Excuse the stream of consciousness writing as I journaled this in the days shortly after my delivery.
Monday, January 26 Testing at the Hospital
I was at Greenwich Hospital on Monday for a NST test and bio-physical profile during the 37th week and and 4th day of my pregnancy. The BFP scored an 8 out of 8, but the NST wasn’t registering. (My baby was moving fine, but her heart rate wasn’t jumping when she did, according to the test.) They kept me there all day, despite my protests (I was moving in two days and superstorm Juno was on its way.) The doctor wanted me to either a) deliver baby that day or b) stay overnight. I left against medical advice because I knew if I stayed they would make me have a c-section the next day and I didn’t think it was likely NST results would change as they hadn’t in 6+ hours and was worried about what turned out to be the Faux-storm Juno and our move. I knew I could go to hospitals in city if anything felt wrong. I had also been researching NST tests online. Anecdotally on message boards lots of women had issues with them. And American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, most notably, says they are over read. The follow up to a non-reactive NST test is the BFP and mine was fine. Also, I wanted to be in control as possible of my pregnancy and delivery and didn’t want to be bullied into having a C-section because of an overabundance of caution. I left with instructions to pay attention to baby’s movements.
I was having minor, regular contractions before I left the hospital. Neither the nurse nor the doctor were concerned as they were not yet excruciatingly painful. (The threshold for labor is contractions so bad you can’t speak through them, five minutes apart for 2 hours.)
The contractions continued on Monday night-I woke up every hour at least feeling them. On the plus side, baby girl was moving plenty and strongly, so I was reassured I did the right thing in leaving the hospital. I was also relived to see that Juno had not delivered on the promise of whiteout conditions or 18-inches plus of snow.
Day before my move–I managed to pack up the remains of my personal things and watched after Leopold, leaving Leo to pack up the rest of our household items. (I had been packing since October and had packed 57 boxes already.) All the while I was having contractions in increasing regularity and intensity-though still not excruciating.
I called my doctor’s answering service at 6 p.m. to check in. I figured it was better to call then than in the middle of the night and at that point I had been having pretty regular contractions for 24 hours. The doctor confirmed that I didn’t need to go to hospital until they got much worse, which gave me peace of mind.
My contractions continued throughout the night and I couldn’t sleep. At 2 a.m. I got out of bed and went to the sofa and watched my DVR of Pretty Little Liars. Finally at 3, I slept fitfully for about three hours. When I woke up, my contractions had eased up, 36 hours after they started.
We woke up at 7 and were expecting movers at 8. Leo took Spencer to his dog walker’s and Leopold to his grandmother’s for the day. We got word that the movers weren’t coming until 9. They didn’t show up until 9:30.
The move was terrible, but aren’t they all? I managed to pack two boxes of dishes before running out of energy. At this point, I really hadn’t slept much in two nights. I could feel baby moving well. I spent most of my time between the sofa and the bed. It was freezing with the door open.
I had a weekly checkup with my doctor at 2:15 in Scarsdale. It was becoming clear that our movers wouldn’t be finished in our apartment by then. (They had said it would take four hours.) I was anxious to keep appointment and get reassurance that baby girl was ok. My doctor checked me and I was 2-2.5 cm dilated and 80-90 percent effaced.
Headed to new home in CT. Movers were finished moving at 9:30. It was horrible–cold, exhausting and one mover got drunk!
Finally, they were gone and we made the bed. That was all the unpacking I could handle.
That night, around 11, I started having more painful contractions again. I could still speak–saying motherfucker, motherfucker, MOTHERFUCKER during each one. (That counts, right?) I got out of bed so hubby could sleep. I went down in my robe to freezing cold living room where I alternately laid on the sofa or got on all fours doing stretches in an effort to alleviate contraction pain. I didn’t sleep at all. Finally contractions seemed to be letting up and I thought it would be the same situation as the day before. But…
Thursday morning, January 29
Then, at 6 a.m. I had one intensely painful contraction and felt the big whoosh of my water breaking. I immediately felt a huge relief of pressure which gave me an energy surge. It was go time!
I woke up Leo and we headed to the hospital. We got settled in our delivery room with our delivery nurse Jenn. By this time it was 7:30ish and I was 4 cm dilated at this point having increasingly stronger and more frequent contractions, but could still speak during them.
We watched the Today Show, which was all about the Super Bowl and I texted friends and family to let them know we would be welcoming Baby Girl Linval soon. My husband got breakfast, I wasn’t allowed to eat and was starving and thirsty and was jealous watching him eat. My OB, Dr. Reiss, came in and said hello. He’s my OB’s partner and we had met at a checkup appt a few weeks earlier. He knew I very much wanted a VBAC and was on board with it.
Finally, around 11, I was 8 cm dilated and asked for the epidural. I had a bad experience with the insertion of the one for my son and wasn’t in a hurry to do it. This time went much easier…or so we thought.
All Hell Breaks Loose
After the epidural was going, I was lying on my right side because baby’s heart rate was easier to track that way. But after an hour in the same position, my neck started to kink, so I asked Jenn if we could change positions. The doctor was also in the room. As soon as I got on my back though, I immediately felt nauseous and lightheaded and said as much. Then…..
When I came to, there were multiple doctors and nurses surrounding me. At first I was confused as to who all these folks were, but then I realized I passed out, something that happens to me about once every five years. Turns out passing out during labor is a good way to freak everyone out. My husband literally thought I was dying and the doctors were getting ready to rush me into a C-section and had Leo change into scrubs. Apparently I was out for about two minutes and they attempted to revive me with ammonia and a few smacks to the face.
After my bed was angled so my head was lower than the rest of my body and they gave my oxygen, I regained lucidity. I made eye contact with Leo and told him I was OK. Everyone seemed pleased that I remembered exactly what happened and things got back on track. Except they turned off my epidural.
The next 90 minutes was pretty standard delivery, thank god. The early pushing was pretty easy and I remember thinking, “Oh, I got this,” and that all my years of Pilates classes had paid off. Then, things started to get a bit more intense. I pushed, it hurt like hell. I asked if I could have the epidural turned back on and was told no. I’m calling the birth semi-natural because of that. Somewhere in the middle I seriously questioned why I turned down the C-section three nights prior, thinking I would already be three days on my way to my recovery.
Then, just when I truly though I couldn’t handle anymore, the doctor used a touch of suction and she was out! They put her on my chest for a hot second, Leo cut the cord and then she was off to get checked out and weighed. She was returned to me and nursed until she dozed off. We had our healthy, beautiful, dark haired girl, Nola Grace!
P.S. As for those non-reactive stress tests? The doctors think they were because I had a short placenta. I was 100% right to trust my instincts and doing so save me an unnecessary surgery and recovery!