The last few weeks of the pregnancy were so difficult. Difficult on my body, yes. But the most difficult part was the strain on my heart and my spirit. I knew this little boy was supposed to be part of our family. And yet my mind and feelings betrayed me everyday. I was so anxious; feeling like his birth would never happen (Of course it would! You can't be pregnant forever!) Or that I'd end up with another loss. Every time I went to the Perinatologist (Dr M.) and another high risk complication arose, my heart would grow more weary. I was beginning to doubt God and His infinite goodness. I cried so many nights just wanting it all to be over so the baby could be safely in my arms already. I prayed to be physically strong. I prayed for emotional stability. I prayed that if something happened, my little family could once again rise from the ashes. It was all such a terrible mind game for me.
On the day I went into labor, I didn't believe it was actually happening since I'd had false labor several times in the days leading up to it. I was skeptical when at my doctors appointment that morning it was declared I was 4-5 cm dilated and 97.5% effaced. Dr. M said my water bag was bulging and he was afraid it would rupture at any moment. He sent me down the hall to have my second non-stress test for the week. But before leaving I was instructed to go walk around at the mall for a few hours and head over to Labor and Delivery after the NST. He also gave me his personal cell phone number and I was instructed to let him know how labor and delivery turned out. He was leaving on vacation (out of the country) immediately after my appointment. I was so sad - after everything we'd been through during my pregnancy and previous 4 pregnancies - he was not going to deliver our baby. I had some anxiety knowing it would be whomever was on call at the hospital. I prayed I would have someone competent I could trust.
I wandered down the hall to the antepartum testing center. The sweet nurses there hooked me up to the contraction monitors and declared I was contracting every 3-5 minutes. They wondered if I could feel them? Um, yes. But seeing as I had contractions 5-6 minutes apart literally for weeks, I just rolled my eyes. These were just like the others. The nurses thought it was the real deal though. They even went so far as to call Labor and Delivery and give them a heads up I'd be over in a few hours (after the mall walking of course). They sent me on my way. Everyone thought for sure my water would break at the mall and we'd have a Friday the 13th baby. I called my babysitter and my husband and gave them a heads up - just in case.
My friend and I went to the mall and walked. We walked and walked and walked. We had what I hoped was my last meal before labor. Finally we headed over to L&D (with my water bags still intact!) and it was declared that I was NOT in labor. My friend overheard the nurse telling the doctor on call that she thought since I was only 37 weeks (that day!) that I was just tired and needed to go home and rest. Because, in her opinion, surely I was not in labor that early (I guess she missed the part about ALL my babies arriving early). I was contracting every 3 minutes, yes. But no "significant progress" had been made since the appointment and so I was sent home. I was so annoyed, but not surprised.
I called my husband and the babysitter back and plans were rearranged. Jorge picked up the kids and I headed home. We decided to go for a walk hoping maybe more walking would stir up more contractions. It worked! After the walk, we went home and put the kids to bed. Jorge had rented a movie, but at that point I was too uncomfortable to sit still. I felt like I needed to clean something.
I have never had the typical "nesting" urge before labor. And I still don't know if my intense need to clean was a nesting urge or just a distraction technique. But it worked to calm my nerves and allow labor to progress! By the time the movie was over, the dishes had been washed, floors had been swept and mopped, laundry was folded and put away. All 3 bathrooms had been cleaned, swept and mopped and my hospital bag had been packed. I was ready.
The contractions were really intense, but I was scared they'd send me home again if we went to the hospital, so I told Jorge we'd just go to bed and I'd wake him if they got worse. He was asleep for about an hour (I never fell asleep) before I woke him up and said we needed to go. We called our friends to come watch the kids and headed to the hospital.
When we arrived 4 women walked in behind me. Apparently it was the night of a full moon. We waited for a bit until a room was available. I was checked and the nurse declared me the SAME. I was in a lot of pain and not in the mood anymore. I told her if they sent me home again there would be a lot of yelling. She checked me again and "miraculously" I was 1/2 cm more dilated. The doctor on call came back in shortly after and said I was being admitted and since I was already half way dilated would I like my epidural now? Yes! PLEASE!
Dr. V was the doctor on call that night (early morning actually!). He was actually the doctor who admitted me in December for Hyperemesis Gravidarum. He remembered me and my case and said he was happy to see us and was honored he'd get to deliver our baby. It was nice to see a familiar face and to know I could trust the doctor who would be delivering our baby. My prayer had been answered!
It was a few more hours before I got the epidural. I was on blood thinners during the pregnancy for a clotting disorder and they had to check my platelets and prothrombin time. Everything came back perfect. Finally I got the epidural and I could relax.
As I said, L&D was super busy that night and so Dr. V came several hours later to check my progress. The epidural had stalled labor and I had not changed since they admitted me. Ugh. It was decided we'd wait a few hours and see if things picked up on their own. 2 hours later I was still the same. I had only 2 options. They could break my water, which was STILL intact or they could give me pitocin. I let them break my water. Dr. V again said he's come back in a few hours and see my progress.
Within about 20 minutes I started to have intense pain. I was sure my epidural had stopped working. I called the nurse and she gave me the little button to push to get more of the medicine. It didn't help. So she called anaesthesia again and about an hour later they came and upped my epidural. BIG MISTAKE. My legs were now dead weights, but I still felt extreme pain. It was then that they thought to check and see if any progress had been made.
The nurse checked me and without saying a word, she calmly walked over to the phone. This is the conversation I heard, "Hello Dr. V. This is so-and-so with Mrs. Hernandez. She is now 10 cm and the baby's head is already halfway out. You should probably come right now." And then she calmly hung up the phone. About 30 seconds later the doctor comes flying into the room followed closely by 3 nurses. Nothing in the room had been set up. It was a frenzy! And all the while the doctor is yelling at me not to push. But I wasn't pushing! I couldn't feel anything! My body was delivering the baby on its own! Instead of feeling the pressure and urge to push, all I felt was pain. Finally Dr. V was ready and told me to push with the next contraction. I asked in all seriousness, "Am I having any?" I couldn't feel anything. The nurse had to tell me when to push. After one push Emmet was born.
This was it. Our journey had finally come full circle. Angels were once again surrounding my little family and our beautiful, fresh from heaven little boy was here. It was truly an honor to once again join hands with God in bringing one of His children into the world.
"Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come."
- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
|Emmett 5 weeks old (Photo courtesy of Lisa Allen)|