If you’d asked me about my pregnancy with Colleen, I would have told you 3 things: it was a very different pregnancy this time around (less sick in the beginning and much more uncomfortable in the end), I was obviously having a boy, and I was DEFINITELY going to go late again/possibly end up needing an induction.
So needless to say, I was in denial for quite awhile when I actually did go into labor on my own, right on my due date!
It worked out perfectly that I had my due date, Friday, March 25, off of work for Good Friday. I fully planned to return to work the following week, but thankfully my temp was there the week prior and was fully capable of taking over my duties.
Kristy suggested going to Conner Prairie, as they have a great indoor section for kids. So off we went that morning, and we spent maybe 1-1.5 hours there. Kate was able to run around and play, and we were both exhausted by the time we left!
Late that afternoon, I texted Brian around 3:30 asking if he was going to be home anytime soon. I let him know I was having contractions, but really I had been having contractions the last few weeks of pregnancy off and on…so I really didn’t think anything of it. It was always hard for me to tell in that last month if they were just Braxton Hicks contractions or the real deal; I could mostly tell by my stomach tightening and some *slight* discomfort. (Now I know…the contractions I was having alll throughout the last trimester with Colleen were NOT BH, but the real deal!)
We heard that our friend, Eva, was going to be stopping through and wanted to stop by and visit, and Brian was going to get home right around the time she was set to arrive. It was so nice to have her around, as she really entertained Kate and help take care of Montana. Around 6 or so, Brian suggested I should keep track of my contractions. I thought I’d humor him and agreed to do it, but inside I thought it was a little silly because “SURELY I wasn’t in labor.” My contractions were inconsistent (or so I thought), being about 3-5 minutes apart and lasting 20-45 seconds or so.
As the evening went on, they started to seem slightly more uncomfortable. I laid down on the couch and chugged some water (as being dehydrated can often lead to BH contractions), but they still kept coming. After a few hours of them not letting up, I slowly began to wonder if this was really it?! Even though I knew what the doctor would say (“labor at home until it gets unbearably uncomfortable”), I decided to call around 6:30, anyway. I left a message and they were supposed to call me back within 30 minutes.
When it was time to put Kate to bed, I told Brian that I wanted to (we take turns), since it would be the last time I tucked her in as an only child. I was a HOT MESS. Crying, couldn’t hold back the tears…so worried about how she would react to the split attention that was ahead of her. I asked Brian to take our picture so I’d have one last picture with my first baby. (It’s funny…I was SO worried about Kate during my pregnancy, and looking back, I worried for nothing! Imagine that)…
Three hours later and still no word from the doctor, so I decided to try and call back. I left another message and this time she called back fairly soon, around 9:30 p.m. It was Dr. Cline, the doctor who delivered Ryan and Reid, who is just the sweetest! She said exactly what I thought: to try and labor at home until it got pretty painful. Brian and I put on a show (“House of Cards”–one of my favorites!) to try and shift my focus, but I knew when I couldn’t really pay attention that it was time to shower up. So at 10:30 I headed upstairs to shower and finish packing–because you know this procrastinator wasn’t done with that, yet. 😉 I texted Michelle that it was almost “go” time, and we’d be headed over soon with Kate!
At 11:30 I texted Michelle that we were headed out the door, and the contractions were getting more intense (and closer together-3 minutes apart). When we got Kate out of bed, she was so confused, poor little thing. On our short drive to Michelle’s, she shouted “BUS!” and Brian and I immediately started laughing. She must’ve thought it was the morning, and we were headed to Michelle’s for the day (she always looks for buses).
We dropped off Kate at Michelle’s (aka…the sweetest person alive–man, am I lucky to have her as a friend!) and I wiped the tears from my eyes as we drove away. Thankfully (or not thankfully) the contractions were serving as a huge distraction at this point. I knew when it was not possible to talk through them, we’d made the right choice in heading to the hospital.
We checked in just after midnight and immediately headed up for them to check me. At this point, it was still so surreal. One of my fears in both pregnancies was thinking I was ready to have the baby, going to the hospital, and getting turned away because it was false labor. I didn’t think I’d have to worry about that this time!
The nurses at our hospital are all absolutely incredible, and the one to check me first was no exception. I was 3 cm and my cervix was totally “thinned out”–a.k.a., it was definitely “go” time! They got me to the delivery room and Brian and I settled in and waited for the doctor. When she came in, she told us pretty much what we already knew-just to continue through the contractions and to ask for an epidural when necessary.
They checked me again when we got to the room and I was at 4 cm…movin’ right along! The next few hours were an absolute BLUR. (It couldn’t have been more different than my labor with Kate! With her, we checked into the hospital Sunday evening around 6 p.m., was induced the next morning at 8 a.m., I labored all day the next day, and had Kate at 11:11 p.m. This time…we only had 7 hours from the time I checked in until baby was here!) We didn’t even watch a movie like last time, as the contractions were so painful that that was the LAST thing I wanted to do.
My goal was to make it to an 8 or 9 on the pain scale (whatever the hell that is–basically, until I was gagging/wanting to throw up because it hurt so badly) before I got my epidural. One regret with my labor/delivery with Kate was that I felt pressured by the nurse to get my epidural too soon, because the anesthesiologist was going to be in surgery for a couple of hours. (Also…pitocin. Nothing scared me more than pitocin contractions). This time, I was so proud of myself for riding it out as long as I could. It was INCREDIBLY painful and definitely the most pain I’ve felt in my entire life.
Around 2 a.m. the contractions were so bad that I was gagging and wanted to vomit, and I knew it was time to ask for my epidural. Epidurals do make me nervous, of course, but I was in SO much pain I didn’t freakin’ care at that point. The anesthesiologist was very kind and efficient, and sure enough…a few minutes later I started to feel the best relief in my life. I’ll never forget that “cold” wave coming down your spine. Ahhh….women who don’t get epidurals during labor, I praise you!
I’m not sure how dilated I was at that point (I wish I knew, but I would have to guess at least 7 or 8 cm since I was progressing so quickly)…because the next time they checked me at 5:30 a.m., I was 10 cm and ready to push–HOLY COW! I learned from the nurse that there were 4 women who had been in labor at the same time, and of course, all of us were ready to go at the same point. The nurse asked if I felt the urge to push yet and I said no, that I was okay to wait for a little bit.
They ended up calling in another doctor to help out, and soon enough Dr. Del Rosario popped into my room at around 7:30. She is so incredibly sweet and bubbly, and while I was at first a bit disappointed to not have Dr. Cline, it worked out so perfectly with Dr. Del Rosario…she had a smile and was laughing the whole time–who could ask for a better doctor to deliver your baby?!
When it was “go” time, they had me do the practice pushes. I remembered this with Kate, and I was more than determined to get the ball rolling. At my first practice push they said, okay–I actually made some progress and this baby was coming sooner than we thought! The nurse and doctor both commented on the head of hair that they could already see. I was already getting giddy just thinking about meeting the new addition to our family! They asked if I wanted to use a mirror–I had used one with Kate, but they whisked it away towards the end. I was scared of seeing myself tear and mentioned this to the doctor. She said, “no way! You’re not going to tear-at least I don’t think so!” I ended up using the mirror while I pushed and am SO GLAD that I did. Coolest thing ever!
My contractions actually slowed down and were a good 4-5 minutes apart at this point. 2 pushes and 5 minutes later, out popped our new little baby! When the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!” I honestly couldn’t believe it. (I swore up and down it was a boy this time–not at all because that is what I preferred, but because my pregnancy was different. Well….needless to say, I’m glad I didn’t place any bets this time!) My eyes immediately teared up, as obviously I LOVE the experience of having a daughter, and also secretly I did want Kate to have a sister. It was (and is!) an INCREDIBLE experience that I’m blessed to have had, and now these two have each other for life! For better, or for worse. 😉
I heard her cry and they whisked her away to make sure she was breathing okay. (She had a bowel movement in utero, so there was a WHOLE team of people–maybe 4 or 5?–waiting on the sidelines to make sure everything was okay. A part of me was a little nervous, but I feel like SO many people had experienced this with their babies, as well. Needless to say, once again, I was SO thankful for an outstanding group of doctors and nurses and the incredible care they were able to provide!)
When they placed her on my belly, tears came to my eyes. This was our DAUGHTER. Colleen! I really couldn’t believe I had another girl. Having sisters has been one of the biggest blessings in my life, and I immediately envisioned these two having that same special bond. (Yes, I know…along with all of the fighting and stealing clothes, too).
Meeting her sister!
Typing this out makes me really how incredibly lucky I was to have a wonderful experience. Colleen, you were loved immediately at first sight–we love you so!