Sunday, October 9, 2011

Katelyn's Birth Story

On September 30th (my due date), I went to see Dr. M. He informed me that I was dilated to 3+ and asked what my thoughts were on how to proceed. I had always said I didn’t want to induce labor. I wanted her to come on her own. I particularly did not want to induce before 40 weeks, or if my body was making NO progress. Once I made it to 40 weeks and found out my body was progressing, I became more open to the idea. I (and my doctor) was concerned, as my seizure/headaches had returned with the vision impairments. That, along with the extreme swelling, made Dr. M very comfortable with the idea of inducing and they scheduled me for the following Monday morning.

I, however, was not as comfortable. Although I was more open to the idea, I didn’t like it, and began to feel all kinds of guilt about inducing. I started thinking I was “pulling her out before she was ready” and other similar thoughts. It wasn’t that I was miserable and “just wanted her out”, I had other legitimate reasons, but I was still feeling a lot of guilt. I cried a lot of tears. In my gut though, I felt I should keep Monday’s induction appointment and just prayed my body would start labor before then anyway.

As the weekend progressed I did find myself in early labor. Come Monday morning though, the contractions still weren’t consistently regular, so we headed to our induction appointment at 6:30am.

In the car at the hospital parking lot

The long walk into the hospital... Lots of construction going on over there

The hospital was booming with babies, and we had to wait in the main lobby for 2 hours just to get a delivery room. The hospital was also undergoing a switch to completely paperless charting, so the computer system was new, complicated and made the nurses lives horribly difficult. Good times! Needless to say, it was 10:30am before my nurse even hooked up the IV and things got going.

Our luxury delivery sweet! ;) That room was huge!

The contractions became very regular after that, but they were mild enough that we were actually having a fun time talking, getting excited, and trying to convince our family not to come and wait at the hospital. First time moms can labor a while (especially when they are induced). Many times, I’ve heard 12 hours or more!

Relaxing before "active labor" began

A doctor came in around 1pm or so and broke my water. Very soon afterwards, I noticed I no longer wanted to talk when a contraction came along. Ryan and I would be having a conversation and he would go to add a comment and I would say, “Now is the time when you can’t talk, okay?” Then, a minute or so later, I would be okay to talk again. I was dilated to a 4 around this time.

The next hour, the pain intensified. I had decided beforehand that I was open to an epidural, but I would play it by ear. I should have played it by “back” because that is exactly where my contractions went. By far, the worst pain I have ever experienced. I decided to go for the epidural after all. The only problem was they only had 1 anesthesiologist on shift that day, and had also scheduled back-to-back cesarean appointments. For each cesarean, the anesthesiologist would be completely occupied for 1 hour. Which means, unless a nurse could grab him between cesareans, we were on our own. And should he go into another cesarean without coming over to do epidurals, you would have to wait another hour before trying to get him again.

Thus, it was about 3:45pm before he moseyed his way on over to give me an epidural. I was dilated to a 5. The contractions were so bad at this point, the thought of sitting still while I got the epidural was pretty impossible to imagine. But I leaned on Ryan and got through it. Afterward, I laid back down and they told me I would feel much better in about 15 minutes. The nurse checked me again, still at a 5.

And so began the longest 15 minutes of my life. Once I had laid down, the contractions almost immediately changed, and intensified. Instead of being in my back, they now were in my tailbone. I was feeling extreme pressure and a lot of pain. They did not get better, they were feeling worse. The anesthesiologist checked everything to see if there was any reason I would be feeling so much of the pain; my nurse thought he might have done something wrong. After looking me over he said that there was nothing else he could do. I thought, “I can’t go through hours of this. How am I going to make it???”

I was rolling from one side of the bed to the other in pain, telling my nurse that it felt like I had to go to the bathroom badly. Although she had checked me just 15 minutes earlier, she decided to check me again. I was fully dilated. I had gone from a 5 to a 10 in just 15 minutes! My nurse was shocked! The pressure I was feeling was Katelyn's head in my pelvis.  The nurse called Dr. M and told him he better head over to the hospital right away.

Chaos ensued. Well, not really chaos, but I was progressing so quickly, people began to act fast so it felt chaotic to me! There was a nurse shift change and I got a new nurse, who was really excited to come into the situation when I was already ready to go. A baby nurse came in along with an OB assistant, setting up carts of supplies and putting Katelyn’s bed on pre-heat.

I was so ready to push! It is amazing how your body just knows when it’s time. I was still able to feel most everything. They never really bothered to ‘turn up’ the epidural and I had full feeling in both legs, my back, you name it. Although I imagine the epidural might have taken the edge off a little, so that was nice. In one way though, I was happy that I was going to be able to feel the birth of my baby after all.

After setting up all the supplies (and draining my bladder), I finally began pushing around 4:20pm or so. My mom arrived at the hospital and came in the delivery room to watch her granddaughter’s birth. Ryan was next to me the whole time. When the urge to push came, he would grab my leg and pull it up, put his other arm around my neck to support and prop it up, and begin counting. He would count to 10, tell me to breathe, and count to 10 again (usually 4 sets per contraction). He would encourage me to push harder, even though it hurt. He was AMAZING. Later I learned he had assumed he would just be standing there by my head during the pushing part. He had no idea he’d be that involved. You couldn’t tell a bit. I never could have done it without him there.

In the first few pushes, they could already see the top of Katelyn’s head. She would have been out quite quickly, but I had a band of thick muscle just inside that had a hard time stretching. So we worked on slowly trying to get her past it. Soon, Dr. M arrived and took over for the nurse. He is just awesome and I am so glad I chose him to be my doctor.

We pushed for a little while and soon it became necessary for Dr. M to snip that muscle a bit. Very soon after that I clearly felt Katelyn’s head come out. It’s amazing how you can feel exactly what’s happening, even though you can’t see it. Her shoulders came soon after, and then the rest of her little body. She was born at 5:13pm.

In an instant I had a slippery, crying baby on my chest. Our baby girl. She cried for a minute, then became very still and relaxed. She laid there quietly on my chest for a while. It was the most wonderful and surreal moment of my life. I can’t even think about it without tears.

 Ryan cut the cord and after several minutes, I reluctantly let them take her to clean her, wrap her up and give her to Ryan. She weighed 6lb 11oz, measured 19 ¼ inches long, and had an Apgar of 9/9.

It is amazing how wonderful you can feel after delivery! I felt great. The nurse asked if I thought I could stand up, and I just stood right up and walked to the bathroom. I changed gowns and got back in bed. Then Ryan handed Katelyn back to me. I was in love.

We couldn’t keep the family in the waiting room anymore, and soon the room was full of visitors. I loved seeing the happiness and joy on everyone’s faces. We weren’t the only people who waited a long time for this. After about 10 minutes, we cleared the room out and tried breastfeeding, which went pretty well for the first try. After that, I ate a turkey sandwich. Life could not have been better.

Later that night, we were moved to a post-partum room. Because there was another woman in there, Ryan wasn’t allowed to stay, so he left around midnight. I was on my own with Katelyn that night and it went pretty well. I slept about 45 minutes total, but I didn’t mind. I was busy feeding her, changing her, changing myself, and pretty much checking to make sure she was still breathing all night.

The next day, Ryan returned and we had some more visitors stop by. The hospital was busier than ever and my 1 roommate became 3 roommates. Four women in one room, each with their own nurses, OBs, husbands and visitors… it didn’t take long before I wanted OUT. 

Eating a sandwich in my cramped little corner.  They didn't let me shower, and I had cried a LOT of happy tears, so I am looking pretty ragged at this point...

Holding our little girl!

Fortunately, Katelyn was perfectly healthy and both my doctor and her doctor gave the okay. That evening, we were discharged.

Going home outfit

I had a going home outfit for me too, but I was so ready to get out of there, I just had them wheel me out in my robe and flip flops!

Ahhh, home sweet home!


It feels so good to have our little girl finally with us. I feel incredibly blessed to have gone through such a short, smooth and complication-free labor. Katelyn is everything I dreamed of and more. We are blessed beyond measure, and grateful beyond words.

Everywhere in nature we are taught the lessons of patience and waiting. We want things a long time before we get them, and the fact that we wanted them a long time makes them all the more precious when they come.
- Joseph F. Smith


April said...

Amazing story!! Thanks so much for sharing. You look incredible in your pics! I hope I can manage to look somewhat presentable!

- April

Sarah said...

I'm tearing up over here! She is precious! :) And how did you manage to still look cute during/after delivery! haha

Meka said...

I can't stop crying, that is such an amazing story! I'm so happy you were able to experience all of it. It's so fun when it's finally your turn huh? I'm just so happy for you!!! I would love your address so I can mail a little gift for you and Katelyn. can you email it to me?

Hillary said...

So happy and thankful you had such a wonderful birth experience! Your daughter is beautiful! xo

Carroll B said...

Love love loved reading all about your awesome experience! So happy for you to have her here! Congrats to you and Ryan both! She is so BEAUTIFUL!

H said...

What a wonderful birth! It sounds similar to mine in that I dilated very quickly and didn't get an epidural either. I had quite a bit of energy after Aiden was born too! Congrats you guys did great, she is gorgeous!

Kathryn Poduska said...

Beautiful birth story.

Dani said...

Loved your story! And we have that exact same carseat!!

Amy Nielson said...

Loved reading this!! Brought tears to my eyes. SO SO happy for you guys!! She is just so perfect in every way. :)

I understand the awful back labor. Had that and hate that!

p.s. Glad there was a picture of you in there when you do look a little haggered but you still look great. ;D

teridiane said...

Thanks for sharing! It is the most amazing, indescribable feeling in the world and I'm so happy you got to experience it!!

Jenny said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us and all those amazing photos! I just have to ask - how did you manage to get through labour looking so fantastic? Don't women usually look messy-haired, red-faced and exhausted when they've gone through labour? But not you - you look beautiful! I'll be asking for tips when we get closer to the day - I'd love my post-labour photos to be as lovely as yours are. Congrats mama - you've got one lovely little girl there.

Jamie said...

What a beautiful story.