March 19, 2013

elsie joann - a birth story

written February 13th
all photos by Adrienne Maples, except the first two

Trying to be on top of something and write out Elsie's birth story before I forget too many of the details.  The short story?  I labored for a little over 8 hours, pushed for maybe 5 minutes, and Miss Elsie Joann made her entrance into the world on February 8th.

Now for memory's sake, and for all of you out there who want all the details...

Thursday evening (February 7th) I did my best to finish up some stuff around the house and spend some time with Ryann.  Chris still had to work another night shift, and had to go in at 10pm, but after dinner we snuck in a quick trip out for ice cream with Ry.  I surprised myself and didn't get too emotional that night.  Not really sure how I held it together, but I did.  Ryann was pretty funny.  I was trying to snuggle her and such before bed, and she was just pretty tired.  So she was essentially shooing me out of her room, saying "Ok night night Mommy!" multiple times.


I considered trying to get a bunch of other stuff done, but knew that ultimately I was supposed to be on 'bed rest' and Grey's was on, so I went with that.  After the show I decided I should at least get the laundry sorted and start a load, and then I wanted to finish my 38 week blog post, so by the time I finally made myself go to sleep it was maybe just after 11pm.  Probably not the best choice knowing I had a day of labor ahead of me, but oh well.  What are you going to do.  I ended up sleeping pretty terribly even after some Benadryl.  Had to pee twice, and my mind was racing.  So it was no problem getting out of bed before my alarm.

One thing I was definitely thankful for was getting to shower in my own shower, and having time to get ready before a long labor filled day.  With Ryann I didn't have that luxury.  I stood in the hot hot shower for a little longer than necessary, just trying to process it all.  I managed to get ready before Ryann woke up, and then we went about our morning the same as usual.  I had already planned an extra day of MDO for her that week, because Chris was supposed to be working nights and I thought my mom and I could use an extra day to finish up some of my 'nesting' list.  So I packed up all her stuff for the day.


Christopher made it home in time to change his clothes, and then he and I took Ryann to school.  I'm proud of myself, somehow I managed to make it through dropping her off without turning into a big sobbing mess.  She freaked a little when we left her, only because all her usual friends weren't there because it was a different day, but it broke my heart.  I didn't want her to have a crappy day coinciding with her world getting turned completely upside down.  Thankfully two of the kids who come on her day also come on Friday's, so she calmed down a bit.  As we got back in the car to head to the hospital Chris joked that it was almost as if we were running errands.  Drop Ry off at school, head to the hospital to have a baby, you know.  The perks of being induced at 9am.

We made it to the hospital right at 9:00 am, and were immediately taken to my labor room.  My nurse, Jessi (who was awesome by the way), told me to change into my gown and she'd be back in to start my IV.  It was so weird.  I felt like we were just nonchalantly going about everything.  Chris commented that he felt like I should have looked sicker or something, that it really was just so weird to kind of show up at the hospital to have a baby without labor or something sudden sending us in.  Not that 12 hours notice is a ton in the grand scheme of things, but knowing the day before that you are going to have a baby the next day is quite nice.


So I got myself into my annoying stupid awkward hospital gown and got into the bed.  Jessi came back and went to work getting my IV started.  Unfortunately I tend to have crappy veins, and she was having a hard time getting the IV in.  I started getting really lightheaded and nauseous.  She tried laying me back and continued trying to get the vein on that side, but it just wasn't working.  So eventually we had to take a break and lay me on my left side.  After a bit she tried again on my other arm, and was able to do it while I was laying down so I didn't feel like I was going to die.  Then I had to sign a whole bunch of forms, and we had to sit around for a bit while they push a bag of fluids.  At some point among all of that the lovely Miss Adrienne Maples joined us.  I am so incredibly thankful that she was present at the birth.  The pictures, as you can see, are amazing, not to mention she entertained me when my post call sleep deprived husband couldn't.


Finally just after 10:00 am, Jessi got the orders to start my pitocin.  Yay.  Not.  I mean I wanted to get going and get the whole labor thing over with, but pitocin is evil.  Don't let anyone tell you differently (not that I've ever labored not on pictocin, but I hear it is a little bit better...).  At 10:30 am, one of the doctors from the practice I go to came in to break my water.  Honestly, quite possibly my least favorite part of the process.  Nothing like laying in a bed while warm nasty fluid slowly pours out of your body.  Way TMI, I know.  Plus, even though he was nice, and I'm sure a great doctor, I wasn't a fan of the guy who did it.  So it was even more irritating.  It wasn't long after my water was broken that Elsie started having some variable decels in her heart rate.  No one was too concerned yet (for reasons they told me I'm sure but I wasn't paying attention or didn't understand), but they pushed some more fluids.  Hooray for fluids!  Ha.


My notes throughout the rest of the day aren't so good with the times, but I think just before noon I decided I needed to go to the bathroom.  Which was apparently one of the worst decisions I made that day :o).  It turned out to be quite the epic pee trip.  First of all I was attached to the monitors, my IV plus the damn blood pressure cuff.  So we had to unplug all of that.  Plus I was trying to contain the amniotic fluid that was still slowly leaking.  In short, I needed some help getting to the bathroom.  Whatever.  I went about my business.  Then Chris helped get me back to the bed.  He was on one side, but I couldn't push myself up into the bed with all the stuff because it hurt to support my weight on the arm with the IV in it.  So he went around to the other side to pull me in, and managed to knock my cup of ice chips everywhere.  I stood back up out of the bed so we could clean it off and a giant gush of fluid went all over the floor.  I was a hot mess.  Being the superstar that she is Adrienne popped her head out into the hall to grab my nurse, but only found some other poor unsuspecting nurse.


Seriously, the look on this chicks face was priceless.  I was trying to explain what happened through a little laughing and she just looked dumbfounded.  Like 'what the hell did you guys do?'.  I promised not to go to the bathroom again if we could get some help getting everything put back together :o).  It was during all of this that I think my mom showed up for a bit.  Fun times in my room I tell ya, fun times.  My mom brought lunch for her and Chris and they ate, but my mom had to leave pretty quickly to go back to my house to deal with the home warranty people, because of course on the day I'm being induced my main water drain in my house is also backing up.  Figures.

Just after my mom left, I think a little after noon, my contractions really started to pick up in intensity.  I was doing my best to get through them, but it sucked.  I decided I wanted to be checked, and based on where I was at would decide if I wanted to try and go without an epidural or not.  So my nurse came in.  I was a whopping almost 4cm.  Seriously?  Two hours on pitocin and breaking my water and I'd only progressed part of a centimeter?  Fuck it.  Bring on the epidural.


I was praying that the same doctor who did my epidural with Ryann would magically waltz through the door, because that thing was a dream and getting it really wasn't that bad, but no such luck.  I think the doctor's name was Marta?  Who knows.  She was nice enough.  But the procedure was not exactly smooth to say the least.  Sitting straight up plus being a little stressed made my blood pressure rise, making me feel not so great.  Thankfully I had the sense to ask them to make sure the cuff wouldn't go off while she was placing the epidural, because that combined with contractions was more than I could handle.  Anyway she got started numbing me up, waited for a contraction to pass, and then tried placing the epidural.  It was pretty uncomfortable, not painful, but tons of pressure and hitting nerves and such, and she was messing with it for a good bit.


And then she couldn't get anything through the catheter.

I tried to not get upset.  But I was so pissed.  It was so uncomfortable sitting there, and then she pulled something out a bit and tried again, but no dice.  She couldn't push any medicine through the catheter.  So she had to stick me again up higher on my back.  More numbing stuff, more contractions, more trying to place the epidural.  And the catheter still wouldn't work.  I was starting to freak out a little bit.  I was so tired of trying to hold myself in that position.  Chris was sitting in front of me, and at some point he put his legs under my feet.  I instantly felt loads better.  It took a lot of the pressure off my back and also helped get rid of some uncomfortableness in my legs.  But the epidural still was working.  She called another doctor to come in and help, and of course just as they hung up she was able to push some medicine.  Isn't that how it goes?  Oy.  So that was fun.

They had to push the medicine in really small doses at first, just to make sure they didn't tank my pressure.  It did drop down to like 80/40 or something stupid like that at one point, but for the most part my pressure actually stayed steady.  Or rather, it came into a normal range (118/76) and stayed there.  It took a little bit, but I finally felt some relief from all the contractions.  However, I could tell instantly it wasn't going to be quite as nice as the epidural I had with Ryann.  With Ryann I literally couldn't feel a thing for the rest of the day.  Nothing at all.  This time I could feel my belly tightening.  And when my nurse put a catheter in I could feel a lot more than I expected to.  Nothing painful, and I was thankful for the relief, but it was definitely a sign of what was to come.


By then it was 2:00 pm.  Everyone claimed they were going to head out to give me and my sleep deprived husband a chance to rest.  I hopped on instagram and facebook.  But of course little miss Elsie was still having lots of variable decels, so the nurse was popping in quite often flipping me from this side to that side, sitting me up, etc.  And no one ever came in quietly, startling Christopher awake every time.  So much for a nap.  Chris's mom also stopped by in the midst of all that, but left again when the nurse wanted to check me.  The nurse was sure that I must be getting close because of all the issues with Elsie's heart rate.  She figured her head must be getting low.  But no.  Still only 5cm and baby was still relatively high.  She came and checked me again at 3:40 pm.  6cm.  I was making progress, but not as fast as I was hoping.

At 4:00 pm they decided to try sitting me up again and put me on oxygen, in hopes to keep Elsie's heart rate more stable.  But it didn't work.  So back on my left side I went.  At 4:30 pm they checked me again hoping for some more progress, they really wanted to get Elsie out, but I was still 6 cm.  They decided to turn the pitocin off to try and give her a break.  At this point, or actually probably a little before, I started freaking out.  I was worried that Elsie wouldn't be able to handle the delivery, or my body was going to stop progressing, something, and that I would end up with a c-section.  I began texting Sarah, knowing that she had gone through a similar experience with Collins' birth.  It helped 'talking' to her, knowing that Collins came just fine.


Without the pitocin my contractions started spacing out again.  Instead of every 90 seconds to two minutes apart, they were four to five minutes apart again.  I was losing hope.  Right around 5:00 pm, my doctor came over to the hospital.  Finally.  Just seeing her face calmed me down a bit.  I love my doctor, she is the right amount of perky without being annoying.  :o)  She decided to do an amnio infushion (which Chris had suggested when all of this started, not to the nurses, but just to me, saying that is what he would do) to try and help Elsie out, and take some of the pressure off her cord.  After that she checked me.  8 cm!  Finally!  I felt like we were getting somewhere.


Just before 5:30 pm, I really started to be able to feel my contractions.  A LOT.  Not in my whole belly or anything, just way down low.  I wasn't surprised knowing how I'd felt after the epidural was placed.  Chris suggested maybe I had progressed more, because I was really feeling the pressure in my rear and I wanted to push.  But again, no dice.  Still not quite 9 cm.  I started pushing the extra epidural dose button over and over again (no worries, it only allows a dose every ten minutes).  I was checked again at 6:00 pm.  I was going insane.  I wanted to push so bad.  9 cm.  Why I had the urge to push for so long I have no idea, but it really sucked.  I think I started saying "I want this to be over.  I just want this to be over."  Based on what I felt, and assuming that I'll almost always need to be induced if we have more children, I will NEVER go without an epidural.  I can only imagine how much pain I would have been in without one.


Honestly I'm not sure what time it was when my doctor came in.  By that point I was shaking and thought I was going to just push the baby out whether anyone was ready or not.  She checked me.  "She's complete.  Let's have a baby!"


And then I freaked.  They broke down my bed and put my legs in the stirrups.   I heard my doctor say she was complete occiput posterior... or sunny side up as most people would say.  She told me to push.  I said I didn't want to.  At that point I was sure I was having a mammoth baby who was facing the wrong way and I just knew that meant disaster in the tearing department.  But with the next contraction my body didn't really allow me to not push.  I had to.  Somewhere between the second and third push my doctor turned Elsie around.  Not exactly the best feeling in the world, but it happened really fast.  I waited for another contraction, and on the fourth push at 6:38pm Miss Elsie Joann made her entrance into the world.  I absolutely couldn't believe how quickly it happened.  I literally pushed for less than five minutes.


The one thing I am grateful for, in regards to the epidural not dulling all the pain, is I was able to feel the rush of relief and joy as soon as Elsie was born.  It honestly was the most amazing feeling.  With Ryann, I kid you not, I felt NOTHING while pushing.  They basically told me when I was having a contraction and I pushed when they said to.  I didn't even know she was all the way out until they placed her on my chest.  With Elsie I knew exactly what was happening, and was absolutely overcome with emotions when all was said and done.

They placed Elsie on my chest and I think I just awkwardly said hi to her a million times.  I couldn't believe that was my baby.  She was perfect.  They started cleaning her up while she was on my chest, but eventually moved her over to the warmer.  Chris stayed with Elsie while they did all of the exams and what not and I just stared in awe.  I couldn't stop shaking.  My doctor told me her cord was wrapped around her neck twice, and that combined with her position was why it took a while for me to progress.


Honestly, I'm a little scared to think how fast my labor could go if I ever happen to have another baby and go into labor on my own.  My body might not love being pregnant, but in the labor and delivery department if tends to fair rather well.  I didn't have any tearing, and even though I've been stiff and sore, I've never truly been in pain after the birth.  My tail bone has definitely been uncomfortable, and again I can only assume that was because of her position.  The worst of everything has been the bruises I have from the failed IV attempt, a failed blood draw attempt, the failed epidural, and then my arm was sore from receiving the flu shot in the hospital.  My successful IV was also a sore spot for a while, because for some reason right after I delivered it stopped working, so they flushed it with a bunch of fluid.  And my feet were pretty swollen for a few days from all the fluids that were pushed.


By the time Ryann got to meet her sister for the first time, it was a little late in the evening.  You could tell she was out of sorts and overwhelmed.  And a little tired.  So she was acting a bit crazy.  But she was excited to see her sister.  Elsie kept getting too cold so Ryann didn't get to interact with her too much because we had to keep her under the warmer.


It is so funny, while in labor, and even in the few days after with the soreness and all the mess that comes along giving birth, I would tell you that I thought maybe I wanted to be done having babies.  Pregnancy is tough.  Labor and delivery is tough.  But just a few short days later, staring at the absolutely perfect face of my newborn daughter, I would totally do it all over again.  I'm sure once the sleep deprivation really sets in I'll be questioning it all over again, but babies are magical.  Truly a gift from God.

Welcome to the world Elsie Joann.  We love you.   


Marie said...

Glad it all worked out for a healthy delivery! I love reading birth stories and it reminds me to write my own as our son is just shy of two weeks. Congrats again!

Expat Girl said...

Yay for a quick delivery in the end! And I love the awkwardly said hi a hundred times, I feel like that is what I did too!

Expat Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erin said...

Oh I do just love birth stories, especially ones like this that have amazing photos with them! That look of relief right after the birth, oh there's just nothing like it. I don't want any more babies but those few minutes immediately after birth can be just amazing and I wouldn't mind reliving them again (without the labor part).

christa said...

Beautiful story and pictures!

Ashley@MarriedLane said...

Those photos are just gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your story :)

Anonymous said...

Great story and great photos! My kiddo came out sunny side up too and I didn't get the epidural until I was a "good 7" (long story...) and I had HORRIBLE pain and a constant urge to push, like you.

Jenn Pfaus said...

Oh man I was cringing at your epi details... same as mine only mine never ended up working. Un-medicated pitocin labor was hell. I am so glad yours worked (mostly) and that it went failr fast and well. She is gorgeous!

Whitney said...

I love this. And I love all of you so much. Thank you for writing this! I can't wait to squeeze those precious girls again soon.

The "L" in ELF said...

Awww, love it! She is beautiful and perfect! =)

Brianne Heape said...

Incredible story! Welcome, Elsie!! And congrats to you and your family!

These Peach Roses said...

Your birth story is beautiful, just like Elsie. Congratulations for getting through it! :)

Michelle said...

What a lovely story! She sure is a little beauty!

I do have a question though, kind of on the personal side so feel free to ignore it ;) .. I'm really scared of tearing (if i have a successful vbac) and was wondering if you did any 'prep work' to try to keep that from happening. I'm thinking of doing some and started to prep last time before I knew a csection was imminent.

Noelle Spooner said...

Such beautiful pictures and a precious birth story.

Nikki said...

Beautiful story!! It will be an awesome memory for Elsie to read one day! I wish I would have taken better notes during my children's birth days! Thanks for sharing!!

MommaBird said...

Beautiful delivery and you looked great during all of it too! Congrats again