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23 November, 2011

Evie's Birth Story - Part 2

Incase you missed it, here's the back story...

Once we arrived at the hospital, time seemed to move at it’s own fascinatingly fast pace, even though nothing felt rushed or quick. Check-in was easy, and they even approved me to labor in the tub if things went well with the Pitocin. Thank You, Jesus!

The nurses came in and immediately started with the poking and prodding.  It was still so surreal.  I was in the hospital to have a baby.  Our baby.  Our sweet baby girl.  She was coming soon whether we liked it or not.  This was it.

At 6:30 on the dot a nurse came to insert the Cervidil, not a pleasant process, mind you.  And hooked me up to the fetal heartbeat monitor and contraction monitor.  She explained that I had to stay monitored because Cervidil can induce labor all on it’s own.  Later, another nurse came in and told us to settle in for the long haul because Cervidil “almost never works...making the labor with Pitocin even longer and worse”  She even told us we could be there for several days. Gasp!

My parents and sister came by with dinner and Eric’s family stopped in for a few minutes too.  It was great to visit with everyone before settling in for the night.  

I ate my last few bites of salad before the nurses came in and told me I wasn’t allowed to eat on Cervidil but had to wait until morning for breakfast.  Um, no. You can’t give me drugs and tell me not to eat.  That equals a cranky E.  I snuck a few more bites.

By 10pm our visitors had left, we’d watched some TV and I was ready for bed.  When I stood up to go take out my contacts and brush my teeth I noticed I’d started experiencing some pretty strong cramps.  The nurses had told me some cramping was to be expected, but this seemed a little more than she described.

I called the nurse to explain how I was feeling and she said they could get me some sleeping pills to help me sleep through the pain.  Sure!  Sounded like a great idea.  I knew that labor in the morning was going to be exhausting and long so I was willing to trade a good night’s sleep for the side effects of a sleeping pill.

What I didn’t know was the sleeping pill was actually Ambien. I had to quickly decide if it was worth it to me. I’d heard about the crazy side effects of Ambien, including amnesia, sleep talking, and hallucinating, but the strength of the cramps reminded me of just how badly I wanted a good night’s sleep.  So, I agreed.  The decision was probably the biggest blessing and curse of what was about to come.

Eric readied his pull out couch and we prayed for a healthy delivery of our sweet baby girl.  We both snuggled into our beds.  And he fell asleep.

I, however, was up for a good two hours.  Or at least I thought I was up for two hours.  I still don’t know exactly.  I do know that the cramps had started moving from just the front, like menstrual cramps, which was a good response to the Cervidil, to the back, which I knew meant labor cramps.

And this is where the night gets fuzzy for me.  I know I woke up Eric to ask the nurse if I was having contractions, to which she replied, “It looks like it could be”....

I think I fell asleep for a while after that.  Around 2:30 I woke up to a “pop” feeling in my abdomen.  One that I can only describe as the internal equivalent of someone popping a water balloon with a needle. And yes, it was just that.  Fluid started rushing out of me.  In my delusional state I had no idea if I was peeing or if my water had broken.

I woke up Eric and had him rush to find the nurse.  She came in and confirmed that it “Sure did look like your water could have broken”   Why was she being so vague?

I explained that my cramps were getting worse.  I asked her what I could do for the pain.  They knew I didn’t want an Epidural, so she offered a dose of Fentanyl but warned that it only lasts 45 minutes to an hour and that I could only receive it three times during the entire labor and delivery.  Since I knew I’d probably want some during the actual labor I decided against it.  So she suggested that Eric get in bed with me and help rub my back.  What a champ!

For the next two-ish hours the contractions came and went at what seemed like a really odd pattern.  I remember having like three in a row and wanting to cry but at the same time being so asleep I didn’t care.  Yet, at the same time I thought I was totally awake for the whole thing.  I also remember having dreams, though at the time I thought I was actually doing those writing blog posts, doing a puzzle, etc.  I also got up to use the bathroom and remember reporting to Eric and the nurse that I felt drunk.  Ah, yes, thank you Ambien for making my night extremely hazy.

Eric told me the next day that I was actually sleeping/snoring through every few contractions (and making funny faces in my sleep!), which is why I felt like they were so irregular.

At 3:30ish (or so Eric tells me), I called the nurse in because I felt like my stomach was “going up and down” on it’s own.  I don’t have a clear enough memory to describe it any more accurately than that.  She wanted to know how long this had been going on...and I don’t even remember what I replied or what happened next.  Apparently they checked my cervix and I was 9 cm dilated, ordered my antibiotics (I was GBS positive), fluids, and the Fentanyl.

At 4:00ish the drugs arrived.  I have no recollection of this.  In fact, I didn’t even know this happened until Eric told me hours after the delivery.  The Fentanyl was enough to take the edge off the pain and it allowed me to get another hour of actual sleep.

I do remember waking up around 4:45 or 5, about the time the Fentanyl wore off and felt like crap. I don’t know if this triggered the call to Diane (the midwife) or if she’d already been called, either way the nurses had started the hustle and bustle of getting the room ready for delivery.  What was going on?  I had no idea how or why things were moving so fast.

Shortly after I was very thankful that Diane was on her way and that the room was ready for delivery.  I had to poop.  Which really means, that baby was ready to come out.  Okay, maybe I did poop a few times, too. (aren’t you glad you asked?) The nurse told me to breathe through the contractions and start gently pushing, that Diane would be there soon.

That didn’t last long.  I had to get that baby out.  She was coming and nothing was going to stop her.  

Until....The nurses called Diane with a status update and she told them to hold me off as long as possible / until she could get there.  They had me breathe through the strong contractions and the urges to push.  Eric held my hand and sat on the edge of the bed.  Every time I woke up for a big contraction I focused on his eyes and we’d take a long, deep breath together.  When I managed to obey his orders the pain was manageable and we worked through the contractions without pushing (or pooping!).  When I didn’t focus, I started to push.  

Where was Diane?

Around 6 am they said she was pulling in to the hospital so I could start pushing.  We did a few light pushes and Diane flew in.  It was like a scene from a movie.  They had her gown and gloves ready for her.

I don’t remember much dialog or a whole lot of details. I remember Diane showing me the laboring position she wanted me in and telling me how we were going to breathe through the contractions.  

After a few hard pushes, the baby was crowning.  At this point I felt my stomach rumble and I remember asking for breakfast.  Of course, would be in the middle of labor and be thinking about food.  Diane asked the last time I had eaten and gave me permission to take a break for a snack.

Eric dug out the cantaloupe and fed me a few pieces.  It was just the break I needed to relax and regain energy to push the baby out.  

I got in position again, and within a few short pushes I heard Eric exclaim that he could she the baby’shair (She had hair!) and I could see him tearing up!

I wanted to take a break so badly, but Diane said two or three big pushes and she would be out.  That was enough motivation for me to keep going.  I pushed with all my might and took the deepest breaths of my life and with in seconds our baby girl was laying on my stomach.

I didn’t even notice her because I could feel the umbilical cord tugging, and I was still so in-and-out of sleep.  I remember Eric asked to wait to cut the cord, but apparently the placenta was so high up in my uterus that it made the cord too short to reach the baby without tugging on the placenta.  We had to cut it right away.

Diane instructed Eric on how to cut the cord.  Two tries later her had it!   The nurse wrapped the baby up a little bit and Diane asked Eric to lead us in a prayer of thanksgiving for our perfect little angel.

They moved the baby up to my chest.  All I wanted to do was hold her and look at her, but Diane told me the placenta was quickly on it’s way out.  She said I needed to focus on that and then I could have the rest of the day to play with the baby.  

Two or three more pushes and out it came.  And for some reason, I asked to look at it.  Yeah, gross.  I started bleeding a bit and they pushed all the gunk out of my uterus.  Diane said I was going to need a few stitches. I was still so out of it, but the pain of the stitches is burned in my memory.

Finally, it was time!  Time to focus on our sweet baby girl! The nurses sat me up in the bed and let her lay on my chest skin-to-skin.  It was then that we announced for the first time, our daughter’s name was Genevieve Marie. 

Eric immediately called our families.  They were shocked that Evie was born so soon!  They were waiting for the post-Cervidil / pre-Pitocin phone call so they could come in for another visit, but our little blessing was already here!

After visiting with family for a matter of minutes, they wheeled Evie and I off to the recovery room where we slept for several hours. 

It wasn’t until lunch time that the three of us woke up and that it finally sank in that I’d just had a baby.  It had all been such a weird dream until the Ambien wore off. Thankfully, Eric and the nurse, who ended up being my recovery room nurse the next two nights, remembered enough of the story to help me piece it all together.

The rest of the hospital stay was fine.  Evie was a hit - the nurses all commented on how beautiful she was.  Word got out to the nursing staff that I had a rock star delivery.  

Even though we couldn’t follow our original birth plan, we were able to do the most important things 1) Ask Questions and 2) Be Flexible.  And those two things landed us an incredibly healthy birth, and a beautiful baby girl.

We love you Evie!

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