Have you ever spent time looking forward to a big event and found that it seemed to take forever until it arrived?
Well, it certainly was like that for me waiting for the birth of my daughter’s first baby.
(Warning – there is no gardening content in this post, but lots of edge-of-your-seat drama 😉
I was counting down the weeks and later, the days until her due date of January 20th. My husband and I really wanted to be there to support her when the baby was born (the father is deployed overseas). The drive to Rachele’s house on the Navy base is over 7 hours away by car, so we had our bags packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Finally, we got the call we were waiting for – the doctor was going to induce her because he had concerns regarding the baby’s low weight. That meant that we could be there ahead of time. So, my husband and I as well as our oldest daughter, Brittney, hit the road on Monday morning (the 19th).
We met Rachele at her new townhouse on the base and saw how she had made everything ready for the baby’s arrival. While the rest of the family watched ‘The Office on Netflix, I made them all a homemade dinner in preparation for a long night ahead.
Finally it was time to leave for the hospital – Rachele’s induction was scheduled for 7:30 pm.
we walked down the hall to Labor & Delivery
As we walked down the hall to Labor & Delivery, I stopped to take this photo, thinking of how changed Rachele’s life would be after she left the hospital.
It turned out that there were a lot of babies being born, so we had to wait a little while before Rachele could be induced, so we spent time in the waiting room. Brittney showed Rachele a photo on her of what she had looked like just before going into labor.
labor & delivery room
We finally got into the labor & delivery room where we would spend the next hours helping Rachele through labor. She told us that she wanted me with her the entire time, including delivery – I was so excited and a bit nervous!
labor & delivery room
So, Rachele settled in for the night. They found that she was already in early labor, but she did receive some medication to speed it along a bit.
We were all allowed to spend the night with Rachele in her room. So far, the pain was not bad and they gave her a pill to help her sleep. We were excited for the next day (Tuesday) and the birth of her child.
labor & delivery room
The next morning, Rachele was still smiling because she still wasn’t in much pain – but her labor was moving very slowly.
On one hand, she wasn’t in a lot of pain, but Rachele was beginning to get impatient and truth be told, so were the rest of us. We had all gotten a few hours of interrupted sleep the previous night and were quite tired.
That evening, my oldest daughter and I decided to drive to a nearby hotel to get a few hours of sleep, but only after the nurse assured us that Rachele wouldn’t deliver that night. So, we stopped by a somewhat ramshackle hotel by the beach. I couldn’t care less that the hotel had seen better days – the room was clean and we soon dropped off to sleep.
I called my husband, who was staying with Rachele at 4:00 to get an update and they had started her on Pitocin, and the labor was progressing, but not quickly, so he told us to sleep a few more hours.
At 6 am, he called and told us to hurry over since she was in hard labor and had made lots of progress. I was so excited, it was a miracle that I managed to find our way back to the hospital.
When we arrived, Rachele was in a lot of pain, but handling it very well. Before we knew it, she was ready to push and Rachele allowed all of us to stay to help coach her.
At this point, we started taking bets as to when the baby would be born.
I was texting family back home throughout the whole labor process including grandmas, aunts, uncles, cousins and Rachele’s siblings. They all came in with predictions for the birth including the latest one from my daughter, Ruthie, who predicted the baby would be born at 1:34. I said that there was no way that the baby would be born that late.
But, I was wrong…
Rachele’s epidural was working well at this point and we watched her contractions come and go and helped coach her as she pushed.
She pushed very well and was making great progress – the labor nurse said that he was almost there. But then, the baby was stuck and Rachele was making no further progress no matter how hard she tried.
The doctor came in and examined her and determined that the baby was face up instead of the more normal position of face down. He discussed the option of using the vacuum, but said that even if it worked, that there would be a lot of tearing and chances are that it wouldn’t work at all. In addition, they are limited to only three tries with the vacuum, before they are forced to do a caesarean section.
So, the decision was made to do a caesarean section. I must admit that we were all disappointed, except for Rachele, who after 40+ hours of labor and then pushing was ready to give birth any way feasible.
So, an hour later, her dad and I found ourselves waiting outside the OR. The plan was for my husband to be with her during the surgery since he is better in those kinds of situations than I am.
I got special permission to wait outside the OR and then would accompany the baby to the nursery.
It was hard waiting and I could hear snatches of conversation between the doctor and nurses along with a few answers from my daughter.
After what seemed like forever, I heard the most beautiful sound of a baby’s cries coming from behind the door.
My heart melted at those sounds and I couldn’t wait until they brought him out.
This is already a long post, so I invite you to join me for ‘Part Two’ when I share baby photos along with some other ‘hiccups’ that happened along the way making my trip to CA lasting a lot longer than I had planned…
Baby Watch: Intersecting Paths