Scott came out front with me and I started having (not painful) contractions around then- 7am. We had yogurt and granola for breakfast, and when they were still coming about 4-6 minutes apart at 8:30am, we decided we'd better go for a walk to keep things coming! They were getting more intense, but never unbearable by any means. On the walk I would sometimes stop to rest on a bench or lean against a tree. So dramatic. Tatum rode her scooter which makes anyone who sees her crack up- she pushes "so super really fast" with her right foot and zooms past all the walkers shouting all the while, so the sight of us together must have been pretty funny. Scott had class at 11, but decided to skip since I was progressing and frankly just wanted him around. It's the first class he's ever missed, so we felt just fine about it.
Curb walking Riverside Drive:
Around 3pm, I went to the restroom and my underwear were wet. I had felt no gush, and was really confused at what I saw. It was probably 1/3 cup (or less) of clear fluid. When we saw that, we both just kind of thought "I guess we should just go in and have them check it out." Scott called our friend Kelsey who was a saint and met us up at 168th (The stop for the hospital) at 3:45, and took Tatum back down to her place and ended up keeping her overnight!
Scott has joked (I so I thought/hoped) the entire pregnancy that we'd of course take the subway to the hospital. A few weeks ago we had a heart to heart at which point I told him that if there is one time to splurge on a cab, it is when I'm in labor, and carrying a bunch of gear. He agreed. Fast forward to the actual moment:
Stefanie: Wow this hill is really steep. I am in pain. Why are we walking right now? Let's get a cab.
Scott: You used up the cab money buying a week pass! To the top of the hill!
Stefanie: I do think that taking the subway to the hospital would make for a good story, and it's true, I JUST bought a week pass that I probably won't use now...
Scott: Okay, let's just ride the subway this time, and then when we really go in to have the baby, we'll get a cab then. Sound good?
Eating an apple on the way!
Riding the subway to go have a baby! Luckily I got a seat ;)
Last pregnant shot in front of the hospital:
We went up to Labor and Delivery on the 10th floor and I did my admittance interview. I was kind of rolling my eyes that I was even doing this since I wasn't in terrible pain and I was only about 30% confident that my water had broken. Scott and I both pretty much expected to go home. They hooked me up and watched my contractions- consistent but a little farther apart than I'd had all day. I think getting monitored put pressure on me and made me nervous! Josephina or "JoJo" checked me and didn't see amniotic fluid on my swab.... but as she said, "I sure like your story!" So she did two more tests and decided to declare my water broken and admit me! I didn't hold back my desire to be admitted, and I did compliment her on her nice teeth (they were exceptionally nice!), so I'm not sure how that contributed to getting me admitted :) I was a dilated to a 3 and 60% effaced, admitted about 6pm.
Trying to bring on contractions to perform for the machine:
There weren't any rooms available, so we hung out in triage for about 2 hours, in disbelief that this was actually happening! It's funny how you can be waiting for this moment for so long and then once it happens it feels really sudden! The nurses came to place my IV, and after the first girl dug around a bit without hitting a vein, she got her friend so she wouldn't "strike out twice." Getting my IV placed was one of the hardest parts of delivering Tatum, it took over 10 tries and a few different nurses. So when the second nurse came in, she did end up getting a vein on her first try, but not without blood splattering! Down my arm, on my sheet, onto the floor, some hit the wall... so weird that getting a silly IV is such an ordeal!
Maybe around 7:30ish I got the epidural. I was really anxious about the epidural, and being a teaching hospital, my greatest fear was getting a beginner who'd only done them a handful of times and either getting it placed poorly or having them make several attempts. This is my spine/brain we're talking about. The chief resident came in pretty groggy and copping a bit of an attitude. She explained the risks and benefits of the procedure and when she was done, Scott was a saint to do the dirty work "My wife is really anxious about this, and I think she'd be more comfortable if the attending put in her epidural." We weren't impressed by the Chief Resident, but even if we'd loved her I would have wanted the attending physician to do it anyway. It was nothing personal, we didn't even know her at all. The girl replied, "Um, okay, but I've been doing this for over 5 years and I've done it hundreds of times..." I would say she was a 9/10 on the offended scale. The attending came in, was friendly and put me at ease. They kept telling me to be perfectly still, but the Dr. said I was pulling away. Naturally jumpy, what can I say? He got it placed the first try and I was so glad telling everyone "As long as you can get the epidural in, I can get the baby out!"
My nurse Leslie was really great. She moved here in January from Vegas, and is acclimating to the hospital culture and procedures here. Dr. Duffy came in about 9pm to check me, and we were all so surprised and impressed to hear that I'd progressed to 6cm and 90% effaced! I was fairly certain I'd need Pitocin to speed things along, but I was doing just fine on my own and had no need for anything to speed things up.
I was grateful Scott hadn't left earlier to get dinner. When Tatum was born, he hadn't eaten in ages and almost passed out once I started pushing. He was determined not to be queasy again, so he made getting food a priority. It worked out great for him to go get the burrito after I'd gotten the epidural and things had calmed down a bit. He also got me a baked potato and caesar side salad from Wendy's so I'd have something to eat after she was born in the middle of the night. Once he returned, Scott and Leslie were suggesting that I watch a movie or take a nap or something. Well, almost exactly at the 2 hour mark from getting the epidural I started feeling pain. I kept pushing my button for more meds but the machine was beeping and saying "not delivering dosage..." Luckily, a different anesthesia resident came in, took one look at it and pretty matter of factly told us that "because you had the attending do it, he forgot to turn on the epidural machine. He is used to his little elves taking care of things like that for him and he just forgot to turn on the machine." So the spinal had worked the first 2 hours but there was no epidural medication reserved in my spine. She put some fast through my back and turned on the machine saying it would take 10-15 minutes to kick in. It probably took 20-25, but thankfully it came!
The weirdest part of all was when I felt a giant kick and then a sudden gush of water. That's what I was expecting! It was like little Chloe was busting out! The doctor broke my water with Tatum, so I'd never felt this sensation before. It was really the wildest thing!
A while later, Dr. Duffy gave me the option to start pushing or wait for her to descend more. I was ready to have the baby so I said I'd like to start pushing now, which I kind of regret in retrospect. I should have just waited for her to come down naturally and saved my energy for later. Once I started pushing there were 4 doctors who had come into the room, and my nurse Leslie. Dr. Duffy initially anticipated Chloe coming in about 10 minutes of pushing, so at 45 minutes of pushing they were wondering if she was too big to come down naturally. Many of the doctors kept talking about how this is such a large baby and they just don't know if this is going to work out... The male doctor in particular was really talking about how this is going to turn into a C-section and he just didn't see it happening.
My friend Dianne did such a great job capturing some really sweet moments. Having her there was such a highlight of my birth experience! I just can't get enough of those photos. When she first showed up with a camera around her neck, Leslie pretty firmly said that there are no photos allowed when the baby is actually coming out. Law suits, I'm sure. Dianne took it great and still did a great job without offending or making the medical staff nervous.
Here are a few to get you excited, I'll surely share more once I get them all back!
Credit for all these photos goes to Dianne Shumway.
Scott was so calm and encouraging. He really rocked the husband role this time around. He was my best coach and I knew I could trust him when he said she was coming or that I was doing great... some of the medical staff would just say that, and I remember feeling irritated that they were lying to me- she wasn't coming and I didn't like the false hope. With Scott, I knew what I needed to do and knew when my pushes weren't cutting it! He was so great!
Once Chloe's head came out, things got kind of crazy. All 4 doctors (remember, teaching hospital) were huddled around and just as she was cutting the cord, Dr. Duffy told me that the umbilical cord was around Chloe's neck. Of course that was terrifying, but thankfully by the time she told me, she was already cutting the cord and things were basically under control. Just like Tatum, Chloe didn't cry much upon her arrival. They took her over and monitored her and watched her (low) oxygen levels for well over 10 minutes before I got to hold her! That was the longest 10 minutes ever! But I was glad to have her monitored, and once they did give her to me, I held her for almost 2 hours without interruption. She nursed for about 45 minutes and did really, really great!
Our first moment together.
I just love this one so much!
I want to frame this!
See what I mean about having a photographer come along? Amazing!
In the meantime, Dr. Duffy was trying to deliver my placenta, which was really stubborn. She ended up giving me 1 running stitch (so, 1-2 stitches) which she said were optional and "cosmetic." There were no recovery rooms available right away, so we hung out in the labor room (which had spectacular views of the city- if only we'd been there in the light!) for a while before moving me downstairs. I ate my baked potato and salad, which tasted delicious!
Scott got me settled on the 5th floor, but since they are shared rooms, he couldn't stay the night. It was just as well that he got a few hours of sleep at home before coming back in the morning. (Really only about 1.5 hours of sleep, actually) Once morning came, he picked up Tatum, got his mom's flight booked, and took care of some errands before bringing Tatum to meet Chloe! T was so so thrilled to finally hold her new baby sister! The sticker bracelet kit Chloe gifted her at the hospital didn't hurt either!
Sharing a room was quite the experience. I definitely missed the privacy and space I had in Utah. Thank the HEAVENS I got the window side of the room, because having light was a game changer, and the extra window sill space was such a big deal in terms of storage and we even had room for a second chair for a visitor! My roommate was a pretty nervous first time mom. She and her wife were really eager to do the best and right thing for their son- which to them meant no pacifier, not sending him to the nursery at night, and changing him the instant they heard him pooping. These choices made for looong nights with the lights on full blast, and a screaming, screaming baby from about 11pm-8am. I did feel really bad for her, I could hear her crying through the curtain, just feeling so desperate. It doesn't help that we aren't allowed to have our partners stay the night. I got little to no sleep that first night, the second night went a little better, but not much. It was frustrating that I sent my baby to the nursery so I could get some sleep before going home, but that didn't end up happening. I was laughing the next morning when the lactation specialist told the moms that pacifiers are totally optional and it is obviously up to the parents, but "If it's nipple confusion you're worried about, don't be! Pacifiers just don't give milk. There is nothing to be confused about that!"
It's so interesting how I never had time to watch a movie, play cards or read a book my entire hospital stay. What was I so busy doing?! Calling family, taking a nap, texting friends, staying on top of my meds and care, going the bathroom, showering, changing and feeding the baby, eating... Getting going with a new baby is pretty all consuming it turns out!
Upon discharge the nurse told me not to lift anything greater than 8 pounds. "So I can't carry my baby!?!?" I asked laughing? She quickly changed her advice to 8-10 pounds! So ridiculous!
Once it was time to discharge, our nurse called the transport division of the hospital to have them come wheel me downstairs. We waited over an hour and a half, checking on the status of the transport department periodically. We were all set to go, trying to be patient but getting fed up... finally Scott decided this was too ridiculous and carried our bags downstairs and left them with the valet. Then he got a wheelchair from the lobby and came up to get me. The nurses and staff were so alarmed, telling us this is "not the policy...blah blah blah" but I just got in the wheelchair and Scott took me out. We laugh because we tried so hard to get admitted to the hospital, and seemingly equally as hard to get out!
I didn't totally anticipate how much I would LOVE sweet Chloe. She is just amazing. I feel like I'm able to enjoy her so much now that I've been through this once before. I don't bother tracking feedings, I'm less worried about breastfeeding complications, and the knowledge that my body will heal is allowing me to just enjoy everything about Chloe and not worry about all the in betweens. I just adore having her as part of our family.
As Scott told Chloe on her first day with us,
"We will show you the world, baby girl."