Friday morning at 3:30am, I woke up to contractions. They were coming every 3-8 minutes and lasting between 35 and 90 seconds. I decided to keep track for at least an hour before waking Daniel, and an hour and 15 minutes later I figured it was the real thing and I didn’t want to wait any longer. At this point I was doing okay in between contractions, so I helped get our stuff in the car, and then we had a prayer and left.
The contractions got more and more painful as we drove into town, and I was feeling them all in my back. We got to the hospital at about 6am and were taken to triage where they checked me and then admitted me right away. They offered me an epidural which I accepted right away because of how bad the contractions were. The anesthesiologist got there quickly and gave me the shot, and the pain was gone almost instantly. My doctor showed up soon after that to break my water and discovered that it had already broken. It must have sprung a leak the day before, because I did notice I had to use the bathroom way more frequently than usual, but I never felt it actually “break” so I didn’t think it had. She said she would be around until 11:30 when she had to leave town, so another doctor would deliver if it was later than that.
After the epidural I felt so much better, and we just stayed in the room watching tv for the next few hours. The nurse checked me around 10am, and I was 7cm. I had to spend most of the morning lying on my left side because the baby’s heart rate went down if I was on my back or my right side. My legs got so numb that at one point I had to ask Daniel to adjust one of my toes because I couldn’t do it myself.
My doctor came back in before she left at 11:30, and I was at 9cm. Around 1pm I was feeling a lot of pressure, and although I was at 10cm they told me they would just let me stay there for awhile before trying to push because it would be easier if we waited. I started pushing around 2pm. It was very frustrating because I couldn’t feel the contractions due to the epidural, but the nurse kept telling me to tell her when I was having a contraction. Eventually I got better at estimating when the contractions were coming, and they started seeing the top of the baby’s head. I pushed for over an hour and a half, and then the doctor came in. She gave me an episiotomy (Daniel said he expected a scalpel and was surprised when she pulled out scissors!) and said she was going to use the vacuum extractor, but a few more pushes and the baby came out on his own. I was expecting it to go a little slower; he seemed to come out almost all at once.
They put him on my stomach right away for a few minutes, Daniel cut the cord, and then the baby was taken over to the side to be cleaned and tested. The placenta was delivered without a problem, and then the doctor started stitching me up. She told me that I had a 4th degree tear, which is the worst you can get!
They told us the baby was 9lbs. 1oz. and 21 inches long. After he was cleaned and wrapped in a blanket with a hat on, a nurse brought him over to Daniel. I was still lying down, and so I watched the two of them just staring at each other for the longest time. The baby was very calm and alert and looking all around. Soon I was able to hold him and kiss him. We decided that he definitely has my nose and Daniel’s mouth. We spent just a few minutes alone, just the three of us, and we decided he was a Carter.
I had to stay in the hospital until noon on Sunday, and, since the timing worked out, Daniel drove back to St. David both evenings so he could conduct the band at the football game (they announced the birth over the loudspeaker!) and play in two bands at the Saturday night reunion activities. Meanwhile we were visited by my parents (who kept bringing us food!), my sister and her friend, Nathan, Chris and Lindsay, and Cynthia and Alma. Daniel’s whole family was in St. David for the labor day/reunion weekend, so they were able to see him right away.
Now we are home and doing great! Carter has gotten the hang of nursing, and he sleeps and wakes on a fairly regular schedule, mostly dozing in the boppy pillow (best 35 dollars I’ve spent in my entire life!). Daniel is taking this week off work, so we’re just hanging out together and figuring out how to be parents! It definitely gets easier each day as we discover what works and what doesn’t, and as we try to get into a regular sleeping schedule!
Carter will see his pediatrician tomorrow. He needs to be tested for hemophilia before we can get him circumcised, so hopefully we’ll be able to do that quickly. I have my 6 week appointment set up for exactly 6 weeks after the birth. I’m feeling really good, especially considering the bad tear and all that, so I’m going to do whatever exercise I can for the next 5 weeks and try to keep a healthy diet. More on that later! For now I’m just going to enjoy the rest of this first week with my baby!