All day Friday there were no signs of labor, just an occasional mild contraction. Around 8:55 pm that night the contractions started to be more painful. They weren't crazy intense, but they were different than any I'd had in the last week or so. I timed a few of them, and then I just told Nate I thought we should go to the hospital since I was 40 weeks. I told him we could always turn around if they stopped, but in case this was the real deal we may as well get going. We grabbed our things and headed out the door by about 9:30 pm. We decided to take Nate's car so his mom would have the Pilot with all the car seats. It was low on gas, but thankfully Nate had some in a container and we poured that in and took off. I'm so glad that Nate's mom was there to be with the kids and we didn't have to take them somewhere or wait for someone to come over. We may not have made it to the hospital in time if we hadn't been able to leave right then.
I was doing ok, but about halfway to the hospital (with no traffic it was about a 20-25 minute drive) I was starting to need to breathe through the contractions. Nate was on the phone with the hospital letting them know we were on our way and giving them the details in doctor talk. As we drove up to the gates to show our ID, the driver in front of us seemed to be having a particularly relaxed and long conversation with the guard as he checked his ID. Finally Nate hollered out the window that his wife was in labor. The guard quickly waved us through. We debated between going to the parking garage or leaving our car in an area at the front of the hospital and hustling in. Since it was nighttime and the garage wouldn't be crowded and was close to the entrance anyway, we just went to the garage. We quickly parked and I kind of hobbled/hurried in through the contractions.
Of course Labor and Delivery was super busy that night. They put me in a triage room and started doing all the "things" they do and asking all the questions they ask. There was a medical student on call that night (Max Lystrup) that is a friend of Nate's (he is the one who actually caught Leah), and both he and Nate were excited to see each other. I was starting to really be in a lot of pain. I remember really trying to breathe and kind of rocking my head from side to side during the contractions. Since so many ladies had shown up in labor within such a short time that night, the doctor was slow to come in. So Nate checked my cervix, and I was already dilated to 7cm, 90% effaced. Not long after that they wheeled me into a real delivery room. The anesthesiologist came into the room to talk to me about the epidural, and I asked for one as quickly as possible and signed the consent form. She then left to get her cart and supplies. After she left I basically asked everyone if there was even time for an epidural and should we just move forward without it. Believe me, I wanted one! But I also didn't want to go through all the mess of getting it placed, etc if in the end it was just going to make things take longer and not even work in time. Everyone basically said the baby was coming fast, and I should probably just forget it. By the time the anesthesiologist came back to place the epidural I was already feeling the urge to push, so it was too late anyway. That urge to push always kind of freaks me out.
I remember I was sweating so bad. I started to get nauseous and they brought me a bowl that I could have easily thrown up in, but somewhere in my mind I decided the act of throwing up would be painful and just kind of burped and tried to keep it all in. Since I was really sweating, Nate was trying to cool me off by blowing on me and I asked him to stop because I did not want to smell his breath. When I am in labor I get easily annoyed with people around me. I can remember feeling that way with certain people during each of my deliveries. Earlier when I first got to the hospital I wanted to smack the nurses as they small talked to each other, and I wanted to knock Nate's head off during his casual conversations with the medical student.
Our regular doctor (who we love) had left town that afternoon for a few days for Memorial Day weekend. We had known from the beginning of my pregnancy that he may not be at the actual delivery. He has a lot of responsibilities at the medical school, etc. There was a nurse midwife (Casey) there that was helping me through everything, and I really liked her. She asked me if I wanted her to break my water, and that the baby would probably come very quickly after that. I said, yes, yes, anything to make this go faster. I was in SO much pain. I just remember trying to figure how to escape the pain...how to remove myself from the situation somehow. I had NO idea how I was going to continue to exist while experiencing that much pain. It sounds so dramatic, but that's what I was feeling. Every minute seemed like an eternity. I was squeezing Nate's hand so hard and digging my nails into his hand and just yelling "what am I supposed to do?!" I didn't know if I should scream, push, breathe or what. I remember that when it was time to push the midwife kept saying my name loudly and told me I needed to hold my legs. I was sweating so much my IV just fell off my arm.
After only a few pushes, the baby's head emerged and the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. The midwife Casey and medical student Max together pulled the umbilical cord loop over her head and pulled Leah out, since she seemed to be momentarily stuck. As her arms emerged, they found the umbilical cord was also wrapped around her belly. They had to "deliver through" this cord, again pulling her out. This all happened over about 1-2 minutes. Super fast! They suctioned her mouth and placed her right on my belly. I know this is a special moment for many mothers, but I have never had the desire to have my babies placed on my skin immediately and before being cleaned up. I still remember the feel of her warm skin as they laid her there, and I was happy to have her close. And then she pooped on me. :) She was very quiet and purplish, but after a minute of rubbing and stimulating her she finally started crying. It wasn't until about 15 minutes after her birth that she really started crying better, so the midwife called pediatrics to come evaluate her. About 20 minutes into her little life, the pediatrics resident and attending had evaluated her, and she was much pinker and breathing better, so they "gave her their blessing" and left.
She weighed 8 lbs 2 oz. Her full name is Leah Kim Nye. Nate and I had struggled the whole pregnancy choosing a name, and we still hadn't decided at the time she was born. Leah was on our list, but not really anywhere near the top. We just both ended up liking and feeling best about the name Leah after meeting her.
I spent about 36 hours in the hospital. The nights were long and pretty sleepless, but I feel like my recovery has gone really well. We made it home on Sunday morning with just a couple hours till we had to get Kim to the airport. It was SO nice to have her here, and we're so glad Leah came before she left! All the kids wanted to name the baby May, and to this day, stubborn little Emmy insists that's her name. They all love her. Natalie is very motherly and sweet with her and is constantly saying, "She's so cute!" Jansen really hates hearing her cry, and always tries to soothe her when she is upset. It has been a big adjustment of course, but we are so, so in love with our little Leah!