It’s been almost four weeks and I don’t want another second to pass before I write down how my second baby girl came into this world.
We were almost a week past my due date. Four days past to be exact. Five if we’re going by my charts. I was 2cm dilated and not thinned out for my 39 and 40 week checkups. I went in for another ultrasound to check her fluid levels and for a nonstress test to see how baby girl was doing. She still had plenty of fluids, and was looking healthy as ever. She was in no hurry to leave and we didn’t have any urgent need to get her out.
I asked if the nurse practitioner would strip my membranes and get things going. She tried but said my cervix was too long and she couldn’t reach it. That confused me cause I’d think if anything my cervix would be high, not long. But what do I know?
She asked if I wanted the midwife to try but I decided nah, I’m good. Enough people up my junk for one day.
People asked me if I’d tried acupuncture, or a chiropractor, lots of sex… I wasn’t feeling desperate enough for all that. She was either gonna come on her own, or get evicted in a few more days.
I had to call my doctor’s office a few times to make sure my induction was scheduled. My OB was working both Thursday and Friday but Thursday was sooner. She delivered my other two babies and I thought it would be awesome if she could go three for three. She’s pretty awesome and in high demand, but I was crossing my fingers.
I still hoped maybe Monday or Tuesday night something might happen on its own. I was having contractions on and off but nothing super strong, and not real consistent. Still, my son had been five days late and I went into labor on my own, so I had hope that would be a possibility again.
Each day was a little more frustrating but I felt better knowing there was an end in sight. And I tried to really enjoy the last few days as a family of four. My husband and I went on a date and we watched the first season of Stranger Things (which turned out to be a bad combination with my weird pregnancy dreams).
We went to the outlet mall all together and before that I took my kids to the zoo. I knew I wasn’t going to be getting out of the house with them much once the baby was born so we tried to make the most use of our time.
Thursday rolled around and we were scheduled to get things going at 7am. On the way in I felt so nervous. We would be going home with a baby. My husband and I rolled up about 7:30. All the paperwork was ready for us and I got my bracelets on and they walked us to our room.
“This is kind of nice,” I said. I felt easy to have everything planned and ready to go.
I changed into one of the hospital gowns I had packed for labor. I brought my own for the delivery of my first two, and I thought I’d do the same for my third.
The next little bit I met my nurse, Lori, who was just getting off maternity leave herself. She was so sweet. She said we had the same doctor.
“Oh, did she deliver you?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “Well, she was my doctor who helped get me pregnant.”
“Did you have a homebirth?” I asked.
She did! Not totally surprising. I can understand how it wouldn’t be super fun to give birth where you work.
She put my IV in, asked me a few questions, then gave me the rundown of what would be happening next. I asked if I’d just have my water broken or get pitocin or both. She said they’d start with breaking my water then start me on pitocin and go up a small dose bit by bit and if me and the baby were responding well they’d keep going, or back off.
She asked me if I would want an epidural and I said yes. But I could stand to wait a little. I recalled how my last two times they wanted me to be 4 or 5cm or so. But she said they wouldn’t make me wait for it. My husband was like “yea she’s getting it.” Ready to go ahead and get that going.
“I’ve had it twice before,” I told her. “It worked great, no complications.” I should have knocked on wood.
Around 8am an OB resident (I believe, she wasn’t my OB but helping her out that morning) came in and checked me. I was 2.5cm dilated and 70% effaced. At least it seemed like those contractions I’d been feeling had finally done a little something.
She broke my water and I didn’t feel a pop or a gush like I expected. Lori asked if it broke and the doctor was all “yep, it’s clear!” I didn’t believe it either but I guess it was just a slow trickle. Unlike the waterfall I felt with the other two.
It wasn’t until my husband started making me laugh a little later that I believed my water was actually broken. Either that or I was uncontrollably peeing on myself.
“Do you guys have a name picked out?” Lori asked while filling in our details on the whiteboard.
“Aliyah,” I said. “A-L-I-Y-A-H.”
My husband and I had been debating the spelling for months. He wanted it Aaliyah but I wanted just one A.
He didn’t object.
When Lori stepped out I asked him if he was ok with that.
“Yea, it looks good like that,” he said.
I had a feeling dropping the subject until I was in labor was a good idea. How can you deny your wife’s name choice when she’s about to give birth to your child?
Sometime within the hour my OB came and checked me. We all made guesses on what time I’d deliver and how much she’d weigh. I guessed first.
“Eight pounds, 2pm” I said.
My husband guessed just over 8 pounds and an optimistic delivery time of 12:30pm.
Lori eyed over my belly and guessed 8.5 pounds and my doctor guessed over 9 pounds and a 3:08 delivery time.
“Really?!” I said. Everyone had me convinced this baby was going to be my smallest. No swollen feet. Strangers all saying I look so small. And let’s not forget the 36 week ultrasound that said my baby was in the 26th percentile and looking to be about 5.5lbs. That ultrasound had be downing protein drinks and french fries for the remainder of my pregnancy.
I was chilling through my contractions for the most part. They were getting more uncomfortable but not unbearable. I knew if I got up to walk around it may have helped, but I felt like I just wanted to take a nap and relax a little.
My husband asked me if I was ready to go ahead and get my epidural. I said maybe. He took that as a heck yes and he requested it for me the next time Lori came in.
While we waited for the anesthesiologist, the contractions got more intense. About this time with my other two babies I had demerol through my IV to take the edge off. This may have been part of the reason why my epidural experience was less delightful.
You look really young. Was what went through my mind when I saw the doctor walk in ready to stick a needle in my spine hook me up with some pain drugs. You’re probably younger than I am. I don’t know what I think about that.
I didn’t say any of these things out loud but I was thinking this dude probably barely knew what he was doing and I really hoped he wasn’t clocking training hours with me.
He had me turn over to the side of the bed and that’s when I felt the huge gush of water I was expecting earlier. It went all down the side of the bed onto the floor and I was kinda like “whoops!”
The anesthesiologist noted the amniotic fluid which I was slightly embarrassed by. I mean, it’s all warm and coming out of your nether regions. It feels like you’re peeing yourself. I kept apologizing.
Lori was all “oh man, your cute gown!” but I was like nah, girl don’t worry, I’ve got another in my bag.
The anesthesiologist numbed my back then put in the epidural. Right away I knew it felt strange. I wasn’t sure if he didn’t numb me correctly or what but it felt off. Not centered.
“Ok, this is a little off center,” he said. As if reading my mind. “I’m going to need you to align your hips and try this again.”
Seriously? You’ve got one job!
I hunched over again after adjusting, squeezed the pillow and prayed this part would be over fast, and that the dang thing would work. I was wishing I had some demerol at this point cause the sensation of the epidural going down my back was so sharp in my mind and not lovely.
A minute later he was done. I took a sigh of relief and sat back. He said he’d be back to check on me shortly but Lori stayed with me.
After a few minutes I started to feel a little woozy, as if I had had demerol. I debated saying anything or giving it a few minutes and see if it wore off. But it seemed every second got worse. I started to feel light headed. Then I started to think of all of the articles I’d read earlier this year about black mothers in the US having way higher mortality rates and I decided I definitely needed to say something cause I wasn’t about to die cause I was too shy.
“Umm, I don’t remember this happening before when I had the epidural, but I’m feeling a little light headed,” I said.
My husband knew something was up and he came over and took my hand.
Lori said my blood pressure had gone down, it was a side effect that sometimes happens right after you get an epidural. She told me it was really low. Some low number/ 70.
I felt like I was going to pass out while laying down, which was a strange sensation.
Lori instructed me to take deep breaths, and she gave me some oxygen.
I started crying. That dang baby anesthesiologist! This is his fault!
I’ve watched way too much Grey’s Anatomy cause I felt like I was on the show and a bunch of crap was about to go down.
In a way I was right. The excitement with the epidural was almost over, but the drama was just beginning.