Guess what? As of 11/7/14, you are officially an older brother! Your sister, Josephine, was born at 6:51pm at 8 pounds 4oz and 21 inches long. I’m surprised that she came out bigger than you! I’ll probably be sharing this space to write letters to both of you now, hope you won’t mind. To start, I wanted to share Joey’s labor and delivery story so we can all remember how she joined our family many years from now.
Unlike my pregnancy with you, I experienced lots of braxton hick contractions in my third trimester with your sister. Towards the end of my pregnancy, they were getting more intense and having forgotten what real labor contractions felt like I was getting nervous that I wouldn’t know the difference between the real and fake ones. Everyone assured me that real labor contractions are unmistakeable because they are painful, but I still wondered if it would be clear to me when the time came. For the record, it wasn’t that clear to me (read story ahead). With so many braxton hicks leading up to my due date, I totally thought that Joey would come early but 40 weeks rolled around with baby still in utero.
11/6/14 – At my 40 week prenatal check up, the midwife said I was still 2.5cm dilated like the week prior. In hopes to jump start labor, she stripped my membranes, meaning that she put her finger into my cervix and separated the bag of water from the side of the uterus near the cervix. Ouch! Having never heard of this method I asked other mommies about their experience and it seemed like it worked for some while did nothing for others. I was curious if it would do anything for me. After my appointment I was feeling crampy and uncomfortable the rest of the day, but heard this was normal so I didn’t read too much into it. We carried on the rest of our day and enjoyed a yummy In-n-out dinner with some friends.
11/7/14 – I went to bed around midnight and woke up at 1:30am feeling cramps and contractions. This wasn’t unusual because I would get braxton hick contractions at night weeks prior, but I would normally fall back asleep after an hour or so. I expected this to be no different. 3am rolled around and I was still having contractions. Another hour went by and I couldn’t sleep through them. I called L&D around 5am and told them I was having crampy contractions on average 6 minutes apart for a few hours now. They said if they weren’t SUPER painful, that it’s probably nothing. Though they were mildly painful, they weren’t unbearable so I decided to wait till the morning to see how things played out.
7am-11am – I was still getting contractions every 5-6 minutes and this was the first time they’ve ever persisted this long and into the morning. I wondered if this was just a side effect of the stripped membranes or if it was the real deal. I went for a walk and I started to have trouble walking through my contractions. I called L&D again around 11am and they downplayed my regular contractions because I wasn’t describing them to be as intense as they wanted. To save a drive over, they told me I could walk into my local clinic to do a labor check (my local Kaiser doesn’t have L&D so the plan was to drive to another Kaiser 30 min away for L&D).
12p – At my labor check, I was still only 2-3cm dilated and I was a little discouraged. If this wasn’t real labor, why was I have sooo many contractions for so long? The doctor did say that though my cervix is still the same, she thinks that my water will break later that night and I could go into labor soon. Not wanting to be too hopeful, I was doubting anything would happen later that night.
2p – I tried to take a nap since I had not slept pretty much at all the night before. I still couldn’t fall asleep because of my contractions and decided to take a warm bath. It helped somewhat. I looked up traffic to the Kaiser I was assigned to for L&D and though without traffic it took 30 min, the Friday traffic at 3pm was projected to take up to an hour. My worst fear was not making it to the hospital in time so we decided to drive to Kaiser around 3pm and hang around the area to see if I was still feeling my contractions.
3-4:30p – We drove over in traffic, me trying to breathe through each contraction. Near the Kaiser we decided to stop by La Salsa to eat an early dinner, in case we did get admitted to the hospital. My contractions were uncomfortable and I could only eat half of my burrito which was very unlike me :P
4:45p-5:15p – We got to Kaiser L&D and I was pretty sure I’d go in and they would tell me that I’m still 2-3cm and to go back home. Though it was painful for me to walk through my contractions, I still could semi talk through them and L&D told me I shouldn’t be able to. I got checked into triage and they monitored my contractions for awhile. The doctor came in and checked me and said “You’re 6cm, we’ll admit you.” WHAT???????? Daddy and I were so surprised and happy!
5:30p – We got set up in our delivery room and my contractions were getting closer together and more intense. I asked for an epidural but was told I needed to wait since the anesthesiologist was in the OR.
6pm – I felt a gush and realized that my water broke! I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to have my water break and I was so surprised that mine broke on its own since I read that only 15% of women experience their water breaking before labor. After this my contractions started feeling unbearable and I started to cry since I was in so much pain.
6:30pm – I FINALLY got my epidural but moments before I got my epidural I got the feeling I needed to push. The nurse asked if I wanted her to check me before getting my epidural but I was in so much pain that I said that I wanted it right away. The anesthesiologist said it would take 20 min for the epidural to take full effect.
6:45pm-6:51pm – Felt the urge to push even stronger and doctor came in and told me to start pushing. I was screaming “why isn’t the epidural working!!” since I was in so much pain. (Looking back, I probably could have done without the epidural since it barely took into effect for me). I started pushing around 6:49pm and then Josephine was born at 6:51pm. I cried tears of joy and relief as I heard her crying. The doctor said what a big baby and turns out she was 8 pounds 4oz. They joked, you could carry anything in there! I had a first degree tear and got one stitch which I was so surprised by and thankful for. I couldn’t believe how quickly everything happened, especially since I was doubtful the whole day that I was in “real labor.” Turns out I wasn’t crazy after all! Praise God for a healthy baby and smooth delivery!