On Monday, March 27th, I got up for work just like usual. I took a bath about 6:15. I didn't know what I was going to be teaching yet and was trying to make it up in my head while I was in the bathtub. I was washing my hair and felt something "gush" even though I was in the bathtub. I thought, "Huh, that's weird. Maybe it's just because I'm in the tub and switching positions and there is water swishing around." Lucky thinking! It happened again. Once again, I attributed it to the bath water.

I got out of the tub and toweled off. More water dripping. The rest of my body was dry. By this time Steve was in the shower and I said, "Um, there's water dripping down my legs. I swear I didn't just pee on myself. Let's just say it's extra bath water that I didn't dry off." He looked at me funny and didn't believe me. I started to get dressed, put on panties. Soaked in about two seconds flat. I looked at Steve and he looked at me.

I tried to get a hold of my mom, but she had already left for work. I got my dad instead. I told him what was going on and I said to him, "I don't know if my water just broke or if I just peed on myself." He said that he definitely couldn't say either but that my mom had left for work and I better call her. Mom answered her cell phone and was sure that my water had broken. I still wasn't convinced. We decided that I better call the doc on call and get their advice.

The doc on call said to go into labor and delivery and get checked out. So, Steve and I rushed around getting together all the things that we needed for the hospital. We did such a good job too, turns out there was NOTHING that we forgot! Steve had even installed the car seat in my car the day before so that was already there to take her home in.

In the car at about 7:15 I started having contractions. They weren't bad, I just knew they were there and coming about every five minutes and lasting for about 30 seconds. I called my Gram in the car on the way to the hospital and I can't remember a time when I've heard her that excited, except maybe when I told her I was pregnant!

Steve and I got up to labor and delivery and they had me undress and checked me out. This was now the third time in eight days that I had been in triage so I knew the routine. The triage nurse had a litmus test to see if the fluid that I had was amniotic fluid or if it was something else. She said that if it was amniotic fluid it would turn bright blue. Well, it was the color of the ocean when we looked at it. She did an internal and found that I was only a fingertip dilated and while she was doing that, I had tons of fluid gush. Funny thing is, anytime other than this, I would have been embarrassed as all heck. This time, it was okay. I knew that what was happening was completely normal and that there was no reason to be embarrassed. They admitted me immediately.

My doc was not there, but another doc, Dr. McGuirk was on call and doing deliveries that day. I saw him in the ER when I was having gallbladder problems and so I was comfortable with that. He's just as nice as he can be. He said that since I was early (35 weeks and 1 day) and that my membranes had ruptured on their own that he wanted to start pitocin right away so that my labor was shortened so that there wasn't too much stress on the baby. I couldn't really argue with that. He also said that because she was early that I could probably expect her to stay in the hospital for a while. Never in a million years did I imagine myself leaving the hospital without my baby girl. It just didn't seem possible.

The contractions on pitocin to begin with were bearable. Every 15 minutes the nurse came in to check my blood pressure (because it was borderline) and to up the dose of pitocin through my IV. She started the drug at 9:15 and by 10:15 I thought I was going to die from the power of the contractions. They hadn't been checking my cervix because I had ruptured and the baby was early and they didn't want to introduce infection to the baby. Again, I really couldn't argue with that. At 10:30 when they checked, my cervix was 2 centimeters. The contractions were beginning to be really unbearable.

I had been holding off on pain meds as long as possible because I knew that they could slow labor and I didn't want to take too many. Dr. McGuirk wanted me to try Demerol for the pain since he could reverse the effects of that but not Stadol. Again, I couldn't argue, but I knew from having my gallbladder out that Demerol didn't cut any pain for me. They got me the Demerol and I was immediately sleepy. Unfortunately, it didn't cut the pain then, either. I was still in tons of pain, just sleepy. I was in tears and couldn't stand the pain anymore before I said that I wanted the epidural about 11:45. The contractions were fast and furious and strong.

Dr. McGuirk knew I was only two centimeters, but he suspected that once I got the epidural that my cervix would totally fall away. I was skeptical.

They put me to the front of the line with the anesthesia guy and he was there about 11:45 to do the epidural. I have never had such a hard time before in my life sitting still. Those contractions were wracking my body in the worst way and I couldn't take the pain and I had to sit STILL. Thankfully the nurse that was there was fabulous and helped me by letting me lean into her and helping me stay still. It was FINALLY in. The epidural was in and finally kicked in about 15 minutes later. I felt like I could live again.

The nurse came in a while later to check my cervix and looked at me in shock and said, "Don't tell me that's what I think it is!" And sure enough, the head was right there and I was ready to push. Dr. McGuirk came into the room really quickly and actually set up the table that he needed to have because they had thought it was going to take me a long time to dilate and hadn't done it yet. I had dilated from 2cm to 10cm in forty minutes. FORTY MINUTES!!

I started pushing and was getting in three good pushes per contraction. On the middle of the second set of pushing, the nurse asked if I wanted a mirror so I could see her being born. I wasn't sure if I wanted it or not before then, but at the moment there was nothing more that I wanted than to see her being born. With the mirror there, I could see her head already!! It had some hair on the top of it, but not a whole lot. With the mirror there, it made ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the world. I could see the progress that I was making and on the third set of pushing, she was out! I pushed a total of 9 times before my baby girl was born. They put her on my chest and rubbed her down and she just screamed. I was in love.

When she first came out, I knew she was small. She came out screaming, too!! When they put her on the scale, I found out how small, 4 pounds, 11.4 ounces. Her apgar scores were 8 and 9.

Scarlett was 35 weeks and 1 day in my belly, but she only measures in the 32nd week gestationally. Because of this, she's got a few problems that need to be worked out. Before she can come home there are four things that she needs to do. First, she needs to maintain her own body temperature. Second, she needs to nipple, or eat out of a nipple. Third, she needs to stay in an open crib. Fourth, she needs to gain weight. I have been told by the neonatologist that it could be as many as four weeks before she comes home. I am hoping that my little girl is a fighter and wants to come home with her mommy ahead of that schedule, though! She is already maintaining her body temp and in an open crib. Her belly is slowly figuring out what to do with food, which way it needs to be pushed, and they are starting to increase the amount of food that she gets and decrease the amount of IV fluids.

I just never imagined how much you could love something so little and precious. I call her a small version of perfect, because that's exactly what she is. She is perfect. She is small. She is mine. I never realized what I had been put her to do before she came into my life. I knew while I was pregnant that I would love this little being inside of me, but before she was born I never knew the extent to which my heart would swell. The feelings inside of me are overwhelming. All I have to do is think about her before I start to cry from love and pride. She is the reason for everything I will do for the rest of my life. She is. She just is.PregnancyAndBaby.com


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