the birth story.

I’ve been thinking about this post for days but time seems to move really fast right now and I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write it until now (and this actually took multiple “sits” to write). I want to document the babe’s arrival before I start to forget the details… the story is long but it’s mine and I wanted it documented. Two weeks ago seems like yesterday and a year ago all at once.

I was scheduled for an induction on 6/4 at 4:30PM at 41+ 1. My doctor was on call for 2 days straight and it made sense to do the induction when she was on call. I was really worried about an induction as I’d heard stories about the impact to the baby, the result ending in c-section, etc, but the babe just didn’t want to come out on his own – trust me, I tried everything. My feelings were all over the place – on one hand it would be great to walk into the hospital pain-free, skipping triage and moving right into L&D, but on the other… scary.

I was told to call L&D before showing up in case they were backed up and, true to my luck, they were backed up and asked me to come in a few hours later when more rooms had cleared. The nerves mounted but J and I tried to stay distracted with mindless TV and snacks since I knew that I wouldn’t eat until I delivered once I was admitted to L&D.

I walked into the hospital at 7:15PM and by 8:30PM I was getting an IV for my pitocin induction. We know that I am not the best with IVs and apparently, I am a “hard stick”. I literally got “stuck” 4 times by 2 different nurses before they decided to call in the big wigs in anesthesia to administer my IV. Not a great start to the night, to say the least.

The anesthesiologist was able to find a good vein and got the IV moving – things were in progress. I told the anesthesiologist that I hoped to see her later when I wanted my epidural and she said she would be happy to administer it when I was ready. I literally told every nurse that I encountered that I was going to want an epidural at some point – I didn’t want any confusion – I do not do well with pain. It became a joke – a resident or nurse would walk in and say “I hear you want an epidural…”. At least I was clear :).

By about 10PM I was on my second nurse (the admitting nurse apparently only gets the pitocin started) and she suggested that I get comfortable and try to get a bit of rest. It was hard to rest because a) nerves and b) I kept having to go to the bathroom. I started to care less and less about my privacy as I walked around with my butt hanging out of my hospital gown to and from the bathroom with an IV attached.

It was attractive.

At this point I could barely feel my contractions but within a few hours they were coming on stronger. I lasted as long as I could but then asked for the epidural, which the attending physician signed off on. When the anesthesiologist came back (it was the same one as before) to administer the epidural J was asked to leave the room (to keep the environment sterile?) and I was asked to sit as still as I could on the edge of the bed, holding the nurse’s hand. My nurse was awesome and she walked me through everything that was going to happen. The anesthesiologist was great too – I felt really brave at this point.

Once I had my epi things obviously felt a lot better and people started moving around me with a bit more speed than they had previously. Very shortly after the epidural one of the residents came in to break my water, which she told me that she would do as soon as I asked for the epidural. She told me that breaking my water would make my contractions come on much stronger and faster and thus, things would start to move quickly. This was sometime very early in the morning. The breaking of the water didn’t hurt at all but I heard the word “meconium” and started to get really nervous. I don’t know whether it was the epi, the nerves or a combination of both, but I was shaking uncontrollably.

At some point within the next couple of hours I started to get really nauseous. The nurse kept adjusting the bed and bringing cold compresses, J was fanning me and refreshing my cold compresses — the nurse suggested that I was drinking too much water or eating too much ice and the contractions combined with the water were making me nauseous. At one point I said “I am going to throw up” and the nurse brought me a clear cup to do just that. I barely had anything in my belly – a few sips of water and some ice chips, so that just resulted in dry heaving and being really uncomfortable for a few minutes. I couldn’t catch my breath during this process – likely due to nerves – and thought I was going to pass out. Luckily, I didn’t.

The nurse ordered Zofram for my IV to prevent further nausea. It kicked in fairly fast and I was able to sleep a little bit.

Apparently, while I was sleeping, my contractions picked up as they increased the pitocin. By this time though, every time I had a contraction, the baby’s heart rate would fall at the end of the contraction. I must have been completely out of it and didn’t realize but J tells me that the nurses kept adjusting the pit, adjusting my position and adjusting my monitors. Unfortunately, the pattern continued for the rest of the night and next day.

The doctors came in to examine me every few hours. Initially I was making good progress and they didn’t express concern about the meconium or a vaginal delivery, but as soon as the baby’s heart rate started reacting to an increase in pitocin and thus my own progress started to slow, the doctor started talking c-section. They said that they would let me labor as long as I could but that I shouldn’t be surprised if, when my own doctor came in for an exam, she would recommend a c-section.

Again I had mixed feelings. A c-section would mean that I would be done sooner (and by this time it had been at least 10-12 hours already) but it also meant a c-section and that scared the bejesus out of me. Obviously I wasn’t going to question my doctor’s orders if and when it came to it, but I wasn’t totally thrilled with the plans that seemed to be emerging.

When my doctor came in early that morning (7AM?) she did her own exam and determined that she thought I was ok to labor a bit longer. She told me that she may decide on a c-section but wanted to see what progress I could make between her morning and mid-day visits.

We were all surprised that I progressed quite significantly between the two visits. I dilated a good 2-3 centimeters in a couple of hours and the doctors felt that I was progressing fast enough that I should continue.

The baby’s heart rate continued to be an issue so I had to keep moving from side to side to keep him at a good level. The nurses also had to increase and decrease my pitocin over and over again to get the baby to regulate his heart rate. I was given oxygen that seemed to keep the baby calm, but I couldn’t use oxygen for the whole time because it wasn’t good for me or the baby to be on it for extended periods of time.

I didn’t know this, but apparently the placenta loses its “oomph” by 40+ weeks, so they suspected that it wasn’t providing adequate support to the baby at this point – hence the oxygen helping.

When my doctor came back to the room on her afternoon rounds I had made very little progress. I wasn’t dilating like I needed to but  my cervix was softening. Since I was still making some, albeit minimal progress, she let me continue to labor. We’re now going on over 24 hours in labor. I think it was at this exam that she said that if I didn’t dilate fully by her next visit we were going to need to do a c-section.

Again, the mixed feelings.

By this point I was exhausted and still a bit nauseous and very emotional. I cried to J that I didn’t know if I could do this and he just kept telling me how strong I was being… he looked in my eyes and said, “you are doing so awesome, Mara… just a little longer”.

Throughout my labor J was a rock. He barely slept, he kept all eyes on me and the baby’s heart rate monitor. I would get upset and he would calm me down. I would feel hot or nauseous and he would fan me and get me a cold compress. He literally held my hand the entire time.

By evening my doctor came back in to do yet another exam and I was 9cm dilated! I moved from 7-9 really quickly and we all did a little cheer. I was warned again that if I didn’t progress to 10cm very quickly and/or if she didn’t like what she saw when I was at 10cm that I might need a c-section.

By this time I was determined to give birth vaginally because I had gone at least 26 hours. The nurse (I was now on my 3rd – they rotate every 12 hours) told me to let her know if I felt pressure like I needed to poop. She kept saying “do you feel like you need to poop yet?”. I kept saying, “I have never wanted to feel like I have to poop so bad in my life!”.

Finally around 10:00PM I said “I think I feel like I have to poop”. I said I “think” because I thought I might be making it up – everyone asking me about it for the last few hours.

The resident was called in for an exam and said, “ok Mara, we’re going to start pushing.”

OMG.

I looked at J and said “what time is it?”

He said “10 whatever”.

I said, “I am having this baby by 11!”

The nurse looked at J and said, “ok, on Mara’s next contraction you’re going to hold her leg like this and Mara, you’re going to push for 10 seconds, take a breath and push for 10 more seconds, 3 times.”

The thought crossed my mind that J was supposed to stay above my head and not see the whole birthing process up close and personal, but by that point I was too tired to care. Also, we were way passed “up close and personal” with the amount of people who came in to do exams that day.

With an epidural I couldn’t really feel what they meant by push, so I sort of just did what I was told. I had a contraction that felt like it lasted an eternity and I dug deep to find the breaths needed to push. At this point I was NOT going to get to 10cm and be told that I needed a c-section. I was determined to push this kid out and I didn’t care how tired any of us were.

I pushed for about 2 hours before I heard, “look Dad, that’s the head” and my doctor was called.

The next thing I knew my doctor came in, told me they were going to need to do an “assisted delivery” with forceps because the peanut was “sunny side up” (I knew this already) and that once I delivered I would not be able to hold the baby because he would be immediately taken to a team (I think there were 6?) of doctors and nurses who would make sure that he hadn’t ingested the meconium. She told me several times that they were not going to let him cry and that I shouldn’t be worried about it.

About 30 minutes later, at 12:11AM, after pushing for 2.5 hours and feeling all over exhausted and nervous, I had our baby. The doctor said, “Mara, look!!!” and I leaned my head up to see our baby with a full head of hair. My doctor cut his cord and immediately handed him off to another pediatric doctor while I was stitched and cleaned. I looked at J and said, “Holy shit I just had a baby!!!” and he bent down and told me how awesome I had been, how much he loved me and that he was so excited to be a parent with me.

I’m pretty sure that I cried.

I couldn’t stop staring at the baby across the room – our baby.

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We finally heard the baby cry after what seemed like an eternity and one of the pediatric doctors came over to tell me that there was no meconium in his lungs. Thank goodness. J was told to come over and take pictures while they cleaned, weighed and took his footprints.

They put him on my chest a few minutes later and my doctor said, “so, what’s his name?” and I said, “Simon Ellis”.

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At 8lbs, 4oz and 20 inches long, the little guy was perfect and I was a Mom.

The next few hours were a complete blur. We stayed in L&D recovery for about an hour and a half, I took a couple of bites of a turkey sandwich and drank a ton of water. I couldn’t stop looking at Simon.

We were taken to our postpartum room around 2:30AM. The nurse assigned to that room walked us through a bunch of paperwork that seemed ridiculous at the time and I tried to get Simon to nurse. J had his first nap in at least 24 hours.

Initially Simon was uninterested in eating which the nurse said could just be from exhaustion but then when he wouldn’t show interest in eating later, they suggested a bottle.

It was now going on 5 or 6 hours since my delivery and Simon hadn’t eaten. A bottle was a must. I don’t know how or when but next thing I know Simon is being taken to test his blood sugar (a sign of low blood sugar is lack of interest in eating) and it came back low. The nurse told me that if it didn’t go up after another bottle we would have to send him for glucose.

I was in such a haze that none of what was happening really registered until they came back and told me that Simon’s blood sugar wasn’t improving and he’d have to go down to the NICU for about 24-48 hours to get his glucose up.

The next thing I know J and I are walking down to the NICU and Simon is connected to a glucose IV. We were heart-broken.

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I don’t know when or how but within minutes of being in the NICU we found out that Simon also needed IV antibiotics for a possible infection. At this point we were feeling grateful that Simon was getting good care but totally defeated because this isn’t how we intended to bring our first child into the world.

24-48 hours quickly became a 7 day course of antibiotics. I can’t tell you how many times I cried in front of the NICU nurses and doctors. They were incredible and treated Simon (and us) so well. We stayed with Simon almost all day every day. When I was discharged from the hospital Simon still had 5 more days in NICU, so we decided that we would be with him as long as we could each day (basically 7AM-11PM) and then went home and the nurses took care of his 1AM and 4AM feeds.

The NICU was a partial blessing in disguise, which I can see now that the fog has been lifted. Simon is much healthier and was checked over by many nurses and doctors during his stay. I was able to take advantage of the nurses and Lactation Consultants, so I came home confident in my breast feeding – I don’t know that I would have been able to say that otherwise.

J and I spent a lot of time with our shirts off doing skin to skin and really tried to treat Simon like we would have if we had brought him home right away. We were able to bond with Simon in a special and unique way because we were in tight quarters for 18 hours a day.

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Obviously, coming home the first night without Simon was rough, but in the end we are so grateful for the care of his nurses and doctors who were nothing short of amazing.

Now we are home, adjusting to life with an infant, watching Simon change so much every day.

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The peanut has our heart.

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I seriously can’t stop staring at this brave little man and wondering how I got so lucky to call him mine. He changes so much on a daily basis – I know that we need to cherish these days.

Motherhood is going to be an up and down roller coaster, of this I am certain.

Happy 2 week birthday love bug. We’ve learned so much and we’ll keep learning together, I know it. Keep growing Simon. Xx.

0 thoughts on “the birth story.

  1. Crying. Big time.

    I am so happy that Simon is doing well now. He is seriously the cutest kid. I wish so badly that I could fly to Chicago to meet him. Of though I have to give you the award for being the strongest laborer, we had similar moments during labor like the heart rate crashing with my contractions. Scary stuff. Sasha boldly claimed after Isla was born that we were only having one child because he couldn’t stand the emotional stress!

    Keep the pictures coming – I love seeing Simon. You’ve inspired me to document our own birth story. Like you, this might take a while!!

    Xo

  2. Wow Mara. That’s just amazing. I can’t imagine going through all of that. It sounds like you and James were just strong and awesome and Simon is so lucky to have such wonderful parents!

  3. That was so great to read! I loved this “Holy shit I just had a baby!!!”.. hahahaha I can totally see you saying that 😉 SO glad that you and Simon are doing well. Lots of love, Jess

  4. Okay…I don’t even know you and this made me cry! What an amazing story. My husband and I are about to start trying and reading stories like this is both scary and inspiring. I think that during all of this, you just have to remember that our bodies are created to do this and will know what to do when in distress. I loved reading this.

    PS, I am a high school friend of Ailee’s and always see you comment on her posts. That is how I came across your blog! 🙂