What better way to kick off “Baby Week” than with a birth story?!
I love birth stories–maybe it’s the biology teacher in me; maybe it’s just the common bond between all women who have ever given birth–but whatever the reason, I find them fascinating. I’ve learned through them, been touched by them, and definitely shed tears over them. If you like them and haven’t read Kelle Hampton’s story, you MUST! I found it through another blog when I was very pregnant with Little Brother. With that in mind, I thought I’d share Little Brother’s birth story with you today.
NOTE: it’s long; it’s personal; and contains medical information and biological terms–so if that’s not your thing, then go ahead and skip this one!
Here is Little Brother’s story:
I’d been having many more labor “signs” this time around than with Big Brother; however nothing had translated into actual labor yet. For a few days in a row, I’d been waking up around 4am everyday with contractions or other labor signs and this Easter Sunday morning was no different. This time though, at close to 5am, it wasn’t contractions that woke me up, but fluid. I knew my water hadn’t broken fully because there was no “gush”, but sometimes it breaks high up and results in slow leaks. I really didn’t want to be that girl that headed to the hospital because she thought her water had broken, but really she just peed herself. So, we waited for a while. There continued to be small amounts of fluid, so I called the dr. The triage nurse told us to go ahead and go to the hospital to get things checked out because it sounded to her like I did have a high leak. I tested positive for Group B strep this pregnancy (a bacteria that many people naturally carry in their bodies) & because I would need at least 2 doses of penicillin to make sure that the baby would be safe from infection, they really wanted to be sure of whether or not my water had broken.
So, after getting the rest of our stuff packed up, giving Big Brother his Easter basket and telling him that we were off to the Dr. (we didn’t want to tell him “baby brudder” was coming in case we got sent home), B & I left for the hospital. It worked out so well that his parents had arrived the night before!
When we arrived at triage for labor & delivery about 8:45am, the nurse didn’t seem very convinced by my story and reminded me that sometimes the baby puts pressure on your bladder. I knew I hadn’t just been randomly peeing for the past 3 hours. However, when she did the protein test to check for the presence of amniotic fluid, it came back negative. UGH! She was claiming that I was indeed that girl!!
But, since we were in triage, she had me hooked up to the fetal heartrate monitor (which looked great) and the contraction monitor. The whole time we were there, I had been having pretty regular contractions–about every 5 minutes or so. Because of the contractions and the fact that it was my second baby, she wanted to check me to see if the contractions were causing any progress. Sure enough, I had progressed from my last appointment and was already dilated to 4. Due to that and the fact that I would need antibiotics before delivery, she called my dr. and decided to keep me. YAY!
We started my first dose of penicillin at about 10am, got to walk around the hospital for two different 40 minute periods, and otherwise, just hung out in triage–which was so NOT comfortable I might add. It was SUPER cold in the room and the bed was REALLY hard!!
The contractions were picking up in intensity, but became a little more irregular. The plan was to get my second dose of antibiotics about 2:00. So, when that time came, she decided to check me again and I hadn’t progressed anymore. Because of this, she then decided that I wasn’t in labor and I would probably be sent home. She left to call the Dr. and I of course started crying. We really didn’t want to head back home–since we had already been there all day, we were mentally prepared to have the baby that day. Plus, I’d been having contractions all day and had already had one dose of antibiotics.
When she came back, she asked what we would like to do. We told her that we preferred to stay and if need be, the Dr. could come fully break my bags of water to really get labor rolling. After about an hour of waiting (which seemed like an eternity), she heard back from the Dr. who agreed to let me stay & break my water. Then, we knew for sure that we were having a baby!!
She started my second dose of antibiotics about 3:00 and about 30 mins. later, I started feeling really strange–sort of dizzy. Apparently B was feeling the same way, but didn’t say anything. Then, we heard the nurses in the hall exclaim, “is this an earthquake?!” As soon as we heard that, I looked at the floor which appeared to be rolling and then B told me to look at my iv bags–they were swaying back and forth on the iv pole. Everything felt like it was rocking! Everyone starting murmuring about an earthquake! Really–an earthquake here?! No WAY! But, sure enough, after checking things out on the computer, we found out that a 7.2 magnitude quake hit Baja, Mexico (less than 200 miles away). Crazy!
So, after the antibiotics and the craziness from the earthquake, I was moved into a labor and delivery room at about 4:00pm. We were waiting for an “in-house” OB to come break my water, but they were all tied up with other patients. So, more hanging out!
I still hadn’t progressed anymore and the nurse asked me if I wanted to go ahead and get an epidural while we waited. I told her no, that I was going to see how things went. With Big Brother, I had pitocin which is known to make contractions feel much stronger than they do naturally. I had an epidural with him and was not opposed to using one if the pain was too bad. But, I wanted to see if I would feel like I could manage on my own this time since I didn’t have the pitocin. I knew that breaking my water would make the contractions stronger (that’s what happened with Big Brother), but I still wanted to wait and see. So, finally, at 5:25pm (she was celebrating Easter with her family), the Dr. came in to see me & break my water. As soon as she went to do that, she said that one of the bags had already broken. Ha! I knew it!!!! I don’t know why I cared, but I was so pleased to finally have confirmation that I in fact hadn’t just peed myself all morning as the triage nurse told me!
When she broke my water, she placed an additional internal monitor to measure the actual intensity of the contractions. She explained that the measurement needs to be about 50 or above to be considered really strong and good for progression. So, she stayed to monitor that for a few minutes. At first, the contractions were only around 25 or 30 and were uncomfortable. But within minutes they were up at 50 and really painful. She left and I labored for maybe 15 minutes with contractions at levels of 65, 75, & even 85! They were even worse than on pitocin with Big Brother! I went from a bit uncomfortable to crazy intense pain rapidly and then, I was practically begging for an epidural! The nurses were all laughing when I wanted the epidural so fast and my nurse basically said, “told you so”. But, then, because of the pain I was in & how fast the contractions were coming, she decided to check me again–sure enough, in less than 20 minutes, I had gone from 4 to 6. She said that this delivery was going to be really fast and I could certainly do this without the epidural. She really was helpful and encouraging in telling me that–and really good with helping me breath through the contractions. But, the anesthesiologist was already there and I decided to go ahead with getting it (and it’s probably good I did because of what happened later). I was in so much pain from the contractions while the anesthesiologist was there, I couldn’t focus on anything he was saying. It took all my energy to focus on breathing through the contractions and not moving at all, so that he could do the epidural safely. He was finished with that by 6:20 and though I was still in pain, the edge was off so I could at least listen to him during a contraction. The nurse checked me again and said I was at least an 8. Super fast! A few minutes later the Dr. came in and said I was at least a 9 and almost fully complete, but that the baby was still really high and still needed to rotate just a little. So, she had me just continue to labor a bit, hoping to bring him down. Then, things got scary…
His heartrate dropped–a lot! He had been in the range of 120-150 bpm and was now well below 100. The nurse called the Dr. in. The Dr. said it could be a cord issue or could be stress from the contractions (even though I couldn’t feel them anymore, they were coming every minute and were all in the 75-85 range). So, they put oxygen on me and rotated me on to my left side. That happened with Big Brother so didn’t worry me immediately. But, there was no improvement. So, switch to the right side. No improvement. Enter more nurses…SCARY! Then, with the help of 4 nurses, I had to rotate onto my hands and knees (very awkward & difficult with an epidural). All modesty gone! Still, no improvement. REALLY SCARY! The flipped me back onto my back and I remember a nurse looking at the Dr. and confirming that I had an epidural. She said, “yes, she does. go ahead.” So, upon those words, one of the nurses took a shot and stabbed it into my thigh. Literally! The drug they gave me is called terbutaline and is used to stop contractions. Within seconds, his heartrate was back to normal.
The Dr. explained that the contractions were so hard and coming so fast, it was putting him in distress. I can’t imagine having done all of that with the pain I had been experiencing before, nor the big needle stabbed into my thigh. So, because of all that ended up happening, I am very glad I went ahead with the epidural.
She checked me again and I was basically complete, but he still was “too high”. Unfortunately though, because they completely stopped my contractions, she wanted them to start back up again to help move him down farther. So, they put an internal fetal heartrate monitor on him (it screws into the baby’s scalp) just like I had with Big Brother and we continued to wait for contractions to pick up. So, more just “hanging out”. All this craziness though allowed time for my parents & sister to arrive. Otherwise, they would have gotten there after he was born!
The Dr. came back just before 9:00pm to check things again. Unfortunately, he still hadn’t dropped anymore. So, she said we would just have to try a “practice push” to see if I could get him to move. He was still at a -2 station, so if I wasn’t able to, I have a feeling she was thinking C-section. I absolutely did NOT want that if it could be avoided, so we did the practice push and, much to everyone’s surprise, it worked! He started moving down (too bad we hadn’t tried the practice push two hours earlier!!).
So, she went out to get “scrubbed up” and we started pushing “for real” between 9:05 & 9:10. Much to my amazement, after the 3rd round of pushing she said he would be born on the next push. I couldn’t believe it! I wasn’t even exhausted yet! With Big Brother, I pushed for 2 & 1/2 hours!! So, I was shocked! And, after one more round of pushing, at 9:27pm, Little Brother entered this world with the everyone commenting on his size!
It was so amazing! Just seconds after he was born, he let out the most perfect cry. They put him on my chest and we were able soak everything about him in right away (this was really special as we didn’t get to experience this with Big Brother as he wouldn’t take a breath).
I couldn’t believe how big he was and how he already had little arm rolls! And, we were surprised to see almost the exact same color hair as Big Brother’s! Recessive genes win twice in a row!
After B cut the cord and we had spent the first few minutes of his precious little life holding him, they scooped him up & took him over to the warmer. My dad and sister came back in–everyone watching, cameras (& cell phones) flashing, and then more comments on his size:
9 lbs., 4 oz and 21.5 inches long. WOW!
A perfect, chunky little newborn who looked A LOT like his big brother.
We all took turns holding & loving him while feeling returned to my legs! Then, about 11:00, they moved us to our post-partum room. On our way, B got to push the “baby button”. Every time a baby is born at the hospital, the family gets to push the button & a lullaby plays throughout the labor & delivery floors. It’s such a special touch and was the perfect ending to a very special Easter Sunday!!
And, I can’t believe it was almost a year ago!