Marlee's Birth Story
September 22, 2003 - 5:01 a.m.

After my last doctor appointment, Tim and I went out to dinner. We talked about the induction and everything that could happen in the next week or so. It had us both pretty down but by the time we got home it seemed like it was going to be ok.

I sat down at my computer and wrote a journal entry about the appointment, then started chatting with my sister-in-law and MIL about what was going on. While we were chatting I noticed how badly my lower back was hurting…like a muscle strain and I couldn’t get comfortable.

I decided I probably wasn’t going to go to work the next day, regardless. I was just tired and strung out and thought maybe a day to myself would do me some good.

I started walking around the house and bouncing on the fitness ball out of habit – and wanting to get labor going somehow. Around 11PM Tim and I went for our nightly walk. It was a beautiful night. The walk did some good to clear my head. When we got back we went to bed.

Sometime during the night I realized that I was having contractions. The back pain would come and go and was accompanied by these strange, low cramps that spread upwards. It was highly uncomfortable, much like the pain I felt during the membrane sweep at my appointment. Then it would just go away.

Around 3:30 I remember thinking I wanted my mom. That must have meant the pain was pretty bad. I got up and paced for a while, went to the bathroom and climbed back in bed. Tim wasn’t sleeping well and I was feeling guilty for being so restless myself. Every time I would have a contraction I would heave myself over the side of the bed to stare at the clock. 3:30, 3:37, 3:49, 4:02, 4:09, 4:28. At that point they started to space out a little more and I can’t remember much until 5:09 when I had the next one. At 5:30 I went to the bathroom again, I had a little bit of bloody show, probably from the exam. A few minutes later I crawled back in bed…finally able to get some sleep until 6:40 when my alarm went off. Then I started sending out the emails saying I wasn’t coming in to work today and explaining the situation about the induction and the current progress (there was none). The backaches and contractions were few and not very painful.

Tim got up and went in to work around 8am. While I walked around the house, I could still come up with some pretty good labor-ish pains. I was afraid to take a shower in case that would scare them off. At this point I just want to get it started and well established. I’d been false-laboring for much too long to believe this was real labor unless I was on my knees and in tears. I decided to take a shower and chance it, since things were so irregular anyway. I was having more bloody show and a lot of CM.

Once I took a shower, most of the aches and pains went away. I figured as much. I sat down at the computer and the contractions started up again. I started keeping track of the contractions in Excel. Over the course of an hour they were 5 minutes, 6 minutes to 10 minutes apart. By 10am, I had been having contractions for 6.5 hours. They were starting to pick up in intensity and frequency but I still didn’t really believe that it was labor. I’ve known people to have hard contractions for hours and then nothing at all happen.

Around 10am I messaged Tim to let him know I was having them, but wasn’t really concerned. Then I decided to start getting myself together and straightening the house just in case it really was labor.

11am, contractions were still consistent but not getting any longer or intensifying. I decide to eat lunch. I was starting to get a little sore and tired. And all I had done so far is showered and dressed. After lunch I decided to go through the bags I had packed for the hospital and check the camera batteries one last time.

I finished straightening up the house and made my bed, and called Tim to tell him that things were hurting quite a bit, so he should plan on coming home sooner than later. He wanted me to call Triage. I was worried that calling Triage would send the contractions away. The woman I talked to said I was “definitely in labor” but that it wasn’t time to come in just yet. She wanted me to wait until I could no longer talk through the contractions and then call her back.

After that conversation, I called my mom to tell her that I was having a baby! It still didn’t seem real to me at that I could be in labor. I mean, what if the contractions just stopped? I chatted with some friends for a while, then decided that since Tim would be home soon, I’d logoff and walk around a bit.

Right around 3pm, the contractions seemed to lose momentum. I started to worry, but with the next contraction came a LOT of bloody mucus. The contractions then got less intense and spaced very far apart. I was quite disappointed. Tim ate dinner and we decided to take a nap. I was exhausted at this point, and even if labor was ebbing away I wanted to get some sleep and since Tim had slept about as much as I had the night before, he needed to rejuvenate a little too. I slept in between contractions, which, as soon as I laid down and relaxed, came back in a more steady pattern. I got about an hour and a half of good sleep, waking up for the contractions. Then the baby started moving around and the pain started intensifying. I started to feel nauseous so I got out of bed and chatted to my MIL and SIL online for a bit. The pain kept gradually getting worse so I waited for one last one to gauge if I should wake Tim up or not…and it said DO IT! They were getting painful enough that I was starting to dread them.

I woke Tim up and started to get things ready to be packed in the car. We had decided to drive into the city and call Triage from Tim’s parent’s house. They live about 20 blocks from the hospital, whereas we lived 50 minutes away. He took a while to get up and the whole time the contractions were getting closer and closer (3 minutes apart). I finally said to him, “Hey! Let’s not mess around!” We were in the car before I had another contraction.

On the way to town the contractions spaced out to 7 minutes apart again. They were gaining in intensity, so I assumed once we were settled at Tim’s parents they would start getting closer together.

When we got to Tim’s parent’s house, Tim’s mom sat with a watch and timed them down to a second. They were back to being 5 minutes apart and stronger each time. Soon I was getting annoyed with being watched so intently by the entire family…and the contractions started spacing out again. I just wanted things to start moving along, so I called Triage and asked when I should come in. The nurse pretty much told me it wasn’t worth it until the contractions were under 5 minutes apart.

Tim and I took a walk around the block. When we got back, he asked his parents to go to bed, and they did. After an hour or so, the contractions were back to being 3 minutes apart…but every other one was a little less intense. One would make me lay on the floor writhing, and the next I could walk through. We called them after shocks. Finally I called Traige and told them I was coming in.

We got to the hospital at 1am, the nurse hooked me up to some monitors and did an internal. I was 70% effaced and a “stretchy 3/almost 4” but my contraction pattern was not favorable…I was having coupling contractions, meaning the hard intense ones were 6 minutes apart, with a contraction in between that would do nothing for effacement or dilation. So – she gave me a sleeping pill (Ambien) and sent me home. SENT ME HOME!

I took the sleeping pill just before we left the hospital. In the past, sleeping pills have never worked for me and so I assumed this wouldn’t either. At this point the contractions were incredibly intense and I could barely stand through them. Sitting in the car was torturous. I remember sitting in the car through a couple of the contractions and then the rest of the ride was a blur. I remember at one point pushing on Tim’s thigh as hard as I could and groaning against a contraction…and then we were home and Tim was trying to get me out of the car. That’s when the hallucinations started. Tim practically had to carry me to the house…and then I didn’t want to go inside because I saw plastic shields everywhere and yellow Legos…it looked like LegoLand. Tim said I was mumbling gibberish and the only thing he could make out was “feed the cat”.

That night was probably the longest of my life. I tried sleeping in the bed, and Tim says whenever I would have a contraction I would get up, go to the bathroom and sit on the toilet. At one point I filled up the bathtub and spent the rest of the night refilling it with warm water. I remember it helping to a certain extent…and truthfully, the contractions kept me alive. I was so out of it from the Ambien that in between contractions I would fall asleep and my head slipped under the water a few times. I woke up more than once like that. Finally I couldn’t take the bath anymore, I turned on the shower and actually washed my hair. I only fell asleep and hit my head on the side of the shower once.

When I got out of the shower I asked Tim to call Triage and my parents and tell them we were going to the hospital. We got in the car and sped into town. I don’t remember anything from the ride. I remember Tim dropping me off at the front doors of the hospital, and a woman putting me in a wheelchair and wheeling me up to Triage without Tim. A nurse checked me around 9am and knew that I had been in the night before and had been in labor for over 24 hours at this point. She said I was 6-7cm. She assigned me a room and a nurse and again, the rest is a blur.

I don’t remember getting in the room or putting on the gown, or even Tim coming in with all our stuff, but somehow it happened. I just remember laying in the bed asking for drugs, how soon could I get drugs. My doctor came in, and Tim’s parents, along with my sister-in-law. My doctor consulted me about my drug choices (I had wanted to go natural) and we figured out that I was allergic to all the narcotics and IV drugs that they had available…so the only thing left was an epidural. At this point I was desperate, and tired, and at the end of my rope. She ordered the epidural and IV fluids, and also had them break my water. They told me the anesthesiologist was doing two C-sections and might not be in for an hour. I was happy just to know I might get some relief soon.

About 15 minutes later, the anesthesiologist showed up – between sections, and did the epi in less than 5 minutes. It hurt and stung, but it was between contractions and Tim was holding my shoulders so it wasn’t actually that bad. And afterward was almost complete relief. The also started a catheter. The fluids and epi slowed my contractions to 6 minutes again, so the doctor said they would be starting Pitocin at 2pm.

My parents arrived and I was able to visit with everyone for a while, before deciding it would be a good idea to take a nap around noon. I slept until they started the Pitocin, and then I was able to feel the contractions pick up. I could feel the pressure, but not the pain.

Tim’s parents went to lunch and when they got back, my parents went to lunch. My doctor had to leave for an appointment but was sure she’d be back for the delivery.

That wouldn’t last long. Around 3pm I started to feel the pain of the contractions and was again having to breath through them. It was getting harder and harder and suddenly, I could feel my feet…and then my legs…and then I could feel EVERYTHING. This was shortly before 4pm. The epidural had completely worn off. It turned out to be a good thing in the end, but I remember Tim asking my new nurse to give me some more, and they said that they couldn’t. He sounded so sweet and concerned!

At 4pm the nurse told me it was time to push. Everyone except Tim left the room. I pushed a few times lying on my back, and once on my side. The nurse got out a squat bar and wrapped a sheet around it and had me push while pulling on the sheet. I was making progress but didn’t feel as though I was doing anything. Then I tried actually squatting. The baby came down so much faster that way…once I was using gravity, I could feel her coming down and the feeling and anticipation of seeing her really got me motivated. To this point I was crying and whiny and really not getting much accomplished. I kept begging the doctor and to the nurses to make it easier on me, to go in and get her and at one point screamed out “JesusLordChrist!”

My doctor still hadn’t made it back for the delivery, and she called to see how it was going. So the doctor that had been standing in for her took the call – about 2 minutes before she was born. I was freaking out and asking the nurse where he was….because I thought him leaving meant I had much longer to go in terms of pushing. As it turns out, he barely made it back for the delivery himself. Just as the nurse was telling me how much longer it was going to be (I asked her to tell me, and she said she couldn’t, so I said, LIE TO ME and she said, 10 pushes) he came back in. I was in the middle of pushing and the nurse starts yelling to the doctor to put his gloves on, and she was telling me to wait. The other doctor- I have no idea why she was there, kept telling me I had to lay down to deliver the baby but at that point I said screw waiting for the doctor and screw laying down. On the next contraction, I stood up and pushed as hard as I could and in one push, out came her head.

The feeling was so intense, I didn’t get the ring of fire, just a warm sensation and a feeling of instant relief, and overall impatience to just have her in my arms. Overall I pushed for 56 minutes.

The doctor only had one glove on and so he kept asking me to wait and to slow down, the other doctor suctioned her out and was telling me not to push but I just wanted her out. She came out on to the bed below me. I sat down and I could see her eyes wide open…she was actually looking at me. All I remember from that point is grabbing her little hand and saying, “Hi baby….happy birthday.” Tim had his face pressed into my back, and when we looked at each other, he said to me, “You’re my hero.”

The cord was cut and the placenta came out instantly. I asked the doctor to see it, I wanted to see if we could see the point of separation. I didn’t see anything but it was more interesting than I thought. They cleaned the baby up and brought her to me. I sobbed over her and then had to endure being stitched up so I think they handed her to Tim…or maybe that’s when they brought her out to the waiting room to see the family. I don’t remember.

Being stitched up was NOT fun, especially since I wasn’t completely numb and could feel it all happening. Then I got all cleaned up and everyone came back in the room…it was really nice. The baby was about an hour old. She still hadn’t nursed yet, but I also hadn’t peed yet and I really had to go. No matter what I tried I couldn’t pee so I had to be catheterized again – this was a different type of catheter and it hurt like hell. Everyone had left the room but they could hear me screaming down the hall.

I breastfed for the first time in a lying down position, it worked really well. Everyone came back in and got to hold the baby again…she was so alert and awake the whole time. And just quiet. Watching everyone.

Soon everyone was gone and it was just Tim and I and the baby, and the nurse. I got to take a shower, the baby had her first bath. And then, it was just us. Tim and I and Marlee.

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