It’s hard to know exactly where to start when relaying Kara’s birth story. Do I start with the 36.5-week appointment when my doctor told me to expect the baby within a week or two, or my 37.5-week appointment when she basically told me to expect her any minute?
We could start at 9 pm on Friday night when I started contracting every 15 minutes or the next morning when they got even closer and we took a dry run to the hospital.
But I think the best place to start is at 9:15 on Saturday morning when my water broke as I was walking out to the living room. Given our disappointment from the day before, it was fairly easy to stay calm as we grabbed our hospital bags (which were already packed). I even asked Steve to stop by Hardee’s on the way to the hospital. Hey, if I was going to be laboring for however long, I wanted to start off with as big of a meal as I could manage.
We got to the hospital at about 9:45. The nurse who came down to wheel me to L&D finally managed to find the room and get us up there at about 10:15 and the nurse came in to do a test to make sure my water had indeed broken. By the time the test came back half an hour later, the real pain of labor had begun. I asked for the epidural and they hooked me up to IV fluids and said the anesthesiologist would come by when the bag was half gone.
Within about 20 minutes of being hooked up to the IV, my contractions were incredibly intense and a minute or less apart. And the anesthesiologist was stuck in the OR. By the time he got to me at 12:30, I was fully dilated. That’s right—I did pretty much the entire thing without drugs. I couldn’t have done it without my husband, who stayed at my side every second. I have to say that nature is kind, though—while I know that it was definitely the most intense pain I could ever imagine feeling, I already can’t remember exactly what it felt like.
But on with the story. Since an epidural was pretty much useless by the time the anesthesiologist got to me, I opted for a saddle block so I could rest and have time to actually anticipate the birth before it was time to push. I got to talk to my parents and gather my strength.
Just as the saddle block started wearing off, it was time to push. I pushed three times—and it only took that many because the doctor advised me to do small pushes the first two times so I wouldn’t tear so badly—and Kara Alice made an incredibly smooth entrance from life in utero to life in the wide world.
The doctor finished taking care of me and then left Steve and me alone with Kara for a good long while. She nursed like a natural and stared quietly around for a good long time. The hospital took excellent care of all of us, and Kara even let us sleep for a 5-hour stretch that first night.
We were discharged from the hospital at 4:00 on Sunday and have spent the week being spoiled and pampered by both sets of Kara’s grandparents. Kara’s had her first visit with the pediatrician and everything looks great!