So on December 23rd at approximately 11:39 PM, Joanna Hope Jones explosively entered our world! She weighed 6 lbs. 15.8 oz, and was 19.5 inches long (so two ounces more than her brother, but an inch shorter). We got to bring her (and her tired and sore mommy) home from the hospital on Christmas morning! Talk about a Christmas present! :)
The contractions started on Monday the 22nd around 6 PM. They weren't terribly regular, but they were painful, so we fully expected to be making a trip to the hospital sometime that night or early the next day, especially when the contractions kept going through the night (false labor would normally stop with a change in position). I was able to get _some_ sleep, but not a whole lot. I already had an appointment scheduled, so we dropped AJ off with a friend for the day and went to get checked out. I was 3cm dilated, ~70% effaced, and the baby was at about -2 station - so not exactly ready to go, but progress from the week before. They sent us home with the expectation that they'd be seeing us again later that day.
We went over to the local mall for a little walking. After a lap on each level, my contractions were around 4 minutes apart and lasting almost a minute each (we were told to call when they were 5 min apart and 1 min duration for at least an hour). So we went home for a quick nap, expecting to go to the hospital very shortly thereafter.
By the time we got home, the contractions had spaced out to 8-10 minutes, and eventually I was able to sleep for at least 45 minutes! So I took a walk, trying to get them to speed up again. But it was like 20 below and getting dark, so we went to another mall for more walking. Keep in mind that by the time we got to this second mall, I'd been having painful contractions for 24 hours. As I was quickly nearing "the wall," we began attempting to call the midwives to see if what they would recommend. Unfortunately, their phone system hadn't been switched for the night, so I couldn't get the after-hours number. Fortunately, we've got friends who use this same practice. Unfortunately, they were in Buffalo. But thanks to the glory of cell phones, we were eventually able to get in touch with them and get the after-hours number.
VNB dropped me by a door (of the second mall) and went to park while I walked toward the food court. It's one of those "Mills" malls, so it's big, but I was only part of a "neighborhood" away from the food court when VNB dropped me off. Still, by the time I'd reached the food court, I couldn't go any further (mostly my hips just couldn't take any more, but I was also hardly able to stand during the contractions). VNB managed to get a hold of the midwives, and they agreed that I could come into get checked, but couldn't promise that they would keep me, and wouldn't agree to induce me (they were _really_ busy). So we headed out to the hospital.
By the time I got to the car, contractions were fast and furious (~3 min apart). The minute I sat down in the car, the contractions spaced out again. But "the wall" had been reached. I'd been in labor for over 24 hours at that point, and the end seemed no closer than before.
We got to the hospital and they started checking us in around 8. The midwife checked me around 8:30-ish and I was at 4 cm, ~70%, and the baby was at -1 station. That was enough progress that she was willing to keep me, which was a good thing because I think I would have completely lost it emotionally if they'd sent us home. We got settled and the contractions continued and got steadily more painful.
A little before 11, they had to hook me back up to the monitors for a few minutes, so I got back on the bed. The contractions were more manageable when I was on my side, so I spent most of the time that way. While I was hooked up, the midwife checked me again. Since the time between 4 cm and baby had been by far the longest part of labor with AJ, we weren't expecting much. VNB planned on taking a nap if he could unless I was up to 7 or 8 cm.
I was at 7 or 8 cm, much to everyone's surprise. The midwife warned me that those last couple of centimeters usually take a while and are relatively painful, but that I was doing a great job and was handling things just fine. She walked out the door probably around 11. The very next contraction, I felt an overwhelming urge to push.
Knowing that I'd _just_ measured at 7-8, I thought maybe it was a fluke, so I didn't say anything. But I felt it again the next time and even though it seemed crazy, I said the only word I could manage - "push." That got everyone's attention. The labor and delivery nurse took a minute to assess the situation, but quickly realized I meant it and yelled out the door for someone to get the midwife. While we were waiting for the midwife, they told me not to push, but there was very little I could do to stop it.
The midwife came back in and got ready to check me again, but I couldn't get myself from my side to my back so that she could. They kept trying to get me _not_ to push, but I couldn't _not_ push, so she gave up on checking me and switched to "lets have a baby" mode. About that time, my water finally broke. It was a good thing too, because within a push or two after they'd dropped the bed and gotten me to finally roll over, VNB said something I didn't expect to hear for a long while yet - "they've got a full head of hair!" About that same time, the L&D nurse said that I was crowning. I hardly believed them since it had taken 40 of the 45 minutes of pushing with AJ to get him to that point.
Then, a couple of pushes later, little Joanna gave the nurses another surprise by coming out, head, shoulders, and most of the amniotic fluid in one, explosive burst. They were laughing afterward about wishing they'd worn shoe covers.
So with minimal tearing, and a lot of thankfulness that they kept me at the hospital when we came in, Joanna Hope was born at 11:39 PM. Just in time for her mama to get her Christmas wish - not to be in labor on Christmas or Christmas Eve. :)
Big brother AJ met her the next morning and did great with her. In fact, he only cried when VNB took her _away_ from him.
And other than last night's traditional late night Mylecon run, she's been doing great since we came home Christmas morning. Like her brother before her, she's an expert nurser, and her mama is doing surprisingly well. I mean, I still hurt and all, but the healing process has been _much_ faster than with AJ already.
So that's her story! I can't explain how relieved I am to not be pregnant anymore. With AJ, I had severe indigestion which ended the moment he exited my body. This time around it was the nausea that blessedly left the moment Joanna came out. Brushing my teeth doesn't make me gag anymore! Woohoo!
I'll post more pics one of these days. In the meantime, find VNB's facebook account. He's got pics there.