I'm going to start out with one of the moments that stood out to me the most. After being at the hospital for about an hour, I looked around and saw myself encircled by three outstanding women friends. They all had eyes fixed on the monitor, watching Audrey's heart rate in response to contractions. They watched the monitor, I watched them. I understood what the monitor was indicating and didn't really want to see it, but I felt a great peace watching Drs. Smith & Hollis and Andrea (our friend who's a L&D nurse) as they weighed the options. As Dr. Smith leaned in to me and said she was no longer comfortable just watching the heart rate drop and we'd need to do a C-section, the tears came and my chin trembled but I knew I was in a safe place.
Another memorable moment was before any crisis started and I started thinking about how many people had already prayed for me that morning. I am simply awed by God's work and his people.
Shane and I had stayed up watching LOST hoping (but not admitting to hoping) that something would happen. When the due date is past and you crawl into bed at the close of the day, it's hard giving in to being pregnant one more day.
About 3am, some random contractions woke me up. Eventually I decided to get up and move thinking it'd bring some consistency. I was washing dishes at 4:20 am :) Still without any textbook strong/regular contractions, I tried this, a tried & true technique for bringing on labor when the body is "ripe". Two minutes in, the contractions were hospital-trip-worthy. But they'd only last about an hour without needing more NS.
I went back to bed to rest and do more NS. The contractions hurt enough for me to wake Shane around 6. The girls had Pop Tarts (a rare food at our house) for the day the baby came, so I told Shane I was feeling a bit Pop Tarty and of course he had to ask a couple of times, "How do you know?". :)
I called my labor & delivery nurse best pal Andrea and asked her what criteria she'd like me to meet before coming in. I was perky and happy, so she & I both knew it was too soon. We chatted a bit more and Shane and I made ourselves busy with just being busy...he blogged and I cooked breakfast. That cracked him up-I'm standing over the stove and stopping every few minutes to breathe through a contraction. He was uncomfortable still being home so he threatened that if I had the baby on the kitchen floor he'd never forgive me, lol.
Around 8:30 or 9am Shane's mom came to stay with the girls and at 9:30, Andrea called to check on me. After hearing Shane's report she said to make our way that direction-although without the NS, there were no contractions. I would have stayed home much longer-hours maybe, which is important to note.
We casually made our way to the hospital, with strong contractions along the 30 miles there but nothing once we arrived (I was NOT doing NS in front of all the med people in my room!). After being on the monitor a little while, things got intense fast. I hope I can remember it all accurately without too much fluff...
Arrival time: 10:30 am. Dilated to a 6/7 which surprised me given the choppy contractions. I got my first epidural (something I should have done a long time ago!). I wasn't in pain or even having contractions but started to immediately after the med staff & students left the room and I started NS for a mere few minutes.
Audrey's heart rate wasn't rebounding after the contractions, so I was turned to my side (and my water broke on its own then) and given oxygen. It was getting close to noon and Dr. Smith was on her way. Once she arrived, the circle of friends occurred and the C-section decision was made. Audrey's heart rate was dipping and staying too low after each contraction. Something was causing her to not get enough oxygen. I cried but mostly because of lack of sleep and the quick change to the intense situation.
Shane made calls and went out to tell his mom and our girls, who had arrived shortly before. Audrey was born at 12:42. She weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and was 19.5 inches long. Moments after she was born, the shocked announcement was made that there was a knot in the cord. For those of us in the room who knew about Jay's, this was simply unbelievable. Two children, in a row, born alive with true knots in their cords. I still can't wrap my brain around it.
Her cord wasn't tight in the womb, so it probably wasn't causing the heart tone problems. More than likely (from what I understand) it was a result of a tired placenta not being capable of delivering enough oxygen. A live birth with a knotted cord is rare, two in a row are even more rare. All of these variables made for a strange birth story. Shane may have the best take on it-the enemy is against us, prowling around like a lion seeking someone to devour. Praise the Lord he didn't succeed (again) this time!
I was able to recover right there on the L&D floor as opposed to the ICU like before, so Audrey was able to join me and nurse. We were only there a short time before we joined family and friends in our room. Audrey & I enjoyed the resort, I mean hospital, for two more days until coming home on Friday.
Everything is going well at home. The big girls love, love, love Audrey. She seems pretty laid back, although she has some kinda thing for waking every hour on the hour throughout the night. It's hardest for me at night, when the simple shifting of baby, pillows, and burp cloths becomes a big ordeal, but thankfully Shane will be home a while to help out.
Thank you all who prayed for our family, we know God heard those prayers and answered them with a healthy baby!