That's right...little miss Kathleen Marie decided to make her appearance into the world a few days early, and it's a good thing too. She weighed in at 10 pounds (technically 9 pounds, 15.7 ounces) and is 21 1/4" long. Had she cooked any longer we could have had a really tubster on our hands! I can't believe she is so big already. She was born on Thursday, November 5, at 3:12 pm. Fun fact....our anniversary is 3/12/05.
Let's start at the beginning. Wednesday morning I was awaked by a contraction that was definitely not a Braxton Hicks. I went ahead and got out of bed and kept having the contractions with no real pattern. Around 11:30 am they stopped until about 2:30 pm, and then after the 4:35 pm contraction they began a consistent pattern of every 10-20 minutes. They got closer together at midnight, more like every 7-10 minutes and then even closer around 3:00 am. I had been expecting really strong menstrual like cramps for contractions. I was completely unprepared for the blinding, burning pains in my hips. It was like fire. The only relief, besides my Lamaze breathing which was a phenomenal help, was to push inward on my hips during a contraction.
The pain increased around 3:00 am and I could no longer lay in the bed. I had been able to doze between them up until that point. I got out of bed and sat on my Pilates ball (another awesome tool for contraction pain) at the edge of the bed and draped myself across my pillows still laying on the side of the bed. This is where I was sitting when my water broke at 4:20. I ran to the bathroom without making too much of a mess and woke up Nick by scaring him half to death when I shouted his name. Serves him right for sleeping, right?
I decided to hop in the shower quickly to wash my hair (so glad that I did now that I'm sitting here 42 hours post-shower.) and we threw all the last minute toiletries into our hospital bags and off we went, making the important phone calls to the people who needed to be notified.
Once in the hospital the contractions continually got worse. When we arrived, I was 100% effaced and dialated to a 3. I had originally wanted to try things as naturally as possible. I didn't want to be strapped to a bed and all doped up once she arrived. That plan was quickly diminished by the hip pain I was experiencing with each contraction. It hurt no matter what position I laid in and I couldn't bear to move during each one. When I first got hooked up in my bed, I was given some medicine for pain through my IV that made me feel fluffy. There was just no other way to explain it. It helped me sleep and was wonderful for easing the pain during the contractions. By 9:00 am I was ready for my epidural.
I was completely terrified of the epidural, but I was more terrified of the pain I was experiencing. In all, the epidural insertion experience for me was tough. Because I was terrified I know I wouldn't have made it through without my husband, who was the most amazing labor coach. He just kept reminding me to breathe and focus on him. It was a very odd and unnatural feeling for those needles and medicines to be pushed in my back. My mother was standing right there too to help, but all she could do was cry because I was so hysterical. It was scary but I managed through it.
I will say though, life was grand after the epidural. The pain was gone. I didn't even notice when I had contractions, despite them being even bigger and faster than than others I was having previously. It also enabled me to sleep while people drifted in and out of my room to see us and chit chat. I vaguely remember parts of people's conversations, but not much.
Dr. Safely came in to check me several times. Unhappy with my progress, they started me on Pitocin shortly after my epidural, which I had really wanted to avoid but since I wasn't feeling anything anyway I didn't care. By 2:00 pm, I was still only at a 5 and the baby was showing no sign of moving down. Dr. Safely offered to let me keep trying to labor but ultimately he felt like this baby was not coming out vaginally, so we decided to go forth with a Cesarean. I was afraid of that option, but honestly I was afraid of having her vaginally too so neither option sounded better than the other for me.
We got start with the C-section at 3:00. It was pretty scary for me. I shook violently as a side effect from the meds they gave me on top of my fear. Nick was a big help during that as well. I felt utterly out of control and couldn't move my body. Basically my mind got the best of me so it was quite difficult for me. Kathleen was pulled free from her home in my womb at 3:12, and the doctor was just as shocked as the rest of us at her size. So now we knew why she wasn't dropping....she had no room! Poor thing. As soon as she was out I was given some medication to relax me because I was so hysterical, so I didn't really get to see her. I instantly had blurry vision, dizziness, and confusion focusing. I honestly felt like I was falling off the table and times and wondered if perhaps this was it. It was pretty scary. I was alone through this part because I told Nick to stay with the baby. He was taking photos and trying to report to me her weight (which he originally thought was 15 pounds, 12 ounces because he heard someone say 15:12...he doesn't really get military time, hee hee) and length. I caought most of the information and tried to focus on her cries. In all I think I was in the OR for a little under an hour.
I still had the shakes for a little while once back in my room. I was alone for a little bit because everyone was standing at the nursery windows oohing and aahing and Nick was in the nursery with the baby. It was from there that he wrote he name down on a paper towel and held it up to the window so everyone could find out at the same time - she was officially Kathleen Marie.
Kathleen is the name of our favorite leading lady in our favorite movie, You've Got Mail. Nick wanted to name her Kate, but I wanted that to be a nickname and Kathleen was a perfect alternative. Marie is my best friend since the 9th grade's middle name, so that is in honor of her.
Eventually my daughter made her way to me and we began to get to know each other from the opposite side. It's been a whirlwind couple of days. The most terrifying and the most amazing, all wrapped into one.