I saw the doctor on Tuesday and he scheduled an induction date for August 6. It was three days before my due date and the way he talked, he expected to see me Thursday morning - not sooner.
I left the doctor's office reading over the information about induction and started to cry. I didn't want to be induced. It was the pitocin. I was scared to death of the pitocin. Why would I want to voluntarily start contractions - and from everything I've heard, pitocin made them stronger and closer together but doesn't always really help labor go any faster. So I was terrified. I went back and forth for a few days about whether or not I would keep the scheduled induction. Friday afternoon I tried to call his office to cancel but they had already closed for the day so it would have to wait until Monday.
Our plan for Saturday was that I would take Madeleine up to my sister's house so we could take the kids to the park for a festival. I had promised Madeleine we would get her face painted again after we had to wash her face so quickly after her last painting. We would hang out up there and then Dan would come up later and we would go to a friend's house for a party that night. But there was a glitch. My sister's kids had caught a nasty bout of the flu a couple days prior. I called that morning to see how everyone was feeling and turns out, she caught it and felt like crap. Being nine months pregnant, she could keep her plague to herself. Her oldest step-daughter had caught it the night before. Her oldest step-daughter is the daughter of the friend whose party we were supposed to go to that night. So both pieces of our plan that day were infected with the plague. We chose to stay home. I knew of another festival much closer to home that we could take Madeleine to for her face-painting. Since we had nothing else going on that day now, it would be a perfect, lazy afternoon.
Around 11:00 I started feeling a little... um... ouch? It didn't last long and then went away. But I paid attention. And about every 20 minutes, I'd have about a minute of ouch. They weren't getting worse, everything about them was completely consistent. So I just ignored it. I took it easy for the day, laid on the couch, played with Madeleine, made some lunch - lazy, easy day. I knew if I said anything, Dan wouldn't let us take Madeleine to the park. So I kept my mouth shut and just paid attention. Just in case. Besides, the doctor's instructions were "Head to the hospital when your contractions are 15 minutes apart and last for a minute each." I was at 20 minutes. I had plenty of time - IF they were even the real thing.
Around 2:00 or so, we took Madeleine over to the park for her face painting. We had to park a little ways from the park and walk over. That was fun. But I still said nothing. We made it to the park and found the face painting booth and got in line. Conveniently, two parties after us in line got to hold the "Closing Now" sign for the booth. We'd made it just in time. There were about 5 parties in front of us so we waited in line, taking turns holding Madeleine because she was being a clingy little monster. Contractions and holding a three-year old monster was not a good combination. Especially since my temperature would go up like a million degrees with each one. I think it was then I finally said something. In passing. Like oh no big deal.
Madeleine got her face painted - you guessed it, like a butterfly. And we headed back to the car. Maybe I would have pushed to wander around a bit more any other day. I think maybe that should have been the first clue. But we headed straight for the car. The tightening and pain level were getting a little worse. But they were still 20 minutes apart. So we headed home.
Madeleine fell asleep on the ride home so we had to carry her upstairs and lay a towel on her bed so she wouldn't get face paint everywhere. Once we laid her down though, she woke right up and naptime was gone. That was around 4:30. She and I hung out and played and just took it easy since I was kinda feeling like crap and I finally came clean that these buggers kinda hurt. But that it wasn't time yet. But maybe I should start paying attention and writing them down to keep track. But I didn't.
Between 6:30 and 7 I gave in. I knew I'd be going to the hospital that night - whether I ended up having a baby or not, who knew? I went downstairs and told Dan that if he wanted to have dinner, we'd better have dinner NOW. We'd planned a steak dinner that night and I had been waiting for it for days so there was no way I was going to skip it. So we made dinner. And I started officially timing and writing down. And there was no consistency whatsoever. A 30 second contraction here followed by a 45 second one 5 minutes later followed by a minute one 20 minutes later followed by a 20 second one 2 minutes later followed by 50 second one 15 minutes later. They were all over the place. But I could still talk and I could still walk. Knowing we'd be heading to the hospital and Madeleine's face butterfly being all smeary, I threw her in the bath tub to wash her off. I changed my clothes. I finished grabbing the few last things for my bag. I took a picture. I changed my clothes again. I started a load of laundry. I went and yelled at Madeleine to "Get out of the tub, we don't have time for this!" At which point I went and yelled at Dan that it was time to go NOW. RIGHT NOW! Poor guy. Wasn't ready at all. So while he took a few minutes (a few damn too many minutes, mind you!) getting ready, I took Madeleine out to the car to try to get her in her seat. She of course refused to listen as I'm doubled-over leaning against the car begging her to JUST GET IN. One of our neighbors a few houses down was outside working on his bike - he's an older teenager - and he noticed me and asked if I was okay. "Yeah, just in labor." Given Dan wasn't out there yet and I was still trying to get Madeleine in her seat, he asked if I needed someone to drive me. So nice! But I responded that no, my husband was just being really slow.
Dan gets outside and starts to get in the car at which point I realize we don't have enough gas to get to the hospital. So I mention that - to which he says, "That's not very responsible of you. Something something something" To which I say, (as I walk around the car having a contraction) - and under any other circumstances would never have said - "Now is NOT the time for a lecture!" I just have to take a second and say go me. That took a lot of balls for me to be that blunt and well - honest - for me and I did it. So yae.
As we were getting in the car, I still wasn't sure if I'd get to the hospital and they'd not send me home. I knew there was a possibility we might get there and it not be time (boy, am I a MORON). I just wanted to be sure I made it in time for the epidural at this point already. After I had spent a few weeks telling myself maybe I want to try without, I'll wait until the last possible second before it's too late again, maybe I can go without (again, I'm a MORON).
We head down the mountain, the gas station about 5 minutes down. I very specifically tell Dan to NOT fill the car, just put in enough gas to get us to the hospital. Yes, that's how bad they were. That's how quickly they were coming. So he does. By the time we reach the bottom of the mountain there is no doubt in my mind I would NOT be coming home tonight. I would grab the hand bar and breathe like hell just trying not to scream bloody murder with each contraction. That were no harder and more painful than hell and really close together. To the point that I was not only sure if I'd make it in time for the epidural but that I'd make it to the hospital at all. I was terrified. And poor Madeleine is in the backseat having no idea what was going on. I tried to stay as calm as possible, didn't really work but I think I did a decent job. I was able to calmly tell her that mommy was okay just hurt a lot because baby sister was coming and we're going to the hospital now. I had talked with her quite a bit about it beforehand - so that at least helped me feel better anyway. The hospital drive is about 20 minutes, though it felt like an hour with every light being red, getting stuck behind the slowest, stupidest drivers in the world, and the 8 trillion bumps in the road.
Dan pulled up to the doors (I had NO idea why he wasn't just parking - just get me IN THERE! then realized, less far for me to try to walk, duh) and stopped so I could just get out and go in and he could park the car and get Madeleine. I wasn't even sure if I could walk let alone stand on my own. But I did. I walked in the doors, that were locked because it's after hours and managed to reach the button. As soon as the nurse said, "Can I help you?" a major contraction hit, I doubled over and all I could mutter out was "Labor!" The doors opened and not two seconds later, a nurse flung the doors open from the stair way and grabbed me to help me to the elevator. The questions started immediately, "Which baby is this?" "TWO!" "How far apart?" "I HAVE NO IDEA! NOT FAR!" And the rest are a blur. We got to the second floor and they sat me in a wheelchair and wheeled me to a room that was way too damn far away (three doors down, maybe!) asking questions the whole way.
We got in to the room and that was it. I'd had it. They were too hard. I couldn't keep any remote piece of composure anymore and I would just scream with each contraction. They had to undress me and put the robe on me, I don't even remember getting on the bed. When I had Madeleine, the contractions were nowhere near this bad or close together when they told me if I didn't do the epidural NOW, it would be too late. So I was panicked. I wanted the damn epidural NOW! Pretty sure it took the anesthesiologist 8 hours to get there. All the while me screaming with each one. They'd tried putting an oxygen mask on me but that sent me panicking and I had to make them take it off so I could even think of trying to breathe at all. Finally we figured out that if I just held it in front of my face, it was much better. All I wanted to know was where the hell the epidural was. Dan and Madeleine got in the room and I only lasted a few seconds before I begged someone to please take her out. I couldn't let her see the fear and pain and HOLY TERROR I was in. She cried, wanted to stay with Mommy, and I lost it (as I am even doing now just as I type it) - the tears came. I knew that was it. She wasn't the only one anymore. I was never going to be just hers again and I would never be able to dote on only her. She very hesitantly went out with the nurse, not upset, not screaming but just little, quiet tears as she walked away watching me. Thank God the physical pain was so bad. I could focus on it instead. And it was bad.
FINALLY the drugman showed up. After what seemed like another 800 years (seriously, my last epidural took a matter of seconds, this guy took his time!), I had the drugs and it was just a matter of time before I could survive again. The contractions had been unbelievable. I didn't remember them being so bad the first time around. But then again, I had a little more time to gradually work my way in to the hard ones last time around. These just hit me out of nowhere.
Once the epidural took effect, I was able to let them bring Madeleine back in. So she came in and asked all sorts of questions and talked to me and was so very timid. She was calm and very friendly with the nurses. She was only in there a couple of minutes before they needed to check me again. So I had them send her back out with Dan. I was at a 9 and pretty much ready to go. Just as they were finishing up, Dan brought Madeleine back in to say goodbye because my brother-in-law was there to take her home.
The doctor kept talking to me about breaking my water and having a baby and I kept begging "no!" because the last time my water was broken it hurt like hell AND that meant the pushing part was right around the corner. I had the epidural, life had just gotten tolerable again and now they want to rush me along to the worst part ever??? So the doctor's response was, "Well I can just go home for a while and come back later if you want to wait. Or we can just get it over with already." Oh sure. Put it like that. So they broke my water - which didn't hurt even one bit this time. Wish I would have known that, I wouldn't have wasted the minutes arguing and whining about it! About ten minutes later, it was time to push. He'd asked if I needed the crash course on pushing again and I said yes because "I'm not so good at the pushing part. Well, the not screaming part. I'm really, really bad with the not screaming part." He and the nurse put the fear of God in me about screaming. And after last time, having screamed way too much and taking forever to get that baby out, I think I had it figured out.
After about twenty minutes of pushing, and no screaming!!!!!, a slimy, covered, nasty little beautiful, gorgeous baby girl was placed on my chest, screaming her little lungs out. I wasn't expecting that part. Nobody told me about that part. Last time, they immediately took the baby away, I didn't know that in normal circumstances, that's not what they do. I would have liked to have expected that because it kind of freaked me out. Yes, I quickly got over it and then they wrapped her up and whisked her away. It was 11:11 PM and I had barely been at the hospital for two hours. I was dilated to a 5 when I got there, by the time Dan and Madeleine had come in from parking the car, I was to a 7. It all happened so very quickly that it was a complete blur (which is exactly why I should have written this two months ago!).
I was very worried for the longest time that I wouldn't take to this baby as easily, that it would just be another baby to go the rounds with. I was completely taken aback by how quickly I fell in love with her. I was pretty sure the guilt from adding a sibling for Madeleine was going to make me distant and just go through the motions, I am sure every parent feels that way. I was so relieved that it wasn't that way at all. She was beautiful and adorable and mine and I didn't feel one bit guilty for it at all. (No, that would all come later.)
And since I have waited two months to finally write this up, I can add that Madeleine STILL talks about how "Mommy went to the hospital and breathed (she'll do the breathing here) and had a thing on her face and the doctor and baby sister" .... And it's the cutest story ever told. Maybe I should have just let her tell it.