On February 17th our little Shelby was born. I wanted to write down the story of her birth before I forget.
My due date was February 19th. The doctor had scheduled me to be induced on the 15th, but told me most likely I wouldn't get in until the next day. Around noon on Thursday the 16th I called the hospital to see if/when I would be able to go in. They told me they were really backed up and that it might not be until Monday that they could get me in! That was four days away at that point and I was not feeling patient enough for that kind of news.
My friend Melissa had passed her castor oil on to me that had successfully sent her into labor with her last baby. Because the doctor had told me they were going to induce me anyway I was thinking I probably wouldn't use it. I would just wait and be induced in the hospital. When they told me I was going to have to wait for days I quickly decided I would give the castor oil a try. Around 4:00 pm on the 16th (Thursday) I chugged two tablespoons of castor oil mixed into a small cup of apple juice. I had expected it to taste way worse than it did. I really didn't think it was that bad. Totally doable.
I also didn't expect it to work as quickly as it did. By about 6 o'clock I was starting to have consistent contractions. I had never gone into labor without being induced in the hospital so this was all new for me and I just wasn't sure if it was real labor or not. The contractions really weren't very painful, but they were five minutes apart and that is what I had heard they were supposed to be to go to the hospital. Drew was convinced we should go in, so I called my sweet neighbor who had offered to hang out with our kids for the hour it took my mom to drive to our house. She came right over and we headed out. We got to the hospital just after 7 pm. They took us into a temporary room to be monitored. After about 30 minutes of being monitored and being checked the nurse broke the bad news to us that I was only dilated to a 3 and wasn't in real labor and that we should just go home for a while. My heart sunk. I was so ready to get the show on the road!
The nurse must have seen my disappointment because after telling me she thought for a minute and offered an alternative. She said we could stay and walk the halls of the hospital for a couple hours and they could recheck me then. I wasn't thrilled about that, but it sounded better than going home. She said she needed to check with the doctor to make sure that was ok so we sat and waited to hear. After just a couple minutes of her being gone she came hustling back in the room and quickly told me I needed to roll to my side. I was confused and looking back I think it's odd that she didn't offer an explanation until I asked for one. Then she explained that the baby's heart rate had dropped for some reason and they wanted to see if moving to my side would change anything. It did go back up for a little while until the next contraction when it dropped again and they had me roll to my other side. The nurse talked to the doctor and that was enough to keep me there and get me into a labor room. Even just in the next half an hour or so while they got things ready for me to move rooms my contractions started to get a lot harder. I had initially said I would wait a little bit for my epidural but by the time I got to my room I was in some serious pain and they called for the epidural guy (my best friend). In the time it took him to get to my room I was having one long really intense contraction, that was confusing to the doctor and the nurse. It was at that point that I told them I had taken castor oil. The nurse was really nice about it, but the doctor seemed annoyed at me. She said, "Oh no, don't tell me castor oil is going to make it so you have to have a c-section." In the middle of having really painful contractions it was quite upsetting to me that she was annoyed and that I had possibly done this to myself and to my baby. I cried while they sat me up and the anesthesiologist did his thing. I also had the crazy shivers which is normal for me during labor. So the doctor came in just after I had gotten my epidural and I was shaking like crazy and had tears running down my face and I must have looked pathetic enough at that point that she seemed to soften a lot. She rubbed my arm and asked me if I was ok and I said I felt stupid about the castor oil. Then she kind of changed her tune saying that castor oil is really a natural thing and really quite effective usually and that her grandma had made her drink it all the time as a kid. (interesting)
The epidural started to kick in quickly and it was such a relief. They also gave me a shot in the back of my arm to slow down my contractions. It did it's job and I felt so much better, but the baby's heart rate continued to drop with almost every contraction and they had me moving like a rotisserie chicken. Around 10:30 pm they moved me to my last position. I had my legs bend up tight to my sides and they sat me straight up in bed. It seemed to do the trick for her heart rate but it also meant I couldn't sleep. They told me they were giving me until midnight to make some significant progress or we were going in for a c-section. The doctor told me that if I was a first time mom they would have done the c-section long before, but since it was my fourth baby they were going to give me a chance to make some progress fast. They did not seem confident at all that that would happen though.
I know people have c-sections all the time and I told myself to be brave, but I was really quite terrified of going that route. I spent that next hour and a half alternating between dozing off and my head snapping back up, and praying my heart out that I would make some serious progress. As it got closer to midnight I was pretty sure I was feeling something happening. Part of me wondered if I needed to call the nurses in sooner because I wondered if she was just coming out without them. They didn't come in until a little past midnight and when the nurse checked me she was shocked to find I was at a 9 and pretty much ready to go. I was certain my prayers had been heard and I had received a miracle. The nurse called the doctor in. She got there a minute later and checked me again and I was at a 10 and I said I thought I needed to push. They said go ahead. After one push her head was out and that's when they discovered the cord was wrapped around her neck twice, which was why her heart rate had been dropping. They cut it off and then had me push again and she was born. They rushed her over to the warmer and a herd of medical people swarmed her. I could see them shaking her all around and after a second she let out a good solid cry. I was so happy and relieved. She was born at 12:23 am on February 17th. She weighed 7 lbs. 9 oz. and was 20 inches long. She was beautiful and had lots of dark hair just like our other babies. They took a little longer than ever before to hand her to me and I was so ready for it.
The nurse told me later that she was completely unprepared for her to be born naturally. She had been in the other room prepping for a c-section for those couple hours before she was born. I was really happy to have surprised her in that way. :)
After the swarm of people surrounding her knew everything was ok one of the nurses turned to Drew and asked what her name was. Up until that point I was set on naming her Shelby but Drew was still unconvinced. He paused for a second and made his decision in that moment I guess. He told the nurse her name was Shelby. We have never been so undecided about a baby's name. With the other three we knew exactly what their name would be long before they were born, but this was more of a struggle. We liked the idea of using Drew for her middle name, but wondered if that was a little crazy of us. After she was born we decided to just make a decision, and Shelby Drew is was.
We love our precious girl.