I called the hospital bright and early to see if they still had room for me, and they said yes. I gathered some of my things and headed over. Eric stayed behind to wake up with the kids and take them to the neighbor's house.
The nurse got me going on an IV and my doctor broke my water. I was dilated to a 3 and about 70% effaced at that time. Eric arrived, and we watched some episodes of "Parks and Rec" and later began watching True Grit, which I purchased for the sole purpose of watching during labor.
The baby's heart rate was low, so they had me lay on my side and gave me an oxygen mask. The mask smelled funny. It was a little hard to hear over the whirring of the oxygen. I was not a fan, but the baby needed it.
As the contractions started to be bothersome, I asked for my epidural. With Ike I waited a while, but this time I didn't fight it. In my previous two experiences the epidural did not slow things down, and I was a much happier human after getting it.
The anesthesiologist came and gave me my epidural. Several minutes later I was not feeling numb at all. He came back to check its efficacy and agreed that it wasn't working. He removed it and tried again. By this time the contractions had picked up, but they were still not too bad.
Once the second epidural was in place I could tell it was stronger on the left than the right. I mentioned it to my nurse (who was really fantastic, by the way), and she suggested it was because I was lying on the right side. She helped me roll to my left, but it did not change things.
Meanwhile, the epidural caused my blood pressure (which tends to be kind of low anyway) to drop a lot. I got a total of four rounds of epinephrine, and eventually my nurse called the charge nurse to come in.
Around this time I was feeling a lot of pain and pressure, and my biggest worry was that the anesthesiologist wouldn't have time to come in and fix my epidural before it was time to deliver. This was a legitimate concern. As I noticed the pressure intensifying, I asked to be checked. The charge nurse checked me and said I was a 9 and 100% effaced. There was a flurry of activity as they called my doctor and his med students and the nurses to get ready. Everyone had to get scrubs on because I had to deliver in the operating room. The hospital has a few delivery rooms that have windows directly to the NICU (newborn intensive care unit), but all those rooms were occupied, which was why I got to deliver in an operating room.
Although the epidural was working somewhat, it was definitely not 100%. My guess is that it was probably about 50%-70%. I was wheeled into the operating room at 2:17, and our daughter was born at 2:24. It was not a very long amount of time, but it felt like eternity. At one point one of the many, many, many people in the room told me to open my eyes and look down, but my gown was bunched up, and I couldn't really see the baby.
Because of her heart defect, they took her away immediately to the NICU. They showed her to me briefly, but I was too dazed to really appreciate it. Everyone had commented on how much hair she had, and I did notice that. We took care of some post-birth matters in the operating room for a few minutes, and then we went back to the room I'd been in most of the day.
A few minutes later, Eric got to go to the NICU and see our baby. We learned she weighed 7 pounds 3 ounces, and she had a lot of hair. She was doing really well, all things considering.
After a few hours the NICU team was ready to transfer her to Primary Children's Hospital (PCH). The transfer team brought her to see me in my room, but she was in her incubator, and I was in my hospital bed, still unable to walk from the epidural. (You'd think an epidural that didn't work very well would wear off fast, but no.)
A little while after the transfer team took Trixie to PCH, I got moved to my post-delivery recovery room. Eric's parents came to visit, and they brought our other kids. We all headed to the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) at PCH to visit Trixie. It was bad timing because we got there around shift change, and only the parents are allowed to visit for that hour window. Plus, right when we got there they were doing an echocardiogram to determine if the pre-natal diagnosis was still accurate. The boys were understandably nervous about their new sister. (Felix was particularly concerned about the blood around her belly button and the fact that she wasn't wearing any clothes.) We did manage to get each brother to touch her and talk to her. (Both were happy to speak to her but reticent to touch her.)
Then, the doctors were doing rounds. Then the cardiologists wanted to speak to me and Eric about the findings of the echocardiogram. Finally, finally, finally, about 7 hours after her birth, I got to hold my Trixie.
There were so many tubes, and the giant IV sticking out of her forehead was very sad, but I was so happy to finally meet her and hold her.
The days since then have been a bit of a whirlwind, but she's doing well, and I'm sure I'll post about them soon.