Thursday, October 18, 2018

Catherine's Birth Story - Part 2

In Part 1, I left off when I was having mild contractions and was eating lunch.  After I ate lunch I had to be on the monitors for 20 minutes.  While we killed time in those 20 minutes Daniel finally settled on a girl name for if the baby was a girl, and we only had a first name for a boy. Nothing like last minute decisions! Amy had me in stitches with lists of the weirdest baby names ever.  Amy watched the clock like a hawk and as soon as the 20 minutes of monitoring were up she went and found a nurse to unhook me so we could go walking again. If I have my times correct, it was right around 3pm when we started our next round of walking.  During this time the contractions picked up in both frequency and intensity, but I was still doing the stairs and squats.  I remember during one of my squats (during which I closed my eyes to focus through the pressure and contraction-like discomfort) some guy walked past and really questioned Amy as to if I was ok.  I'm sure I was quite a sight, massively pregnant, dressed in 2 gowns, hanging off a hand-rail in a hallway. Haha!! She cheerfully assured him I was just fine. (Thanks for absorbing the awkward for me, Amy!!)

Also during this time the lobby area seemed to be filling with people.  I named it The Tourist's Trap, mentally choosing to not notice that there seemed to be 50 people I was parading past every little bit.  I also had to stop at the one bathroom nearly every time we were at that end of our route. (Memorable, random note: the toilets are automatically flushing toilets. One of the toilets was "flushing" the ENTIRE time I was walking. I think their service men must have been hanging out with the security people who were supposed to unlock that supply closet in Part 1.)  Amy later told me that not only were there a lot of people waiting for laboring mothers to deliver (I will never understand this), but also a lot of couples there for a L&D tour.  I really was a spectacle! Haha! Tour exhibit 1: "Laboring Mother Walking Laps."

I really have no concept of time-line at this point, but before our allotted walking time was over the contractions were strong enough that I was starting to slow or stop walking each time I had one. We got to one set of stairs and Amy suggested I do stairs again. I said "I don't want to do any more stairs." I don't know if I did one last squat there or if I said I didn't want to do any more of those either.  We walked back to the other end of our route and I said I wanted to go back to my room.  (They were SUPPOSED to be getting my room ready while we walked, moving me out of the bathroom stall sized Triage room.) As we approached the lobby full of people, I had to stop for a contraction. I knew they were getting a lot closer and a lot more intense. I either thought or mentioned to Amy that my goal was to get through the lobby and through the door to L&D before the next contraction. That meant I had to move fast, but I didn't want to stop mid-crowd of people. I waddled as quickly as I could and made a bee-line for the door. I had a serious conversation with the door guard person in my head, saying, "I am going through THAT door and it had BETTER be open when I get there!" Sure enough, somehow either Amy or I communicated to the guard that we were going back into L&D because they swiped their badge and opened the door for me.  As soon as I was through the door the next contraction hit and I had to stop, but I'd made it through the crowd of observers!

We still had to go to the Triage room, but once there I mentally refused to get on the bed or sit down. So I stood. In my mind if I got in the bed (1) they would take longer to move me, and (2) Triage rooms have gourneys instead of beds; gourneys are KILLERS to the read-end and tailbone!!!  Plus they said they almost had a real room ready for me. During this time the room felt about 100° and I was roasting hot. Amy and Daniel took turns using the cafeteria tray from my lunch to fan me, which felt amazing. I was so hot that when they did come to take us to the real Labor and Delivery room (4pm), Amy took the tray along.

Either before or right after we got to the room I asked to sit on a birthing ball. I had not liked it very well with any previous labors, but for some reason I wanted to sit on one.  I sat beside the bed and labored while Daniel and Amy continued to fan me with the tray. Eventually I cooled off enough to ask them to stop.  Around this time I also really wished I had actually put a CD onto my phone that I wanted to listen to so I could have a focal point. Instead focused on the chorus to the one song (my favorite), singing in my head.  It was a peaceful and comforting distraction.  (You can listen to the song here.) I had a rhythm of a rocking/swaying going on, but would stop as each contraction started, then I would resume once it left.  Amy clued in to this, and began putting counter-pressure on my low back during contractions.  She showed Daniel how to do it and they took turns.  She also had a rice sock for me, but all I wanted to do was smell it. Haha! She puts essential oils in the rice and it had a very calming, peaceful effect for me. At one point, after every contraction I yawned a huge yawn. That was somewhat comical! Rock/sway, stop for contraction, yawn, rock/sway...

Interestingly enough, with Silas' labor I was SO tired and felt like having lights on in the room would have helped.  This time I had my eyes closed much of the time during active labor.  Each labor is different!

Eventually Amy commented that I was too comfortable and she wanted me to get up and move around after a few more contractions.  While the contractions were not so much "painful," they were getting increasingly uncomfortable and growing in intensity. I had a love/hate relationship with Amy at that point, saying in my head, "I am NOT too comfortable!!" I did NOT want to get up to do ANYthing. I was very much in a zone, handling each contraction well, and I didn't want that rhythm interrupted.

After several more contractions I decided to stall on Amy's suggestion and asked to go to the bathroom. (I guess I really didn't want to do whatever she maybe had planned!) I don't remember much of that at all except once I peed the contractions changed drastically. I don't remember how, but Amy and Daniel ended up in the bathroom with me while I was still on the commode. I was hanging onto Daniel's legs through the contractions that had grown in intensity about 3x what they had been before the bathroom trip. Not knowing that within  what would seem mere minutes I would be having the baby, I said I thought I wanted an epidural. I was thinking I was probably at best around 8cm, and had probably another hour to go yet. I didn't want to labor for another hour+ with that level of intensity. Amy and the nurse both suggested that I should get in the tub. I adamantly declined. Partly because it didn't appeal to me at all in the moment (probably I would have liked it earlier), but the side of the tub looked about 4 feet high and I didn't want to have to climb in it.

I made it back to the bed somehow, and no one made a move towards an epidural. I sat on the ball for another contraction or two before I leaned over and punched the call bell, asking for an epidural. I didn't know that both anesthesiologists were in emergency C-sections and wouldn't be available for a long time. Haha! They did send in someone from anesthesiology to put in an IV port, since 3 nurses hadn't been successful in their earlier attempts. Right before this, Amy had put a hair comb in each of my hands to grip; providing acupressure which both distracted and gave relief. The guy from anesthesiology thought it was a little quacky, I think. :P  Anyway, with a lot of pain on my part, he got an IV port into the back of my hand, which hurt more than the contractions at that point! Ow!!! Next time I will decline it until I know for sure I need it!

Then Amy said I needed to get onto the bed so the nurse could check me.  I was having tunnel vision at this point and I think I looked at the bed in some kind of stupor. It also looked about 4 feet high and I had no idea how I was going to get onto the bed. (Amy told me later that she could see what I was thinking, but the bed was already as low as it could go, which is actually pretty low. Haha!!!) Getting onto the bed and onto my back was THEE most painful and difficult part of the whole labor and delivery. I think I was the most vocal through that than I was at any other point the whole day as I talked to myself the whole time... but I don't remember if I said my thoughts out loud or just in my head.  Life was in slow motion and some details just vanished from my memory.

I was finally on my back. Amy gave me her fingers to grip because being on my back was agony plus getting checked IS torture. The nurse started to check me and and instead found the baby's head at plus 2 station! (Which is pretty much ready to crown!) Amy asked if I felt like I needed to push and it was as if my brain only needed to hear the words.  Immediately I nodded my head as I felt the baby being born.  I don't remember really making any effort as my body was just pushing the baby out all on it's own, but I DO remember the nurse nearly yelling into her intercom "I need a table in here NOW! I NEED HELP! THE BABY'S CROWNING!" Amy said "oh yeah, there's the head!!", and then the baby slid out the rest of the way as the nurse yelled "I NEED HELP, THE BABY'S OUT!! Somebody call time!" (She was born at 5:42pm.)

Right then the room was flooded with nurses and our midwife, they placed Catherine on my stomach, someone announced that she was a girl, and I, pretty much in shock at what just happened, looked at Amy and said, "WOW!!!" and laughed. All that happened pretty much simultaneously and couldn't have been more than a minute (or two, max) from the time the nurse realized the baby was crowning until Catherine literally slid out.

Everything was a flurry after that. I got a glimpse of Catherine's face at one point and I thought that she looked like our baby. Not that she would not look like our baby, but her face was familiar, looking similar to our other babies when they were born. She looked like OUR baby.

She weighed 7 lbs. 12 oz. and was 20" long.
This was my record-breaking labor, being the shortest at somewhere under 4 hours of active labor. Most definitely the fastest delivery.  😂

As the nurses were entering all the information, I overheard them talking about the timing of everything.  "It asks for time of last cervical check, time pushing began, and time of deliver. Um... I'm just putting down 5:42 for all three!!" 

Aside from the un-fun fundal massages, everything after Catherine's birth went great. I felt great, she was so soft and warm and snuggly, and on the OUTSIDE. Since they were so busy that day, it was nearly 2 hours before we were moved up to the mother-baby unit. Catherine went through the motions of her first feeding while we waited, and did a great job for her first time nursing. I kept waiting to have the post-delivery shakes like I had with Charity and Silas (with them it happened within an hour of birth) but it never happened. {I did experience them a few days after coming home.}

The most painful part (and really the only pain) of my recovery time in the hospital was my tailbone. It hurt SO badly the first day after she was born that the nurse had me take a Motrin, but that only took the edge off the pain. I'm not sure if it hurt so much from the time spent on the Triage bed or if somehow labor and/or the incredibly fast delivery may have contributed in some way. Thankfully by the 2nd day the pain was just a major discomfort, and through the first week subsided.

That wraps up the story of Catherine's birth as well as I remember right now.  She is a champion eater and sleeper, which has made our transition to having a new baby again be very easy in many ways.

Part 1 of Catherine's Birth Story

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Great Applesauce Making of 2018

This past Friday marked the end of our canning season for 2018.  Before and after Catherine was born I canned peaches, and honestly had forgotten about applesauce.  Somewhere in my mind I knew we were pretty much out of applesauce but I wasn't sure if I wanted to or could manage applesauce this year.  And then my friend sent me a text asking me if I wanted her to get apples for me while she was getting her own.  Of course without a moment of hesitation I automatically responded with "yes!"

Sylvia chopping apples.

When the 5 bushels of apples arrived on Friday reality set in: I needed to juggle homeschool, nursing Catherine, meals, laundry, and making and canning applesauceI decided I would just do it as best I could and not stress over anything that didn't get done.  On days when we didn't go anywhere, at all, the day looked sort-of like this: breakfast and feed Catherine, get the girls started on school, do kitchen clean up, maybe start laundry, get the pots and cutting boards set up in the kitchen, get out the apples, and just get started.  Of course this was all peppered with all the normal mom-things of meeting needs and helping little people, so it took a lot longer than it reads!  But I wasn't in this to do it sprint style, I was doing it eat-an-elephant style: one bite at a time.

The reality would be that it was almost always early afternoon that I actually began working on peeling and chopping the apples.  Silas loves fruit so he frequently stopped by for samples.  The girls really wanted to help as well, and I wanted them to help (so they could participate and learn by doing), so often one of the 3 older girls would stand on a stool and chop the prepared apples into chunks and dump them into the large cooking pot.  {Somehow I don't have any pictures of Charity helping me. :(  She helped me for a little while one of the first days.}

It would inevitably be near dinner-time by the time we had a batch of apples peeled, cored and chopped. The apples would cook through the evening and I would stir them every so often to keep them from burning and to get them to the "chunky applesauce" texture that we like.  If things went really well, I was ladleing the applesauce into jars and getting them into the canner about the same time the kids went to bed.  If I go the jars into the canner close to bed-time, I could go to bed myself at a decent (aka, before midnight) hour.

We repeated that general scenario for many days.  There were some days that applesauce just didn't happen at all.  One day it was all I could do to get the apples in the pot to cook, so I put them on low heat overnight and they were perfectly cooked and ready to can the next morning.  One day I thought I had more flat canning lids but I didn't.  I canned what I had lids for and ordered lids from Amazon. (I love Amazon in this season of life!)

Sylvia and I thought this apple didn't want to be turned into applesauce. :)
I had one day "off" while we waited on lids and that day was consumed by cooking and taking food to a fundraiser in which our family was participating.  That was a Saturday and the lids arrived Sunday.  Daniel helped me Sunday afternoon and we got a big pot of apples cooking in a shorter amount of time.  It was really nice to have his help and we got to spend that time together talking.

At one point, Susannah was beside me chopping apples and ALL the other kids wanted to be in the kitchen. It felt a wee bit crowded sometimes!!
Once I had plenty of lids, I was ready to have it finished.  I needed to have the canning done so I could get back to all the day-to-day things that were majorly sliding... like my own laundry, and cooking dinners.  We were eating "fast" food most days for dinner, which is handy, but gets old quickly.  I kept powering through working as quickly as I could and we used paper dishes to cut down on dirty dishes and to save kitchen clean-up time.

On Thursday I decided I was just going to go into power-mode and my #1 focus (aside from keeping the kids alive and fed) was going to be applesauce.  I peeled and chopped and chopped and peeled, cooked and stirred, and stirred and cooked.   I think I did a double batch that Thursday, and Sylvia helped me intermittently with chopping the apples.

On Friday the light was at the end of the tunnel and I thought that if I pushed really hard I could finish.  Susannah wanted to be my main helper, so she quickly finished her school for the day and joined me at the kitchen counter.  I would peel and core the apples and she would chop.  If she behind I would help her chop and then she would work at peeling an apple while I chopped for a bit.
Susannah taking a turn peeling apples.

At one point we had finished the bowl full of apples and I stopped to feed Catherine.  All on her own, Susannah got another load of apples and began peeling them.  I was completely exhausted and ended up dozing while Catherine nursed and burped.  When I mustered up my reserve to get back to the kitchen, Susannah had peeled a whole bunch of apples!  I was really grateful for her willingness to work ahead, and for all of her help that day!  It definitely made a difference in how quickly we finished.  When the last apple was chopped up and put into the cooking pot, I gave a big cheer.  Susannah thought I was a little really silly, but it was worth it!

She took her work seriously.
 I think I pulled the last jars from the canner sometime between dinner and bedtime, and as soon as the kids were in bed I crashed into my own bed. The next day it was an amazing feeling to know I didn't need to work on apples.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy making and canning applesauce and love homemade applesauce, it was just a LOT of work and meant that a LOT of other things were put on hold.  When all the jars were put onto the pantry shelves, I counted up that we had canned 63 quarts.  It's nice to have our very favorite applesauce stored up to enjoy this winter. :)

Farewell, Canning Season, we'll see you next year... probably.

These are the canning lids I purchased:

Regular mouth

Wide mouth  (I don't have as many wide-mouth jars as I have regular mouth, but wide-mouth is a lot easier to wash and get clean in the dishwasher!)

This is NOT the same pot that I have, but if you are looking to purchase a quality pot that you can use for both canning and cooking, I believe this one would be a good one.  It has a thicker bottom and is made from a higher-quality of Stainless Steel.  {Note that you would also need a canning rack to keep the jars from sitting directly on the bottom of the pot.  You can use a layer of extra canning rings in a pinch, but I find that over time the rings can leave rust stains on the pot.  I have linked to a canning rack below.}

I do not have this specific canning rack but my mom has one like this and it works very well. :)

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I was not paid to write this post.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

New Bibs for Catherine

Our first 3 babies (all girls) pretty much never drooled so the half dozen or so Minnie Mouse bibs we had were plenty, and got the most use when the girls started eating solid food.  Enter stains.  After 3 girls they were pretty beat-up looking.  Then we had Silas who started drooling torrents around 3 months old and didn't stop until he was over 18 months old.  We collected bibs left and right for him.  We probably have around 30 bibs for Silas; I'm not kidding.

Then Catherine was born and I knew I would need to replenish our girly bibs.  After using bibs for 8 years, I have figured out what I like and don't like in a bib.

  • Thin, single or double-layer terry cloth.  Drool (or drips from cups) soak right through and quickly saturate the bib and anything it is covering.  Basically they don't really work at all other than for appearance's sake.
  • Bibs that tie.  I'm not sure how many bibs are sold these days that tie, but ties are a pain when you are changing bibs every 20-30 minutes.
  • VELCRO.  Velcro is nice and sweet when the baby is not yet mobile and doesn't have the dexterity to pull the bib off.  Once the baby can grab and pull, unless you have brute-strength velcro, bibs get pulled off... once again defeating the purpose of wearing a bib in the first place.
  • Lint-saturated or simply worn out velcro.  I have tossed more than one bib that the velcro had either gotten so packed full of lint, or the "sticky side" had worn out, that the velcro just held together if you didn't move at all.  That doesn't work well at all.
  • Absorbent fabric!! 
  • Double layers of fabric!!
  • Light-weight, because once a bib starts soaking full of drool it gets heavy enough without being heavy, drool-soaked fabric.
  • SNAAAAAPPPPS Oh my, snaps are the best thing ever for bibs.  Especially if there are 2 sets so the neck-hole can be adjustable as the baby grows.

That said, Catherine started drooling a little, just enough that I decided to go ahead and order some bibs.  I went to my handy-dandy Amazon app during one of Catherine's feedings and scrolled through bibs.  I was looking for pretty and feminine, snaps, and a decent price.  I am one that doesn't simply hunt down the most inexpensive of a product just to save a few pennies or dollars.  Generally I go for a balance of quality and cost.  Sometimes that means paying more for an item, but I am happy to pay a little more and the product last longer/work better.

In my browsing, these bibs caught my eye.  I looked at a few more but ended up coming back to these and ordering them.  When they arrived Sylvia opened the package and asked if she could unpack them.  They are so pretty.  Sylvia unpacked them from their box, ooh-ing and ah-ing over each one as she laid them all out to view.  Each one was her new "favorite" though the one with pink cupcakes stayed at the top of her favorites.

Since we have gotten them, Catherine has put them to good use and they are working very well!  They haven't soaked through yet, but have gotten quite wet.  Maybe I am changing them before they soak through, or possibly the fleece backing (100% organic cotton for the front, and polyester fleece for the backing) helps keep it from soaking through.  Either way, I am really happy with them.  {Note: I did not purchase them because they are made with organic fabric, but I certainly don't mind that part. :) }

I would definitely buy these bibs again.  They fit all of my requirements, are affordable, and are pretty bibs for a pretty little girl. :)  If you would like to look at them or purchase them, you can find them here:

**As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.**
I was not paid to write this post.  This is simply a product that I purchased and enjoy so much that I wanted to share it with you, my readers.  All opinions in this post are mine.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Catherine's Birth Story - Part 1

Our family welcomed our 5th baby, Catherine Joy, on July 16th.  Here is her birth story:

Monday, July 16th was my due date based on the early ultrasound I'd had sometime around my 11th week of pregnancy.  The Friday prior to the 16th I had a routine prenatal appointment with my OB (whom I like very much).  For 3 of my previous deliveries, I had been induced within a few days before or after 41 weeks pregnant.  For the sake of my emotions, I had decided on a mental due date of July 23rd.  At my appointment I even set up an appointment on Thursday the 19th for the required "past due-date" non-stress test because, well, I was just planning that I would not have the baby until sometime around 41 weeks.  We weren't doing a lot of school and I had a few projects I wanted to wrap up, plus a few special things I wanted to do with the girls and Silas to kill time while we waited for the baby.  I planned to gather up most of the stuff I wanted to take to the hospital, get out the coming home outfits (one for a boy, one for a girl, because we don't find out the gender ahead of time), raise the crib mattress and put sheets on it, and so on.  I also wanted to make soft pretzals, some cookies, a few breakfast things to freeze, and maaaybe even doughnuts.  Just things to keep me from dwelling on being "past" my due date.

At my doctor's appointment on Friday, Dr. P checked me and I was 3cm, almost 4cm.  She was dead serious when she said "I don't think you'll make it through next week," to which I laughed.  She asked what I thought, I said I was sure I wouldn't have the baby until my 41st week.  We talked through a spontaneous induction scenario that I liked, because I don't like scheduled inductions, and I came home.  I did a lot of office work getting things wrapped up before I would be "off" for a few-several weeks.  I made sure bills were paid, deposits put in the bank, and basically just tried to get as much done as I could.  Daniel brought home dinner, and we had a nice at-home date before we went to pick up the girls and Silas from his parents' (they keep the bigger kids most Fridays while I do office work for Daniel's business).

On Saturday I felt a little uncomfortable and had some other indicators that made me tell Daniel "this is probably just from her checking me yesterday, but sometimes people have their babies within 24 hours of this."  A friend from church sent me a text and asked me if I could sub for her in her Sunday School class as she needed to be home with a sick child.  I said I would, IF I wasn't in the hospital.  I wasn't, so I subbed for her.  After church several people commented that "tomorrow (16th) was THE day!" I laughed and said I was sure it wouldn't be Monday at all.

I slept REALLY good Sunday night.  I got up with Daniel, showered, and dressed and was downstairs earlier than I had been in a long time.  The girls and Silas weren't even awake yet.  I was going to enjoy the quiet house and a cup of coffee as I made my breakfast and prepared theirs.  I sat down to put on my shoes.  I tied my right shoe and leaned over to tie my left shoe when I felt an unusual sensation of wet.  I quickly tied my shoe, wondering "did my water just break??" and stood up to keep the rocking chair from getting wet... IF, in fact, my water had broken.  Upon standing, I pulled my skirt up and observed rivers of liquidy stuff running down my legs.  I knew that it wasn't my bladder leaking.  {Side note: My water has NEVER spontaneously broken before, so this was a WHOLE new experience.  Shockingly surprising to say the least!!}  I grabbed my phone and dialed Daniel as I walked to the kitchen.  I grabbed 2 kitchen towels and stuffed them between my legs, and waddled back to the school room to wipe up the drips on the floor.  Daniel didn't answer, so I walked outside to talk to him. He was on the phone, talking to a customer and loading equipment into his van in preparation for his work day.  (He has his own HVAC business.)  He had just hung up so I yelled at him from the kitchen porch, "You're not going to work today!!" We both looked at each other in surprise as I told him my water had just broken.  He had to make several phone calls to get things in place for NOT working that day after-all, and I began calling my mother-in-law.  I called and called and called, and she wasn't answering her phone.  I was beginning to get a little panicked and called a friend from church with whom I had *just* discussed, the day before, this very scenario happening.  She assured me that we could take the kids to their house if we needed to.  Then I called my father-in-law, who had just stepped out of a meeting.  He said my MIL was home, but would be leaving at 9:30 for an appointment.  I called her over and over again a few more times and she still didn't answer.  Since I knew she was home, I went into highest of speeds to get the kids awake and into the van so we could get them to her house before she left.  I had Susannah and Sylvia put a change of clothes into their bag, picked out a set of clothes for Charity and Silas, and was giving out instructions left and right as fast as they completed each task.  They were crazy excited but also working quickly, knowing the sense of urgency and the need to beat the clock that was creeping closer and closer to 9:30.  If you have ever watched the original "Yours, Mine & Ours" movie (Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball), the scene where he is running down the hall banging on the bedroom doors shouting, "Red Alert! Red Alert!" came to mind.  I felt like I was doing my own version of "Red Alert!" and laughed about it several times.

The girls and Silas were about ready to go and I had the girls carrying things out to the van.  I was trying to make breakfast for Daniel and myself when my phone rang.  I answered it and it sounded like a hen squawking on the other end.  It was my MIL.  To the best that Daniel and I have deduced, my FIL called their neighbor and asked her to go tell my MIL to answer her phone. Haha! My MIL was totally beside herself in excitement.  We discussed how/when/where to trade off the kids and she decided to come pick them up and we would swap vehicles.  That took the time-stress off of me, and Daniel came in soon after and was able to help get Silas ready to go.  I called our doula to let her know what was going on; she planned to meet us at the hospital about 30 minutes after we would get there.  I wasn't having any contractions though things did feel differently.  I went upstairs and began throwing things into a bag for myself.  I have learned over the last 4 times what I like and want to take to the hospital.  The one thing I hadn't gotten out was comfy pants to wear and wear home.  I had to dig around in my closet and my bin of maternity clothes to try and find them.  I was feeling anxious and wanted to get to the hospital before I had the baby at home or in the car, haha!!  I also wanted the kids gone so I could have a 1-track brain with which to focus.

My MIL arrived and much to my amusement took nearly very clean towel from our linen closet and not only layered a bunch on the front passenger seat of her car, but she had also basically made a bed of towels in the back seat. Hahaha!!  She came upstairs to chat (I wasn't really in the mood but put on my cordial face) and gave her version of instructions for what to do if I had the baby en-route to the hospital (I wasn't overly amused; I had delivered 4 babies just fine so far and was certain that if I were to have the baby outside of the hospital between Daniel and I we wouldn't be wondering what to do with the baby. :P )  After a quick hug she left and took the kids with her.  Ahh, the house was finally quiet and I could think.  I finished loading my bag and came downstairs, deciding I wanted to enjoy a cup of coffee on the way to the hospital, PLUS I wanted to mental clarity and energy it would provide.  (My labor and delivery with Silas was done in a complete brain fog of exhaustion; I didn't want a repeat if I could help it.)  I had eaten an egg and cheese sandwich, and also began drinking water to be sure I was well-hydrated.

Daniel and I had a nice ride to the hospital, visiting and just enjoying being together.  At one point I was replaying the "Red Alert" clip from Yours, Mine & Ours on You-Tube and was laughing a lot.  I think I was on some kind of "new adventure" high... our baby coming ON it's due date, my water breaking on it's own, knowing we were going to have a baby within hours... it kinda puts you on a high!!

Daniel dropped me off at the hospital entrance and I stood there and waited probably at least 5 minutes for them to let me into the Labor and Delivery unit.  I debated walking while I waited but baby felt much lower than before and I didn't want to start anything without anyone there. Haha!!  They put me in a Triage room and I donned 2 gowns (one forward and one backward) and the nurse began the 101 questions.  The big question of the day from the nurse and the midwife was "You think your water broke? Was it a huge gush?"  To my response of "yes, I know it broke but it wasn't a huge gush.  I did soak 2 kitchen towels while I got ready to come, though," they ALWAYS said "well... that's a good story."  I don't know why they doubted that I knew what I was talking about.  They hooked me up to monitors but the midwife wanted to do the test to make sure my water had actually broken before they did anything else.  And the waiting frustration began.  In my mind I was going to arrive at the hospital, answer the questions, and go walking with our doula, and have the baby by early afternoon at the latest, best case scenario and not outside of what would be normal for me.  Lo and behold, the test strips for checking for amniotic fluid were locked up in some closet that only a security person could unlock and security never arrived to unlock the closet.  The L&D was completely full and our nurse and midwife were obviously busy as well.  I was thirsty and finally Amy went and got me a drink in a styrofoam cup.  Finally about 12:30 (after waiting for 1 1/2 hours in the bed, with my tailbone and backside beginning to really ache because those beds are horrible) the midwife decided to check me without first doing the amniotic test.  Lo and behold she discovered that I was right; my water HAD broken (hello, duh!!), and I was still between 3-4 cm, but 60% effaced.  That 60% news was exciting to me, it meant progress was happening even though I wasn't having contractions.

As soon as the midwife was finished, Amy took me walking.  We walked the L&D halls a few times but could not find any stairs.  With permission we went and walked and walked and walked the hospital, making our way between two sections and doing the stairs at each end.  She also had me do a deep squat after each set of stairs. (By deep, I mean hanging on the hand-rail, knees to my chest and backside nearly on the floor.)  The squats were definitely uncomfortable but not painful, and seemed to be very beneficial in making progress.  After our first walking session, we had to go back for another round of monitoring.  By that time I was roasting hot from the hot stair-wells and the roasting hot hallways of the hospital, and I was starving hungry.  Without asking permission from the nurse or midwife, Daniel left to go get some lunch for me and him from the cafeteria.  When the nurse came in and asked how I was doing, I said "hot and hungry!" and asked for a real cup of water.  When she heard that I was going to eat, she said "I didn't hear anything about that," meaning she was going to ignore the fact that I was eating before having a baby. (Eating during labor is very new in this hospital.)  Daniel brought back 2 trays of food and let me choose which one I wanted to eat.  The options were a meal of seasoned fish, rice and some vegetables, and a BBQ sandwich and I forget what else.  Since throwing up is a possibility, I decided I would rather throw up fish than BBQ and ate the fish.  It was completely tasteless to me except for the tarter sauce I put on top of it.  Then I dug into the wild rice, hoping for some flavor, and it tasted like I was chewing rye seed from the grain drill back home. Hahahaha!!! We all had a good laugh about that.  Daniel exclaimed how good his BBQ sandwich tasted, and knowing I love really good BBQ, offered me a bite.  I took one and the flavor of electrical smoke filled my mouth.  It tasted absolutely nasty to me.  We decided that being in labor had changed my tastebuds temporarily.  At this point I was having some mild contractions but they were irregular and not strong enough for me to really pinpoint a start or stop time.

I am going to post this as "Part 1" to keep it from turning into a longer-than-long post, and you can read Part 2 once I get it written.  Plus I have some little people that need some adult encouragement to stay focused on their work. :)