Monday, November 11, 2013

My Birth Story

Layla Jean - 1 week old
I figured it was about time I try to blog all that I can remember from the beginning to the end of labor. My birth story is nothing like I had imagined. Sure, I never expected everything to go as I had planned, but I also never expected everything to go differently! I'm not sure I was emotionally prepared to take on all that I did in my 3 days of labor and 5 days total in the hospital. But God gave me so much strength. The weeks leading up to the birth of our little girl were tough enough with all the extra appointments, monitoring, feeling sick, and so forth... I went to the hospital on Friday, November 1st, already feeling weak and tired. I was so excited, though, to know I was going to meet my sweet baby soon!

Friday, November 1st - We arrived at the hospital at 6:30am to begin the induction. Because so many babies ( 4 or 5 to be exact!) decided to make themselves known that morning, the Cervidil (used to thin the cervix) was not inserted until noon because the midwife was so busy. You can imagine how eager Kyle and I were to get going. The waiting seemed like forever. Once the Cervidil was in, they told me it could start up contractions or it may not. It certainly started working the contractions not 20 minutes after it was in. Though the contractions were manageable, I went for twenty hours and was feeling exhausted... physically and emotionally. I stayed strong though, and tried to keep my spirit positive. At the 12 hour marker, they had taken out the Cervidil and my body continued laboring on its own. Needless to say, the contractions petered out to little ones I could hardly feel and we were back to the drawing board.

Saturday, November 2nd -  I got maybe 2 hours of sleep in the small hours of the morning on Saturday before they decided to start Pitocin. My body just hadn't responded well enough to the Cervidil, so they went to the second option. At this point I was very tired and feeling pretty discouraged after 20 hours of labor and no progress. My cervix had dilated from a 1.5 to a 2 and the effacement was still at around 60%. We started the Pitocin and it kicked in almost immediately, sending me into more frequent and intense contractions. When they put you on Pitocin, you have to stay hooked up to the monitor as well to make sure the baby's heart rate doesn't drop. So that limited me a lot as far as being mobile. I still was able to get up to move to a rocking chair or sit on a birth ball. I would start in the bed, then move to the chair, then to the birth ball... then back to the bed. That was my routine for 10 hours, to keep me focused and as comfortable as possible. After the ten hours were up, the midwife checked me again and still hardly any progress. I was sooo discouraged! I felt like my efforts to breathe through all those contractions would have paid off, but after hearing that I felt like I was never going to get to have my baby! Of course, I would have the baby, but the disappointment was huge after 30 hours of work and very little sleep. The baby was doing her job, though, in moving down to position. The pressure was so intense during those hours and I knew that when the real, active labor came I would be experiencing back labor.

The midwife gave me a couple more options to try next. Either I try the Cervidil again, or we could try another way to thin the cervix called Miso(something). It is a tiny little pill inserted in the cervix and they usually do three rounds of it ... 1 every 5 hours. I decided on the Miso. It wouldn't hurt to try something we hadn't yet, and I felt like the Cervidil was just going to get labor going again then peter out as before. The midwife allowed me to go out to the atrium for a while to get some FOOD, which was an amazing thing after hardly eating for 30 hours! I was soo sick of juice and popsicles by then!! My sub and soup was really delicious that night! I visited with Kyle's family (who had been waiting all day) and some of my family. It was a much needed break and I was also able to take a nice, hot shower and feel rejuvenated. After the Miso was in, I wasn't really feeling too many contractions... or, they just weren't nearly as big and intense as on Pit. I tried to get some sleep that night, but I was very uncomfortable and feeling a lot of pressure again. The nice thing about this induction method is that you only have to be hooked up to the monitor for short periods of time and then you are free to walk around, shower, do whatever. I was really relieved by that.

Sunday, November 3rd - Early Sunday morning (around 1am) they did the second round of Miso. I slept for a few hours (my husband actually got 8+ hours of sleep that night!) and then woke early. I got up and around, did some things, then right as my midwife walked in at 6ish my water broke all on its own! It was not a leak either... it just completely broke and I was in amazement that something actually went right! The midwife and nurse were soo excited, because we were finally progressing. But when she checked me again, I hadn't hardly moved as far as dilation is concerned.

I went through 8 hours of very intense, severe back labor after that. I was told not all women experience back labor. This was a whole new ball game, and it came on fast. I was able to work through the first part in the shower, but after a while of that I was about to pass out from fatigue. My whole body was just ready to quit. I was exhausted and just ready to be done with it all! I didn't have any more strength or focus to get through this level of pain. I did it for 8 hours, as I said, then was checked again for progress. I was only at 3 cm dilated. Ahhh! I told my midwife that I physically couldn't muster any more strength to get through another several hours of back labor... and worse off, I emotionally couldn't even imagine how I would feel if I was somehow able to get through and find out I had to keep going even longer. I made a decision against what I said I never wanted to do. My situation had changed, my strength had run out and I was just done. I asked for the epidural. Now looking back, that was the best decision I could have made right then for that situation. After managing to hold still for the epidural to be done, it kicked in, my body relaxed, and I started dilating immediately.

My midwife was so kind to me and sincerely said that I was very strong to have gotten as far as I did and that I shouldn't in any way feel weak for the decision I made. I appreciated that so much. I felt so much better after being able to rest after all that work. To get the contractions closer together, they started me on Pit again. I was on the Penicillin for the group b strep, as well as an IV fluid hours before. My body started going into uncontrollable shaking and I knew that things were going to start happening soon. I could still feel the intense pressure from the baby's head and an hour-and-a-half later I began to push! It was amazing how fast it all happened. They allowed me to push whenever I felt that really strong urge, and I was very glad they let me be the one to dictate that rather than them reading the screen for contractions to tell me when. It only took me 1/2 hour to push our baby out. I mustered all the strength I had, and trust me, it was literally all that I had left!

I have to say that it was the most amazing experience ever!!! I keep going over and over it in my mind... the relief I felt and the emotions that swept over me as my baby was placed on my chest. I can't describe it. I was sobbing and so very happy. All that I had gone through was worth every hard minute and suddenly vanished as I clung to my absolutely beautiful, perfect baby girl. She nursed soon after and then the whole family came to meet the new family member.

The rest of our stay at the hospital is another long story, so I will just stick with this for now. I do want to say how incredible the staff at St. Vincent's Hospital was. There was not one nurse who was rude or hard to deal with. The midwives were amazing. I'm sure they deal with cases like mine all the time where labor just won't set in. But every woman's body is different, and they literally did everything they could to help me get to the end. They are so sweet and I can't say enough about my five days there. I even had Maribeth (who was not on call at all that weekend) come over from the OB office just to visit me. She gave me a huge hug and said, "You did it!"  All of the midwives over the weekend who worked with me came to visit as well. If you are going to have a baby, go to these people. They are great.

I also want to say how grateful I am for my two sisters and mother for their incredible support during the three days of laboring. They shifted in and out to be with me and then to help me finish at the end. My mom and Alyssa were able to be there for the actual birth and it was so great to have them and my husband there rooting me on! Thank you, Mom, Coralie and Aly, for all you did for me!

So that's my very long birth story. Layla Jean is so precious to Kyle and me, and we are forever thankful to the Lord for this blessing. We are so in love with her and look forward to all the days ahead. Yes, even the sleepless nights and countless diapers. ;)

Thank you so much for your prayers and for cheering me on. I couldn't have done it without God as my rock and strength during my time of need.

Much love,

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