A normal, uncomplicated pregnancy, labor & delivery.
In China, none-the-less.
Aside from the last minute dramatics over switching OB's and a miscommunication regarding induction dates, we really lucked out. For that alone, I am beyond thankful and grateful. I understand how easily it could not have been. Two of my friends who had saddled up beside me (also pregnant), both had severe complications and preterm babies. One made it, one did not. I think that once you've had a pregnancy that wasn't all unicorns and rainbows, or didn't have a "happily ever after" ending, you come to understand what a miracle it is to have a "normal" experience.
I am not sure it has sunken in yet. Thinking back to Monday--and how the stars must have aligned just right-- it's just surreal.
Here's a recap..
Friday, January 10th, my sister, Sal and I went to Shanghai for a NST and a quick checkup with the OB. To say I was on the hot mess express was an understatement. He went from not remembering we had scheduled an induction (we saw him and scheduled four days earlier, and he had my chart in front of him), to then telling me that it was a bad idea to induce (to which, I had my records from my MfM at home that suggested I deliver at 38 weeks due to medical history), to agreeing to induce, but following that up with, "if we induce on Tuesday, you probably won't have the baby until Thursday or Friday".
I left in tears, asking if there was anyone else available to deliver my baby. Within minutes, I was in the office of Dr. F, a highly regarded American OB in the Shanghai area. She listened to me, checked my chart, and asked outright why we didn't induce at 38 weeks as the medical record I had provided indicated.
I'm thinking to myself, "exactly! This woman gets me!"
She agreed to induce me--but it had to be a day earlier than we had agreed to with Dr. No Personality. Sure! The date?
Sal's second birthday.
January 13th, NZ and I checked into the hospital at 7:00a where they hooked me to monitors and by 8:00a Dr F had already arrived to administer Cervadil. She noted my contraction pattern and I told her I'd been having them since the night before. She thought that I may not even need the IV pitocin to start labor, as I showed signs of already being in labor myself.
After an hour and a half in bed, I got up and walked the halls. Contractions were getting a bit stronger. My progress was checked around noon, and I hadn't dilated much. Just one measly centimeter with 9 to go. I got a little discouraged but Dr F kept telling me that I was going to go quickly. She left the room, and returned around 2:00p. I was now in pain and 3-4cm. Epidural time.
This my friends, was a circus act. Limited English and giving directions to a patient make for frustrating times. In China, epidurals are administered with the patient lying on her side, not sitting hunched. They're also administered in a way in which the patient can still walk and use the toilet. I'd heard of them, but never knew I'd be getting one. Unfortunately, mine numbed me down to the knee on one side so I couldn't walk without NZ's help--and pacing the room got old really fast.
My water broke so Dr F came to check on me at 3:00p and said I was closer. 7cm.
I texted my sister at 3:22 pm telling her I didn't think the baby would arrive til late night. My epidural was wearing off and I wanted more. Dr F checked me. 8cm. Baby had dropped. She said the epidural would take 10 min to take effect and she really thought the baby would arrive before it kicked back in. I still wanted it...and got it.
Dr F started getting gloved up and the nurse told me to go ahead and tell them if I felt the urge to push.
Yeah right, I thought.
She obviously knew something I didn't know, because by 3:48pm, and 4 good pushes, Carla Denise had arrived.