So…I didn’t mention that I went to the hospital on Saturday night for my non-stress test hoping that the OB nurse would check me and maybe get things started, but no dice. I went back home to my house full of family with no baby. SHUCKS! We all went to bed and had a really excellent Sunday church meeting. By the time church was over, most of my siblings had headed home and we just had a nice quiet nap that afternoon. Later, we joined my in-laws (Rich’s brother Jess was visiting with his son and some friends) at the ranch again for some dutch oven dinner and s’mores.
Monday turned out to be a pretty relaxing day, too. We cleaned up from the weekend fun and got lots of rest. I was very uncomfortable and couldn’t even nap very long, but tried to stay busy. Mom and I made a big Mexican dinner and invited Mom & Dad Melin over for a makeshift family night, and that was a really nice visit (it’s so nice having my mom AND Rich’s mom over—they are both so much help and make my life so much easier). By the time we cleaned up dinner, I was having regular contractions, although they were hard to follow. I went downstairs and sat down for a couple of hours. We watched TV and the contractions got more and more regular. I took a hot bath around 11pm and decided to go into the hospital and just check if I was really having contractions. I was going to go alone, but mom offered to come with me. The night nurse, Shari, hooked me up to my regular machine and we started monitoring. My contractions were regular but over 2 hours, I hadn’t progressed much (stayed around 5 cm dilated and 60% effaced). She said she thought my labor was real and we could just wait around, but I said I’d rather sleep at home and go see my doctor at 9am as scheduled. So I went home and put my poor mom to bed around 2:30am. No sooner had I laid down than Heidi woke up and would not go back to bed (or even lay by us) for NUTHIN’! Rich even had to put a movie on for her around 4am and she crashed a little before 6am. It was HORRIBLE! Luckily she was still asleep when I left for my appointment and Rich left for work.
At the appointment, I saw Dr. Burwell (who was also on at the hospital that day). She saw the report from the hospital and checked me and I had progressed enough that she thought she could “augment” my labor that afternoon and deliver the baby after office hours. I still had to get the Group B Strep antibiotics two hours before the induction, so I told her I would go home and get my stuff and check in by 11am so I could be ready for induction at 2pm. My mom was getting the girls dressed when I got home and she was so excited that we were really going! We took the girls to Grandma Melin’s house for a couple of hours so mom could help me get checked in and Rich could get some things done at the office [aside: this is a bad week to be an insurance agent in Montana—our area is completely surrounded by dangerous wildfires and several of our insureds have had to evacuate and may lose property in the fires]. Rich and mom got me settled then went home to take care of the girls so Grandma Melin could go into the office for a while. Mom went home to rest while Heidi took her nap, and Rich took Addie to play at a friend’s house. Nurses Mary and Katie got me all set and started pitocin around 2:30pm, and Dr. Burwell came to talk with me around 3pm. We discussed our plan…I would have an intrathecal anesthetic (what they used to call a “Saddle block”—a one-time spinal injection that lasts 3 hours, instead of the immobilizing epidural), then she would break my water and hopefully the baby would soon follow. She left to return around 6pm, and I just kept working on labor. My mom came back after Heidi had a nap (Grandma Melin came over to my house to take care of the girls—feed them dinner, get them ready for bed, etc.) and Rich soon joined her. We walked around the hospital (mostly because just sitting there was giving me a headache and the contractions weren’t too painful yet) and just hung out watching TV.
After 7pm, contractions became stronger and I decided it was time to start the anesthetic (it started at exactly 7:21) since they would only get worse. Let me just say that the two times I have had anesthetic for childbirth—getting the meds was EASILY the worst part of the whole experience. I am SO not a needle person and “skin pain” as I call it (itching, burning, poking, etc) is more irritating to me than any deep muscle pain any day. So it was a real trial getting through the intrathecal without moving (or vomiting or passing out). By 7:30pm, I was numb from the waist down with only a mild, annoying itch from the tiny bit of morphine (I am SO not a narcotics person, either). Dr. Burwell broke my water around 8pm, then I got very sleepy and spent the next 2 hours alternately sleeping and vomiting (it wasn’t terrible vomiting, though, and I didn’t get one of those awful spinal headaches, either). I woke up at 10pm with very serious, painful contractions, so Dr. Burwell checked me at about 10:20. She said I was ready to go, so she and Nurse Shari got the delivery stuff ready and I started to push at 10:35. I had Rich on one side, mom on the other, and the doc and nurse out front coaching me. I did about 7 or 8 long pushes, then the baby crowned (YIKES! I kept saying, “It’s burning! Get it! It’s burning,” and I am guessing that’s about the time Dr. B went ahead and gave me a very small episiotomy). Three big pushes and James was out in the world. I remember finally letting out my breath and opening my eyes and seeing Dr. Burwell turn him right side up, all wet and white and red. She said, “Wow, that’s a big baby…he’s more than 8 pounds!” She laid him on my chest and he felt tiny to me. The nurse came to clean him up a little and mentioned how big he was, too. I felt like he had been easy to deliver, so I though he’d be around Heidi’s size (7-14). Of course we soon found out I was wrong—the boy weighed in at 9-11!
Just as James was getting wiped up, Rich ran down to the waiting room where Mom & Dad Melin were waiting with the girls and Aunt Angie. They all came into the room to watch Rich cut the cord and pass the baby around. I was stuck getting stitched up, but so excited that our boy was here and was being so adored. It was a huge welcome and I felt so relieved.
Sadly, all the excitement died down, everyone went home, and I was still too dizzy/nauseated to get up, so I had to sleep in my delivery room until almost 5am on Wednesday morning. When I could finally get up and go potty and change into a clean nightgown, I was thrilled. I went across the hall to my big comfy recovery room and got in a clean bed and held my beautiful, clean, sweet baby boy on my chest. We slept that way for about an hour and everything was good in the world! I was sick until about 8am and couldn’t eat until around lunchtime, but it was all so worth it (and that first meal and all that yummy ice water and juice tasted SOOOO good after a 25 hour fast!). James is sweet and perfect--I feel so blessed!