Thursday, August 14, 2014

The eventful birth of Elizabeth Hazel

Well, Ellie is now 3 weeks old, so it's about time for her birth story.

To read about the week and day leading up to Ellie's birth click here

On the 23rd of July, I was awoken from a much needed nap with some pretty strong contractions, but nothing too alarming because I had worse and much longer with the false labor just 6 days prior. I was groggy and frankly still cranky from the exhausting day, but I knew I was up for good. I didn't feel like getting out of bed just yet, so I laid there and pulled out my contraction counter. I coldly chuckled to myself as I deleted the "contraction history" from days prior when I was mentally and physically ready to have this baby and the sting from thinking back on that false alarm quickly snapped me out of my wishful thinking of could this be it? I closed the app on my phone, turned off the screen and tossed it down toward the edge of the bed where it couldn't easily be reached (that's not too far when you are 40 weeks +3 days pregnant haha). I laid there so bent out of shape that it was hard to be positive about anything so I tried my best to clear my head and relax. Little did I know that less than 12 hours later my precious Ellie would be placed in my arms.

While laying there I could feel the contractions work themselves into a pattern a lot quicker than the false labor had. I waited for 5 more and to me, it seemed to be pretty consistent gaps between, but without my phone it was hard to be completely sure, so that's when I caved and whipped out my fancy contraction counter to discover my suspicion was right. These were very consistent- lasting within seconds of each other in length and frequency. I decided to pick up my sorry behind and made my way down stairs where I discovered Maisie and Katie making dinner and Austin slaving away on a bench he was making out of pallet wood he found near our dumpster (he later told me he went out in the garage because I wasn't too fun to be around haha) I sat at the bar counter hunched over with a defeatist  attitude when Austin came in for a drink of water.  He squeezed my shoulder and asked me how I was feeling. I then admitted I was having contractions. Austin rolled his eyes and said "we'll see where that goes" but seeing how I was 3 days late how could this not be the real deal right?

I kept up with the contraction counter and it quickly became evident that we were going to be having a baby soon. This is a screen shot of what my contraction counter looked like at by 8:17pm...

As excited as I was, I was still emotionally drained from the stress of the week leading up to that point. I also then realized that my awesome midwife wasn't on call and that mean't that I would be getting who I refer to as "dingbat". She seriously is clueless and not very helpful or confident and to me she just seemed so blasé.. so I was upset about that a bit, but even more so, I was incredibly relieved that I would finally be meeting my little Ellie (even though it still seemed so surreal). We made arrangements with my friend Sarah to come over and be with Maisie through the night once we decided to head to the hospital (that way Katie could come with us right away). Austin and Katie stayed up with me until 1am and when they decided to try to get some sleep, I calmly (even though the contractions were pretty intense and only a few minutes apart) got into the shower-turned-bath loaded with lavender essential oil. It was wonderful- I could feel the stress melting off between contractions. I hopped out of the bath and stood in front of the mirror starring at my round bare belly one last time, watching it shift and roll with every move that Ellie made. With all the worry about not feeling her move earlier the day before and having a stressful non-stress test, little Ellie made it clear she was just fine- dancing wildly around inbetween contractions. She was so ready to come out and boy, was I so ready to meet her.

My contractions continued to get more and more intense, but between them I still felt good, tired, but good. What does good feel like while in labor? Well I was able to blow dry and straighten my hair and put on a tiny amount of makeup between- sure it took me 3x as long as it should have, but believe me it's no easy task while contracting only a few minutes apart. At 3am I texted Sarah and told her it was time to head over. Then I woke Austin and Katie up, packed a couple last minute items and made my way downstairs. I held onto the counter for dear life in a deep plié position while borderline hyperventilating (which should have been the first clue that I was starting transition). Sarah came over while I was starting a rough contraction she looked at me and then looked at my sister and whispered "she's so close" and boy, was she right. When I was able to pull myself together (and away from the counter) we made our way to the hospital. Maybe it's the perks of living in a small town or that it was 3:30 in the morning, but there wasn't a soul on the road, but even with no one else around, we actually got caught by a red light. Don't worry though, Austin blew right through it. I smacked his arm and chewed him out- "you're just using my labor to break the law! I am totally fine, I didn't ask you to do that!" Austin still laughs that I could be in the throes of labor and still able to call him out, but that's what wives are for right?

We pulled up to the hospital where we had to enter through the E.R entrance. After checking in and answering a handful of questions they made me wait for what seemed like forever until a nurse could come wheel me up to Labor and Delivery (in reality it probably was only 10 minutes tops, but still, hospitals make me uncomfortable and labor is obviously uncomfortable, so to me it felt like eternity). This is when I realized that I was starting transition because I started going into what I like to call "panic mode". Need a mental image? Just imagine me crying softly and ever so pathetically, uncontrollably shaking and to top it off hyperventilating. Once the nurse came down she asked me about a "birth plan" I told her I initially wanted to try for a natural labor, but that now I am second guessing it. We all kind of chuckled at that statement, but I was seriously uncomfortable. The nurse took me straight to the delivery room (not triage) and after noticing that I was unable to regulate my breathing looked me straight in the eye and gave me a pep talk "You are in transition and you can't panic now. I know this it's difficult, but you need to take a few deep breaths and calm down. We are going to get you in the tub as soon as possible, but for now you and your baby need oxygen, so breathe with me." She then started doing some of the typical lamaze type breathing exercises and without a beat Austin and Katie were doing it too (I wish there was a video of that because that would be funny to watch now). After being confined to the bed (it's the worst while in labor) being strapped to the fetal heart rate monitor and a quick cervical check which confirmed all of our suspicion of being in transition- a solid 7 cms dilated- double what I was only so many hours earlier. I was anxious to get into the tub and be able to zone out without so many people breathing funnily in my face, but the nurse responsible for inserting the I.V was really struggling (my veins are deep and like to hide and roll) so after 30 minutes of being poked they finally got a good enough one and immediately put me in the tub.

The tub was awesome, but not during the contractions- I'm convinced nothing would have soothed out those doozy of contractions because they literally took my breath away. The contractions were on top of each other and lasting excruciatingly long minutes, but between the contractions? -the tub was glorious. I could completely relax. Austin and Katie thought I was sleeping until a contraction would roll around and immediately remind them that they were extremely lucky they weren't the one in labor. Then when my contractions were back to back and I had maybe a minute between them I did what I didn't want to do, but I was desperate for relief... I inquired about an epidural. I became fixated on seeing the angel of an anesthesiologist roll in with sweet, sweet relief. But the nurse said I had to have at least two full I.V bags in before they would do it. So after being in the tub for who knows how long, maybe 45 minutes? I made my way to the room and asked if they could call the anesthesiologist. They said they would, but thought it best if we did another cervical exam to see if I had made any progress. Sure enough still a 7... I about lost it. I looked at the nurse and dingbat midwife and insisted they call him up NOW because the contractions were too much to not be making progress. I wanted that epidural in place the second that last bag of I.V fluids finished dripping. Shortly after that are when things got intense.

 I paced back and forth and clung unto Austin during contractions trying anything to work my way through them. Then I got onto the birthing ball (which remember when I was in labor with Maisie I referred to it as "the birthing ball of death" but this time it was amazing). I bounced while tilting my pelvis in circles (kind of like a hula hoop motion) balancing on the balls of my feet- I didn't stop doing it between contractions because I was in the zone (and the contractions were so close together it's not like I had much time between anyway). During the worst of the contractions I remember imagining that the contraction was a bolt of lightning running through my body. I remember pushing down on the balls of my feet and willing/imagining/pushing the contraction out of my body through the exit point on my feet. I know, It sounds insane, but I was beyond primal by that point and irrational/crazy thoughts are just part of the fun. I started to experience insane pressure and noticed I would instinctively bear down a little bit and it felt so much better than just breathing through them. I remember thinking to myself Sammie your waters haven't even broken, so its definitely not time to push easy does it.
After particularly hard contractions I would cry out softly "where is he?" or just beg pitifully "please, please". Then to top it off the cordless monitor they had around me wasn't picking up Ellie's heart rate very well, so the nurse was trying to position it better all while I was bouncing. She made a comment about how being on the bed would help her out, but I paid no attention to her because there was no way in heck I was moving until the anesthesiologist came in. Austin then started asking me to get into the bed because of the monitor issues "you know you have to be in the bed to get the epidural anyway so you might as well be ready now" but again I zoned them all out because having contractions in the bed was equivalent to torture to me. Then I finally heard the words I was looking for "he's on his way!" Then and only then, I got onto the bed. He walked in and instead of being the angel I had fantasied he'd be, he quite frankly was a jerk. He wouldn't listen to me as I told him to give me a second and when I wiggled and pleaded with him to stop, he snapped at me "you are going to have contractions regardless, so I need you to stay in position... I am not going to wait. And you CANNOT move." I told him that I needed to move over and push because the pressure was almost unbearable, but he snapped at me again and pushed down on my back so I would curl over which was beyond excruciating. I cried because I felt so helpless and the guy I THOUGHT would help me wasn't making it easier and before he could ask me the mandatory questions he is supposed to ask before he could start the procedure my water exploded.. Yup, full on exploded. Oh and for that minute I felt extreme relief because the pressure of the water was gone. That moment was no joke, heavenly, but only for a moment and then even more immense pressure than before, but this time it was Ellie. I started yelling out "she's coming! I need to push! Stop!" But looking at the midwife and nurse it seemed as though no one believed me. No joke I could feel her crowning and head coming out and I started to panic. The anesthesiologist continued to snap at me while I struggled to arch my back because well, there was a baby coming out of my body. He kept pulling and pushing my body into position while Austin squarely held my shoulders. Still unable to get into the desired position the jerk-of-an-anesthesiologist wanted (he was seriously groaning and sighing every time I would move- I am pretty sure if I could have seen his eyes they would have been rolling- he was terrible and he deserved the pain of a million labors) Katie started yelling "arch your back Sammie! Like a scared cat! Like a scared cat Sammie!"Finally Mr. Meanie-head inserted the catheter, but before he could inject the medicine I rolled over where my midwife looked under my gown and was surprised that she could see Ellie's head. I then began yelling/crying out because of the intense pressure. It wasn't as much of a pain yell (haha yes it was), but more of a terrified/shocked yell. I was in shock that without any hard pushing she was just slipping out. Austin, Katie and the midwife were telling me she was pretty much out, but i didn't believe them because Maisie was crowning for 45 minutes before she finally came out, but Ellie had no intention of waiting even a fraction of that time. The anesthesiologist inserted the medicine and realizing it was much too late he looked at me and said "this would have done you some good 30 minutes ago"... yeah no duh Sherlock.  So after only being at the hospital for a little over 2 hours, the midwife told me to push and with some hesitation, a little begging and a few pitiful tears (I really, really, REALLY wanted the epidural to kick in) I began pushing and 3 minutes later at 5:52am with absolutely no numbness at all, Elizabeth Hazel came screaming into the world. And once again, I experienced love at first sight.

I know, my ugly cry face, but I still love this picture. It perfectly shows the moment we met our second daughter, our little Ellie- It's love and relief all wrapped into one.

fresh little bundle of perfection

Since my waters broke and then maybe 5 short minutes later Ellie was born, there wasn't a lot of time for her to expel the fluid from her lungs. So she was quite blue and gurgley. You could hear her struggle to breathe a bit and so the nurses did their best to get as much fluid with a nasal aspirator while I cuddled my precious baby, but when they finally took her out of my arms for an official weight (over an hour after she was born) the nurse wasn't happy with her oxygen levels. She was still on the bluish side and after trying a handful of things to raise her oxygen levels, they finally had to tube her and suck fluid from her lungs and stomach. That seemed to have done the trick because thankfully her oxygen levels shot up to normal levels and has been great ever since.

After delivering the placenta the nurse unplugged the epidural (it was only in for maybe 20 minutes) which then started to kick in, which I was so thankful for because I had moderate to heavy bleeding, which made the midwife nervous about possibly hemorrhaging, so she pumped me full of pitocin and roughly kneaded my poor and traumatized uterus for 10 minutes. Which even slightly tingly and semi numb still hurt like crazy! So even though I never did get the full effects of the epidural it sure helped out with the post labor things... now if only it worked more on the birth part hah.

Within 2 hours I was up walking around, able to use the restroom (oh my goodness, I didn't go pee for a whole day after Maisie because I hurt so badly and my bladder was bruised- it wasn't until they threatened to catheter me that I finally went) and shower. Just 2 hours after birth I didn't even feel like I gave birth, it was so surreal. I felt like I could go hiking... seriously. It could have been the mix of new baby high, no tearing, and a relatively quick birth (about 12 hours start to finish) that made for a near perfection post partum experience. I feel truly blessed to have had such a sweet recovery period.

More pictures? Ok!

This is the picture Austin sent to our parents to announce her arrival.

The picture we sent to all our family and friends later that morning.

family of 4

As you can see just the next morning, my pain level was only at a 1 it was amazing!
Also, Ellie was and continues to be a champion eater and waste maker. :)