Since my office was closed on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, I scheduled my maternity leave/vacation to technically start on the Monday following, December 1st. At the time I made my schedule, I thought there was absolutely no way I would make it to then without a baby, and while I wasn't completely off, I was pretty frustrated to find myself sitting in my office that wednesday morning, triple checking that everything I could wrap up was in fact, wrapped up.
That afternoon, I had my 39-week Doctor's appointment. I was fully prepared to get my membrane sweep, which my Doctor with Mia also did at my 39-week appointment, and I went into labor very very shortly after. B kept making jokes that he didn't want me to get it done that day because he wanted to be able to watch the Bears game on Thanksgiving. I told him very nicely to go screw himself, and secretly hoped for my labor to make plain my feelings on the NFL taking over way too many days of the week. But, as my Doctor walked in, she informed me that a membrane sweep was not recommended for someone who had tested positive for Group B Strep (which I did). I was basically enormously pregnant and enormously disappointed that I actually needed to wait for this baby to come out completely on her own. She did tell me though, that as soon as I was in any kind of labor, I should come in to the hospital to get my antibiotics started (because of the Group B Strep).
Thanksgiving came and went with absolutely no signs of labor, and I decided that I would no longer be relaxing. I bought one of those big pilates balls, bounced on it for hours a day, took long brisk walks, went shopping for our Christmas Tree, and decorations with my Mom (she insisted on an all-pink tree this year, to please her first grand daughter and celebrate the birth of her second). On Friday night, I contracted regularly and painfully for a few hours, but they weren't close enough together to be considered active labor. Plus, once I went to bed, they spaced out and let me fall asleep pretty soundly. The same thing happened Saturday, and Sunday night. By Monday, two days before my due date, I was exhausted and decided that if I contracted regularly again, we'd go into the hospital and at least see what they had to say about these contractions that were seriously getting on my nerves.
As predicted, it totally happened on Monday night as well, and B and I headed to L&D. I was fully convinced that as soon as I got strapped to the monitor, they would stop and I would be sent home. They did stop, but I was dilated to just shy of 4cms. My Doctor was on call that night, it was pretty slow, so he poked around down there a bit vigorously, told us to walk around the hospital for about an hour and see if my contractions could get regular enough to be considered active labor. Whatever he did down there definitely put me over the edge, and the contractions started coming strongly and closely while I walked. When I was rechecked, I was past the 4cm threshold for admittance, and I was put in a birthing suite and my antibiotics were started. An hour later, my antibiotics were in and my water was broken, which REALLY made things painful and quick.
I got my epidural after about 3 hours of post-water contractions. I didn't remember the epidural much from last time, but it was an incredibly unpleasant experience this time around. I do remember my first epidural completely numbing my bottom half and legs, so much that I couldn't hold myself up in my hospital bed. This time, I was told that I should continue to feel my legs, and that the only thing that would go somewhat numb would be my abdomen. I should continue to feel pressure, but no pain.
It was actually kind of amazing. I could move my legs, not so much that I could walk, but I could shift in bed as I wanted to, lift my legs as needed, etc. I could feel that two hours later, my contractions were close enough together that I wanted very much to push through them, and alerted my nurse. Of course my labor would choose that specific moment to want to push, since it was shift-change time at the hospital and my Doctor (who had the overnight shift) had just left, so his partner (who I had met, but didn't particularly like) was now on call, but was in the middle of a scheduled c-section at a different hospital about 20 minutes away.
Based on my history (with Mia) of a nurse delivery, quick pushing, and significant tearing, my Doctors wanted absolutely no pushing or pressure of any kind until he was in the room. I sat there, breathing through but not pushing through the strong (but not painful) contractions for AN HOUR AND A HALF before he came in the room at 9am.
He was as unfriendly as he was in the office, but he turned out to be really great at his job. He had me push once, during which I tore an inch (1st degree tear) along the line of my first tearing scar, and he immediately stopped me, gave me very specific leg positioning and pushing instructions, had me push three more times and by 9:05am, Lucy was born very gently into the world! I could feel everything but pain and felt very much in control of the whole situation.
Within 2 hours of delivery, I was on my feet and going to the bathroom with a bit of help from my nurse, who was also awesome. Somehow, I got her all to myself and she was basically with me at all times which was really great. I felt like I got such better care at this hospital than I did for Mia's delivery across town. On that first day, I felt absolutely great, declined the stronger pain medication (until that night... when things were not AWFUL but pretty painful when sitting up).
Lucy was wide awake for a few hours following her birth, she latched several times and was taking really REALLY strong and painful pulls almost immediately. Around 2pm, B left the hospital to pick Mia up, we did the initial introductions and Mia was absolutely thrilled and sweet. Lucy brought Mia a "big sister" gift, which was an Elsa doll (since Elsa is the big sister and all), and Mia was totally charmed and impressed. By the end of Mia's visit, we had Elsa glitter all over the hospital room, but it was worth it.
We were discharged from the hospital the next day, and while we had a rough first night, we've settled into a pretty good sleeping and feeding groove, so things are going well. At Lucy's first visit to the pedia (and during our meeting with the lactation consultant in the hospital), we found that Lucy had a tongue tie that was snipped right then and there, with absolutely minimal bleeding and 100% improvement on the painful latch. Other than that, I've felt so happy and fulfilled and incredibly satisfied with my two girls. More on her first days soon!