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Julie and Addison
GBS Positive, Epidural, Vaginal Delivery

I was due June 18, but was determined to make it to June 22. I was giving my class final that evening and I really wanted to give the test myself. No one thought I would make it; two weeks before my due date I was dilated to 4. Every time I lumbered into the classroom, my students were shocked that I was still hanging on. Two days after my due date, though, I had the feeling that I'd better make some alternate plans, and I arranged for a substitute to administer the test if necessary.

On June 22, I woke up at 5am with strong contractions. They were 10-20 minutes apart, but right away they were so strong that I couldn't talk through them. I sent my older two kids to my mother's, called the substitute and put her on notice and then my husband and I did some shopping at Target (ever had a contraction while standing in the checkout line?) We had lunch at Chili's. The waitress was terrified of me. Every time she came over to ask if we needed anything, I couldn't answer because I was having a contraction. It was while we were at Chili's that I decided I'd better call the doctor's office for a check. We got there around 2:00 and much to my disappointment, I was still only at a 4. Not a surprise, though. Both of my previous labors were long labors.

My doctor said, "You have two choices: go home to try to get things moving on their own, and meet me at the hospital later, or go straight over now and get checked in. But if you continue like this overnight with no progress, we'll have to consider pitocin in the morning." I really didn't want the pitocin, so I agreed to meet her back at the hospital at 6pm. On the way home, I told my husband, "Maybe we should pack my hospital bag . . ."

Back at home, we packed my bag and I paced around the house. My husband (who does massage therapy) tried some reflexology on me to encourage labor, and I was amazed at how quickly those pressure points produced contractions. He also applied ice very firmly to the web between my thumb and index finger during contractions to help with the pain. Around 4:00 I suddenly told my husband, "We need to go to the hospital now."

One very difficult car ride later, an extremely skeptical receptionist met us at the desk. "You aren't due here until 6:00. You're an hour and a half early. I can send you to triage to see what they think." I just laid my head on the desk and waited for someone to come and get us. The nurse in triage hooked me up to a contraction monitor, watched it zoom up to 98 as I rode out a contraction lying flat on my back (awful), and said hurriedly, "Wait here. I'll get you into a room." The time was 4:45.

In hindsight I realize that I went into transition around that time. In my room, one nurse was asking me questions while another tried to get me to lie down so she could put in an IV (I was GBS positive and the plan was to get in 2 doses of penicillin, 2 hours apart. Ha ha ha.). I refused to sit or lie down, as the contractions were only tolerable when I was standing, and because they were coming so rapidly, all I could do was lean on my husband for support and nudge him to answer, every time they asked a question. My wonderful husband got me a birth ball, so that I was finally able to sit down and rest. Unfortunately it only lasted a few moments, because my water broke, it went everywhere, and then my labor kicked into overdrive. The time was 5:15.

My doctor came strolling in saying, "I thought we were meeting at 6:00." When she saw me, she stopped messing with me and said, "Do you want the epidural?" "Yes!!!" I said. She checked my dilation and said, "You're at an 8. Are you sure you still want it?" "YES!!!!" My doctor had told me earlier that she would let me have the epidural, no matter when I asked for it. True to her word, she immediately got the anesthesiologist in there and got me the blessed epidural. After walking and standing since 5:00 that morning, I was finally able to lie down and relax. The anesthesiologist left the room at 5:45.

I told my husband to start calling our family and tell them to get to the hospital. They were all at a restaurant and had just gotten their food. (They had to get to-go boxes and hustle out of there!) Five or ten minutes went by, and my contractions changed abruptly to the urge to push. My husband noticed immediately and asked me, "Do you need the doctor?" I just nodded because I was too busy pushing. He announced, "Get Dr. F! She's pushing!" Instant panic in the room; one nurse went running out of the room to grab the doctor, and the other started squeezing my IV bag as hard as she could, trying to get at least that first dose of penicillin into my system before I delivered. Meanwhile, I was busy pushing.

The doctor came running in and took a look. "Okay, Julie, you've almost delivered the head. Give me one good push and it will be out." I had a little break while the baby's body rotated and then I delivered the rest of the body in one quick push. At 6:04, four minutes after I was originally supposed to meet the doctor to discuss my stalled labor, my husband announced, "It's a girl!" Addison Julia weighed 6 lbs 8 oz (tiny for being 4 days overdue!) and was 19.5" long. I had a little skid mark that required a couple of stitches, but I never felt it later so I don't even know where it was. A few minutes later I looked at the clock and said to my husband, "Hey! I still have 15 minutes to make it to class and give my final!"

I let the substitute give the test.

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