I decided to copy this over from my old blog. Having this posted here will make it easy to compare her birth story to our son’s after he’s born.
August 16, 2013
Well, my unborn princess decided to be “borned” during the wee hours of the morning on August 14th, and I’ve just now settled down enough to pen her birth story for all who are curious. There are some details that I’d like to share first, though, to give her birth some perspective.
I am at a place now where I can admit publicly that conception of our first child was neither an easy nor quick journey. We stopped preventing pregnancy in April 2011, and we began actively trying to conceive in February 2012. With no reproductive health issues, we just figured it was a slam dunk for us to get there, but it took a little longer than expected. I have other friends who have sought fertility treatment/alternatives ranging from Clomid to Tamoxifen to in-vitro fertilization and for some, surrogacy. We were never under any sort of clinical care like that, but the amount of time it was taking did bring us to a place at the end of 2012 that we considered seeking medical help in the 2013 new year. It was almost at the same time that we were picking up the phone to discuss options with the doctor that two pink lines lit up on my home pregnancy test. God’s will and timing taught us to be patient and prepared us to receive the blessing that is our dear daughter.
I’m choosing to share this information because not everyone understands why parenthood and pregnancy can be such a big deal. People throw ill feelings and judgment around like a set of car keys or a pair of socks, (me included) but it’s important to remember that unless you’re in a person’s shoes, you have no clue what their struggle is like. I’ve had to become very sensitive to this fact over the last two years. I tuck it into the folder in my life’s file cabinet marked, “Valuable Lessons Learned.”
Now, on to the good stuff…
Here’s a rough timeline of what labor and delivery was like:
8/5 – My OBGYN does a cervical check and finds that I am dilated to 3cm with 50% effacement. Though I’m scheduled to see her again on 8/16, she seems confident that I won’t need that appointment.
8/7 – Mom arrives in town. Yipee! Operation: Get Baby Out can begin!
8/8 to 8/10 – Mild contractions happening 20 mins apart in the morning, but disappear as soon as I start walking around or become active.
8/11 – Contractions show up on and off, coming as close together as 5 minutes apart, but they aren’t strong in intensity and tend to space out when I’m active.
8/12 – I’m walking my ass off circling the block in my neighborhood in hopes that something will begin. I feel some contractions while walking, but ultimately they aren’t strong nor consistent.
8/13 – “LABOR” DAY
2:00am – I’m awakened by semi strong contractions that appear to be happening every two minutes. I wrestle out of bed, shove my glasses on my face, and start doing laps through the hall, dining room and living room to see if they disappear as the other ones have.
3:10am – Mom’s awake, we’ve timed contractions for about an hour and they’ve stayed consistent at two minutes apart. During this time I’ve also been walking laps through my house and using my exercise ball intermittently. The contractions have not stopped. In fact, they’ve gotten stronger.
3:13am or something – We throw all the shit in the cars and head to Palomar Medical Center
3:35am – The nurse hooks me up to the contraction monitor and fetal heart rate monitor to get a closer look at what’s happening. She also does a cervical check and finds me to be 3-4cm dilated with a stretchy cervix.
3:55am – I learn a new term, “ballottable” which means that though Kennedy’s head has descended into my pelvis, it is not engaged and secure. The nurse can still push her up into my cervix. In active labor, babies heads are fully engaged.
At this point, I’m told to walk the halls a bit in hopes that gravity with the contractions will help Kennedy fall into place.
5:00am – I return to the exam room and the nurse finds I’m at the same dilation and effacement, but Kennedy’s head is more secure than it was an hour ago. I’m admitted to the hospital.
3:00pm – After hanging out in the delivery room for hours, my contractions have slowed and lessened in intensity. The doctor gives me four options:
- Go home
- Stay and wait
- Have my water broken in hopes contractions will return
- Receive Pitocin to kick start contractions
After much prayer and consideration, I settle on option 4. Already, my birth plan has been compromised with the acceptance of drugs, however, leaving and waiting were unattractive options for all I had been through up to that point, and should having my water broken fail, it would lead to further medical interventions which would have most likely included a C-section. Those who know me well know that a C-section was the one option I went into labor dead set against.
7:00pm – I’ve been on the Pit for four hours, contractions are back but they are still pretty spacey at 6-7mins apart.
7:01pm – Shift change. I meet my new nurse, Leeann, who says that with my permission we can take a more aggressive approach and increase Pitocin at 30minute intervals to bring the contractions closer together. She asks twice if I want an epidural, but I refuse, holding tightly to the last shred of my birth plan that I can in order to ease my control freak mind.
9:30pm – Contractions are strong and frequent. The doctor on call checks me and finds me to be dilated to 5cm with an even stretchier cervix and per my request, breaks my water.
10:00pm – Contractions are excruciating. My pain level has reached level 10. I fight tears and heavy breathing and admit to my mother that I will need the epidural. I apologize. She brushes it off and begs me to just have a healthy baby and take care of myself. She says there’s nothing I need forgiveness for. I grab her arms and shoulders and breathe through what is accurately summed up as the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. Leeann calls the anesthesiologist.
11:00pm – Doctor “Make the Pain Disappear” FINALLY shows up and has me sign what seems like an endless stack of papers and explains some shit I wasn’t listening to. I was barely hanging on. Just stick the shit in my back so I can breathe, dude.
11:30pm – Epidural is administered, but I need a double dose as it doesn’t take hold right away.
8/14 – “BIRTH” DAY
12:15am – I’m finally feeling the effects of the epi, and I’m dilated to 8cm. Leeann advises me to rest and relax and tells me she’ll return in approximately an hour and a half to see where I’m at.
1:45am – I ask for another check as I can feel lots of pressure with each contraction. Kennedy has descended into the canal at this point and I’m feeling like I need to push.
2:00am – Leeann confirms that Kennedy is low, I’m dilated to 10, I’m 100% effaced, I’m there. She asks if I want to wait a bit for my perineum to soften some more or if I’m comfortable pushing now. Anxious to meet my daughter, I opt to start the push.
2:10am – My husband grabs my left leg and my mom my right, we wait for the next contraction wave and I start to push. Immediately, I hear my mom shout that she can see Kennedy’s head. Victory is in sight. Two more contractions and rounds of pushing and Leeann asks me to stop so that she can call the doctor.
2:25(ish)am – The doctor comes back in and is pleased to see that we’re basically at the finish line. She begins changing into surgical attire and setting up stirrups and I continue to push as before.
2:28(ish)am – The doc yells for me to stop pushing because Kennedy is coming out too fast. Too fast?! Lady, I’ve been waiting three years for this. If YOU aren’t ready, I suggest you GET ready, NOW.
2:33am – Kennedy Faye is out, alive, vibrant, loud, and in my possession. A flood of emotions runs over me as I begin to bawl at the sight of her tiny eyes squinting as she wails.
8/15 – “HOMECOMING”
1:45pm we are discharged from the hospital into my comfy house where my mother and father have made a delicious dinner of meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Blessed be!
So, was labor everything I thought it would be? Sure! And then some! I was prepping for it like a prize fight, and I went in giving it my all.
Do I regret having my daughter the way I did? No. Labor was my experience to have and I needed to just…well, labor. I needed to feel what everyone was so fearful of and decide for myself it was something I could cope with. Ultimately, with my mom and Leeann’s wisdom, I came to see that though I could struggle through the contractions of dilating from 8 to 10, it would’ve made for an unpleasant, unhappy ride when I had been looking forward to a joyful ride the entire time I carried Kennedy.
I’ve forgiven myself for choosing comfort and reprieve over suffering it out like a battle axe. And, at the end of the day, I still came away with the prize – a healthy, beautiful baby girl who breastfeeds perfectly, has no digestive or gastrointestinal issues, who scored high on the APGAR, who is alert and focused at only five days old, whose body has maintained its weight since leaving the hospital four days ago, much to the astonishment of her pediatrician. I have also learned not to fault any woman for the choices she makes when giving birth. It’s serious business. All that really matters is that the choice is hers when it is made. Every decision made during my labor with Kennedy was mine, and I’m proud of myself for that.