She’s finally here! Enjoy the lengthy birth story, or skip to the end for the short version!
At my last OB appointment, which was on my due date of February 10th, we scheduled an induction for February 18th. That was a little (okay a lot) later than I had hoped for, but that was the earliest they could get me in. They wanted us to get to the hospital on Thursday night at 8pm, which we did, and we were put into a labor and delivery room. They got me hooked up to an IV and monitors, and at 8:30 they put in the Cytotec, with another dose scheduled for 12:30am. They also checked me, and I was 2cm.
By 10/10:30pm I was having contractions that were not too painful, but there was absolutely no let-up. We watched them on the monitor as the line went straight across around the “5” mark, but had no dips whatsoever! The nurse offered some pain medication through my IV, which I gladly accepted. After she put it in, I made a trip to the restroom, and when I got back to my bed, it was as if a switch had been flipped, and I felt the medication kick in. It made me feel like I was drunk, and I literally had to hold onto Daniel because I started laughing so hard. The relief was amazing! I spent the next two hours semi-dozing, but never quite sleeping for real.
Two nurses came to check me at 12:30am, prepared to give me the other dose of Cytotec, but when they saw that I was 3.5cm, they thought that it might be better to start the Pitocin then. They called my doctor to see what he wanted to do, and he suggested that they do neither, and just let me labor for two hours to see what would happen on my own.
Well, at that point, the medicine was wearing off, so I asked for more, which I got, but it never really kicked in. The contractions went from continuous but not too painful, to very painful (off the charts on the monitor) and very frequent (lasting about 30-60 seconds, with about a 30-second break in between. Daniel was sleeping on the couch-bed, and he was out cold because he didn’t respond when I called his name very loudly! After about 30 minutes, the nurse came back in and asked me if I wanted to get my epidural, which I gladly accepted. At that point, Daniel did wake up and came to sit next to me and help me breathe through the contractions that were coming regularly and painfully!
They got the epidural placed within the next 15-20 minutes, and the next 3-4 contractions after having the epidural were still pretty bad, but then the numbness kicked in, and I was feeling good.
I dozed a bit, and they checked me at 2am to find that I was at 6cm. I was texting my mom all through the night because she wanted to be updated, and after going from 3.5cm to 6cm in 90 minutes, I figured that this baby was not going to wait until the sun came up! They checked again at 3am; I was 8cm and my water had broken. By 3:15am I was fully dilated and ready to push, although I wasn’t feeling any pressure or need to push. I was feeling the contractions just enough to know when they were happening, which was just perfect.
They called in the doctor, and at about 3:45am, they had me start pushing. I didn’t even feel that urge to push, but I did what they told me to do! Two contractions later, at 3:48am, she came out! It was entirely painless and super easy (nothing like with Carter- super uncomfortable and lasting 2 hours)! As she was coming out, one nurse said “I see blonde hair” (although she seems to have just a fuzzing of dark hair), and everyone (two nurses, my doctor, and Daniel) was saying, “Wow, that’s a big baby!” And of course she was- 9 lbs, 4 oz, and 20 inches long!
Only a 2nd degree tear, and I didn’t even notice when the placenta was delivered. They put her on my chest briefly, but then took her to be cleaned, etc. They did everything right there in the room, so Daniel and I just watched them take care of her until they gave her to us and left.
Pretty soon after that I asked Daniel if he was feeling strongly about any names (expecting a full session of debate and discussion), and he said he thought Vanessa. That was one of two names that were on both of our top five lists, and it was the one I had been favoring, so of course I quickly said yes! We definitely wanted to use Sandra as a middle name, as long as it worked well with the first name, and when we had discussed it in the past, Daniel wasn’t too fond of how it worked with Vanessa, but he knew it meant a lot to me. I didn’t even have to ask; as soon as we agreed on Vanessa, he said, “And you want to use Sandra as a middle name?” I really did, so it was settled!
For the record, Sandra is my mother’s mother, and she was so important to me all throughout my life. We were extremely close and saw her every few days or so from the time I was born until I moved to Arizona. She passed away just a month after Carter was born, in 2008. I’m so glad to have the chance to give my daughter her name in her remembrance!
I finally got to sleep for a bit starting at 6am. At 7am, the baby started crying, so I brought her into bed with me, and we slept for another hour together. It was so sweet!
The ward was so busy that day, that we had to stay in our delivery room until later that evening, instead of being moved right into a recovery room. Nevertheless, we had a steady stream of visitors all day long! Our first visitors were my parents, sister, and Carter! They sent Carter in first, with a chocolate rose, and he ran right up to my bed saying, “I did brought this for you!” Then he climbed right up with me and leaned over the baby’s bassinet, said “baby!” and kissed Vanessa! My parents brought flowers and cookies and a whole basket full of baby gifts. They didn’t stay for too long, but we got some good video of Carter holding his sister for the first time. That was so sweet.
As my family was leaving, our friend Alan came by. Daniel was supposed to be at a music festival that day with some of his students, but since he was with me instead, Alan (another teacher) had driven them up and was staying with them for the day. He just visited briefly, but he brought more flowers and a card.
A little bit later, Daniel’s mom came by and stayed for a while to chat and hold the baby. While she was there, Cynthia also dropped by on her “way” to work (it was definitely not on her way, but she’s a sweetheart and came anyway). She had to leave shortly thereafter, and then Daniel’s mom left as well. Around the same time, we had a visit from the pediatric cardiologist, because the hospital pediatrician had heard a heart murmur when he did a checkup on Vanessa. She did a full assessment with an ultrasound and everything, and she basically determined that the small hole in her heart will either close up on its own, or it will not be a major problem for her. Obviously this isn’t normal for babies, but it isn’t all that uncommon either. She’ll go for another checkup in a month to see if there have been any changes, and it may just be something we need to monitor in the future. Doesn’t sound too serious though, so we aren’t worried about it.
This brings us to midafternoon, when I managed to get in a short nap, and then Nathan (Daniel’s brother) dropped by to say hi and to see the baby. When it was time for him to go, Daniel walked him out, and he was gone for a long time. I ended up in the bathroom when I heard a knock on the door, and someone said, “Megan, you have more visitors out here!” I thought it sounded like Daniel’s mom, but I figured it must have been one of the nurses. As I was washing my hands, I was trying to think of another person in the Tucson area who I knew who might come visit, and I couldn’t come up with anyone. When I went back into my room, it turned out to be Chris and Lindsay! They got up that morning and decided to drive down from Chino Valley to see us (and some other friends, and get root beer Eegees)! So that was a really cool surprise. They stayed into the late afternoon, at which point we were finally moved into a recovery room, and my parents returned with pizza for dinner!
Daniel left with Chris and Lindsay and his mom to go get Korean food for dinner, while I had pizza with my parents and Carter. Carter was a little off-the-wall, so soon they took him back to their house, and I was left with Vanessa for just a little bit before Daniel returned. After he got back, we were pretty tired, and it was getting late, so we went to sleep.
Around 10:30pm, the nurses came in and woke Daniel up, and I heard them tell him that they were having plumbing issues, and if it couldn’t be fixed soon, they would have to move us to another room. Sure enough, they came back a little bit later, and we had to move everything down to another hallway and another room. That was a little bit of an adventure, but soon enough we were all asleep again. Vanessa woke up around 1am, when the nurses came in to check our vitals. Annnd, she didn’t go back to sleep until 5! We nursed a lot and she just never really went to sleep in between sessions! I don’t know if it was my medication or if I was just so happy at having a little girl, but I didn’t mind at all! I asked the nurse at 5am if it was anything to be concerned about, but she said it was just because she was a big baby and was hungry, and my milk wasn’t in yet, so she was getting everything she could. The nurse offered to bring me a sandwich, so at 5am, I had the most delicious turkey sandwich, with applesauce, graham crackers, and Oreos! Around 5:30, I took Vanessa into bed with me, and we cuddled and slept together for a couple of hours.
The next day was busy with paperwork and doctor/nurse visits, and my mom came to see us again. I was discharged early on, and Vanessa was discharged around lunchtime. Of course nothing happens quickly in the hospital, so it was 3pm before we were in the car headed home. It was so exciting to have two kids in car seats in the back. They both fell asleep on the way home!
Vanessa is a very good baby so far! She nurses well and sleeps a lot and doesn’t seem like a crier! She doesn’t even want a pacifier and will go to sleep after nursing without one. She has periods of being awake during the day where she just looks around and is very chill. She is really fun to play with and kiss all over! My milk came in during the day, unlike Carter where I woke up in the morning very full and very uncomfortable! She was very happy to finally have some substance, and the following night I think she would have slept through the night. The first night we were home, she was up a lot, but the second night I set an alarm for 2am to take my pills and nurse her, and I had to wake her up. She then slept until 7am when I woke her up to nurse again! Last night I did the 2am feeding again (waking her up), and then she woke up on her own at 6am to nurse. Tonight I’m going to push the feeding back to 3am and see what happens. I don’t want to jinx it, but is it possible I have a baby who is going to sleep through the night from the first?! Carter was 5 months before I could count on a good 5 hour stretch from him.
I have some interesting insurance hoops to jump through, but I made a lot of phone calls today, and I think we got everything figured out. I’m taking her for her newborn screening tomorrow afternoon, so let’s hope everything checks out okay!
We are so happy to have her as part of our family!
Vanessa Sandra Tenney
Born February 18th, 2011
9 lbs. 4 oz, 20 in.