Monday, May 14, 2012

Oh, It's A Novel

I realized recently that I'm in danger of letting facebook ruin my bloggy. It's super convenient to just snap a photo and put it up there and tell lots of people I know about the things happening in our life - but what I value most about this page is the record it keeps for us. We look back through the (SIX!!!) years we've had it and can see our kiddos grow...I don't want to lose that!

So, without further ado, the less-abridged story of the arrival of Katherine Claire Fischer.

This picture was taken the day before Katie was born. I wanted to make sure I had a "last" pregnant picture and I think this giant belly works. We were so large!

Tuesday morning I had an appointment with my midwife. She did a little magic trick they can do, and I spent the rest of the day on the beach and hanging out with my kiddos and my husband's parents who had driven down to help with all of this. By 9:15pm, I was tracking not-too-painful contractions on my cell phone. They were about 30 seconds long and 6 minutes apart. When I called L&D, the nurse told me to wait until they became "real" contractions at least 45 seconds long and too painful to talk through. That happened around midnight, so I called my in-laws to come back while I paced around the house, giving myself pep-talks about how awesome I was doing. My mother-in-law called during a contraction and asked whether my water had broken and a few other things but I wasn't really able to answer...because my belly hurt. =)

We went up to the hospital and I listened to other people yelling and crying all around. I warned my mother-in-law that would be me in a couple of hours but I hoped I'd be able to hold it together. I was NOT happy to find out that I was still at a very posterior, non-stretchy 1cm, and that we were getting sent home. Apparently, however, it was a super crazy night with the recent full moon, so maybe it was better I didn't have to wait around there.

We got back to the house around 3:30am. Elaine went upstairs to get a few minutes' sleep and I went back to my room. Carly had come down around 10:30 to sleep with me because she had a nightmare, so I tried to be really quiet. It wasn't too long before I had to vocalize a little through my contractions, and I began humming, which woke her up. She wanted to rub my belly to make it feel better, which was so sweet! It did make me feel guilty though, because it's not my little girl's job to take care of ME, so I explained that the baby was on her way and the muscles of my belly and back were squeezing really hard and hurting a little bit (okay, so I lied about the "little" part. I didn't want her to worry.) and I was going to walk around to make it feel better. I did just that, too, walking around my dark neighborhood, leaning on trees and people's mailboxes and moaning through contractions. Pretty sure I was barefoot, too. Awesome! But hey, I was doing it all alone and still able to keep up the self-encouragement, so it wasn't all bad.

When the sun started to rise and I saw a few of my neighbors start moving around, I took myself back to the mancave and listened to some hypnobabies tracks, sat in Paul's truck for a little while (sitting still is not good for managing labor pain, just to note) and tried to keep it together. Eventually the girls found me and I came back into my bed. At that point, I needed someone to press their fists into my lower back so I started yelling for someone to come back to the room - thus panicking everyone, great job, Liz! - but it got me what I needed at the time. Yay, counterpressure! Carly's little freaked-out face was just too much for me, so we left again for the hospital around 6:45.

....which ensured we arrived on base right in the middle of rush hour. I yelled and moaned through a pretty good number of contractions and the gate guard just waved us through when he saw me all twisted around holding onto stuff and grimacing. I did SO good keeping my face calm, but driving is not so good for managing labor pains, either. =)

Okay, so Elaine dropped me off at the door and I waddled my miserable way past pediatrics and past the lab, both of which were PACKED with people staring at me as I shuffled past. Once I rounded the corner I stopped and leaned against the wall to try and get through a contraction, which is when I traumatized my first service member of the day. He was a fireman and he made the grave mistake of asking me if I needed help - lucky for me (and him), he has a couple of kids, so when I asked him to press on my lower back he knew just what to do. The poor unsuspecting 20-year old (if that) Marine I saw at the next contraction? Oh GOSH that poor guy is probably still telling the story. I had to tell him twice to push harder and he was looking all around like, "ummm." He did it though, which was great. So then someone directed me to the wrong elevator and I was wandering around when a corpsman (Navy person who does medical things) stopped and asked where I was going. I just said, "Where do you THINK I'm going?!" So rude! But whatever! He got me a wheelchair and said it was okay and took me straight to L&D.

This is getting really long - sorry - but one day I may want to remember. =) I was also pretty condescending and rude to the guy behind the triage desk who asked me why I was there immediately after I leaned against the wall and the five or six masked-and-gowned doctors and nurses getting ready to enter the O.R. all told me to breathe through what was a particularly hard contraction, but that was his own fault. If you work at L&D triage and a lady who is 39weeks and 6days shows up having contractions, you don't have to ask why she's there. Honestly. So the nurse who checked me first said I was at a 3-4 and that I would have to walk around for a couple of hours. I burst into tears and started hitting something, a wall maybe? I forget, right in front of me and saying something about how I couldn't do it because my husband wasn't HERE and I couldn't do it without him. I apparently forgot that all the walls in triage are curtains and everybody on the floor could hear my hissy fit...but y'all seriously, labor freaking HURTS and at that point I could see no end in sight and only knew it was going to get way worse. This is where I extended my traumatizing skills to my mother-in-law. I'm pretty sure watching me lose my everlovin mind was really bizarre to see. So then in comes a doctor who checks and says I'm at a four and yay I can be admitted...this whole process probably took the better part of an hour but time is weird when you're in that much pain.

For the record - I know lots of people who do natural childbirth and swear by it. I will never be able to understand the WHY or the HOW. They may insist that a gentle childbirth is one that involves no drugs or interventions, but in my experience, THAT is not gentle at all. It's awful. Gentle is being able to be present and calm...which for me is best accomplished with the aid of meds. I still think those ladies are total rockstars even though I cannot even fathom....anyway, moving on.

So anyway, enter fentanyl for pain and phenergan to chill me the heck out and I was much happier. A few minutes later, here comes the anesthesiologist and the lovely blessed, wonderful, amazing miracle of the epidural. God bless the epidural and all who administer it!

We called the Family Readiness Officer to tell him I was admitted. Within five minutes: he called the Remain Behind Element CO, who used the super secure phone line to call over to the big base close to where Paul is, then that guy called the patrol base where Paul is and someone ran to get Paul who then called us. Amazing.

My friend Terra stopped by to see how it was going, Paul called several times and I slept off and on while Elaine stayed there in the room and read magazines, probably trying to recover a little from everything she'd had to witness over the preceding six hours. See below: happy, drugged-up Liz. Fentanyl makes me hilarious, by the way.

Oh yeah, and Exhibit B about why I love the epidural. The top line is the baby's heart rate and the bottom line are my pretty-irregular but SERIOUSLY intense contractions. Like that first one? The one that goes OFF the charts? Yeah...still super happy I wasn't feeling that guy.

My water broke around noon, and around 3:20, we spoke with Paul. Ten minutes later, Dr. Fofi - the family medicine resident taking care of me - checked and said I was all the way dilated and effaced and Katie was at 0 station. She suggested we try a little push to see what happened. Elaine had stepped out of the room to take a phone call (and also to not have to see all of the everything). I pushed a little bit and the look on all the nurses' faces when Bree went from 0 to -2 in about ten seconds was priceless. They were like OH OKAY, wellll let's get the room ready then! They went and got Elaine, set up some stuff, called in the extra staff and we were ready to go. I should note right here that even though there were at least ten people in the room, I felt very peaceful. I was so excited to meet my girl! Because she was so close, I didn't have to wait for contractions to push, and just kept going for about five minutes. I could feel her crowning, then boom there she was on my chest! Elaine was taking lots of pictures on her phone to send to family so we could get them up on facebook where it is easiest for Paul to see photos. They were posted within a few minutes and he called us within literally a minute of us contacting the FRO again.

With Bree, there was no issue of clearing her lungs, believe me. Katie Claire had poo'ed right before she was born, so they brought her to the warming bed to make sure her little lungs were okay and everything was fine.

Elaine left shortly after that to go back to the house and get Dave and the girls. She was the only one allowed to drive on base, so she had to be the taxi. During the time she was away, I had a little bleeding issue that was resolved fairly quickly if not painlessly, and I was all better by the time the girls arrived. Carly was still totally skeeved, especially since we were still in the labor suite with all the crazy stuff in the bathroom and my legs still weren't completely working yet.

Carly making faces back at her baby sister. =)
MomMom and Katie Claire!

Katie's first pajamas from Aunt Anna - so darn cute and almost outgrown.

Over the course of our stay in the hospital, we had so many visitors! It was wonderful to have so many friends come by - my apologies to Victoria (sideways picture!!!) Darn Picasa keeps flipping her sideways.



Euna Garrett said...

Congratulations, Liz!! She's beautiful :) And I totally agree with you - epidurals are like gifts from God!!

KKGhoffman said...

Thanks for posting on your blog and not just facebook :)
I hope things are going good at home. Katie Claire is so cute

Sylvia - Mommy said...

I love labor stories! Everyone's experiences are just so different. And may I add: after trying to go naturally, I'm pretty sure I'll always ask for an epidural in the future =) lol

Okay, so I just balled my eyes out because I canNOT even imagine you having to go through this without Paul. I know you didn't have an option, but you are amazing!

Katie is a major cutie pie! :) I also love the looks on Carly and Bree's faces. So cute!