Thursday night, March 19th, I woke up in the middle of the night at 12:30 wide awake and could not for the life of me fall asleep. I was a bit hopeful that I had woken up because labor would be starting soon. That was not the case and I eventually fell back to sleep around 3:00 am. I really had my heart set on Elise arriving Friday, March 20th. That way she could share a birthday with her Uncle Paul and her Gma was really wanting her to be born on a weekend. It would be perfect. Carter and I had a play date at the park with a new friend and, boy, was Carter a wild child that morning. The park had trails off to the side and Carter took off running on them. He wasn't listening to me when I yelled for him to stop and I ended up having to chase him downhill in the woods, not an ideal situation at 9 months pregnant. He was jumping in puddles and taking off away from me any chance he got. By the time we got home I was exhausted. As I was making his lunch I got a contraction followed by another about 9 minutes later. I figured that would be it as the same thing had happened to me the day before, but the contractions kept coming. They were really mild and coming about every 9-10 minutes. I was hopeful it was early labor but then they slowed to 15 minutes apart, then 20 minutes apart, and then became very sporadic. I knew they should be getting longer, stronger, and closer together but they weren't. By the time Ty got home I was disappointed and exhausted. We decided to eat dinner at Olive Garden with a gift card I'd received for Christmas to perk me up. It did the trick and I went home happy and full. We went to bed planning to hit up garage sales in the morning.
About an hour after heading for bed, around 11:30, I woke up due to a contraction and headed to the bathroom. An hour later the same thing happened. I was waking up once or twice every hour with a contraction and possibly sleeping through some milder contractions. At 3:30 I realized I had woken up multiple times with contractions since 3:00 and decided to stay awake for a bit and time them to see what was going on. The contractions were lasting for about a minute and were averaging 8 minutes apart. I responded to a text my mom had sent earlier and it turned out she was still up so we discussed what was going on. I wanted to stay in bed as long as possible so I could rest up for what was to come, but they were getting strong enough that laying down during them was becoming difficult. I woke Ty up to give him a head's up and was worried he'd get so excited he wouldn't be able to fall back to sleep, but heard him snoring moments later. Around that time I also texted Ty's mom. To help myself relax during contractions I was picturing that I was laying on the beach and the tide was sweeping over me. As the water reached my body it would relax each part of my body it touched.
At 5:00 the contractions had gotten strong enough I was no longer able to manage them as well as I would have liked while laying in bed so I decided to get up and prepare for the hospital. The contractions were now occurring every 5-6 minutes and I felt like it was about time to head for the hospital because once I got out of bed and started moving around they really picked up in strength. I had a feeling things would move quickly. I texted Jeremy to give him a head's up. Then I woke Ty up and asked him to call the doctor because my contractions were strong enough I could no longer talk through them. The doctor debated whether we shoud head in yet or not and then eventually said, "I think she's going to go quick so you guys better go ahead and head that way." Ty hung up and called Jeremy so he could come stay with Carter.
Right before Jeremy arrived shit got real. My contractions were down to 2-3 minutes apart and were really strong. When the contraction hit its peak I would count down from 10 in my head and when I got to 0 it was usually starting to fade. It helped to have something to focus on during the most painful part of contractions. I was getting emotional because Carter was still asleep and I was hoping we could stay at home long enough to see him before heading to the hospital. We put the last few items in our hospital bag, fed the animals, and got sheets out for Jeremy to sleep on the futon. We were getting ready to leave and I wanted to have one last contraction before getting in the car. I was either getting on my knees with my chest on our birthing ball and rolling or getting down on my hands and knees during contractions. For this one I was using the ball and at the end of the contraction I realized I was going to throw up. I looked at Ty and said, "I better be at least 7 cm when we get to the hospital." Then I rushed to the bathroom and threw up in the sink, but didn't quite make it in time throwing up on the countertop as well. I grabbed a towel and headed back in to clean it up as another contraction hit so I handed the towel to Ty telling him, "I didn't quite make it." As I worked through the contraction I heard Carter wake up which was music to my ears. We gave him kisses and told him we were going to the hospital so Sissy Elise could be born and Uncie J would be staying to play with him. Carter looked at his uncie, smiled, and said "Bye, mommy daddy," very excitedly.
We got in the car around 6:30 and arrived at the hospital about 15 minutes later. Contractions in the car super sucked and I was thankful I only had 2 during the drive. As I got out of the car another one hit and I asked Ty to pass me the birthing ball. I got down on my hands and knees in the parking lot to work through the contraction and had to do the same right in front of the entryway doors. Ty was getting down by me, putting pressure on my hips with his hands, and pressing and pulling them downward which felt great. On our way up in the elevator we realized between me throwing up and Carter waking up I forgot to grab my purse. We made it to admittance and it seemed to take forever. The woman was having me sign paperwork and answer questions between contractions and I started thinking, "I hope this baby isn't born in the waiting room!" At this point I gave up on counting down from 10 because the really strong part of the contractions were lasting much longer and it wasn't helping to count any more. When we were finally checked in it was a little after 7:00. A nurse walked us back to triage to check my cervix and said I was 7 cm and fully effaced. She said one look at my face in the waiting room and she knew I should have gone straight to labor and delivery, bypassing triage. She called the doctor and he immediately left for the hospital. Then she said she'd get me a wheel chair and we'd head to my room. No way in hell was I sitting down during contractions so I told her I would walk. She said, "Okay, but we need to hurry. In all my years as a nurse I've never delivered a baby in the hall and I don't want that to happen tonight." We had to stop for contractions numerous times on our walk and I'm sure I was quite the scene rolling on my ball while on the floor on my knees all with a gown that wasn't fully covering me in the back. During these contractions Ty went to push on my hips like he had been, but it no longer felt good. I knew we were getting close!
When we made it to the labor and delivery room I had another contraction and this time had the urge to push. I was concerned because I had been just 7 cm a few minutes before. I told the nurses who at this point were trying to put in an IV port and draw blood. That was the huge disadvantage of arriving at the hospital in such active labor, they needed me to sit still during contractions to do some of that admittance stuff and I needed to be moving around. While the nurses were poking and prodding me I was breathing really fast and squeezing the life out of Ty's hand to keep from pushing. I felt like the harder I held Ty's hand, the more control I had over my body. Every part of me was pleading with them to allow me to move. They brought in a different doctor and things started getting serious. I was on all fours on the bed breathing as fast as I could and pushing my legs together to hold Elise in. My contractions were so close together that I didn't have much time in between them to go back to regular breathing. All the fast breathing to keep from pushing was making me light headed. Then I pushed up to a squatting position and my water burst, spraying everywhere and soaking Ty's pants all the way through to his underwear. I told anyone who would listen, "I can't not push anymore!" The doctor looked down and told me Elise was crowning. I took that as an okay to push and went for it, feeling her head begin to emerge. At that point the doctor and nurses started freaking out because I was squatting on the bed. They told me I had to lay back. I grudgingly did but would have so much preferred to deliver her in a squatting position. They then asked me to scoot down and I looked at Ty and said he needed to help me so he grabbed me by the arm and pulled me into position all with Elise's head partially out. Then I pushed again and the head was all the way out. I immediately pushed again, probably too hard and fast as the rest of her body came out. They pulled her up and lifted her onto my chest. The first thing I noticed was how much shorter her umbilical cord was than Carter's was. Her cord felt pulled tight with her on my chest. The doctor told me we were ready to deliver the placenta and it came out immediately following Elise. I asked the doctor if I had torn and she said "A little."
I looked over to see our doctor come walking into the room with a shocked look on his face as he saw me holding Elise. He arrived less than 20 minutes after he received the nurse's phone call that I was 7 cm and missed the birth! He gave the nurse a hard time joking that she had misjudged and I had really been more than 7 cm dilated. He then got busy stitching me up. It turned out I didn't tear where I had torn with Carter at all. My left labia tore. My doctor said it was because she came so quickly. I told him I had planned to slow things down with pushing in hopes I wouldn't tear this time and he laughed. He said that's just how it goes when you don't have an epidural. I ended up with 11 stitches which was disappointing, but what can you expect when you push a baby out in 2 contractions. I just have such a hard time not pushing when it comes down to time.
I had told Ty the only thing I would change about our delivery with Carter was that they took him away so soon after birth and he didn't come back for so long. We talked about what I wanted to have happen this time and he was fully prepared to fight off the nursery nurses once they arrived. We were both shocked that I had Elise for almost 2 hours and fed her twice before anyone from the nursery showed up. I guess it makes a difference when your baby is full term! Right after Ty left with Elise to be checked over by the pediatrician my parents arrived. It was so much fun talking with them. My mom said they got in the car and my dad took off speeding. She told him, "You can slow down, we're not going to make it there before she's born." Then a few minutes later they got Ty's text that Elise had arrived. Ty's parents left at the same time as my parents but had twice the drive. Leina said they stopped to get breakfast on their way out of town and when she got back in the car she saw she had a picture text from Ty. She opened it and was shocked to see a picture of her granddaughter.
If I were to describe Elise's labor and delivery in one word, it would be whirlwind. I knew with it being my 2nd birth it would most likely go faster, but I wasn't expecting things to progress so quickly. The nurses were joking that if we have a 3rd baby we better leave for the hospital sooner. In my recovery room the nurse brought me pain Meds and asked to see my ID bracelet which she needed to scan in order to give me the pills. I told her I didn't have one and she couldn't believe they forgot to put one on me. She said we must've arrived in very active labor and we told her Elise was born less than 30 minutes after we got in our labor and delivery room. She said, oh my, then yes you did! Although I wish I had been able to slow down my pushing, I felt like everything went really well. Elise scored an 8/10 and a 9/10 on her Apgars because of her coloring. She came out pretty blue which oddly enough, I didn't really notice. We are all so in love and my favorite moment was Carter coming up to meet his sister. More on that to come!