Three years ago today I was in labor. Actually, my clock says 8:42 and Erin was born at 8:48, so I was almost done with labor.
But Erin's birth story began on June 6th. I went in for my once-a-week OB appointment. My doctors (there were 3 in the practice) and I had already agreed that I would be induced on June 7th, at 38 weeks, since Cora died at 38weeks and 1 day, and I just couldn't handle the idea of going over that again. Since 38 weeks is full term, they agreed (but insisted on no earlier. Since I insisted on no later, there was only one day to choose from).
At that OB appointment, I was checked to see if my body was at a "favorable" point to be induced. It wasn't. I think I must have had a wild panicked look in my eyes because he was very quick to reassure me that there were still things that they could do, I would just have to go to the hospital that night instead of the next morning like I was scheduled. It was SUCH a relief to know that I wouldn't have to make it through another night wondering if I was going to wake up to an unmoving baby.
It was about 2pm and I was scheduled to go to the hospital at 8pm. So we went home, and leisurely got things together. We made sure that we had several outfits for Erin, the carseat, all the things I would need (like SOCKS! My feet FREEZE when I'm in labor apparently!).
It was good to be excited for labor. With Cora I was understandably dreading being induced, but the fact that Erin was kicking me very hard in the ribs still was AMAZING. I was so excited to meet her.
We went to Bajio for dinner, since it would be my last meal for a while. I think we had the nachos. We shared a plate but it was still a LOT of food. Probably not the best of ideas, actually.
We wandered up to the hospital, got there a little early, checked in, did all the paperwork. I was placed in a room and got changed and they tried to get an IV in....she got it on her second try, which is good for me, but it hurt if it wasn't just so so she spent 45 minutes taping it into place, and I still really couldn't move much. By that time it was 9pm, and the doctor who had seen me that afternoon was the one on call for the night, so he stopped in to check and see how I was doing. No change from that afternoon so they decided to place a foley catheter. A foley is basically a water balloon that fills to 2-3cm and dilates the cervix. I needed to be dilated to at least 2cm before they could start pitocin.
After the foley was placed (OW!!!), they gave me some ambien because, in the words of the nurse, "It'll make you pretty crampy and you're going to need your sleep." I fell asleep to the sound of Erin's heartbeat on the monitor. So reassuring.
Sometime between 1 am and 4 am (I'm thinking 2:30? can't really remember) I woke up and threw up all over the floor beside my bed. I still feel bad for my night nurse! When I called her, her response was a big sigh and "okay, I'll be right there." I wonder how often that happens.
At 4am she came in to check me and see how the foley was doing. To her surprise I was already dilated to 4cm and pretty thin, so she called Dr. Crouch and he gave her the okay to start the pitocin. I fell back to sleep.
Around 6:30 I woke up in pain. By 7am it was bad enough I decided I couldn't go through it alone and needed to wake Matt up. I remember yelling at him, but he says I was barely making any noise. Strange that one. Anyway, I was in a LOT of pain, and when the nurse came in she checked me. 7cm (yes, that makes it easy to remember, 4cm by 4am, 7cm by 7am), and I asked for an epidural. She started paging the on anesthesiologist on duty until the day shift came in. Unfortunately he was downstairs with my friend's 2-year-old son who was getting his tonsils and adenoids out and tubes put in his ears. That's the only reason I can forgive him his tardiness. He finally showed up at 8am, but got the epi in on the first try and pretty quickly.
I honestly don't remember them checking me again. Just suddenly the doctor was getting all his gear on and the nurses were bringing in tables. I vividly remember asking "Oh, are we ready already?" I was expecting it to still be a while. I pushed for 2 hours with Cora after all. But Erin was alive and helping and not wrapped up in her cord, so 15 minutes later there she was.
It's hard to describe how I felt at that moment. Relief was probably the dominant emotion. Relief that she was alive. I guess the only people who can really appreciate that are those who have delivered dead babies, but....I was so relieved. It wouldn't be another nightmare. Shock was the next biggest one. Was she really here? I really had a baby? What had I gotten myself into?
Joy came. And awe. I was in awe that I had made this perfect little person. I'm still in awe, actually. It's been 3 years and sometimes I still look at her and wonder where she came from.
In the baby loss community we call a baby who is born after a loss a "rainbow" baby, because rainbows bring color back into the world after a storm. And Erin certainly does that. There have been tears of frustration and pain, but even then, I'm so glad to have them. She brings such joy into my life.
Happy birthday baby girl. I love you.