Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sydney's Birth Story

It's funny how normal it feels to have a newborn in the house again. The breastfeeding, burping, diapering, swaddling, bathing, and working with one hand came back to me so naturally. Then there are moments that I feel completely surprised and overwhelmed to realize I'm a mother to two sweet babies.

I want to try and put into words the events of the birth of our sweet "baby Sydney" as Owen has taken to calling her. I like birth stories. They are so fun.

March 18, 2015

8:00am- I woke up to the sound of Patrick walking in our room. He's not normally awake before me.  I was completely shocked to see that the clock showed it was a little after 8. I slept hard the night before (which ended up being a blessing). I started to roll over to see what Patrick was doing. Right as our eyes made contact I felt it. I calmly said, "Well, my water just broke." I quickly rolled the opposite direction and out of bed to prevent the sheets from getting soaked.

As I sat on the bathroom toilet and confirmed to Patrick that yes- my water was broken, the cobwebs cleared from my brain and I began to anticipate all that this meant. We were having a baby today. I was slightly bummed that I wouldn't get to experience normal contractions that progress on their own. However, I was ready to meet this little mystery person no matter how he or she decided to come into the world.

9:12am- I snapped a picture of the "Mickey pillowcase" ready to go and texted it to my mom. This pillow deserves a blog post for itself. Another time, maybe. Short story is that it's kind of like the sisterhood of the traveling pants, but it's a pillowcase.

At this point in the morning I had finished my shower, enjoyed a slice of quiche, and was going back over my list of what to take to the hospital while Patrick was giving his dad a run down of the state of the house. We snapped a few last bump pictures in the nursery and then a few pictures with Owen. I wanted a last one of the three of us.

38 weeks and 4 days

10:08am- iphone bump picture as I sat in the car while Patrick ran in to grab snacks at the gas station. We weren't going to be unprepared for the long labor ahead! Plus, I wanted a sprite to sip on.

12:45pm- After being at the hospital for a little over two hours we finally got the pitocin running. My doctor chose not to recheck me after my initial nurse exam of 1.5cm/50% effaced/-3 station (basically the same as what I'd been). Since I was 3cm when I got to the hospital with Owen, I braced myself for a long day. I also told them that while I was planning on an epidural, I was going to hold off until I was convinced I was in active labor. I wanted to be able to move as much as possible. I'm a believer in establishing active labor. In the back of my mind I was hoping I could hold off that long. Pitocin can be rough.

I spent the majority of the afternoon watching HGTV and Food Network. I chatted with my nurse some. Patrick worked on his laptop and says he made it to the end of the internet.

5:00pm- It's change of shift for my nurse. I received the sweetest nurse and a nursing student from Alabama. We were just getting introduced when my doctor walked in. My pitocin was on 30mL/hr but I still wasn't hurting and I wasn't in a good contraction pattern. We briefly discussed turning the medicine off, allowing me to eat dinner, sleep, and starting again in the morning. I was willing to go with that plan since it didn't seem like my uterus was on board with having a baby anytime soon. My doctor wanted to check me first so she could report off to the doctor on call that night and to ensure that this was a good plan of care. As she was checking me she said, "Oh, we're not turning your medicine off. You're going to do this. I'd call you 4/90/-1. I'm not sure why you're not hurting more but you'll have a baby when I see you in the morning!"

I was excited that I somehow made progress without any pain and requested to stand next to the bed because my rear was hurting more than anything from sitting all day. Labor beds aren't comfortable. My doctor agreed and said she was fine with me doing what I wanted as long as the baby looked good on the monitor. My nurse then brought me a birthing ball. I'd never considered a birthing ball before, but it was amazing. It was instant relief for my tush!

6:45pm- I'm still sitting on the birthing ball. I remember thinking that the contractions were getting stronger, but I still didn't feel like they hurt. The pattern on the monitor also looked pretty decent. I was pleased. I continued texting with people and having conversation with Patrick and my nurses.

8:00pm- I remember deciding to get back in bed at this point. I'd been sitting on that birthing ball "for hours" as Patrick later put it. My left calf was starting to cramp up on me every now and then. I haven't ever verbalized this to anyone, but I remember thinking about my friend who almost didn't make it off the birthing ball for her delivery and I suddenly felt like it was time to be in the right place for birth. As I was climbing back in bed, the doctor on call came in the door. He asked me how I was feeling. I remember telling him that I thought we were making progress because I was feeling them a bit more than before. He said he'd like to check me. I was hoping that I was at least 5cm. He sat for a moment and my heart started to sink because I thought he was going to say there was no change. Then he said, "Your a good 6-7cm, 90% effaced, and the head is very low. It won't be too much longer."

I was so relieved to have made progress and so excited that I immediately started updating people as he left the room. I wasn't thinking about the epidural or lack of epidural until I started texting Sheila. She asked me if I had one to which I responded, "Not yet. Soon I guess." I just have to laugh at this now. Actually, I laugh at the whole exchange. Also, I laugh at my interpretation of what the doctor said. Obviously, I decided he meant 7/90/0.

It was 8:10pm exactly as she sent me that last text. I remember thinking, "Should I?" At about the same moment my nurse leaned around the bed rail and said, "So, epidural?" She knew that it was part of my plan. I've always said that I have an if pitocin, then epidural policy. To me, there is nothing natural about pitocin induced contractions. I told her to give me a second to think. I quickly assessed the situation. It took me almost 5 hours to go from 6cm to delivered with Owen. I still thought I had a really long way to go. I leaned around the bed rail and told my nurse that I was ready. She and the student left the room to grab supplies.

I think they were gone about one minute when I got hit with a contraction that felt totally different than any of the others. Suddenly, I couldn't look at my phone or think about texting with my dad. I had to close my eyes with each contraction and focus on breathing. My calves started cramping up and I remember asking Patrick to rub them for me. I told Patrick that this baby was coming soon! My nurse returned and realized that the situation was changing. I was not the same woman she left a few minutes before. They asked Patrick to step out and I began to get into position for the epidural. I was shaking and remember feeling extremely cold all of the sudden. This was the first moment that I thought I might have waited a little too long.

The door opened and I thought it was the anesthesiologist. It was my parents. Somehow they had missed Patrick in the waiting room. I was actually happy to see them in spite of my discomfort in that moment. I looked up at my mom and said, "I think I'm in transition." My dad, being the comedian he is, saw the supplies on the table behind me that were set up for the doctor and he said, "You need me to do it for you? I can take care of it." Funny thing is- he actually could have placed the epidural. A contraction hit me and I closed me eyes and began breathing. My mom, realizing in that moment how much pain I was in, quickly began clearing my dad out of the room. I remember feeling her pat me on the arm and saying, "We'll leave you to do your thing. Love you."

A few seconds later the door opened again. It was the anesthesiologist this time. He began asking the usual questions and I breathed out brief and to the point answers. As he was working, I felt a contraction that felt just a little pushy. I can't describe it any other way. I quickly asked the doctor, "Did you dose through the needle?" He didn't understand what I asked and started to explain the whole, "We actually don't leave a needle in you back" thing. I interrupted and repeated my question, "No, did you dose through the needle?" At that point, my nurse piped in and said, "Um, she's a nurse." He then assured me that he did dose through the needle and moved on to asking me where I work. I could not answer. My nurse was answering for me when I felt the next contraction. It was what I was afraid of. It didn't matter that he dosed through the needle- I was pushing. I said, "I'm pushing, I can't help it." From that moment on the room became a flurry of activity.

My nurse called for help because the bed wouldn't move and soon I felt the presence of extra bodies and voices in the room. Someone threw blankets on the back of the bed for me to lay on and right as I was trying to lay back someone fixed the bed and it started moving to meet me in my effort. I remember both of my hands gripping the side rail as I laid on my left side. I remember opening my eyes for a second to see a strangers face telling me not to push right as another contraction was peaking. In an effort not to push, I started making a weird moaning noise. If I didn't make noise then I was bearing down, so I just gave in and moaned with each contraction.

Someone checked me and said, "The baby is right here." I heard the anesthesiologist say, "You need me to grab gloves and catch?" I was feeling completely panicked because I hadn't realized until that moment that Patrick wasn't there. I opened my eyes and said, "Get my husband!"

I remember seeing the door open and Patrick standing in the doorway. He couldn't get in right away because there were bodies and a cart in the way. I wanted so desperately to ask them to let him in but I couldn't talk. I just wanted him next to me so I could have our baby. The anesthesiologist said he was going to try and get me comfortable. He started pushing medicine. As this was happening a wonderful nurse leaned down close to my ear and calmly said, "It's okay, do what you feel you need to do." A sense of calm washed over me right then. Nurses catch babies every day and I had about four or five plus an anesthesiologist that had already volunteered for the job, so why hold back? From that moment on, I let go. I didn't fight my body anymore and it was way better.

I then heard the same nurse say, "I think your wife needs you to hold her hand." I looked over and for the first time realized that I had been holding that nurses hand for who knows how long. I let go of her and grabbed hold of Patrick's hand. It was on from that point on. I was determined to push our baby out. Numb or not, we were going to meet this little one. I pushed with each contraction. 

I remember other things in those moments but it's all jumbled in my head. I remember saying, "Please don't. Please don't." when my nurse was trying to check me again. The doctor arrived at some point. I remember asking them if it was okay for me to push on my side. I never got a clear answer so I took that to mean that they really wanted me to roll over. Eventually, I did. They helped me get my legs in stirrups. I also remember a nurse saying, "It's just pressure she's feeling now." It wasn't. It burned but I wasn't in a position to argue that point with her in that moment. I remember them telling me that our baby had a lot of dark hair. I was relieved when I heard that because that meant I was close to being finished! I remember saying, "Really?" at one point before another contraction hit. Someone went for a mirror, but it never got fully set up before... 

9:06pm- "It's a GIRL!"

Those words didn't really sink in a first. I was just glad that it was over. I also noticed that my legs were feeling really really warm and heavy. 

I opened my eyes to see my baby hanging upside down in the hand of the doctor. I thought to myself, "He's old school."

Then they placed my sweet baby up on my chest. That's when it hit me. I looked into the eyes of my sweet baby girl and I was in love. She was beautiful! I loved her hair, her chubby little cheeks, her long fingers. I immediately thought she looked like a dark headed Owen.

I almost couldn't believe it. I'd been carrying around our baby girl and she was here!
Skin to skin with mommy!

Side note: I didn't even feel the placenta get delivered. I was so stinking numb that it was comical. I am happy though. It is what it is. It's the story of how our daughter arrived in this world- in a cluster of activity!

7lbs 10oz

My dad's finger reaching down to touch her.

Daddy holding his baby girl for the first time.

We have a daughter!


The first of many...
Mimi love!

Meeting Mimi and Pop Pop

I just love all the forehead kisses.
The stats.

First bath.
All clean and sleeping in Mommy's arms.
My heart is full.   


  1. That was beautiful! so happy for you guys!

  2. Love this! We are about 3 weeks away from our due date and I'm so excited to meet our sweet boy. I don't really know what all to expect on that day (undergrad clinicals was my last L&D experience), so reading your story was comforting. It makes me excited!