The short version:
July 30, 2004 at 12:28pm
8 lb 4 oz
21 inches long
33 cm head
The long version:
It started Wednesday night, July 28th. I started feeling contractions about 11pm that night, just as I was going to bed. I was able to lay down and rest/doze for a couple of hours. About 1:30 or 2am, I got up because I couldn't quite sleep through the contractions any more. I ate a bowl of cereal. The contractions weren't SO intense, but uncomfortable enough to keep me awake. I went downstairs with paper, pen, and watch in hand. I started timing the contractions. From the beginning they were very regular and consistent. Every 5-10 minutes. I thought that was weird. But I knew they needed to grow in intensity and frequency before I called the doctor. I had my pen and paper in the kitchen. I would lay down on the couch in the den in between contractions. When I would feel one, I'd get up, walk to the kitchen and write down the start time and then by the time I moseyed back to the den, it'd be over. They only lasted about 30 seconds at this point. By early, early morning I was very tired because I hadn't slept, but little did I know I had only BEGUN to feel tired! Dad woke up around 5am like usual. When he came downstairs I filled him in on what was going on. I didn't wake him or mom up because there was no reason to yet. So I continued to pace around and lay down for the next few hours. At some point in the evening I did have reddish/brownish mucousy discharge. Maybe the mucous plug? I dunno. I remember thinking "Eewww."
I had my weekly OB appointment at 11am Thursday morning. I knew we'd get some more information then. Eventually I paused from my pacing to take a shower and get ready for my appointment. The shower felt good! Mom drove me to my appointment. We left about 45 minutes early for the doctor's office because we were so eager to see what they had to say! We anxiously awaited the doctor's report. The car ride was very uncomfortable because of the pressure in my pelvis at that point and the regular contractions. Dr. Henderson said I was still only 1 cm dilated, 80% effaced and -2 station. I was so disappointed! Such consistent contractions for so long and so little progress! They hooked me up to the fetal monitor/contraction monitor thing for about 30 minutes to get an idea of what kinds of contractions I was was having, how often and how baby Chloe was handling them. She was doing fine throughout. They wanted to see me back at 3pm for a recheck. So...disappointed, we left. Mom wanted to get me to eat something, but I wasn't really hungry. I don't recall if I had a bowl of cereal then or later in the day. But cereal was about the only thing I'd consider eating. After a few more hours of pacing, timing and trying to lay down and rest (unsuccessfully), we headed back to the doctor. Again, Henderson told me I hadn't really progressed. :-/ Both appointments, by the way, were very very painful when he checked my cervix. Ow...I tell ya what...ow! He said we needed to wait until I had "rounded the next corner" before we called the doctor. Translation: the contractions needed to step up in intensity pretty significantly before we thought about going to the hospital. Either that or my water needed to break. Something needed to change. Again, our spirits deflated, we left the doctor's office. I wanted to sleep so badly, but couldn't. This, of course, made me emotional. So mostly I just wanted to cry. Mom and I went to the mall after we left the office. We figured maybe walking around would help. I should've known better than to go the mall! I hate the mall on a normal day! Much less when I'm in pain and over tired! We weren't there too long. We walked very slowly around half the mall before I'd had enough. Perhaps if we had kept going things would've moved along quicker, but I was hurting and didn't want to be there any more. So...we went back home. I resumed my pacing/trying to rest/lying down routine. I didn't time the contractions so much at this point. I was waiting for them to pick up in intensity or something before I started keeping track again. Still hadn't really eaten anything. Food was definitely not a priority. I felt nauseous intermittently and was not interested in eating. I tried to keep drinking water, but that was about it. By 10pm, mom, dad and I were getting ready for bed. I was hoping (again) to be able to rest. I went up to my room and just sat on the edge of my bed and cried. I was so very tired, knew I wouldn't be able to sleep and had no end in sight because things weren't progressing enough to call the doctor yet. Dad and mom came into my room. Dad just stood beside me and hugged me. Mom rubbed my back and we all prayed. Mom prayed that God would allow me to rest. Dad carried in a rocking chair for mom to sit in at my bedside. Dad headed off to bed, mom took up station in her rocking chair, and I paced around my room during a contraction and rested on my bed in between. I couldn't tell if the contractions were getting stronger or if I was just more tired of them. Regardless, my attitude continued to decline as the contractions progressed.
From 11pm - 12 am, the contractions were longer than they had been. 45-0 seconds. They seemed more intense, although it might have been me wishing them that way. I also started to leak small amounts of fluid here and there. Not with every contraction, but sometimes. So we decided it was time to call the doctor. Henderson called me back pretty quickly and said come on it and let them check me out. So YAY! We were on our way to the hospital. Mom and I both fully expected to be sent back home, so we didn't wake up dad. We did take my hospital bag, just in case. We got checked in and the nurse, Dawn, took us into one of the delivery rooms. She had me take everything off and put on a hospital gown. Dr. Henderson came in to check my cervix. STILL 1 CM. He said at this rate we'd be here til next week. I didn't appreciate his humor. Nor did I appreciate the cervix check. It hurt! THey told mom and I to go walking around the hospital for an hour. They would recheck me after that hour. I put on another hospital gown (wearing 1 forward and 1 backward) and mom and I went walking all over the hospital. I kept wanting to sit down or lay down (where?!), but mom wouldn't let me. She knew we needed to make some progress during this hour! During a contraction, I would lean facing the wall and mom would rub my lower back. The hospital halls were pretty empty at that time of the night (about 1 am) Some doctor stopped to talk to us on his way down the hall. He wanted to know if this was my 1st baby. I wanted to know if he could mind his own damn business because I was in no mood to be social. :) Anyway... after that seemingly endless hour, we were back in my delivery room. Henderson checked me again (ow!) and I was up to 2 cm. Yay! I had progressed! It was at that point they decided to keep me. Henderson asked me how we were going to do this: natural, unnatural, or supernatural. Mom and I answered at the same time. She said "supernatural" and I said "unnatural." I told him I was up for an epidural as soon as he'd let me have one. He told Dawn to get my labs running, IV started and then we could do the epidural. Woo-hoo! That was music to my ears. PAIN RELIEF. I was almost excited about getting blood drawn/IV started because it meant being one step closer! Dawn did an excellent job placing my IV. She said it wouldn't take long to get lab results. They got me all hooked up to ons of machines and things.
Oh...I forgot to mention...after they decided to keep me, mom called Dad to let him know the situation. Dad called Nikki and Melissa and Alvin, the adoptive parents. Nikki was there by ~2:30 am, right in time for the epidural. Dad told Melissa and Alvin to wait several hours before coming because nothing was going to happen for a while. Dad got some more rest, too. I don't know what time he got there. Maybe 7:30 am or so. I was napping on and off throughout the early morning, so I don't remember a whole lot. My sister-in-law Laura came at some point in the morning too. Mom, Laura, Nikki and Dad all rotated through the delivery room during the "down" time. Whoever wasn't in the room with me was downstairs juggling my 3 month old niece, Raegan. When Melissa and Alvin got there, they came up to see me. That was neat to say hey to them. :) Especially because I wasn't in pain, I was quite social. They had to come up one person at a time because only three visitors could be in my room at once. Usually mom and Nikki and one other person. After spending the evening with us, Dawn got off at 7am, so she traded off with Crystal. Crystal was awesome, too. I remember at some point in the morning we started (and finished!) watching What's Up Doc. That was good comedic relief. In my 2-3 hour nap I had gone from 2 cm to 6 cm. Woohoo! More progress. Mom and others would point out really big contractions on the screen beside me. I would just respond "don't care!" since I couldn't feel them. Crystal kept saying we were waiting on Henderson to come break my water. But time kept passing and he wasn't there. He had to do some surgery from 8:30-9 am, so they didn't want to break my water and speed things up in case he was in surgery. Finally, around 10 am they decided it was time to push. Crystal thought I was only 9.5cm instead of 10, but Henderson said push so she said okay! From 10-10:30 I pushed with each contraction. By 10:15 I was completely spent! I didn't want to push! It was too too hard. I hadn't eaten in forever (unless you count the 2 popsicles during the night that turned my mouth blue). I hadn't slept much in a while either. I was on empty from the beginning! Not a good way to enter the most intensive part of labor. After 30 minutes of pushing, they had me chill for 30 minutes to let my cervix go from 9.5 cm to 10 cm. So I zonked out for 30 more minutes. About 11 am they said it's GO time. Time to push again. I was not excited about this. Crystal was explaining to me how to push, but because of the epidural, I couldn't really feel what I was doing. It's hard to push like you're having a bowel movement when you can't feel anything! That was the only time the epidural worked against me. The top portion of my abs were so sore and we had just begun to push! They said they would give me an hour of pushing before they intervened with forceps or vacuum. I wasn't really motivated to push before they mentioned "intervening". I knew I didn't want them to have to use any of those measures. I became a little more motivated. They wheeled over the mirror so I could see as I pushed, hoping it would help me tell what was a "good push" and what wasn't. It was a little bit helpful to be able to see her hair and that she was so close! Laura was my primary pushing coach. She was the one holding my shoulders and talking me through it all. Nikki would play with my hair some during the down time between contractions, helping me to relax. I was discouraged because even though I was pushing with all my might, Chloe wasn't moving so much. After the initial hour, they even let me go 30 more minutes on my own because I told them I didn't want them to use the vacuum. But after little to no progress, Chloe's heartrate was dropping, so they needed to help me out. After less than 10 minutes with the vacuum, at 12:28pm on Friday, July 30th, 2004, Chloe was BORN!
During the final pushes, mom, Laura, and Nikki were all cheering me on. They really made all the difference in the world. I felt so defeated from the beginning of the pushing process. I didn't think I could do it. But they all seemed to think I could! At the end I was relying on them and what they thought I could do as opposed to my own perceptions of me. For future reference, it was very helpful and encouraging to have Laura telling me I was doing a good job, b/c I really didn't think I was. Nikki paying with my hair or just the sense of touch overall was very soothing as well. I remember Laura hugging me so tightly and kissing me on my cheek and forehead saying "You did it Betty Anne, you did it. She's beautiful and you did it!" That was really special and I appreciated that a whole lot.
Anyway, back to Chloe! She weighed 8 lbs. 4 oz.
When she was born, I was in total AMAZEMENT. My tears were tears of relief. I was so glad I didn't have to push any more! I was absolutely stunned looking at her as Henderson clamped off her umbilical cord and handed her to me. I couldn't believe how BIG she was! No way that just came out of me! I was overwhelmed with how beautiful she was too. She was perfect! I couldn't believe I had any part in incubating something so incredible. I was in awe. I was also so very over-exhausted. While they did some initial stuff w/ Chloe, I just layed there. Completely zapped of any inkling of energy. As soon as Chloe was wrapped up, she quieted down and just looked around at everyone.
She was so sweet from the very beginning. Henderson sewed me up from the small tear I received during her birth. I didn't care, though, because I was numb. And it was all finally OVER. I couldn't believe it! Whew! 37 hours later, it was over. I had a daughter! That still sounds so weird to me! "My daughter", but it's true! I'm a mom! These things will take a little while to sink in, I'm sure.
During the labor process I kept thinking "Why would anyone do this more than once?? I can't even imagine!" But then, as soon as she was born, I realized THAT'S why. Because the end result is SO worth it. The pain was worth it. The pregnancy was worth it. She is an amazing, beautiful, incredible girl and she made it all worth it.
Here's a few more pictures from our time in the hospital.
Such tiny hands!
Those lips are too cute!
Daddy Alvin feeding his baby girl.
Meeting big brother Shiloh for the first time.
Momma Melissa, Big Brother Shiloh, and Baby Chloe.
This family is so precious to me.