It’s time to share the story of how Keilana joined our family. She arrived two days after her due date, and it was by far a completely different experience from Javi’s birth. Keilana has been her own person from day one!
On my due date
My pregnancy had been uneventful, if a bit of a rocky road in terms of hormones. (If you ask Lover, it was more than a “bit”.) But I was healthy, the baby was healthy, and we were finally in the final stretch. I had an appointment with the NP on my due date, August 26, and she assured me that everything looked good. Although I was nervous about another birth, I was really just hoping that this time my body would figure things out and go into labor on its own. Induction is not a pleasant experience, no matter how well it may go. So, the NP scheduled me for an ultrasound two days later, on a Wednesday. I took their first appointment that morning so that Lover could come with me and be my advocate in case the doctors thought there was a problem.
Wednesday morning I woke up and headed out the door with Lover. My dad had come over to hang out with Javi while we were gone, and my brother Ben and his girlfriend were still asleep. We slipped out the door and headed to the hospital where the ultrasound center was. The ultrasound itself was pretty uneventful, although the technician took all of her measurements and then came back and did them all again. When the doctor came in, he told us she had repeated them because they were concerned about the size of the baby – they were predicting she was 9lbs 13oz! I freaked a bit at the thought of delivering a baby that big, but they assured us there was no cause for concern, and we were fine to wait another five days until my 41 week cut off.
It’s about 8:30am, and we were headed home, but made a stop at McDonalds first for breakfast. As we pulled into the drivethru, I felt a pretty strong contraction. This wasn’t the first time I had felt contractions in this pregnancy, I had felt them a couple of times but they never increased in strength or duration. So I just kept an eye on the clock while we waited for our bagels and mcmuffins, and had three more contractions while we sat in line. As we drove home I continued to get a strong contraction every five minutes, and I casually mentioned to Lover that he might want to stay home for another hour or two and see what happened.
He gave me a panicked look and said, I really need to go into the office today, there’s a lot going on. I agreed, knowing that he was only fifteen minutes away and he assured me he would come right home if I needed him to. So Lover dropped me off and went to work. Javi, my dad and I sat on the front porch and I ate my bagel while Javi sneaked little bites here and there. I told my dad how the appointment went, but didn’t mention the contractions. He kissed me goodbye and said he had a bunch of errands to run, leaving us on the porch.
At this point I was timing the contractions and they were consistently coming at 5 minutes apart. They weren’t really painful, just required some concentration to get through. Rocking on our glider made them completely manageable. Once it had been about an hour of the regular contractions, I called my OB and they encouraged me to head into the hospital. I texted Lover and he assured me that he would be on his way in about fifteen minutes.
Javi and I headed inside and I took him upstairs to get changed and out of his pajamas. I needed to throw a few last things into my hospital bag, and I figured I could get all that done while I was waiting for Lover. When I lifted Javi up to the changing table, that contraction hurt quite a bit. Just that little bit of walking around and moving accelerated the contractions to about 3 minutes apart and they started to really, really, hurt. So we headed back downstairs and outside, and I texted Lover “please tell me when you are on your way!” At that point I was getting a little nervous. He didn’t reply, but less than a minute later his car rounded the corner. He told me later that after he texted me to wait 15 minutes, he thought, “what am I doing? She’s in labor!” grabbed his stuff and headed out the door.
Lover arrived just in time because at that point the contractions really started to hurt, and I couldn’t focus very well. I managed to tell him what else I needed him to pack, and he took Javi downstairs and woke up my brother to watch him. About five minutes passed and I managed to gasp out to Lover that we needed to go, like NOW. He helped me into the Buick and we headed out.
The 20 minute ride was one of the longest of my life. Lover tried to talk to me to distract me from the contractions, but it didn’t work. I just kind of clenched my teeth and focused on the fact that we were almost there. We parked at the Labor and Delivery lot (Lover offered to drop me off but I refused) and I got out of the car right after a contraction let up. I managed to walk two spaces towards the door, and then got a massive contraction. It was so strong that I leaned against some stranger’s car for support, just trying to breathe and make it through. It was immediately followed by an equally strong one, so I stood there, swaying, head on the trunk of the car, thinking to myself, well, at least I am in the parking lot. Maybe they can come and get me. Through the fog of the contractions, I hear Lover talking to someone.
She is asking, “are you all right? do you need anything? what’s wrong?” I am insanely annoyed and focused on making it through the contractions, so I ignore her. She continues to ask what’s wrong, stating that she is a an NP and can help. Lover finally says in a somewhat irritated voice “well, she’s in labor!” The NP says “OH! Well, let me run and get you a wheelchair!” I just couldn’t believe that she had no idea what was going on. I mean, I’m standing in the L&D parking lot, hugely pregnant, clearly in pain… doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put that all together!
So she brings us a wheelchair, and I get settled in. Once again, like the glider, the movement instantly eases the pain of the contractions. I’m able to focus a bit more, and Lover whisks me up to the triage desk of the wing. That’s when I realize that I forgot to preregister, and I now have to fill out all the forms while in full blown labor. And of course I have to do it, because I am the patient. Curses! The nurses are very compassionate and kind though, and I fill out the forms in between contractions. Lover rocks the wheelchair for me which is still helping a lot, and I manage to finish the $*&$* forms.
Next up is bringing me into triage so they can verify that I am in labor. I will never understand this part. I’m visibly sweating, in massive amounts of pain, past my due date and clearly on the verge of dying. Yes, I am being dramatic, but is that step really necessary? The nurses start getting me hooked up to machines, asking questions in between contractions. The room is about the size of a closet, and Lover, the nurse and I pretty much fill the room. Suddenly I am hot, so hot, so very hot. I ask Lover to find something to fan me with, and my very amazing husband spends the next 30 minutes vigorously fanning me with some magazines he found. Paula, our nurse, asks me what my pain management plan is, and I say “DRUGS! ALL THE DRUGS! We get through all the preliminary questions (finally!) and the midwife and some poor resident who is doing his L&D rotation come in to check me. The midwife is very calming and friendly, the resident looks like he is about to hurl. She takes her time with the examination, encouraging him to repeat everything he is doing. He does so, timidly, still looking like he may lose his lunch at any point. He looks visibly terrified to be dealing with a laboring woman. The two of them confirm that I am, in fact, in full blown labor.
The contractions are so strong at this point, and coming closer together that I am worried I won’t get an epidural in time. I lay there while they finish their monitoring, curled on my side and trying to breath through the contractions, doing my best not to fight against the pain. I keep my eyes closed and tune everyone out unless they ask me something. I try the breathing techniques they taught me with Javi, but it doesn’t help much. Then I remember an article I read about how childbirth is natural and glory giving to God, and that if I open my mouth and sing praises to God during labor, my body will also open up and release my child. It strikes me as so funny that I begin to smile through the contractions, and it helps bring the pain down a bit. The nurses assure me we’re almost ready for a room, and compliment me on how well I am managing the contractions. I am ridiculously pleased at this, as if they just gave me gold star for my report card.
Finally, finally, they wheel me into my room. Switching beds is difficult, but I manage it with Lover and the nurse’s help, in between a contraction. Now my biggest concern is how I will be able to sit still enough during these contractions for the epidural to work.
Enter Dr. Worth. He is kind, efficient and works incredibly fast. He has no problem letting Lover stay in the room, which calms me. I hold Lover’s hands while they prep me for the epidural, and then once a contraction passes Dr Worth begins. The epidural hurts quite a bit going in, but I feel almost instantaneous relief. The pain begins to ramp down from “this will break me in half” to “ok, I can breathe and look around again.” Dr Worth and Paula work on taping all my tubes in place, but I’m literally drenched in sweat, and the tape just slides right off my back. They redo it, and I discover later that they had to tape most of my back in order to hold things in place.
The epidural takes full effect in about twenty minutes, and I feel fantastic. I can talk again, I relax and lay back and Paula assures me that everything is progressing great. Lover looks relieved that I can talk and smile again. We chat with our nurses, Carol and Paula. Carol is training Paula and has over twenty years of experience delivering babies. We joke about how she is more qualified to deliver this baby than the doctor, and she just smiles quietly. I’m amazed at how the doctors and nurses are taking their cues from me. So different from my first delivery.
In the middle of normal conversation, our nurses suddenly insist that I lay down flat and start pulling up the rails on my bed. Nurses and the midwife rush in, and they are so busy and focused that they can barely answer my questions. All we can gather is that the baby’s heart rate suddenly plummeted, and they are prepping me for an emergency cesarean. The midwife checks me and they discover that the monitor had slipped causing an incorrect reading. Whew! Things calm down and we go back to normal.
After a little while the midwife (and the poor resident) come back in and check me again. They break my water, which I am still unsure what the reasoning for that was. I was still progressing normally, so I thought it was unnecessary, but they don’t ask and then it’s done. As they leave, Dr Tripp comes in. (He’ll be delivering the baby). He wants to discuss my ultrasound from this morning. (Only three hours ago!) He’s worried about the potential size of the baby and has concerns about her getting stuck. He’s estimating that she’s at least 10 pounds. He examines me to make sure that there is room for the baby, and I make a joke about big hips finally coming in handy. He’s worried and tells me that he will let me try to push for a few minutes, but that he thinks it highly likely I will need a C-section to get that big of a baby out. I tell him that my son’s head measured in as a 10lb baby’s head, and I got him out. I’m confident I can get this one out. He reluctantly agrees to let me try, but he’s not happy about it.
After this they start asking me every two minutes if I need to push. I still can’t really feel the contractions, and nothing feels different, so I just think it’s a weird question. In my head I’m thinking I’ve only been in labor for five hours or so, I won’t be ready for a while. Finally, I get a contraction that feels “different.” This puzzles me, and I mention it in an offhand way to our nurse. She presses a button or something, to page the doctor. Within about a minute, they are all in my room. This shocks me. Oh, we are really doing this? OK!
Dr Tripp, the queasy resident, his nurses and my nurses are all in the room. Dr Tripp says, “ok, let’s break this.” I’m like “Hold on, what are we breaking?!” I’m having visions of them breaking my pelvis or something to get this enormous baby out. “Me?” They smile and say, no they are breaking down the bed to make it the most accessible for the doctor to help me. I relax and they say, ok, with your next contraction, PUSH! I’m still shocked that we’re already at this point, but I pull my legs up and get ready.
I push, I think I get in two pushes on that contraction. I’m frustrated with myself, thinking that I’ve forgotten how to do this. I can’t feel much, and I’m upset that I don’t remember how to do this.
I push again on the next one, and say something about how I’m not doing this right. They all rush to assure me that, in fact, I am doing it right, because the baby’s head is almost out! This shocks me. When her body comes out on the next push, I feel the weirdest feeling. I can almost literally feel as she is disconnected from my body and becomes her own person.
She is pink all over and chunky! And wailing up a storm. The staff is laughing I think. They put her up on my chest immediately. I’m mildly grossed out (she is slippery and coated with all sorts of gunk.) But her eyes are open and I’m kind of in awe. She is so alive. I shush her gently, whispering, “It’s ok, baby girl.” I’m crying. I look over at Lover in wonder, I can’t believe how ok she is. I was mentally prepared after Javi’s difficult birth to have another bad one but this little girl is just perfect. She looks at me and wails a bit. I say “Shhh, mommy’s here baby girl” The nurses tell me to let her cry, that it’s good for her. I think “I’m not really trying to make her quiet, I’m just being her mommy.”
The hospital plays a lullaby when a baby is born, and I hear it now, while she’s on my chest. Lover has a huge smile and I’m still crying. It’s awesome. Keilana is still goopy though, and the nurses want to weigh her to see how big she ended up being.
She’s 9 lbs 2 ounces, and 21 and a half inches long. Not as big as they thought but still a big baby. She is so ridiculously soft and pink and plump.
I’m shaking uncontrollably. (It happens after each of my deliveries, apparently) I shake and shake and shake while Keilana gets all checked out, and the doctors do the nasty pushing on my belly thing. Dr Tripp asks the resident, what is this procedure called? I respond “torturing the poor woman who just gave birth” Dr Tripp laughs. The resident still looks traumatized. :) My guess is this guy did not go into Labor & Delivery when he was through with that rotation. The nurses bring me some warmed blankets that I hug tightly, which finally helps the shaking subside. Once I’m all fixed up and stable again, I get Keilana back, and we take our first picture with her. I feel absolutely fantastic. The epidural hasn’t worn off yet, our baby is perfect, and life is good.
We surprise everyone when we call to tell them the baby is born. She was born at 2:20pm, less than 6 hours after that first contraction. We spend the next couple of hours cuddling her, updating Facebook, and feeling awesome. I am so thrilled she is healthy, there were no complications, and I am no longer pregnant! Family trickles in throughout the next day, and my Uncle brings Javi late in the morning. Lover is holding Keilana, and I invite Javi up onto my bed and give him a big hug and kiss. Then Lover hands me Keilana, and we introduce him to his baby sister. He’s wide eyed and very careful and gentle. She starts to cry and his eyes fill with tears. He has loved her from the very first moment and has always tried to take care of her.
We beg and beg to get released early from the hospital. In the end, although they are not thrilled about it, they let us go around 6pm the next day. We are so happy to be home. We asked my uncle and aunt to keep Javi one more night, so we have a quiet evening at home just the three of us. The next morning we take Keilana to her checkup, and then pick up Javi on our way home. Now we’re all together, starting our adventure as a family of four.
Our beautiful Keilana makes us smile every day. She’s gorgeous and fierce and brave and sweet. Her laugh is one of the best things on earth. Her will is a force to be reckoned with. She loves her daddy, mimics mommy in everything and adores her big brother. We can’t imagine life without her. Welcome to the world, baby girl!