Saturday, March 22, 2014

Miss S's Birth Story

3 years ago today, I was pregnant with Miss S…

I LOVE reading birth stories. Since I’m newer to the world of blogging, I never shared Miss S’s birth story beyond my friends and family. I can’t believe she’s going to be 3 tomorrow. This post is all about the last 24 hours BK for Karl and me.

**I want to acknowledge that I’ve learned a lot about births and pregnancies through friends’ experiences over the last 3 years. I know that our early arrival went smoothly, but I know that isn’t always the end of the story (or the arrival can happen a LOT earlier). I know mamas who have had their water break at 18 weeks, 21 weeks…I know mamas who have delivered a full-term baby after an ultrasound couldn’t detect a heart beat…and other mamas who have had their lives shattered when their babies have passed away…If you have experienced any of these situations, I am so, so sorry. I understand if you can’t read any further. I will never comprehend “why” one pregnancy results in a healthy baby, why some women can’t get pregnant even though it’s their biggest dream, why some babies are born into horrible situations…

I kept warning Karl that it was always possible I could go into labor early. Let’s say we were both in denial.

The room wasn’t ready.

We didn’t have a crib.

Let’s be honest, we didn’t have much of anything besides 10 weeks of Bradley birthing classes (which was a great experience).

On Sunday and Monday (3/20-3/21), I had a few symptoms of early labor (which I now know didn’t mean much of anything except that the baby would arrive sometime in the next few weeks or sooner.)

We were sooner.

Tuesday (3/22) we checked in with my OB. I was having mild contractions (but again, nothing monumental). My doctor checked me and found that I was 1 cm dilated. For anyone who has given birth or been pregnant, you know that you might be 1 cm dilated for a good 4 weeks before giving birth. Again, as rookies, we were clueless.

My OB’s goal was to get me past 37 weeks, so she wrote a note for me to take off 9 days from work and to lay low at home. We went home that day, and I sat on the couch with my feet up while Karl's parents stopped in (they were visiting from Indiana). Then, I took a nap.

At 5:40, I woke up with a panic because I was pretty darn sure that my water broke.

When you’re 35 weeks 6 days and taking a Bradley birthing class, you have plans for going into labor around 39 weeks and having a blissful, uneventful, unmedicated birth. OK…maybe not really blissful, but Karl and I hadn’t made it to the class where you talk about what might happen (like if you don’t make it to 36 weeks).

As the nerds in the class, we decided to take it up a notch and go for the extra credit. We’d jump ahead and just have the baby already so that everyone could see how it was done. We didn’t need the 11th and 12th classes.


I called my Bradley instructor. She was great at explaining the options but that Karl and I should do whatever we felt was right.

Since we were early & it was our first rodeo, we decided to head to the hospital.

But after shift change.

As a nurse, I knew that arriving at 6:30 pm wasn’t a great plan. We probably wandered around the house aimlessly while in shock then headed to the hospital and got there about 8 pm.  

The nurse checked me on admission, and I was still only at 1 cm. Since we hadn’t received the results of the Strep B test, I needed to be hooked up to antibiotics. Let me just say that one of my least favorite things about that delivery was that (despite having veins that drug seekers dream about) the nurse picked a spot right at my wrist to start the IV. I gained a new appreciation for choosing veins for an IV start. But I digress.

Last Pre-Kiddo Picture
After being monitored for 20 minutes, Karl and I started walking the halls to attempt to get things moving. We walked the halls. We walked the stairs (rebels that we were, we left the floor because you can only walk down a few halls in a hospital before you need a little more variety).

The nurse monitored the baby and me again around 10 pm.

Nothing. Had. Changed.

I really wish I would have had a pedometer because I wonder how many miles we walked that night.

We walked the halls and stairs and halls and stairs over and over until midnight.

Since we were exhausted, we somehow managed to fall asleep – I was on a gurney in triage; Karl was in a hospital chair.

If you ever make it to this point, request a room on the OB floor. The hospital wouldn’t be sending us home because once the fern test is positive for amniotic fluid (showing that the gush you experienced was indeed your water breaking). Again, since we didn’t know any better, we stayed in triage.

The gurney? Not very comfortable.

The plan was that the nurse would recheck my dilation at 2 am. If I hadn’t made much progress, the doctor had recommended Pitocin to get the contractions and dilation moving.

At 2 am, I was still only 1 cm.

We felt defeated and exhausted.

Ultimately, Karl and I wanted both the baby and me to be healthy...but really, really, really were hoping against hope that something would change in the 4 hours of walking.

My cervix was being stubborn.

The nurse knew she was dealing with novices and those kind of people who want to do a natural delivery. She probably was thinking, “I’ve heard it all folks. Whatever. Just get over it. I don’t have time to deal with your ideal dream of labor. Take the stinkin’ Pitocin, and while you’re at it, plan on an epidural, too.”

Maybe not, but her response indicated that she didn’t think that it was rocket science that our OB wanted us to start on Pitocin nor that we should need to contemplate anything.

What was going on in the back of my head was that I've had friends who have been given Pitcoin, which then resulted in an epidural because of the intensity of the contractions...and then the epidural slows things down too much which leads to a C-section. I really, really, really wanted to avoid that scenario. At all costs. Except if it wasn’t safe for either the baby or I.

We decided it made the most sense, and the Pitocin was started.

Remember that gurney that I napped on for 2 hours?

It’s a lot easier to nap on a gurney than it is to experience labor with Pitocin (which I’ve learned since can be mild for some women but most definitely was the opposite of mild for me).

5 ½ hours later (right after shift change), I finally got to move to a birthing room. About 12 hours after being admitted.

The contractions were getting more intense*

*I wrote the original version of the birth story while still in the hospital. It might have even been in the early hours of the morning after Miss S was born. It’s fun re-reading it. Let’s just say that “getting more intense” was describing it mildly. I don’t even remember being moved from the triage room to the birthing suite.

I really wanted my dilation checked before moving forward with an increased dose of Pitocin.

After 5+ hours of Pitocin, I had increased to a measly 3 cm.

I was sure that I was in the transition stage. I’m pretty sure I was throwing up. It was everything that I thought I’d be like at 7 or 8 cm dilated. I was emotionally and physically exhausted and now mentally defeated. Our nurse in the birthing suite was AHMAZING. Amazing.

She was so encouraging and was telling us that getting from 1 cm to 3 cm is some of the hardest work and that we had made great progress.

Even if it wasn’t really true, it’s exactly what I needed to hear.

The Pitocin kept being increased, and sometime around 11 am my doctor came and checked on me. We had made it up to 6 cm. My doctor was shocked that I hadn't been given an epidural. I looked rough, to say the least (really, who wouldn’t after laboring with steadily stronger contractions for 6 hours & having chills on and off). Despite being delirious, I remember my doctor saying something along the lines of, “It’s just a matter of time” in regards to an epidural. I think that gave me some motivation because I wanted to prove her wrong.

Sometime in the next hour, I was finally up to 8 cm, and around 12:15 pm I felt pressure. The nurse said we were good to go and called the doctor. While we waited for the doctor arrive, the urge to push became something I could not resist. I had to push. Now. I've heard lots of stories about mamas being told to wait to push until the doctor arrived, and I was so, so thankful that our nurse told me to do what I felt like I needed to do. My doctor got there around 12:40, and our baby girl was born at 12:48 pm. 

6 lbs 3 oz, 18 ¼ inches long.

I still remember the doctor and nurse waiting for Karl to tell me if we had a girl or a boy (because we wanted to be surprised). Through his tears, I can still hear him saying her name to me for the first time.

I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was. I was prepared that my baby might be ugly. I’m 100% serious. I don’t think I was the cutest baby, and I was ok if my baby looked like a shrunken old man. Instead, I couldn’t believe that she was ours.

She was so beautiful.
And perfect.
I was head over heels in love. 
And, my love for her just keeps growing. 

1 comment :

  1. I remember that minutes after this scenario, I was standing in line at a Subway sandwich shop selecting the condiments for my order when my cell phone rang. Of course, those customers standing behind me in line were rather irritated that in the middle of choosing those toppings, I was talking on my phone while the precious seconds of their lunch hours or half hours were rushing by. I backed out of line apologizing to the worker as well as those customers that I had to take this call. Once I had the news, I burst out saying, "I have a granddaughter!!" One of the customers said to the worker, "You should congratulate her with a free meal," to which they all agreed. After eating, I immediately walked to a Target store in the same strip mall and purchased over $200.00 worth of baby girl - pink and frilly - items. Eventually, her mom sent much of the merchandise back to the store. I LOVE my 2 older grandsons, but finally having a little girl in the family was a real thrill.