After about a week of recovery, I finally feel sane enough to right down my second labor story. So here goes...
My mom arrived in Korea at 4:30 in the morning on the 19th of September. Jeff went to pick her up and after they arrived home, we got cleaned up and mom, Tay, and I went to church while Jeff got caught up a bit on sleep. The rest of that day was spent just catching up with mom and we made a run to E-Mart for some basics to fill the kitchen and prepare for after the delivery. After the trip to E-Mart, I was exhausted, and when we got home, I felt a little cramping in my lower stomach, but nothing I thought that was worth noting or worrying about...
Later that evening, we had a nice dinner and my mom left for her sister's house because the next day, 20 September, was the anniversary of my grandmother's passing, so my aunt had rented a van to transport all the sisters down to Daejeon in the morning to visit the grave site. Jeff and I put Tay down for the night around 8:30 and we actually went to bed around 9pm.
I was feeling a little anxious for some reason so I tossed and turned for a bit, but I eventually dozed off until I was awoken by a stronger-than-normal contraction. I got up out of bed because I wanted to know what time it was...it was only 9:30. I didn't think I could fall back asleep right away, so I decided to check my email and facebook. A short while later, I felt another one of the contractions, so I checked the time and it was 9:40. No pain associated with the contractions, though, so I didn't think anything of it. As I'm facebook-stalking my friends, I have another contraction...9:49. Another one at 9:59. Now I'm curious...could this be...early labor? I Google early labor and continue timing the contractions. They keep coming regularly at 9 to 10 minute intervals...still no pain. Then they get a little closer...about 7 to 8 minutes apart. Still no pain...but the Google findings are confirming that I am probably in early labor since the contractions are coming on regularly and getting progressively closer together and not going away when I "change positions" by walking around or sitting for a while or lying on my side. I still haven't woken Jeff yet because I am still not convinced that I'm in labor...
Around 12:45, the contractions are coming about every five minutes now and I'm debating whether or not to wake Jeff up, so at 1am, I decide it might be time to wake up Jeff and let him know I might be in labor. When I tell a very groggy Jeff, he almost leaps out of bed and says, "Let's go!" but I am not in a hurry because I'm still not convinced I'm really in labor. There's still no real pain coming with the contractions, so I guess that's why I just had no sense of urgency...I hadn't gotten to the active labor part yet...perhaps. I finally call my mom at 1:30am at my aunt's house and tell her we're probably going to head to the hospital soon to check if I am in labor and my mom says she'll meet us there...then she says she'll just come straight to our house and go with us to the hospital because I told her we were getting our bag ready to go and that it might be a bit before we actually get out of the house. By 2am, Jeff and I are packed up and ready to go, but my mom hadn't arrived yet...and Jeff's now getting antsy, but I'm still pretty relaxed although my contractions are still coming every five minutes or so. My mom finally arrives, we pick up Tay from her bed (who is still sleeping), we head to the hospital and arrive there at 2:30am. On the drive over, Tay wakes up and she's wired...poor thing.
We first walk into the Emergency Room (ER) because I'm not sure if there's anyone in Labor and Delivery (LD), but the staff in the ER direct me to LD. We walk over to LD and there seems to be only a cleaning staff there and one of the ladies tells me to go on in (no children allowed). We leave a wide-awake Tay with my mom and Jeff and I go in to find out what's going on with me. When I tell them my contractions are coming about five minutes apart and not painful yet, they have me fill out a card and direct me to a tiny labor room. They have me change and such to prep me and check me and tell Jeff to wait outside. Disappointingly, no one is really friendly or smiling, which is bothersome since this should be a happy time...but since it was the middle of the night shift, I assumed they were just all really tired. There were a few other women I could hear laboring, which was also a bit disturbing.
Jeff came back in after I had changed into the hospital gown, so we waited some more for them to come and do a non-stress test and check my contractions. Jeff went out again to check on how Tay and my mom were doing and he brought in all the bags so that my mom didn't have to watch Tay and keep an eye on our bags.
With the monitor on, the contractions were showing that they were still coming every four to five minutes. They checked my dilation and effacement and I was only about 30% effaced and 3cm dilated. After about 30 minutes of the NST, they removed the contraction monitor and kept the heart rate monitor on for the baby. By now it was past 4am and I was getting antsy and uncomfortable from just lying there. I was also getting upset because I had wanted to tell Tay that everything would be okay and that I love her before I was stuck to a hospital bed. I also thought she'd be able to be in the labor room with me for a bit before they had to leave, but they wouldn't let me go back out to see her because I was already dilated. I guess that's the difference between a Korean and American hospital system...I was restricted to the bed entirely even though I still wasn't in any pain from my contractions. Quite frustrating. Anyhow, it was 7am now and Beth was on her way to the hospital to pick up Tay and I really missed her so I asked the nurse again if I could go see her and at least tell her good bye before she went with Beth for the day. They finally said okay, but after their shift change! Ugh...I was frustrated, but I said I'd wait and waited and waited and waited...until finally I called someone in it was someone new, so I knew shift change had happened (by now it was about 7:30 and Beth was already there, but I asked her to wait so I could see Tay before they left). When I mentioned to the nurse that the previous shift nurse had told me I could go see her after shift change, the nurse said she had to check me first and that it was not recommended that I walk anywhere. NOOOOOOOOO!!!! I told her I HAD to go see my daughter and that I would be very very upset if I didn't get to, so when they checked me, I was still at 3cm dilated and just a bit more effaced. So they finally said I could go see her so I got up and walked out (all of 20 yards or so) to see her in the waiting area and got to hug and kiss my sweet big girl...knowing that the next time I saw her, our relationship would change drastically...even though I would still love her all the same...::sigh:: It made me so sad to see her go...seeing her so grown up.
After the brief meeting and farewell, Jeff took Tay and Beth home (where Tay finally fell asleep since she woke up at 2am) and Jeff went into work...for a bit. It was about 7:45 by now.
When I came back in, they checked my dilation once more and told me I was at 4cm now and almost 100% effaced. A good sign! They moved me into a "labor and delivery" room where they informed me I would be delivering there. They also told me my labor was stalling (I was back to having contractions about every five minutes again), so they would be starting me on Pictocin to get things moving again. I let Jeff know that they were going to start me on the drip so things may start moving quickly, so he started making his way back to the hospital. Shortly after they started the drip, the contractions started coming back more frequently (no clock in front of my bed now, so I don't know how frequently) and I started to feel a little bit of pain along with each contraction. I actually had to concentrate and breathe rhythmically to get through them. Nothing worth yelling about, though. Less than four or five of those times of contractions later, another nurse came and checked my progress and I was already 6cm dilated from the previous four! Sweeeeeet. Only concern was that since I had progressed that quickly, they were saying I'd probably be ready to push soon, but Jeff wasn't back yet! Anyhow, the contractions continued to come on stronger, although I couldn't tell if they were coming on more frequently or anything. A few more contractions later, they checked me again and I was at 8cm! The room started to buzz with a few more nurses and they called the doctor to tell him I was almost ready so he should make his way down. The nurse also broke my water (I think) when she last checked me to keep things moving (or else my water broke naturally while she was checking me, but whatever) and after that happened, the contractions were significantly stronger and definitely painful...but still not nearly as painful as I could recall from my first labor. They told me to roll over on my side to help things move along (and reduce my back labor!) so when I did that, MAN, the contractions were much more painful, but still manageable with controlled breathing...and shortly after that, I felt Jeff's hand on my shoulder to tell me he was here. I guess that was Riley's cue, too, because I had that sudden sensation that I really really needed to push really soon! I started to say, "I need to push, I need to push!" but apparently no one understood me except Jeff and my mom...and of course, my mom runs to one of the nurses and tells her that I was ready to push...in ENGLISH. :) Hehehe...not so funny at the time, but funny now that I think about it. Anyhow, eventually they got the message that I was ready to push and they told me not to push too hard because they didn't want me to tear. One of the nurses coached me through the breathing so I wouldn't push too hard and soon everyone was ready to receive the baby and I was ready to push her out of me. I'll spare any further details, but after only about five or six times pushing, Shinah Riley Ryals entered the world at 9:08am. A healthy 3.47 kgs (7 lbs, 10 oz.) little girl born at 38 weeks + 5 days and a whopping 19.5 inches...a whole inch shorter than Tay was when she was born and almost a whole pound lighter than Tay.
As they're discussing various things about the baby and such, one of the nurses asked if I had registered for cord banking and someone responded "No" and oddly enough, I was lucid enough to speak up and say, "YES I DID!" and they came over to me and asked me if I had any paperwork, and luckily...I had all of it, including the receipt of when I paid for it all together in my hospital bag that I had packed! HA! If this had happened with Tay, I definitely would not have been lucid enough to catch the conversation, much less remember that I had all the paperwork in my bag. They brought the bag over to me and I fished out the paperwork and they banked the cord blood right away. We didn't bank Tay's cord blood, but we did decide to do it this time...just on the off chance that we may need it someday. Hopefully not.
Unlike when I had Tay, they wrapped the little bundle up and handed her to me to hold while the nurses were massaging my abdomen so that Riley could get familiar with my scent before they took her to the nursery to be examined, cleaned, etc...I'm not sure where Jeff and my mom went (perhaps with Riley) but the nurses covered me in a super-warm blanket after the doctor left and I was left in the dimmed room to rest and recover for a bit before they moved me to the recovery room in a whole different wing. I also had to remind the nurses again that we wanted to room in with Riley instead of leaving her in the nursery so they would bring her up to the recovery room as soon as she was ready.
All in all, this hospital experience was much worse than my first time around with Tay, but the labor and delivery was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much easier...and I felt lucid the entire time. I never felt out of control and I can clearly remember the entire event with no negative feelings about it. I have no negative feelings about my labor with Tay, but I also can't remember exactly what happened toward the end when I actually started having the stronger contractions. I guess maybe because my body had experienced it before, it was more ready to take it on and my tolerance for pain had grown significantly. I didn't even need to let out a yelp. Jeff likes to remind me that I yelled at him quite a bit in Korean during my first labor. I don't recall any of that.
Anyhow, that is my second labor story, and it was surprisingly pleasant for me. The recovery story will come at a later time. :)
Welcome to our family, Shinah Riley. :) We're so glad to have you!