For several weeks leading up to Sylvia Hope's birthday, I was continually dialating 1 cm. each week and staying at 50% effaced. My Dr. - and myself - really didn't think I was going to make it to my due date. I was occasionally having a Braxton Hicks contraction, but nothing very noticeable. Only a time or two did I have contractions that I thought could be the real thing. At my 39 week appointment I was at 5 cm. and she really didn't think I would make it another week. So much so that for my 40 1/2 week appointment, Daniel took off work and we went prepared to stay if I had progressed another centimeter or more. Nothing had changed, so we came back home. With a detour to a park so I could swing for a while :) I bought and ate a second pineapple. And there was nothing to indicate labor was thinking about happening.
Sunday marked 41 weeks of pregnancy (you can read about it here). Hesitant to go much beyond than 41 weeks, several weeks earlier Daniel and I had prayed about, thought about, talked about and decided to be induced the following Monday (which would be 41 weeks and 1 day). I don't know why, I just didn't feel at peace about waiting much longer.
Early on in the pregnancy when people would ask the baby's due date, I would tell them "Feb. 26th, but I won't be surprised if it's a March baby." I just didn't think it was going to be THAT much "March."
Sunday afternoon I finished up some laundry and packing the needed bags, Daniel emptied the garbage and helped with some general picking up and cleaning up. We met up with Daniel's parents so Susannah could spend Sunday night with them since we had to leave early Monday morning for the hospital. After dropping off Susannah, we went to church and afterward celebrated our 8th anniversary 2 days early by going to dinner at Chili's. It was a special, sweet time together since we hadn't been on a date for several months, and I savored every moment.
Bright and early Monday morning I dragged out of bed, showered and got myself ready to go. And it was snowing. :-) We were going to have a snow baby after-all, in MARCH, no-less! (We have some cuh-razy weather in these parts!) Daniel dropped me off at the hospital entrance and went to park the car. I didn't have to wait long before being taken back to my room, and Daniel was soon with me as well.
At first I wasn't too sure that I liked my nurse. Oh, I was sure she was competent and knew her stuff, but she seemed a little drill-sergeant-ish. One of my favorite things at that point in the game was that I didn't have to take off my rings or watch! I was getting ready to take them off and she said "oh, you can leave those on!" In all the "here's what to do" information they give you, it says to remove all of those things. I was very happy to be able to keep them on. She got me all hooked up to everything and we waited for the Dr. to arrive. I said that I would like to hold off on the pitocin for a bit, and see if just breaking my water would start anything. My Dr. and nurse were both fine with that which made me happy, too. :) So that's what we did. And nothing happened. Not a single blip on the screen.
Eventually the nurse started pitocin and labor started at 9:30am. I was still at 5cm. and 50% effaced. The contractions quickly got very intense with just a low dose of pitocin. By about 10:15am Daniel was wondering if he was going to have any fingers left by the time the baby was born (but he never said a word to me about it - I thought that was really sweet of him!), and I was going through each contraction with my face buried in a pillow. Getting an epidural was not far from joining my "birth plan", but I wanted to wait a bit longer to see how I could handle the contractions.
Oh, and once labor started, Drill-Sargeant-Nurse turned into Much-Nicer-Nurse. She offered that I could try a birthing ball and see if I liked that at all. I was on that through a handful of contractions and knew an epidural was the next step in the plans. The nurse checked to make sure I wasn't too far along for one, and I was only about 6cm. and 80%. It seemed to take forever for the anesthesiologist to get there (a nice Scottish guy who did my epidural for Susannah's birth), but I was soon getting more comfy and my legs were becoming "decorations" as Daniel calls it. :-) Going from the intensity of labor to resting/dozing so quickly, my blood pressure dropped and so did the contractions. A shot in the IV fixed all that and we were quickly back in business.
About 12:30pm I mentioned that I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable. My Dr. stopped by right then and checked, and I was ready to push. I was a little surprised that it was time already. Just a few hours had passed! The nurse got everything ready, an intern who was shadowing her arrived to take her place through the birth, and my Dr. returned from a super-fast lunch.
I started pushing right after 1:00pm, and after the first push I was really surprised when Daniel said he could see the head already. (I pushed for 30 minutes with Susannah, so I wasn't expecting a head-sighting so soon!) After the 2nd push my Dr. offered that I could feel the baby's head if I wanted to. 3 pushes later our little Sylvia Hope was born at 1:13pm.
My Dr. has a neat practice in that she does not say what the baby is. Instead (as long as there is nothing life-threatening) she holds the baby up for the parents to see for themselves. Through blurry vision I could see that I had just given birth to our 2nd daughter, and said something like "It's another GIRL!" As soon as Sylvia was born, I right away felt much better - seemingly than I had for several weeks prior (I'm sure adrenaline helped a little :)). I was pretty clear-headed and really enjoyed meeting our daughter while she was on my stomach waiting for Daniel to cut the cord and all that goes on in the first minutes following birth.
She was then moved to the warming tray to be cleaned off a little better, get weighed and all that fun stuff. Oh, and to exercise her lungs a little. :-) Daniel was by her side most of the time, and one thing I do not want to ever forget: The emotions that crossed his face as he looked at our daughter for the first minutes of her life. There was a mixture of enormous daddy-pride along with some blinking, wet eyes and hard swallows. I doubt he would admit all of that, but I saw it. I think I fell in love with him a little bit more right then.
Since I was feeling so good, when the nurse offered that I could have some skin-to-skin time with Sylvia, I was thrilled to accept.
A few minutes after being placed on my chest, Sylvia started rooting around looking to eat. I was excited to help her start eating right away and with little trouble, she was eating like a champ.
I started regaining feeling and use of the lower half of my body, and continued to feel really good overall. Shortly after being moved to my post-partum room, I was cleared to take a shower. I was pleasantly surprised with that, and that I even felt like taking a shower to boot!
I rested and slept great in the hospital, Sylvia continued to be a good eater (though sleepy and slow sometimes!), and we came home shortly after noon on Wednesday. We are all settling into our new lives as a family of four.
I praise God for our daughter, and at times am overwhelmed that He has blessed me again with the privilege and joy of mothering another child. My heart is filled with thankfulness for this.