Annabelle Eileen Forrest Bentham finally showed her pretty face last week! She was born on Tuesday, 22 January 2013 at 3:01pm (GMT). They don’t tell you how long the babies are here because they say it is irrelevant unless the baby is unusually big/small, but she weighed in at 8lbs. I think that’s pretty darn good for being 12 days late. I was dreading her size so much, thinking she was going to be over 9lbs.
I started feeling contractions at around 3pm on Monday, but I was convinced that they were fake because they went from 5 minutes apart to 11 minutes to 8 minutes, and so on… They also didn’t really get that painful, to be honest. I spent the next few hours laying in bed or getting up to do some cleaning, anything to make them stop, but they just kept up, never getting more regular but slowly getting closer together on average. At around 9pm, I decided to call the Delivery Suite and speak to a midwife, and she told me to call back if I had 3 in 10 minutes. They still weren’t hurting that bad, but I decided to take a shower before bed, just to be on the safe side, and when I got out, I noticed some “leakage”. Now, there is only one logical thing to do in this situation, and that is to smell it. Hmm…it didn’t really smell like anything. Still unconvinced that anything was happening because of the lack of unbearable pain, I lay down and try to go to sleep, but I still keep track of my contractions, just in case.
At around midnight, I decided it was time to wake James up and call the Delivery Suite back. At this point, I’m still convinced I’m being silly and it’s just my brain trying to get out of the induction that is scheduled for the next morning, but the midwife says to come in so they can make sure the leak wasn’t amniotic fluid, which I’m sure it wasn’t. We get to the hospital at 1am , and at this point I stopped feeling any pains whatsoever, and am even more convinced that they are going to send me right back home, and before she checks me, the midwife seems to agree.
I get put in a room and the midwives come in to ask some questions and do an exam to see my progress (a few days before this, I was 1cm, but still really high and firm). They find that I am now 3 cm, much lower and softer, and my hind waters actually DID break! So I’m admitted, and the doc is called to give me my happy drugs, though at this point I still don’t really feel like I need them. Up until this point, I haven’t had any pain relief at all, and I’m feeling much better about the whole “giving birth” thing, but I’m not stupid. I know I’m still in early labour, and it is going to get sooo much worse, so I get the epidural when it’s offered. This is the part where the midwives try to find a vein to put my IV in, and fail. Miserably. Though they try. Oh yes, they try three times. I actually have to use the gas and air (happy gas) for this part because having a needle threaded through a vein is more painful than you could imagine, if you have never experienced it for yourself. They eventually gave up and had the anesthesiologist try, and she got it on her second go. The epidural felt weird going in, but didn’t hurt.
3am. Epidural in. Just waiting for some progress!
Fast forward 4 hours, and they check me again to find that I’ve only managed to progress to 4cm, so they start me on the Syntocinon, which is the British name for Pitocin. I can tell my contractions get much stronger, and closer together because I start to feel the tightening in my uterus again. The consultant doctor on duty tells the midwife to up my dose of Syntocinon to get things moving quicker, but since I’m already having 5 contractions every 10 minutes, the midwife turns the dose back down shortly after the doctor leaves the room. I blame this doctor for most of what happened next.
My contractions were getting too strong, and much too close together due to the Syntocinon, and Annabelle’s heart rate kept dropping down to 40ish. Yet this doctor kept telling the midwife to up the dose! The midwife eventually stopped doing it, thank the Lord, but I guess it was just a little too late at that point. They checked me again after another 4 hours and, go figure, I’m fully dilated (how could I not be after that?!). They say they are going to give me an hour to let the baby drop a little more, so I don’t have to push quite as long, but before I even had my hour, Annabelle started getting too stressed out. The doctor was called back in and this time is was a quiet little Indian man, and he was sooo much better! He listened to what the midwife told him, then he changed into some scrubs to get ready to deliver.
This is where everything gets REALLY fuzzy for me. I asked for a top-up on my epidural, and 30 minutes later I was in so much pain! Apparently, my epidural had completely come out during all of the checks and everything. At the same time, there are tons of people in and out of the room because Annabelle was really stressed out in there. I remember they made James change into scrubs because they thought they would have to do a c-section. I had my gas and air so, unless someone was actually speaking directly to me, I didn’t hear a thing. The gas doesn’t take the pain away at all, but it relaxed me enough to where I was able to get through the contractions. They put my epidural back in and I felt a lot better after another 30 minutes or so. By this time, they’ve decided that they are going to let me push, but they would have the suction cup ready, since Annabelle wasn’t quite facing the right direction to come out. They turned down my last request for a top-up because they wanted me to be able to feel when to push, but that was a bad idea. I felt everything. I felt them cut me when they couldn’t get the suction cup in. I felt Annabelle slowly coming through the birth canal. And I felt that awful “ring of fire” when her head crowned. Then, the top-up they finally agreed to give me kicked in and I was able to hold my little girl for a few minutes while they stitched me up and everything. Unfortunately, Annabelle’s distress in the delivery led to a lot of meconium in her lungs, and they took her to the Special Baby Unit for 4 hours after birth. At least this gave me some time to rest.
She is such a good little baby so far! She sleeps so well that I have to wake her up at night to feed her, and she didn’t even have any typical newborn problems, like jaundice. So healthy! She latched on to the boob pretty well at first, then she started sucking on the nipple, which hurt like crazy and made me bleed, but we’re getting there. As of now, she is on a combination of breast and bottle, since I just don’t have enough milk for her, but hopefully a lot of pumping will sort that out.
Rosie loves her new baby sister.
I feel like I should also explain where her name comes from. Eileen is the middle name of my grandma and my sister, Amber. Forrest is my great grandma’s first name. Last June, we went home to Florida for our wedding and that was also when we announced the pregnancy to our families. My great grandma started talking about how, in three generations, no one has ever named a baby after her! I love my great grandma. She is a funny old woman. We promised her that if it was a girl, Forrest would be added to her middle name (everyone actually calls my grandma Ethel, but we didn’t think Annabelle Eileen Ethel sounded as nice). As for Annabelle, I’ve told myself I was going to name my first daughter that since I was about 12. There is a Christmas cartoon called Annabelle’s Wish about a cow who wants more than anything to be one of Santa’s reindeer. I named my daughter after a cow. But she was a really sweet cow.