Two Frogs
Lindsey Nicole Gunderloy
Born February 20, 2006 5:36AM
8 lb. 13.5 oz.
21.5 inches
Statistics will tell you that the more pregnancies a woman has, the earlier each subsequent baby will tend to come, on average. Statistics lie. While the normal gestation period for a healthy adult human is approximately 40 weeks, my own gestation cycle seems to run closer to 41 or 42 weeks. All of my babies have been late - anywhere from 2 days to 10 (and that one had to be dragged out, kicking and screaming). Lindsey was no exception.

We went to the hospital in the evening on February 7th, with contractions every 3 minutes and the possibility of ruptured membranes. I wasn't sure, but I thought perhaps my water had broken while I was in the shower. The story of that trip to the hospital is documented here. The following two weeks were absolute torture. Contractions every day, often working up to a cycle of every 3-5 minutes. It made working very difficult, as it was hard to concentrate on anything but what my body was doing, if anything.

Sunday, February 19th, I was completely useless for work. I finally gave up and went to work some more on the sunflower field puzzle I'd been doing for the last few weeks. I was making good progress, and ignoring the ever-present contractions. Then I started noticing that I wasn't matching pieces properly. Not even close. I was looking over the same pieces again and again, and they just weren't making any sense. So I did a quick body-check, and found that I was contracting pretty strongly, and they were taking my focus. When I was between contractions, I waddled up the stairs and asked Mike to come time them for me. Poor man, he'd had this asked of him so many times already, he was understandably skeptical. "Are they harder?"

"Getting pretty hard," I replied.

He grabbed his PDA (with the very-helpful timer program already installed) and came downstairs. It took awhile for the first one to arrive - changing positions always causes a little hiccup in the timing for me - but then they pretty quickly resumed a fairly steady pattern of every 2 to 4 minutes. Many were intense enough to require focused breathing to get through them, and I felt that uncomfortable bone-on-bone grinding sensation in my pelvis. At four days post-due date, we decided to risk it and go into the hospital again. We left about 5:30PM.

When we arrived, the nurse (Sandy) checked dilation. Still the same as last time - 60-70% effaced, "only a fingertip" dilation. I sat on the monitor again, where they verified that, indeed, I was having contractions. Unfortunately, they were not in a regular pattern. We started again with the walking. We again found the surgical waiting room and started a puzzle (vegetables this time) for me to work while Mike read to me from James Beard. I contracted some, but they stretched out to ten- or fifteen-minute intervals. Can you say "discouraging"? I knew you could. Then the waiting room got invaded by small noisy people, and a large noisy parent who turned on Teen Disney without so much as a "by your leave." So we did. Leave, I mean.

Headed back to the laboring room for more monitoring. My uterus stubbornly refused to perform. On our way back, we discussed our options. We knew we were in for an augmentation on Thursday morning if Lindsey hadn't arrived before then. We knew that if we went home that night with no baby, there would be much disappointment, and we'd have to go through another full round of leaving our other three children and saying goodbye to them, with all the attendant confusion and trauma. We knew that my ability to sleep for any decent length of time had gone to hell in a handbasket (I was averaging 2-hour bursts). We knew that I was having contractions constantly, just not consistently. So after considering all this, we decided that if the doctor was amenable to starting our augmentation that night, we would go for it. He was, and we did.

Contraction Monitors
They started the Pitocin at 8:35PM. It was termed a "nudge" - an augmentation to encourage the contractions I was already having, not an induction to start labor. We received 8MU of Pitocin, rather than the 24MU the doctor could've eventually ramped up to. Contractions started to get into a more regular pattern - every 3 minutes - and while hard were still not the worst I'd had this pregnancy. The baby was still very high, and my cervix wasn't changing much (I was only at 2 centimeters after 3 hours of augmentation).

Christy demonstrates newborn breathing assistance apparatus
While we labored, we channel-surfed. I eventually stumbled on a marathon of the TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? I absolutely LOVE this show, and hadn't seen it in ages. I started laughing so hard at one skit that the TOCO (contraction monitor) got thoroughly confused. I literally laughed so hard I started crying and couldn't breathe. The nurse shift change just happened to occur during this laughing fit, and Christy was a little concerned until she realized what was happening. I laughed right straight through a contraction, and it was the best contraction ever. If you're a fan of the show, the skit I was watching was one where Colin and Ryan were mannequins of the Lone Ranger and Tonto, and could only move when posed by audience members. They had to make up their own dialog based on how they were positioned and the storyline that Drew Carey had given them. It was, in a word, HILARIOUS.

Anyway, shortly after shift change, Dr. Parsons came by to check progress. He did a cervical check during a contraction, and with permission he broke my water. Oh. My. Gawd. I will spare you the graphic descriptions I give to those I talk to in person, but let's just sum it up this way: Lake Superior. Nice, clear fluid, so no meconium. Yay!

Things were getting intense
I figured, at that point, we were on a one-hour countdown. All three of our other children were born about an hour after my water was broken. This time, of course, would be different. The next five hours sort of devolved into this one long torturous series of contractions. The contractions eventually reached the point of coming every two minutes and being amazingly hard. I had been awake since 7:30 the previous morning, had been laboring all night, and had only slept 2 or 3 hours in the preceding 24. I was exhausted. I settled into a pattern of laboring through a contraction (alternately breathing, moaning, "singing", and grunting), then immediately dropping off to sleep as soon as it had ended. I would go immediately into REM sleep and start dreaming. I must have had at least 50 30-second dreams over the course of that night. I remember almost none of them. Then a contraction would start ramping up, and I would wake up to labor through it, starting the cycle all over again. I kept my stuffed dog, Mitzy, nearby most of the time. She was a great comfort - more so than I would've expected. She was a gift from Mike and the kids when I had my wisdom teeth extracted months ago. Good doggy!

I had two more cervical checks which showed dilations at 5cm and 8cm. I don't know when they were, exactly, but I know the 8cm was only 5 minutes or so before I announced it was time to push. I was heavy into transition at that point and not very patient. Christy was a great labor and delivery nurse - she stroked my hair, washed my face with a cool washcloth when I didn't even realize how hot I was, massaged my back, and was just otherwise very present. Mike was there the whole time, encouraging me, reminding me to breathe, forcing me to drink some apple juice to keep up my strength, and reminding me of why I was doing all this. "You're getting our beautiful baby girl closer and closer." Christy told me I only had a "little bit of cervix left", and I took that to mean I had the infamous "lip" left, as I'd had with the last two deliveries. She called the doctor down, and he said it was really only an 8, and I still had to keep going. I uttered a profanity. It rhymed with "duck."

He left, and I rolled over on my side. I'd been changing positions often, so I labored some on my back, some on my sides, some sitting up, some standing, some sitting on the toilet. I got through a few more contractions, then when I was almost done with one I told Mike, "When this one is done go tell her it's time to push." He said, "OK, finish this one then I'll go tell her." I did, then barked at him, "Go tell her. Now."

Christy came in, said I only had a little edge of cervix left, and to breathe through the next contraction and she would call the doctor. "Breathe through the next one." Riiiiiiiight. The urge to push was overwhelming and I started screaming, "Someone get ready to catch! She's coming, and someone better catch. Someone CATCH!" Mike stayed with me, and told me that if no one else was there, he'd catch. Another nurse, Holly, showed up. Mike said, "There's a new nurse here now." "Why?" I wondered aloud. Pushing makes me candid. :)

Then I heard Christy say, "It's ok! He's here! Doctor is right here." Well, honey, let me tell you - that is ALL it took. I rolled back over onto my back and pushed. I did that Mommy-roar thing again, and after one solid push everybody saw the top of my beautiful daughter's head. There was no time to break down the bed - a first for me.

Lindsey gets suctioned
Then the doctor did a very good, but very mean, thing. He applied counter-pressure on Lindsey's head and used his fingers to stretch my perineal area. This meant I was exerting effort to get her out, while he was exerting effort to keep her in. It lengthened the labor by a couple of agonizing moments, but it meant I wound up with absolutely no tearing - another first. I got her head out, finally, and that contraction was gone. Everyone seemed very intent on getting the rest of her out, contraction or no. "PUSH, Dana! Bear down and PUSH! Get that baby out!" I don't know who said it (Christy, maybe?), but everybody seemed to be yelling all at once.

New tired - but happy - family
The two nurses - one now on each side - sat me up so I could bear down better. Christy actually leaned on my stomach and used her forearm to push on Lindsey's butt. Between us all, we squished her out. Her shoulders, in particular, seemed to have been giving us trouble. She was finally born onto the birthing table, wriggling and already screaming, in a huge rush of rear amniotic fluid (still clear). Only bulb-syringe suction was required, and they did that right on my chest. In fact, she never left my body for the first hour after her delivery, including through her first (very long!) nursing.

She is perfect. She was a good size, and was delivered with absolutely no pain medication whatsoever. She nurses well and often, sleeps like an angel, and is an absolute delight to all of us.
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Frog photograph in the header of this site taken by 8UGS