- 5 years ago
- Wedding: October 2011
My baby girl with be one month old tomorrow! It’s about time I posted her birth story! Sorry for the delay (and the fact that it’s super long)!
12/2 – Sunday
Sunday morning, December 2nd, I woke up with a dull backache and menstrual-like cramps. Things felt different and I started to get excited. When I went to the restroom, I noticed pink/red mucus each time I wiped, which I guessed was the “bloody show” I’d heard so much about! I googled “bloody show” (which incidentally, was a mistake) and it confirmed what I was experiencing indeed fell under that category! Things were happening! I told my husband and parents (who were visiting from Oregon), that I felt today might be the day. We all agreed that 12/2/12 would be a cool birthday. The cramps continued all day, but it wasn’t until about 4pm that I realized they were timeable contractions. I could tell when one was starting to come on… it would build in intensity, peak, then fade away. They were painful enough that I couldn’t talk through them and were coming about 10 minutes apart. We all went out to dinner around 5pm to watch a football game (which was interesting during contractions!) then came home early in hopes of getting some sleep. We anticipated that we’d be going to the hospital in a couple of hours. I tried to sleep, but it was really hard between the excitement and the painful contractions! Finally around 11pm, I fell asleep for 1.5 hours. I woke up around 1:30am. At that point, the contractions were coming every 7-8 minutes, lasting about a minute, and quite painful. I decided to take a shower to see if that would help. I laid a towel on the shower floor and knelt on the ground during contractions. I might have stayed in there for 45 minutes – it felt so good! I got out and between contractions, took some final belly shots and put my pj’s back on. I tried to go back to bed, but the minute I got into bed, I had a particularly strong/painful contraction and determined sleep was out of the question. I got up and changed into regular clothes.
12/3 – Monday
From 2am-6am was pretty lonely… I didn’t want to wake up my husband or parents (my mom had a bad cold), so I dealt the best I could on my own. Finally, at 6am, the contractions were coming every 5 or 6 minutes and lasting for about 1 minute each. They really hurt and I didn’t feel like I could handle them on my own much longer, so I woke everyone up. My husband excitedly called work and told them he wouldn’t be coming into work as it was “baby time”. We decided to make the drive to the hospital/hotel (my parents were planning to get a hotel next to the hospital because it was 45-60 min away). We took two cars and decided that I would sit in the back of the SUV with my mom, while my dad drove and my husband followed in his car. Because it was rush hour, it took us over an hour to get there and I had probably 12-15 contractions in the car! That was the worst! My husband was watching me grab the handles on the roof and the car and kept calling my mom to make sure I was okay. At one point he called and suggested a faster driving route, which ended up working out great.
When we got there, I was worried about going to the hospital too early, so we checked into the hotel. (They took pity on me and let us check in super early at 9am!). I was exhausted and asked to lie down for 5 minutes. I ended up sleeping for 8 or 9 minutes, since for some reason I didn’t have a contraction. I feltl back asleep, and that time, slept for 20 minutes (again, no contraction?!). After I got up from my nap, the contractions were coming every 10-12 minutes. So frustrating that they had spaced out when I’d thought we were so close earlier! The pain was really bad in my back, so my husband applied counter-pressure, which was really helpful. In hopes of speeding things up, we walked around and around the hotel, then went to lunch at a nearby Cheesecake factory. At that point contractions were about 7 or 8 minutes apart. The waiter looked really nervous the one time a contraction started before he’d left the table and my husband told him, “Don’t worry, she’s in labor but it’s okay.” Lol! I made sure to have a slice of cheesecake before we left in case I didn’t get to eat for awhile.
After lunch we went back to the hotel and I labored in room for awhile. The contractions still weren’t getting closer together and I was exhausted, so I decided to call my OB practice and ask what to do. The answering service took a message and had a nurse midwife call me back. The midwife said she thought I was experiencing false labor. She told us to “enjoy” the hotel and have a good time, as it could be a few more days! I told her there was no way I could sleep with contractions like this and she told me to take a Tylenol pm. Wtf! I hung up the phone and started crying, I was so discouraged by this! The thought of going through another night full of painful contractions and no sleep was overwhelming…
My husband and I decided to go to the hotel gym to walk some more and see if maybe the contractions would become more organized. When we got to the gym, they had a bowl full of earphones. I got a pair for my iphone and started listening to Pandora. I noticed the gym had some exercise balls – perfect “birth balls”. I climbed onto one and looked up birthing exercises on my phone. I decided to do hip circles and to bounce. Surprisingly, pretty much immediately after I started these exercises, my contractions picked up and started coming 5-6 minutes apart. We spent about an hour in the gym, but they never got closer together than that. We went back to the room and I labored there for awhile before my mom and I decided to go back down to the gym. Again, I did more hip circles, bounced on the ball, and walked on the treadmill. My mom timed my contractions for me on a phone app. That time, my contractions moved to 4-5 minutes apart. I came back to the room and was desperate for relief. My husband and I rifled through the handouts from the birthing class and tried some different positions before my husband encouraged me to call my doctor again. This time, they put me in touch with the doctor on call at the hospital. I was excited to find that it was one of my favorite doctors in the practice. He said, “I heard you’ve been over at that hotel all day… I think it’s time you come across the street so we can see what’s going on!” Oh my goodness, I was so relieved! Even if they sent me home, I wanted someone to at least look at me and tell me whether or not I was really in labor!
We arrived at the hospital around 8pm. We waited for about 30 minutes before getting a room in triage. They helped me onto a gurney, hooked me up to monitors, and told me someone would come to check me. I waited about 30 minutes until a midwife showed up. That time in triage was pretty much hell. I was separated from other patients by thin curtains on either side, and was very aware that everyone could hear everything I said or did. The contractions were coming about 4 minutes apart and were excruciating, probably because I was lying down and couldn’t get in a comfortable position. I was trying my hardest to breathe through the contractions and not make noise, but I wanted to scream! I was relieved though that the contractions were at least coming regularly, raising my hopes that I wouldn’t be sent away. The midwife checked me and said, “Well, I can tell you the good news that you’re 4-5 cm. What would you like in the way of pain management? Do you want an epidural now?” I was surprised that it was already an option. I was pretty sure I would need one at some point, but I asked to think about the decision a bit longer, which they said was no problem. They immediately admitted me and sent a wheelchair to take me to my labor/delivery room. There I met my nurse, Kate, who was very calm and sweet, and my doctor came to see me. It was great to see a familiar face. Both my doctor and the nurse encouraged me to get an epidural, saying that they did not believe it would slow my progress and might allow me to sleep. My husband also pushed for the epidural, so I consented, even though a small part of me still sort of wanted a natural birth (though a much larger part of me thought that was nuts!). My nurse put in an IV (no issue, I’m blessed with good veins) and the anesthesiologist was there almost immediately. Everyone had to leave the room, including my husband. The anesthesiologist did a good job putting in the epidural, I hardly felt it and it provided near immediate relief. It was such a wonderful feeling to be numb from the pain of the contractions for the first time in almost 30 hours! I still felt pressure and some vaginal pain, but the back pain I was experiencing from the contractions went away almost instantly. OMG, what sweet relief!!! My doctor came to examine me right after the epidural and said I was now 7cm! He decided to break my water since the bag was already bulging. He estimated that it would still be a couple hours before I’d be ready to push, so he encouraged me to try to sleep. I tried to sleep, but I was just too excited and still a little uncomfortable. With my water broken, I knew baby was coming soon and I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas to arrive. I didn’t feel nervous about the birth at all, just anxious to meet my daughter (and to be done with labor). My husband was able to sleep for a bit though. I could feel wetness from my water still leaking out, so I asked the nurse to come and change the pad under me a couple times. I told her I was still in some pain, so she encouraged me to push the button more (to deliver more medication) and had another anesthesiologist come and give me a bolus of something else. It didn’t help, but that was okay…I sort of liked that I could still feel/move my legs, but it had taken the edge off. However, after an hour or two, the pain/pressure had increased, so I pressed the button to call for the nurse again.
12/4 – Tuesday
The nurse came to the room and I told her I was having a lot of pain/pressure and wanted the doctor to check my progress in case it was time to push. She seemed a little skeptical, but said the doctor would come as soon as he finished doing an emergency c-section. About 20 minutes later, the doctor arrived and checked me. He was shocked to find that I was 10cm and the baby was +3. He joked that I was an “overachiever” at dilating and said that it would be okay to push if I wanted. I was more than ready to get the show on the road, so I told him that I wanted to push right away. My husband called my parents, who’d gone to the hotel to rest, and told them to come back as I was ready!
I started pushing before my parents arrived because the pressure was so great. Bearing down like that felt really awkward and embarrassing. I had pretty normal sensation in that area and could tell when I was passing gas, etc. It took me a couple contractions/pushes to get over that and concentrate on pushing. My parents arrived after I’d been pushing for a few minutes. My dad sat in the corner of the room, where he could see my head but nothing else. My mom held one of my legs and my husband stood by my head. The doctor said that he could see baby’s head (with a lot of hair!) and asked if I wanted a mirror to see what I was doing. I said yes and did find it very helpful, even though it was pretty weird! I made progress with every push, but then the baby’s head would slip back (totally normal), and I started to feel like I’d be laboring for hours. I could feel my legs and move them just fine, so I suggested we try a different position, but the doctor said I was doing great and to just continue. For some reason (maybe the epidural or maybe the medication?), my mouth was suddenly very dry. My husband and my mom took turns going for water and I gulped down cup after cup. Thank goodness my doctor allowed me liquids! After a bit more pushing, I started to notice that the baby’s heartbeat was slowing down a lot during contractions. The galloping “clip.clop.clip.clop” beat that was being broadcast throughout the room from the strap on my belly would slow to a terrifying little “clip………clop”. The doctor said it was okay because baby’s heartrate was recovering well, but he asked the nurse to give me an oxygen mask. Even though the doctor and nurse were calm, I really didn’t like hearing my baby’s heartrate drop and became determined to get her out as quickly as possible. I was terrified that after 34 hours of labor I’d need an emergency c-section, or worse, something would happen to the baby. I began pushing with every ounce of strength that I had. My whole body was shaking from exhaustion. My mom said afterward that she had never seen me look so determined! After I’d been pushing for a total of about 50 min., the doctor told me that the baby could be born with my next push. I pushed 3x, as I’d been doing with every contraction, and the baby’s head was crowning, but not out. I remember that part being quite painful and crying, “ouch, ouch, OUCH!” I told my mom and husband that I wanted the baby OUT! I could not imagine waiting for another contraction feeling that burning pain, so I decided to just keep pushing past the set of 3…
I closed my eyes and pushed for another set of 3 ten second long pushes and suddenly baby’s head was OUT and the rest of her born was soon after! The doctor told me later that she’d been born with her hand on her head, making the delivery a little more difficult. (Apparently compound births like that occur with a frequency of 1 in 700 births). In addition, the cord was wrapped around baby’s neck. The doctor quickly plopped her on my belly. I was so relieved that she was out, but she did not cry, and in fact, was completely blue. I could see that her eyes were open and she was moving a bit, so I knew she was alive. I was really scared, but for some reason knew she would be okay. The doctor urgently asked me husband to cut the cord so they could work on her. They whisked her away to the warmer in the room and began rubbing/suctioning her. It took a long time for her to cry, but she did eventually (probably after 4-5 minutes). My husband asked if I wanted him to stay with me or the baby and I told him to stay with the baby. My mom stayed with me and tried to reassure me that the baby was okay. Baby took awhile to regulate her breathing and blood sugar, but then she was fine.
Her initial apgar was a 5 and her five minute apgar was an 8. She was 8 lbs, 11.6 oz and 22 inches long. I was expecting a girl, but forgot to confirm until about 10 minutes after she was born. Everyone laughed when I asked, “Oh wait, is it a girl?!” The placenta came out without too much pain, but when the doctor tried to stitch me up, I found it was too painful and he had to first numb me with a shot of lidocaine. I ended up with a 2nd degree tear and a fair amount of stitches. In retrospect, I probably should have slowed down and waited to push when she was crowning, but who knows if that would have prevented a tear, especially considering that she had a big head (95th percentile) AND her hand on her head.
I was able to watch the baby across the room much of the time. I could see she was quiet but alert.
After what seemed like an eternity (but was likely more 30-40 minutes), they finally brought the baby over to me. I looked down at the perfect and healthy baby girl in my arms and saw that she was staring right back at me with big blue eyes. I heard my mom lean over and whisper to the baby, “There’s your mommy,” and I thought, “Wow, this is real. I’m really a mom.” Pretty much nothing else in the world mattered as I sat there staring at my daughter, and her at me. Tears were streaming down my cheeks when my father came over to take pictures of me with the baby. It was pretty much the best moment ever!
I was so tired that I wasn’t able to think clearly about her name that night, so she was “baby girl” and “pumpkin” until the next morning, when my husband and I decided to name her Julia Catherine. (Catherine, after my mom).
We stayed in the hospital for almost 3 days. We were all set to go home on Thursday, but Julia’s bilirubin level was too high and they told us they would have to transfer to peds. She was all dressed in her going home outfit and I was excited to get home, so it was a real bummer to have to turn around and head to another part of the hospital. Only one parent was allowed to stay with her, so I stayed because I was breastfeeding. She had to stay under the bili lights in a little isolate all night. I cried and cried… ah hormones… it was just so hard not being able to hold her… I don’t know how NICU moms do it. They had me feed her as often as possible to help flush out the bilirubin, so I was up every 1-2 hours, which was rough. However, the next day they tested her and her level had gone down. We were finally able to take her home!
Julia will be one month old tomorrow. So far everything is going really well! She is a really good baby and responds really well when I soothe her. She doesn’t usually cry for long. Here are some photos of my sweet girl.