On Monday, November 21st, Adam and I got up at an the unholy time of 5:30am. We had a light breakfast and visited with Nana. Nana said a quick prayer and then we hopped in the car to head to Mission Hospital. The drive there was so much different than our drive to the hospital to have Kenly. For starters, we knew what we were about to face. It was pitch black dark and this delivery was planned, a dreaded induction. We felt confident because we knew that Dr. Simmons was on call and that she would be delivering this baby. If Corah had decided to take an eternity to arrive, I would have begged Dr. Simmons to stay.
When we go to the hospital and walked into the ER, the security guards said, "Coming to join the party? You are about the 10th pregnant woman to walk in this evening." I started to wonder if I was going to have to give birth in a hallway.
We rode the elevator to the fourth floor and got checked in. Even though they were busy, we were able to score a "water world" room. The massive tub in the room can be used to help with labor pains. There were none of those rooms available when we arrived to have Kenly. We met our nurse, Rachel. I loved her from the moment I met her. She started with us at 7AM, and she was there when Corah was born. Rachel let me know that her background was in midwifery, and that she would do everything in her power to try and help me have a natural delivery.
At 8:00 Rachel started my IV. I was given fluid and pitocin through the IV. It was fun to watch/hear the baby's heartbeat on the monitor. It was also fun to watch the strength of the contractions as they begin to intensify. Adam and I passed a bit of time by reading and playing on the internet. We watched an episode of 30 Rock, and then we decided to go walk a few laps. We did a few laps around Labor and Delivery, and then we headed back to the room to rest a bit.
At 10:00, Amy (the nurse practitioner for Asheville Women's) came in to break my water. The whole process was one of the weirdest experiences of my life. It felt like someone was trying to pop a water balloon inside my body. Slightly uncomfortable, but kinda neat at the same time. It took her about eight attempts, and then the flood gate opened. At this point I was only about 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced. I thought once your water broke, you were done leaking. I learned the hard way that this is not the case. Adam and I went walking again, and I leaked all over the hallway. Oops. They outfitted me with those amazing stretchy undies and a jumbo pad so that I would not soil the floor with more amniotic fluid.
After my water broke, the contractions started to get stronger. We walked. We used the birthing ball. I would rock while sitting on the ball and Adam would put pressure on my hips. By this point it was lunch time. I sent Adam to get something to eat while I breathed through some stronger contractions. I had a generic Sprite and a purple Popsicle. Adam returned from the cafeteria with a nasty looking hamburger and some yummy looking tater tots. I coveted those tater tots. We called Rachel to see if it would be okay for me to get in the tub for a bit. Apparently the hot water can slow labor, and we didn't want to slow anything down. Dr. Simmons came by at some point to check my progress and not much had changed, so we didn't want to halt progress all together. Rachel was at lunch when we called, so a different nurse came in to check on me. She took my vitals and then finally looked at me. She looked alarmed. She said, "Honey, please tell me you have been eating something purple. Your lips are blue. I don't need to start CPR, do I?" I laughed and explained that I had eaten a purple Popsicle about an hour earlier.
I was given the all clear to get in the tub. Adam set everything up, and then I got in the tub. By this point I was really uncomfortable. My pitocin had not been increased, but the contractions were super powerful and coming closer together. I hardly had time to catch my breath before another "big squeeze" was upon me. I soaked in the tub for about 40 minutes. I remember thinking the tub was not making things better. In fact, I felt worse while in the tub. I kept crying through contractions. Not because of the pain, but because I knew I was not going to be able to deliver naturally. The contractions and the bladder infection discomfort were proving to be too much. I felt wimpy. Weak. Adam kept assuring me that I was not less of a woman if I asked for an epidural. I was terrified of that process too. I had three failed epidurals with Kenly, so I was not super thrilled about trying again. Dr. Simmons came in as I was trying to make a decision. She checked me and I was 5cm and 80% effaced.
I asked for them to call the anesthesiologist. By this point it was roughly 3:00. I was proud that I managed to stay drug free for that amount of time. I got set up with the epidural, and I felt a great deal of relief. I was not pain free, but I could talk through contractions again. Adam and I watched a Modern Family and another 30 Rock and I started to panic. The pain was coming again. I was also feeling really nauseous. Rachel gave me a bucket that I heaved into several times of the course of the next three hours. Rachel was so gentle. Every time I threw up she brought me a cool cloth. She mopped vomit and tears off my face. They called the anesthesiologist back, but she was in a meeting. Rachel checked me again at about 4:00. I was 8cm dilated and 90% effaced. Apparently I had been in transition while in the tub. The anesthesiologist arrived and fixed my discomfort again. Dr. Simmons showed up and asked if I wanted to start pushing. I did. She got dressed in her delivery gear, and I tried to help myself dilated and efface a bit faster. I pushed for about 15 minutes and Dr. Simmons got paged away to catch a baby that was ready to be born. I was told to wait. We waited until just before 6:00PM when Dr. Simmons walked in and said, "Let's meet this baby."
Rachel found a mirror for me to watch the delivery. It was so helpful for me to see when I was pushing effectively. It was also cool to watch Corah arrive. Everyone kept saying, "Look at that head full of hair." I pushed for about 15 minutes, and at 6:15PM, Corah Beth Brand was placed on my chest. Adam announced that we had a girl, and he cut the cord. Rachel was such a huge support. Between every push, she rubbed my leg and encouraged me. Adam kept telling me what a good job I was doing.
Corah worked her way to my breast and settled in there, happily nursing, for an hour and a half. Kenly arrived to meet her sister at about 8:00 that night. She enjoyed opening a present from Corah--Hungry Hungry Hippo, Melissa and Doug stickers, and a princess toothbrush. I was able to hold both of my daughters in the labor and delivery room.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from Corah's birthday.