My birth plan came true! I realized after having a baby that Hen's birth story was a battle scar and one I'm so proud to wear. While I stand by not having a birth plan - I want to share the story.
Henley failed her kick count on July 29th, a few days after her due date. Everything was fine, but the doctor said I shouldn't go a week past her due date. On Friday, July 31st, I called to schedule an induction for Monday, August 3rd. I had been working from home for the past two weeks so I spent the entire day (the 31st) in the zone. In all the hustle, I seem to have completely missed contractions starting. I fell asleep watching some terrible TV and woke up at 11:30 pm. My water had broken!
Just like that Hen let me know she was in charge. She didn't come on her due date and just when I'd settled for an induction she said just kidding! At 40 weeks and 6 days I headed to the hospital. We got to the hospital at 12:30 pm. They couldn't verify my water had broken. They said it might be a high leak, but since I didn't look like I was in pain and my contractions were far apart they were going to send me home. When I'm in pain, I dig my fingernails into my arm or leg and in this case Quinn's arm. Quinn had to show them his arm to show that I was in fact in pain. They hooked me back up to the machine and sure enough I was in labor. Not only was I in labor, but my contractions were lasting longer than the break between them. I rated my pain an 8-9. It was honestly the most pain I've ever been in, but I assumed it was going to get worse so I held out on the 10! The worst part about the pain is that it would creep up, you knew it was coming and there was nothing you could do except let it crescendo. I stood holding Quinn and just took deep breaths. It's funny, because I never practiced in class or prepared myself for mindful breathing, but my body knew to do it.
Since my water had broken, I spent more time at the hospital than I needed to. I'm grateful for that though. My nurse, Jen, was so comforting and being able to see my contractions and Hen's heartbeat on the monitor calmed my soul. At the five hour mark, the epidural god came in! The epidural didn't hurt at all and it took away my pain. I could see I was having contractions, but couldn't feel any of them. For the next five hours, I watched Netflix and took a nap. Quinn left to go home and take a shower. He wanted to look fresh for Hen's arrival. When I woke up it was time to push! Our nurse, Morgan, said we were looking at about 45 minutes to an hour.
I quickly learned that the pushing part of labor is extremely hard when you can't feel anything. Quinn was a great coach. He never stopped being upbeat, he never stopped telling me I was amazing, he never stopped holding my hand. He most likely has permanent scars from my nails. At some point my contractions slowed. I was only have strong contractions every 8 minutes. We were waiting for a while between pushes so I was losing momentum. They injected pitocin (labor inducting drug) into my IV to try to get my contractions closer together. Then things started to get chaotic. Hen's heartbeat kept falling off the monitor. At first, they reassured me it was fine and to keep pushing, but then I could tell they no longer thought that. At some point I realized I was in pain and could feel my legs again. The epidural drip had run out. (I'm actually glad it ran out, because it allowed me to feel my body and the contractions.) They went to try to fix it, but the doctor (not mine!) came in and calmly told me the baby was in distress and I was leaving for an emergency c-section in two minutes. As they start to prep for that, I literally ripped my body apart to get Henley out. I had 3rd degree tear (only second in terribleness to a 4th degree tear!) The doctor barely had time to get in place. And while I swore I wouldn't watch, I couldn't help but sit up. I had to see if she was okay. Just like that she was screaming and kicking (of course!) and on my chest. It was instant tears from both Quinn and I. I don't think I've ever cried from just pure joy.
It took us a moment to realize Henley was blue. The cord had been wrapped around her neck and was the cause of her distress. They took her over to the warmer. It was devastating to have her out of my arms so quickly. Quinn followed Hen. At some point during the placenta delivery and being sewn up my blood pressure plummeted. This would happen a couple more times during our hospital stay. Somehow I felt no pain until much later. Once Hen was pink they laid her on my chest and she immediately moved to breastfeed. It was a sweet and natural moment. We're in love.
"No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you're the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside."