So a pregnant girl walks into a bar...stop me if you've heard this one. I'm kidding. Sort of. This is not a joke, but the beginning of the birth story of Faith Janna Lindquist, our baby girl born on Thursday, June 24, 2010. Warning: somewhat graphic descriptions and one long blog post ahead!
After Rob's softball game on the night of June 23, I was tired and ready to go home. That's what 40 weeks and 4 days of pregnancy will do to you. But given the victory, he somehow convinced me to go to Boondockers and celebrate with the team. We had fun and left around 11:30 even though we'd gone to bed at 10 p.m. every night that week to get rest in case the baby decided to arrive the next day. I was also waking up early every day to put on makeup and do my hair in the event I went into labor. So much for our plans...
At about 2:30 a.m. I awoke and felt some dampness down there if you get my drift. I thought it might just be what the pregnancy books refer to as the mucous plug which, when you lose it, just means that labor could be days or weeks away. I put on fresh underoos and went back to bed only to wake up an hour later to feel more of the same down there. I woke up Rob to see what he thought I should do. He convinced me to call the nurse line and ask them what I should do. I never felt a gush of fluid, but thought maybe my water broke. The nurse said to go ahead and come on in to Labor and Delivery. One of my worst fears was to be sent home from the hospital for false labor and I expressed this to the nurse. She told me my other option was to wait until the clinic opened the next day and come in for a checkup. I chose the latter. In hindsight it was a good decision as I was able to get 4 hours of rest before I made the phone call.
I called at 8, before I showered and put on any makeup. My nurse, Toshana, asked how soon we could be there and I told her 20 minutes. Then I went into a mild panic mode, straightening up the house and double checking our hospital bag since it might be the last time we left our house as just a couple.
At this point, I wasn't sure what was going to happen, but I was leaning toward being sent home after my checkup. When Dr. Carlson checked me, she said there was definitely a lot of fluid down there and then I felt the gush everyone talks about. I'll never forget Dr. Carlson's next words: "We're going to have a baby today!" Instant tears. Instant nervousness. Instant fear of the unknown. Rob, who had somehow managed a shower before we left, was just happy.
Because my membranes ruptured before regular contractions, I needed Pitocin ASAP. This means I needed an IV asap. After being stuck four times, the 5th was a charm and the Pitocin started coursing through my veins, but not before I ate my last supper, a Special K meal replacement bar. I also got hooked up to a baby heart rate and contraction monitor. It was such a relief to hear those galloping horses, aka baby's heartrate. I was finally able to relax.
At about 10 o'clock, I disconnected my monitors to use the restroom, potentially for the last time if I received the epidural, and when I got back, I laid down on my left side as everything I read throughout pregnancy noted was the best position for baby. Soon we heard lots of beeping, which we thought was my blood pressure monitor. The nurses informed us baby's heartrate had decelerated. They propped me on my right side, which made for a happy little girl.
Even though I was only dilated to barely 3 cm, the contractions started to become uncomfortable. Rob enjoyed watching the monitor and telling me when I was due for another one...not recommended! For some reason, I was hoping to wait until at least 4-5, maybe 7 cms to get the epidural...to see if I could handle the pain I guess, but with c-sections scheduled throughout the day, I needed to make my decision and quickly. I choose the pain meds, and it is a decision I will never, ever regret. The relief was fairly instantaneous, and the needle - not that scary. Starting at 11 a.m., I was able to relax and hold conversations with my visitors throughout the day. My sisters, bearing flowers,
and stepmom came to visit me in the early afternoon, as did my mom. They left in between my "checks" and I progressed nicely, from 4-5 to 7 by 5 p.m. Docs weren't sure if the baby would wait until after midnight to make her appearance, but I had my heart set on Thursday at this point (25 o 6 2-4, right mom...whatever that means).
The afternoon and early evening is kind of a blur, but I remember thinking how quickly time was passing. Then I started to feel contractions again. I hit the blue button (hesitantly) a couple of times to boost the pain meds, but I think that thing is a placebo. It didn't seem to work and I didn't want to push it too many times for fear I wouldn't be able to push my baby out when the time came. Rob was a lifesaver during the contractions. He just kept calmly telling me to think about breathing and not the pain. I must have said the words "I'm hungry," 234 times in between the hours of 8-10. The 10 hours of not eating was tough. Soon it was about 10:30 and I was due for another check...full dilation, holy crap.
Now Rob wasn't planning to hold a leg or coach me through it. We just wanted to get the advice of the professionals and heed their words. Well, Rob was instructed to grab a leg for a practice push and didn't hesitate to do so. Unfortunately, he got the right leg, which was complete dead weight since I was lying on my right side since noon. I don't like to brag, but after my first push, they told me to stop and immediately paged Dr. Carlson to my room. They wanted me to labor for 10 more minutes so she wouldn't miss the delivery. Soon the room transformed. Things came out of the ceiling and more people piled in. Once everyone was in place, I began pushing with every contraction. Rob was the one who pushed me to push the most. Everyone was so encouraging though. I'm not sure exactly how long I pushed but it wasn't more than 15 to 20 minutes and it didn't really hurt at all thanks to my new bff, the epidural. Rob even watched her come into the world, something he definitely didn't plan on and when I asked he what it was like, he simply replied, "amazing."
Once her head was out, doctors told me to push as hard as I could. We later learned why: her cord was wrapped around her neck AND her body, tightly, unfortunately. Once they unwound the cord, they placed her on my chest. I felt her little arm and it was right then and there in that moment I realized Rob and I created a life together and there is absolutely nothing in this whole world more gratifying than that. The nurses whisked her away to check her vitals; thank God, she pinked right up and started crying. Music to my ears. Dr. Carlson and Dr. Huff were stitching me up down there (another point for Mr. Epidural) but I wasn't paying attention. I was staring at my baby's chest moving up and down and thanking God for a healthy little girl. 7 pounds 1 ounce, 20 and 1/2 inches long and perfect in the eyes of her mom and dad.
Dr. Carlson asked us if we wanted to see the placenta and when we both declined, she poo poo'ed us and showed us anyway. This was where my baby had taken up residence in the past 9 months and how she got her nourishment. It was pretty cool.
We decided to attempt to breastfeed before our visitors could see her and it went well. In case anyone is contemplating nursing, I would highly recommend it as it's the best bonding experience one could ask for. I got to stare down at my daughter and figure out who she looked like. I decided neither of us, just a beautiful little girl.
Rob went to spread the good news to our family members in the waiting room, where he told them the name we'd been withholding for the past nine months.
Faith Janna Lindquist. I know my sisters were worried she'd look a little funky after coming out of the womb, and I had prepared myself for it, but she didn't look weird at all. She looked adorable and everyone loved her instantly.
After everyone cleared out, it was time for the nurse to give the baby her first bath. She screamed through the entire thing.
I was too busy chowing down on the pancakes I'd ordered from room service. They tasted like the Hungry Jack made them himself. Mmmmm.
By this time it was almost one o'clock in the morning and I was exhausted, as was Faith, and Rob was even looking forward to the couch/chair from hell at this point. A few more vitals checks and we were left alone with our baby for the first time. I told Rob we make beautiful babies and that I loved him. I told Faith I love her too and kissed her. It's completely true what they say, it's different when they are your own. Before I even met my baby, I knew I would go to the end of the Earth for her. After meeting her, I would go there a million times if it meant keeping her safe and happy. That's all that matters. She's only one week old and already she's left footprints on our hearts.
Faith Janna Lindquist, I love you baby girl.
p.s. I love my new title :)