Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Althea has arrived!

I'm finally back and ready to join the world again after giving birth to Althea last Tuesday. I was able to deliver naturally (my son was C-section) and everything went great.

I woke up at 4:30 am Tuesday morning with slight cramping, like menstrual cramps, and thought "uh-oh." Sure enough, a few hours later, I got another one. They continued through the morning, so Jim and I quickly set up the co-sleeper, cleaned up our room, and packed bags for everyone, including an overnight bag for our son who would stay with my mom.

We went to her house and hung out until 3:30 when I finally got a seriously huge, painful contraction. My doctor had very specific requirements about when I could go to the hospital, so my husband and I paced our condo while the cramping got stronger and more frequent. I went to the restroom and was sure I broke my water, so we went right to the hospital.

I was in so much pain, but little did I know how bad it would get! I checked in and upon examination, the nurse said I was already at 7cm, which was awesome news. Things were going much more quickly than I imagined. They brought me right up to the delivery room.

I think it was about 5:30 by then and I was in howling mode. I tried breathing, going to my happy place, walking, sitting, the bouncy ball, cursing, but the contractions were so intense I couldn't imagine going hours and hours like that. Despite my goal to avoid pain meds, by 6:45 I requested an epidural.

Even though an epidural was my biggest fear of the birthing situation, I focused on rewarding myself with Ben and Jerry's ice cream (and which flavor I would pick) while the doctor did his thing. It wasn't all that bad, and of course the discomfort paled in comparison to contractions, so that helped me be brave.

Soon the pain was gone and the contractions were merely a squiggly line on a paper print out. My in laws came in to chat and every once in a while my mother in law would say "oh, this one looks like a big one!" as she read the monitor. It's funny to think I'd be screaming if I didn't have the pain meds.

At about 9:00 the doctor said it was time for me to push. My in laws left and my husband got in position, holding my thigh while the nurse held the other. I pushed and pushed and pushed for 1 1/2 hours. The nurse brought over a large mirror so I could see what was going on, which was pretty fascinating and helped me see the "fruits of my labor." (Ha ha! How often can I use that cliche so well?!) Seeing the crown of her head and a peek of her little black mohawk was so cool.

At 10:18, with a final big push, her head slipped out and the doctor eased out the rest of her body. I held my baby and cried tears of joy, being so grateful for a healthy baby girl (and pain meds, I must add)!

One week later, we're all home and getting adjusted to life as a larger family. Nursing and helping a toddler adjust to a new baby sister is a lot to manage, but it's amazing how soon you can't imagine living life without someone who just arrived!
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