Thursday, January 7, 2010

Baby's Birth Story

What happens when you put two or more women of childbearing age in a room together for any length of time? No matter the occasion, I guarantee that you will hear the following words at some point in their conversation: contractions, epidural, ob-gyn, labor, pushing, percentile, and breastfeeding. We can't help it. Giving birth is certainly the most important and rewarding thing I've done in my life. And I know that I, for one, wouldn't pass on a chance to hear a good birth story. For that reason, and because I have been dwelling on these memories in anticipation of my next baby arriving in June, I thought I would share Baby's birth story today.

Where should I start? How about 10 days PAST her due date. My doctor was concerned that Baby would be humongous, so I showed up at Memorial North to be induced at 7 p.m. on April 21. I felt perfectly normal but was surprised to learn that I was already 2 or 3 cm dilated and having strong contractions pretty close together. And the awesome part? I didn't feel them. I took the medication to start being induced and attempted to get some sleep. The most uncomfortable part was the darn hospital bed and the IV in my arm. Around 4 a.m., my water broke. The worst contractions I ever felt reminded me of a stomachache or menstrual cramp, even with the help of Pitocin.

Then, in late morning (the details have become a bit fuzzy), I was dilated to 5 cm so my doctor recommended we do the epidural. Here is where the story goes bad. It took the anesthesiologist over 30 minutes and at least 5 stabs with the big needle before he got it right. I have a curve in my spine (scoliosis), which made things difficult. I felt electrical 'zaps' going down my right leg several times and was terrified that I would be paralyzed. Finally, the numbness kicked in and I was feeling pretty great.

Fast forward another 5 hours or so...of sitting on the hospital bed without the use of my bottom half...and it was time to start pushing. I never felt the instinct to push. In fact, I couldn't feel what the heck I was doing. After about an hour of pushing with little progress, the powers that be decided to turn off the epidural. This is when I finally started feeling contractions and getting some work done. Those last couple hours, all I remember feeling was exhaustion and fear; the pain was secondary. I had a deadline to meet: if that baby didn't arrive after 3 hours of pushing, I would be wheeled into surgery for a c-section.

Two hours and 55 minutes later (nearly 24 hours after being induced), the most beautiful being in the world was placed on my chest. She was perfect and huge (8 lbs. 12 ozs. and 21.5 inches long). She quietly looked around the room, taking it all in, and her eyes seemed wise to me. I fell in love with her instantly and that love has only grown since.

Now I am faced with the question: should I get an epidural next time around? On one hand, I seem to have been blessed with a high tolerance for the pain of contractions. Also, the epidural may have slowed me down, so going a natural route may speed things up. However, why choose to feel pain when the epidural is so safe and effective? I would love to hear your advice, my wonderful readers!


  1. I say go natural. I did and I only pushed for 45 min. On the other hand for me I dont have a high tolerance for pain. My laboring was fast. I was also induced at 10pm. at night and she was born 5 am. that morning. so only 7 hours of craziness. Thank God for Josh. He stuck with me the whole time.

  2. your body has shown you that it can handle it, so I say go natural ... and scream as loud as you can. :) I had to have an emergency c-section, so I feel like I missed out.

  3. Baby was the most beautiful newborn! Most newborns don't look this pretty! And her features don't seem to have changed that much. I think if you feel you have a high tolerance for pain, go natural. Baby was a good size baby and you did great. I had an epidural but it took on one side only. I was actually grateful that I had control over pushing.

  4. ah! my MOST favorite subject in the world!
    Almost all woman in this country choose the epidural, I'm not sure why.
    I can tell you from doing it both ways:
    the three natural births were hundreds and thousands of times better than the one epidural. I'll put my birth ones here in the next few posts so you can read them for yourself. But in a nut shell:
    Natural means:
    fast- pushing less than 15 min
    no left over back pain from epidural.
    quick forgetfullness of labor pain (by the time I leave the hospital it is fuzzy ((thanks to natural endorphins))
    no matter what though, you already know the end result is a beautiful baby no matter how it arrives!

  5. Baby #1 RJ -I was hoping so much that my daughter would be born about 2 weeks late. I worked full time up until 4 days before she was born. I had a weekend and then went into labor the next Tuesday. I wanted to just have some time off. Two days before her due date on Tuesday April 1st I woke up at 6 something and told myself to just sleep in...but i had so much to do I reasoned that I could sleep in tomorrow...little did I know. *I learned to always listen to my body. I was sitting waiting at Walmart to have the oil changed in my car and I felt a serge of back pain at 2pm. Then again at 2:15 then I got in my car to pick up my brothers and sisters from school (I have no idea why I was doing this) the third pain I felt at 2:30. From then on until she was born the spasms of back pain where 3 min apart or less. I came home, I took a bath. J came home. I laid on the couch, I told him to get ready. He moved a mattress up the stairs, put a door nob on.. I packed the rest of his bag (this whole time moaning and groaning) I took another bath.. called the Dr, called my mom...we checked into Littleton hospital around 8:30pm.
    Then we sat in the hospital all that night and all the next day. I took three baths in there big tub. Around 3pm one of my dr's checked me. I was at a 7 after 24 hours of 3 min of closer contractions. I sent her home, then changed my mind and called her back to brake my water. She did. Then I promptly asked for the epidural. J went to get some Carl's junior. One hour later about 5pm I was sitting at a 10 but my contractions had completely sopped. nothing nadda zilch. So they gave me a dose of pitocin, nothing, a second dose of pitocin, nothing, a third dose of pitcin tiny little numbers on the screan. So they decided I should push even though they were not strong. 1 1/2 hours of pushing later, they started to talk about a c-sec. The docter said she woudl try 2 times with a vacuum and that was it. then i would go in to surgery. I screames a little bit At 8:35 pm after 31 hours out came a cone headed 21 in 8 lbs 7 oz baby girl! She had this bruise on her forhead that took months and months to fade. She never did turn around she was born sunny side up. Complications of the pregnancy: Random spotting at 12 weeks, I came within an inch of developing toxemia/preclampsia. I gained 47 lbs. I was so swollen. I lost aprox. 44 lbs in the first 6 weeks.

  6. Baby # 2 -M- We thought he was going to be a HUGE boy. With a sister that big and my mom having 9 lbs boys and 7 pound girls we were all convinced I was in for a 10 pounder. Honestly nothing would have given me greater pride. I guess that is why he wasn't :) On the morning of May 16th 7 days before my due date I prayed in tear drenched despair that I was tired, and I was done and I would like to have my baby that day. That all was ready, and I wasn't sure how much more I could handle. *I learned that Heavenly Father spoils meWe picked up J's sister at the airport in the morning. Then I took RJ to work with me (nannying of course) in the afternoon. I came home about 5:30pm. J and A were asleep in the couches, I went up stairs to get ready for my residence council meatting and felt a strange "did I just pee my pants feeling?" Three outfits latter i decided to call a girl on the council and let her know I was going to the hospital instead. I woke up J and A. Said goodbye to R and off we went. Laughing and happy, I made some phone calls, j went through the Wendy's drive through and we got Longmont Memorial around 8:30pm. They confirmed that my water had indead broken and hooked me up to a moniter. the screen showed contractions but I didn't feel any until we were stled into our room around 9-9:30 ish. My labor progressed exactly like I wanted and planned. I sat on the ball, we watched TV and talked, and rocked side to side. I had requested no lock in my arm so I was totally free to move around without even the clamp thingy. When the started to hurt I started filling the tub. Then I sat in the tub, read some mag, J and I were quite bored. When the pain stepped up the next notch I came out for here to check me around 12:45 pm. I was at a 6, so they told J to refill the tub, but then all of a sudden transition went by super fast so they checked me and I was at a 9 I asked if I could just push and she said I could. The Dr and all the blue people and things came in, I pushed a few time, I screamed a bit. 1:25am he was born. It was 6 hours of total labor and 4 hours of pain. My first tought. "oh my heck he is so little, he is smaller then his sister. He was only 20 in long and 7 lbs 10 oz.
    Complications of my pregnancy: I gained 44 pounds this time not all water. It took me exactly 10 weeks to loose the weight I was back to my pre-pregnancy just a few days before I started gaining with the next:) I had placenta preiva. It moved up before the 30th week, so all it really did was scare me. I was huge, I could not sleep, I felt like I was in labor for months and months, I look enormous in pictures where both my other two I actually never looked "that" big.

  7. Baby #3 -S-on Saturday we were walking through a walking house and I felt like my water was leaking. We took the kids to the sitter, went to Swedish hospital. They sent us home. No amniotic fluid they said. Sunday April 30th one day before my due date in the morning I felt a few strong contractions around 7:30, 7:40 I got in the shower and realized that I had 3-4 while in the shower. I sent J and RJ to church, promptly called them back. By now all out close baby sitters where at the chapel. We started loading up kids and kids stuff and us and our stuff into car. By the time I got down the stairs i was crying to J that I didn't want to get into the car. Transition was starting and I would rather just call 911. J said he would drive fast. We left the apartment about 9, got the kids dropped off by 9:25 I am already just holding him in by this time. J is asking me please not to break the console of the new car. I am hoping my water does not break, he trys to make me feel better by telling me the middle name he has chosen. As we are nearing the hospital he asks if I want to walk in our be dropped off I was in disbelief! He really didn't understand that I was just holding him back form falling out! * I learned to just leave the kids with whoever is handy and for Pete's sake don't drive to the right hospital just the closest hospital! We pulled up to the ER, a few minutes after 10am lef the car runing he goes inside telling me to stay there, when he comes back to the car I am leaning against it in a sort or squatting position that he loves to show anyone who will watch the interpretation... next thing I now this strange security guy who j ways was not a security guys kept asking me if this was my 2nd or my 3rd, what does it matter!!!!!! They wheel me into ER say "take off your pants and get on this table, which I do, (J again has a good impression of this)a Dr. walkes up says some quick "Hi I'm Dr blah blah and sticks his hand in....your are complete but not crowing let's get you upstairs, happy smiling nurses caring baby blanket meet us and go back on the elevator to the right floor, they wheel me into the room all the blue people and stuff running around. Someone brings J the car keys. That was a really nice person whoever it was who moved our car for us. Then the nurse is asking me something and my water breaks and I say "he's coming RIGHT NOW." and then he did. I don't think I had time to scream. I was still wearing my regular clothes, Some Dr came in from the hall who I have never seen and never will see again, J and a few other people tell me to breath instead of push and at 10:15 am 2 hours and 45 min from first contraction to birth, he is born my smallest yet. 7lbs 5 oz. 19 in long. We signed all the forms after he was born, I changed into my rob, I didn't have to have a lock even though it went against Swedish's policy b/c they had no chance to put it in. Pregnancy complications: random spotting at 12 weeks, and it was the easiest pregnancy by far. This was a loving gift for me and a very blessed gift at that! I gained 37 pounds and it took me 5 months to loose the weight.

  8. 5:30am Thursday morning my alarm went off.
    I got in the shower, and felt three contractions before I got out (same thing happened with S)
    I remembered like I do every time the difference between braxton hicks and the real thing, these kind really hurt!
    I woke up J at 5:56, tell him to hurry into the shower, we are having a baby, REALLY having a baby!
    We drive to the hospital where we were supposed to be at 7am, we get there at 6:50.
    I let the nurses know the low down, "I'm in labor, so can I get one of the rooms with a tub?"
    So they moved the correct type of bed into a room with a tub, at 7:30 my Dr arrived and checked me, I was at a 5.
    She said that she would wait at the hospital, she knows from reading about my past births that it won't be to long:)
    I got in the tub, about 8am....J and I have our "this is sooooo boring conversation" (nice to have)
    The contractions are getting stronger, but still far apart and not very logical.
    I get out to be checked, I am at a 6-7, it in now 9:27
    Now I know it's almost time. Time to stay in bed :)
    My Dr breaks my water, bad b/c from here on out hurts worse than with boys (no cushion)
    good though b/c then they see that the baby has passed a bowel movement, very common for over due babies Dr. says, they will have to take baby right away to suction very well.
    It starts to hurt REALLY insanely bad, J comes to my side, I start apologizing for being so loud! The Dr is very nice, says it is ok, good noises to hear...I am at a rim (9 1/2) It is 9:47
    9:50 One contraction, 2 pushes, shoulder's are big, the cord is around the babies neck, so they really do brisk baby away. Agar scores are still 8-9 (not bad for the baby poopy and the cord issues.
    Total labor, 4 hours 20 min.
    Just the length I love ;)
    I gained 47 lbs and so far in 3 1/2 months have lost 29lbs. So 18 to pre pregnancy weight to go

  9. I think that RJ would have been born in 25 hours instead of 31 had I not had the epidural at 7 cen. Just remember first are slow second are fast and thirds are unpredictable :)
    It will be so much easier for you with number two no matter what route you choose.

  10. I LOVE this post! Claire is so beautiful! She really looked so perfect!
    I think you already know my iron-clad view on epidurals...avoid them at all costs, especially if you have scoliosis (I have it too). I have only heard bad things about them, and I think labor pains don't have to be that bad if you just relax and listen to your body. How lucky you are that you can handle the pain so well!
    I want to have a natural birth with the next one and every baby that I can. I just think our bodies are designed to give birth and that unless there are complications, things should be just fine without the "revered epidural". People out here where I live think that an epidural is the only way to go and it frustrates sorry if it sounds like I'm on a soap box :)

  11. You can do it natural, I just know it. I too have strong feelings about epiduals, and I don't know if I completely agree that they are safe and effective. I sometimes wonder if all these health problems and attention span syndromes being diagnosed recently are because we are not trusting our bodies to do what they were meant to do, birthd babies. Plus you are supposed to have big babies, don't let the doctor tell you otherwise, your body will not grow what you can't birth, mother nature would not do that to you. And everyone else is right, the second baby comes much fast and easier, so I know you can do it! And you heal so much faster and better when you do it naturally, which you will need when you are running after 2 now.

  12. I, too, love this post of yours! As you know, both you and Maggie were natural births with no drugs at all. I think I have the LOWEST pain threshold in the history of the universe, (can't even get a manicure, and don't even THINK about pedicures!) but for some reason I did ok with natural childbirth, which was all the rage back in the '80s. I think you will do great, my darling daughter, but I will support any choice you make. Thank you for making such a gorgeous baby on your first try (must run in the family) and I know your second will be just as beautiful. love, Mom

  13. First. Wow. She is the most beautiful newborn I've ever seen!!! And of course she is still just so beautiful! Second. Thanks for sharing your story. It is always fun to hear about other's experiences. And third. What a lot of information for you! So I guess I'll put my 2 cents in as well;) I have had an epideral with all 4. And 2 (1st and 3rd) were very very VERY painful. In fact, I didn't even want to hold Reganne (3rd) after she came out I was so miserable. So much for a painless delivery. But they both had other delivery complications as well... (with her I dialated the last 5 cent in about 15 minutes and severly tore my cervix-was almost sent to the Operation Room). With Marryn, the epideral was the worst part. Pushing, easy-15 minutes and no pain. Christian, overall the best. Pain just when pushing. Pushed for a whole 5 minutes. Yes. Only 5 minutes. (And second biggest at 8lbs 7oz.) So my advice? Do what feels best for you. Pray about it. I usually side more on the natural side (never get flu shots, try to avoid excess medicines, etc) but knew I wanted as painless as a birth as possible. And having had both painless and PAINFUL births, I still side on the epidural side-mostly. There is no telling what the pushing is going to be like for me, but at least I am rested and calm (as calm as I can be) prior to that. It does sound like you have a high pain threshold-or just easier contractions (just making myself feel better;)-so maybe a go without would be just great for you. I do agree that, for the most part, childbirth is natural and our bodies (especially after having done it before) know what to do and can do it. Of course there can be complications or problems (such as a tiny friend of mine trying to deliver her 10 lber) but for the most part, we can handle whatever comes at us. And they should get faster. With my first I went into labor myself (just past my due date) and I still had to be *helped* along and it was over 24 hours from those first contractions before he arrived. But only 1 hour of hard pushing (he had both meconium and shoulder dystocia). And my latest, was induced around 7-8am and he popped out before noon. [Induced with all 4 (and early with the last 3-to keep them from getting too big-ha! Reganne was my 9lber!)] I recovered very quickly with all-even Reganne, although I didn't get to come home the next day with her;) But I don't feel an epideral has any affect on recovery. I just feel that is where I am blessed. So sorry about the book. Hope there is something you find useful;)

  14. Hi there...
    As a midwife assistant (in your town!), I just wanted to add my two cents:
    Your body has been "proven"--second babies are almost always easier and labors quicker. The benefits outweigh the risks for a natural delivery.
    After being a hospital doula and a homebirth midwife--I would choose (and indeed, have chosen) natural birth experiences over medicated ones, any day of the week.
    Good luck!