Birth story

Theo's Birth Story

Theo's Birth Story

Here she goes again.

Throat clear.

So at 38 weeks + 2 days…

Let’s back up. Where to start?

Oh yes, false labor. Or prodromal labor to the medical folks. I call it you suck labor. For days, nay, weeks. It was like that for my first kids, so I don’t know what made me think that I could avoid it this time, but alas, a girl can only dream. For a good fortnight, I had regular contractions, especially during the day while I was working. I’ll tell you, prepping crowns and trying to do exams on squirmy two-year-olds is no fun when you’re contracting.

If I was more of a glass-half-full kind of gal, maybe I’d glean some life lesson from the waiting and wondering and patience and yada yada. Offer it up, Samantha. But nope. Impatience during the last month of pregnancy is sort of my deal.

But I was determined not to go to the hospital unless I was FOR. SURE. IN. ACTIVE. LABOR. Because being sent home with not-so-active labor but still contracting for baby number three would be #embarassing. I was also delaying packing my hospital bag because, although I am not superstitious, apparently 36+ week pregnant Samantha was convinced that packing the hospital bag would delay labor. I know, pregnancy brain is an interesting phenomenon.

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Henry's Birth Story

SO, I had another baby.

On Sunday, July 31st (at 38 weeks + 4 days)… 

Wait, lets back up. Apparently, my labors like to dwell in the prodromal/pre-/early labor phase for days, NAY, weeks before kick starting into the real deal, active labor. I started having regular, consistent, and oh-so-real feeling contractions around 36 weeks, painful and regular enough that I had to stop working a couple weeks before I had planned. (My dental assistant would comment that she knew I was having contractions while treating my patients because my ears would get all red.) Therefore, I finally went on maternity leave at 36 weeks + 5 days. Woo!

Now if you have ever experienced long and drawn out prodromal labor then you'll know how exhausting and draining it is - both physically and emotionally - and I was beyond ready to hold my son and just give birth alreadyyyy.

Thankfully, my mom had some up a couple days before to help with Emma. I was racking my brain about what we would do with Emma if I went into labor and my mom was not here, but thankfully she was here so we did not have to take Emma to the hospital with us. 

I had a prenatal appointment several days earlier and my OB/GYN said that I was already at 3 cm and 75% effaced and it would be “any day now”. I would just have to reach a certain threshold for them to get-a-going.

Daaaays later, cut to me still at home, contracting away and not in the best of moods (read: the crankiest person ever). 

This is the face of, "let's get the show on the road".

I woke up on Sunday morning after having been contracting all night and I was just O V E R it - hence the bad mood. The contractions were somewhat regular and were about 5-8 min apart. Not getting closer together, but definitely getting worse. I wanted to stay at home as long as possible, but Paul and my mom were encouraging me just to “get checked”. I did not want to go all the way to the hospital (only ten min away but still) just to be sent home. But I finally agreed to go in because I was just so uncomfortable and miserable and ready to throw something at someone. 

So I packed up my toiletries and we threw the hospital bag and pillows in the trunk. Emma gave me a half-hearted hug as Paul and I left because her Mamaw was there and way more entertaining than her cranky/laboring mother. 

The construction on the freeway made the car ride bumpy and miserable but when I finally got to the hospital in the triage room the contractions slowed to 10 min apart and of course I rolled my eyes to the heavens because I was convinced they would just send me home. 

We arrived at the hospital around 10am and apparently a million women came into the hospital at once because it took a while for the midwife to come check me out, but it gave me a chance to close my eyes and “rest”. When the midwife came in, I told her my symptoms and that I’d been contracting for THREE WEEKS STRAIGHT. She sympathized of course and checked me out. She said I was at a “big three” (whatever that means) and that my cervix felt like butter (also, what does that mean?) and that when labor got regular, she’s sure I would deliver before her shift was over that day. (Are you sure? Reeeeally?)  

She told me that because my contractions were a little too far apart to get admitted, she could give me a dose of pitocin to help get them a little closer together. Paul and I talked about it and we agreed that it was time to just get the show on the road because I was no use to man or beast in my current state. 

Finally around 2pm I was taken to my labor room, they got the IV hooked up, and started me on the tiniest drip of pitocin. I always hate the IV part but my nurse had a magic touch and it barely hurt this time. When I had my appendix out they stuck the IV in my HAND which is completely horrible so the wrist IV was much better.

I was on the fence about an epidural, not because I was opposed to medication but because it was so strong with Emma that I could not move my legs AT ALL for hours and hours even after Emma was born. After about three hours with my contractions every four minutes they checked me again and I was at a whopping 5cm. (WHAT?! HOW ONLY 5?!) The contractions were regular (and pretty painful) and I was getting impatient (after laboring for three weeks, I felt entitled to my impatience). 

I was handling the pain and Paul was watching golf but we decided to kick things up a notch and they broke my water. (Side note: that was probably one of the strangest feelings on planet earth. Not painful, just weird.) But as soon as the midwife broke my water, they saw that my water had a lot of meconium in it and gave us a little heads up that they might need a few extra pediatricians on deck. They weren’t too worried, but were glad to have labor progressing to make sure he was alright. 

Now, they did warn me that once my water broke, labor should pick up and BOY were they right. They broke my water around 5pm and immediately things got more intense. Lots more moaning and groaning from me and a few more hand squeezes (death grips) for Paul. I finally asked for my epidural and it was very hard to stay still for it because my contractions were getting more painful by the minute. But they got it in and cranked up the juice.

At this point my contractions were - OW, OMG, PLEASE STOP - and I could not feel that my epidural was helping. I noticed my toes were tingly and slowly my legs were becoming more numb, but as far as the rest, I could feel every single unpleasant thing. Apparently I kept asking (aka screaming) why my epidural wasn’t working and the anesthesiologist suspected that my labor was progressing just too fast. 

TOO fast? I had no idea there was such a thing. Of course this made me ask myself why I waited so long for my epidural. Live and learn. 

At this point my contractions were one on top of the other and I was pretty sure my pelvis was going to break in half. I felt the urge to push and kept screaming, “I need to push, I need to push!” And Paul in his calmest voice said, “well then, push”. 

Thanks for that. 

The midwife was off with another patient so my nurse was helping me out and coaching me through the pushes. I started pushing at about 7pm and I holy MOLY did I wish that my epidural worked because, OW. I think I made did some pterodactyl/banshee screaming because my midwife came running in (probably wondering who was dying). I could not stop shaking and I was convinced I was actually dying (no, I’m not dramatic at all). I was convinced nothing was happening and that he wasn’t moving because I pushed with Emma for THREE hours and thought that I was just destined to have big-headed, stuck babies. But Paul, the midwife, and the nurse reassured me that he was right there - “He has lots of hair!” they said - and finally with all my might he burst onto the scene at 7:27pm. 

They placed him on my chest and I wept uncontrollably. Thankfully I did not need any repairs and they did all that lovely (A;LFDSKJAK;F) pushing of my uterus to get the bleeding to stop (seriously, whyyyyy?!). He hung out on my chest for a good long while and then did the weighing and measuring. 7 lbs, 14 oz and 20.5 inches. I was up and walking shortly after and thanking the good Lord that I did not need repairs. We eventually made it to my postpartum room and called my mom to check on Emma (sleeping peacefully, didn’t miss us at all, thanks E). 

So there you have it, I think. I think I’ll call this labor the longest short labor ever or the shortest long labor ever. (?) Long because I was pre-laboring for a good three weeks and short because I was only hooked up and laboring for five hours. Maybe the next one will not torture me with weeks of prodromal labor. HA.

But he’s here and he’s perfect and these past three weeks have been a crazy ride.

Absolutely perfect. Stay tuned for Emma and Henry meeting for the first time. 

So I had a baby

I still cannot believe that I made this beautiful tiny human and brought her into the world. Here is my birth story. {This post is pretty long, so thanks for reading.}

So it all started when I was 37 weeks pregnant and my OB told me I was already 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced. I was pretty excited that things were already moving. She was convinced that things would progress quickly once labor started. That week I felt my first twinges of contractions. I wondered what I was feeling because I hadn’t been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions so far during the pregnancy. By the way, BH contractions SUCK. Whoever said that “most women don’t even feel them” was a big fat liar. We went to the hospital so I could get checked out and I was admitted because my contractions were coming pretty regularly. But the BH contractions eventually stopped so I went home. First false alarm! Little did I know, there would be many more. From then on, I experienced BH contractions every day but we still waited for our little one to be ready to arrive.

At 38 weeks, Paul and I were having a lunch date and I started to feel a trickle. I thought my water had broken but we continued our day to see if anything progressed. I eventually we went to the hospital to verify whether my water had or had not broken. I was still experiencing strong and regular BH contractions about 10 minutes apart but they confirmed that my water hadn’t broken. False alarm number 2! I went home with my tail between my legs because I felt silly for coming all the way in just to be sent home. Thankfully, the OBs and L&D nurses says it’s very normal for first-time mothers to come in to the hospital multiple times before actually giving birth.

When I was 39 weeks along, I was at my non-stress test and I was experiencing very strong contractions regularly about every 4 minutes. I was sweating and very uncomfortable so I went back to L&D to be checked. About an hour later, my contractions slowed down and I was sent home AGAIN. False alarm number 280,984. At this point I was feeling hopeless and frustrated. I felt like I was never going to meet my little girl and hold her.

My BH contractions kept coming day after day but I was trying to stay calm while waiting. I baked some goodies and took a lot of baths. At 40 weeks {our due date, yay!} I went to another OB check-up and had my membranes stripped. My cervix was even more effaced and it had moved into a good position. I finally had hope that our little girl would be coming very soon!

At 40 weeks and 5 days I woke up to extremely strong contractions. Throughout the day they were becoming progressively stronger and at around 3pm they started coming regularly every 8-10 minutes. However, doubt set in again because I had experienced regular and strong contractions before and I was convinced that they would dissipate eventually, just like every other time. But on some level, I knew these were different. They would take over my body and I had excruciating pain in my lower back.

Paul convinced me to call the birth center and they told to come in. By the time we reached the hospital {about 4 miles away} my contractions had become so intense, that I was screaming through each one and they were coming every 4 minutes. I went to the triage room but they didn’t even try to monitor my contractions and went straight to checking my cervix. I was 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced and I was finally admitted to have my baby. Holy moly! I used that new adrenaline to try to get through the pain. My contractions were coming every 3 minutes and lasting for a minute at a time. I felt like my sacrum was breaking from the inside but I was determined to labor naturally for as long as possible. Back labor was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced or could have ever conceived.

At that point, I was projectile vomiting and Paul was starting to panic seeing me in that kind of pain. At around 11 pm, I tried some fentanyl to take the edge off. It helped at first, but even with a dose every 20 minutes, I was starting to feel incredibly rigid and I wasn’t breathing through my contractions. The pain was making me convulse and I felt like I was losing it.

They checked my cervix again and I had not dilated any more since they checked me at 6 pm. I cannot even describe how hard that was to hear. I couldn’t believe I was in THAT much pain and I still had 6 more cm to go. My hopes were to have as natural a birth as possible but the pain was preventing me from breathing. With the help of Paul and my mother, I was able to see that what would be best for me and the baby. I needed to breathe and relax through the next parts of labor to get ready for the marathon of pushing. At around midnight, I got an epidural and it was one of the best decisions I had ever made. I was finally able to breathe normally and Emma’s heart rate was responding well to my more relaxed state. I was then able to rest for about 3 hours.

Paul continued to hold my hand and reassured me that baby Emma was on her way. The contractions were coming on even stronger and closer together and were lasting over a minute long but I was able to focus on breathing, relaxing my body, and resting for the next phases of labor. At around 4 am, I started to feel the contractions through the epidural and I was convulsing and vomiting again. The nurse said that it was a good sign that I was in transition and that I should be close to pushing soon. Of course, I still had doubts that things were moving but I tried to breathe through this phase. At around 4:30 am, the OB checked me again and lo and behold, I was 10 centimeters dilated and fully effaced! I would be ready to push! 

Starting at 4:40 am, I did a few practice contractions to get a sense of what it felt like to push through the epidural. Pushing was very difficult. It took all my energy to get through each contraction and I felt like I was going to pop blood vessels in my head. I was starting to feel the pain of each contraction and my upper abdominal muscles were screaming. The nurse encouraged me to press the button for another bolus of the epidural, but I wanted to be able to somewhat feel the contractions and know when to push.

The OB and nurse kept checking on the baby’s position and they told me she was slowly moving down the birth canal. With each contraction, she moved further and further down and eventually she was right at my pubic bone. I had to give it my all to get her past the bone. I was given an oxygen mask between contractions to make sure baby was getting enough oxygen. I kept saying that I couldn’t do it and I was crying that she would never come but Paul, my mom, and the team were telling me that she really was moving and I was doing a great job.

I still wasn’t convinced until they told me to reach down to feel her head. Once I felt that little bit of her precious head, I somehow managed to conjure up the last bit of strength that I had and pushed with all my might. More nurses, doctors, and the pediatric team filled the room and I knew in my heart that it would be any second now. With my final push, they guided her whole body out and she was born at 7:22 am. They placed her directly on my chest and I was sobbing with relief.

I had done it. Her first cries took my breath away and Paul and I were in awe of her. Paul and I were crying and kissing and the nurses wiped her down and put a little hat on her. She just looked around as she laid on my chest and we were so in love.

A team of OBs worked on delivering my placenta and repairing a moderate tear but I did not even notice what they were doing. I was staring at this perfect human in front of me. Paul cut the cord and we were now the proud parents of a perfect little girl. She laid on my chest for about 2 hours while we tried to initiate breastfeeding. I couldn’t believe that I had done it. Paul told me he wanted the middle name to be Grace. She was 8 pounds, 3.8 oz, and 20.5 inches long. She was finally here and our twosome became three.

I am still in awe by this whole, incredible experience. God bless our little family.