Snuggling with baby when she was one day old.
On Saturday morning I painted the magnetic board frames and sewed the rest of the rocking chair cover in the morning. I laid down for a nap in the afternoon and started having contractions during the nap (but that was nothing out of the ordinary--I had been having contractions like that every day for three weeks). Around 3:30 I realized that the contractions were pretty regular, but nothing too strong either. We finally decided to go to Arctic Circle for dinner, since I was not making any more meals! I was kind of timing them between 5:00 and 6:00 and realized that I might be in labor. They were about 5 minutes apart and getting stronger, but I could still talk through them. You would think I would know, being the fifth child and all, but there was always the chance that it was just more contractions that would stop later. Yeah, I'm an airhead. But if I really was in labor, I didn't want to wait too long before going in because I had gone really fast in the past.
The other issue was that the Relief Society broadcast was just starting so all the people that had offered to watch my kids were gone. I finally got a hold of my dad who came down. We got to the hospital around 8:15. I felt kind of stupid walking in and saying I was in labor because I could still walk and talk. It was nothing like those laboring women screaming in pain in the movies. But that's not really my style anyway. After having several hours of contractions, I assumed I would be dilated more than what I was the Monday before, but I was still only at a 4 1/2. Ugh. To make matters worse, my contractions completely stopped once I got there. Lousy. They hooked me up to the monitors for an hour and when they came back I had not progressed at all. I was starting to think that maybe I wanted to be in labor so badly that it was all in my head. This is when there was talk of sending me home. All I could think was, "Please, PLEASE do not send me home! My due date was 9 days ago and I cannot keep being pregnant." Plus, I had already told my neighbors, and my dad had made the trip down to our house. I was praying for labor, no matter how painful. I wanted to feel pain because it meant my labor was real. They had me walk around for the next hour and that's when the contractions picked up to about 2 minutes apart. I was finally at a 5 1/2 and they decided to admit me. Thank goodness!
One weird thing was that we were the only ones there. Not a single delivery room was occupied, so it was a really eerie being there alone at night with 5 nurses. Apparently the two days before and earlier that day all 15 rooms were filled, so there were no more babies to be born--except mine, of course.
Once I got in the room, they tried to put the saline-lock in my arm. It took three tries before one of my veins took it without breaking. Ouch. My contractions stopped again while all this was taking place. They put a little IV fluid in to make sure it was working. Once that hit I started shaking and the contractions began to be pretty hard. I was at a 7 at this point and it was about 11:15. For some reason, I didn't want to have her on an odd day, so I was kind of holding out for midnight. I'm weird like that.
Out of all the midwives I had met with, my favorite one, Claudia, was on call. She is one of those older ladies that has been delivering babies forever. She has seen hundreds of VBAC's and not one of them has resulted in a ruptured uterus. The fact that she was so calm, and that I had done it three times before, made everything very relaxed. In fact, everyone at the hospital was so supportive of my decisions, completely unlike my experience with Connor in Florida. They thought I was stupid for going un-medicated in Florida, even my doctor. This time they said it was so great that I was doing it natural. They kept asking if I needed any counter-pressure or massage during contractions, but I told them I was more like a cat. I prefer to be quiet and by myself during labor. I don't like anyone touching me, and once transition hits I don't even want to change positions.
The baby kept moving away from the heart monitor so for most of the labor, her heart rate showed that it was really slow. This could have made a doctor or midwife think the baby was in distress, but these ladies realized that it was actually picking up my heart rate whenever the baby moved. I never once thought she was in distress, so I was glad that they didn't make a big deal of it either.
Midnight passed and transition started around 12:20. That is always the worst part, but knowing that it only lasts for 20 or 30 minutes makes it bearable. I can handle pain for half an hour. When it was time to push, the baby came out in one long push--to my amazement (at 12:48). Also, amazingly, I didn't tear at all. That is one reason why my recovery has been so great. Fifth child, go figure. They were going to put her on my chest, but once the midwife saw the cord, she told Jared to grab the camera. It was wrapped tightly around both feet: once around one foot, twice around the other, and then two more times around the other one again. She had never seen anything like it. Who knows how long Hallie had been tangled up like that? Here is one picture of it (I edited most of the questionable stuff). Do you like how she's still purple and slimy?
This was when they weighed her. The picture is supposed to show 7 lbs. 6 oz., but all Jared got was the 7. Woops :)
One of the other great things about this delivery was all the visitors we got at the hospital that next day. It was Sunday, so a lot of people were home, and they let any kids in as long as they weren't sick. This was a definite perk to having a baby in Utah vs. Florida. It makes me love having family close by. After Connor was born, the only visitors I got were my mom and my kids. My friends that would have visited were out of town and they had a strict no kids besides siblings policy. It was a dark and lonely time. Anyway, I was so grateful to see so many family members and friends. I think there were 23 people that visited that day. What a blessing!
Coming home from the hospital on Monday.
I was not sad to leave that horribly uncomfortable hospital bed.
You know how people say babies are so much easier when they are still inside you? I don't feel this way at all. I am so happy she is on the outside of me. I am not winded when I go up the stairs anymore, I can roll over in bed, and I can (sort of) fit into normal clothes again. I feel so much better now that she is here. She is a great baby and there is no shortage of love for her!