Wow, I haven’t posted since August. To be fair, the 3rd trimester kicked my ass. I was so tired that an hour after I woke up, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Anyway, Annabeth has made her debut, so here’s her lovely birth story!
On October 24th, I was starting to feel intense Braxton Hicks contractions. I started timing them, and they were lasting around a minute to a minute and a half, and were about 3-5 minutes apart, so I had my friend Amanda come over after Jonathan went to bed, and we headed to L&D Triage. I was only 1cm dilated, so they sent me home.
On the 26th, I was making enchiladas, and making an extra batch to freeze to start getting some freezer meals together for when Annabeth arrived, and I started feeling really intense contractions. I was actually on the phone with one of my sisters-in-law, and I told her that I felt in my gut that Annabeth was going to come early because I’d been feeling so many Braxton Hicks contractions, some of which were almost immobilizing due to their strength. So we ate dinner, and I did the dishes. Around 10:30 p.m., the contractions started to get stronger and more regular. I thought that maybe I just did too much, so I tried to go to bed, hoping the contractions would go away. After being woken up every few minutes by painful contractions, I decided to just get up at 4 a.m. since Paul was going to get up for work soon anyway. Paul woke up, and I said, “You’re not going to work today,” and we started to get everything around to head to the hospital, but we were trying to let Jonathan sleep as long as possible. Of course, I had nothing packed, but I packed as fast as I could given how painful the contractions were becoming, and at 6:00 a.m., I finally decided that I couldn’t wait any longer, and we had to get Jonathan out of bed. I called the doula-in-training that I hired to let her know that we were heading to the hospital, and off we went.
Of course, in true Hawaii Monday morning fashion, traffic was in full force. It wasn’t so bad on H2 or H1, but getting onto the Tripler campus (where, by the way, there is only ONE GATE to get in) was backed up all the way to the off ramp. So by this point, I’m writhing in pain and cussing up a storm during my contractions while trying to breathe through them, and trying to relax in between. Before I go any further, I just want to describe the way this place is set up really quick because it really makes no sense to me. The hospital is on top of this huge hill in Honolulu. There are two parking lots. On the makai (ocean) side, and mauka (mountain) side. The oceanside parking lot is always full. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an open parking spot anywhere in that lot. The mountainside, where most of my appointments have been since moving here, has a small parking lot, a parking lot for the VA hospital that is attached to Tripler, and a small parking garage. There is also valet parking. Along the back of the hospital is one strip of about 50 spaces that are handicapped and stork parking for expectant mothers, weeks 34 (I think) and on. I got my stork pass at my 36 week appointment, had two non-stress tests, and a growth scan, and until this day, was never able to use the stork parking because, surprise surprise, people just park in those spaces willy nilly without any thought for pregnant women who might actually need this parking. Well, on the 27th, we happened to get there at the right time because the security guard was still out there ensuring that the people who were attempting to park there had a stork pass. So, yay us.
And now, it’s important to understand how the mountainside of this hospital is laid out. I want to preface this with how Madigan (where I had Jonathan) is laid out to give you an idea of what efficient vs. inefficient looks like. At Madigan, labor and delivery is in the nursing tower. There is tons of stork pass parking right in front of the nursing tower, and ample space to pull up to the front doors to drop someone off or pick them up if need be. You walk into the lobby, the elevators are right there, you take the elevator to the third floor, get off, take a right, and you’re at labor and delivery. Super easy. Here’s how it is at Tripler. After praying that you can find parking within eyesight of the door, you walk into the back lobby, take a right, take a left down a long ass hallway, find a small elevator, take it up to the 6th floor, take a left and a right, and you’ll see the triage desk. This is a lot of walking. It might not sound like it, but that long hallway is what does it. The security guard can see that I’m in labor, so he offers to call for a wheelchair. Guess what? NONE ARE AVAILABLE. No one knows where one might be. Again, back to Madigan, there are a metric shit ton of wheelchairs just hanging out in that lobby, waiting to be used for, you know, people who might be in labor or whatever. So I say, “That’s fine, we’ll just walk,” and we do. I’m a little gobsmacked that there isn’t a wheelchair in sight. I’m not one that looks for help everywhere I go or anything like that, but damn, I was in a lot of pain, and it would have been nice to have a wheelchair.
So we get up to Labor and Delivery triage. Speaking of, another thing that was a little disconcerting to me…I could have walked off of either labor and delivery or labor and delivery recovery with someone else’s child, and no one would have known. Madigan has a locked door with a security guard that checks everyone’s bracelets when they’re leaving. You have to get buzzed in, must have some form of ID, and have to sign in and out. When I had Jonathan, a friend came to visit with her daughter, and they gave her and her daughter a bracelet to make sure the parent left with the right kid. Those security measures comforted me. Jonathan didn’t have to wear a bracelet even though he was on the floor with us. So that was a little weird.
Anyway, at around 7:30, they got us into a triage room, take my vitals, put me on the monitors, and start looking for the midwife on duty, who they tell me they CAN’T FIND. After half an hour, they finally found her, she checked me, I was at 4cm, so they admitted me into a room. My doula is still looking for child care for her daughter at this point, but I let them know she’s on her way. I’m also in enough pain that the first thing I tell them is that I want drugs now! So they’re trying to find an anesthesiologist, but both are in the OR with another patient, so I got some good narcotics to take the edge off the contractions, and then they finally placed my epidural. By the time they got there for the epidural, my doula had finally arrived, and she was SUCH a huge help in just soothing me and keeping me calm. I leaned against her for the epidural, and once it was placed, I felt so much better…until we discovered it was only working on my right side. I rolled over onto my left side because I remembered from my labor with Jonathan that you have to move from side to side to keep all the medication from pooling on one side or the other, but when I rolled over, Annabeth decided to move her entire body to my left side, and THAT is the pain that every woman talks about during labor. I could tell I was in transition at this point because I was still feeling everything on the left half of my body, and it felt like Annabeth was just digging into my pelvic bone on that side, but my right leg was completely numb. At around 10:45ish a.m., my water broke, and there was a lot of meconium in it, so they weren’t able to put her on me right away, but that’s okay because it’s more important to make sure she didn’t aspirate any of it. At 11ish, the midwife told me I was ready to push, but wanted me to do a practice push to see how effective I was, and that practice push resulted in Annabeth crowning. Two more pushes, and she was completely out, and born at 11:11 a.m., weighing 7 lbs., 2.8 oz., and 20 inches long. I. FELT. ALL. OF. IT. But I will say that the greatest sense of relief I’ve ever felt in my life was probably when I finally got her completely out. All the pain in my pelvis disappeared immediately, and I could breathe deep for the first time in hours. From the time that I started really feeling contractions to Annabeth’s birth was about 13 hours, so definitely much better than the 34 hours of labor that I had with Jonathan!
Like Jonathan, Annabeth was a little jaundiced, so she had to be under phototherapy lights for a little while, but we were still able to get out of there a little over 24 hours after being admitted into recovery. A couple of friends came by to say hi, which was really nice, and Paul and Jonathan got to be there with me almost the entire time with very little change to Jonathan’s schedule. We are adjusting well at home, and I’m thankful to report that I am not feeling the baby blues like I did after I had Jonathan. I’m sure that Paul’s impending departure for Texas had a huge role to play in the baby blues, but luckily, Paul is able to be home for his paternity leave, and is also able to take 3 weeks of use or lose leave in conjunction with his paternity leave, so I have lots of help at home. My sister-in-law was also able to come out and visit and help out with Jonathan the weekend after Annabeth was born, and it was so nice to have her here! I still need to get around to getting some good newborn pictures of Annabeth, but here are a few I wanted to share until I get around to getting those pictures done. We are all adjusting very nicely, and Annabeth is an excellent sleeper. Jonathan knows how to say, “Sissy,” now, and likes to count her toes and fingers, and point out her eyes and nose, and we’re not seeing a ton of jealousy, though he has his moments. Overall, welcoming our second child has been a ton easier than our first, and I’m so happy with our little family!