I'm not sure I ever got around to writing Joshua's birth story out. I think I just wrote down notes and never got to writing it all out. His story is relevant to this story, so here's a brief summary:
I had braxton hicks contractions pretty regularly for several days, but they didn't hurt. Monday, December 27th, Dave and I were shopping at Smith's (the same one where we met) and they started hurting enough that I had to stop and squat down for each one. So we went to the hospital. They checked me in, asked me all sorts of questions I was too in pain to answer. I requested an epidural first thing. It kicked in and was like a warm blanket of tingliness and happiness. They checked my progress and couldn't feel his head, so they got the ultrasound in and found his head way up in my ribs. Since it was 2 days after Christmas, my doctor was out of town and the team of doctors that turn babies was out of town, so the doctor on call said, "Well, you're going to have a C-section." He gave me a couple hours to see if Joshua would turn again, but he didn't. So Joshua was born that evening at 6:15ish via C-section. I caught a cold that day, and was miserable for many many weeks. (You try coughing with a 6" incision on your abdomen.) I also had some digestion problems (no other way to put it: I was VERY constipated) which made me miserable as well. All-in-all it was horrible. I'm realizing now that I probably had some postpartum depression--and it was the middle of winter.
Now I'll do a quick summary of Maggie's birth for those of you who want to know what happened, but don't want the gory details:
I was taking a nap Sunday, July 13th afternoon (5:30pm) and I felt what I thought might be my water breaking, so I waddled to the bathroom and discovered lots of blood. So we packed up and dropped Joshua off at Dave's parents' house and headed to the hospital (6:00pm). They hooked me up to the IV and the epidural in case I had to be whisked off for a C-section. I hadn't felt any pain with contractions yet to this point, so epidural in, I was pain-free the whole time. I sat in bed for about 3 hours, but I didn't progress from the 4cm I was at when I got to the hospital. So the doctor came and broke my water. I sat there for another 2 hours. They checked me again and I was at a 9. The doctor came and I pushed for 25 minutes and Maggie was born at 11:36pm at 7 lbs, 3 oz and 19 1/2" long. I stayed in the hospital another 48 hours and went home and recovery is going great! Maggie is great at eating and sleeping and pooping.
Ok you birth-story junkies, here are the details (seriously, if you don't want TMI, don't keep reading):
I was 39 weeks to the day. During my nap (5:30pm) I felt a squish, so I waddled to the bathroom, and two large blood clots came out, and everything was soaked with blood. I had Dave run and get me some new panties and my stash of maxi pads. I was having a few contractions, but that wasn't anything new. For the past month I'd been having braxton hicks contractions all the time. Sometimes they even were regularly 3 min apart and 1 minute long for about an hour. It was usually about dinner time though, and would go away when I ate. I called in to the doctor to see what they advised I do. The doctor on-call said, "Yeah, you should probably go in to labor and delivery and they'll check you out to see what's going on." So we finished packing the hospital bag and Joshua's over-night bag (I even remembered to spray my blood-soaked clothes with spray-n-wash before we left), put a garbage bag and towel over the passenger seat in the car just in case, and headed to Dave's parents' house to drop Joshua off. I still didn't have any pain. I'd have a contraction here-and-there, but no pain.
We got to the hospital and joked about things as we headed up to Labor and Delivery. We signed some papers, got to our room, put the funky gown on, I even went to the bathroom, and there still wasn't anyone in the room. So we stuck our heads out and asked when we'd be seen, because I was still bleeding. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't dying and baby was ok. (Just minor things really.) They came in a few minutes later and hooked me up to the heart and contraction monitors. Baby's heart-rate was steady and I was having contractions every 3 to 5 minutes. They still weren't hurting. They checked me and I was dilated to a 4. The nurse hooked up my IV with just fluids. They got the anesthesiologist in to hook me up to my epidural. I actually felt him putting it in this time--with Joshua I was too busy being in pain to notice the epidural happening.
So I was tingly numb and just hanging out in the bed listening to the "wooshwooshwooshwoosh" of baby's heartbeat for a while. My blood pressure kept dropping (epidural = blood vessels dilating = blood pressure dropping), so they pumped me full of fluids so I would stop getting nauseated. The fluids only helped a little bit, so the anesthesiologist gave me something to constrict my blood vessels some.
They checked my progress at 9:00ish-pm and I was still only at a 4. The nurse called the doctor and had her come to break my water. Then the doctor said if I still didn't progress after a couple hours, I might have to do another C-section anyway. Boo. Hiss.
We chilled out in the hospital room for another couple hours, resting, watching HGTV (It was lame house-hunters though). The nurse checked me at about 11pm and I was at a 9! Yay! She let my doctor know and started getting everything ready. I wasn't completely numb, just tingly numb so I could still feel when contractions happened and I started feeling the "pressure" they talk about. They originally said that since it's my first time pushing, I could push for an hour, hour and a half, or two hours before baby came. Then they changed their minds because baby had descended so much. Turns out they were right. I pushed for 25 minutes and baby came out!
They plopped her on my belly, she pinked up nicely right away (except her adorable purple hands and feet). She was already rooting around like crazy, but they had to do their little tests, etc. before they let me feed her. After they brought her back we snuggled and I fed her and she latched perfectly the first time.
I had only a 2nd degree tear from her chin or nose or something, so the doctor stitched that up. Then she spent a while getting the placenta out. It didn't want to come out on its own. Since I was bleeding the whole time, they thought the placenta was detaching early, but it didn't appear to be the case when they actually got it out, so they said it was just "labor bleeding" whatever that means. The doctor also said she's pretty sure I have a full-blown bicornuate uterus on the outside, too. Since I had the septum removed last year, I don't think I'll have many problems because of it. Anyway, she got all the placenta out, stitched me up, and sent us on our way.
I'm pretty sure that I was in a wheelchair for the transfer down to Mother and Baby, but it's a bit fuzzy. Maybe I was still in the bed. I do know that when they took her to the nursery to be bathed, I was in a wheelchair, upright, feeling fine. I must have still been a bit numb at that point. The point is that I felt up to going to the nursery, too.
Now on to the recovery:
I was given a nice mesh undies/glove full of ice/witch hazel pads/giant pad diaper to help the swelling go down. They had me try and pee at some point. Now I know I wasn't at all numb for this bit. Standing up felt like my bowels weighed about 20 lbs and were trying to fall out. I tried to pee, but I couldn't. I didn't even feel like I needed to pee. They checked my belly and my bladder was very distended and pushing my uterus up quite a bit on the right side. They said they'd have me try again in half an hour and if I still couldn't go they'd put a catheter in. I knew I wouldn't be able to go then either, so I opted for the catheter RIGHT NOW instead. When you have an epidural, they put a catheter in because you can't get up to pee. I doubt you can even control the muscles, so you'd probably pee yourself without it, too. Let me tell you: I was so grateful that I have been numb for every other catheter I've ever had. My poor down-there bits were all swollen and hurty and they were poking around with a catheter, stretching stuff out, trying to find my pee hole and it was NOT FUN. Anyway, they finally got it in (I have a feeling the nurse hadn't done many catheters before...she wasn't terribly confident about it.) and my bladder released 1400 CCs of urine into the bag right away. By the end of the first hour, I had filled a 2000 CC bag with urine. Let me give you some perspective: Normally when you pee a full bladder's worth of pee, it's about 400 CCs. Four hundred CCs. I peed 2000 CCs. Two THOUSAND CCs. Now that was a relief. (pun intended)
I opted to have the catheter stay in until the next morning because I wanted to have the swelling go down and be able to pee on my own and not have to go through getting another catheter if I couldn't. Owch. So I just had them help me change my "diaper" every time the ice melted. Every time I stood up, I got that 20 lb bowels feeling, so I started freaking out that maybe I needed to poop but couldn't, too and had a pretty major break-down about having to deal with that. They calmed me down and re-assured me that it was going to be OK.
The next morning I had the catheter removed. About an hour later I was able to pee on my own. It's amazing how much such a simple thing can be taken for granted. I still don't really get the urge to pee, so I have to remind myself to go pee every couple hours. I sure hope that goes away...or comes back, or whatever. A few hours after that, I pooped! Yay! So much better already than recovery with Joshua already.
Also, this time I stuck to only taking Ibuprofen and nothing stronger. No Percocet for sure. I had the option to take a different one if needed, but I never needed it.
Day 2 in the hospital was mostly spent sleeping. I got discharged in the evening and got to go home!
Saturday, July 19th I got a major pain in my right side and I thought I was dying! It went away once I took my ibuprofen again. It happened again on Sunday. I figured if it happened again on Monday, I'd call the doctor. It did. They had me come in Tuesday, but told me if I developed a fever or vomiting overnight to go directly to the ER. I went in and it wasn't hurting at all, or so I thought. The doctor pushed on my tummy though and immense pain commenced. She said it was like I had appendicitis, but no other symptoms of appendicitis. So I peed in a cup and went home. Turns out it was a bladder infection. Got some antibiotics, and now I'm almost as good as new.
Note: At this point with Joshua, I was begging my mom to stay another week because I just could not handle doing it on my own yet. I was still in major pain, exhausted to no end, and coughing up a lung.
Summary: VBAC is MUCH better than C-Section. I think I could have another baby at some point in the future if it goes like that again. Not anytime in the near future, but sometime. Especially if it's another baby like Maggie who eats, sleeps, and poops so well.