At 35 weeks, we checked on her again and although her growth looked stable my amniotic fluid levels seemed pretty concerning to the doctor. Normal fluid levels are 8-14 and I was measuring at a 5.8. At that point, the doctor scheduled a non stress for the next day to make sure that the baby was getting enough oxygen. He told me that if that test looked good that I would have to do a non stress test twice a week and that if they ever looked bad that he would want to deliver her to be on the safe side. At this point, Kyle and I were both super worried. We were worried that she was possibly in an unsafe environment but also worried about the possibility of her needing to go to the NICU due to being so early and being on the smaller side. The next day we did the non stress test and although my fluid levels were still low she looked great.
The next week she still looked good for the first stress stress on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I finally felt her turn head down. It was super painful, but her movements were completely different and I knew that she had flipped head down. On Thursday, I had my 36 week appointment and the doctor confirmed that she had flipped down and that I would be able to be induced rather than have a c section if she came early. I was so excited because I had pretty much given up and been okay with the fact that I would have a c section.
Friday morning, I woke up feeling a little off which I figured was just because the baby was head down and starting to settle. At lunch, I talked to Kyle and told him I felt pretty off and like it wouldn't be long before we would be meeting her. I joked that she just needed to make it to Tuesday the 22nd so she could be a Sagittarius like him. Kyle also agreed that we would be lucky to make it to Tuesday. I had finally finished cross training so I joked that I could now have a baby.
We went to our non stress test at 3 pm. Immediately, the fluids didn't look good. The nurse was really struggling to find any deep pockets of fluid and she was being extremely generous in her measurements but could only find a fluid level of 4.7. We were told all along that the magic number was 5. I could feel my heart racing as I knew that we would probably be having a baby. They hooked me up to the monitors to make sure baby was looking good and luckily she was although it did show I was already having some contractions. My doctor was called over and decided not to even repeat the measurements because after going through the pictures he could tell that the nurse had really tried to be generous and give us as much fluid as possible. He told us that he wouldn't feel safe sending us home and that it would definitely be best to be admitted that day. I asked him to walk me through the induction process because I was pretty nervous and hadn't had time to research it. He was super patient and explained it to me and then told me he would be seeing me later.
We texted Kim and my mom to let them know what was going on and waited for the nurses to get us a delivery room. I was pretty nervous just because I knew that Riley was still on the early side and it felt surreal to know we would be meeting her soon. Luckily I was prepared to be admitted at anytime so I already had a bag in the car and was ready to go. We walked down the hallway to our delivery room (Room 8.. which we are pretty sure that is exactly where we delivered Charli). The first nurse was super awesome and handled me having a little bit of a breakdown pretty well. She could tell I was nervous and made the mistake of asking me if I was so of course I started crying. my biggest fear at this point was that once they started the pitocin that Riley would become stressed and need an emergency c-section. I was also afraid that she would come out needing assistance to breathe or have other complications. The nurses got my information, gave me an IV (after blowing out my vein on the first attempt) and then checked me to see if they would need to dilate my cervix. I was already 70% effaced and dilated to a 2. To me, that was already a great sign that we could skip one step of the induction.
Pitocin was started at about 5 pm and my mom arrived shortly after. Contractions quickly became very uncomfortable and were right on top of each other. I could tell that I was tensing up and that I was going to delay my progress but I was also way too prideful to already ask for an epidural. The nurse came in and mentioned that the anesthesiologist on call would be leaving and it would be awhile before he would be back and asked me if I wanted the epidural. Luckily, Kyle agreed for me. I knew that it was more important that I progressed without a lot of stress especially for Riley and I wasn't planning on going unmedicated to begin with. Contractions felt a lot like when I had Charli but much more intense.. like my hips were splitting into pieces. I was able to get my epidural at 7:30 pm which was actually more painful than I remember it being with Charli.. maybe because I was already on edge. I was checked shortly after getting my epidural and was still only dilated to a 2 but 80% effaced.
The nurse during this timeframe wasn't my favorite as she was super serious and didn't really interact with us much. I had a really hard time with heartburn at this point since I hadn't eaten all day so at one point I was given a medication to help and it was awful... it burned the entire time I drank it and pretty much made the heart burn worse. My mom and Kyle were able to sleep for a little bit and although I tried to rest, the constant interruptions and me having anxiety already kept me awake for most of the night. I was checked again at 10 pm and was dilated to a 3 and 90% effaced with baby at -2 station now. I felt like it was going to be a really long night at this point. I do remember feeling like once I got to a 5 that it would progress super fast though just like my labor had with Charli.
At 12:45 am I was dilated to a 5, 100% effaced and the baby was still at -2 station. I was starting to feel contractions on just one side of my body which was pretty painful but something I could handle since it wasn't on both sides and it was probably still not the full effect due to the epidural. Kyle helped by putting a lot of counter pressure on my hip and eventually I was able to get it to calm down. I remember telling Kyle and my mom that I just wanted her to come out screaming and healthy and that's what I kept focusing on. I remember Kyle reassuring me throughout the night that everything was going to be okay. At this point, they were talking about breaking my water but there wasn't a doctor available to do it. The plan was to have the onsite doctor come and break it after he was done with a c section. Riley's monitor had looked awesome the whole entire labor so far so I was feeling reassured that she was strong.
At 2:45 am I was dilated to a 7, baby was at -1 station and the nurse could feel my water bag. I liked my new nurse as she was a lot more laid back and friendly. In the next hour or so, we found out that the other two babies that were being monitored that night were showing signs of distress. The problem with this is that Riley also needed a special care team in the room during her delivery in case she came out in distress. They decided not to break my water at this point because the other two babies were probably going to need to be delivered first. The nurses did come into the room and start setting up for delivery just so they would be ready if things progressed quickly.
At 3:45 am as I was trying to relax I felt my water break on it's own. I knew at that point that she was going to be born super quick. The nurse came into the room and checked me and saw that I was dilated to a 9 and that baby was at 0 station. She checked me again at 4:00 am and saw that I was dilated to a 10 and went to call my doctor. luckily, he lived 5 minutes away because I knew that with Riley being a smaller size that she was going to be born super quick. I remember asking the nurse if they could catch her if she happened to come on her own because I was super worried my doctor wouldn't make it in time.
My doctor arrived about 10 minutes later and joked about how these things always happened at 4 am and that he had run a red light and parked illegally to get here. I felt pretty relaxed at this time and although I was nervous, I was definitely ready to meet my baby girl. I had about 7 people in the room all watching just in case she had any issues. My nurse had explained that they would do everything they could to let me hold her right away as long as she was healthy. At this point, my contractions weirdly slowed down which could have been because the baby was so low and they were having trouble keeping the contraction monitor on me. This had been an issue all night long whenever I switched sides. My first contraction hit and I was able to push 3 times and feel her crowning. My epidural was amazing during this labor as I wasn't in pain but I could feel a lot and I could feel everything when I was pushing. The doctor told me I could feel my baby's head if I wanted to and I reached down and felt her hair. I asked the doctor if he thought I would have to have an episiotomy again and he told me he didn't think I would have to. My next contraction hit, I pushed once, and Riley was born at 4:30 am on November 19, 2016 and immediately started crying. My first thought when I looked down was that she was so beautiful and so tiny. She was immediately placed on me and she calmed down and just started at me like a little owl. I talked to her and told her how beautiful she was while the doctor worked on delivering my placenta.
During recovery, I breastfed her right away as she was immediately acting like she was hungry. She was great at latching which I also found amazing for how early she was. Eventually after an hour or so I allowed the nurses to take her and weigh her. I had guessed ahead of time that I thought she would be 17 inches long and weight about 5 lbs 3 oz. She was 17 inches long, and 5 lbs 4 oz. She had an Apgar of 8 to 9 and had a head of dark hair. Dad and grandma were able to hold her during recovery.
She did great at the hospital and passed most of her tests with flying colors. She is tiny and so she had needed extra help with supplementation to help her gain weight while my milk has been coming in. Other then that, she has been amazing and been a super calm baby so far and she eats like a champ as long as I can wake her up enough to eat. We are so grateful and so blessed to have such a healthy baby as early as we did and we couldn't imagine our lives without her. Charli has really taken to her and is handling her presence well. I have been recovering well so far and feel a lot more confident with a newborn this time around. We can't wait to watch this little one grow and get stronger and gain weight so she can keep up with her older sister.