Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Claire's Birth Story

Now that Claire is 6 weeks old, I figure it is time to share her birth story :)

The real reason this has come back to the front of my mind is because I am going to my first follow up appointment tomorrow! I am so excited to get signed off and released to return to normal life. Well, not exactly normal, as I plan to start an exercise regimen STAT. I have been very blessed to have most of the baby weight fall off, but I would like to tighten specific areas and build some endurance back up.

Here is the story:

On Tuesday 2/7 at 3 am, her actual due date, I started to feel contractions that were distinctly different from the persistent Braxton Hick's I had been experiencing. They started coming every 30 minutes, then 20 minutes, then every 10 minutes. This continued until 5:15am when I finally decided it was time to call the doctor. She said I should stay home until my contractions reach 5-7 minutes apart. As bummed as I was, I am happy I made the call instead of just heading to the hospital. By 8am, my contractions had slowed to every 15-20 minutes, I was so bummed that things had slowed and decided to go back to bed to get some rest.

That afternoon I woke up and had lunch while the contraction continued at about 1-4/hour. I decided it was time to take things into my own hands and help coax things along :) We went to Sermon Center where I decided to do 1 1/2 miles on the elliptical, hoping that the rocking motion might help things along. Unfortunately, there was no change in my contractions. I wasn't about to give up, so we spent the night running errands- stopped at Subway for dinner, went to Best Buy to get new phones, then walked Walmart (as they were the only place open that late and it was to cold to walk outside). We arrived back home at 11pm and my contractions quickly increased to every 6-8 minutes for 45 minutes! I was so excited thinking I had won and this was it, but, much to my dismay, my contractions spaced back out to every 8-30 minutes and I decided at midnight to go to bed L

A very short TWO hours later, I woke up at 2am to a very PAINFUL contraction! I was so frustrated at this point and just assumed I was being teased again and tried to get back to sleep. Much to my surprise, the contractions started gradually increasing- coming every 7-14 minutes. I let myself get excited/hopeful that this could be it, and decided at 3am to get in the shower. That is when the contractions really hit, now coming every 3-8 minutes-they were much harder and stronger! I got out, got ready (even did my hair), and told Jason it was time to get ready, we needed to go to the hospital :)

We arrived at the hospital at 5:30am and they did my first check, deciding I was dilated 4cm, 70% effaced. I was slightly disappointed hoping for more progress and crossing my fingers I wouldn't be sent home. The overnight doctor decided to go ahead and have me admitted at 6:30am. I was transferred to a room and they wasted no time (as it was coming up quickly on change of shift) getting a saline locked IV started and labs drawn.

At 7am I was able to meet Abby, whom in my opinion, is the most incredible labor and delivery nurse ever! She brought in a birthing ball, discussed my plan of care, as well as reviewed by birth plan that she said she was in full support of. That was a huge weight lifted, as my biggest fear was being judged and cared for by people I had annoyed before they even met us.

After she left the room, I was able to close my eyes and even fall asleep for an hour. At 9am I woke back up, but I was unfortunately starving! I had opted to go without an IV, so it was up to me to keep myself nourished and hydrated. I spent the next hour eating crackers, drinking water, and pacing the room, and rubbing my back, through contractions . I also spent 30 minutes bouncing on the birthing ball.

At 10am, Abby returned to help me back in bed to do 15 minutes of fetal monitoring and do another check. Much to our surprise, I had progressed to 7cm dilated, 100% effaced, but my water had somehow still not broke . Abby decided it was time to call Dr. Steiner and make sure she would be at the hospital soon, and her reply was that she would be there within the hour and we would break my water to move things along!

At 10:30 my Dad, brother David, and my Mom arrived to visit for a few minutes and wish us well. On a side note, I must say, the lack of allowing visitors during my labor is a huge part of what gave me the strength and level head to concentrate and make it through without an epidural. We chose to keep the lighting down, TV off, and door shut to maintain a peaceful environment, as well as use a saline locked IV and intermittent fetal monitoring to allow me to remain mobile and not spend my labor on my back in bed.

By 11:15 the doctor had arrived and we were ready to get things going. She came in and broke my water, which was quite the experience! First of all, I was so relieved when they were able to tell me that the fluid looked great and there was no staining- a huge occupational hazard fear! I honestly had no idea just how much there would be or that it would continue to slowly trickle for so long. At that point I also decided I was ready to start a bag IV fluids to help with hydration.

At noon I decided I was desperate to get back in bed to get some rest and took a half dose of Nubain, a mild pain medication. At 12:30, Abby returned to check in on me and we decided to go ahead and do another cervical check. I was now at 9.5cm dilated and 100% effaced. Abby suggested I move to a hands and knees position to try and dilate my anterior cervix, as that was the only area left to go. After maintaining that for about 15 minutes, I moved to side/tummy position to finish dilation and get some rest.

At 2 pm, after some much needed rest, Abby returned to do another check. At this point I was so excited to hear that I was fully dilated and effaced. She called Dr. Steiner in for a double check. The doctor agreed with my progress, but feared Claire had rotated. She suggested we do a few practice pushes to see if we were ready to go, but they confirmed that Claire had in fact rotated and was lying sunny side up L I had been having pretty intense back pain most of the day, which I now found out had been back labor! Both the nurse and doctor were surprised how well I had tolerated that pain. We all discussed the options and decided to reposition me to attempt to get Claire to rotate.

I spent the next half hour in bed, in the most awkward position I had ever been in. Jason was so sweet, he bravely spent the whole time in bed with me massaging my back and giving encouraging pep talks. At 2:40pm Abby came back in to check and see if she had rotated. She proceeded with a scary "be prepared" conversation- typically, mothers are not able to endure the pain of pushing a baby out in this position; they feared I would tire out and require an emergent c-section. We were all crossing our fingers as she she checked Claire's position- she had turned! I thought I had felt quite a bit of movement, which was far less than comfortable- there is no feeling like a baby moving inside you without amniotic fluid.

At this point, I could feel pressure, but not the urge to push. This was true for much of late active labor for me. I was incredibly fearful of the pain I would experience choosing to deliver without an epidural. I was shocked by the true power of adrenaline (and the many other natural components of pain control)! I was able to use breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and (thanks to Jason and Abby) massage for pain control. This combination, with a whole lot of mind over matter, got me through the process fairly comfortably.

Abby went ahead and called in the doctor, and what seemed like an army, to begin preparing the room for Claire's arrival. By 3:05pm, I was ready to start to pushing. My contractions at this point were still 5 minutes apart, as they remained throughout my whole labor. That made pushing a little more tedious, working hard pushing three times, making progress, only to sit back and wait several minutes before I could try again. I had pushed for about about 30 minutes, they had saw Claire's head crowning with last several pushes, when much to everyone's surprise, Claire got the hiccups! Everyone else in the room took great pleasure in laughing and enjoying watching my belly bounce with each hiccup. For me, it was a much different experience :( It was the most painful part, that is until I actually delivered Claire! The pain was so incredibly intense, but luckily, very short lived.

Ten sets of three pushes each and 49 minutes later, Claire was here! She was quickly wiped off and went straight to my chest where she lay wide eyed. The doctor coached Jason while he cut the cord and the nurses stepped in to check her out. She wouldn’t cry (which is still her norm), but she had great color and bright red lips. She was so wide eyed!

Jason and I spent the next half hour alone with Claire cuddling and getting to know her. The nurse then came back in to give her initial shots and bath. After they were done and she was dressed, we welcomed our families in to meet our sweet bundle of joy!


  1. what an amazing story! Thanks for sharing it! I love hearing about other women's birth experiences since all mine were somewhat out of my control... I'm so happy for you guys!

  2. I love birth stories! Thanks for sharing all the incredible details.:)

  3. I love birth stories too! Good for you for getting it written down so soon. You'll be happy you have all the details to look back on, even though it seems like you'll never forget them : ) Thanks for sharing and you did such an incredible job!