Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Birth Story

Going to bed on Sunday night (August 16), I was very discouraged that the weekend had passed with no baby and that I’d be going back to work in the morning.  I’d been so sure we’d have a baby that weekend!  At 10pm, I woke up to go to pee and afterward I felt a small gush of fluid.  I thought that it was odd and wondered if something was happening but didn’t want to get my hopes up again (by week 39, you can convince yourself everything is a sign of labor!).  I was also having some menstrual like cramps but not much stronger than I’d had the last couple of nights.  Fifteen minutes later I got up again and had another small gush of fluid.  This time I was certain something was up.  I woke up Mike and told him I thought my water was leaking.  He groggily told me to try to get some sleep.  Hah.  I laid down for another fifteen minutes Googling what was happening.  When I got up, my water full on broke and I was certain.  I woke up Mike and told him we were going to have a baby and to get up and get ready.  We woke up my Mom and all got ready and packed our stuff for the hospital.  
Last pic of the bump before leaving for the hospital. 
About to meet our baby!

So excited!

We arrived at the hospital at midnight and it was so weird walking myself into Labor and Delivery, smiling and not in pain.  I’d always assumed I’d be fighting contractions and in full on labor when I showed up at the hospital.  They swabbed me to be sure and then immediately admitted us to our room.  I was hooked up to contraction and fetal monitors and the nurse checked my cervix (less than 1cm dilated and 80% effaced!) and left to discuss a plan with my OB.  She told us that they’d be starting me on Cytotec to try to soften my cervix and that it would be delivered every four hours until enough change happened to start me on Pitocin.  However, after my first dose of Cytotec at 1am, my body went into full on contraction mode.  They got intense pretty quickly and were coming about 3 min apart.  At one point I had a really strong, long contraction and the nurse came running in, flipped me over, and started massaging my belly.  Apparently it lasted over 6 minutes.  She said the contractions had come on so strong and sudden that they might have to give me a shot of Terbutaline to stop them if they didn’t regulate soon.  I was dreading that because it seemed like we’d be working backwards (and it was the same drug I’d had a few times back at 31 weeks to stop my contractions).  Luckily, my contractions evened out enough that they just let my body do its thing.  At 4am, I finally got pain medicine.  I’m allergic to the drug they normally give so I was given Dilaudid.  It didn’t do much for the pain but made me super tired and my legs and arm feel heavy.  I was not a fan!  The next two hours were pretty intense.  I might have mentioned tying my tubes so I’d never have to feel pain like that again.  Finally, contractions were at one minute apart and they checked me and said I was at 3cm and could get an epidural as soon as anesthesia was available.  Best news ever! 
Hospital room board.


Getting the epidural was only somewhat stressful as the promise of pain relief makes it way less scary.  The worst part is holding still and being scrunched over through all of your contractions.  We discovered that my anesthesiologist had done his residency at Vanderbilt and finished the same time as I did.  He went from having little personality to chatting with us forever about our shared love of Nashville.  The epidural brought some relief pretty quickly but definitely not the overwhelming awesomeness that everyone always describes.  After about 30 minutes of some relief, I was in the worst pain ever with each contraction.  We called the nurse and explained something was definitely not right.  Luckily the anesthesiologist held up his scheduled C-section he was just about to start and came to my rescue.  He assured me he would not have done so if it weren’t for our Vandy connection.  Yikes!  He tried to administer a bolus to see if it would help and nothing changed.  He said something must have happened to it internally because it was not making me numb anymore.  He quickly removed it and gave me a new one that went 1 cm deeper.  That’s when I realized the magic of an epidural.  Now I could watch my contractions spike on the monitor but felt nothing. 

After the epidural started working its magic, they checked me about once every two hours.  I was at 5cm by 10am, 7 cm at noon, and 9 cm at 2pm.  They were thrilled with the progress I was making on my own without drugs and said we would be pushing in no time.  Unfortunately, my nurse had to leave work early that day and so they had to call in someone to cover the gap from 4pm till the shift change that evening.  We’re pretty sure things were put on hold because of this.  From about 3:30 on, I could tell something was happening.  There was so much pressure down there and I was pretty sure it was time.  However, my nurse told me that she was just going to have me wait and have my new nurse check things when she got there.  Anesthesia came and gave me something for the pain and my legs went almost completely numb.  I was worried I wouldn’t be able to push with the numbness and so I was somewhat relieved when my current epidural IV ran out because I hoped that would balance out the numbness and I’d regain some feeling.  At 4:10 my new fill-in nurse finally came to check me and immediately said it was time to call the doctor and start pushing.

With just Mike, my Mom and the nurse, we started pushing at every contraction.  I had no idea how exhausting pushing would be!  It was so surreal to know that we’d soon have our baby in our arms.  We pushed for about 10 minutes with the nurse and suddenly she said to stop pushing because the baby was right there and we needed a doctor.  Luckily, my OB walked in very soon after and got things going.  Less than 5 minutes of pushing later, Hannah was born at 4:37pm.  For those who were worried about Mike’s queasiness with all things blood and guts, he did awesome.  He held my leg and watched the whole birth (and cut the cord!).  I watched his face for much of it and loved seeing his expressions.  He would excitedly tell me that she was right there and almost out.   He kept saying how crazy it was.  He and my Mom were both so supportive and encouraging and it made such a difference when I wanted to give up.  I’ll never forget when they placed my crying baby on my chest.  I just couldn’t believe we had made her and she was finally here. 

The next moments passed quickly.  They took Hannah for her measurements (7 pounds 11 ounces, 19.5 inches long) and early treatments and Mike followed her leaving me to be stitched up.  Finally, they brought her back and we did skin-to-skin and she quickly nursed for the first time.  It was so incredible.  The team cleaned up the room and disappeared leaving us to just be with Hannah the rest of the evening.   Holding our baby and seeing Mike with her was everything I could have imagined.  I couldn’t believe she was ours.  We all fell in love instantly and I’ve never been more grateful for anything in my whole life. 

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