Years had passed since I had my first two children. With my first two babies, I had had no ultrasounds and did not know the baby's gender prior to birth. They didn't routinely do ultrasounds in those days. You only got one if something was unusual. In addition, the first two had been born in Air Force hospitals and before the advent of birthing suites. You labored in an ugly green tile room and delivered in a delivery room and recovered in a recovery room. You then went to a four-bed ward for the remainder of your stay.
I must say I liked the modern changes. We knew we were having a girl thanks to ultrasound. I personally like knowing in advance, having done it both ways. It helps me bond with the baby and the baby had a name before she arrived. In addition her nursery was all done in eyelet and pink and she had a full "girly" wardrobe ready and waiting.
I gave birth in a beautiful birthing suite, which beat the heck out of the ugly green tile and trips down hallways when you least felt like it! Whitney was due January 27, which was my birthday and our wedding anniversary. I thought this was special although I expected she would arrive late like her siblings did.
I had had a tremendous amount of cervical discharge for a few weeks and figured that was a good sign. At my OB appointment on January 23 the OB stated that he did not like my blood pressure. That surprised me because I was feeling pretty good. He asked if I felt the baby had been less active. I said that, in fact, she was less active. But I attributed that to being "almost due", which is not unusual. He wanted to do a non-stress test. So I was hooked up to the monitor we sat there doing the NST. I flunked. The OB said he was concerned about her activity level and my blood pressure and would prefer if I would agree to be induced. He would break my water and hopefully labor would start. I was 2cm dilated and things looked good for labor.
I liked this! No guessing if I was in labor. I was going off to the hospital looking all fresh with my makeup on. I'd get to arrange everything at home all neat and tidy so I was all for it. I went back home, got my suitcase, ate lunch (they advised me to), got my mother to pick up the kids after school, hubby called in and got things arranged at work; and off we went! At noon (on the dot) the doctor broke my water. This was not painful at all. Fortunately, my contractions began five minutes later. I had an internal monitor which was also new to me.
I decided that I had had enough of natural childbirth and wanted an epidural with this baby. I was getting through labor fine and they said that when I was in active labor I would get the epidural. My in-laws and my mother and the kids came by and visited with me and it was all very leisurely and pleasant.
When I got into good labor, I asked for the epidural and when they checked me I was 6cm. They got me the epidural right away. Getting it was far more painful that I had imagined, mostly because of the position you have to get in while having it and trying to stay that way, while not moving, in good labor, is very difficult. I didn't feel the epidural at all, just the contractions. Ugh! Then...voila! NO pain! How wonderful! I couldn't believe it. I loved it! The family had left the room for the epidural and now all came back in to visit and chat. The only odd thing that happened was that I started feeling very strange, kind of like I was "sinking" and "fading." I knew something was not right and before I could even tell my husband and mom to go get a nurse they were flying into the room. I didn't realize that the monitors on me had communicated everything to them at the nurse's station. I got oxygen and medication and within a few minutes felt great. Apparently it was just a drop in blood pressure that happens sometimes when you get an epidural.
I did not know it but apparently they didn't like the feedback from the monitor on the baby and I had made no progress as far as dilating. I felt great so I did not realize anything was odd. My OB was hanging around this whole time, even standing outside my door. At 9:30 he told me that he was going to give me twenty more minutes to make some progress or he felt we should go with a C-section. Oddly enough, I was not worried about this. I felt safe and felt that the staff was watching me and baby very carefully. My OB told our eager families that they should go home for the night and that it might be awhile. They all moped out the door.
So I was lying on my side (as they wanted me to do) figuring on a C-section, chatting with hubby when I suddenly felt like my contractions were returning. I said "Rick, go get the nurse and tell her I need more pain meds." Of course, she was already on her way down the hall. She said, "Let me check you." She laughed and said, "You don't need any more pain medication. You are ready to deliver." I had gone from 6cm to 10cm in less than 30 minutes.
The doctor was already there, gowned up and everything was ready to go. They prepped the room, got me in stirrups and had me start pushing. It was slightly painful, I'll admit but just a few minutes of that and Whitney Rose was born at 10:04 p.m. with the cord around her neck, clutching her umbilical cord in the other hand. The nurses and doctor all burst out laughing and held her up so I could see the cord clutched in her hand. This is why they had trouble with her heartbeat! She was cutting herself off!
This was one feisty little girl! Full head of dark hair and absolutely beautiful. She screamed and screamed and screamed. She seemed like she was hopping mad and ready for a fight. Her Apgar was a 10 and they told me they rarely give any baby a 10! She weighed a healthy 8lbs. 13.5oz and was 21in long.
Some people say if you know the baby's gender prior to birth that ruins the fun and surprise. I worried that it might; but I can honestly say it didn't. She was still a surprise from what she looked like to what type of personality she had. She is the family clown, and I guess she was showing us what a mischief maker she could be when she was born with the cord clenched in her tiny fist.