I'm going to try to get as specific and detailed as I can remember. I wanted to write this that night, but I was so tired and running on such nervous energy I couldn't pause long enough to put it all down. So here it is:
Wednesday: Ash Wednesday, I went to work as scheduled. I had a relatively full day, but I was running a bit late b/c the baby settled on my sciatic nerve the night before and I was mostly paralyzed when I awoke. I got to work and made it in time for the morning meeting. Everyone seemed surprised that I was still there and I think I was a bit surprised too. I worked the full day and made sure to wrap up anything that might be remaining. I even stayed a little later to write up a document "just in case" I wasn't going to make it in the next day. I got a text from my cousin telling me that she was headed into the hospital to deliver her baby and I said a prayer for a healthy delivery for her.
I was driving home and noticed the stomach cramping that I felt from earlier that day was steadily increasing, but thought maybe it had something to do with what I ate. I just blew it off and hurried home to make it in time for mass. We got there and settled in. My back pain was AWFUL!! I was having difficulty standing, but I didn't think much of it b/c it didn't feel any differently than my typical lower lumbar pain. I just did some stretches and dealt with it. On our way to the car, I felt a surge of wetness. I was in shock and thought, surely this wasn't it. I think my water broke! I told Don and sent Brother a quick text (we were heading to Luby's for dinner). I called Mom to give her a heads up and to also send in a prayer request to her. We stopped by Luby's and got our fish meals and went home. Don put in "The Wire" and I went to check to see if it was in fact my water. As far as I could tell it was, but the directions told me to wait for half an hour with my legs elevated before doing anything. My phone died before I could really talk with my sister, so I had to put it in charge before I could call back.
I ate and watched an episode. I figured that it was my water and I was starting to have some contractions. It was really more of a big stomach ache, but it was rhythmic and in cadence, so we made the decision to go to the hospital. I called my sister and she headed over there. We gave the doctor a heads up and suggested we go up there. We head to Plano Presby and go right up to the 3rd floor. We were so lucky to have a patient and kind nurse check us in Labor & Delivery (L&D). She was wearing a star scrub top and I knew that the star was a good sign. It is one of my favorite symbols, so I felt relaxed. She confirmed the contractions, but said it was NOT dilated, nor had my water broken. They were going to monitor me for about an hour. She let me go a bit longer than that and when she checked again, I still hadn't made any progress. She comforted me and let me know that it was good they were going to discharge me. That if I really wanted a natural labor, I should go home and do most of the laboring there and then come in. Being that I'd never gone into labor I didn't know what to expect. She said I could go into work the next day if I wanted to, especially since she said I was in EARLY, early, early labor. Sam went home and Don made a plan to go into work as well. They gave me 5mg of Ambien to help me relax and sleep to prepare me for the day. I called up to work to let them know I probably was not going to make it in. We get home and I tried to sleep, but I just had a stomach ache. I was praying that the fish wasn't making me sick. I told Don I was going to sleep on the couch especially b/c my only urge was to get up and go to the bathroom. From about 2 to 5 that morning, I was getting up every 15 minutes and running to the bathroom. I just had the urge to have a crazy bowel movement. I know that's gross, but that's what it felt like. I just kept getting sicker and sicker and I seriously thought I had a bad reaction to the fish. Every time I woke up, I kept thinking about Chi Chi Rodriguez. No, I'm not a die hard fan. I just couldn't get that name out of my head. So random, I chalked it up to the Ambien. I wanted to sleep, but I couldn't get more than 15 minutes. I remember looking up at the clock at 5:55 and took a deep breath. I went to the bathroom one more time and walked to the bedroom. My alarm had gone off, so I shut it off and told Don that I was hurting. And I didn't know if this was labor or not, but if it wasn't then I might not be strong enough to do it naturally. I told thim that I was really worried, but it was ok. He gave me reassurance and didn't make me feel like I was being a wuss for wanting meds. I laid in bed next to him and passed out hard for a solid 5 minutes. He held me in his arms tightly. I had a great dream and felt great peace. Then I awoke to some serious pain. That was a contraction! I knew it. My heart rate elevated and I just remember shaking. Don held me tighter and I went right to bed again. Another solid 5 minutes and BAM! I yelled and ran to the bathroom. Don thought I was going to pee. I yelled out, and GUSH! I huge rush of liquid came pouring out. I hollered, "Oh F---!!" and started vomiting uncontrollably. Don ran into the room and just stared at me. The only thing I could do was kick the bathroom mat out of the way. Don shoved the bathroom trashcan in front of me and I did my best to aim there. I've never been more grateful to have someone there, but also feel so humiliated and embarrassed. I didn't want him to see me like this. I finally caught my breath and let out a couple of whimpering tears. I finished and he said, that's it. Let's go to the hospital! I told him that I needed to take a really quick shower to calm down and relax because I was too wound up. I was in there for about 5 minutes and in that time he'd packed up the car and put away Guapo. I gathered my things and kissed Guapo bye. At this time, the contractions were coming every 5 minutes! Every stop light I prayed would go faster and I FELT every bump in the road. 6:49AM I sent a mass text out to everyone letting them know that we were headed to the hospital.
Don pulled up and I had another contraction. I powered through and knew that I had 3 minutes to make it up to the floor before I had another. I kissed him bye and did my best to hobble to the elevators. I was waiting for the elevator and a doctor was waiting as well. I glared at him, hoping that he wouldn't be going to the 2nd floor. We get in and I lean against the wall. I feel another coming on. He hits the 2 button. ARE YOU SERIOUS???? He gets off and I know he could feel my glaring stare. I was so not happy. The doors closed and there came another. I had to hold the door open until it passed. I waddled to the desk and told them my name and that I was certain I was in labor. They walked me past the original L&D rooms onto Triage/C-section. I had 2 nurses talking to me telling me that they were expecting me. They asked me if I had a cesarean for my first baby and was I excited about having a boy? I told them, um...no. I'm having a natural birth and this is my first and.....ANOTHER...I'm having a girl. The gave me a puzzled look, asked my name again and I repeated it, slowly. "Oh, I think we have a miscommunication. You can stay here. Wait, no, let's go to the other room. Or no, you can stay. No, better yet, let's go to this other room." I must've made an off-hand comment about how small the rooms were and they said, well, this IS triage. I had no idea what that meant. I just knew I had to stop twice on our way to the other room. The lady asked me to slip into a hospital gown and to pee in the cup in the toilet. They wanted to verify that my water had broken and how far along I was in the labor. The strip immediately turned blue this time, instead of remaining yellow like a few hours before. "yep, you are in labor!" I gave her a ridiculous look and then realized she had a really nice pair of blue eyes. I felt mildly comforted. She begin to see how far along I'd dilated and said, "Oh my! You are 7, or 6 cm dilated!!" Don walked into the room and gave me a puzzled look. The nurses began to explain to me that they were in the middle of a shift change. That they were going to check me in, but I'd have another nurse. I just nodded and did what they said. She asked if I was in much pain and I told her yes. They gave me an IV, which I later heard only full of stuff to keep me hydrated. She's originally told me that it would take the edge off. No "edge" was taken off. It actually hurt like hell when they put it in my wrist and I immediately wanted to rip it out.
They transferred me to a gurney and wheeled me off back to the L&D rooms. I got room 303. I was in 301 earlier. This room felt oddly familiar (turns out that this was the same room that Sam had delivered Zeni). Heather, my nurse introduced herself and Victoria, the student nurse. The anesthesiologist was talking to me about an epidural and in the middle of her talking to me about it, Heather interjects with, "You don't need to get one if you don't want to. It is my job to try to stick to your birth plan. I have reviewed it and you want to go naturally. You are already more than 70% of the way there! You've done it. Transition is tough, but it is the shortest amount of time." I signed off on the epidural saying I'd heard all of the information and that I didn't have interest in it at that time, but I wasn't ruling it out. I just thought, can I do this? Can I really do this? Where's Sam? I need Sam. I looked at Don and implored, "Where's Sam?" I wasn't trying to hurt his feelings. I just needed my sister. If she told me that I could do it, I know I could. She knows the limits I can push myself. I heard him call her earlier. I just sat there focusing on the round metal fixture in the ceiling. I heard Heather giving me words of comfort again. Then, in walked Sam. She ran over to me, and put her cool hand into mine. She got into coaching mode and I knew I could do it! Don gave me ice chips and I prepared my focus.
I went into transition and these contractions were killer. They spiked up into the 100s. Earlier that night, they were only in the 20s. I looked at Don and asked him for an ice chip and told him to count. True to what Ada told me, I went back to that place in college. Running those laps on the track. At that time, I would suck on a red jolly rancher and kick it in gear. It would hurt, but it lasted less than 30 seconds. I pretended my ice chip was a jolly rancher and I was rounding that corner on the track. I breathed like I was running that race. This was just going to be another pyramid run. I could do it! Sam would talk me through it. Telling me that it was building and peaking, and then I was coming down. Don's counting reassured me with the counting. It was hilarious because during our breathing training, the counting was the last thing I wanted to do. Heather came by me and calmly said, "Now Bianca, when you feel the urge to push, you just let us know and you do it. I want you to push from the bottom and really push through. Don't hold back. If you hold back at all, this will take longer than necessary. So jus remember, push through it, all the way through the 10 count."
8:00AM I THINK IT IS TIME TO PUSH! OMG...I bared down and pushed before she could get to me. She told me to hold the back of my knees and for Don and Sam to hold my feet. She too would push my legs. I asked her for the mirror. I needed the mirror! Victoria ran off to get the mirror. During that time, the doctor appeared. Itwasn't my regular OB, but one of his partners. I'd seen her in the practice a couple of times and remembered her. She was nice. I felt at ease. They covered every inch of my exposed skin, except what was necessary and all that was left, they swabbed with iodine or something to disinfect the area, I guess. They gave me some oxygen to help me get through it. It took me 2 sets of pushing to "get" what she meant by pushing from my bottom. It was pushing for 10 seconds for 3 times per set. The contractions were longer, so they could fit in 4. I bared down and pushed. I paused and I knew she was crowning. I yelled out, "This hurts! This REALLY, REALLY HURTS! No, it really hurts." I looked at Don. I shook my head. "Just cut her out! Please, just do it." I was starting to hyperventilate. I was losing focus. Sam stared at me, grabbed my hand and said, "Come on. You can do it. You are right there! This is it. This last set, do it. Push hard and it's over. It's all over. Big breath, ok." I looked at her and knew I could, but I still needed more reassurance. I asked, "Ok, one more push?" She was like, "No, one more SET of pushing." In hindsight, I laugh thinking that I was seriously trying to negotiate with my sister. "One set, one more set of pushing, and she'll be here. You can do it. Here it comes! Here it comes. You ready? Find your focus. Big breath!" I pushed to the 10. Big breath. Another set. I pushed through the 10. I felt tearing and cried out. I didn't want to cuss anyone. I didn't care about anything. I FELT this. It hurt like hell, but I knew I was close. She was close. I love her already and I'm ready for this. Another big breath and PUSH. She's right there. "One more Bianca. One more, do it! Do it! Just like you've been, but put it all in this last push!" Quick breath, PUUUUUUUUUUUUSH. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8...I thought, I don't care if I have to go to 30. I'm going to keep pushing...9, 10, 11, 12, 13...she came out. She came out. There she is. THERE SHE IS!! I did it.
8:41AM Mari enters the world screaming. I look at Don and wanted to cry. I was so happy, but had no tears you could see. My soul was beaming and I never felt more satisfied in my life. 10 fingers, 10 toes. Don cut the cord. I remember asking them if we could wait until it was done pulsing, but they feared she may have swallowed meconium and they needed to check her. He cut the cord and they took her to the little warming tray. She screamed and screamed. Happy Chinese New Year!
Sam grabbed the camera and started snapping pics. Meanwhile, I had to deliver the placenta. When it came out, I felt a HUGE sense of relief. It was heavy! I wanted them to weigh it, but I guess they couldn't. The just looked at me like I was nuts. I did get to see it and I swear it was bigger than she was. That was the 9lb baby that my doctor thought I'd have.
They asked me if I wanted a local when the stitched me up. I agreed thinking it would've just been local in the area. Well, they slipped it in my IV and I immediately became loopy. When they brought her to me, I just sat there happily enjoying her in my arms. 34 grams...what is that? 6 pounds 14 oz. She was totally worth it all.
I was a bit loopy after that. I vaguely remember going to the post-partum room. This is the smaller hospital room that would be Mari's first home. We nestled in for a couple of days. Don on the converter bed, me in the hospital bed, and Mari in her portable crib. We were very lucky to have visitors come by. It was incredible! We are so blessed in our lives.
Oh and when we went home, it was one of the absolute most gorgeous days we've seen!