5 weeks ago
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
It took another several minutes for EMT #2 to find a pair of scissors. Meanwhile I'm chilling out on the bathroom floor and EMT #1 decided that she should put on the protective gown that was in the ambulance OB box (probably a little late, I'm pretty sure the messy part was over).
EMT #2 came into the bathroom with the scissors and went to go cut the cord. I stopped him and asked if the girls could do it. He hesitated a bit, but then handed over the scissors. Addie and Charlotte came into the room, looked at the baby, and then shook their heads that they didn't want to do it. Addie later told me that she was worried that she was going to accidentally cut the baby. So Sean did the obligatory cutting of the cord duty.
During the whole clamp/scissors debacle, Sean's phone kept ringing like crazy. I guess when I called the second time and told him to drop everything and come home now he literally dropped his copies on the ground and left. He had texted the school secretary earlier in the morning to let her know I was in labor and he would need a sub. As he was dashing out the door, he texted her again saying, "Actually, might need your help. Call when you get this." So the secretary kept calling and calling with no answer because Sean was a little preoccupied.
Since my midwife was not here yet, the paramedics were not comfortable leaving me and insisted that I go to the hospital. I probably should have put up a bigger fight to stay home (the midwife was only about 20 minutes away), but I had never been in a situation like this, so I obeyed.
EMT #2 now had a new challenge - how to get me out of the house.
We have 4 stairs that lead up to our front door, but they are narrow, there is a railing, and there is a 90 degree turn to get through the door. EMT #2 quickly figured out that it would be incredibly difficult to get the gurney into the house.
I volunteered to walk to the ambulance. No, no, no, that is completely unacceptable. EMT #1 mentions that the firefighters are here, they could carry me out, one could hold under my arms and the other could take my legs. This time it was my turn to do the vetoing, there was absolutely NO way I was going to let someone carry me! I would walk or I wouldn't go.
Nervous looks were exchanged between the EMTs, but they agreed. I handed off the baby to EMT #1, wrapped myself in the sheet that Sean had brought me, and walked outside into the crazy cold morning.
I walked down the stairs (which were covered in an inch of ice) and thought to myself how frightening it would be to have someone carry me down these things. I climbed onto the gurney and then they wheeled me to the ambulance. I'd be perfectly happy if I never have to do that again. The walkway and driveway were also covered in a good layer of ice, so it was a very bumpy and unsteady ride, I thought for sure the whole thing was going to tip over.
The other 3 girls were at the living room window watching me be wheeled away. They were all smiling and waving - hopefully this means that they weren't too traumatized from the events.
Once I was in the ambulance EMT #2 informed me that he was going to place an IV. I told him that one of the reasons I didn't want to go to the hospital was because I didn't want an IV and could we please not do one. He told me that they would shoot him if he showed up at the hospital and I didn't have an IV started. Okay, fine.
We live a little under a mile from the hospital so it was a quick trip. But it was long enough for me to worry...
1- How was Sean going to find me at the hospital? Would they tell him where I was at, or would privacy policies prevent them from being able to tell him anything? My phone was at home, so I couldn't call him.
2- Were the girls going to get to school on time? Would Sean take them to school before coming to the hospital or would they just stay home today? Sean had asked what to do about the kids before I left. I told him to call the "C" family, but I didn't really give much instruction. Would the C's take the girls to school?
3- I sure hope the kids aren't traumatized. I probably would have been worried if one of my parents left in an ambulance.
So we made it to the hospital and the firefighters started to unload the gurney from the ambulance. My IV cord/tubing got caught on something and tried to rip out of my arm. I gave EMT #2 a dirty look but I don't think he noticed.
Once I was in the hospital it was pretty uneventful. They gave the baby back to me so I could feed her. My nurse collected some information (how far along, my blood type, etc). They paged the on call pediatrician. The doctor arrived, delivered the placenta, told me I did good and everything looks great. She checked out the baby and said that we were free to go whenever we would like. The nurse weighed and measured the baby. 5 pounds 12 ounces and 19 inches long.
Sean had arrived somewhere in the middle there, but he didn't stay long, he had to run home and get the carseat and some clothes for me and baby.
I was amazed at the hospital staff. I thought for sure they would make us stay. With all the other girls we tried to leave after the first day, but they wouldn't discharge us until day two. But this time was totally different, they had no problem whatsoever with us leaving right away. Actually, the nurse insisted that we have breakfast before we left, she wanted to make sure that I got my orange juice.
Oh, and I guess I should say that the girls did make it to school on time. Sean managed to make sure they got breakfast and then drove all 3 of them over to the C family's house. The oldest C girl helped Addie and Charlotte do their hair and then they rode the bus to school.
I looked back through my contraction timer on my phone and from the first contraction that woke me up at 3:08am until Nora was born at 6:22am, I had 20 contractions. Little girl was sure in a hurry to get here!
Sunday, January 11, 2015
We were planning a home birth from the start. My pregnancies with the other 3 girls were healthy and uncomplicated. Their births were super fast and without complications. We weren't planning the home birth to go quite the way that it did...
My due date was January 12th, but the other 3 girls came 1.5-2 weeks early, so I was expecting closer to January 1st. Sure enough, the night of December 31st I started having contractions. They weren't painful, but they were coming every 5 minutes for several hours. I went to bed to get some rest before the big event, but when I woke up the contractions were gone and didn't come back.
The days went on and there were a few other days where I got my hopes up thinking that she would come. Several nights I had contractions that were strong enough to wake me from sleep, they would come at regular intervals but would always go away when I woke up for the day.
Then on the morning of January 8th I woke up at 3am to a contraction. I started timing them because that's what I was doing any time I had them. They were coming every 13ish minutes. Since this wasn't the first time I had been woken by contractions, and since they were still far apart, I didn't want to get my hopes up about actually being in labor. So a contraction would hit, I would push the button on my phone to time it, and then I would go back to sleep once it was over. Sometimes they were 9 minutes apart, sometimes 15 minutes, once it was 17 minutes, but the average was 13 minutes.
At 5:30am I finally decided that this was the real deal, so I woke up Sean and told him that he should call for a sub for the day. I told him how far apart the contractions were and how long I had been having them and we both agreed that we had a few more hours before baby would get here. The older girls were still asleep, so the plan was Sean would go to school and get copies made for the sub, then he would run to the store and get me orange juice, then he would come home and get the girls to school.
Sean left a little before 6am. Shortly after he left I had another contraction that was way, way less intense than the previous contractions. I was a little worried that maybe it was yet another false alarm. But 10 minutes later a huge contraction hit. All night long they were lasting between 60-90 seconds, so I was watching the clock waiting for the 90 seconds to be up so I could relax again. But it didn't go away.
I made my way into the bathroom and called the midwife to let her know that the baby was coming soon. At 6:14 I called Sean and told him to skip the orange juice, just finish the copies and come home.
But the contraction still wasn't going away. I was starting to get a bit nervous that the baby was going to come soon. I called Sean again at 6:18 and told him to drop what he was doing and come home NOW.
By now I knew that baby girl was going to be coming at any minute. And there was NO OTHER ADULT in the house!! I wasn't very worried about the baby coming, I caught Emmy when she came out. But I was panicked about the fact that there were 3 other children less than 10 feet away that would be coming out of their rooms at any second and there was NO OTHER ADULT to help them.
I knew that it was important for me to stay calm, so at 6:20 I called 911. Looking back, I should have just called Sean or the midwife, just to have someone to talk to, but I didn't. The conversation went like this:
Dispatcher: 911, what's your emergency?
Me: I'm at home and I'm about to have a baby.
Dispatcher: Is there anyone there with you?
Me: No, just my other 3 kids.
Dispatcher: How old are your other kids?
Me: 8, 7, and 3.
Dispatcher: Okay, I'm going to send help. What is your address?
Me: **gave her our address** Okay, baby is coming now, I can feel her head.
I'm sure the dispatcher said something here, but at this point I gave a very small push and Nora was in my arms. I snuggled her close to keep her warm and watched for breathing. She made a small squeak, but didn't cry, but I could see that she was breathing.
I told the dispatcher that baby was here and that she was breathing and everything was okay. I think at this point she asked what the name was and I told her "Nora, maybe." She probably kept talking, but I don't really remember what was said at this point. Addie and Charlotte came into the bathroom at this point and my attention was focused on them rather than on the phone.
I asked Addie to get me a towel to wrap the baby in. She first grabbed a used towel from the hook and then I asked her for a clean towel from the closet instead. She got me a towel and we wrapped up the baby. She also let the dog outside. Addie and Charlotte worked together to get Emmy out of her crib and they brought her into the bathroom to see the baby.
A couple minutes later Sean came home and was shocked to find that baby was here. At this point I remembered the dispatcher on the phone and told her, "Here, my husband just got home, you can talk to him."
Then the EMTs showed up. They were also surprised that baby was already there. I guess dispatch told them that baby was crowning but never updated them that baby actually arrived. EMT #1 was very concerned with getting baby a hat so that she could stay warm. EMT #2 was concerned about finding a clamp for the cord - the baby box in the ambulance had one clamp, but they needed two clamps to cut the cord. I kept telling them that I had a birth box with clamps, but they didn't listen. Addie and Charlotte found a hat and EMT #1 was happy. At this point I asked her what time baby was born. She said that it was currently 6:30, so sometime before then.
EMT #2 finally found another clamp and then began hunting for a scalpel or something else to cut the cord with.
.... To be continued ....