Thursday, April 5, 2018

Willa Lynn's Birth Story, Part I

Greetings faithful blog readers,

She's here!

Willa Lynn Egan made her debut on April 2nd at 11:48PM. She weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces and was 20 inches long. Mommy and Daddy are head over heels in love with her. This is part one of her birth story. A little warning: I'm giving all the details here, so if you don't want to read about the realities of giving birth, feel free to skip. 

When we last left off in the pregnancy posts, Brendan and I were getting very anxious for baby girl to arrive. The anticipation was real! 

Week 39 
Baby Size: A mini watermelon

Thursday ended up being my last day of work (but I didn't know that at the time). After a meeting, I went to the grocery store and stocked up on convenience foods. Our Easter holiday began on Friday, and Brendan and I decided to try all the old wives tales to bring on labor. My doctor was out of town until Monday, but we both felt like our due date may come and go without a baby, and we also knew the old wives tales were probably myths anyway. On Friday, we tried a neighborhood walk and then went to Thai House for some spicy food. Afterwards, we went to the grocery store and bought pineapple. I noted that Saturday evening was the next full moon, and I was hoping that would work in our favor (note: there is no correlation with birth and full moons, but at 39 weeks pregnant, one gets a little desperate!). 

On Saturday, I was grading a discussion board at home when I felt the first contractions. They seemed like cramping, so I assumed it was just braxton hicks. I sat on my peanut shaped labor ball and continued grading. Saturday night, I started timing the contractions. It seemed like they were coming every 15 minutes and lasting for 30 seconds. We were told to go to the hospital when the contractions had been a minute, coming 5 minutes, and that pattern had been going on for one hour. We went to bed Saturday night thinking we may have an Easter/April Fools baby. 

Sleep on Saturday wasn't great because I woke up a few times from contractions, but Sunday morning brought much excitement. My contractions were now lasting 1 minute and coming every 10 minutes, and a little before 9AM, I lost my mucus plug. Thinking this was going to be it, we drove to McDonalds for two egg McMuffins and a sprite (my desired pre labor meal of choice). We got home, ate, and waited...and waited. My contractions slowed down and then stopped. Looks like my body was playing its own April Fools joke on us. 

I told Brendan I wanted to try walking, but I was tired of the repetitive walks around the neighborhood. We drove all the way out to the I-20 Nature Preserve, a 1.25 mile loop, and I was determined that I was going to walk the whole thing briskly. Turns out my brisk pace was pretty much Brendan's regular one, but the walk felt like the workout of my life. The contractions started coming back, and I power-walked through them. I was pretty uncomfortable! 

We got home, and since it seemed activity was helping my contractions along, I decided to...bake a cake! After all, it was Easter Sunday, and I wanted to make Brendan one of his favorites: Smitten Kitchen's Grapefruit Olive Oil Pound Cake. This cake has a syrup and glaze component and is a bit high maintenance, but it provided me with two things: 1.) Ample distraction and 2.) the opportunity to make plenty of puns about the "fruits of my labor" and the "bun in my oven." Several times during my baking, I held onto the counter in pain and timed contractions on a phone app. Brendan would come hold me through them. The pain was real. I texted my friend Belle and said "this has to be as bad as it gets!" Ha, if only I had known. 

We watched more episodes of Mindhunters (which we started on Saturday, and it's great), and my contractions were still not regular enough to need to go to the hospital. I felt a bit defeated as we headed to bed, but I was looking forward to getting another night's sleep like on Saturday. 

Ha. Ha. HA. 

Sunday evening
Sunday night was extremely painful. Every 10-30 minutes, I was having horrible contractions. They were lasting almost two minutes each, and I tried everything to bring relief (a bath, moaning, pleading, walking). Nothing helped. I tried to let Brendan sleep as much as possible, but it was not a restful night for either of us. Even worse, the fact that there was no real pattern to my horribly painful contractions had me convinced they were doing nothing to advance labor. In the morning before my doctor's appointment, I cried over Eggo waffles and told Brendan I could not do another day of this. 

Our membrane strip doctor's appointment was at 8:30AM, and I was terrified the doctor would say I hadn't advanced at all. On the way to the appointment, my contractions stopped. The lack of a pattern was really getting to me. My blood pressure was good, and I was up 22 pounds for the pregnancy. During my cervical check, the doctor gave us good news: I was already 4.5 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced! He stripped my membranes and called the hospital to make sure there was a room for us. He told us we could go home for a little bit, but that he thought it would be today. 

We went home and filled out our work leave forms, posted announcements for our students, and I wrote a peer review worksheet. By this point, my contractions weren't as active, but I wasn't letting it bother me because I knew the hospital would admit me. 

Last pregnant photo
Brendan was getting anxious to go to the hospital, so we packed up the car and left. I was serious about my two egg McMuffins and Sprite (you don't get food or drinks once you are admitted), and we waited in a very long McDonalds drive thru line (Brendan says this whole thing may have been a ploy on my part to get egg McMuffins two days in a's true that I really like them). I ate on the way to the hospital, and Brendan was a lot more relaxed once we checked in. I was already 5 centimeters, so I was hooked up to my walking IV, and we walked the hallways of labor and delivery. I squatted into my contractions hoping that would help me make progress. Brendan provided counter to say, both our backs were hurting. At the next check, I was 6 centimeters and 95% effaced. My doctor said it was a great time for an epidural, and he wanted to order Pitocin, so we ordered the epidural first. 

I was so scared of the epidural, but it was nothing to fear. The process was easy and absolutely painless. I was shaking a bit from hormones or fear. If there is one thing I could tell a mom to be it would be that the epidural is seriously no big deal. Getting an IV hurt worse. Thank you, Susie! 

The only things I was allowed to eat were ice chips and popsicles, so after my epidural, I enjoyed a much deserved popsicle. The pain relief of the epidural was immediate and amazing. I actually didn't realize how much pain I had been in until I had the epidural (I think because I'd been gradually getting used to it since Saturday--at the hospital, the monitors were showing contractions I wasn't even feeling. I guess I had only been timing the really painful ones). All that was left to do was wait until I was dilated enough to push. We texted family and tried to rest. Resting proved impossible because multiple monitors kept going off in the room. My mom arrived to the hospital, and my dad shortly after. We hung out with them for maybe an hour before they left us to get rest. They went to our house for the evening. At 7pm, I was 7 centimeters dilated, and we were told it could take 2 hours to progress each centimeter (and I still had 3 centimeters to go). Thus, we thought baby Egan would be a late night baby. 

For now, it's time for me to get an hour or so of rest before the next feeding, but I'll be back with part two of Willa's birth story (and a lot more pictures) soon! 

S, B, W, L&Z 

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