Monday, November 21, 2011

Leah's Arrival!

On Sunday, Matt and I attended Thao and Leslie's wedding in Costa Mesa. I was a bridesmaid, so my 38 weeks pregnant body waddled around praying my water wouldn't break in front of all the guests. We got home that night, and I went to bed thinking I was feeling Braxton-Hicks contractions. At around 1am, I woke up uncomfortable and unable to sleep. I paced the house trying to determine if I was feeling contractions. As the moments of uncomfortableness got increasingly more painful and more regular, I finally faced the reality that I was in labor. I didn't want to wake Matt up yet since I knew I was still in early labor, so I did yoga poses to help get through each contraction, showered, and packed my bag. Since I thought for sure the baby would be late, I didn't pack a bag yet, and we hadn't even picked up my brother's infant car seat!  Oops!  At 4am, Matt woke up telling me to go back to bed, and I replied that it was time to go to the hospital. He quickly got up and asked if he could shower and pack a bag too. I said he could shower but not pack a bag. :)

We arrived at Kaiser Sunset at 4:45am, and I kept telling Matt how nervous I was. I checked into triage, and I was 3 cm dilated. Since I was still early and my contractions weren't that regular, they wanted to keep watching me, but, to my disappointment, I wasn't able to get an epidural yet because they wanted to make sure that I would keep progressing. Matt was scheduled to be in the OR, and since the doctor said there was no way I'd deliver before 3pm, when Matt usually finishes with his cases, we decided he should continue with his work day. He would check up on me in between each case.

I was admitted and moved to the LDR unit around 7am.  This week was actually supposed to be my last week of work, so I emailed my boss that I wouldn't make it in because baby was on the way! The nurses were great and walked laps with me around the garden to try to progress my labor faster. I'm not sure if the nurses were extra nice because Matt was a physician there, but I sure appreciated their kindness. By 12:00pm, I was 5cm dilated. Woohoo! I was officially in active labor. A midwife came in and had an OB resident rupture my membranes which felt like I peed all over myself. Afterwards, the anesthesiologist came in to administer the epidural. Unfortunately, the first epidural only numbed my legs, so I was still feeling pretty strong pain in my back and pelvis, and I had to get the epidural redone. The second one worked great. I immediately felt relief and was able to relax. At this point, I called my parents to let them know the baby was coming and continued to play the waiting game.  I watched TV, texted and chatted with friends, and Matt rejoined me at 3pm.  The day was full of so much excitement that I wasn't hungry or tired.

By 5:00pm, the midwife came back in with a General Medicine resident to check my progress. Matt felt uncomfortable having this resident check me so we asked at this point to only have the midwife  or attending check.  I thought it was cute that Matt was so concerned over this. The midwife announced I was fully dilated and would be ready to push within the hour! The midwife asked me who my OB was and, lo and behold, my OB happened to be on call that night! What perfect timing. Dr. Dubow came into the room at 5:30pm and told me it was time to push! She pressed a couple buttons, and all of a sudden, the "living room" turned into a delivery room. The pushing part was a lot less dramatic than I had imagined. I had always pictured a room full of random people, sweating and screaming.  The only other people in the room besides Matt and I were a nurse and Dr. Dubow. It was very calm and every time I felt the pressure of another contraction coming I pushed 3 times for 10 seconds each. In between each contraction, Matt and I would chat about how we couldn't believe this was happening. I had no idea how well I was pushing though. Dr. Dubow kept telling me I was doing great, but I wasn't sure if she was saying that to be nice or telling me the truth.  After a handful of pushes, Matt said "OMG babe. You have to see this. Her head is out!"  Even though he made it sound really cool, I didn't want to look and get freaked out. The next time I felt a contraction, Dr. Dubow told me to stop halfway into the set.  All of a sudden I felt this weight release out of me, and I heard the crying of my beautiful baby girl! The entire push time was about 45 minutes.  Matt cut the umbilical cord and I held her tight in my arms just staring in amazement.  She was already super alert with Apgar scores of 8 and 9.  Matt laughs that she came out with arms flailing and one eye open looking all around.  I was really happy I didn't tear, didn't feel pain, and that it happened quickly!  Praise God!  I was so overcome with emotion and so happy to have Matt by my side. 

The next few hours were a big blur. Between bonding with Leah, her being cleaned, vitals taken, me getting cleaned, texting and calling everyone, my parents coming, and being moved to postpartum - all I could really think was OMG LEAH NOELLE KELLY IS FINALLY HERE!  I feel so blessed to be able to experience motherhood and am looking forward to the journey ahead.

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