Grace's birth story was three posts long. And it rightly needed that many posts because it was a long labor, delivery, and hospital stay.
Sophia's story, like all things tru with a second born, is much different than her sister's story.
So, one post it will be.
After all, her delivery came on fast and furiously, no need to wax poetic.
On Thursday, September 27th, 2012, we drove to Dubai to pick up Ian's mom in the airport. We waited for nearly an hour for her to disembark and get her luggage and as I chased Grace around the waiting room, I caught myself pausing often to catch my breath and wait out a "pain" that was occurring. I didn't think much of it as I was so excited for his mom to arrive.
We stayed home from church on Friday and rested in the morning. We headed out to the grocery store around noon and I had a really hard time walking around there. We came home around 3 pm and I immediately crawled into bed for a nap, but sleep eluded me. As I lay there, trying to get even half an hour of sleep, I realized the pains were still present, and, in fact were probably timeable.
Around 4 pm I brought some craft supplies for the nursery downstairs, turned on my computer, and started timing the "pains," that I was quickly realizing were actually contractions. Ian and his mom were chatting in the family room and showed concern when they realized I was timing contractions while hot glueing buttons on a lamp shade.
(I just had to get those projects done if Sophia was going to come!)
By five pm we realized the contractions were coming every 4-6 minutes. I wrestled with the decision to go to the hospital for the next hour. Our hospital was an hour and a half away. My doctor told me to head to the hospital when my contractions were 10 minutes apart. If we took the time to go all the way out there and I was in fact NOT in labor, I would:
1.) feel very stupid
2.) feel very tired.
But, if we didn't leave in time, we would be delivering this baby in the back of an SUV in the middle of an Arab desert. Perfect.
I did what every sensible woman would do. I made Ian read the "how to deliver a baby in a car," page of my pregnancy book.
By six pm the contractions were coming on harder and even more regularly.
I called our friend to come and get Grace and we all kicked into high gear getting things ready and grabbing a bite to eat.
A few minutes before 7:30 on Friday, September 28th, Grace's babysitter arrived, I kissed her goodbye, then we all loaded in our car and headed out for the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital at 8:40 pm and I walked right into the labor and delivery ward. It was a weird feeling because I had just been there 18 months prior delivering Grace!
The birthing center was almost completely empty, except for one lady in a triage room who was getting sent home because she wasn't in labor.
I came in, peed in a cup (of course,) sat in my bed, got hooked up to the monitors, and waited. Ian joined me several minutes later to watch the contraction counter. Suddenly my contractions were only coming every 10 minutes, but I remembered that the adrenaline rush of arriving at the hospital can cause your contractions to slow or stop. Ian rubbed my arm and I tried to let my body relax. Sure enough, they started coming back.
The nurse arrived to check me and I realized it was the same nurse, aptly named Angel, who had been with me for 8 hours of labor with Grace. I was only 3 cm dilated and only 50 % effaced. She sent us out of the ward to "walk it off," to see if we could speed up labor. Ian's mom and I spent the next hour walking around the hospital campus outside, while Ian ran to the store to get some food and drink (our hospital does not provide any food services, except water for the mother.)
The nurse hooked me back up to monitor contractions and saw that they were regular but still not the 2-4 minutes apart that she was looking for. Right around 12:30 I had to use the bathroom and was sick to my stomach. As soon as I left the bathroom my contractions became much more intense and I began shaking uncontrollably, a symptom of transitional labor. We asked about pain control and I asked to get a local shot, as it was getting really intense but I didn't want to get my epidural right then.
She checked me before she could order the shot, and I had made it to a 4-5 cm, and I was officially admitted to the hospital and moved to my room at 1 am on Saturday, September 29th. Minutes later the labor got much stronger and the nurse went ahead and called the anesthesiologist in for the epidural that I had expressed a desire for. They went ahead and put the nitrous oxide (happy gas) mask on me for the few minutes that we waited for his arrival, and when he walked in, my eyes got as big as saucers and all I could do was look into Ian's eyes since the mask was making it hard to talk. We had a traumatic experience with the very same anesthesiologist with Grace's birth and I could not believe that he was actually on call that night.
Honestly, at this point, I chose to breathe deeply, enjoy my happy gas, and not think about the completely incompetent man that was about to be putting a needle into my spine.
Those 45 minutes were some of the most surreal moments in my life, thanks to the nitrous oxide. I could hear people talking, telling me to move this way, or do that, but I could not talk back- I could not move my body how they were telling me. It was clear in my head but I couldn't communicate back to them. Everything was in slow, shuddered motion when I tried to move or talk.
The anesthesiologist stepped out of the room to make a phone call to his colleague- my back had officially stumped him two years in a row.
The nurse checked me, and, in just 45 minutes I had progressed from a 4 to a 10. And I had done it all while sitting on the edge of the bed (no wonder it was so uncomfortable!)
The doctor came in and ordered that the nitrous oxide mask be removed (she reprimanded the nurses for letting me have it for so long, since now it would impede my ability to focus and push,) and she had an oxygen mask put on me to help clear my mind a bit. I was able to put together a few words to remind Ian to go get his mom from the waiting room, and they made it back just in time!
September 29th, 2012
19.7 inches long
I don't have much memory of the moments after she was born as my mind was still foggy. I know my mother in law held my hand and repeatedly answered my questions about how Sophia was, and I know Ian ran out to the car because we hadn't even had time to bring in the camera. Sophia was given to me for a moment then taken over to be cleaned up and examined while I was stitched (I tore in two places.)
We had to wait for two hours until we were transferred to a room and then the nurse had two mattresses delivered for Ian and his mom. We all collapsed into bed and slept fitfully for the rest of the early morning.
Ian ran out to get donuts for breakfast and then a friend of mine came to sit with me at the hospital while Ian drove his mom back to Abu Dhabi. Ian returned late that afternoon after getting his mom situated, taking a nap and a shower, and Grace was brought back home.
Sunday morning, September 30th, just before noon, we were released from the hospital. We loaded up the car and drove the hour and a half drive home, pausing to nurse Sophia on the side of the highway. We got home around 3 pm and were so excited to have our little family together again!