We begin this story on Saturday morning, November 26. I had been pregnant for approximately a million years and was 4 days past my due date. Now, this wouldn't seem so bad considering the latest I'd ever gone before was 5 days late.
When we found out about Edith's lung issues, the MFM specialist said we'd probably induce around 39 weeks. So I was planning on no longer being pregnant by mid-November. Which makes that extra almost-two-weeks unbearably long.
Anyway. Saturday. I started losing my mucus plug and was convinced labor was imminent, despite not being entirely sure how that all had played out with previous children... I WAS SO PREGNANT. CLEARLY I MUST BE DONE!
So I told Andrew that we'd probably be having the baby that day, holed up in the dark bedroom with the labor ball and my kindle, and waited for things to start. Andrew even sent the kids to my mom's house (in our back yard, so not exactly a huge hardship) for a while so that he could be there helping but...
However, Andrew *did* head to 7-11 to procure a giant bag of ice and the biggest cup ever (seriously, it held maybe a gallon of liquid?), which was an immense help when labor actually did begin.
So pizza was ordered for dinner, much grumbling was done by me (it hurt so badly to walk! The baby was looooow and I was soooo uncomfortable!), and we went to bed hoping that things would start up overnight.
So, yet again, we went to bed hoping things would start up in the middle of the night.
I woke up around 12:30 and went downstairs to have a snack and sit around reading and facebooking for a while, because that type of insomnia had been happening for weeks. Contractions were somewhat regular while I lay on the couch, but that had also been happening for weeks. Not as bad as my prodromal labor with Peter, but given the fact that I was now 6 days overdue, I thought that hey, maybe this time the contractions would lead to something!
Unconvinced, I went back to bed expecting the contractions to go away. But hey! They kept coming! I counted in my head and kept an eye on the clock because I couldn't sleep through them, and after about an hour decided to get out of bed (and felt a weird pop when I changed positions that must have been my water breaking a tiny bit because there was also a little fluid) and at least read while I bounced through the contractions on my labor ball. Andrew slept peacefully through all of this - he'd been sleeping terribly all week and I didn't want to wake him up when I didn't need him yet (when I'm in labor I mostly just want to be left alone). After another hour of this (timing contractions on my phone), I decided that since the contractions were about a minute long with 3-4 minutes between them and I was feeling more pressure than I usually feel that early on, it might be time to wake Andrew up.
So I told him this was actual labor (not like that horrible false alarm) and we debated whether we should wait at home for longer, or whether we should head to the hospital. I was texting my midwife trying to decide what to do, since my labors have been fairly long (12 hours was the shortest before this one), but things seemed to be progressing a little faster this time. Andrew went and got my mom and we grabbed the hospital bag, giant cup, and labor ball and headed to the hospital.
The ride actually wasn't terrible - these contractions were probably the least-painful ones I've experienced during labor (except for the twins' labor, when I barely felt them because my uterus was so stretched out), so I got through maybe 10 contractions (on a 30-minute ride) by counting through them, trying to relax, and offering up the pain for a few friends whose intentions I had been holding close.
This was the first time we had delivered at this hospital, and obnoxiously there was no valet parking so I had to stagger in and try to tell them what was going on while Andrew went and parked the car. I had an incredibly uncomfortable wheelchair ride (why so bumpy? why didn't I just ask to walk?) and then had to wait a rather long time for someone to come fetch me to take me to triage (but luckily that way Andrew had time to get there with the most important member of our labor team, THE BALL!).
So! I got to triage, found out that yes indeed, my water HAD broken, also found out I was dilated to 5 cm, and got to head to an actual delivery room to meet whichever doctor happened to be on call for delivery (because we had been planning a home birth but had to change our plans, my midwife could still do my prenatal care, and we would just deliver with an OB hospitalist, which was fine by me because really it's the nurses who do most of the work anyway).
So we got to the delivery room (and my midwife arrived, too) and I got hooked up to monitors and... the baby's heart rate was not doing great things when they monitored me while I sat on the ball. So I reluctantly stood up, and things still weren't looking great. The doctor immediately suggested a scalp monitor, to which I responded, "Uh... No?" The nurse suggested having me lie on my side, and things looked great! But I couldn't sit on my ball anymore. Boo. Have I mentioned I love that thing?
On the plus side, at this point I was now dilated to 8 cm - I had never dilated so quickly before! The nurse suggested breaking my water to finish things up and the doctor (unlike any other OB that I've ever encountered) said... No?
Wait, seriously? I've always, always, always had doctors suggest breaking my water way before I felt ready to allow any interventions. And this OB was actually saying NO? It was broken just a trickle, and he apparently thought the baby was too high and wasn't ready to come out yet.
So I lay on my side, uncomfortable, with a random inflatable bean-shaped thing between my legs, counting and praying through contractions and occasionally having sips of water from my gigantic cup (also anti-nausea meds in the IV, because I learned to ask for those immediately in labor so that I don't puke and get dehydrated). The doctor came again and I was 9.5 cm but "not complete" so he didn't want to break my water. (Apparently the nurse and my midwife were both rolling their eyes at this because HELLO SIXTH BABY, it's not gonna take much longer!)
Shift change, new nurse, this one had me get off the monitors and walk around and head to the bathroom a couple of times, but the doctor still didn't want to break my water. And I was done. Begging for drugs, soooo tired, and obviously in transition. And the doctor still didn't want to break my water. So he left, and the nurse and my midwife suggested going on all fours and just bearing down (I wasn't feeling any urge to push, probably because of being on my side for so long).
Sure. Fine. Whatever. I WAS DONE.
So I turned over and with the next contraction... WHOOSH! Giant, loud, messy gush of my waters breaking dramatically (glad I didn't have to clean that up), and then (shocker!) the baby was crowning!
Apparently the doctor ran in just in time to catch her, because ain't no way I wasn't pushing. She was out in... Two pushes? Three? Easy peasy! I got on my back and they handed her to me but she was... Gray. And quiet. So they took her and suctioned her and checked her oxygen levels and it turned out everything was fine, just lots of fluid because I pushed her out (LIKE A FREAKING PROFESSIONAL) so quickly. Asymptomatic, as expected, a dainty 7 pounds 12 ounces, with a respectable 14.5-inch head.
Edith Veronica was born just before 8 AM on Monday, November 28.
Our hospital stay was frustrating and longer than we would have liked, which wasn't made better by the lack of communication from all the different specialists who were making decisions. But we were pretty darned thankful that she didn't need any NICU time.
Her nice thick head of dark hair earned her the title of "hairiest Hill" so far.
And all the kids were ecstatic to meet her!