On September 19th, four days past my due date, I took Annalise out shopping at several different stores in the evening. We were gone from around 5pm to 8pm and she was rather monster-like, having tantrums, refusing to listen and having to be dragged during a fit to the check-out counter at Joann's by her arm because I couldn't physically lift her with everything else in my hands. It was a proud moment.
Very stressed out, we got home and I'd had no dinner around 8:30 when I first felt a cramp-like sensation. This was nothing like how contractions felt with Annalise, so I blew it off as they kept coming every five to ten minutes apart. To be honest, I thought perhaps I would just have to go to the bathroom soon. Around nine or nine-thirty, I called my friend Julie to discuss. She said she thought I was in labor. I said I thought she was loony. She told me that when her membranes had been stripped (how mine had been with Annalise) she'd had the same type of contractions I'd had then- just painful but not cramp-like at all, but that when she'd gone into labor naturally it felt how I was describing. As we talked they got more intense. I refused to believe it could be anything. This was too different than last time.
By 10:00pm I was no longer in denial. They undeniably hurt. And they were every five minutes. And they had been going for an hour and a half. We called Dave's parents to alert them that we might need their assistance in the middle of the night to come stay with Annalise but that probably, like last time, we would wait until the morning to go to the hospital. I mean, they'd just started. And Annalise took almost 48 hours to come.
I started doing laundry I would need for the hospital and took a shower and tried to pack last minute things in my hospital bag but I WAS DYING. WHAT WAS GOING ON? When I was upright, the contractions were every one minute and sometimes closer. They went from nothing to excruciating at some point when I wasn't paying attention and now they were ATTACKING ME LIKE LINEBACKERS. I couldn't really do what I needed to get done. I couldn't really handle it. How was I going to wait until morning?
Around 1:00am I mentioned to Dave that I'd forgotten at what point you were supposed to go to the hospital. And I didn't know who to call to find out. Dave managed to find some phone number of our hospital online and decided to give them a call. For some reason, this struck us both as really hilarious and we were cracking up even as I moaned my way through some contractions while he told a nurse that we'd forgotten everything and when did she think we should come in? Her answer was NOW.
My concern was I hadn't been in labor long enough and surely this was way too soon and they would probably laugh at me when I got there because I wouldn't be dilated at all. I was very hesitant to go in. I didn't want to be laughed at.
Then my water broke. So I felt okay about it.
We got there about 1:30am. I was a four. I felt relieved that at least they wouldn't laugh.
I felt I would die from the pain. The post-water-breaking contractions were very very very bad. The nurse kept trying to tell me to breathe and I was pointedly ignoring her because I know how to breathe just fine, thankyouverymuch. But she wouldn't leave me alone. After her twentieth suggestion to just calm down and breathe through my nose, I hissed as fiercely as I knew how, "THAT DOES NOT WORK FOR ME!" Finally my point got across. There were no more suggestions on how to breathe.
The nurse gave me some pain relief to tide me over until I could get the epidural (the anesthesiologist was taking a very long time for some reason) and I was very interested to know about it.
"So... are you sure I got enough of that?" I asked between contractions as she was putting it into my I.V. "I mean, how much did I get? Do you think I need more? I think I could use a lot. I'm in a lot of pain. How much pain will this eliminate?" She interrupted to inform me that she had given me the maximum dosage she was legally allowed.
"Wise choice," I praised her.
After getting settled in and doing everything they had to do, I got an epidural and they checked my progress- it was about 3:30am and I was 6-7 cm dilated. This was going quickly. Great. Onward and upward. (Or outward!) I couldn't fall asleep because now surely Karina would be born any second. Dave konked out. I sat awake in my bed grinning excitedly.
Six hours later around 9:30 am they checked me again. Still 6-7 cm. Crushing news. With both births, the epidurals have really stopped me cold. A few hours later they checked again. Still 6-7 cm. They put me on the lowest dose of Pitosin. Several hours later I was fully dilated and effaced but the baby was still high up (a +2 station) so they suggested I go back to sleep and let her descend. My doctor thinks the reason I had so many problems with Annalise's birth (I pushed for 2 1/2 hours and got nowhere and she had to be vacuumed out) was because they just had me start pushing too soon, when I was dilated but she hadn't descended. So this seemed like a good plan. I slept a few comfortable hours. They checked again and she still wasn't moving down though and now they realized she was face-up (O.P.) which would make everything harder. The nurse suggested switching positions in bed a lot to see if it would make her rotate. As I got on my hands and knees I remembered some things from my natural-birthing classes the first time around, that doing this could make the baby descend too. So I stayed on my hands and knees for an hour, swaying my hips, and when they checked me again the nurse was shocked.
"She is RIGHT THERE!" she said, indicating we were ready. She had me do a practice push. "Okay, I'm calling the doctor!" she said.
The good doctor came in and told me to push. On the first push I couldn't really remember what to do. By the second push, I remembered. Dave's face looked shocked and it's not easy to shock that guy. "I see her whole head!" he said. I didn't actually believe him, because with Annalise they told me stuff the whole time, like what a great job I was doing and how we were really making progress, and none of it was true.
I pushed again and could actually feel progress being made. I never experienced that sensation with Annalise's birth. "The head is out!" Dave exclaimed. I was shocked. "One more tiny push," the doctor said. "That's enough!" he said. And that was it. She was out. "IS SHE OUT?" I bellowed because I couldn't see and this was craziness. People were saying things and making noise and there was commotion and Dave said, "She's OUT!" They put her right on me and I was in absolute and complete utter shock. The whole thing took less than three minutes. As you can see, I am shocked.
I prayed mightily and my prayers were answered. Karina Elizabeth Fuhriman was born September 20, 2011 at 3:04pm weighing 8 pounds 10 ounces and measuring 21 inches. From the start she has been mellow, calm, happy, sleeps amazingly, and rarely cries. She is our tiny angel.
Karina, three hours old: