Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Birth Story

N's birth story is a bit of a whirlwind which is why I really want to get it written down and recorded. I don't want to forget it...not that I think I ever could or would, but you know, just in case :-)

I had a midwifery appointment last Tuesday, April 26th at 10:40am. I dropped C off at school and then dropped D off at a friend's house to play while I headed to the appointment. At this point I was already 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant. My husband's family was coming in town to help us with the baby in 3 days. I was extremely uncomfortable doing my normal daily activities. Overall, I was ready to get the baby out.

At my appointment, I was already 4cm dilated and 75% effaced. I had the midwife "strip my membranes." She assured me it wouldn't guarantee that I went into labor within the next 48 hours, but because my cervix was so "favorable," it was likely that it would happen.

When I stood up and hopped off the table, I felt a tiny gush of fluid. She assured me it was probably just the gel she used during the exam. She said the membrane stripping wouldn't cause my water to break...it would cause contractions if anything at all.

As I walked downstairs and out the hospital door (the midwifery office is in the hospital), I began to have a contraction. I had been having contractions for the past 2 days, but they weren't extremely painful and they certainly were not regular. This particular contraction hurt more than any other one had hurt.

As I ran to pick up D, spun through the McDonalds drive thru, and then headed home (around 11:40am), I had a handful more contractions. When I got home and began to eat, I quickly texted my husband to let him know I was having contractions. I began to time them...10 minutes apart.

Though 10 minutes apart isn't very frequent, I knew I was already 4 cm and 75% effaced. I called Labor and Delivery and asked them if I should come in. They said I probably should come in and get monitored - especially since I had just had my membranes stripped. I texted my husband and told him he needed to come home. As I was doing all of this, the contractions were seeming to get more painful. I started to get a bit concerned. I called our pastor's wife (who would be watching our kids while we were in the hospital) and told her that today was looking like it may be the day. She said she would feed her kids lunch and be over asap.

I quickly threw D in the car and headed back on-post to pick up C from Pre-K - an hour before school was out. She resisted leaving, but her teachers quickly helped me usher her out the door when I told them I was having contractions. It was now 12:30ish.

When we got home, I tried to get D down for a nap. I quickly gathered together some toiletry items for myself and made the beds before our sitter came over. I wiped down the kitchen table and straightened up. D was refusing to nap, so I was fighting with him to try and make him lay down.

I texted B and asked him if he was almost home. He was in the neighborhood. I hung up the phone and....GUSH. My water broke.

Today was now officially THE day!

B walked in the door. I told him what had happened. He quickly changed out of his ACUs (Army uniform) as I changed my clothes from my water breaking.

I gave up on D taking a nap. I let him get up.

Our pastor's wife arrived. I ran through the house with her and gave instructions for how to care for the kids and the dog while we were gone.

We finally left the house around 1:45 to head to the hospital. When we arrived, I was examined by the midwife where it was confirmed that my water had indeed broken and I was now 5cm dilated and 90% effaced.

I got into the labor/delivery/recovery room at 2:30pm. I knew I didn't want an epidural right away since I REALLY wanted to be able to move around and get out of bed. As the nurse took all my medical history and the anesthesiologist started my IV, the contractions got more frequent and gradually more painful. I complained about having an IV because I didn't want any fluids until the one bag I got immediately before I received an epidural. The nurse said she wanted to give me the one bag of fluids now so that I could have the epidural as soon as I wanted it. She said things could move fast, and she wanted to fluids to already be in me.

They then unhooked me from the IV and all the monitors to let me get up and walk around. I stood up and had a contraction. I was paralyzed in pain. I then walked to the bathroom to use it one more time. I had another contraction and was once again paralyzed in pain. I walked back to the bed. Had a contraction. Paralyzed in pain once more....I am not sure why I am smiling in this picture.
I hopped back in the bed and got re-hooked up. I didn't want the epidural yet, but the contractions were now 3 minutes apart and they were so bad that I began to cry each time I had one. It was at this point that I decided I needed the epidural now - before they got any worse and I wouldn't be able to sit still for the anesthesiologist to administer the medicine. It was now shortly after 3pm.

After I received the epidural, I felt a million times better. I was able to rest a bit. My husband was able to eat a quick dinner. I got my cervix checked - 7cm!

Soon, however, I felt the contractions once again. They were getting bad quickly. The anesthesiologist came back in and re-administered more medication. I then immediately began feeling the pressure to push. The midwife came in and check me...I was complete!

Ready to push at 5:25pm :-)

This is the turning point in my labor. Up until now, everything was rather under control and fairly easy. Pushing just didn't go as well.

I pushed for about 30-40 minutes and just didn't seem to be making very fast progress. I was tiring out very quickly. My pushes were weak. I knew I wasn't pushing well. I asked the midwife if I could take a break and let my body contract and push the baby down on its own. She thought it was a great idea and she stepped out of the room. I "rested" for about 30 minutes and let the baby work his way down. I felt pressure with each contraction but I didn't give any extra pushing strength.

The epidural started to wear off again. I was told I had a button I could push every 8 minutes for extra medicine. I pushed it a couple times in the 30 minutes. By the time I was ready to push again, the contractions were once again getting pretty painful.

I started to push again around 6:35ish. The baby had moved down quite a but but still had a ways to go. It was looking like he had a big head. It also turned out that I wasn't going to be delivered by my midwife, but rather by a young female Family Practice resident making rounds in labor and delivery. My midwife was present, of course, as was my nurse and a nurse for the baby.

Turns out that I wasn't really any more rested. I still didn't feel like I was pushing well. I no longer was bothered by feeling the contractions, but quickly became extremely bothered by the pain down in my bottom. The baby's head was pretty much stuck at the "crowning point" of labor. He was so far out that you could see lots of his nearly bald head. They even got me a mirror so I could see. They also encouraged me to feel his head. Both were awesome experiences!

Too bad I was now in TERRIBLE pain. I couldn't put my legs down between contractions and pushing spurts. His head was literally "in the way." I felt no relief when I was pushing, I felt no relief in between pushing.

I begged for more medicine. Anything. A local anesthetic. I pushed the epidural button again. I was desperate. I was crying...and begging for some sort of help.

They kept telling me he had a big head! I kept thinking, "Hello! I can feel that!! I can't push him out!"

I am pretty sure he sat there at that point for probably 20-25 minutes before I finally got "mad enough" to push through the unbearable pain and get him out. Feeling his body slip free of mine was the best feeling I could have ever felt at that moment.

There was a slight moment of concern when his shoulders got a bit stuck and my midwife jumped up and she and the nurse hoisted my legs back further. It was then that the baby's nurse told me she'd be taking him to the warmer rather that putting him on my chest.

Then he let out a wail! The time was now 7:39pm.

On my chest he went....
Turns out the cord was wrapped tightly around his neck and his color wasn't good which is why the nurse was going to have to take him, but as soon as he let out a cry, he perked right up. His color improved and on my chest he went.

And on my chest he stayed - for about 45 minutes! It was so special. He felt incredible.
He was eventually taken to the warmer to be weighed and measured. 8lbs 2 oz and yes, his head measured pretty big.

I was able to nurse him for the first time within an hour of delivery.

B and I were in awe that our new son was finally here! Our family was now complete. Thank you, Lord for this blessing. A blessing better than we could have ever imagined.
Welcome to the world, little Nathan Jeremiah...


  1. YAY! He's here! Congrats! He's gorgeous, and wow! What an amazing job you did, Mama! Praying as you all welcome your sweet new addition into your family:)

  2. Oh... He's so precious Randi. I'm enjoying little Charlie sooo much, I imagine you're doing the same with Nathan =) I loved reading your story.. I can't imagine him being stuck at that point for so long. I hope you're in church on Sunday so I can get more details! (if you're not though I totally understand) ;-)
    I didn't know he had the cord wrapped around his little neck! Charlie did too, 3 times! =( So glad they are both here safe and sound!