Toward the end, my blood pressure started to go up. It never turned into pre-eclampsia, but I did have a couple of short stays in the hospital for testing (a couple of hours at 35 weeks 6 days, and a couple of days at 36 weeks 6 days). I was on bedrest from the first hospital visit until delivery, and eventually put on medication for my blood pressure. Penny looked great at every ultrasound, but they were monitoring me very closely. Finally, my doctor said it was time to go ahead and induce at 37 weeks, 6 days. I was due on March 17 (St. Patrick's Day!), but Wednesday, March 2 at 4 am found me and Cory in the lobby of our hospital, checking in to have our baby!
I got called back around 4:30, and they hooked me up to an IV, checked me, and strapped on the monitors. I was worried about getting any pain meds too early because I was trying to avoid a C-section if the induction didn't go well, so I didn't get any right away. I wasn't feeling any pain that early, anyway. I was really shaky because I was so nervous - this wasn't how I had pictured having my baby! My nurses were really great, though, and Cory was so supportive. I made him take notes so I would remember when everything happened, and he acted as liaison for all the communications with friends and family.
By around 8am, the doctor came by and broke my water. After that, the contractions really picked up! I was starting to have to breathe through them. They told me it would take 20 minutes for an anesthesiologist to get to the room to have an epidural, and just to let them know when I was ready. I still held off for a while. I really wanted to experience labor for myself. The best way I was able to describe it that day was, "it feels like my uterus is in a trash compactor." Haha! My personal goal was to make it at least halfway dilated, and then if I was miserable I would get the epidural. I had to get to the personal point where it was scarier not to get it than to get it. The contractions got a lot stronger, and after getting checked again, I went ahead and got it. It took on the left side stronger than the right, but they rolled me on my side and it evened out.
Around 10am or so, the family started coming to the hospital and asking to visit. I had been worried about them all seeing me in a lot of pain, but since I had already had the epidural, I let them in. Cory's family had come up from Louisiana the day before, so we had all the grandparents there, plus my grandparents, my sister and her husband, Cory's brother, and our friend Sarah. It was a full house! Everybody came and hung out for a while, and around 12pm I think, I got checked again and I was already at 8cm. I told everyone I wanted to take a nap to rest up for what was coming up, but we all kept talking and visiting, and an hour later, I was ready to go! So much for that nap!
The doctor told the nurses to get ready and have me practice push while she went back over to her office to continue her regular schedule of office visits. Little did she know I didn't need much practice! They had me push for about five minutes and Penny just came right on down! They called the doctor back, and then I had to wait and not push while we waited for her to come back. Once she got in, it was all business. Another 10-15 minutes of pushing, and at 1:41 pm, out came our little girl! I immediately started crying, and they put her on my chest. Ten fingers, ten toes, beautiful and healthy and pink. 6 pounds, 13 ounces.
My blood pressure improved as soon as I delivered, so we both went home on time and in great shape. Our little family. :-)
photo by Charbonnet Photography.