Whew!! We are finally home, though I could have stayed another night in the hospital. But let me tell you — those beds are just not very comfortable at all. Last night I was sleeping on my left side to give my back a rest, and when I awoke during one of the nurse’s many visits, my hips and my knee were killing me. It was just not a good thing.
I will be so glad to sleep in my own comfy bed tonight, though I will miss the nurses taking care of the baby for me during a good portion of the night.
Another reason I left early, and this may seem a bit goofy to you, but both of my nurses were off tomorrow. I had been taken care of by a wonderful woman named Eileen during the day and a lovely girl named Bethany during the night. Both of them worked Monday and Tuesday, but Bethany wasn’t working tonight, and Eileen had tomorrow off. I didn’t really want to break in two new nurses just before I left. You get really attached to your nurses when they see you totally undressed and in intimate positions and in loads of pain. Any time a new nurse would come in to check on me when either Eileen or Bethany were busy, I almost felt like they were intruding.
Besides, I am healing well, though I probably overdid it when I got home today. I plan on being lazy, so don’t chastise me too much.
So here’s Mary Ellen’s birth story:
On Sunday, I had my baby shower. I arrived home somewhere around 4pm, and we decided to get Pizza Hut for dinner since we had a credit from the last time we tried to order from them and they screwed up our order. Funnily enough, they screwed up our order yet again on Sunday night, so that will be the last time we order from Pizza Hut. Besides, they only have the same pizzas they’ve had for years and years and years.
After we ate dinner, we watched a bit of tv and Kurt put Grace to bed. At 9pm, I headed over to my friend’s house for our weekly viewing of “Army Wives.” We had a good time eating and chatting and watching the show, and everyone but me left as soon as the show was over. I stayed behind for a little while and chatted with the hostess. I didn’t get home till 12:30am.
I was so excited about my night that I stayed up till 1am talking to Kurt about it. Poor guy had to be at work at 6:30am because it was the start of inspection week for the students. It’s basically the final exam — another Navy agency comes in and watches while Kurt sets up various drills for teams of students on the training consoles. It takes a long time because each team is made up of only two students, and it takes four hours to test each team. There was no way Kurt would get any kind of a lunch break long enough to come home, which was a fairly depressing thing to have to contemplate. This meant that the care of Grace would rest entirely on me all week long — while I was 37 weeks pregnant.
We finally went to sleep sometime after 1am. I woke up at 5:45am because I was having some acid reflux, which I blamed on the pizza. As I laid awake, valiantly trying to get back to sleep again, I heard the dog go into the bathroom — and moments later, he started to urinate on the towel we keep on the floor for that very purpose.
I got up to take care of the towel since I wanted to get my Tums from the living room anyhow. I cleaned up the bathroom a bit, and laid back down again. But I couldn’t sleep. The reflux was getting pretty annoying. Besides, Kurt had to get up, and I heard him getting ready for the day.
All of a sudden I hear the bathtub running in Grace’s bathroom, and I heard the dog yelp a few moments later. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Kurt later explained to me that Koolit had had an accident, and he needed to have his bottom washed off. Poor Kurt, trying to clean poo off the dog’s bottom while he’s in his uniform and already late for work.
Kurt told me later that he said to his co-workers once he got to work that his day could only go up from there!
After being awake for so long so early in the morning, I slept in Monday morning. Finally the cats tearing at the carpet under my bedroom door annoyed me so much that I figured it was time to get up. This was at 9:30am. I got all of two steps from my bed when my water broke. I looked down at my feet and said, “Are you kidding me?” I knew this was the week I couldn’t go into labor because of Kurt’s work schedule, and besides, I was only at 37 weeks. I went to 42 weeks with Grace — I was supposed to be pregnant for at least three more weeks, if not five!
And I had nothing ready! I didn’t even have a bag packed!
I called Kurt, first and foremost, and managed to get straight through, even though he doesn’t normally have reception back in the training area. He asked me, “Are you messing with me?” Yeah, like I would joke about that!
He was so excited that he raced from the trainers all the way back to his office to grab his stuff. By the time he got back to the office, his uniform shirt was totally untucked. He started calling people while he was driving on base (a big no-no here), and the first thing my mom said was, “NOW?!?” She had to race home, pack a bag, and start the eight-hour trip from DC.
Kurt and I raced around like chickens with our heads cut off, though I did stop to take a shower. I called the woman who had hosted “Army Wives” the night before to see if she would take Grace until my mom arrived later in the evening. She stopped by to retrieve her, and we were out the door a few minutes later.
I arrived at the hospital at 11am and went straight to labor and delivery. There wasn’t a room ready for me yet, so I stayed in the little triage area for about twenty minutes. But then my nurse Eileen came back and told me she had managed to score the nicest room on the floor for me! So off I waddled to room 7, where I was hooked up to an IV for water, one monitor for the baby’s heartbeat, and another monitor for contractions.
I spent all day in that bed with nothing happening. I wasn’t contracting at all, and when the doctor examined me, he told me that the baby was still very high up in the womb. He felt that I only had a 50/50 chance of delivering the baby vaginally because my water broke well before the baby had engaged into the birth canal.
I couldn’t go walking around the ward to jumpstart my labor because my water had already broken. There was the concern that the baby’s cord could fall into the birth canal, and when the baby’s head entered the canal, it would cut off supply to the cord and possibly kill the baby. So I had to stay in bed to keep the cord inside my womb, where it belonged.
Finally at 9pm, the doctor on call (my doctor was off on Monday) decided to kickstart my labor with some pitocin. It’s a drug that gets contractions going, and I’d had it with Grace. Finally I was feeling contractions, and I finally felt like I was getting somewhere in this whole laboring business.
Around midnight I felt the pain was getting to be a bit much. It was still manageable, but I wanted to decide about my pain meds before I was delirious with pain. I opted for Nubain, which was a drug they injected right into my IV. It made me a bit loopy, and it took the pain away, though I still felt the contractions.
It didn’t last long. Soon I was crying in pain with every contraction. At one point, Kurt was asleep and my nurse had gone to call the anesthesiologist, which left me totally alone to battle my contractions. But I muddled through somehow, and eventually the anesthesiologist showed up. Even though he was on call, he had chosen to go home for the evening, and he took forever to get back to the hospital. Once he arrived around 3am, he gave me my epidural, and the pain was gone. I could still feel the tightening of the contractions, however.
Finally around 5:15am, I summoned the nurse and told her that I was feeling a lot of pressure. She called the doctor, and after examining me, he told me it was time to have a baby!!
At 5:37am, after pushing for fifteen minutes through four or five contractions, I gave birth to the baby! As she was born, I looked down at her and shouted, “IT’S A GIRL!” I was so thrilled, though I would have been equally thrilled if she had been born a boy.
She cried so well, I almost started crying too. We’d had such issues with Grace, none of which were present during Mary Ellen’s birth. I even got to hold Mary Ellen as soon as she was born! I hadn’t been able to hold Grace till she was at least twenty minutes old, and then it was only for a few seconds.
It was such a change, and this time it was everything I wanted to happen at my child’s birth. I was beyond thrilled with how well everything went.
HERE is Grace’s birth story, if you would like to compare. It’s a lot sparser than this rendition, but then it was written two weeks after Grace was born. I had forgotten a lot of the details by then, and I was suffering from a fair amount of post-partum depression. This time I’m feeling really good, and I’m glad to be home.
Thank you so much for all of your wonderful comments the last few days!! You all have been so supportive, and I really appreciate it.