Warning: this story is LONG!
Our little Riley is 8 weeks and 2 days old, and we still haven’t shared the story of her birth. I’ve been meaning to write it out since that first week, but have been occupied with other things. I don’t want to forget all the happenings (though I’m certain some have slipped our minds already), so I’m going to write it out now.
On March 22, we had our final birthing class. Everyone was supposed to bring snacks, so we didn’t eat dinner beforehand. I ate a few cookies, had some water, and that was that. While we were there, I was having what I assumed were Braxton hicks every 20 minutes or so. I’d been having false contractions since 16 weeks, so I really wasn’t thinking it was anything at all.
We got home around 9. My parents and brother were in their garage, so we went over to talk to them. We threw a football around the garage, talked, and listened to my brother give a presentation he had to give in class the next day. I was still having “contractions” every 20 minutes or so. Around 1 a.m., David and I made our way home and went to bed.
Around 3 a.m., I woke up with terrible cramps. Sorry for the TMI, but I thought I had to go to the bathroom. Afterwards, I felt better, so I went back to bed only to be awakened a few minutes later feeling the same way. At this point, I realized I was having contractions. I got out the computer and went to the Contraction Master website to time them. I let David sleep because I figured it was nothing.
After about an hour, my contractions were stronger and getting closer together. One lasted so long I decided I’d better wake David up. We went out to the couch where we continued to time them. They were pretty consistent and still getting more painful and closer together.
After another hour, we decided to get ready to head to the hospital later that morning. I was only 38 weeks, 3 days along, so I thought I’d have a little while to finish packing my bags. No such luck. I was running around between contractions trying to get everything we needed.
Around 6:30, we hit the road. I wasn’t 100% sure we needed to go in yet, but I didn’t want to get stuck in rush hour traffic and have the baby in the car (HA! We could have waited until rush hour that night and been fine… little did I know!). My dad drove us to the hospital in Orlando so David could sit in the back with me. Of course, once we were on our way, the contractions spaced out a little bit. This convinced me it was a false alarm, but we were already headed there. No turning back now.
We made it to Winnie Palmer around 7:30. Thankfully triage was virtually empty. When we got into triage, I was 5 cm dilated and 100% effaced. I was Group B Strep (GBS) positive, so they wanted to start me on IV antibiotics right away. They told me the name of the medicine, and I had paperwork with me saying that my GBS was resistant to that particular antibiotic. No one would listen to me, though, so they gave it to me anyway.
I was in a labor and delivery room in no time. When the doctor came in, he was going to break my water. It turns out that I was right about the antibiotic, though, and they had to give me something else. So, that stalled the water breaking for 6 hours (they want it in your system that long before the baby goes through the birth canal).
At some point, around 7 centimeters, I got an epidural. HEAVEN! You ladies that go all natural are insane (if you read this Jennifer, I really do love you!). The epidural was perfect. It took the edge off the pain, but I could still move my legs and feel when I was having contractions. I also had a button I could push for extra medicine.
They broke my water around 5 o’clock. We still waited a little while before I started pushing. Around 5:30, I guess, they had me start doing some practice pushes. The nurse said I’d have a baby before her shift was over at 7. She lied.
I had pushed for about 3 or 3 and half hours (in MANY different positions) when my doctor came in and said that if I hadn’t had the baby in 30 minutes, I was going to the OR for a c-section. Needless to say, that motivated me to push even harder, if that was possible. She came back to check on me 20 or so minutes later, and said that it was too late for a c-section.
I ended up having to have a second degree episiotomy to get Riley out. After the procedure, she was out in just a few minutes. I couldn’t believe it when they told me her cord was wrapped around her neck! I’m just so thankful that she was okay. They said most babies with a “nuchal cord” don’t respond well to long labors. Thankfully, Riley did. In fact, during labor, the doctor and nurse kept saying that I had an “exceptional baby” her heart rate stayed strong the entire time.
When she was born, they immediately put her on my chest and David cut her cord. All three of the Browns in the room were crying. They took her over to the “baby center” in the room where the pediatric nurses took care of cleaning her up, weighing her, etc. Her apgar scores were 8 and 9.
I didn’t expect to be in active labor for 19 hours or to have to push for almost 4, but it really wasn’t as bad as I expected. The cliché is true: When you see your baby, hold her for the first time, you really don’t care about the pain anymore.