Me, awful unpreventable stretchmarks and all, a week before Edie was born
Once we finally found a parking spot, Dave carried the bags and I waddled into the labor and delivery unit. While we did the hospital tour and were told what to do, I drew a complete blank. We filled out piles of paperwork and were shown to our labor and delivery room. Dave helped me change into my hospital gown, and I was hooked up to a bunch of monitors and IVs. After a doctor, a midwife, and a bunch of nurses checked to make sure my water was "really broken," I was official admitted! I was also incredibly angry that I wasn't allowed to eat anything (no one ever tells you that!).
Because I tested positive for Group B Strep, I had to have an antibiotic IV. Wowie, it burned so bad. It might have been one of the worst parts of the whole experience. Nothing a good ice pack couldn't help. I was also introduced to several other doctors, nurses, and medical students. I was told that if anything should go wrong, about seven people would rush in, and it's good to know who would be there to help me. I was also told I should be expect to be in labor for about sixteen hours. It was really strange how many different doctors you meet and questions you are asked when having a baby. I had a medical student take my history. Another anesthesiology student counted my teeth (yes, counted my teeth!) in case one of my teeth were knocked out during a "worst-case scenario," as it was so nicely put. Lots of people were coming in to my room, lifting my gown and checking "down there" and spitting out crazy numbers I had no idea what they meant. It was a very bizarre experience.
I was allowed to labor for about five hours, with little progress. Not much was changing. I was given Pitocin to help move contractions along. My nurse said that once I started to have contractions, I would really have them. And she was right. They came so fast and so intensely that it left me breathless. But, I was still hungry. The night before, I had baked cookies and cupcakes for Dave to hand out to his students (they were scheduled for finals on the 9th, and I always like them to have a happy "end of semester" treat). I tried to convince him to go to the car and get me some goodies, but he played by doctor's orders. I'll never forgive him. Anyway, I was having contractions every 4-5 minutes for about two hours, but I was barely dilated (still only about 3cm). I decided to get an epidural around 5pm. Dave was great - he held my hand through the whole thing. It was incredibly scary. The anesthesiologist brought in this gigantic chest (like a really tall Craftsman tool chest) that was filled with loads of equipment. And HUGE needles. She was incredibly sweet and walked me through the whole process, how it would feel, and how it would impact the rest of labor and my delivery. She first numbed my back and spine, then performed the epidural. I think I said "Goddamn" once or twice. Yeah, it hurt, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would. I'm very glad I had it, though, because I was able to somewhat enjoy the rest of the process, and it allowed me to be "in the moment" instead of struggling through pain.
My contractions continued to get closer together, but I wasn't dilating any faster. Little Edith was ready to get out, however, and wiggled her way further and further down the birth canal. Around 7pm, I told my nurse that I really felt like I had to push. She didn't really believe me, but she had the doctor come in and check my progress. Indeed, Edie was pretty far down. The doctors began to worry about me having an inverted uterus. I was given a medicine to stop the contractions, and then I started having "labor shakes." I think Dave thought I was having a seizure. I was really, really cold, and I think my hormones were so rampant that I was physically shaking. Warm blankets were comforting, but not much relief. Around 7:30pm, the baby heart rate monitor started to make a lot of alarming noise. And, just like the nurse said, about seven people rushed in to see what the problem was. It turned out that poor little Edie was in a lot of distress, and had squirmed so much she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her legs. Her heart beat had dropped dangerously low, to about 40 beats per minute. I was given a hairnet, Dave a set of scrubs, and we were told as soon as an operating room was open, we were going in. Having a c-section was my biggest fear, and needless to say, I started to freak a little bit. Dave called my parents, who were on their way to Albany, to let them know the news. In the brief moment Dave turned his back to me, I was whisked away to have the baby.
In the operating room, I was given anesthesia that made me incredibly nauseous. But, because I was numb from the chest down, I couldn't really throw-up properly. I mentioned that I wasn't feeling well, and was told that if I needed to be sick, to say something and the nurse would grab me a pail. Well, I told her, and she did, but it was more projectile vomit. I wasn't able to cough the rest up, and started to choke, so I had to have a suction pipe pushed down my throat. I was so scared, I honestly thought I was going to die. Once Dave was allowed in, I calmed a bit. The sheet went up, and soon after, little Edith made her very dramatic entrance into the world at 8pm. She had little tufts of sandy blonde hair, big blue eyes, even bigger feet (so big, in fact, she pulled the nurse's stethoscope off with her toes right after she was born!) was 20.1 inches long and weighed in at 7lbs, 1oz. She was perfect.
Edie was taken to the nursery for a short time while I was in the recovery room. About an hour later, we were reunited and she nursed for the first time. Because it was late and there was no one else in the recovery room, Dave was allowed to keep me company. My parents finally arrived and went right to Edith, completely overlooking me. Edie and I were wheeled into the maternity ward around 11pm for our first night together.
The night after Edie was born (Wednesday), the Albany area experienced one of the worst ice storms we had ever seen. Some people were without power for a whole month! The amount of time we spent in the hospital largely depended on my recovery, and not knowing if we had any power when we got home was incredibly nerve wracking. Dave took turns spending the night with me and spending the night at home, just to make sure all was well on Silly Goose Farm. The recovery process went very smoothly for me. My incision healed well, although I was sore for a few months after Edie was born. I was at the hospital until Friday afternoon. The ice that covered every tree, every rooftop on the drive back to the farm made it feel that the whole world was glowing just for little Edith. We snuggled at home next to a cozy fire in the glow of the Christmas tree. And all seemed right with the world.
Parenting is definitely not easy. But it's very much worth it. I think about all the sleepless nights, the temper-tantrums, the general crankiness, the never being able to take a day off that Dave and I have gone through for the past two years, and then I think about how perfect Edie's birthday was this year. She is such a funny, kind, loving and caring little person. So smart and so cunning. I feel like she's been that way from Day One. I'm just here to help her grow into the person she always has been; to help her realize her path in life.
I love you, Edie Peedie.