On Monday July 18th I began having some contractions at about 3:30 in the afternoon. Although I was hopeful, I didn't really expect things to progress because I have been having the type of contractions every day for about 2 weeks. I figured they were just more Braxton Hicks. Plus I had my 39 week appointment with Dr. W that morning at 10:45. At my appointment I learned I was about 80% effaced and 2-3 cm dilated. I had been 1 cm and 75% effaced since my 36 week appointment so I had made a little progress! Great news but I still wasn't getting my hopes up. I passed up the opportunity again to be induced. I passed it up the week before as well. I just wasn't real comfortable with the idea since there was no medical need for it. The only reason to do it was to prevent this baby from getting as big as Santiago and to ensure Dr. W would be there to deliver. At this point, I figured I had made it this far so I might as well keep waiting for mother nature to take it's course. Dr. W said I most likely wouldn't efface more until I was in active labor but he believed I would go soon. Good news for me....I was ready! My back, hips, and pelvis were really aching all the time and my body was really tired.
My good friend Kathy had come over to drop off a beautiful blanket for the baby (UT of course) and my mom and I were sitting in my living room with her visiting. I kept asking them to look at the weird shape my stomach was turning into as it was tightening with each contraction. Kathy thought I should go to the hospital right then and there but I wasn't in pain yet and just figured I was having more Braxton Hicks. Kathy and my mom convinced me to go ahead and start timing my contractions so I pulled out my iPad and began using the handy contraction app at 4:20. Kathy left around this time. I knew Hector would be coming home from work soon so I just sat back and timed contractions at home with my parents and Santiago. When Hector got home I still wasn't convinced I was in labor because I had a couple other days like this so he went for a quick workout at the gym. My mom was making dinner and as my contractions got closer together and stronger, I laid in my bed waiting for Hector to get home. I was ready to call him and tell him to leave the gym when he walked in the door. He found me in the bed and immediately said "this looks familiar" referring to when I was in labor with Santiago. He came home from work the first time with me waiting in the bed and my mom rubbing my back with tennis balls. I told him that this was really it this time. My contractions were very regular and hurting more and more with each one. I was having very strong back labor this time. By the time we got his bag packed and all our stuff in the car, my contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart.
We arrived at St. Luke's Hospital in the woodlands a little after 7 pm and went straight to Labor and Delivery. I knew my doctor was not on call so another doctor would be delivering my baby. The nurses at the check in table made me a little mad because they asked me what brought me there. As Hector was helping sit down in a wheelchair that he had to go get for me down the hallway I think I gave them some nasty look as I was having a big contraction and the nurse had to answer her own question of what brought me into the hospital - duh I was in labor having painful contractions! They took me back to triage and I changed into the hospital gown. I could still walk at this point and answer questions. She got my IV in and started my fluids and finally checked me. I was between 5-6 cm dilated so Hector called both our parents and told them that they better head up to the hospital too. Hector asked if I was still going to be able to get an epidural since I was almost at a 6. They said as soon as they moved me into my L&D room that they would send the anesthesiologist. I was relieved because I knew I wanted one. They held true to their word because soon after we moved to my room, my parents dame in briefly and then everyone had to leave because the doctor arrived to give me an epidural. It's hospital policy that everyone leaves, even the husband, during the epidural. My contractions were coming faster by now, it seemed like every couple of minutes, and they checked me again right before beginning the epidural process. I was at a 7. The nurse had me hug a pillow and lean forward as the doctor began with the procedure. He told me that it would take anywhere from 5-15 minutes to complete the epidural depending on how easily he could get between my vertebrae. Well it took much longer than that and about 12 attempts with the huge epidural needle. Luckily I couldn't see what they were doing but I could feel every poke and prod and every very painful contraction. They tried giving me some other pain meds through my IV but they didn't help. One made me feel weird all over from the second it went in and I hated it. I kept asking if what they were giving me was safe for the baby. After about an hour of trying to give me a good epidural he thought he got it and said we needed to wait about 15 minutes to see if it was going to take effect. I asked if Hector could come back in at this point because I was scared, tired and in tons of pain. My hair was down the entire epidural process and I was so hot. I had to have him blow in my face and put my hair in a ponytail for me. I wish my hair would have been up while they were trying to give me the epidural because I felt like I was suffocating under my hair and with the pillow practically in my face. They let me turn on my left side because I was pretty miserable on my back and I got to squeeze the life out of Hector's hand by this time. Time was ticking and the epidural wasn't working at all. I think by this time I was cussing with each contraction and Hector and the nurse were instructing me on how to breathe. I never cuss so i surprised myself saying OH S..T repeatedly through each awful contraction. The anesthesiologist wanted to attempt the epidural again and I asked if Hector could stay. The on- call OB had come in the room already...not sure exactly when...she broke my water and the baby did not like that because it made his heart rate drop down into the 60s range. Feeling the amniotic fluid rush out was a crazy feeling! They started saying that we needed to get this baby out and I kept telling them that he was down there about to come out. At this point I got really nervous and scared and Hector told me to try to stay calm. I was scared they were going to say I needed a c- section after all I've been through without pain meds to make sure the baby would be ok. I definitely wanted the baby to be ok. The pressure the baby was causing was unbelievable! I just knew he was ready to come out! The anesthesiologist said Hector could stay in the room while they attempted one last time for the epidural while I was laying on my left side. He said it looked like Hector was making me a little more comfortable. The OB did not like that he allowed Hector to stay. I kept telling them the baby was going to come out so they checked me again and I was complete at a 10. Right as they proclaimed that they got a good epidural in and that it would take a few minutes to kick in, I was ready to push. They turned me on my back and pulled my legs up and I began to push. And NO the epidural had not set in yet. I think I pushed 3 or 4 times before my sweet baby boy made his appearance. They used a vacuum to help him get out faster with my pushes and I needed an episiotomy. Feeling the baby come out was crazy. It hurt but was just an indescribable sensation and I know I made a crazy noise as he came out. Haha! Hector cut the umbilical cord as he laid on my chest and they rubbed him and cleaned him up. I cried and cried. What a miracle!
Gabriel Michael Ornelas was born at 9:56 pm at 8 pounds 5 ounces and 20.5 inches. After they weighed, measured and got him bundled up they gave him to us and wanted me to immediately breastfeed. Unfortunately he was making a grunting noise and the nurse took him from me and said that she may have to take him to NICU for awhile to monitor his breathing. I immediately asked if he was going to be ok and all she said was "I don't know"....what do you me you don't know...I was in shock and so was the rest of the family who had come in the room.
By the way, after all this had happened and I was getting stitched up, my legs went real heavy. The epidural had finally kicked in! Ugh! Fortunately a NICU nurse came in the room and explained to all of us that Gabriel was going to be ok. Due to the quick delivery he did not have time to clear his lungs of fluid that is held in little sacs inside his lungs and he had not had time to properly transition. The nurse said they were going to keep him for t least 4 hours monitoring his breathing and oxygen levels. He was already doing a little better and was not needing any oxygen support so that was a good thing. Hector was able to go see Gabriel and bring one family member at a time. The NICU nurse made us all feel more at ease.
My night nurse came on duty at 11 and I sure liked her a lot better. She had to move us into a new room at around 2 am and we asked to stop by NICU to see the baby. When she called and told them we were going to stop by on our way to our new room, we were informed that he was ready to leave NICU and come to our room! Hooray! It was wonderful to finally have him back in our arms.
We stayed in the hospital for two nights but less than the required 48 hours. I forgot to mention that usually babies are kept for at least that amount of time when the mom is GBS+. I was only able to receive one round of antibiotics through my iv before Gabriel was delivered because it happened so quickly. Usually they want at least 2 rounds of antibiotics with as many as 4. We were able to be released early because Gabriel was doing well and with the understanding that we would follow up immediately with our pediatrician. Gabriel was also circumcised on the day we were released.
It was wonderful to be home as a family of four! Santiago adores his baby brother and so do we!