I finally got around to writing her birth story out. Here it is:
Saturday April 3oth was my due date. All weekend I had been having contractions on and off and at varying degrees of intensity. Monday the contractions really started up strong, and were coming quite regularly, though still far apart (12-15 minutes). That afternoon I had a doctors appointment (40 weeks, 2 days), where the doctor told me and Russ that I was definitely in the early stages of labor, did a membrane sweep, and told me he would be really shocked if I wasn’t holding my baby that evening or the following day. He also said if for some reason I made it to Thursday to call the office and schedule an induction. I knew immediately that we would not be making it to Thursday.
After the membrane sweep the cramping and contractions started getting really heavy and much closer together. I timed them on and off most of the evening after our appointment (contractionmaster.com). They were pretty steadily at 8-12 minutes apart for the whole evening, so around ten or eleven I decided to get into bed and try to get some rest. The contractions woke me about an hour or two later, and after failing to fall back asleep I went out to the living room and decided to try timing them again. Still 8-12 minutes apart. I turned on the TV, and retired there for the night, not getting any more sleep due to the painful contractions.
The next morning was about the same, still quite strong contractions, but the time between contractions had only slightly decreased. I told Russ to go to work, since he works only ten minutes away from home, and that I would call him if anything changed. Throughout the day the contractions increased in strength and started getting closer together. In the afternoon I started getting a few that began to knock the wind out of me. Around two thirty that afternoon Russ called to see how I was doing and said he was coming home to take me to the hospital no matter what. It was a good choice on his part, because shortly after that contractions started coming about 4-5 minutes apart.
We got to the hospital around 3 PM, where they examined me and told us that I was 4 cm dilated. This surprised me, I really thought I would be pregnant forever, and that they would send me home despite all the heavy contractions I was feeling. They sent me up to a birthing room where the whole ordeal began.
This is where everything starts to become a bit foggy.
Throughout my entire pregnancy I had maintained that I wanted to have as natural childbirth as possible. I would have loved to do it at home but that didn’t pan out due to insurance. I also didn’t want to have any drugs to help mask the pain. One of the first questions they asked me when they got me set up in bed was if I wanted an epidural. I was honest and told her I originally hadn’t but am now on the fence about it. The nurse was really nice and brought in a video, which they require you to watch before you get one, just in case I wanted to get it at a later point in labor.
I held off for a little while, hoping the progression of dilation would increase quickly (and afraid that the epidural would slow it), but at some point I caved. I got too tired to try to cope with the pain myself. If I had a full nights sleep the previous night it may have been different, but my body felt more physically exhausted than I think I have ever felt in my life. The nurse told me she was surprised at the length of the contractions I was having, and that they really dragged on. That they did. I think some of them may have been upwards of a minute and a half to two minutes in length. The doctor came in to do the epidural. I was a bit nervous, as I have heard that it was incredibly painful, but in comparison to the contractions it was easy peasy. As soon as it was in the clouds lifted, the angels started singing, and I finally felt like I could catch my breath again. About thirty minutes later, and after numerous attempts to increase the amount of medication myself, the pain started creeping back up, and the nurse noticed. She called the doctor back in and he redid the epidural. I was too tired at this point to even hear if he mentioned what went wrong the first time, I was just happy he got there and my pain was lifted once again. After the second epidural things got much easier to handle. I was not completely pain free, which I was okay with, but it definitely took away the majority of the pain I was feeling.
I can’t remember what time things were happening in the room, but the second epidural was probably around 9 PM, but I could be horribly wrong about that. I do know that I finally hit 10 cm around 1 AM, but after a few practice pushes the nurse decided to wait another hour to see if she would descend on her own, since she was still quite high. I am not sure if she came down any, but around 2 AM I started pushing for reals. I couldn’t tell from the nurses reaction if we were making any progress, I just pushed when she said push, and was quiet the rest of the time. After about an hour the nurse said, “she has brown hair!”, which I thought meant we were very close. Nope. I pushed for another hour, with still no real progress. This little girl was stubborn, and in the two hours I had been pushing nothing had changed. The nurse told me to rest for a bit while she went and got a doctor to come evaluate the progress. During this time I started getting increasingly cold and my body started to shake. I suddenly felt nauseous, and no matter how many blankets were wrapped around me I couldn’t seem to get warm. Now mind you I hadn’t had anything to eat since lunch time the previous day, before Russ came home and whisked me off to the hospital. I got sick, really sick. I threw up for what seemed like ten minutes. Once I stopped the nurse took my temperature. I think I remember her saying it was over 101° F. At this point the baby’s heartbeat started dropping. Given the lack of progress that I had made pushing, and the baby’s lowered heartbeat, the nurse and the doctor who was in the room now also told me it was either C-section or the vacuum. I wanted to cry when I heard that. I wanted so badly to be able to do this on my own, but given the turn of events those were my options. I opted for the vacuum, as I wanted to at all cost avoid having surgery. The doctor told me I only had three pushes with the vacuum before they would go in for a C-section, so I had to push with every last ounce of strength that I had.
The vacuum team came in, as well as people from the nursery who were there to evaluate Lucy’s health due to my fever. There were probably eight or nine people in the room besides Russ and myself, but somehow it didn’t even phase me. I think I was just so exhausted and wanted so badly to hold my baby that they could have broadcasted it on television and I wouldn’t have cared. Anyhow, we made it. I think she came out on the second or third push, I was so delirious at that time I can’t even remember.
Lucille was born early May 4th at 5:27 AM. They put her on my chest, and it was a moment of pure bliss. She lifted her head for a few seconds and looked at me, and though I know she probably couldn’t have seen me yet, that moment everything in our little world was right. I cried. Russ cried. I was no longer tired (though you can’t tell from the bags under my eyes in the photo!). All I wanted was to hold my baby and stare at her. She was born with a pretty high fever so they took her from me immediately to run some tests, but everything felt right.
Looking back the events surrounding her birth seem so dramatic, and not at all what I had hoped for, but it doesn’t matter to me. Even while it was going on I still felt calm. I always see women in labor on TV yelling out curse words or screaming in agony. It wasn’t like that for me. I found myself to be quite calm through the entire labor, both before and after the epidural. Even with my heaviest contractions I hardly made any noise other than very heavy breathing and maybe a few small “oooohs”. Somehow despite how things panned out I feel we still had a very peaceful birth, and that is all I really wanted.
Sidney's Birth Story
Better late than never right? lo!!
On April 13th I went to my OBGYN's for a checkup and membrane sweep. After the cervical check I was almost at 3cm dilated and 20% effaced. I was discouraged and told the doc to sweep me! :)
The doctor estimated that I would deliver within 48 hours. He mentioned that we would be on call that night and the 15th. I was really hoping he would deliver the baby.
So, nothing happened on the 13th. No cramping, no mucus plug loss NOTHING! I was so discouraged!!!!
My friend who was due on the 8th and had not yet had her baby and I decided that we would walk for miles everyday just to help things along. So, the morning of the 14th I woke up, ate breakfast and strapped the dogs up (two 75lb Boxers) and went on a 2.5 kilometre treck. Now, for most that is not very far, but for me it was like running a marathon because my pelvis was terribly sore and my back was a mess from this little guy (which we did not know was a boy at this point). After lunch I went for another 2 km walk with my friend (mentioned just before my dog walking). Still nothing...in fact, I would say that I felt less in labour then than ever! I was more discouraged.
I went through the rest of the day with a bit of a heavy heart, I really wanted my April 14th baby. I went to bed and listened to a bit of music (the kind I play when I am feeling sorry for myself lol!!). After about 10 minutes, I "heard" a popping sound. I called out to Yves and asked if he heard that, he had no idea what I was talking about. I described what I "heard" and he mentioned that it could be my pelvis popping because of my activities of the day. I thought that made sense. Well...I got a contraction right about then so decided to go to the bathroom. Yves was sitting on the bed watching me, just in case something exciting was about to happen. When I sat on the toilet I got a little gush...but could have been leaking pee since I did that a lot in the end :eek:
I got up and sat down again and had another little gush. I knew then it had been my bag of waters breaking and that was the popping I heard/felt. I told Yves that's what it was. Almost immediately thereafter I started having strong contrax. Yves got my daughter up and took her to my in-laws while I showered and got ready for the hospital.
I took my time, did my hair and makeup and nearly drove DH into a frenzy. He was pacing as I was applying my mascara and breathing through contrax lol!!!
We finally got to the hospital at about 10:30 and were checked by the doc (not mine, he was not on call until the next morning - go figure). I had not really progressed as far as being dilated but was 50% effaced at that point. They admitted me and I was in the delivery room by midnight. By then I was in full on labour and was managing the pain on my own. I was so happy to do this the natural way this time since with DD is was induced and pretty hard.
So, the labour was uneventful and I go to 10cms on my own and didn't know I was at ten when I asked for the epi...the pain was not so much the problem as was my fallling asleep...I was exhausted and had been up for 24 hours by this point. So, I got the epi needle in and got the urge to push. They asked if I still wanted a bit of epi meds since I had gone through getting the needle in and all, I thought "sure, what the heck right?" So I got a little dose of epi and pushed and Sidney was born at 6:43 am on April 15th. It was really a relaxed and laid back labour and delivery. I was so happy with the whole experience, I could do it again!!! :)
So, there you have it! Here is Sidney all brand new and pink:
<a href="http://s852.photobucket.com/albums/ab87/fooninie/Sidney/?action=view&current=P4140012.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab87/fooninie/Sidney/P4140012.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
And another at one month old:
<a href="http://s852.photobucket.com/albums/ab87/fooninie/Sidney/?action=view&current=IMG_1848-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab87/fooninie/Sidney/IMG_1848-1.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
Violet’s Birth Story
It was ten days before my due date, and I felt a bit… “off.” Hard to explain exactly what was wrong, but I thought something might be up, and it reminded me of how I felt on the day I had DD. Since we knew we only had a few weekends left, DH and I spent the day doing some “last-minute” shopping for the baby, running here and there to get diapers and a few other essentials we hadn’t gotten yet.
Throughout the day, I was having very mild cramps, but if I hadn’t been 8+ months pregnant I probably wouldn’t have even noticed them. I did, however, see signs in the bathroom that something might be brewing when the toilet paper looked slightly pink after each visit. I was excited and encouraged by this, but I also knew it might still be days or even weeks before the birth actually happened.
It wasn’t until 6pm, when I finally sat down and put my feet up, that I began to feel actual cramps. They were more noticeable than the ones I had felt earlier, and I got one regularly every 10 minutes from 6-10pm. I joked with DH, saying, “Tonight might be the night, you know…” but I’m not sure he really believed me! I spent the evening doing the usual things, but I also started writing a few emails for work, just in case.
DH took something to help him sleep and headed upstairs at 10. Within minutes, my “mild” cramps turned to much more significant ones, and they started appearing every 2-3 minutes. I could still talk and function normally, but they hurt. When 10:30 rolled around and they showed no signs of stopping, I decided to call the office and ask them if they thought I should come in. Lori was the CNM on call, and after a few back-and-forth questions, I explained to her that my last birth had been very quick, so she agreed I should come in to see what was going on.
I hung up the phone with the office, and within seconds I felt a POP on the right side of my belly and sudden rush of fluid. I quickly jumped off the couch and ran to the bathroom. It wasn’t much, which made sense since I had been diagnosed with very low fluid levels just a few days before that, so I was actually able to put my same jeans back on for the trip to the hospital. From the bathroom, I called DH upstairs on my cell phone and told him that he had to come back downstairs, and then I called my mom so she could come over and stay with DD (who was already asleep).
My mom and dad arrived within minutes, and it was a good thing they were fast. From the time my water broke, the contractions took on a whole new level of pain. These were the real deal – ones that made me stop in my tracks and hold my breath. I remember my dad helping me out to the car, and I had to stop and wait for one to pass. He stood there holding my arm, and it was a very sweet moment. I wondered what he was thinking… The contractions hurt bunches, but I was REALLY excited knowing that the day had finally arrived, so it was a joyful trip out to the car and during the half-mile drive to the hospital.
When we arrived, DH wheeled me up to the maternity wing, and as he went back down to move the car one of the nurses helped me change into a gown. They got an IV set up and checked my vitals, and between the pain I was able to talk with the nurses as they did their things. The mood in the room was quiet but peaceful, and I felt really joyful to be there. I remember laughing as we were talking about the different aspects of what was going on. I’m not sure if it was the super-sweet nurses or my own mental state (knowing what was happening and that I would get to meet my little girl so soon), but despite being in labor I was truly happy to be there.
Around 11:10, one of the nurses checked my cervix and said I was “not quite 4cm”. I tried not to be disappointed with that, but I was. I had hoped she would say 9 or 10, like with DD’s birth, so at that point I figured I had a while to wait. Joyful or not, the contractions were growing in their level of pain with every one, and I had to really concentrate and remind myself that each one was bringing me closer to meeting my sweet Violet. I remember going beyond what I thought was my absolute threshold for pain and feeling so many emotions. At one point I began to “visualize” the pain – I’m not sure if you’d call it hallucinations, but I remember seeing lots of green vine-like images all around me. And when each contraction peaked, I relished the downward release of all that pain and felt so much relief. And then I would chat a bit more with my wonderful nurses until the next one began.
Lori asked me to rate the pain from 1-10 each time I had a contraction, and once I surpassed the 10 mark, I asked her what I should be feeling when it was time to push. “Severe rectal pressure” was her answer, and I knew I hadn’t felt that yet. At about 11:40, she checked my cervix again and declared I was at 8cm, which I thought was fantastic news since I was at 3cm only 30 minutes before. She told me it was still a little too early to push and had me roll over onto my left side. Almost immediately, the next contraction came and was beyond painful, and I suddenly felt that pressure she had described. I said to her, “I know you said don’t push yet, but what if I can’t NOT push?” She smiled and said, “Well then, go for it!”
I pushed, and though it was painful it felt so much better to push than to just wait through the pain. The room was still quiet and peaceful, and after the first push I could hear Lori encouraging me and - sounding surprised – saying that I was already “almost done”. She told DH to come on over and stand with her, and I was glad he was able to actually see the birth of his daughter this time. A second push, and Lori told me to stop and reach around to feel Vi’s head. It was like nothing else I had ever felt – warm and squishy and small… and beautiful. I heard Lori telling DH that she was amazed at how calm I was, considering this was the stage they call “ring of fire” when the baby’s head crowns and the opening is stretched to its fullest. Most moms find that stage incredibly painful, but I don’t remember thinking that at all. I just knew the process was all but over, and that made me happier than I could put into words. One last push, and at 11:47pm my sweet Violet was out. They placed her on my belly, all warm and slimy, and I fell instantly in love with her. She cried, but not for long, and I kept saying I couldn’t believe how small she was. She stayed there for a long time – an hour, maybe – and I loved every single minute.
Lori asked me to push one more time, and I passed the placenta. It was still so peaceful in the room, and when it was out I asked if I could see it. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was totally NOT what I thought it would look like! Very strange and foreign, but very cool nonetheless. She pointed out all the parts, and I was completely fascinated. And no wonder we had so much trouble getting clear ultrasound photos – the cord was REALLY long! Amazing how much “extra” stuff your body creates in the process of creating a little person. I only had a couple of stitches, and I was able to use the bathroom virtually pain-free within hours of delivery.
After a little while, the nurses suggested we try breastfeeding and see if Vi would latch on. And she did, perfectly. Again, it was so natural and peaceful and happy, and I was so thankful to be part of such an amazing experience.