Hannah’s birth story
As you may recall, Hannah’s due date was Friday Oct 24. Well, starting at my 38 week appointment my OB was checking my cervix for changes and at that check I was already 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. I was thrilled! We quickly finished up last minute prep that weekend knowing/hoping that I could go into labor any day. Well, we made it to the 39 week appointment without going into labor despite a few contractions here and there. I was a bit disappointed when my exam was unchanged at that visit. My OB had asked the week before if we were interested in induction, but I wanted to wait and see if I would go into labor on my own. At the 39 week mark she asked again (and Corey and I had discussed throughout the week prior) so given my unchanged exam and the fact that I was feeling pretty miserable, we went ahead and scheduled an induction for Oct 23rd, 1 day prior to my due date. I figured that still gave me 6 more days to go into labor on my own, and if I didn’t, we had an “end date.”
Well, fast forward 5 days and still no labor, so we prepped for induction the next day. We spent the evening dropping off the dog, having dinner and packing last minute items. Neither of us slept well that night – we were just so amped up! We checked into Labor & Delivery just after 8am to get things started.
After a few missed attempts my IV was started, my OB came in and checked me (still at 2 cm) and broke my water. Shortly after the nurses started my pitocin and fluids and it was time to wait and see. I quickly started having mild contractions and the nurses gradually increased the dose of pitocin every 15 minutes. The pitocin worked very well and I started having regular contractions that got stronger and stronger with each increase of dose. My contractions were mostly in my back, lasted about a minute and came every 2-3 minutes. At the worst they were probably at 6-7 our of 10, but nothing I couldn’t tolerated. Around 11:15 my nurse came in to tell me the anesthesiologist would be starting a scheduled case in the OR at noon, so if I wanted an epidural before 1pm I should probably go ahead and get it then. I agreed knowing that my contractions would only get more intense.
Just before noon, I received my epidural which was not a pleasant experience. It was more painful than my contractions! When the anesthesiologist advanced the epidural catheter it hit a nerve causing a really sharp pain to run down my leg. Thankfully it didn’t last long and the pain relief kicked in rather quickly. It was then time to relax and wait more. My in-laws were up at the hospital with us, so we chatted for a while, I took a quick nap and we sent C off to get lunch. Unfortunately I had an area on my right side that wasn’t completely numb so after additional doses of medication and some repositioning I was finally getting total relief. Problem was, I was completely totally 100% numb thanks to the extra doses of medication meaning I couldn’t feel or move my legs in the slightest. What a strange sensation! My OB came in to say hi and check my progress a little after 1pm and I was at 7 cm and 100% effaced. Woohoo! She asked the nurse to check me again in a hour.
Fast forward to a little after 2pm and the nurse checked, sure enough I was complete! It was time to push. However, since I was so numb, I couldn’t feel any contractions whatsoever. The nurse suggested asking my OB to allow me to “labor down” for a period of time to allow some sensation to return, increasing the likelihood of effective pushing. I completely agreed as did my OB. Just before 3pm I was able to feel pressure with contractions and it was time to start pushing. C was a wonderful labor coach, holding one of my legs, counting for my pushes and encouraging me the entire time. I couldn’t have asked for a better coach! My nurse was also great, helping with counting, encouraging me and making sure I was pushing well. At one point Hannah’s heart rate was dropping some with pushing, so she would scratch/poke her head to make her mad and get her heart rate up. She mentioned that she was doing that and said something about hair. I got so excited that she had hair on her head (I was convinced she would be bald) and the nurse just laughed at me. A little after 3:30pm my nurse called my OB in because baby was near! Just about 6 more pushes and suddenly there was a beautiful baby girl lying on my chest. C eagerly cut the cord despite previously saying he wasn’t interested in doing so. I think he was so caught up in the excitement and realized it wasn’t as scary as he originally expected.
I won’t lie, I was shocked and overwhelmed when I first saw and held her. It such an amazing moment with emotions I’ve never felt before and can’t even start to put into words. Hannah was coughing quite a bit but not crying despite the nurses suctioning her nose multiple times. They decided to take her over to the warmer to use a better suction to clear fluid from her nose and airway. After a few minutes she gave a good healthy cry for the nurses. They quickly brought her back to me and laid her on my chest again. We held her, looked at her and just marveled at her for a while. I attempted breastfeeding while the OB and nurse were taking care of things “down there.” It wasn’t perfect and a little awkward but still an amazing experience. After a while the nurses came to take her from me clean her up a little better, get her weight and other measurements and give meds.
She weighed in at 7 lb 14 oz (which was C’s prediction while I was labor), 20 inches long. Her Apgars were 9 and 9 (out of 10) and she was as pink as she could be. Some of the nurses and my OB commented on the fact that she looked like a C-section baby because she had minimal molding of her head, only a small cone shape to the back of her head and her face wasn’t smushed like many “natural” delivery babies. She was wide awake and very alert for about 2 hours after delivery, including through her first bath – which she was not a fan of! With the help of one of the newborn nursery nurses I attempted breastfeeding again and it went much better. Those first several hours C and I held her, she met her Texas grandparents and we notified family and friends via phone calls and text messages of our newest arrival. I also scarfed down my first meal of the day which was glorious. We stayed in the labor & delivery room longer than usual due to a minor complication for me. Around 10pm we finally moved to the Mom & Baby unit (postpartum floor) and get settled in our room there.
I couldn’t have asked for a better birth experience! I was hesitant to be induced because there are higher C-section rates with induction and I wanted to avoid one at all costs. However, my OB reassured me that given my cervical progress without augmentation was reassuring that I would respond well to induction. I was expecting a longer labor and longer pushing, so I was pleasantly surprised how (relatively) quickly things happened. As I mentioned previously C was a fantastic and supportive labor coach and my nurses were wonderful. My OB was great throughout my pregnancy and was wonderful during delivery and after. And at the end of it all, we were blessed with a beautiful healthy baby girl. Is there anything better?