Gabriella Caroline Cowan born Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm. She’s 8 lb 8 oz, 20 inches long.
It was either the longest or the shortest labor of all – I’m still not quite sure. Well, let me explain.
I may have mentioned (whined, grumbled and complained about) the painful contractions I was experiencing from last Thursday afternoon. After writing my blog post on Monday, I began to have regular contractions – every seven minutes for more than two hours – and we started to make plans to go into the hospital when they got to five minutes apart.
Which didn’t happen.
By midnight I climbed into bed contraction free. I was angry, depressed and just generally feeling like I was destined to be pregnant forever. It as a completely irrational response and should have been a hint to me that something was under way – if I had been able to look at my irrationality rationally.
Tuesday morning I got up late and started my regular Tuesday morning chore of sorting laundry. The contractions came back and I just decided to ignore them. I got a load of laundry started and took the children outside to play. By this time I was having a hard time doing anything but breathe when I’d get a contraction which were continuing to be maddeningly irregular. My cheesedoodle chose the middle of one such contraction to – for the first time ever – run onto the road in front of a car (thankfully driven by our friend John, who is both gracious and conscientious) and I sent Jonathan an SOS.
“Help me with the kids.” It said.
He arrived home to find us all piled on my bed reading stories. I stopped, mid sentence, and the mackerdoodle turned to him to announce, “Mama’s having contraptions so we’re reading until they go away.” 45 minutes later we were in the van on the way to the hospital. The doctor’s office had said that as I was past my due date, if things stopped again they’d just go ahead and break my water and progress things for me.
I arrived at the hospital and was examined and pronounced to be at 4 cm – having been at 2 the day before – with contractions coming anywhere between 2 and 5 minutes apart with neither rhyme nor reason to the spacing, but more and more pain. As they admitted me they told me the orders my doctor had given: Make her comfortable, and then break her water to get those contractions regulated and things progressing.
An epidural made me comfortable, and the nurse stepped out to fetch a resident to break my water. With the next contraction, just as the resident entered the room, my water broke on its own. I was thrilled. So was the nurse and the resident. I was also delighted to hear that just under two hours after being checked in admitting I was now almost 7 centimeters, and the contractions were, indeed, regulating.
All of that relief, combined with the sudden lifting of the pain fog, meant I slipped into a nap for about 20 minutes. When I woke up I was convinced the contractions had stopped again. There was nothing on the monitor for the last 20 minutes. I hadn’t woken up with the pressure of contractions. I just knew I had made the wrong decision having the epidural.
“They’re going to have to give me pitocin anyway!” I wailed to Jonathan. “I’m not going to have this baby for HOURS! I just made the wrong call!” It went on this way for another 30 minutes until the nurse came back in, told me the contraction monitor had slid off during my nap and declared me 10 cm. Then she said, “Oh good. You’re doctor told me he didn’t want to miss it.”
I was so touched!
From then it was pretty straight forward. We turned off the epidural and did our thing, and my beautiful girl was born 40 minutes later. She’s my only non-pitocin baby, my only non-vacuum delivery, and so far my easiest recovery.
So if you count labor from beginning of dilation, it’s my longest labor at 5 days, but if you count from “Get me some DRUGS! I can’t handle this!” it’s my shortest delivery at 5 1/2 hours or so. Either way you count it, it’s a great ending to this season of our lives.
Tomorrow I’ll post about What the Pediatrician Told Us the Day After (a. k. a. Why Changing a Snickerdoodle Diaper Requires a Degree in Engineering.)