Friday, August 26, 2016

Adelaide's Birth Story

This post is a little late in coming; over two months, to be exact! But now that I finally have a few spare minutes to sit down and actually write a go ahead and grab a cup of tea before you start reading, because this is going to be a long one!

Miss Adelaide Imogen was born at 10:00 AM on June 16th, 2016, measuring 20 inches long and weighing in at 7 pounds and 7.7 ounces.

It was one of the very rare occasions when a baby is born on its due date, and I was so thankful to have it over with. Since the day my Doctor declared that I had hit term and it was safe for the baby to come, I was anxious for labor. The baby dropped when I was about 28 weeks, her head had been fully engaged for some time, and I was 1.5 centimeter dilated for several weeks before my due date...both my OB and the midwife were certain she would be an early baby. Every time I went in for an appointment, they said they would likely see me again in just a couple more days. Both my husband and I were so nervous--every time I had Braxton Hicks contractions that seemed to keep going and grow regular, I double checked the hospital bag and made sure everything was ready to go. There was one night when the contractions were five-six minutes apart for two hours, and I was so sure that I was in labor. I decided to try going to sleep and see what happened, and they went away.

 Finally, the day before I was due, my husband and I took a long walk to see if we could jumpstart labor. We walked a couple miles around the neighborhood. We actually went further than I usually liked to, since my body became exhausted so quickly with all the extra weight up front! I had contractions, and a lot of them, but I didn't think anything of it since that was a normal occurrence after a long walk. We went home and I made dinner before we headed to choir practice. I noticed I was unusually grumpy during choir, but I chalked it up to lack of sleep and the heat inside the choirloft. And I'd never cared for people touching my bump, but I actually grew angry when one of the women came over to rub my stomach after practice.

We stopped at the store on the drive home, and I noticed the contractions were a little sharper now, and definitely coming every six or seven minutes. It was about 10:30 that I finally announced to Josh that I was pretty sure I was having real contractions, but I wanted wait a little while before heading to the hospital. We got ready for bed like normal and laid down to watch some Battlestar Galactica. Two episodes in and it started to feel like I was having terrible period cramps. Finally at midnight the contractions were coming every four to five minutes and even though I felt like it was still pretty early, we decided to head to the hospital.

When we got there, we found out I was already at 5 centimeters, a lot farther along than I'd thought. My OB was on call till 7, and he was pretty sure I would deliver by then. Up until that point, the contractions hurt, but it was a familiar pain, so I was able to deal with it for the few moments it lasted every few minutes. Then I started feeling them in my back and all of a sudden I could barely take it anymore. Nothing relieved the back pain...I sat in the jacuzzi for an hour or so, bounced on the birthing ball, swayed back and forth while clutching at Josh, and it got steadily more horrible. Finally, at 4:30, the contractions were coming every two to three minutes, and I asked for an epidural.
I was worried I wouldn't be able to remain still during the epidural, especially since the nurse warned us it would take a little while to get set up and have it administered. But the anesthesiologist was absolutely wonderful at her job and got it in in-between the contractions. And the relief was almost immediate. I stopped feeling the contractions almost completely. It was the most wonderful thing. Josh and I were actually able to get a little sleep, and I snoozed till about 7, when I was at about 8 centimeters. My Doctor was no longer on call, but I was introduced to a wonderful midwife who was all set to deliver for me. She noted that the epidural was working just a little too well, and told the nurses to turn it off around 9. We talked a little bit about how everything would go once it became time to push, and I was feeling pretty confident that everything would go just fine. At this point, I had terrible heartburn from being on my back for so long, and I finally gave in and asked for some medication.
At 9:30, one of the nurses encouraged me to start pushing. The epidural had been turned off, but I still wasn't feeling legs were numb and heavy, which was the strangest feeling. And once I started pushing, everything went really quickly. They rushed the midwife in, and she talked me through the process, telling me when to start pushing, when to stop, when to do little pushes, when to do big ones. Josh helped hold my legs to my chest. I remember giggling because the midwife kept telling him to watch and every time he looked down he said something like, "It's just so weird!" Finally, just after 10, the midwife had me do one big push, and I felt and saw the baby slide out. Usually I'm super squeamish, but witnessing this was so surreal, and at that point, I just felt a wave of relief. 
The nurse wrapped my baby in a blanket and brought her to me and I burst into tears. I had carried this child inside me for over nine months and now I was holding her in my arms. I just felt so blessed. The midwife insisted that we needed to take pictures, and even though I was a tearful mess, I am so happy that we captured these first emotional moments of us as a family. I will also commend her on getting the placenta out and stitching me up (I had a nice tear when her shoulder popped out) while I was distracted. I barely even noticed the stitches going in. She also took special precautions because of my genetic predisposition to Factor 9 (a mild form of hemophilia). And the wonderful nurses brought me sandwiches (with deli meat! After being forced to cut it from my diet for the past 9 months, that was pretty exciting) and yogurt. 

The nurses labeled this a textbook birth and a textbook baby. And of course the big fear going into labor is that something is going to go wrong, but everything went smoothly...we are so thankful to God for a good labor and for blessing us with our beautiful, healthy baby girl. We stayed at the hospital overnight and headed home the next afternoon. I was so happy to be able to go home to my own bed and be able to sleep without being interrupted by the constant stream of doctors and nurses. Josh had come down with something a couple of days before I went into labor, and I think all the stress and lack of sleep caused it to become worse at the hospital...he was miserable the whole time, poor guy. Being able to go home was a huge relief for all of us. 

I was blessed with a wonderful birth experience, and if you're in the area, I would definitely recommend St. Francis in Federal Way. They have such a great staff and I was really happy with everyone that worked with us there.