felt before the first epidural. They get someone else stat. hahahah I can laugh now – was VERY close to tears then. Joe’s family remarked how different and pain-filled this labor was compared to Junior’s. They checked me right before the epidural installer got there. Nine freakin centimeters. Do we do it or not was the question. I half agreed to go without if it was time but asked if they could try anyways. I understood that Nicole could be born before it really took hold but I just had to try. I had amazed myself staying so still the first time through the contractions. I was having a hard time envisioning staying still again while they removed and reinstalled the epidural. But I prayed. And it worked…fast.
Brow Presentation is when a baby is looking where it’s headed instead of chin tucked to chest like normal. My doctor said if she came out that way, she’d likely break her neck or sustain spinal damage. Enter C-section scare #2. Again I didn’t realize how close it really was until I saw the doc at my 6 week check up. She said she will always remember me and Nicole’s birth. She said with all the deliveries she’s performed, she has never been that close to a decision for a c-section and changed her mind. She changed her mind because after A LOT of twisting, turning, pushing, pulling Nicole turned her head to a safe spot and kept it there. I pushed so much and pooped so much. I was worn out. And STARVING. At least they finally gave me ice chips, which were absolutely DELICIOUS!!! They even joked that they knew I was feeling better at times when I would practically beg or attempt to bribe people for food. I should mention that I had forgotten how to push. So odd how that happens. I remember today. I remembered when I was pregnant. But when you’re in the dugout, you push wrong. Well I caught my breath, summoned all my energy, pushed correctly and sha-zam! I gave birth to our last baby! With no episiotomy! HOORAY! Poor thing had pooped on herself. And she was beat up BAD! I wanted to name her Adrienne on the spot in honor of Rocky Balboa’s face looking just like hers when he yelled Yo, Adrienne! Names! That’s a whole ‘nother update. Out of all the names I loved and the deselecting process, it came down to the final hour and I couldn’t be happier with our choice. Nicole Lynn Dalbo was born at 1249pm on 1.12.10 weighing 6 pounds 11 ounces measuring 19 inches long, APGAR 8/9. The worst labor in our family, and judging from knowing her for the past 8 weeks, she’s the best baby yet. Hmmmm, wonder if there’s a correlation? Junior’s birth was the easiest. Interesting, VERY interesting! =)
Just a little “after” note - - - when double checking times on my call log and “reliving the longest most painful morning of my life” I noticed something odd. Mind you – I had been keeping my cell phone in my pillow case behind me all through labor and delivery so that I could use it without it getting it in anyone’s way. Anyways, I noticed that there were two calls made that I didn’t remember making, perhaps Joe called them from my phone? That didn’t make sense. One call was to my boss and the other to my doctor’s office. So I looked at the times of the calls and almost fainted. I had called my boss 3 minutes prior to delivery and the doc’s office one minute after delivery! The doc’s office no big deal, but I remembered my boss saying when he saw me for the first time after Nicole was born that he was surprised I had called him when I was in labor. NO KIDDING!!! I initially assumed that he meant my call in the morning when I wasn’t in full-fledged labor but at least I had 45 seconds between contractions. That’s what I thought anyways…………until I saw that call log!!! I clarified possibly the most embarrassing moment of my life (had it happened) as soon as I could! Phew! He didn’t realize that I had called and my phone must have disconnected before his voicemail picked up. Thank goodness! I cannot imagine the sounds he would have heard 3 minutes prior to delivery. Someday this will be funny too, but not now, not yet.