january 29, 2014
we were at home finishing up the nursery. i've known that our kiddo was going to come early -- no reason, just a feeling -- & i've wondered if she might not even wait till february but be a january baby. i'd had contractions throughout the month of january, so it was no big deal to have one while working on hanging art & curtains, styling shelves, & sweeping the floor. but then i realized it wasn't just one. they kept coming. i couldn't feel them unless i touched my stomach to feel my muscles harden, but i had lower back pain that tipped me off. i told shaun i wasn't sure, but i could be in early labor.
january 30, 2014
we finally finished the nursery, & by this point i was convinced i was in early labor, & we had started timing them. shaun suggested we go to bed & try to get as much rest as possible, knowing thursday might be a very long day. he got me a snack just in case i didn't make it till breakfast, & we were in bed by 1:45. i stayed up a little while clearing my 2do list & checking off done projects in my baby journal.
i felt a contraction come on & then a *pop*! i ran to the bathroom & sure enough, my water broke. we knew we weren't getting any sleep at that point, so we both got up. shaun called the midwives [& it took him over half an hour to get through to them due to problems on the switchboard]. meanwhile, i straightened the den, cleared the kitchen table, did a load of laundry, & moved furniture back into the living room. [shaun had just refinished the floors, & all the furniture was in the entryway.]
shaun got ahold of the midwife on-call, & she said since my water broke, i needed to go ahead & come into the hospital. [i am a carrier of group b strep, meaning i needed to be on antibiotics before baby was born.] we started getting ready to leave. i headed upstairs to get a shower [& shave -- what was i thinkin?!] while shaun warmed up leftover pizza for himself. he came up & asked if we had time for him to get a shower, & i said he'd better hurry! my contractions were getting easier to feel & closer together.
we load up the car, & i get buckled in while shaun lets zorra out one last time. i feel a contraction & know i need to get out of the car immediately! i jump out & take off my shoes just in time before the floodgates released. i had to go back inside & change before we could leave.
we arrive at the hospital & while checking in, my contractions started getting intense enough that i had to stop talking, brace myself, & concentrate on breathing. we consider this the beginning of my active labor. i get upstairs & dressed in my robe. they strap me to the heart monitor to get a pattern on baby, stick me with an i.v. for the antibiotics, & checked my progress -- i was at 4.5 cm. after half an hour or so, i was able to get up & move around, & my midwife suggested a warm shower, which sounded perfect. instead of disrobing & sitting on the stool in the shower, i walked straight into it robe, slippers, & socks still on, & i laid down on the floor. poor shaun, still in jeans & tennis shoes, followed me in to use the hand sprayer to keep warm water on me & to rub my back. bless! i stayed there for 30-40 minutes until they needed to check baby's heartbeat again. they had to stand me up to get a good reading & moved me back to the bed to check my progress while i was up -- i was at 7 cm.
i was getting tired, & the contractions were now painful, so i didn't get back out of bed. i just switched positions as needed to be as comfortable as possible. in my head i was debating about whether i was going to be able to do this without drugs & seriously considered asking for them multiple times.
i made it to 10 cm! it was such a good feeling to hear that! and then, i had the biggest "oh crap" moment of my life -- i realized i still had to push a baby out... it was then i wanted so badly for them to tell me they would have to do an emergency c-section just so i could be done. but i started pushing. and pushing. and pushing. i lost count of how many contractions i had & pushed through trying to get her head out. it took long enough that her heart rate started to decrease, & i had to be put on oxygen. i remember the feeling of relief when i finally got her head out, & then they told me i needed to push again to get the shoulders out, & i wanted to yell, "are you kidding me?!" i was determined to get her out in the next contraction. they usually want you to push three times per contraction, but after three pushes she still wasn't out so i kept going!
it took six pushes, but she was finally out. they laid her on my stomach, but i was so exhausted i had my eyes closed. shaun was amazing. he was stroking my hair & telling me what a great job i did & how beautiful i was. he told me she had a head full of dark hair. after a couple minutes, they took her to the incubator station in the room to check her vitals. i heard her crying so i didn't think much of it. next thing i know, they're telling me they have to take her to the nicu. her heart rate was erratic, & her oxygen levels were low. plus, i wasn't on the antibiotics long enough to be considered "adequately treated" so they wanted to get her on antibiotics, too. i realized i hadn't even seen my baby. i asked shaun about her, & he asked if i could see her before they took her. they even let me hold her for a couple minutes. she had a ton of dark hair & a round face. she stuck her tongue out & grasped my finger with her hand. and then she was gone. i didn't see her again for a couple hours.
we got to visit roo in the nicu on our way to the mother-baby unit. she opened her eyes & saw me for the first time. love.
[a couple hours old]
[looking at mommy]
elaina ruenell casteel
born january 30, 2014
@ 7:17 a.m.
7 pounds 4 ounces
it was a long day with lots of happenings that i won't record here & lots of progress. by late evening they took her off the feeding tube, & she was down to 1 liter of oxygen, so they let us hold her & feed her.
[daddy's first time holding his little girl]
january 31, 2014
she was doing so well the next morning, & she kept pulling her oxygen tubes out of her nose to use as a pacifier, that they took her off the oxygen completely.
[tapeless cheeks & tubeless face!]
[after her first bath -- her hair is darker & straighter than we thought]
[the first picture we posted on facebook]
[holding mommy's finger]
february 1, 2014i was released saturday afternoon, but elaina had to stay longer. she made constant progress, but they wanted to be on the cautious side. we went home to get cleaned up & introduce her scent to zorra via one of her caps. zorra was less than interested in the cap but she was glad to see her daddy!
we went to cracker barrel to eat because i missed eating eggs during my pregnancy. it was weird that we were out just the two of us with a two-day-old baby in the hospital. surreal.
[eggs over easy!!!]
[snuggles before heading home for the night]
she was eating well, but they wanted her to consistently take in 30 mL each feeding [every 3 hours] before sending her home, so they decided to keep her another night. we went home to get a good sleep [the last in a while!].
february 2, 2014the nurses found an extra onesie to dress her in. i think they were a little taken with her -- it's not often they get to work with a full-term baby who interacts more with you. it took the day, but she finally had 3 feedings in a row that were 30+ mL each! she was approved to be released to go home!
[over 30 mL feeding!!!]
[all dressed up to go home in the freezing february weather]
[her going-home outfit, picture taken in her bassinet at home!]
[happy birth-day, sweet roo!]