Picking up from where I left off from Sunday night...my contractions slowed down around 1:30 in the morning. I figured that if they were "real" labor contractions that they would pick up with walking. I'm too scared of rattlesnakes and other desert creatures, so I was limited to walking around our patio a couple dozen times. They didn't pick up--and if anything, slowed down--so I opted to try to sleep. I woke up to contractions twice, but was able to sleep until 5:00 when there was just barely enough light to walk around the block.
When I still didn't feel any contractions, I decided to call my mom and lament how confusing labor felt. She worried about my fluid levels, and urged me to call Labor & Delivery, so I agreed to do so. L&D wanted me to come in, since I suspected that my waters had broken. My very-dear doctor friend, knowing my desire to labor at home, discouraged me from going in, since she knew that they would likely put me on pitocin to get her out soon. But she's awesome at painting the medical picture for me, and then letting me make my own decisions, so I opted to play it safe and head in, figuring we were right around the corner from my office if it was not actually my water breaking, though I would feel pretty silly.
Labor & Delivery checked me (I was at a 2.5, so making some progress!) and collected a sample of my vaginal fluid to see if my membranes had ruptured. They ran three tests--two said my waters had broken, but the ferning test was inconclusive, so they did a final stick test, which indeed confirmed that it was my waters. Woohoo! So I was admitted, transferred to a delivery room, and started on pitocin. They started me low (2), but quickly amped it up. I tolerated each dosage pretty well, but started to intentionally breath through the contractions around 12. They checked me around 1:00, four hours after my initial check, and I was hoping that I had progressed one centimeter per hour...but I had barely gone to 3.5; which was a little disappointing. They upped the pitocin again--I asked my husband to rub my back at 14, and asked to speak with the anesthesiologist by 16 (I didnt have the perfect experience with Ella and wanted to be better informed this time around). My amazing nurse, Sheila, offered to check me again, and I was now at 6 cm, so was indeed making progress, and decided I wanted to keep trying without medication. Because the pitocin is so intense, they needed me to stay on the baby monitors, so I didn't have the luxury of walking around like I had hoped. When I got up to use the bathroom, Sheila saw that I could tolerate the pain a little better while standing, so suggested that I lean on the birthing ball on the bed from a standing position, even though it meant that the baby monitors didn't stay put. She also checked me again, and I was a 7.5, and she claimed that she thought I would have the baby by 4:30--which was in 45 minutes, and she started getting the room ready. I told myself that I could try for 45 minutes, but made a promise to myself that I would ask for an epidural if she wasn't here by 5:00.
Shortly thereafter, I started to think I was feeling the urge to push--though it definitely felt different than last time with Ella. At exactly that moment, my doctor came in--how is that for perfect timing! She checked, and I was indeed complete at 10 cm, so was given permission to get started. With Ella, I know I was a pretty inefficient pusher, and I was determined not to make the same mistakes again (this was part of the reason why I ran during my pregnancy). I assumed that I would be given some set of guidelines, as I was with Ella, about pushing through the count of 10 with a contraction, but instead, was given the total freedom to push whenever I liked for however long I could tolerate it --which was nice, because the pitocin was making the contractions a little crazy! And as much as I'd like to say I "experienced" Ella's birth despite the epidural, I now fully understand why they call it "the ring of fire". Let's just say that I was feeling plenty motivated to get her out! It took five pushes in fifteen minutes before she was on my chest. As Sheila predicted, she was born at 4:30, on the dot.
I'll finish the rest of the details later, but wanted to share the reasoning behind her name. Since Ella was the one to tell me that I had a baby growing in my tummy, I figured that I'd give her a shot at coming up with a name. She suggested "Anna"...or at least I think she suggested it--maybe she just rolled her two-year old words together while trying to respond "I-don't-know"-- but either way, it stuck. As for her middle name, we went with the tradition of using a family name. Ella's middle name is in honor of my mom, but my mother-in-law and I share the same name, which would just be weird. Instead, we chose to honor my father-in-law, Victor, with the feminine version of his name. He really is such a hard working man and is very devoted to his grandchildren.
I'll try to update the rest of the story--including introducing Anna to Ella--as time allows. For now, I'm just trying to keep up on my own rest and fluids as I try to help establish a routine and wait for my milk to come in fully.
Thank you--as always--for your well wishes, support, and encouragement!
Besides the obvious blessing of having my baby safely in my arms, my other blessing is my parents, who drove down the minute I confirmed that it was my waters that broke. They have been a tremendous help to me and my husband as we care for Anna, and have been especially amazing in helping Ella transition into her role as a big sister. I am so appreciative of all that they do!