I’ve gone back and forth about sharing not because I wanted to keep it private, but because I’m still digesting everything that happened. Before labor began, it was like any other night at my house. KW was making dinner, my in-laws were visiting on ‘baby watch’ and I was getting Harlowe ready for bed. My contractions started at 7pm and they weren’t too bad. I figured I would eat dinner, try to get some sleep and then go to the hospital early in the morning to check progress. Despite several warnings of “the 2nd kid comes faster,” I still expected this labor to be lengthy given the 26-hour labor I experienced having Harlowe.
By 7:30pm the contractions were averaging 2-3 min apart and lasting 30-45 seconds. I had KW call our doctor to let her know we might be in the hospital that night. I took a warm bath with Harlowe and used bath bombs from Lush (we are obsessed with those). At 8:50pm, the contractions were noticeably more painful so we headed to hospital while I fantasized about pain killers.
We got to the hospital at 9:00pm. I had another contraction before we walked through the doors of Labor and Delivery – this time it was the kind you don’t walk or talk through. Sh*t was getting real. I doubled over in pain while the nurses asked if I was okay. I pulled myself together long enough to inform the nurses that I wanted an epidural, STAT.
After getting checked in, they looked at me and said in the nicest, most encouraging way possible that I wasn’t going to get an epidural and it was time to push. I couldn’t believe it. Needless to say, we hadn’t practiced breathing exercises or any of the things you would want in your back pocket to manage a natural delivery. I was nervous as hell, but I knew the harder I pushed the faster it would be over so as soon as my doctor came in, I pushed (and screamed) as hard as I could. After 21 minutes, my lovely doctor said, “Bethann, look down!” and I looked down to see little Gunnar’s sweet face.
I felt really good after delivery and even walked around the delivery room (Truth be told, I had to go to the bathroom!) One nurse that snapped this picture and remarked how it was atypical to be standing after delivery. I have to admit, I was pretty proud of what we had accomplished in such a short amount of time and with no complications …not even a tear! I felt like the strongest, most athletic woman alive.
By midnight, however, the adrenaline was dissipating and I was more tired than proud. Lightheaded and with a full bladder, I called the nurses to help me out of bed. The very next thing I remember was waking up to the smell of sulfur and looking up at the bathroom sink trying to make sense of why I was on the floor. I heard the nurses call for help saying, “the patient is hemorrhaging”. I was scared as sh*t.
Soon after, my hospital room needed a revolving door to handle all the frenzied activity. Hordes of nurses came and went over the next hour. KW calmly held Gunnar and watched the chaos unfold. I knew he must be feeling completely helpless and I was super relieved that he was so calm. That kept me calm.
Apparently, I had some massive blood clots and passed one as I stood up on my journey to the bathroom. Once I was conscious and back in bed, my Dr. removed the remaining clots and the bleeding finally slowed. I lost almost 2 liters of blood and felt VERY weak. Two days later, I received a blood transfusion to replace some of what I lost. (I’m pretty sure I got Beyonce’s blood because I felt 10x better after the procedure.) The staff remarked that I had handled the whole ordeal so well that I deserved something from Tiffany’s. I am still waiting for that special something. 🙂
We got to go home after three nights in the hospital and my bed never felt so lovely! It took a few days before I could walk around without shortness of breath or lightheadedness, but a few iron supplements and hamburgers made me feel brand new. I haven’t eaten red meat since I was 10 years old, but it sure helps when you need it!
I am so grateful for the nurses at my hospital, my amazing doctor and most of all, my husband and mother-in-love for helping nurse me back to health. Gunnar is healthy and happy…provided he’s well fed and being held. And I’m more than happy to accommodate. 🙂