My dad and Nadine drove over from Albany to cook Thanksgiving turkey at our house. It was early in my pregnancy that I stated to my family that I would neither be travelling or cooking for Thanksgiving but that my kitchen was open to whoever wanted to bring Thanksgiving to me... Fortunately for me, they took me up on the offer. They arrived Wednesday night, made dinner on Thursday and stayed Thursday night, planning to leave Friday after my ultrasound. Joe and I got up early (4:00 a.m.) Friday morning to take advantage of the black Friday sales. We've never really been a huge fan of black Friday shopping (with the exception of the infamous Fred Meyer sock sale...) but we thought this would be our first year to battle the crowds and stand in line. We hit Target as soon as the doors opened and were in and out in less than 15 minutes. We knew what we wanted, we divided and conquered. We were proud. Headed to Fred Meyer, got some wonderful deals, and were home by 9:00 (all the while, contracting like crazy...)
After a short nap while Joe and Grandpa took Brendan for a walk, we left Brendan in the care of his grandparents as we left for my ultrasound appointment. As we were well aware, the ultrasound was scheduled in order to determine if the baby was actually measuring the size she was supposed to be and to see if the amniotic fluid was low. So it wasn't a complete shock when the ultrasound tech stated that the baby was, in fact, average size for a 37 week fetus and not a 39 week fetus. And then proceeded to show us that there was very little fluid for measurement, leaving me with what's called a low amniotic fluid index. As a labor and delivery nurse I knew the implications of the ultrasound's results and while an AFI of 5 (normal of 10-25) is not extremely low, it's low enough to warrant some concern. We were told to wait while the tech paged the doctor and I turned to Joe and explained that one of two things was likely to happen. I would either need to go to the maternity unit for monitoring (to make sure that she was still doing OK inside) or to be induced. And sure enough we were told to make our way to the Family Birthing Center to be induced.
So at about 1:30 Joe called my parents who were both excited and a little shocked and agreed to stay in town to watch Brendan until we came home from the hospital. I sent Joe home to grab my things (and take a shower and eat lunch, both of which he had not done) while I was admitted, put on the monitors and prepared for my induction. The plan was for the doctor to break my bag of water and start pitocin to induce my labor. As the doctor checked my cervix and prepared to rupture my membranes she looked up at me and smiled and said "whoa... you're already 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced, you were going into labor already..." So at 2:40 as she finished the procedure, hard labor had begun. There was no need for pitocin, as my uterus was contracting very strongly, every 2 minutes without it. I called Joe and asked him to hurry back to the hospital (our house is only 10 minutes away) since I had started getting very painful. I opted for my epidural and was much more comfortable (and now dilated to 6-7 cm) by the time Joe returned. But there was still some very strong pain that was not being relieved and I had a feeling that, when the time came to push her out, I would be feeling much more than I had anticipated. She was not cooperating with the labor pattern (who could blame her when the contractions were coming every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes??) and her heart rate began to drop several times throughout the following few hours. But by 6:00 the pain had become unbearable despite the epidural and it was finally time to push her out. 10 minutes of pushing felt like an eternity but she was finally here and making herself known. Everything turned out fine (except for the fact that I felt it ALL!!) and she's as healthy as can be. We got to go home 24 hours after the delivery and are adjusting much better in the comforts of our own home.
Brendan still isn't quite sure what to think of her. He acknowledges her and has touched her head a few times (kisses her when we suggest it.) But he hasn't wanted to hold her and has been very tearful and sensitive to sharing her with his daddy. I expect the adjustment will take some time for him. My mom is here, cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, watching Brendan and I can't imagine what I'd do without her. I only wish she could stay longer. In any case, we all are feeling very blessed and thankful to have our new baby girl. We'll keep you all updated on our adjustment and post more pictures soon...