Opal Nadine was born on Sunday, January 24, at 2:17 AM. She weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and was 20 inches long. She was born with lots of dark hair and super chubby cheeks!
My due date was on a Friday. On the day before, I went in for my twice-weekly 20 minutes of monitoring, and everything was fine (as it had been ever since that one day when her heart rate was elevated). Paul and I went home and looked at the weather, and decided to take the kids to the lake - in January! The forecast was to be in the 70s, sunny, with no wind - a veritable unicorn in days of Kansas weather!
So we took the kids to Pomona lake to run around. They scoured a stretch of the river at the spillway looking for abandoned fishing lures, then we took them to the playground and they played for a couple of hours while different parties hiked the nature trails. I walked the loop twice, hoping to help the baby shake down and get into position. No luck.
Friday came and went, and I started to get impatient. It was the combination of NEVER having been overdue, and everyone's assurance, "Oh you're not going to make it to your due date." Well. I did.
Since contractions weren't close together or super strong, I decided to have a bite to eat. I ate a half a slice of pizza, and about 5 fried pickles - and regretted it for the next many hours! HEARTBURN.
With the children gone, Paul and I watched some TV, and I settled in to time my contractions. They were still irregular in strength and timing. (You would have thought I would have related this to Elsa's birth and figured out what was going on.) Then at about 9 o'clock, contractions started to be lighter and farther apart. So I decided to go take a nap. As I lay there, I felt some kicks around the front of my belly. Then I DID remember Elsa's birth! Babies should be face down when they are born, which means I shouldn't be able to feel kicks out front. So I got up on my hands and knees for several minutes (a trick two OB nurses told me about when I was at an event and we were talking about birth stories). Contractions stopped for about an hour. Then at 11, I woke up to a strong one. Then about 10 minutes later, another strong one. I got up and told Paul that even though they weren't 5 minutes apart yet (the marker for when to go to the hospital), I knew this was it, and we should go since we had nothing else to do.
Oh yeah - remember that little thing back in 2020, called Covid-19? Yeah, it was still going on. So when we walked into the hospital, we had to wear masks. So imagine contractions, feeling hot all over, pain taking your breath away - and having to wear a mask through it. We got checked in at about 12:30 and got upstairs. I changed and they checked me, and.... "Oh, you're at a 4. " WHAT? THAT'S IT??? (Full dilation and baby coming out is 10). Thankfully, no one said anything about masks once we were in the room, and Paul and I both shed ours.
Maybe I'd forgotten, maybe I've become a pansy in my old age (I'm 38), or maybe the contractions really were a lot worse. I had heartburn and felt like I was going to vomit the whole time. For the first time, my water broke during labor. I had a big contraction and then felt (and I swear, heard) a pop! and then a splash as fluid hit the floor. Paul was very surprised, as this was new - I'm sure after 5 births, we both were pretty confident in the order of events. Dr. Sinclair showed up shortly after, which surprised me, because 4 cm dilated is not very far along in the scheme of things (you can be walking around at a 3). But it's a good thing she did!
After talking to me, Dr. Sinclair went out to the hallway, and I had a contraction that felt like it was tearing me in two. Only 45 minutes after their initial check, I was now at an 8. The staff started setting everything up. Another contraction, and I felt the head coming down. The crew started racing to get everything in place, and Dr. Sinclair said, "Don't push, don't push!" When everything was ready, I pushed once, and felt the head come out. The doctor said, "Don't push again, let God do the work." She explained to me afterwards that when a baby comes that fast, your body can't stretch and you are more likely to have a bad tear.
As I felt the rest of the baby pass through, Dr. Sinclair told Paul to come to the foot of the bed. "I'm going to turn the baby over," [remember they are born face down] she said, "I want you to be the first to see and announce it." Paul looked and kissed my forehead as they put the baby onto my chest. You have dark haired baby girl!" he announced. Dr. Sinclair made Paul cut the cord for only the second time since Nathan's birth.
Things have changed a bit in the 5 years since Elsa was born. The staff had me strip down and lay the naked baby on my chest and covered us both with a blanket. They urged me to try breastfeeding as soon as everything was cleaned up and the bed was put back together. They didn't even weigh her until several hours after birth - she had already pooped!
Babies also never leave their mother's room now. So even 24 hours later, when I hadn't done more than have a couple of naps. Paul had gone home, and true to form for every other baby I've had, Opal only wanted to sleep in my arms. I ignored the signs hanging on all the walls, put the sides up on the bed, and laid her next to me so I could get some sleep. When even this wasn't enough, one of the nurses came in and tried all of their tricks to get Opal to sleep (warm blankets, swaddling, patting, nest), and I finally fell asleep to the nurse walking back and forth across the length of the room with the baby.
|Watching the Chiefs/Bills playoff game|
|Look at that hair!|
|Ready to head home|
|Asleep at home in her Boppy|
Disclaimer: My skills of blogging are lax. I hope my grammar and spelling are correct, but I have no brain cells to spare for formatting and photo editing. Enjoy the story and try to understand. :)