Thursday, February 4, 2016

Adele's Birth Story


Alternate title: Hello From the Other Side

***Disclaimer: This story might be a little graphic, like all birth stories are, so if you are a male you can go ahead and just skip reading this post :) ***

Also this post is very long. But I wanted to remember all the little details and have it in one place so bear with me. 


January 24th, my due date, came and went. It was a Sunday, so at church everyone was asking about when I was due and wondering when I would be getting induced. I was getting pretty annoyed and I told Leland if I was still pregnant by the next Sunday we were not going haha. At my 40 week appointment Monday I was 3cm and still 75% effaced. At that appointment my Dr offered to set up an induction date if that was what I wanted. I told her I would rather wait it out, so we set up appointments for non-stress tests to make sure the baby was still doing ok. I was pretty discouraged at this point. I asked Leland to give me a blessing that day. In the blessing he said to be calm and happy. He also said I would need to be patient but I wouldn't need to wait very long. I was excited by this, but then Leland reminded me that in the Lord's time 2 weeks really isn't too long. Still I felt much better about this and I really felt that Adele would be coming before the weekend. 

I spent the next couple of days soaking up all my time with Esther. On Monday night we went sledding as a family, and on Tuesday I took her swimming. On Wednesday I had planned to take her to the zoo because it was a free day but she started showing signs of being sick so we just stayed home and rested that day. (Turns out she was sick and is still getting over it.) I was pretty relaxed about everything and ok with waiting for Adele to be born. Even though I was overdue I didn't really try anything to get labor started. I had tried everything with Esther so I knew they wouldn't work anyways. The two things I did do this pregnancy to prepare for labor was to drink red raspberry leaf tea everyday and eat dates. The tea is supposed to make you have a faster labor because it strengthens the uterus. I also ate 6 dates a day from 36 weeks on, This is supposed to help you dilate and efface before going into labor, as well as strengthen your water bag to keep it from breaking too early. I definitely think both of these things worked for me. 

So on Wednesday while relaxing at home with Esther I started noticing that the contractions that I had been having for weeks were coming closer together. They had been about 20-30 minutes apart for a few days but they sometimes would stop and never got closer together. This time they didn't seem to be stopping so I started timing them around 1pm. By 3pm they were still coming at 15-20 minutes apart. I was super hesitant to tell anyone because they weren't hurting at all. I decided to tell my mom and Kylee just in case I needed one of them to come watch Esther later that night. By 5:30 Leland got home and my mom had decided to drive up from Southern Utah to stay with Esther in case we needed to go to the hospital in the night. By the time she got there they were about 10 minutes apart and had been for a few hours without getting closer together. I stopped timing them. I felt for sure it was a false alarm and that I had her come up for nothing. Once she got here we all decided to just go to bed. That was at about 11pm, I thought about walking or using the breast pump to try to get them closer, but I figured I should just try to sleep and if nothing happened by morning then I would try those things. 

As I was sleeping that night I had a big contraction that woke me up. It actually hurt! Right then I knew this was the real thing. I looked at the clock and it was 4:13am. I stayed in bed until the next one came at 4:25 and I knew I wouldn't be sleeping anymore. I went out into the living room and my mom was awake. Leland was sleeping with Esther in her room so I decided to let him sleep a little longer. By 5am they were 7ish minutes apart. Esther woke up so I went in and told Leland that this was the real thing. I attempted to lay down with Esther to get her back to sleep. I knew this was my last time with her before she was no longer my "baby" and I was a little sad, but I was happy I got to see her before we left. I started packing our hospital bags and getting everything ready to go, stopping with each contraction to sit on my birth ball, as that was the most comfortable position. I called Julie, our doula, and let her know that things were happening. We planned to meet up at the hospital. I was group B strep positive so I needed to be at the hospital at least 4 hours before the baby was born so I could get the antibiotics. 

By about 6am contractions jumped from 7 minutes apart, to 5 then 3 minutes apart really quickly. They started getting really intense and I needed Leland to do counter pressure on my back to make them more bearable. We were still getting ready but I just wanted to get to the hospital already. We left for the hospital around 6:45. I had eaten earlier but was feeling nauseous so I made Leland bring a bowl in the car in case I threw up haha. I was worried about having contractions in the car and I think I did have two, but they weren't too bad and I was able to get through them.

We got there right at 7, and they asked if we were there for an induction. I was happy to tell them nope, I was in labor! At this point it was getting real to me that we would be having a baby that day, even though the contractions were painful I was excited! When they checked me in triage I was 5+cm with a bulging bag of water. They started my IV, after my last experience I was nervous, but it felt basically painless compared to the contractions haha. The triage nurse was very helpful and did the counter pressure whenever I had a contraction in the hallway lol (Leland was carrying all of our stuff). We got to our room and Julie got there soon after. I was kneeling on the floor leaning over the bed and Leland or Julie would do counter-pressure on my back. The contractions kept getting stronger and stronger and I was having to breathe and moan through them. At this point I threw up. I was pretty embarrassed to throw up in front of everyone. Little did I know what was coming haha. I decided to get in the tub but it was super small and when I was on hands and knees it didn't even cover my belly. Julie would pour water on my back while Leland did counter pressure and that made the contractions more bearable. I was hooked up to the wireless waterproof monitors but they were having a hard time picking up the baby's heart rate so they had me get out. I think I was in there for maybe an hour?



After I got out of the tub I decided I wanted to be checked. I felt like I must be more dilated and I wanted to know if this would be over soon or not. The nurse checked me and I was 7cm. My water broke as she was checking me. There was slight meconium in the water so they told me a NICU team would need to be present when she was born. I wasn't super worried about the meconium, but I did feel bad that my water had been broken. With Esther, once my water broke she started to not handle contractions well and I was worried the same would happen this time. I felt a little guilty for wanting a cervix check because I knew there was a risk of my water breaking and it happened. So I guess at this point I was worried that things would go bad and it would be my own fault, if that makes sense. 

After my water broke things did go bad. Adele's heart rate started to dip with each contraction. It would always come back up, but my contractions were lasting a long time and it would get very low. They gave me an oxygen mask and had me try out different positions. After this point things get a little hazy for me. I remember the Dr coming in and checking me and I think I was at an 8. The position changes weren't really helping with the heart rate. It was so hard for me to be going through a contraction and I would hear her heart rate over the monitor. I remember the thump thump thump would get slower and slower until I was worried it would stop, and then it would finally come back up. I felt like everyone was super tense with each contraction and would breathe a sigh of relief once it was over. 

My Dr. was great and was in the room the entire time. I think it was at this point that she told me she was concerned for the baby. She said that baby could handle things for now, but that this couldn't go on for much longer. She never mentioned the word "c-section" but I knew that was what she meant. At this point I completely felt like giving up and I told that to Leland. I told him I wanted the epidural. He reassured me that I was close to being done and could do it. But I felt like if this was going to end up a c section anyways then I really didn't want to go through the pain of contractions any longer. 

I think it was at this point that I changed positions to hands and knees, leaning over the back of the bed. Julie suggested that Leland give me a blessing and I was very happy that she did. I told Leland that I might want a blessing during labor but I don't know if he would have remembered or not. The nurse said they would call the elders to come assist Leland with the blessing. As I said I was kind of out of it at this point, but I remember thinking oh no I don't want to traumatize some 18 year old missionaries with all my moaning through contractions haha. It turns out they are senior missionaries who are at the hospital to give blessings. It took a while (I had no real concept of time) for the missionaries to get there. During this time Adele's heart rate was much better, as long as I was on my hands and knees. Everyone kept commenting on how much better it was, so that made me happy. However, the contractions were still very strong and by this point no amount of counter pressure was helping. I think I again told Leland I couldn't do it anymore.

Finally the elders got there for the blessing. I remember Leland telling me that I should ask the Lord to help me, and also that Adele was ready to come. I felt much better emotionally after the blessing. I think it was then that I knew that I would not be getting another c section and it gave me the strength to make it through that last little bit. Right after the blessing things moved quickly. I think it was at this point that Adele finally turned from posterior to anterior, I felt her drop down and it totally felt like her head was about to come out. I told Julie this and she told the Dr to come check me. The Dr checked me and I was still an 8, but she stretched me out to a 10 and told me to push against her. This was SOOOOO painful. I think I screamed through the whole thing, but I could totally feel it working and her head moving down further, which was a strange sensation.

I don't remember anyone ever telling me to start pushing. In my birth plan I said I didn't want any coached pushing, and everyone honored that. At the time though I had wished they would tell me. I don't know that I ever felt the urge to push that so many people talk about, all I knew was that I wanted this to be over so I started pushing with each contraction. Also I felt like I had kept my cool pretty well through the whole labor up until this point. I started screaming after each contraction. The nurses and Julie would remind me to breath deeply, and I would try but mostly it was just screaming.

 Everyone told me I was doing good and soon they were telling me they could see her hair. Contractions had spaced out pretty far apart now, so in between I was just chilling on my hands and knees with my butt exposed to the whole room haha. During pushing the contractions didn't hurt at all, but her head moving down hurt so bad. I kept thinking of the "ring of fire" that people talk about, thinking that this must be it, but nope her head would just slip back in. I was actually glad for the times her head would go back up because then the pain would be more bearable in between contractions. Once her head stayed down it just felt like the "ring of fire" lasted until she was out, which was a long time. Finally the pushes were getting close, I kept telling myself, with the next one she'll be out! And finally her head did come out. I thought I was done but then everyone was telling me to push her body out. I thought once the head was out, everything else would just slide right out. But the nurse did coach me through this part and told me to push and keep pushing until she was all the way out. Finally she was here! They told me to turn around and hold her.


Throughout my pregnancy when I would watch birth videos I would always tear up or cry, so I was sure that I would be crying when she was born (Leland was :)), but at the time I was just so relieved that the pain was over and that she was here safely. It was a major adrenaline rush once she was born, I felt super happy but I didn't feel like crying. In some ways I wish I would have had a video of her being born so I could feel all the feelings that I did while watching those other videos. I loved being the first one to hold her even though it was for a very short time. They had Leland cut the cord right away and took her over to be suctioned out. Luckily she didn't aspirate any of the meconium but she did struggle a little. Her apgars were 6 and 9. They kept her over at the nicu table (in the same room) for a while and I really wanted her back!

While she was being looked over I had to deliver the placenta, then be stitched up (I had a 2nd degree tear). I could barely feel the placenta coming out, but those stitches hurt. I think by this point my pain tolerance was basically zero because I remember telling the Dr that it hurt so she gave me more numbing shots. I had thought the pain was over, then they did those painful stitches and were pushing on my stomach to help my uterus contract, which was also super painful. I was super annoyed that baby was out and I was still in pain haha. 

Finally (with Julie's encouragement) they finally gave Adele back to me. They were all commenting on how big she was, but she wasn't weighed until later. She was so alert and started rooting around right away. She latched on and breastfeed basically non-stop for the next three hours. Breastfeeding her has been so much easier than with Esther, but maybe it's just because I know what I'm doing this time. 

Right after she was born I kept thinking how glad I was that it was over. They were all commenting on what a fast labor it was, especially for a first delivery. My first real contraction was at 4:13 am and she was born at 11:55 am so 7 hours and 42 minutes of labor, 1.5 hours of which was pushing. But let me tell you it did not feel fast at all. Leland kept asking me if I wanted to have our next baby without an epidural too and I told him to stop talking about doing that again haha. But I guess it's true that those memories fade quickly because I'm 1 week postpartum and already telling myself it wasn't that bad lol. 

The recovery this time compared to my c section are like night and day. About an hour after she was born I was able to stand up and walk to the wheelchair to go to the recovery floor. With Esther I couldn't walk for a day at least and I couldn't walk without pain for about 10 days. This time I'm at a week out and I feel fine, I just have a tiny bit of pain and ibuprofen helps.

I'm so grateful that I was able to get my VBAC. I know a lot of what happens with birth is just pure luck so I'm very thankful that things went so smoothly. I do think that with a different doctor I might have ended up with a c section, so I'm glad that  I had found someone so supportive. I also think that this birth could have gone a lot differently if I had gotten the epidural, just because I wouldn't have been able to get on my hands and knees. I was so surprised by myself for actually doing it. Even before labor I really didn't know if I could. Both Leland and Julie were super helpful during labor. I'm glad I had both of them there to tell me what a great job I was doing and keep me going. Afterwards I kept telling Leland "I can't believe I did that!". 



1 comment:

  1. So awesome and empowering! I'm so proud of you for doing a natural birth, especially a VBAC! This reminded me of my birth story; brought back lots of feelings! I also remember that delivering the placenta was more painful than I expected. Congrats!

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