I had been having irregular contractions for a few days and on Sunday afternoon though they were still irregular they were coming more often. They weren’t painful, just uncomfortable. Then around midnight they started coming more regularly, around 10-15 minutes apart, and were feeling painful. An hour later, 1 AM, they started coming every 5-7 minutes though the pain was about the same. I kept track of them for the next two hours as they were coming about every five minutes. At around 3:30-4 AM they started getting pretty painful where there was radiating burning pain in my back, lower abdomen, hips, and especially upper thighs. My upper thighs hurt the very worst, like I had been exercising these muscles and now they were burning. At this point I told Joel I thought we should go in even though I knew it would be too early, I was also scared that maybe I was the one in a million person who stayed home too long and had their baby in the car. So I texted my friend Claire, who I had asked earlier to watch Oskar when I go to the hospital, and asked her to come sleep at our place so we could go to the hospital. About a half an hour later we were on our way to the hospital.
Once at the hospital, around 4:30 AM, they wanted to check my cervix to see how dilated I was. The first lady checked me and found the baby’s head was very low but she couldn’t reach the cervix. So she called another lady who jammed her fingers so far up me I thought something was going to rip open. She finally found the cervix and let me know I was only two centimeters dilated. I thought they might send me home but they said because I had pre-eclampsia last time they needed to keep me there to monitor my blood pressure plus the fact that the baby’s head was so low, she was getting ready to come out.
They transferred me to the hospital room where I paced around for a few hours trying to keep the contractions coming. I had read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth before going into labor and in the book it talks a lot about visualizing your body opening and encouraging the baby to come down so while walking around the hospital room I tried to put this into practice. After a few hours I rested on the bed and ended up falling asleep between contractions. That is when the contractions started to slow down.
By about 10:30 the contractions had slowed to only six an hour and the labor wasn’t progressing as fast as the doctor and nurses wanted it to so they said they wanted to start me on pitocin. I had been very against this because I was scared the Pitocin would slow down labor and the one thing I really really didn’t want to have happen was a stalled labor and consequent C-section. But if my labor was slowing down anyway I felt like we had to try everything. The one thing I wanted before they started the Pitocin was an epidural. I had decided before going into labor that I was totally fine having an epidural and when it came down to it I knew that I could handle labor naturally if I had to, but I really didn’t want to. So I asked for an epidural before the Pitocin so when the contractions started I wouldn’t feel them.
At 10:30 they gave me the epidural, which I was scared out of my mind to get. They made Joel leave the room while they did it so I was just on the bed shaking and trying not to cry. One thing I realized about myself through this whole process is I’m very scared of things. The anticipation of something is so much worse for me than the actual thing.
After they gave me the epidural they waited an hour or two before starting the Pitocin because Joel had ran home to give Oskar his medicine and he didn’t want them to do anything without him there. So an hour or two later he still wasn’t back and they started me on the Pitocin anyway.
After the Pitocin started I was watching the screen monitoring my contractions very closely. I could see on the screen that I still wasn’t having many contractions and I got very scared that I was going to have to have a C-section. I was crying a lot and I’m sure the nurse thought I was a crazy person. Around 1:30 my doctor came in to check me again. I was dilated to a 9. It turns out I had no idea how to read the screen for contractions and though I thought I wasn't having any, I was. So he broke my water and told me to get ready to push soon.
Around 2:00 I was fully dilated and started pushing. I had Joel on one side and the nurse on the other holding my legs and encouraging me. Total pushing time was about two hours. During this time the nurse noticed during the contraction and pushing the baby’s heart rate was dropping a little bit. After two hours of pushing the doctor came into the room along with his nurse, the respiratory therapist, a nurse for the baby, and it seems like a few more people. The doctor said we needed to get her out because her dropping heart rate and asked if I would rather have an episiotomy or a C-section. I, of course, chose the episiotomy. He said they were also going to have to use the vacuum to get her out. So on the next few contractions he cut me open and I pushed harder than I ever had before. He managed to get his hand in there and pull her out without using the vacuum, thank goodness.
At 3:58 PM she was born. They cleaned her up, cut the cord, and sucked out all the yuck in her lungs. She was 6 lbs. 7 oz. and 20 in. long. It was such a relief to get her out and for it all to be over. I got to hold her and nurse her almost immediately. Everybody commented on her red hair though Joel and I both thought her hair wasn’t red at all. After the doctor sewed me up they put me in a wheelchair and took me to my recovery room.
The next 24 hours was difficult. Ivy, like most babies I’m sure, had a difficult time latching when I tried to breastfeed her. I couldn’t pee for a long time so they had to use a catheter to empty my bladder. My nether regions were sore. At one point the following morning my vision went very blurry and different parts of my body went numb. I thought I was going to die, I was very scared. I’m not sure why it happened, maybe because I hadn’t really slept, ate, or drank in two days but after I took an hour long nap it went away. It has come back a few times since I’ve been home but laying down usually makes it go away.The day after Ivy Ruth Ackerman was born we were able to take her home. It was so nice being at home in our own bed. Ivy has done very well, she’s a great eater and a great sleeper. It’s hard waking up every two hours through the night but since it’s only for a few weeks it’s manageable. We don’t feel like she really looks like anyone at this point though my Mom said she looks like one of her babies. Oskar is mostly uninterested in her though he has asked to hold her and feed her from his boob a few times. She is so cute and so sweet and we love her so much already.
Here are a few of the pictures taken in the last two weeks: