Whew! It’s been nearly four months since I’ve felt the desire to write about anything but I guess the best place to start my 2012 posts is with the story of our new baby’s arrival.
Almost a month ago now (What?!) Ruby Grace Kistler was born at sometime in the early 4 am hour (I promise I will find out and remember the exact minute) on March 19. But before we get to that, I’ll begin by telling all that led up to that early morning.
For three weeks prior to my due date, my OBGYN appointments were filled with disappointment. I wasn’t dilating at all, nor was I making any sort of progress that led my doctor to believe that I would be going into labor on my own. This wasn’t anything new. I have never gone into labor on my own and only once (with Theo) have I dilated at all before being induced. Due to this, and the fact that my previous two babies had weighed 8lbs 15oz and 8lbs 9oz, my doctor had been mentioning induction and repeating a mantra he’d said since my first pregnancy appointment – “We don’t want to break any records”. He seemed nervous about my ability to grow large babies and reassured me that he was not going to let me go past my due date. So when we reached week 38 and there were still no signs of labor, he asked me to come back to discuss an induction date (he mentioned March 10th). Although I had REALLY wanted to experience going into labor on my own, anyone who’s ever been pregnant knows that by this point, the thought of any kind of safe delivery sounds fantastic. I was a bit disappointed about a third induction (isn’t the third supposed to practically fall out?) but ready to meet my baby. A few days later, I returned with high hopes that I would have a plan by the end of the appointment. But since the baby was measuring exactly where it should be (as it had throughout the entire pregnancy) the doctor changed his mind and decided to wait a few more days. More disappointment.
The following Tuesday I once again returned to his office with high hopes of scheduling an induction or even better, being told that I had in fact made some sort of progress over the weekend. Of course, no such luck with the hopes of my body actually doing what it’s meant to do (my husband repeatedly reminded me that we’ve never had any problems with getting pregnant nor carrying a baby to full term which is by far more important than going into labor without the help of medicine. I don’t mean to complain. I know that some women wish they had my problem but it’s still frustrating when you want something and do as much as you can to make it happen but still have no results.). But the doctor did finally plan an induction for Thursday – the day before my due date. He asked that I come back one more time Thursday morning to make sure that I still hadn’t progressed and then he’d give me the details. I left the office super excited to have an end in sight. I immediately set up a plan for the boys to stay with a friend overnight and sent word to family and friends that the baby would be here before the weekend.
Thursday morning, I woke up and rolled over to see Josh smiling at me. He happily said, “Today is the last morning that we’ll wake up as a family of four.” We were so excited. We had our usual morning and after dropping the boys off at school, I reported to my doctor one last time. Just as I’d figured, I was still not dilated at all. The surprise, however, came from my doctor who announced that he had not scheduled anything for that night at the hospital and now all of the rooms that were designated for inductions were booked. Until Sunday. I was to arrive at the hospital on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 with a prescription for a Cervidil. I was really less than thrilled. Not only did I have to disappoint the boys with the news that the baby was not going to come that night, but I also had to be pregnant for three more days. The Cervidil prescription also didn’t help. I had been given a Cervidil during my pregnancy with Parker which immediately put me into hard labor. Labor that lasted for 20 hours. For anyone who doesn’t know, Cervidil is a strip of hormones that is attached to the cervix to cause dilation. Obviously, I had no choice since I wasn’t dilating but man, I was a little nervous to say the least.
After a long three days, Sunday finally came and so did my mom. The boys were able to stay at home with her while Josh and I were finally off to the hospital. We arrived at 4:30 just as scheduled. I changed into the hospital garb, got hooked up to my IV, heart monitor and contractions monitor (I’m sure there is an actual name for this machine but I don’t know it). I was then informed that the doctor wouldn’t actually arrive for another hour to apply the Cervidil. Uh, what? I know doctors are busy and all, but it was a Sunday with no office hours and he had scheduled this time himself. I wanted to get the show on the road. Finally, he got to the hospital around 5:45 and applied the Cervidil. Now it was just a waiting game. Josh and I played some 500 Rummy, ordered food and watched The Amazing Race. Throughout this time, the nurse kept coming in the room to check on me and ask if I could feel the contractions that the monitor was picking up. I could feel them slightly but they definitely were not intense at all. I asked what the plan was with the Cervidil and she explained that the doctor would be back around 6am to remove it and break my water. To me, that sounded like forever away. Around 9:30 I decided to try and get some sleep (even though sleeping in a hospital bed is less comfortable than sleeping on the floor) but of course after just one hour, I began to feel the contractions. I grabbed Josh’s phone and timed each one. Immediately they were coming every three minutes. The nurse came in to check on my pain level. I.Hate.This. I really don’t know how to gage my pain level. For one, I have a somewhat high pain tolerance which means that I probably understate the number (On a scale of 1-10 where’s your pain?). Knowing this causes me to try and adjust the number so that the nurse knows that I have truly entered active labor. Plus, how do you know that you’re at a 2 when you don’t yet know what a 10 is? It is possible that I am just a wacko and should forget about my crazy number game. I told her I was at a 3. I continued to quietly work through the contractions and was okay with it. But by midnight, it started to get intense. I called the nurse in and asked if there was anything that I could take so that I could get some sleep. She called the doctor, who then prescribed some sort of IV meds that would “take the edge off of the contractions…for two hours.” And it did. For exactly two hours. But only after making me so completely woozy that I couldn’t lift my head. I was able to sleep until around 2 or 230am when I woke up to full on baby pushing down contractions. I called in the nurse and explained that my pain had doubled and asked if I could please get an epidural. Actually, I knew that unless I was dilated to 3 cm, they wouldn’t allow me to have an epidural so I gave a really convincing speech that went something like this…
“I know that the policy is no epidural until I’ve dilated but with my first son I wasn’t dilating at all and as soon as they gave me an epidural I relaxed enough that I started to dilate and then everything worked out and I really feel like I can’t relax enough for anything to progress and I’m really tired and I’m really trying to fight through the contractions but maybe because I’m fighting the contractions I’m not dilating.”
Yeah, this was the point in which I turned into a begging child. Probably because of this, she seemed to feel bad and agreed to check to see if I was dilated, pull the Cervidil and call the doctor to ask him what he thought. Yet again, I was maaaaaybe 1 cm. A few minutes later she returned to the room to tell me that the doctor was on his way and would be here in about 45 minutes. 45 more minutes with no relief at all. Ugh. After what seemed like an eternity of contraction after contraction (and my realization that this baby was coming fast) my doctor finally arrived. He checked to see if I had dilated at all and then nervously declared that I was at 8cm! What?! 45 minutes ago I was barely at 1cm! I began to panic because I knew that 8cm was the line drawn in the sand. Most doctors don’t allow an epidural after 8cm dilated because it doesn’t kick in quick enough. Once again, I was reduced to a begging fool who said something like this…
“Please, please get me an epidural. I can’t push without an epidural. I really need that epidural. Please, Please get me an epidural.”
The funny thing that I learned about myself is that even in extreme circumstances, I remain polite. haha. Seriously, you see those women on tv who are in labor, screaming and swearing and furious and then there was me. More like a scared, sweet little kid than a crazy woman in labor. Of course when Josh put his hand on my face I swatted it away but I was extremely sweet to the doctors and nurses. The doctor ordered an epidural and whatever the other drug was that they had given me earlier. When the nurse came back in, I asked how long it took before the anesthesiologist would arrive to which I was told, he was allowed 30 minutes. It was becoming more and more clear to me (and I’m sure everyone else) that I wasn’t going to be getting that epidural. Before I could receive the epidural the doctor had to check me once more to see where I was. This time – not even 15 minutes since he had declared that I was at 8cm – he nearly shouted that I was at 10cm. Fully dilated and ready to push. Cancel the epidural we’re doing this now. This was absolutely crazy to me. I was about to deliver a huge baby with no pain meds. I couldn’t even accept that it was possible for me to accomplish this. In fact, I continuously said, “I can’t do this.” as if the doctor would just say, okay she can’t do it right now so let’s just reschedule this thing. Obviously I had to do it so after the doctors and nurses rushed around the room prepping everything I decided that if I had to deliver naturally, I was going to kick this delivery’s ass and push as hard as I could. Before I started pushing though, the nurse shot some more of that woozy med into my IV which accomplished two things. Zero pain relief and exhaustion. How in the hell was I going to push now when I was so sleepy from the stupid non pain relief drug. I pushed once and asked if the baby was visible. They said its bald little head was in sight. I pushed as hard as I could once more and the doctor told Josh to look, to which he replied, “No, that’s okay.” haha. The poor guy had learned his lesson after he nearly fainted during Theo’s delivery. I pushed one more time and Josh announced “He’s out! He’s out!” Our sweet third little boy was born. But then the nurse declared, “It’s a girl!” and I broke down. I’m not really a cryer (unless it’s a Nicholas Sparks movie we’re talking about) but I was perhaps more overwhelmed than I’ve ever been in my life. I didn’t cry when either of the boys were born but between the unexpected turn of events during my labor as well as the extreme surprise of delivering a baby girl, I was emotional. I was so completely convinced that this baby was 100% boy that we hadn’t even chosen a girl’s name until the day I went to the hospital. I had formed my identity around being the mother of boys so I couldn’t even fathom having a daughter. And who was this little girl anyway? She was the complete opposite of what our hairy, big, baby boys had been born. She was a girl who was bald and weighed a full pound less than what either Parker or Theo had weighed. She had my round face and Josh’s nose but looked so different from the boys. I was so completely in shock and in love. Already, I felt the difference in what it meant to have a daughter.
I have to say that not getting an epidural was not horrible. The worst part was suffering through the contractions without any relief but I progressed so quickly that, really that pain was only for about an hour or an hour and a half. Once the pushing began, the pain was bearable. In fact, if I ever had to go through labor again I would plan to do it without an epidural. Of course, I am extremely happy that I won’t ever go through labor again but if I did, the benefits of no epidural were worth it. I was able to get up and move around immediately, I didn’t have to have a catheter or huge needle stuck in my back and I can now say that I delivered a baby without an epidural. I’m pretty much a bad ass.
So, surprising our testosterone laden family, Miss Ruby Grace was born on a Monday morning weighing 7lbs 11oz at 20 inches long. She had redish blonde hair all around her head except on top, blue eyes and THE most perfectly plump red lips. She has definitely changed me as a mother and completed our family in a way that we didn’t imagine was possible. We are so happy and so in love.