Four days after her due date, on August 20th at 11:30pm Adelyn Rena Lee (aka Addie) made it into the world!
Right after Instagramming at 40w3d that we were still waiting for her and taking guesses on when she’d actually come, whaddya know? I started feeling regular low level contractions that resembled mild menstrual cramps. But since I’d felt them once before and didn’t go into labor I was slow to make anything of these. Plus the contractions hadn’t progressed over 5 hours. Our doula and friend Jenny came over to check things out, but since the contractions hadn’t progressed for 5 hours she went home saying if the contractions kept me up at night then we’d know we were in labor!
WELL, Benson and I slept through the night and woke up as usual. Womp womp. Another false alarm, I thought. But then! All of a sudden at 6:30am contractions came and were in a regular rhythm of 6 minutes apart! Jenny joined us a couple of hours later, and we spent the morning laboring at home for as long as I could take it. We took walks, watched episodes of Arrow, and Benson and Jenny massaged my back through increasingly intense back labor. (The worst!) When I couldn’t concentrate through anymore episodes of Arrow and contractions were 1.5 min long and 2 min apart we finally headed to the hospital.
The 10 minute car ride felt like FOR-EHH-VER (Sandlot style) since sitting or lying down intensified the back labor. On the way to check-in I stopped every 2 minutes to breathe through a contraction. A pregnant girl in the waiting room asked me very concernedly if I was okay, and I was more concerned for her than me because HELLO, obviously I was having a contraction and her being a couple weeks away from delivery herself I hoped she would have been able to recognize that! Thank God I was busy breathing through a contraction and no snarky sarcastic comment could fly out of my mouth!
Since I’d been 4cm dilated for a few weeks I wasn’t worried about being dilated enough to be admitted into labor and delivery. They checked me, and I had reached 7cm dilated while laboring at home!
(As a side note, I was completely silent through every contraction. Just totally focused on breathing, not making a peep!)
Once in the delivery room the big kicker was whether or not I was going to get an epidural. Most of my friends are pretty pro natural births. My mentality, however, was to get to about 7 or 8 cm and see how I felt after that. Most people who go in with that mentality usually end up getting epidurals, but I knew that I might be the opposite and be super stubborn. Like, “I made it this far, let’s just stick it out!” The thing is, though, I didn’t really care about going natural or not for this labor. (Maybe for future labors.) It wouldn’t have been out of a value to have a natural birth—it would have been for sheer stubbornness. Not a great reason!
An hour passed and I was now at a 7.5 or 8. My biggest fear was feeling the pain of tearing down there and the getting sewn up part. Contractions I could make through, but tearing is what I did NOT want to feel. I had to fight my stubbornness and remind myself that I wanted this birth experience to be peaceful and for me to be able to be present to it all. Breathing through contraction by contraction, while I think I could have made it through the pain, wasn’t allowing me to be present to the overall experience. It only allowed me to be present to each contraction.
Finally, Benson and Jenny talked me out of being stubborn and I got the epidural. NO REGRETS AT ALL. Magical!
My doctor came and broke my water to speed things up. After an hour or two (can’t really remember) I was dilated to 10 and ready to push! The doctor came back and I geared myself up for the final stretch. But then—oh wait! The baby’s heart rate dropped every time I pushed. They suspected she had an umbilical cord wrapped around her, and to my disappointment they asked me to stop pushing. The doctor wanted to wait until Addie dropped even more on her own since pushing was causing her distress. The doctor would come back in an hour to check.
And that’s when I was SO GLAD I got an epidural. Because one hour turned into 2.5 hours since every other woman in San Diego was delivering a baby that night. Women were even laboring in the check-in room because there weren’t enough labor and delivery rooms for us all! Getting the epidural allowed me to not have to push when Addie wasn’t ready, and I didn’t have to feel waves of contractions and fight the desire to push while 10 cm dilated for 2.5 hours.
Finally, the nurse came back along with good news! Addie’s heart rate looked good, the doctor was finally free from the other deliveries, and we were ready to push for real. We had to take some breaks between contractions to let Addie recover when her heart rate dipped for too long. But other than that, things were going well, and I finally got to see her head poking through!
The doctor came, and Addie began to crown. I pushed and pushed for nearly 1 hr 15 min (because of having to take those breaks for Addie’s heart), and we all felt like we’d meet the little munchkin by the 3rd push of the next contraction. To our surprise, on the 1st push of that next contraction Addie slipped right out of me! We were lucky the doctor had quick reflexes and caught her! I guess she came out sideways as well, but I couldn’t even tell. I was just shocked that she fell out of me like that! Her and her full head of hair.
Instantly she let out a cry, got cleaned up and had some meconium sucked out, and was placed on me for skin to skin.
Overall Addie has been an incredibly well tempered baby. People wonder how I’m blogging with a newborn and it’s because she slept like a boss for the first two weeks of her life. That, and I figured out how to breastfeed at my desk hands free. Muahaha! When Addie’s not sleeping, she just looks around at stuff. Our friend said their baby did that up until 2 weeks and then baby got crazy. We’re bracing ourselves for possible change, but totally hoping Addie stays this way!