In lieu of a “41 Weeks” pregnancy post, here’s a Welcome, Baby Bier post! (How great is that?!?)
Liesl Katherine Bier was born at 3:04am on Friday, September 20, 2013, weighing 8lbs. 12 oz. and measuring 20″ long. She was born exactly 7 days late, and we are thrilled for her to make her entrance into the world!
Early in the morning on Monday, I woke up at 12:30am to contractions lasting 30 seconds and spaced 10 minutes apart. I woke Pete up, and we were both excited because although it wasn’t time to head into the hospital just yet, it meant that time was near.
We thought, “Things are happening! She’s going to be born soon!”
Tuesday Night-Wednesday Morning (3 days before she was born)
The contractions kept getting consistently stronger throughout the day on Tuesday. Pete was at work all day, and I did a lot of walking around (to hopefully speed things up) and worked on projects around the house (to keep my mind occupied and to pass the time). By the time Pete got home, the contractions were about 5 minutes apart and lasted a minute and a half. (Note: Our hospital subscribes to the 5-1-1 rule: you should only make a trip to the Labor and Delivery ward once your contractions are consistently 5 minutes apart, last at least 1 minute, for more than 1 hour). They were painful, but manageable; by 1:00am, Pete and I thought, “Maybe we should go to the hospital and see how far along things have progressed.” At our 40 Week appointment, I wasn’t dilated even 1cm, and we were hopeful that all these contractions meant we were further along than that.
After a quick exam, we were told that I was dilated about 2cm, but not far enough along to get admitted. We went home around 2:30am somewhat disappointed and got a few hours of sleep before Pete went to work the next morning at 5:30am.
All day Wednesday, the contractions were still consistently within the 5-1-1 range. The biggest difference was the pain level; these were much more intense, and I had to really focus on my breathing, body position, and mentally concentrate on what was happening to get through the pain. Around midnight, I woke Pete up and said that I thought we should go to the doctor again to see “if it was time”.
We got to the hospital, had another quick exam and were told that we were only dilated 2-3cm (not far enough along to get admitted); for first-time moms, our hospital only admits patients at least 5cm along, so until we got to this point, we weren’t going to get admitted (or get any kind of pain-relieving drugs, which at this point was really appealing to me). I almost started crying because I was in so much pain, exhausted (after not sleeping for two nights), and physically worn down. Also, I felt pretty battered mentally; if it took 2 days to get to 2-3cm, and I was in this much pain and sleep deprived, I wasn’t sure how I could mentally or physically get through another few days of this pain and exhaustion. The doctor on call said that it could take another 2-3 days for us to get to 5cm and that it was completely normal for this part of labor to take a while. She even doubted that I was in active labor, which blew my mind.
I thought to myself, “If I’m in this much pain, and I’m not even in active labor, how much more painful is this going to get?”
By the time we got back home and went to bed it was about 2am; I was shivering very badly (I later learned this was due to all the hormones circulating through my body) and could not get comfortable regardless of the position. Although the doctor had given me a sleeping aid (some sort of Benedryl-type pill), it didn’t do much of anything. Imagine trying to put a Band-Aid on a gushing arterial wound. It’s not going to do much.
After I got out of bed on Thursday, most of the day was spent in the darkened, quiet living room. I couldn’t concentrate on breathing through the contractions with noise of any kind, so the TV was off or muted. When Pete came home for lunch, he must have seen how much pain I was in because he went to the store and bought me an exercise ball to sit on and lean over, which helped me get into more comfortable positions to manage the contraction pain.
When he returned from work later that afternoon, we talked about either going in to the doctor that night or waiting until our 41 week appointment the next morning at 10:00am. Since we had already been turned away several times already, I didn’t want the disappointment of going all the way to the hospital only to be told I wasn’t dilated enough or that I still wasn’t in active labor, so we decided to simply stay put at the house and not go in to the hospital. After about four hours of seeing me in such pain though, Pete didn’t think we’d be able to get through another 14 hours of this sort of discomfort. So, around 8:00pm we got into the car and made our way to the doctor.
They did an exam, and when the doctor announced that I was dilated between 5-6cm I got teary eyed.
Finally! We can be admitted, and I can get an epidural!
We were shown to our room, and by the time the epidural was in place I was dilated to 7cm. That was around 10:00pm. Four hours of epidural-laced labor ensued (not too bad at all) before it was show time. After pushing for about 30 minutes our little girl made her grand entrance!
When I look at Liesl, it’s hard for me to imagine her being inside me (how did she fit in my 40 Week belly?). It feels so good to be able to hold her in my arms and to see her pretty face!