On March 3, 2003 Caskey and I spent the day recovering in L&D after the birth of our first child. We loved on her and greeted the endless parade of nurses and visitors. During the lulls we would people watch out the window. Since we had a great view of the parking lot, we could see mother's waddling out of the car for their arrival and other mother's being wheeled out of the hospital with their flowers and babies.
One particular mother stood out to us. She arrived after we were in the recovery room, about 15 hours later she went home. We couldn't believe it. Here I was lounging in bed with my swollen feet, avoiding walking and enjoying my hospital food. An older model red minivan drove up, they opened the side door where we could see tons and tons of car seats. They threw the baby in and zoomed down the street. We were in awe! I couldn't believe this woman was able to leave so quickly after childbirth or that she wanted to with a van-full of kids at home.
Fast-forward seven years. The text books say that the more births you have had that the faster each subsequent birth is. My statistics are 6 births in 7 years. Therefore I expected baby #5 to come quickly and early. Even the OB thought that would be the case, especially with how active I am keeping up with the other 4 kids. But at 39 weeks and 2 days there were no signs of imminent labor, just a lot of pains. I had been contracting for weeks, nothing regular of course, and swelling as well. I was down to just a few outfits and flip flops because my feet had gotten so fat. Couple that with the exhausting process of arranging childcare for 4 children and the fact that the OB kept saying "this baby will be a 9-pounder", well, it was time to be done.
I waddled into L&D just after midnight on Wednesday morning. I packed light, with just enough stuff to keep me entertained for the next 2 days, plus snacks for the hubby. We started the IV and antibiotics and then we waited. I was hoping for a Wednesday afternoon delivery, but my contractions never stayed consistent and it was apparent we were in for the long haul. Grandparents put off coming to the hospital as long as possible and I kept eating my "clear liquids" of juice and jello. By 4 pm that night (14-hours) I was only at 4 cm. Finally, about 6 pm the contractions got harder and regular and I okayed to have an epidural. At 8 pm I had one of the best epidurals ever. I am continually impressed with the anesthesiologists at Glendale Adventists, they have gotten much better over the years. At 9:30 pm the doctor broke my water and I was 8 cm dilated. The doctor and I both took a short nap to get ready for the last push. (pun intended :P )
After 3 short pushes Eleanor Marie was born at 1:50 am on November 11, 2010 (25 hours of labor total). She was just 2 oz shy of 9 lbs. My biggest baby by almost a pound. She decided to give us all a scare and held her breath for a bit and stayed nice and gray. But after a bit of old-fashioned medicine, a pounding on the back and tickling the feet she decided to breathe and turned nice and pink.
I let everyone know right away that I was still planning on going home on Friday. They all gawked at me and said "we will see". They suggested a pediatrician who was more willing to make an exception to the Group B Strep 24-hour rule. I started walking first thing in the morning and eating full meals. I was bound and determined to make it home and help the older kids get ready for school; two full days in the hospital was enough for me. I think near the end the nurses were annoyed with me because every time they came into my room I reminded them of the to-do list so we could go home. Every new nurse I met was told that I was going home on Friday - even if it was at 10 pm at night.
At 8:30 pm the pediatrician finally showed up. I gave her a quick family history and explained to her all the good reasons for me to go home before midnight - aside from the financial ones of course. She agreed and said Eleanor looked great and we got early discharge. I was home by 11 pm on November 12th. Eleanor wasn't even one day old yet.
Caskey and I got into the car and had quite a giggle over that mom we saw through the window seven years ago. Why on earth would she go home after less than 24 hours to a house-full of noisy children?! Well, because of love, of course.