I woke up at 3 am on a Saturday with a contraction, right before my water broke. I thought I just needed to pee (wouldn't be the first time this pregnancy I peed my pants. TMI? Meh.) but after taking care of that business I realized that my water was breaking. I woke Danny up and got ready as my water continued to break. I waddled to the car with a beach towel between my legs and we headed for the hospital (after alerting my sister).
Now. I was all set to do a waterbirth with this little guy buuuuuuut I couldn't because A) the midwives weren't on call and the docs can't do water births (stupid insurance) and B) after my water broke his head was still too high so there would have been a risk of bacterial infection if I had gotten in the water. So they checked my dilation - I was at a 6! Good job, body! - and then they broke the news to me and offered me a shower room with a shower chair. I took it.
I got out when the contractions really kicked in and headed back to my room. I turned on some super soothing music I had downloaded not even 24 hours before and hummed into my contractions until I felt like I was going to die. About the time I told everyone in the room that I didn't want to do it anymore, I was at a 10 and ready to push. I pushed on all fours.....kind of... and it went so much faster than pushing on my back with Ava. About 15 pushes later, the doc was able to help maneuver Henry out (you don't simply push out babies that are as big as he was). And there he was, in all his chubby, 10 pound 12 ounce glory. All told, it took 5 hours for Henry to make his way into the world.
It is such a surreal moment, meeting your tiny human for the first time. Also? The absolute relief after the baby and the placenta come out is indescribable. I am a huge fan of not being pregnant anymore. And being able to bend over. And sleeping on my stomach. Sigh.
Henry and I chilled for about 45 minutes while the doc stitched me up and I nursed and ate something myself. I lost a lot of blood when I had him because of how big he was but I noticed a lot of blood on the bed in the 45 minutes following the birth. The nurses kept massaging my uterus and I could tell they weren't happy because it wasn't staying firm. My nurse suggested that I go to the bathroom - it could be that a full bladder was to blame. The helped me stand up and I delivered a liver-sized clot and immediately started vomiting. That's when I could tell something was wrong. It got very busy in my room and the doctor came back in.
Now, at this point, I was mentally spent. I had gone through labor and delivery with no drugs and my ability to withstand pain was completely gone. After she had put her hand up inside of me to feel what was going on (so. much. pain.), my doctor continued to deliver more large clots. She then had a nurse fetch her "instruments"and she went in to find the source of the bleeding. The morphine didn't even touch the pain and I'm sure you could hear my screaming from the other end of the unit. Later, what happened became a little more clear.
I have pretty bad varicose veins and they got noticeably worse with this pregnancy. Apparently, there were some bulging varicosities right near all these lady parts and when the doctor removed her retractor she nicked one. I went from clotting to squirting blood everywhere. They rushed me to the OR and, thankfully, were able to get the bleeding under control without having to remove any of my parts. I have to say, while it was the scariest thing I've ever experienced, that OR sleep was the best sleep I've ever gotten.
So you have 3600 cc of blood in your body. They estimate that I lost around 2000 cc during this whole ordeal. I entered the hospital with a hemoglobin of 13 and was discharged, 3 days later, with a hemoglobin of 5.7. I could barely walk without getting winded and lightheaded and exhausted.
I suppose it sounds dramatic but it is very true that if this were a different century or if I lived almost anywhere in Africa today, I would not have survived all of this. I had a beautiful birth all planned out in my head and on paper but nothing went to plan. I was quick to see though that Heavenly Father put very capable people into my life to take care of me through it all. I felt that strongly as I was being wheeled into the OR. The OR was such a cold, sterile place but I could feel nothing but comfort as I realized that I wasn't ready to die and pleaded with God to help them stop the bleeding.
I'm okay. Henry is perfect. And I am so incredibly grateful.