Just over a decade ago, I went in for my regular prenatal checkup. I was approaching my due date, but there were no signs that the baby was even thinking about making her debut. My doctor told us he would be going on vacation in eight days, which was past my due date, but we weren't too hopeful that the baby would come before then. I went home and talked to Kent and we agreed that we definitely wanted Dr. Baird to deliver the baby before he left. I wanted to be induced that Friday so I could finish the work week and have a weekend with Kent home. He wanted to wait until Monday or Tuesday with the idea that he could probably get excused from a final exam or two. We ended up flipping for it, and I won! (There really are some advantages to being induced, especially when you can make it fit your schedule!)
That night we went to the hospital to get things started. I had such a good experience with a skilled nurse when I delivered my first baby naturally that I did not plan to get an epidural this time. We dropped our Lamaze notebook in the overnight bag, figuring a quick skim at the hospital would help us remember all the relaxation techniques. (Oh how young and foolish we were!) A nurse got me started with Prostaglandin gel and we tuned into a PBS show about physics and atoms that some of the nurses watched with us. (It was quite good.) As with my first delivery, the gel again put me into labor before I was "ripe" enough for pitocin, and within 15 minutes, I was having regular contractions three minutes apart.
I was a little nervous to learn that the nurse assigned to me was in training and she had never helped with a natural birth before. THAT would have been a good time to read through the Lamaze book. Instead, I asked to use the jetted hot tub--which was wonderful! I was in there for over an hour and I felt only two of the contractions, which were still consistently three minutes apart. I even started to fall asleep.
At 1:15 a.m., they gave me more prostin, but I couldn't get in the tub again. The prostin made my contractions harder but, I was dilating only one centimeter per hour. By 3:00 a.m., at six or seven centimeters, the contractions were so hard and close that I was sure I couldn't go another three hours without painkillers. My poor nurse didn't know how to help or coach me, but just stood in front of the computer monitoring all the pain I was feeling. When I finally reached eight centimeters, my nurse's supervising RN came in to help me breathe through the contractions in a focused way, and she stayed with me through the rest of labor, which finally picked up some speed and I soon felt ready to push.
However, my doctor wasn't ready for me to push. There was only one other patient in the hospital that night...who happened to share my doctor...and who happened to also be pushing her baby out at that exact moment! When I asked, my nurse admitted that the other woman was on an epidural and she didn't know why he couldn't just come help me deliver and then go back. She offered to break my water, but her fingernail couldn't break the thick membrane. So instead she helped me resist the urge to push and I breathed through two very strong contractions. The nurse in training ran between the two patient rooms keeping my doctor updated on my progress, and me updated on the other mom's progress. Dr. Baird promised to come as soon as the other baby was born, but I was done breathing through contractions. I asked the supervising nurse to deliver my baby instead. She put on some gloves and sat down for my first push, which broke the amniotic sac. My doctor ran in just then, put on a gown and gloves, and sat down as I began the second push that delivered her head. One more push got our baby out into the world where Kent stood by with a camera. Dr. Baird let him cut the cord, gave me a couple stitches, and then ran back to finish with his other patient. Poor guy--it's a good thing he had a vacation coming up!
Our baby was born at 5:10 a.m. on Friday, April 14, my only baby born before the due date (which was April 15). When we took her home Saturday morning, the world was clean and fresh from two days of rain, and everything smelled--and was--wonderful. (Except that Kent still had to take finals!) She was 8 lbs. 3 oz. and 20.5 inches long. Kent and I had discussed names for this daughter, and were 90% sure she would be Maeana Aspen. However, when we saw her we both knew that wasn't supposed to be her name. So we pulled out the name book at started looking in the 'M's. We found a first and middle name we liked, which combined mean "beloved maiden". It did take me a while to get used to her name, and a few times when friends called to know about her, I would have to walk outside and look at the congratulatory poster hung by our door as my reference for answering their question as to her name.
#2 turned out to be a VERY difficult baby--to the point that if she had been our first and I didn't already know that some babies were nice, she would have been an only child. But within a few years she proved to be our most loving and caring child. She has buckets of patience for her siblings and is always there to cheer someone up or to share her bed with a younger brother or sister who is too scared to sleep alone. She is a good help to me, a great student, and a true friend to those in her open circle. Happy birthday to our beloved Mally.