Gemma’s Birth Story (Part 2)
So, I was pretty sure my water had broken, but I also wanted lunch. I also hadn’t packed my hospital bag (procrastinator for lyfe). I knew if I told the nurses what had happened, they would make me stay, so I kept my mouth shut as they cheerfully waved to me and told me to enjoy the rest of my day, since my induction was planned for early in the morning. I called Joe as I left, and told him that he probably wasn’t going to finish his day at work, then headed home to get a bite to eat and throw some things in a bag.
My dad had brought a lot of food with him from New York as a family Christmas gift for my sister and I, but all the food was still at my house. When I got home, the older kids were napping, so I found my mom downstairs and updated her as to what was going on, and was thinking of any last-minute instructions my parents would need for the next few days. My dad decided that since I’d be in the hospital for a few days, maybe this would be a good time to divide up the food between what stayed at my house and what went to my sister’s family, so we split it up and made room in my freezer. Joe rushed home and was surprised that not only was I not ready to walk out the door, but I was also not packed. I guess I just didn’t feel like I needed to hurry that much? I’m not sure.
I did call the hospital and let them know that I’d be coming back, and we headed off. Since both of the previous times we got checked in at midnight after laboring at home all day, it was weird to leave in the middle of the afternoon, knowing that we would be meeting our baby soon.
When we got there, my nurse confirmed that my water had broken (a trickle, they called it, so that explains why I wasn’t 100% positive), and laughed at me for not telling her when I was there two hours ago. My doctor got called in, and as he walked in he said, “Or we could just have a baby today.” They broke my water the rest of the way, he left, and I was left to labor for awhile. My contractions were getting stronger, but not terrible, so I chatted with Joe, watched TV, walked around the room a bit and tried out the birthing ball. I think it was the first time I sat down on it that I felt a huge gush. Since my water didn’t break with the first two, I was surprised at how much there was. It happened a few more times–I remember texting my best friend that I was pretty sure this baby had been swimming in an ocean.
After a couple of hours, I decided I was about ready to be done with breathing through contractions and asked for the epidural (which was the plan all along). The nurse checked me and I was at a six, up from four when I checked in three hours before. Joe had ordered Jimmy John’s for dinner, along with all the nursing staff, and I thought about having him add something for me to the order, but figured that I’d still have plenty of time after.
Around that time, the nurses changed shifts and my night nurse got all updated on where things were and my history. Since Sophie went from 8cm to crowning in 30 minutes, they wanted to be sure to keep an eye on me. My doctor was also hesitant to leave for the evening, since last time he ran red lights to make it in time for the delivery. My nurse checked me, and even though it had been two hours, I was still only at a six. She left me with strict instructions to tell her if I felt anything whatsoever, because the odds were good I wouldn’t have much time after that.
I remembered my nurse from Grace’s delivery and I loved her. We chatted about names and how we were waiting to find out the baby’s gender. She loved the story of my niece’s birth (at the same hospital) when they initially announced, “It’s a boy!” and made sure to tell my doctor to get it right for us. I loved that I finally got to relax from the pain, and just enjoy the anticipation of what was coming while watching some cable.
Awhile later, I thought that maybe I was starting to feel a bit of pressure, and maybe I should have the nurse check me. I was trying to decide if I should wait it out just a bit longer, since I had been stuck at six for so long, but she made my decision for me when she came in the room. Apparently she couldn’t take the suspense any longer. As soon as she checked me, she told me the baby’s head was right there and that I better not push yet. Right-o. She and another nurse (also from Grace’s birth) came and prepped the room–and my nurse gloated that she was going to win. The second nurse was assigned to another mom who was in labor, but I was going first so she came to assist me. (I don’t remember the contest part of the prenatal classes, but maybe I was snoozing?) I decided I wanted the TV turned off at this point (less visual + audio chaos) and quickly discovered that its reflective, flat surface doubled as a mirror of… everything. I focused all of my attention on not pushing yet and now avoiding the TV.
My doctor hurried in and suited up, and the nurses helped me get my epidural-heavy legs into the stirrups. One of them commented that as she moved my leg, she saw the baby’s head. I think I pushed all of two times, and the doctor double-checked (thanks to the story of my niece) before announcing that it was a girl! Gemma Catherine was born at 8:44 pm. I held her for a few minutes, ecstatic that we had another girl! and she was finally here! before they examined her. Everyone had been making their guesses on the baby’s weight, and when they placed her in the warmer to weigh her I saw four jaws drop.
I got stitches, the nurses took care of getting Gemma and me cleaned up, and the room cleared out. By this time, the other laboring mom needed the nursing staff, plus another one was coming in that night, so we were mostly left alone. We enjoyed getting to call our families, and I was looking forward to finally eating something. Of course, by this time it was about 10 pm, and pretty much everything in our small town was closed. My options from the nursing station were toast, or toast. (Note: next time listen to instinct and order the sandwich, even if it’s hours early.) Luckily, I was too tired to care very much, and mostly was interested in hanging out with Joe and our newest baby instead.
My parents brought Grace and Sophie in the next morning to meet Gemma, and it was so much fun. All the girls knew was that the baby was born, but they didn’t know anything else until after they walked in the room. Even with a giant pink sign on my door, it still took a few minutes for it to sink in.
They climbed all over my bed, held Gemma, explored my hospital room, and wondered just how much the baby was going to be sleeping? It was funny and exhausting and now that I think about it, pretty typical for how life with these three is.