Baby #4 made her arrival into the world yesterday (8/30)! She was born at 12:52pm, weighed 6lb 2oz and measured 19 in. We decided to name her Gavriella Esther. The name Gavriella comes from Shmuel's aunt (his mother's half-sister) Geneva. The name Esther comes from my father's grandmother Esther Faigl.
Gavriella's birth was just as quick as her older sister Tzipora's, but the birth story starts just about a week earlier. On the evening of Fri the 23rd I started to have some irregular contractions and thought "oh boy this is it!" But it wasn't. I went to sleep and they totally stopped...for several days. But that was the beginning of the sleepless nights. I would have a hard time getting comfortable and getting to sleep only to be woken up within hours to go to the bathroom or with a random contraction. Then it would take me forever to get back to sleep...only to wake up again a few hours later. It was horrible, and by the following Thursday (the morning of my 39 week midwife appointment) I was at my wits' end. I took herbal supplements, did acupressure and even saw someone who does shiatsu just to try to get things started, but nothing made even the slightest difference. I was starting to get nervous because with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana coming next week I did not want to be in the hospital alone over that holiday. So, when I saw my midwife on Thursday I begged her to strip my membranes. She did and also told me that I was a "stretchy" 3-4 cm dilated, so we knew that it wasn't going to be a long birth once things finally got started.
I went to bed on Thursday night a bit defeated that nothing had happened, since I was convinced that if I didn't go into labor at night that I for sure wouldn't go into labor in the morning. But when I did get up in the morning (around 7am thanks to Dovid looking for the Kindle Fire - and I got SO angry with him for waking me up since I was running on very little sleep) I noticed that I was having some contractions. They were uncomfortable, but I didn't think they were particularly regular. And I could still do other things during and between them - like run after Dovid screaming and finish my biochemistry project (which I did). Around 8:15am I called my friends Joanmichelle and Melanie who were going to be my
doulas for the birth. Joanmichelle headed over to my house and Melanie
went to work, knowing I would probably be calling her soon. It wasn't until about 8:30am that I decided to actually time them, and they were about 10 mins apart.
Joanmichelle arrived around 9:30am, and she was helping me through contractions, though I still thought they were somewhat irregular - they would speed up when I was walking around and then slow down if I sat. But they were still less than 10 minutes apart. By 10:30am I had gotten quite uncomfortable during contractions and knew that we had to leave. They were pretty close together - maybe every 5 mins or so - and I was not relishing the idea of doing them in the car any closer together than that.
We arrived at labor and delivery about 11am, and they took us into a triage room. I changed, got hooked up to monitors and then got checked around 11:30am. All the while the contractions were still about 5 mins apart or so and concentrated mainly in my back, which was not pleasant. Some of the time it would also migrate to my thighs, but at least that I could use hypnobabies to take care of - the back pain, not so much. When the midwife checked me I was already at 6cm, fully effaced and -2 station. I knew from experience that it would not take long for me to become fully dilated from this point - with Tzipora I went from 4 to complete in about an hour and a half. So, they took me into a room and I got situated there around noon.
By now the back pain was really terrible, so we tried everything. I already had a heat pack on, and whoever was closest to me would press on my back, but it was getting to be even too much for that. So we tried to put on my TENS machine. That helped maybe a little bit, but if the baby would move during a contraction, it would send me screaming about my back. Oh goodness I was having flashbacks to Tzipora's birth and not liking it. In contrast to Tzipora's birth, however, my contractions never really got much closer than every two minutes apart, I never got that "I've lost total control" feeling or had double-peaking contractions. I could easily talk and function in between contractions, and I never had the feeling of "oh just give me a break!" the way I did with Tzipora. But, from experience, I knew that I might feel better sitting on the toilet, so I headed over there just before 12:30pm. Sitting there was actually a bit better, but my midwife didn't want me sitting there for too long. She suggested that if I wanted things to pick up that I should get back on the bed and lie on my left side. I grumbled but obeyed.
As soon as I got on my side, the back pain during contractions was unreal. I was basically screaming for people to press on my back and whimpering (deja vu to Tzipora's birth!). The midwife had finally found another midwife who would do sterile water injections, but then said that I was probably complete and ready to push and to try and give her a good one. I was not convinced but did it anyway. She then checked me again, and I actually was fully dilated! Oops...no sterile water injections again - the exact same thing happened with Tzipora. By now it was 12:48pm. So I started pushing, but unlike with Tzipora it was agony. I was very confused since I remembered pushing being so easy and much better than contractions, but the back pain wasn't going away and now I also had lower abdominal pain with it. So I pushed as hard as I possibly could to get the pain to go away, and I could feel her sort of slip right down. So now instead of the back pain I had the abdominal pain and the "head crowning" pain. At this point I really couldn't control pushing vs not pushing even though the midwife was telling me not to. lol She's telling me to slow down and blow, and I'm yelling back "I can't! I can't!" Luckily the pushing didn't take very long, and she was born at 12:52pm - 4 minutes after I started pushing. My water broke as she was crowning, and she was born in the caul - something very, very lucky and unusual. We also realized why I was having such back pain as well as pain during pushing. The baby was turned sideways - so her nose was facing my inner thigh vs my tush - and she had a hand up by her face! Crazy baby! But since she's such a little squeaker, I was able to birth her quickly and without trouble. If she had been an 8 lb baby with a big head I don't think she ever would have come down that way.
Here are some pictures of the little cutie and the family:
Gavriella's birth by numbers:
6 hrs after waking up in the morning
4 hrs after beginning timeable contractions - though even at 9:30am it was hard to time them...
2 hrs after arrival at the hospital
1 hr in the labor & delivery room
4 mins of pushing
But here's the really cool part... The twins were born on a Wednesday on the Hebrew date the 22nd of Adar. Tzipora was born on a Thursday on the Hebrew date the 23rd of Teves. So I bet you can guess what day of the week and Hebrew date Gavriella was born, right? ;) Friday the 24th of Elul.
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