Here you'll find actual reports of the activities at Women's East Pavilion, which as noted previously is not actually a pavilion at all but a resort-style birthing center. Whenever possible we will post regular updates on Annie's progress here, and maybe even some photos, although Annie is being strangely particular about what kind of pictures she wants me to put here.
We expect to be at Women's East for a day or two following the birth, and then baby will come home for the first time.
Flash! Baby Arrives After 45 Hours of Labor! Incredible!
Sunday, July 4, 11:00 AM
Around 4 AM this morning Annie squeezed my hand and then said, "I think baby is coming." She had been having contractions since around 2 AM. We got up and started trying to time the contractions (which is not as easy as it sounds for a person of limited mathematical ability such as me) and found they were very short (20-30 seconds) and coming very fast (every two to three minutes). At 5 AM we called Women's East for advice and they said to relax and start walking at daylight. Annie took a shower and at dawn we did some walking.
Six hours and considerable walking later, the contractions are lasting 45-55 seconds and coming about every 12 minutes, although the pattern is still unpredictable. I threw together a quick MS Access database ("ContractionTracker") to track the things with a minimum of effort...and so now we wait.
Sunday, July 4, 11:50 PM
All signs were good as we arrived at Women's East Pavilion around 5:00 PM today.
Annie was having strong, 60 second contractions about four minutes apart. Baby's heartbeat was steady and strong. Cliff arrived to feed the coaching staff (Annie could have only fruit juice) with a feast from Backyard Burgers. Alas, it was not meant to be. After three hours, Annie had not dilated much beyond a centimeter or two and in fact after the second cervical exam the contractions just about faded away. This was not entirely unexpected--the same thing had happened to our friends Steve and Shannon the week before.
Annie is now back home, trying to sleep through the occasional contractions--unsuccessfully from the sounds of it. Brave, beautiful Annie labors on.
Monday, July 5, 10:10 AM
We are back at home, again, after driving all the way in to Women's East this morning, Annie groaning all the way, only to find out she still isn't dilated enough (there is apparently a 3cm cover charge) to be admitted. This is despite a long and painful night of what looked and sounded like very intense contractions and over 30 hours of labor so far. Under doctor's orders, she has taken three Demerol pills during the morning. Normally, just one these will knock her out. Today they are making her groggy but aren't killing the hurt.
Thank you to those who have sent wise and encouraging words. I think I can wait patiently for the baby, live without sleep for a few days, and know that all this will end eventually, but for now it's tough to watch the one you love in pain.
Monday, July 5, 1:00 PM
Horray! Annie has been admitted to Women's East. We had not been home for more than an hour when Annie's water broke, so back we went, with her groaning louder than ever. This time someone met us at the door, took one look, and said, "She's ready!"
We quickly moved into Birthing Suite 11, the "Fuschia Room." An IV was started and Annie received an injection of Stadol, which didn't stop the pain but dropped the intensity of her moans by at least two octaves. Amazingly, she was still dilated only 1.5 centimeters.
At the suggestion of Nurse Pam, Annie went down the hall to the whirlpool tub in the "Serenity Suite." Every man or woman in labor should have one of these tubs! Still the contractions wore on, and Annie was getting desperately tired. By 5:00 PM, her moans had changed from "Oooh," at every contraction to long wails of "Noooo!" Dottie, the world's best coach, met every contraction with these instructions: "Relax. Breathe. Relax." Over time, Dottie's magic worked. At 6:30 PM, Annie was checked again and had dilated to 6cm. On hearing the news, her first words were, "Can I get the epidural now?"
The epidural worked wonders. The contractions continued on the monitor as always, but Annie was smiling through them for the first time in days.
Birth! Monday, July 5, 11:37 PM
A Pitocin drip was started around 8:00 PM to enhance Annie's contractions, but they were now just lines on the monitor, something to watch instead of a test of survival. She passed through the dreaded Transition stage peaceful and happy, and by 10:45 it was time, with the help of Nurse Patty, to start pushing. Progress was swift and we could soon the see the very wrinkled top of a tiny head!
The room filled with Dr. Hobgood's birthing team, and the bed was converted to "birthing position." With the onset of a contraction, Annie would push with all her might as Dottie counted to ten, then get another breath and do it again, up to four times per contraction. I watched in total amazement as that wrinkled top of a head moved out into the light, almost popping out into the air. There was an ear! Look at those eyes! The shoulders came quickly and she was out into the world, a blinking and somewhat befuddled little girl, Laura Catherine. Words failed me then, as they do now. Months of anticipation, childbirth classes, and countless books and videos could not possibly have prepared me for the wonder of this miracle, a perfect little human being emerging like that from inside another.
Tuesday, July 6, 3:30 AM
The doctors and nurses are gone now. Laura is asleep in her mother's arms, tiny, peaceful, and absolutely beautiful.
Extra! See a 400KB RealVideo movie of Laura's Birth!