Sunday, May 3, 2015

My Birth Story--Delivery

It was finally time to push! Dr. Thomas actually came in for the entirety of my pushing and delivery (most doctors come around mostly to catch the baby!)--she said this was the best part and why would she want to miss it! 

Once I was in position they would help me know when a contraction was coming and then we would push for 3 counts of 10 as hard as I could and then rest. Jenna and Dr. Thomas were really great coaches and Matt was very encouraging. We had to move positions a couple of times to try and navigate the pelvis but with patience and persistence we did it! Very early on you could see and feel that tiny head of hair! It was encouraging to see and feel progress. 

Dr. Thomas worked VERY hard to keep from having to perform an episiotomy or from having me tear. I was so thankful for the effort she put forward because I know many doctors would not have been so patient. In the end, however, there was simply no way that Harper was going to make it into this world without it. And so she made a small incision to try to help us get her out. Somewhere along the way Dr. Thomas also noticed that we both felt really warm. Upon taking my temperature we discovered that I'd spiked a fever somewhere around 99 degrees or so. They immediately got me some Tylenol to try to reduce the fever. Unfortunately we had no such luck and my fever continued to climb with it's highest being somewhere around 101.8. They started me on an antibiotic and told me that the baby would for sure be headed to the NICU because of the infection. Apparently in long labors moms can spike a fever because of infection in/around the uterus at the time of it's opening. I honestly don't understand it all but because the baby is exposed to that infection she has to be treated with antibiotics as well. I was heartbroken but at this moment all that mattered was getting her out. 

So we pushed on and finally at 2:05pm I felt her whole body slide out. They were able to VERY quickly set her on my chest and let Matt cut the cord before whisking her away to the NICU team for suction and assessment. Once she was finally a bit more clean and ready they brought her over to me in the picture above. She smiled at me and blew bubbles--this moment/picture might be my most prized possession and memory from that day. They then took her back to the NICU team and Matt was able to go with her and make sure she was settled and well cared for. 

In the mean time, my small cut had become a 3rd degree tear that needed some serious stitch work. Dr. Thomas began work on that because the placenta was taking it's sweet time to come out (she wasn't too concerned at this point). However, my epidural was wearing off. I could wiggle my toes and feel my feet. So the pain of the stitches was pretty significant--she injected some lidocaine to try to help but I could still feel her working. She finally finished the stitches and made it back to work the placenta out. You have 30 minutes to deliver the placenta or else that have to retrieve it manually. Alas, we didn't make the time table and so Dr. Thomas had to reach in and get the placenta out herself. It was THE most painful thing I've ever experienced. It didn't want to come out and my epidural was wearing off. I screamed and cried. Finally it was all over and Matt made it back from the NICU to tell me everything was going to be ok. 

Now they needed to clean me up and monitor my infection and fever before we could go see my baby girl. It seemed like the longest hours of my life but finally around 5 or 6 so we were able to go back and meet Harper Christine for real. 

It wasn't exactly how I'd imagined labor and delivery going--and definitely wasn't what I'd hoped for our baby's first few days of life--but it was all still a beautiful and miraculous process. I can't believe that I carried and nourished that beautiful child for 9 months and then successfully pushed her out to experience life in this world! Let the adventures begin! 

My Birth Story--The Labor Part

Once in the triage room I changed into a hospital gown and was hooked up to the monitors. I was indeed having semi-regular contractions (and effacing rapidly) but I was only 2cm dilated. (Side note: I am still very bummed about not making it longer at home--I had planned to labor at least until 4cm in the comfort of my own bed/bath/couch, etc.) Anyway, they gave us the choice to try to walk it out and move things along or go back home. At this point, going home seemed a bit silly so we opted to try to walk it out. 

So Matt got me up out of the bed (and grabbed a bucket to carry with us as I was still feeling very nauseated) to walk the halls of the Birth Suites. We walked for 30 minutes and then came back to be checked. While I didn't dilate much more, I had significantly effaced. So we loaded up to walk for 30 more minutes. I had to stop almost every time I had a contraction--so much for the vigorous walking Dr. Benton suggested! After our 2nd round of walking it did appear that I was beginning to dilate more and I was almost 100% effaced. They offered for me to walk some more but I just simply couldn't. They also offered to bring in the birthing ball and stool--I decided that would be a better option. I sat on the ball for the next 30 minutes or so--it actually felt pretty good. The nurses were really worried that my water would break at any second so that's really what I was looking/hoping for. When they came back for a 3rd check I had definitely dilated to 3cm. They gave me the option to go ahead and be admitted or go home. We decided it was time to bite the bullet and be admitted. 

After getting settled in Room 317 they offered me some pain medicine. I was SO tired that we decided I should take a dose to help me get some rest while I could. The labor was still really continuing almost exclusively in my back and the pain was some of the worst I've felt in my life. But before they gave me the medicine, I did decide I wanted to take 1 more bath. And I did! But got very nauseated and sick before I could make it into the warm water. It was terrible but I didn't have a choice. Once I got in the water was soothing, I stayed in as long as I could but finally decided it was time to get some relief. 

At this point it was about 1 or 2 in the morning. The pain medicine worked quickly. I remember the nurse doing intake and asking some questions and me not really knowing if I was answering her or not. I slowly drifted off into sleep. After about an hour the medicine was wearing off--we opted for a round two to continue to let me rest. In the meantime, we also decided to have me sleep on my side with one leg propped to try to help labor progress. I was so groggy it didn't much matter. All I remember is that it stormed at some point in the night. I ended up taking a 3rd round of pain medicine (I probably shouldn't have taken so much in retrospect) and then opting to go ahead and get the epidural for some more permanent relief. At about 6am Dr. Harper (ha!) came in to administer the epidural--I have never felt relief so great as I did after that moment. It wasn't bad at all (though a really weird thing not to feel your own legs). 

At shift change our nurse for the day Jenna Harper (crazy!) came in to take good care of me for the rest of the day. She and Dr. Thomas came in at about the same time to check on my progress and see what we were in for. At the time of the epidural I was probably about 6cm dilated which was almost to my goal of waiting until we hit 6 or 7cm before getting the heavy drugs! Dr. Thomas also made the decision to go ahead and break my water--thank goodness I'd already received the epidural! When she did, however, there was meconium in the fluid--this meant that a team from the NICU would have to be present at the birth to suction the baby as soon as she was born in hopes that she wouldn't swallow any of the fluid. Bummer. But she also said she could feel a head full of hair! 

Once my water broke we tried to get me comfortable and get as much rest as possible. We flipped from side to side to try to progress dilation more rapidly. At about 10am Jenna thought we might actually be ready to push--I was feeling a lot of pressure REALLY low for most of the morning. Baby girl was dropped and ready for most of the morning. But when Dr. Thomas came to check she said that we actually had a little bit more work to do--my cervix was still not completely dilated on BOTH sides. So we changed my position several times--tried to sit me straight up and even things out. 

Somewhere around 12:00pm-ish it was finally time to push! 

My Birth Story--Labor Begins

This is one of the last pictures of my pregnant belly as I headed in to work on my due date, Thursday, April 23, 2015.

I want to write this down so that I don't forget the details. Every birth story is beautiful and wonderful in it's own right--so here is mine! 

After going to the doctor Wednesday for our 40 week check up, I really began to feel like things were going to get moving soon. On Thursday, Lennon and I took a really long, vigorous walk as suggested by the doctor. Nothing seemed all that unusual until I woke up at my usual "witching hour" in the night around 3am or so. I hadn't really felt any contractions up to this point--in fact I was worried I wouldn't really know what they felt like because I'd had no Braxton-Hicks that I could tell. But when I was awake in the night I knew that I was beginning to feel something different--pain, mostly in my back, that would come and go with some regularity. I didn't think too much of it and tried to just go back to sleep. 

On Friday morning I woke up and ate my regular round of donuts :) and watched Scandal from the night before. Nothing seemed too crazy but I just REALLY didn't feel well. There hasn't been a day in my pregnancy that I felt as bad as a did on Friday. I knew something was beginning to happen. 

I tried to take it easy throughout the day. I rested on the couch with Matt and Lennon. The contractions were coming off and on but nothing very regular or all that concerning. Matt did some grocery shopping and once he came back home I decided I needed to get out of the house. So I took a bath and got dressed and ready so that we could head out to the Outlets to do some shopping and walking around. I did pretty good at the Outlets (and one woman even told me I was "such a cute pregnant woman!" Little did she know how much I needed to hear that today!)--we made it a few hours before I just looked at Matt and said I need to be closer to home. And then I changed my mind, I needed to be home. 

By the time we got home it was late afternoon and I was really beginning to feel some strong contractions--mostly in my back. I rested while Matt fixed us breakfast for dinner. I ate a good meal knowing it might be my last for a while. At about 7:00pm we decided to try to head to the bed and get some rest while we could--at this point I knew that labor was imminent. We gave mom and dad the go ahead to get on the road first thing in the morning because this baby was coming! 

Once in the bed I couldn't get comfortable at all. The contractions grew much stronger and I was still feeling all of it in my back. I decided to get in the bath to try to ease some of the discomfort. The warm water felt good for a little while but eventually the contractions returned and they felt worse than before. Once I got back to the bedroom Matt tried to help ease the pain by applying pressure and rubbing my back but nothing helped. As a few of the contractions moved to the front I really began to feel nauseated and worn out. They were coming closer and closer together and we began to panic that we might be further along than we thought. 

After another hour or so we finally bit the dust and called the doctor. Thankfully, Dr. Thomas, was on call for the weekend--she was one of our favorite doctors we met with when we rounded the practice. She told us to go ahead and come to the hospital as that was really the only way to determine if labor was actually underway or not. 

So we finished packing our bags and put everything in the car to head to the hospital. It was a miserable 10 minute ride for me. The back labor was SO strong and SO painful. But we made it to the hospital and they put us in a triage room to check things out....

She's Here!

Harper Christine Lacey is finally here! 
Born Saturday, April 25, 2015 at 2:05pm
Weighing in at 8lbs even and 20 1/2 inches long

She's more beautiful than we could have ever imagined! 

40 Weeks

Still here! This week the doctor said we'd made some significant progress in effacement. She went ahead and tried to help me to 2cm dilated as well but said we probably landed somewhere around 1.5 or so instead. So the waiting continues. Dr. Benton ordered some vigorous walking to try to get things rolling along! 

We also had an ultrasound just to make sure everything is still looking good and running on time. All is well! Baby girl is happy as a clam in utero. AND the ultrasound tech showed us that it looks like she has a head full of hair :) She is currently estimating Baby's weight to be about 7lbs. 14oz. Yikes! Bigger than I thought (but hello....look at that belly!). We can't wait to meet Baby Lacey! 

39 Weeks

Went back in for our weekly appointment this week and there isn't a whole lot of new news to report. We are still progressing slowly and waiting for baby to make her debut. They will allow me to go a week past my due date so at this point we aren't in a huge hurry or worry to get her out! She is still well within her time limits :) 

Still feeling good--the carpal tunnel pains in my hands and the oversized belly (ahem I can't reach over to get anything on my own anymore it seems) are probably the things that are bothering me the most. I'm not sleeping all that well but that's to be expected at this point. 

While we wait this week we decided to go ahead and plant the garden. The weather has been just beautiful and I figure once she arrives I won't much feel like doing anything but watering a garden :) 

38 Weeks

Things are still moving along just as they should be! Although I am only about 1cm dilated, effacement is continuing and seems to be progressing ever so slowly each week. So we wait....

Though many people think this baby is coming early, I am still standing by my prediction all along that she will either come right on time or a little bit after. Overall I am still feeling pretty good, just big! I'm still regularly attending prenatal yoga and Lennon and I have been enjoying lots of walks around the neighborhood.