Monday, June 25, 2012

Lucy's Speedy Arrival

Our lives changed forever for the better on June 18, 2012 when our baby girl Lucy Elizabeth decided it was time we meet face to face. She wasn't due for another two weeks, but we are so head over heals in love and thrilled we got to meet her sooner than later. Here is the story of her arrival to the world:

I woke up for work on Monday around 6:00 a.m., like any other day. However, I noticed some amniotic fluid leaking while getting ready for work and decided to call our midwife just before leaving for work at 7:00. I wasn't noticing any contractions but she wanted to see me that day, so I called my boss and told him what was going on. As it turned out, we had a bunch of messages at work from patients needing to cancel their appointment, so a few arrangements to the schedule later and a temporary hygiensit didn't even need to come in for the day. I saw two patients that morning and was at work until about 10:30. During that time, I started noticing some mild contractions (like menstrual cramps) and began to notice they were averaging 8 minutes apart.

I arrived back home around 11:00 and although I was in denial that labor was soon approaching, I cleaned up the house before getting into bed to rest. I was not able to sleep. A little before 2:00, about the time we were planning on leaving for the birth center, I called my midwife to let her know I was definitely having contractions and still leaking fluid. My contractions were still about 8 minutes apart, give or take, but they were definitely getting stronger. She said to stay put and continue monitoring the contractions and to give her a call and head to her when the contractions were 4 minutes apart for 1 hour.

After that phone call, I changed my clothes, brushed my teeth, washed off my makeup and prepared for what was to come. Things also moved very quickly after that phone call. Matt came into the bedroom with me and took over timing the contractions, because I was no longer able to focus on anything other than getting through them. Between contractions, Matt changed his clothes, brushed his teeth, took Goose for a quick potty walk, and started gathering up things for the car ride. He put a towel down in the passenger seat for me to sit on (lots of leakage, including blood at this point), and I also requested a large ziplock bag in case I needed to throw up on the car ride (I started to feel like I might, but it was not needed).

My contractions quickly reached a point where they were 4 minutes apart, but we were waiting until they remained that way for 1 hour before heading out. However, they quickly progressed to every 2.5 minutes without warning (and definitely not an hour later). I instantaneously told Matt we had to leave right now! But it took a while for me to get down to the car because the contractions were so intense and so close together. Matt grabbed a pillow for me to take in the car, my iPod, and the aromatherapy, and by 4:20 p.m. we were off to have a baby!

That car ride was the worst car ride of my life! Every bump in the road was excruciating, traffic was moving slowly and Matt was tempted to drive on the shoulder of Hwy 167. I opened up the peppermint aromatherapy and immediately hated it so I put it back in the ziplock and threw it into the back seat. The lemon aromatherapy was better, but I couldn't focus enough to open it up more than the first time; so that's all that it was used. Next, I tried the iPod. I quickly skipped ahead to 'None but Jesus' and 'Hosanna' by Brooke Fraser and then had enough. The feel and sound of the cool breeze blowing in through the cracked windows was better in that moment than the music. I am so grateful Matt thought to grab a pillow, because that was the one thing that made that car ride so much more tolerable. I squished it up between my head and the window so I could lean over to the side. I squeezed it, bit it, and screamed into it. SO thankful for that pillow! Matt lightly rubbing my back and neck was also helpful. It was difficult for him to apply counter-pressure while driving a car and that was the point of labor when I could have used that the most.

We arrived at Nancy's about 4:40, only 20 minutes after leaving our house. Let me emphasize that we have NEVER made it there that quickly before. Even with no traffic and speeding when running late to an appointment, it always takes more like 30 minutes. We keep playing it over in our heads and are claiming it as a miracle that we arrived so quickly with how much traffic there was and how slowly it was moving. By this point, my contractions were right on top of each other with only about 10-20 seconds of rest between. As Matt opened my car door for me another contraction started, so we had to get through that before heading inside the birth center. By the time I got inside I felt another contraction starting and my instinct was to sit on the toilet. Mostly because of the fluid and blood that was leaking at this point I didn't know where else to go.

As Nancy finished getting things set up (I don't think she expected us to arrive so quickly nor be so far along with the contractions) I remained on the toilet through one more contraction. Looking back, I think the toilet was where I ended up because of the urge to push. I guess I just didn't think I should be ready to push at this point and I must be having back labor. I didn't know how much more I would be able to take at this point. When I was able, she helped me over to the bed so she could check to see how far I was dilated. I was both completely shocked and relieved to hear her say, "Well, sweetie, you're there! Are you ready to push out your baby?" I really didn't believe her, but YES! I was ready to push!

I was lying on the bed and Matt was kneeling on the other side of the bed so his head was near mine and facing the same direction. I held his hands next to my neck and used them as leverage while pushing. With the next contraction, my feet went up onto Nancy's shoulders as she leaned into me and I began to internalize my noise the best I could and push from deep within. The first 10-second push brought me to the point where the previous push left off, a quick breath and another 10-second push to make progress, and a third quick breath and push if I had it in me. Matt gave me sips of water in between contractions; I have never had such dry mouth in my life!

With the first push, Nancy said she could already see the head. I kept asking how much longer she thought this would take, "Not long honey, not long. You're going to meet your baby soon." Nancy kept assuring me. A few pushes later and the head was halfway out. At this point, Nancy asked if I wanted a mirror to see the head and I was all for it. Seeing the top of Lucy's head gave me another burst of energy and motivation to push her out. About 6 contractions and rounds of pushing, and 30 minutes after arriving to the birth center, Lucy was ours to hold! She was screaming like crazy with those healthy lungs and we were in utter shock with what just happened.

I was able to just lay there and hold Lucy while Nancy wrapped us in towels fresh from the dryer. Matt and I just kept looking at each other and at Lucy; for me it was like an out-of-body experience and I couldn't believe I was holding the baby girl that had been living in me, through me, for the past 38 weeks.

Matt cut the cord and I kept holding Lucy as it was the placenta's turn for arrival :) After Lucy was weighed and measured, Matt got to hold her while Nancy got me cleaned up. I was pleased to hear no stitches were needed! It sure felt like I was going to need a lot of them!

We hung out for a while on the bed as Lucy nursed and we called and sent pictures to family. We never even had a chance to updated family after about 2:00. So when I got a text from my sister Natalie asking how things were going, she was shocked to receive a picture of Lucy! We also didn't have a chance to use anything I packed in our bag. I was prepared with snacks, and swim shorts for Matt to get in the water with me, but there was no time for laboring in water :)

We were then ready to head home, so Nancy helped us get packed up, checked my bleeding one more time to make sure everything looked good, and we were heading to the comfort of our own home. We were back home by 7:30, just about 3 hours after we left. Matt was able to take Goose out for a quick walk again and pick us up some dinner from Taco Time, and we had the evening to ourselves to try and comprehend the events of the day.

We feel so incredibly blessed beyond belief with Lucy's birth experience, and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. The whole experience was definitely an answer to our prayers! Although adjusting to our new sleep schedule this past week has been difficult, it's also to be expected. Lucy has been sleeping for 2-3 hours on average and is, overall, going very easy on us. Thank you to everyone who has sent gifts, flowers, cards, food, and sweet messages during this exciting time.

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