It was Christmas time and Kelsey’s mom was visiting for the holidays. Due to her work schedule, Chris could visit for Christmas but had to be back in Virginia by January 3rd, when classes started back up (she was working at Virginia Tech in the registrar’s office). She hoped to be here for the baby’s birth but the timing was a bit of a gamble because Kelsey was due on January 2nd, and first babies often come late. Needless to say, Chris was anxious to meet the baby and Kelsey was anxious to have the baby out!
To help speed up the process, Kelsey started doing anything she could think of to speed up the process, including: tons of exercise (walking miles around Stulsaft Park in Redwood City), nightly bouncing and hip rotations on the yoga ball, various uses of evening primrose oil, eating loads of pineapple, custom essential oil blends from friends (Brittney Montoya), acupressure, and plenty of step ups on the ottoman.
On Tuesday morning (Dec. 27) we thought we struck gold. Kelsey woke with wet underwear and we thought her bag of waters had broken. She wasn’t having contractions and wasn’t in pain, but there was a significant amount of wetness and since we really had no idea what we were doing (and she kept getting wet throughout the morning), we decided to go into the hospital and get things checked out.
After two hours in the hospital and many different people touching many different parts of Kelsey’s body, we were discharged. Kelsey’s water hadn’t broken, it was just normal cervical discharge that increases as the body gets ready for delivery. We went home and started exercising again.
Kelsey was feeling like a nice walk with a view so we looked up some trails closeby and decided to head to Pulgas Ridge for a little hiking. The sun was shining and we only needed a light jacket for the shady spots. We wandered around the hills and took in the views. We finished the day with lots of games, just like we had the days prior. We decided we didn’t want to spend all of our maternity and paternity leaves just watching Hulu and Netflix so our Christmas presents were almost entirely games to play while on leave. We played a lot of Pounce, Blokus, Ticket to Ride, Rummikub, and Splendor.
On Wednesday we decided to do something fun while Chris, Kelsey’s mom, was in town. We decided to head to the San Francisco Zoo. We had great weather and the zoo wasn’t crowded at all so it turned into a great day. It definitely took our minds off everything yet we got in a good 6 miles or so of walking. We of course finished the night with lots of games again.
We went for a vigorous walk around the trails at Stulsaft Park Thursday afternoon. Stulsaft has some pretty steep inclines so I’m sure people were getting a kick out of seeing Kelsey huff and puff up those hills. We finished the day with a little curb walking since at this point there wasn’t much we wouldn’t try and it was almost turning into a challenge to see what would work.
That night we had a couple friends stop by to visit and Kelsey was having a bit of cramping. She started feeling pretty uncomfortable and a few hours after they left the real pain and contractions starting setting in. We started timing the contractions and they were coming about every 10 minutes so we thought (again) that this must be the real deal.
We kept timing them as the hours went by and the pain got worse. They started coming closer and closer together so Kelsey hopped in the shower to try to alleviate some of the back pain that would come at the end of the contractions and to also get ready to go since we were sure this was it and that we would be headed to the hospital. The contractions got down to about 6-7 minutes apart so we called the hospital to give them an update. We stayed home through the end of the night and a couple hours in the morning until the pain was pretty unbearable for Kelsey. We called the hospital and let them know that we would be coming in.
We arrived at labor and delivery and checked in and got situated in a room. Kelsey’s doctor was working labor and delivery that day so they had her check Kelsey out instead of one of the midwives. We hoped and prayed they would admit us since the pain and contractions were pretty awful, but when the doctor checked Kelsey out they found that she was still only dilated to a 1 ½. Kelsey broke down a little bit and cried some tears of frustration, pain, and exhaustion. The doctor gave Kelsey some Percocet and Benadryl that would help Kelsey take a nap and get some rest since the contractions had kept her up that whole night. We got home around noon and Kelsey fell asleep right away and slept until 4 or 5 when the meds had worn off and the contractions were back in full force. We thought perhaps distraction would be best so we attempted to play some more games that evening but it eventually became too hard for Kelsey to focus so we called it a night.
That night was full of trying anything to relieve the pain of the contractions. Kelsey tried just about everything to get through the contractions that night. She took multiple baths and showers, had Tim apply as much counter pressure as he could, cat/cow yoga positions, bouncing/hip rotations on the yoga ball and ultimately just gripping the blankets and sobbing into a pillow to get through each contraction. We’re pretty certain the neighbors upstairs were wondering what in the world was going on in our apartment. Eventually the contractions got closer and closer together and we watched as they went from 7 minutes apart to 6, 5, and 4 minutes apart. We were both so paranoid about getting sent home a 3rd time so we stayed home extra long just to be sure. Once the contractions stayed at about 3-3 ½ minutes apart for an hour and a half we called in and let them know we were on our way.
The car ride was miserable trying to get to the hospital as it was almost impossible for Kelsey to hold still through the contractions. Luckily we live less than 10 minutes away from the hospital.
We checked into Labor and Delivery, Kelsey changed into her hospital gown, and the midwife came in to check her out. We held our breath and prayed that Kelsey would be dilated enough to be able to be admitted. She probably would have lost it if she hadn’t progressed. The midwife said that Kelsey was 100% effaced and was dilated to a 5. Kelsey cried tears of joy and yelled out, “thank goodness!” The midwife had the nurse hurry and get all the IVs started and get Kelsey prepped so that she could get an epidural as soon as possible. Luckily the nurse was speedy and we were able to have the anesthesiologist come in to give Kelsey the epidural before she had to go into another room to help with a c section. Who knows how long we would have had to wait so we felt lucky we were able to have the anesthesiologist come in before the other patient needed her.
The anesthesiologist gave Kelsey the epidural which luckily didn’t take too long because it was really hard for her to sit still through the contractions and they seemed to be coming one right after another. After 20 minutes or so the epidural had kicked in and Kelsey could finally relax. The nurse shut off the lights and told Tim to go grab some food and told Kelsey to take a nap. Tim headed to In N Out since it was right across the street and Kelsey tried to sleep for a while but was only able to doze off for a couple minutes due to the excitement and knowing that the baby was actually coming today. A couple hours later Kelsey texted her mom and told her to come on over to the hospital. The midwife came in and checked Kelsey’s progress and found she had progressed from a 5 to a 7 so she broke the bag of waters. Kelsey was pretty numb at this point so she didn’t feel anything at all. We all sat in the room and chatted for a bit and decided to turn on a movie to pass the time. We watched “33”, the movie about the Chilean coal miners that got trapped in the mine. I think the nurses and midwives thought it was an odd choice after everyone kept asking what we were watching.
Soon enough Kelsey was entirely numb from her waist down and her legs were super floppy. The nurse asked Kelsey how many times she pressed the epidural button because her legs were incredibly numb and it was getting close to time to push. Kelsey had only pressed it once or twice hours earlier so we weren’t sure why she was so numb. The midwife came in and said that apparently everyone who had an epidural from that anesthesiologist that day had been super numb so it looks like it was just a strong dosage given.
The midwife checked Kelsey again and this time she was at a 10 so she left to check on another patient real quick while the nurse got Kelsey ready to do some practice pushes. She did a couple pushes and the nurse asked Kelsey if she could feel any pressure. Kelsey said she kind of could. Baby’s head was super low and was about to crown so the nurse told Kelsey not to push until the midwife was back and another nurse left to go get a big mirror so that Kelsey could see what she was doing while pushing. It ended up being incredibly helpful, especially since Kelsey really couldn’t feel anything at all still. The midwife came back and Kelsey started pushing. We could see a little bit of the head and some dark hair on baby’s head. That definitely made everything seem very real. The midwife poured some mineral oil on Kelsey to help prevent tearing and Kelsey would do a few pushes and then take a break to let the skin stretch. Baby’s oxygen levels were a little bit low so they put an oxygen mask on Kelsey and the pushing continued. After a total of about 20 minutes or so the head emerged and the rest of the body slid right out. We were shocked at how quickly and somewhat effortless the whole delivery process was. After 36 hours of horrible unmedicated labor and contractions at home it was a relief that the delivery went so smoothly.
The nurses unbuttoned Kelsey’s hospital gown and placed baby on her chest while they rubbed him down with the towel to dry him off. Tim cut the umbilical cord and then Kelsey enjoyed some skin to skin time with baby. Almost immediately after placing baby on Kelsey’s chest he raised his head and looked around. Everyone kind of went “whoa!” and the midwife said that was super bizarre for him to have that much neck strength. I guess he is a strong little guy! The placenta was delivered and then the midwife spent about 45 minutes stitching up two 2nd degree labial tears. Once everyone was finished Kelsey’s mom headed home to let Tim and Kelsey enjoy some family time with baby. The nurse rolled Kelsey from the labor and delivery room to the recovery room. Kelsey was starving but the hospital kitchen was closed so Tim ran out to see what he could find at 9pm on New Year’s Eve. He came back with McDonald’s and we enjoyed some mediocre chicken nuggets and an Oreo McFlurry as our first meal as a family of 3.
That night the nurses came in what seemed like every 20 minutes or so to check on Kelsey and the baby. The nurse came in to help Kelsey use the restroom but her right knee was still pretty numb so her leg gave in and she started to fall while walking to the bathroom but luckily the nurse was holding onto her. Baby slept super soundly that night despite woken up so many times.
The next day Kelsey’s mom stopped by to check on things before heading to church. She came back after the first hour and we all relaxed and took turns holding the baby and dozing off. Kelsey’s friends Lauren and Rachel stopped by that night to meet the baby and drop off a few little gifts.
Monday morning Tim got up early to take Kelsey’s mom to the airport at 5am and then ran home for a quick shower and nap. We were all set to be discharged at 12:30 that afternoon but we were pretty much ready to go at 10 am. The wait seemed super long as we were very anxious to get going but they finally let us out of there around 1pm and we headed home so happy to finally be a family of 3!