Until 3AM the next day! I woke with a feeling that I was unsure of...but at the same time, I was sure this baby was going to arrive within 24 hours. So, I climbed out of bed and went into the living room to begin my contraction counting. At about 4AM, I heard a lot of scratching at the floor coming from my bedroom. I opened the door to discover our sweet Azaria having a seizure. David shot straight up in bed and I immediately rushed to her on the floor. The seizure didn't last too long, but it really knocked me out of my rhythm with the counting. I told David that I was experiencing contractions and we agreed to call MEU to find out if we needed to head to the hospital. After speaking with the nurse, I was reassured that it was too soon to go, but I needed to keep counting.
After another hour, I decided to lay down and nap to regain some energy. Oh...I forgot to mention that during all of this, I was doing squats! Not a ton, but it felt better to exert that energy through the weird feeling I was experiencing...and I had also read that doing squats can move L&D along. So back to that nap I needed. It only lasted around a half-hour. I shot up to go to the restroom and felt I had a deeper pain than I had been previously experiencing. In a panic, David and I both changed clothes and decided to go to the hospital. But before that, I wanted to take Azaria for a walk. The walk was too easy....there was no way I needed to go to the hospital just yet! But again, I KNEW it was going to happen that day.
We asked our parents to meet us for brunch and they, of course, accepted with excitement when I told them I thought that I was going into labor.
Saturday was a beautiful day!! Everyone was out for brunch! David and I stopped at three places to see if there was NO WAIT...and every time I went in to see the crowd, I would turn right back around and out the door! I was experiencing enough pain that the idea of sitting amongst all of the brunchers only made me angry. We ended up at one of the late-night Mediterranean places, Al's, because it was empty...no one actually eats there for breakfast!!
We took our time...and while I held back complaining about how I was feeling, I did have quite a bit of discomfort. After eating, David and I drove to UAB to see what was going on. Ok, so I still wasn't in enough pain...but it was around 12:30 and I was ready to know what the doctor thought was going on. After being hooked up to the contraction reader and being examined--Dr. Hoover said "go home! it's not time!" I said "Wait...am I going to experience this discomfort until I have this baby?"
Dr. H: "Um, yeah, probably!"
Me: "Ok, so when does this happen??"
Dr. H: "Well...you have an appointment with me Monday, right? I'll see you then and maybe you'll have progressed more!"
Me: "Wait, are you saying this could last til Monday...or for another week or so??"
Dr. H with a shrug of the shoulders and a big smile: "Ummmm sure! It could be tonight, it could be Monday...it could be a week and a half. But it's not right now!"
That made me SO MAD!
Since Mom and I had cancelled our earlier 11:30 foot massages, David called her and said "we're headed home--will you meet us at the massage place?" Ha--it took her 5 seconds to answer that question.
We figure it was about 3:30 that we started the appointment. I quickly realized that my contractions were escalating. I think it was a combo of having been examined at the hospital AND Candy was doing a great job rubbing the areas on my ankles and calves that are known to send women into labor. I can't say it was an enjoyable massage--but it was certainly successful!!! I was definitely experiencing pain by now. I would much rather be experiencing a foot massage along with it, rather than laying in bed just cringing, screaming, and crying. I was able to keep it together during the appointment--putting in my earbuds and listening to my L&D playlist....and biting my tongue! As soon as it was over, I said my thank you's and went outside to pace while Mom (took forever!!!) treated me as a Valentine's Day gift ;)
SO, we're in Mom's car driving home and I begin experiencing a contraction. I've been holding back from screaming and am continuing to bite my tongue. As I am gripping the sides of my seat, Mom asks in a quiet, "pleasant" tone "honey, what does it feel like?" REALLY?? I was in pain! I threw my fist into her center console and seethed through my teeth "YOU SHOULD KNOW, YOU'VE HAD THEM BEFORE!!!" Mom loves that part of the story. She likes telling people that I am so strong, I damaged her car while I was in labor. Uh huh....
We arrived at the house and I went straight to the bathroom. I was mentally preparing to crawl into bed and scream and cry for however long I had to prior to returning to the hospital. But before I made it there...I realized that I couldn't tough this one out. I was bleeding more than I felt comfortable with...and I was in way too much pain to wait. David called MEU and they confirmed that we should head down. AMEN.
We think it was around 4:45 that we left. I swear, we hit every red light on our way to UAB and at each one I thought "IS THIS A SIGN THAT WE SHOULD STOP AND GO BACK HOME??" HA, no. Thankfully, when I walked in hunched over, cringing in pain--the nurses said "SOOOOOO....NOW you're feeling it?!" Absolutely. I signed in and they took me back to the dreaded room where I learned earlier that I wasn't far enough along.....but thank GD they gave me the thumbs up to move to a delivery room.
I failed to mention that on our way to the hospital, I told David I wasn't sure I wanted to follow through with my natural delivery plan. He asked me what it would take to stay with it....I shrugged and said "I want to be at least 8 cm...." I was 6.75. Yeah.....BUT, then I was introduced to my nurse. The first winning touch was that she was wearing bright turquoise scrubs and, blame it on my emotions, I loved how cheerful this color was compared to the black scrubs the other nurses were wearing. I commented on it immediately. It made me happy :) THEN, I learned that she is the MIDWIFE nurse!!! I was ECSTATIC. The stars were aligning perfectly...just for us.
Once in the L&D room, David began unpacking my L&D suitcase. I wanted this to happen immediately, so I said "forget blowing up the yoga ball!" I'm so glad he didn't listen to me. He went into the bathroom and began pumping that sucker up. It was totally worth it. While he was in there, the door opened to my room and in walked....my cute little grandmother, Mama Pat. WHAT!? Now I realized we should have given them my birth plan sooner. David and I had agreed no one be in the room other than docs and nurses....this was not my shining moment, and I really didn't want anyone to be around me unless they had to be. I gave my grandmother a hug and just as she was beginning to get comfortable, I glared at my nurse and mouthed "GET HER OUT!" We'll blame that on the contraction I was experiencing. Mama Pat was super and totally understood as the nurse accompanied her out the door NO ONE else would be allowed to enter...until AFTER our little one arrived. My mom later told me that my grandmother was very proud of herself for figuring out which door to come into to get a peek at how I was doing ;) I love my Mama Pat and will always remember that 'not funny at the time' moment!
Yoga ball ready, I laid down on it on the floor, tummy down...and was just rolling it under me. The contractions felt much better that way. David was next to me, pushing on my lower back. We had taken a pregnancy yoga and massage class earlier on--and I don't know if he realized he was doing it, but he was using some of the techniques my friends Annie and Adrian had taught the group. I knew it would come in handy!! The contractions still hurt...but I appreciated the pressure and support. I asked my nurse, "what needs to happen for this to move along??" and she said "you need to dilate more....and your water needs to break." UGH. I said to David "I wish you had been at this foot massage appt to see where to rub..."and he said "just tell me where to rub and I'll do my best." Me "Around my ankles"
I kid you not, he put pressure on my right ankle and my water broke immediately. DAVID broke my water! It gave me a moment of laughter because I could not believe it had just happened. Seriously, this was unreal....but I was loving every minute of what was happening. Dr. Hoover came in shortly thereafter and she and the nurse began working together to get me off the floor and onto the bed.
My team was amazing. The three of them cheered and supported me through every second of the experience. David had put on my L&D playlist and I kept telling him to play the same 30 minute song and I chanted some with it...it kept me focused on the goal and distracted from the pain. One thing I could not have prepared for was how to push that baby out of me! It took a little bit for me to realize that I wasn't doing it right, but Dr. Hoover guided me through every minute. I stared at the ceiling saying in my head "come on come on come one". David thinks that this took about 30 minutes. I have no idea, so I'll go with that.
I'll be honest, there was a moment I thought I was going to pass out from pushing. It didn't happen though. The feeling that I was experiencing is not one I can really describe, especially because it is different for every woman. I felt like it was an out of body experience. If one chooses to do this, be naive like me....I didn't think about the pain I might experience. And once I was there, I just let it happen.
So, I'm pretty sure my baby's head had begun cresting and they had a moment to show David that L&D may be coming to an end soon...and a nurse came in and told my doctor that there was another emergency situation she needed to attend to. At first she said that she couldn't come, but the nurse said something in code to her that said "no, you must come". WHAT?!?! I looked at my nurse and said "We don't have to wait for her do we???" and she said "No, let's keep going!" SO we did. Dr. Hoover wasn't gone long thankfully. When she returned I said, "how many more pushes is this going to take???" Dr. H. "ummmmm, 10 times?!"
NO WAY! Up until this moment, I had been treating L&D like my bootcamp program. I wanted to be the best, the first, and almost always doing even more than the other women alongside me. But 10 more pushes? NO WAY, this baby was going to come out sooner. The pushing was exhausting...especially since I had worn myself out with the squats I began doing at 3AM. It was only 1 or 2 pushes later that I finally felt my baby come out and my doctor say "you have a little girl....I mean BOY!!"
I confirmed with David that we were agreeing on the name Sol Alevy.
Again, I can't explain how amazing I felt once he had arrived....it was worth it. I will always be so thankful to my sister-in-law Susan for planting the idea of natural delivery in head....and for my dear friend Caroline (college running partner) also having done it and giving me positive support up until then. I am most grateful to my husband, doctor, and nurse for being the best support system. I only hope I am as fortunate if/when we are blessed to have another child.
heading home from the hospital
Sol's arrival home
A follow-up on Azaria--I honestly believe that her seizure caused because of what I was going through. In my third trimester, there were many a night that I got up around 3 or 4AM and went into the living room to watch tv...and she always grunted at me to get out and not wake her. But on this night, she came in with me briefly....when she realized I was folding laundry and pacing (not relaxing as I had been previous evenings), she returned to the bedroom and I shut the door. I think she was trying to get to me because she was distressed...and that's when she had the seizure. We have taken her to the vet to run tests and her kidneys and liver are fine, thank gd. She hasn't had another since---and she's coping beautifully with her new baby brother!
Do you have a labor and delivery experience you want to share? Or any questions???