My 37-week appointment with the doctor got canceled, and there were many doctors out for the upcoming July 4th holiday, so I just skipped it since I wasn't having any complications. I saw my doctor the next week on Friday when I was 38 weeks 4 days pregnant. We did a non-stress test, which Selah passed. I was 3cm dilated and about 80% effaced. My weight was down a little more from the previous visit, so overall I was at 26 lbs gained this pregnancy. That's the smallest gain ever for me. I asked Dr. Spaulding to schedule an induction for the following week, and she agreed. She said she would call me back with the next available time the hospital had.
The induction was scheduled for Tuesday, July 10. Almost Micah's birthday, but not quite. Sorry, bud. We had to check in at the hospital at 7:15 a.m. That meant we had to leave camp by 5:30 a.m. Good thing I'm a morning person! I loved having the weekend to finish packing and cleaning and preparing for being gone for 3 days. I knew I could still go into labor on my own at any time, but I tried to stay calm and think through what all I needed to do. We had the van pretty much packed on Monday night, then headed to bed. I knew I wouldn't sleep well, but unfortunately, Mitch didn't either. He was falling asleep driving and asked me multiple times to help him stay awake (I was deep in a texting conversation, LOL). But he was a rock star helping us get out of the house. He helped direct the kids and made sure the dishes were clean and the garbage was taken out. He even had a staff person stop by to put our laundry into the dryer later since I had a stinky load that couldn't wait.
We dropped the kids off quickly with Micah and Katie at our St. Cloud house, then borrowed Micah's car to go to the hospital. I drove. I rarely drive Mitch anywhere, but he was so tired! And I thought it would be funny to say that I drove myself to the hospital. So there is that. :)
Check-in was a breeze and we got settled in the labor and delivery suite. We enjoyed chatting and getting to know the nurses who would be spending this time with us. I had one of the nurses in a previous delivery, so that was fun. Just don't ask me which delivery! Eden joined us soon after we checked in. At 8:30 a.m. the nurses got the Pitocin started. At 9:00 a.m. a doctor who was rounding for my doctor came in and broke my water. With that, the baby's head moved down and engaged a little better. I had a high AFI, so there was a LOT of fluid. Such a weird feeling. The fluid was clear and we were good to go. I asked for the epidural right away (no need to wait for the pain I knew was coming), and the anesthesiologist came in soon after. He was quite experienced and placed the epidural perfectly. It's never easy for me, but I have to say this was one of the easiest. While he worked, we all chatted about his family--he is a father to 6 kids. Maybe that's why he's so good at placing the epidural. ;) After that, I just laid back and relaxed.
We had such a nice view of the Mississippi River for our entire stay.
At 10:30, my doctor came in to check on me. She did not have appointments at the clinic that day, so she was going to hang out at the hospital and get some work done. I felt good knowing she was close by. I was 5 cm dilated, 70% effaced, and the baby was at a 0 station. We enjoyed chatting casually with some deeper moments of reflection too. It is always a special time when I get to talk with our doctors because I appreciate feeling like they are really getting to know our family.
Close to noon our nurses took a lunch break and left us in the care of another nurse. I was feeling pretty awesome. Eden and Mitch were relaxing too. At 12:25 I had a crazy different contraction. I told Mitch that he should go get the nurse. He stood up and said something about maybe waiting just a bit more. I was thinking that was not right when our substitute nurse came in at that same moment. I told her, she checked me, and baby's head was "right there" nearly crowning. She flipped on the lights, called my nurses back, and they picked up my doctor from the lounge on the way. She had me lay on my side with my knees together...lol...I was thinking that wasn't such a smart idea, but it didn't take everyone very long to get to the room.
When it was time to push, Dr. Spaulding and the nurse started placing bets. My doctor said, "I bet 2 pushes." They probably shouldn't have challenged me. Ha! It took more than 2 pushes, but it was only 2 contractions that I pushed for. On the second contraction, her head came out. The doctor immediately asked me to stop pushing because the cord was around her neck. I was studying the faces of everyone, especially my doctor, as they went into action. The doctor calmly reached for a clamp and then scissors (from Mitch's perspective he could see that she tried to lift the cord above the head and it was so tight that she couldn't). I thought, "Oh bummer that she has to cut the cord now and we can't wait until after birth." After she cut the cord, she saw that it was around her neck a second time. It was so tight the doctor couldn't even get a finger under it. The nurse and the doctor were communicating with very few words, but they had my bed flat in seconds. Then the doctor did this crazy move where she held the baby's head against my body, asked me to push, and while I gave it everything I had, the doctor guided the baby's body to somersault the rest of the way out. It was amazing! I was still watching everyone intently as the doctor suctioned her. I was fully prepared for them to whisk her away for oxygen. She didn't make a sound. But the nurses were exclaiming, "She has such good tone!" Then they laid her on my tummy and kept rubbing her. I was so concerned that she wasn't crying, but she lifted her head and looked around. The nurses were impressed...and if they weren't worried, I wasn't going to be either. It was an awesome moment.
Since Selah seemed so calm and content, I asked for them to take her and weigh her right away. Before they took her, I noticed a cut on her neck from the cord. I'm not going to post the picture here because it might be disturbing, but you can click this link if you would like to see: https://photos.app.goo.gl/D8ZdBHjmqrzXFidz7
We are so thankful to God for her life and that she was able to be born without any complications! We are thankful for the skilled, calm hands of our doctor and how quickly she knew what to do. We are thankful for the way the entire team worked together during the delivery and how encouraging everyone was. I maybe wouldn't have pushed so hard and fast if they hadn't been placing bets (Selah's face was a little bruised from the fast delivery), but I'm glad it went quickly and she wasn't in distress from the cord.
Micah and Katie brought the kids up to the hospital soon after we got settled in our room. They were so excited! The looks on Genna's and Mercy's faces were priceless.
Devona had taken Zeke, Josh, and Malachi to play ultimate frisbee, and brought them by soon after too.
Once we were in our postpartum room, Selah did begin to get more vocal. She did more "talking" than crying, but we were hearing her voice at least. She lost that calmness for most of the evening and night.
Wednesday night we seemed to turn a corner as my milk began to come in. Selah calmed down better and went to sleep. She only woke up once all night.
Thursday morning we were ready to go home! The doctor was a little concerned about her weight...she was down to 7 lbs 1 oz. Her bilirubin was only 8.2, so that was a low-intermediate risk for jaundice and was not a concern. I had an appointment scheduled for Friday morning with our family doctor. My milk was definitely in too, so I wasn't worried too much. Having an appointment on Friday morning meant that we would spend one more night in St. Cloud, so we wouldn't be "home" yet. I tried to get some pictures with my Nikon, but she wasn't so cooperative.
On Friday morning Selah weighed 7 lbs 3 oz. The doctor declared her "perfect" and sent us on our way. We had to run some errands and pick up groceries on our way out of town, but we finally got back to camp around 2 pm. I was so glad to be at home. Mitch and I both were anxious to check on things at camp--4 days away felt like we missed everything! Selah and I both napped through the afternoon. At night she did some cluster feeding again (she had done that Thursday night too) and didn't fall asleep until midnight. But then she only got up once in the night again.
Today has been very restful for me. I have done a little bit around the house as I felt like it, and Mitch has had the kids busy at camp. I am enamored with how tiny Selah is (2 lbs smaller than Genna was!) and how easily we forget--everything. We are so thankful to God for her life. I can't get over just how precious and sweet the past 9 months have been.