- 4 years ago
- Wedding: March 2011
Sorry this is so long, but this is the version I wrote out for myself so I wouldn’t forget the details of our little girl’s birth. Feel free to skim!
I had become pretty convinced that the baby had decided to stay where she was until her induction date, which was scheduled for September 16, the day after she was due.
The night of the 12th, I started experiencing some cramping. I’d had this a little before with some vaginal exams during the pregnancy, so even though I hadn’t been to the doctor that day, I didn’t think too much of it at first. But I noticed a little blood when I wiped after going to the bathroom before bed, and again a little while later, which started to make me suspicious. When the cramps and light bleeding didn’t go away, we decided it was time to call the hospital and make sure it was all normal.
The hospital said to come in when the contractions were 5 minutes or less apart, and lasting at least a minute each. But while I was convinced that what I was experiencing was probably contractions, I just couldn’t time them. It just felt like constant menstrual cramping to me. But since I knew I was between 3 and 4 centimeters to begin with, I was a little nervous about not being able to figure out the timing and progressing too quickly. I took a quick bath to see if it made me more comfortable and kept trying to time things during the bath, but didn’t have much successes. Shannon and I decided at that point that it was better safe than sorry, and to go to the hospital and see what they thought. If they sent us back home for a while, so be it. We called and let them know we were on the way.
We arrived at the hospital around 1 in the morning on Thursday, September 12, after about 2 hours of early active labor. I was asked to leave a urine sample, then taken back to triage and hooked up to monitors to keep an eye on my contractions for an hour. I was only 4cm dilated when we checked in, and an hour later had progressed about ½ cm. To admit you they normally like to see a full centimeter’s progress during the hour, but since I’d made some progress and was about a 4.5 at that point, they decided to let me stay. I was admitted and taken to a regular maternity room.
Around 3am or so I was set up in my room, blood was drawn for my labwork and an IV was put in. I was told that we’d have to wait about a half an hour for my lab results to come back, then the anesthesiologist could be called, since I had requested an epidural. She would be at the hospital within a half hour of being called. I was getting pretty uncomfortable at this point but the timeframe felt manageable. Then the nurse came back with news that was not so good.
It turned out that my platelet level was low. It was borderline, but low enough that an anesthesiologist wouldn’t be comfortable with putting in an epidural. I had no idea there was even a chance of not being able to get an epidural, and especially after knowing how uncomfortable I was already, did NOT appreciate the news. We talked about other pain management options and there were some, but nothing as effective as an epidural. I was pretty upset and stressed out about this development. But we decided to draw more blood and wait for new results, to see if my levels might have changed at all. And fortunately my new level came back just over the 90k threshold, and the doctor was called.
She arrived fairly quickly, and we went over the procedure and its risks. I was a little nervous about it all, but was uncomfortable enough that the pros outweighed the cons for me hands-down. Shannon was a little more concerned, but was ok with what I wanted, so we went with the epidural.
The relief was almost immediate, and I was amazed at how effective it was. Like I wasn’t even aware that I was having contractions anymore for the most part. It was amazing!
My nurse was going to call the doctor in to break my water once the epidural had taken effect, but it broke during the next check of my cervix.
My parents showed up at the hospital mid-morning and hung out with us in the room quite a bit. I thought I was making good progress as far is dilation goes, and was feeling really good for a lot of the morning.
Unfortunately there was some confusion about how much progress I was actually making. The doctor on call, as well as the delivery nurse who would be taking care of me, changed at 7am. Since different people were checking my cervix throughout the morning, the determination on how far along I was became kind of subjective. My nurse thought I was farther along than my doctor, and I found myself going backwards at one point. It was pretty frustrating. But the doctor thought that with the baby lying so low, I should be able to deliver vaginally in spite of my slow progress, and ordered Pitocin for me.
We gradually upped my Pitocin all morning and through the early afternoon, and eventually they put an internal monitor in me to better track my contractions. I stalled out around 7 centimeters for a long time, but the doctor and nurses thought I could still get dilated to a 10 with more Pitocin so we kept increasing it. We did talk about the possibility of a c-section if the Pitocin didn’t work, but since the baby and I were both doing fine, we gave it time. Fortunately it eventually did the trick, and around 3:15 in the afternoon my nurse decided that I was a 10 and we started preparing to push.
Things went pretty quickly after that, with more nurses and all of the necessary equipment being brought in. And my legs went up in the stirrups, exposing my business to the whole world. Not that I cared at the time, or am embarrassed about it now, but looking back at photos now I can see how exposed I was to so many people.
The nurse had me start pushing on my contractions, pushing for 10 seconds three times during each contraction. I started pushing around 3:30 and the doctor came in soon after. Thanks to the epidural I could feel the pressure, but there really wasn’t any pain. The pushing was a lot of work, but it fortunately moved the baby along really quickly, probably partially because she was so low to begin with.
Shannon stayed up near my head for most of the delivery, but once the baby started crowning, he moved down to the foot of the bed to watch. It turns out that she was sunny-side-up and turned at a funny angle, so I was very fortunate that she came out with about 20 minutes of pushing. She was born at 3:53 in the afternoon. She weighed 6 pounds, 16 ounces and was almost 21 inches long.
She was initially pretty quiet, just making some squeaking noises and not the loud cries we expected, but they got her checked out and cleaned up and everything was fine. Her Apgar was an 8 and then a 9, so she was perfectly healthy.
The hardest part of the whole process came for me when my placenta didn’t want to come out after the baby. The nurse massaged my stomach, which was very uncomfortable, off and on for several minutes without any success. We had 30-40 minutes of periodic massaging, but it didn’t do any good. I was in too much pain and focused on what was going on with my uterus to hold her yet, but Shannon brought her up by my head several times so I could see her.
Finally, once as much time passed as they could allow, the doctor had to reach up in and pull my placenta out. Even with the epidural it was one of the most painful things I have experienced—definitely worse than childbirth itself. But fortunately it was over very quickly, and I felt much better afterward and was finally ready to hold our daughter.
We quickly decided that she was definitely an Ella Claire. We spent about an hour with her pretty much alone, and breastfeeding for the first time. Then my parents, and Shannon’s dad and Toni, and Abby all came in to meet Ella. We were exhausted, but it was also really neat to see everyone finally getting to meet our little girl. Then finally, after being awake since about six the previous morning, and becoming parents, we were finally able to get a little sleep and start enjoying being a family of three.
Here is a photo of our little one right after she was born, and a photo from earlier this week, just shy of four weeks old.