Friday, January 27, 2012

Emma's Birth Story

Today, in honor of my baby girl's one month birthday,
I finally finished typing up her birth story.
We took some one month photos this morning
and I can't wait to share them next week
after our pediatrician appointment.
I'm so curious to know how much weight the munchkin has gained.

It was so important to me to document the day of her birth
which actually ended up being days...
So just a fair warning, this is quite long.
I want to remember the details.

It was December 26th at about 5 am.
We had just enjoyed a full weekend of Christmas celebrations with my husband's family.
I had been feeling pretty good, very pregnant, but
no real labor signs except for some strengthening Braxton Hicks contractions.
That was until 5 am when I woke up to a gush of fluid.
I remember thinking it was weird, different than anything I'd felt before.
I went to the bathroom and the fluid kept on coming.
I changed and went back to bed and of course
googled "water breaking at 39 weeks."

Sure enough, everything I read confirmed my suspicions.
The fluid kept on coming so I woke up the husband
and called doctor's office.
The on call OB told me it sounded like a good story
and told me to take a hot shower to try to get labor going
and eventually I would need to come in and get checked out.

I'm really glad I hadn't made and printed out a "birth plan."
I mean, I had an idea in my head about how I wanted labor to go
and this would have thrown the whole "plan" thing out the window.

The "plan" in my head was to labor at home as long as possible.
Since once your water breaks, you and the baby are at an increased risk of infection,
I knew this wasn't exactly going to happen.
I took a long hot shower, shaved my legs the best I could
and packed the last few things up in my hospital bag.
I scurried around the house, nervous and excited, cleaning up...
did some laundry, loaded the dishwasher...
I knew the next time we came home, we would have a baby!

The husband and I decided we'd head to the hospital around noon.
By 11 am, I still wasn't really having meaningful contractions
so I went for a long walk around the neighborhood.
I came back and we decided to get some lunch,
knowing that once we got to the hospital,
I most likely wouldn't be able to eat.
We went to a little cafe in our town and I had a tuna melt.
I'll never forget the waitress asking me "When is the baby coming?"
and I said, "Maybe today!"

We got to the hospital and checked in.
I changed into the stylish hospital gown and the nurses hooked me up to the monitors,
one for my contractions and one for the baby's heartbeat.
Everything with the baby looked good, but my contractions were very irregular.
We waited for the on call doctor to come in and check me and
Hubs and I made predictions about how dilated I was.

After a while, the doctor arrived.
He checked me and I was only a fingertip dilated,
which is the same as I had been at my last OB appointment.
Definitely not what we were predicting!
He also checked the fluid and sure enough, it was my water that had broken.
He told me to walk around and mentioned Pitocin...
we weren't ready for that yet.
I wasn't really a fan of this guy.

So I walked. And walked and walked the same three halls for hours
trying to get the contractions going.

I felt like the walking was increasing the contractions but I really had no idea.
As the hours passed by, I was pretty sure it was not going to be our little girl's birthday.
When your water breaks before labor begins,
which only happens about 8-10% of the time,
they like to deliver the baby within 24 hours or so because of that increased infection risk.
Everything I read said waiting 48 hours,
as long as there is no fevers or changes in the baby's heart rate, was okay.
Finally a little before midnight, the on call doc came back in.
Still only a fingertip dilated.
He mentioned Pitocin again,
saying we could start it then or wait until the am when my own doctor came in.

I was pretty against it, since my cervix hadn't made any change at all.
It seemed that starting Pitocin at that point would most likely lead to a c-section.
So we decided to wait till the morning.
I sent the husband home to be with the dogs and hopefully get some sleep...
at least one of us would!

That night was one of the longest of my life.
I tried to sleep but was so uncomfortable.
The contractions I was having were uncomfortable, the bed was uncomfortable...
I was a little frustrated but still too excited to sleep.

Eventually 7 am came and my night shift nurse came in.
She said she spoke with my doctor who wanted to get the Pitocin going.
I talked it over with my day shift nurse and decided I wanted to wait until my doctor came in
to make sure I had made some progress before starting the Pitocin.
The husband came back in and we walked and walked some more.

At about 9:30, my doctor finally arrived.
I was 2 cm dilated.
Finally! Some progress!
At that point I was on board with the Pitocin.
It had been over 24 hours since my water had broken.
I remember thinking...Let's get things going, I want to meet this baby!

I kept walking in my room and bouncing on the birthing ball.
Once the Pitocin kicked in, the contractions definitely got stronger and more uncomfortable.
That "plan" I had in my head included laboring as long as I could
and if I needed pain medication, I wasn't opposed to it.
I felt the contractions most in my lower back. 
The birthing ball was the only spot I could get some relief.
Sometime around noon, my doctor checked back in.
I was 4 cm.By that point the pain in my back was so intense,
I opted for the epidural.
About a half hour later, the anesthesiologst came in
and placed the epidural without any problem. to lay still to have it placed.
I remember just closing my eyes and praying it would be over soon.

Once that pain medicine kicked in, I was like a new woman.
Smiling post-epidural.
And contractions!

At about 3:30, my doctor check back in.
Just about 10 cm. 100% effaced. Halleluiah!
We decided to let the baby work her way down a little more
before starting to push.

At about 4:30, it was go time.
It was weird, I couldn't really feel all the contractions
because of the epidural..and it was hard to know how to push.
You don't really think it will be, everyone says just bear down
like your having a bowel movement...
but it is harder than it sounds!

So I pushed...and pushed...and pushed.
Everyone was telling me how great I was doing.
The doctor said we'd have a baby by the end of the hour.
This was after an hour of pushing.

So I kept going. I kept pushing.
As another hour passed, I became exhausted.
I remember the room being blurry from pushing for so long and hard.
I thought I was going to pass out.
The pain, mostly in my back, was unreal.
I guess I thought the epidural blocked some of the labor pain.
Wrong again.

My husband was, in a word, amazing.
If he hadn't been there, I would have given up.
He kept saying, "She is right there, K, you can do it!"

I was getting so discouraged.
All this pushing, and baby girl seemed to be "stuck."
She couldn't make her way under my pubic bone.
My doctor, who I really adore, could sense my exhaustion of course,
and brought up the idea of using a vacuum to assist the baby out.

Being in the medical field, my husband and I both know the risks
of a vacuum assisted birth,
but at that point, it was either the vacuum or I would probably need a c-section.
I remember looking up at my husband and seeing the fear in his eyes.
But we knew we had to do it.

Within minutes, my room was filled with nurses and doctors.
A pediatrician is on hand in case any complications arise from the delivery.
This whole time, I think I was screaming.
I don't really remember.
The urge to push was irresistible, but the pain...oh the pain.
It was almost like I didn't want to push because it hurt so bad,
but I knew the only way to end the pain was to push.
It was a crazy feeling.

With the second vacuum attempt, I pushed with every ounce of anything I had left inside me,
And at 7:36 pm, Emma Marie was born.
It was overwhelming in every sense of the word.
She was placed right on my chest and my honest first thought was how beautiful
and how perfect she was.
The emotions were flooding out of me.
My husband cut the cord.
I remember things happening all around the room
but my only focus was on my little girl.

I held her close and was instantly in love.
That time was the most precious, right after she was born.
Her little eyes were open, she was so alert.
And we became a family of three.


Brooke said...

What a sweet birth story!! I felt the same way with trying to push at first with the epidural and you don't know if you're pushing right and they tell you to push like you're pooping but you can't feel anything so it's hard to know! haha She's beautiful by the way :D

Natasha said...

oh wow!!! just goes to show any "plan" you make can completely go out the window...nice to know as we are coming into the home stretch. i love your story and the pictures are just gorgeous of you and the hubby with your new baby girl ;)

The Southland Life said...

Congratulations! Sounds like she is worth all that pain! She is certainly beautiful, just like her mama! Congrats again - I know she is such a blessing!

July said...

Aww Emma's birth story just brought me to tears. So sweet and you were so brave! Congratulations again, she is just perfect!

Lena at A Crimson Kiss said...

What an incredible story! What strikes me most is how amazing it was that you were able to really make these decisions for yourselves, and not let the doctor pressure you into anything you didn't want–that's nothing short of wonderful!

Amy Lee said...

Kristen, first, congratulations on your baby girl! She is absolutely beautiful. Second, I have been meaning to connect with you on your blog for a while (Beks showed me your blog site!) I'm loving seeing your photos and reading about your experience! In all honestly, our birth stories are so similar its crazy! Everything you wrote takes me back, from the pain and back pain, to the hours of pushing and being ready to give up! To finally seeing your baby, eyes wide open on your chest, and being so full of love. I hope you are doing well and enjoying mommy-hood. Such an amazing feeling!

Leah Rife said...

I love reading birth stories! You did such a god job and I'm sure it was worth everything once you held Emma in your arms. Giving birth is such a surreal experience and such an awesome honor, even though it's painful. Good job mama!

It's A Love Story said...


A Wedding Story said...

Just beautiful!!!! This brought back so many emotions of Avery's birth. So happy for you friend :)

Mrs. Mama said...

what a beautiful story and a beautiful family

Faith said...

wow, what an incredible birth story. and the pain is all worth it when you are giving the most beautiful gift. congrats again :)

Happiness Is... said...

This made me tear up. Such a special day and time in your life.

natasha {schue love} said...

Oh my! What an incredible story! I would love to hear more about what you ultimately thought about the vacuum. What are the risks and are you glad you went forward with it? She is absolutely precious! So very happy for you!! :)