Tag Archives: birth story

Neola’s Birth Story

14 May

Neola Bethany was born on May 12, five days before her due date of May 17. She was 8 lbs 4 oz and 20 inches long, with a full head of hair like Annabelle and Corbin.

This time around, I decided to do an elective induction. Corbin was 8 lbs 15 oz at 39.5 weeks, and even though we knew we were having a girl and boys tend to be bigger than girls, subsequent babies tend to be bigger too. So to avoid a bigger baby, and be able to arrange childcare for our other kids easier, I was induced.

We were told to arrive at the hospital around 7 AM. We were moving slow the morning of the 12th, so we got there closer to 7:30. The birthing floor was really quiet that day, so the nurses were expecting us, and showed us right to our room.

First, we talked about the plan with my nurses, Jess and Katy — I was Group B Strep positive, so needed to have antibiotics started first thing. I was already dilated to 2 cm at my last OB appt so was hoping that the doctor would break my water first to see if that would start things without Pitocin. If not, then we would start Pitocin. While the antibiotics got going, Katy got us checked in. I watched part of a Burn Notice episode on my phone while waiting for the OB on call, Dr. Senica, to arrive.

At 9:15, Dr. Senica attempted to break my bag. It was tough apparently, and he tried a few times before saying he thought he nicked it. My antibiotics had a little bit longer to go, and while I sat there in bed, I felt some leakage, and discovered that indeed, my water had broken. After the first round of antibiotics were done, the nurses unhooked me and Travis and I walked the birthing floor for a while. I ate some Jello, sat on the birthing ball a little, then they hooked me back up to monitor baby and contractions for a bit. Nothing much was happening, so I walked around some more.

By 12:15, things still weren’t happening, so we started Pitocin with my second round of antibiotics. Travis ate lunch. I was super hungry, but apparently, they don’t let women in labor eat anything but a clear diet anymore in case of emergency c-section (sad day!).

Before the Pitocin had had a chance to kick in, I had a few real contractions so things had started to pick up a little. With the Pitocin, I started having contractions more consistently, and they were getting stronger. At 1:15, they increased my Pitocin to 4. Once they were satisfied with seeing baby’s heartbeat during contractions (now 3 minutes apart) and had checked my cervix (now dilated to 4 cm, 75% effaced), I decided to labor in the tub for a bit. The contractions were strong enough that I had to stop talking and breathe during them, but felt pretty normal otherwise.

After 30 minutes in the tub or so, I decided that the contractions were strong enough to warrant nitrous oxide. So I got out of the tub, got back in bed, and started nitrous oxide around 2:30. Travis got my music going on the bluetooth speaker.

By 3:15, I was starting to feel a lot of pressure, and the pain was getting to be incredibly intense, so I asked to be checked. I was 7.5 cm and almost fully thinned out. My nurse Jess said she thought I would be ready to push soon, so she asked the front desk to nurse to page Dr. Senica. “Tell him she’s at 7.5 cm and feeling pushy.” This was also the point where I started questioning why I had thought it would be a good idea to not get an epidural. Jess said she could start the liter of fluids for an epidural, but she didn’t think I would make it (it takes at least 45 minutes). The point of no return.

Contractions got incredibly intense from there. They were 1-2 minutes apart, lasting for a minute. I kept my eyes shut the whole time, and was in the zone. I shifted in bed from sitting cross-legged to hanging one leg off the side so that Travis could massage my lower back during contractions. The pain radiated through my lower back to my sides and hips.

For the most part, the nitrous oxide really helped to take the edge off the contractions, but as I entered transition, and got closer to pushing, the nitrous actually felt like a burden to hold, and I was groaning/moaning so much during them that I couldn’t breathe the gas in, so I ended up not using it a ton. I did use it a little between contractions.

At some point, I started feeling a lot of downward pressure, and was starting to scream a little at the pain, so Dr. Senica came in. He checked me and said I was still right around 8 cm (if he stretched it), but I was in such an incredible amount of pain, and feeling so much pressure during contractions, that I think he decided to stay and help baby along. Having to bend my legs into the stirrups with that pain in my sides and back — oh man, it was absolutely horrible. Suddenly, so many memories of my other birth sans epidural came flooding back. And just why am I doing this again!?!

During the next few contractions, Dr. Senica tried to help my cervix dilate those last few centimeters so that I could start pushing. He had me gently push with a few contractions too, and then he said I could go for it. I have never felt that kind of pain. I think because this labor went so much faster than with Annabelle (my other unmedicated birth), it was that much more intense. I was screaming my head off, with the nurses and Travis holding my legs up (because I just wanted to straighten them from the back/side pain), everyone in the room telling me I had to push now, and I could do it, and hold my breath in and bear down with everything I had, and I felt completely confident that the description I used last time — that it feels like you’re taking the biggest poop in the world and it’s tearing your insides out along with it — was 100% accurate. During contractions, I wanted to cry because I just wanted to pain to be over, but it wouldn’t be over unless I just pushed through it.

As I bore down during contractions (Travis wrote down that I pushed 8-10 times), there were points where my body just took over and pushed for me, which is kind of cool when you think about it that the body knows what to do, but it also makes me feel out of control and scared. Finally, baby’s head was out. I had to take a break though — everyone kept telling me, “The head is out. You need to keep pushing.” After a break, I did it. I screamed louder than ever, and it was SO incredibly painful there are not even words to describe it, but FINALLY baby’s body came out. Neola was born!! She came out crying right away. Like last time, I laid there for a while completely dazed and saying “Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap.”

Dr. Senica clamped the cord, then had Travis cut it. Neola was completely covered in vernix, so the nurses toweled her off a little before putting her on me skin-to-skin. (I still got completely covered in the sticky white stuff.) Meanwhile, Dr. Senica was pushing on my stomach to release the placenta. One more push from me, and the placenta was out. I asked Dr. Senica if I had torn — he said there was one small nick, but that if he could stop the bleeding with a little pressure, I wouldn’t need any stitches (and he was able to, so yay!) The nurse took baby’s vitals while the rest of them cleaned up the birthing mess. I asked to get some pain meds for the afterbirth pains, because with Corbin, they were intense.

After a little while, I handed Neola to Travis so that I could eat my dinner. With just the baby blankets on, she ended up getting too cold (body temp was down to 97 something). So they brought her back to me for more skin to skin. She started moving her mouth so I tried nursing her, and she did latch a little that first time.

By 6 PM, Neola’s body temp had stabilized enough that they were able to weigh her, give her a bath, the eye drops, etc. Then I took a short bath to soak my bum, which felt amazing.

Between 6 and 9 PM, it was a cycle of checking mom’s and baby’s vitals, seeing if Neola would nurse (she wanted to suck on something, but wasn’t latching), and me eating. I ate 2 personal pizzas, 2 bowls of fruit, a brownie, a chocolate pudding, and a fig bar.

A little after 9 PM, my night nurse, Heather, brought me a stool softener and more pain meds, and then we tried to go to bed. Travis walked Neola around the room for a while, but she wouldn’t settle, so I took her and tried to nurse. She wasn’t interested — she was spitting up amniotic fluid — so I just held her upright in the chair for a few hours, and she slept well that way.

During the night, I showed Heather that Neola wasn’t latching, or that she would latch but then stop sucking almost right away, and she ended up bringing me a nipple shield to use, which helped a lot. Neola was still sleepy enough that she wasn’t interested most of the time, but it did increase her sucking when she was interested.

Unfortunately, the combination of Tylenol 3 every four hours and Ibuprofen every eight wasn’t enough to keep on top of the afterbirth pains, so I ended up cramping quite a bit during the night. But Heather brought me some heating pads, and those really helped a ton. I had her reheat them probably half a dozen times.

Travis took a shift with Neola during the night, and toward morning, Heather helped me do skin to skin again in bed with Neola, and she slept contentedly that way for several hours (which meant mommy got some sleep too!). That is a sweet memory with my last little newborn.

Just before 7:30 AM, Heather introduced our new nurse, Amber. Then the pediatric nurse came in (I was nursing at the time, so she came back a little later), as well as the OB on call. They all said that as long as baby passed her 24-hour tests, and we scheduled a follow-up with our pediatrician for the next day (because of my being Group B Strep positive), we could go home at 24 hours.

We ate breakfast, Travis took a quick shower, and then around 11 AM, Travis left to meet the kids and his mom at a park (they were all missing us), and get coffee from Caribou. I tried to rest during that time, but Neola wanted to nurse. After he got back, I downed my coffee while the nurses took Neola’s newborn photos, and then I laid down for an hour or 2. I didn’t technically get to sleep (too much commotion in our room), but I was 80% out of it. Then Neola wanted to nurse again.

Around 3:15, Travis was napping, but I woke him up to take Neola so that I could shower and pack before 4:03, which is when the nurses were going to come do Neola’s 24-hour tests. While they did her tests, Travis ran a load of stuff out to the car. By 4:45, all the tests were done, and we were on our way out to the car to head home with our newest little. By 5:15, we were home! Big sisters ran outside, ecstatic to meet little sister. So sweet. My heart was bursting.

And that’s Neola’s birth story!! More details to come in her weekly updates.

Corbin’s Birth Story

28 Mar

Corbin Travis (aka Jellybean) made his debut on Thursday, March 22, four days before his due date. He was 8 lbs 15 oz and 21 inches long with a head circumference of 14.25 inches.IMG_2938 (Large)

IMG_2932 (Large)I went into labor the evening of Wednesday, the 21st. I had actually seen the doctor that morning, who said I was still 3 cm but now 70% thinned — my cervix was doing what it was supposed to, and it could be any day, we just didn’t know which one.

After Travis got off work, he went on a run and showered, then we went to Costco for dinner in the food court (I had a major craving for pizza) and some groceries. My hips and inner thighs were killing me, and I was walking as slow as a grandma.

Bedtime with the girls went as usual and I got to bed around 9:30. I woke up again around 11 from a few strong Braxton Hicks with a lot of downward pressure (which I had been having almost every night), and a small pop similar to when my water had broken with the girls, only this time nothing came out.

About 5 minutes later, though, I had my first real contraction. I laid in bed for a few more contractions, just to make sure they were consistent and that first one hadn’t been a fluke.

It hadn’t been. The contractions were all strong and about 6-7 minutes apart. I got up around 11:45 and moved to the couch to watch some episodes of Modern Family while continuing to time my contractions. I also reviewed my list of stuff to bring to the hospital, put my nursing pillow and the Rock n Play by the door, and retrieved the infant car seat from its storage spot in the garage (and discovered the straps had gotten moldy, so I washed those too).

Around 3 am, the contractions were still coming every 6 minutes and strong enough to require some intentional breathing so I ate a bowl of Cheerios with strawberries and then woke Travis up. “I think it’s time to have a baby,” I said. “Oh goodness,” was his response.

He asked if my water had broken. I told him no, I was just having contractions painful enough to know they were real. So he got up and took a shower while I finished packing my bag, and then I jumped in the shower while he finished packing. After getting dressed, I called my friend Brenda, who had graciously volunteered to be our middle-of-the-night childcare.

She arrived at our house around 3:30 and we got to the hospital around 3:45. Since it was the middle of the night, we had to go through the ER entrance. They immediately asked if we were headed upstairs to the family birth place, and a nurse escorted us up. I totally accepted her offer of a wheelchair so that I could be sitting during any contractions that I had on the way.

I was wheeled right into a room, and the nurse had me change into a hospital gown and then hooked me up to the baby and contraction monitors for 30 minutes. By then, my contractions were more like 2 minutes apart and I was 5 cm dilated. They seemed to take their sweet old time getting everything set up but by 5 am, I had my IV in and was getting my first round of antibiotics (for the Group B Strep), as well as the liter of fluid required to get an epidural.

The contractions were quite painful by that point, and I was panicking just a little at the thought of having to wait a whole hour to get an epidural (that’s how long the liter of fluid takes) so I asked about the possibility of using nitrous oxide in the meantime. My nurse, Kathy, asked the anesthesiologist, who approved it, so they got that going and it definitely helped. At the very least, it gave me something to focus on during that hour besides just the pain of the contractions.

A little after 6 am, my nurse, Kathy, checked me again. I was 6 cm dilated and decided to go ahead with the epidural. The anesthesiologist arrived around 6:15. I was worried about the pain of the epidural but needn’t have been. The numbing medicine was a sharp pinch, but I barely felt the actual epidural being placed. I told Travis later that the most painful part of the whole thing had actually been getting that darn IV put in my arm.

After the anesthesiologist was done, Kathy had me lay down in the bed, tilted to the side, which I have to admit wasn’t the most comfortable position ever because of how heavy my belly was. But overall, the epidural worked perfectly — I could feel the pressure of the contractions but they weren’t painful, and I could still move my legs and feet. They checked me again shortly after the epidural was placed, and I was 8 cm.

A little before 7 am, one of my contractions must’ve pushed Corbin’s foot up into my ribs and it was so painful that I demanded to change positions. So Kathy tilted me the other way, and that helped. At 7 am, there was a shift change and my new nurse, Shawnna, gave me a pillow to prop up my belly, and I was actually fairly comfy that way (though I would’ve preferred to lay on my side instead).

Because I was positive for Group B Strep and my first round of antibiotics had been started at 5 am, they wanted me to wait until at least 9 am to have a baby, because the antibiotics need 4 hours to take effect. So we had a couple of hours to just rest. Travis fell back asleep but even though I was relaxed and was really trying to sleep, I just couldn’t turn my mind off. It was nice to rest anyway.

Around 8:45 am, the on-call doctor, Dr. Senica, came in, introduced himself, and talked about the game plan. He’d come back down around 9:15, break my water, and then we’d have a baby. Shawnna checked me again around 9 am, and I was still at 8 cm because my water still hadn’t broken, so Dr. Senica broke my water around 9:15. By 9:45, I was almost fully dilated, and I was starting to feel pressure by 10 am. Because the pushing stage of labor with the girls only lasted a few contractions, they weren’t planning to have me start pushing until the doctor came back down. Just to be sure, Shawnna had me push a little while Dr. Senica was on his way, and confirmed that yep, we want to wait until he’s here to start pushing.

He got into the room a little after 10, got all set up, told me that we were going to push until the baby’s head came out, clean baby’s nose and mouth with a bulb syringe, then push the body out. When the next contraction came, they told me to go for it, so I took a deep breath, and with three pushes, Corbin’s head was out. A few minutes later, they were ready for me to push again, and his body came out with a huge gush of amniotic fluid. Then Corbin peed all over the doctor while he was clamping off the umbilical cord. 😉

After wiping Corbin off a little bit, they put him on my chest for skin-to-skin. He was covered in vernix and very purple. He cried a little bit right away, but once he was snuggling with me, he was totally content. Too content. It was taking him a little too long to pink up — Shawnna had to keep rubbing his feet to make him cry and exercise his lungs. After 10-15 minutes, they took him over to the warming station and gave him some oxygen to help get his oxygen levels up (they started out at 60, and were up to around 80 by that time, but they wanted them between 85 and 95). Eventually, his oxygen levels got up to desired number, and they brought him back.

Within an hour of birth, Corbin started making motions with his mouth like he wanted to nurse, so I put him to the breast and he did a great job sucking. He nursed for about 45 minutes straight, then wanted nothing to do with it until the next morning because he was so sleepy. When he wasn’t being poked and prodded with needles, oxygen sensors, and stethoscopes, Corbin pretty much slept the whole time we were in the hospital. We were grateful that he was willing to sleep in the bassinet and didn’t need to be held the whole time.

Having a child born in the morning was a new experience for us–both the girls were born at night. About 2 hours after Corbin was born, he got his first bath and the Hep B vaccine and erythromycin eye ointment. The epidural had worn off by then, so I was able to walk to and use the bathroom on my own strength.

I was starving and parched by then (since you can’t eat or drink during an epidural) so we ordered breakfast–french toast for me, eggs and bacon for Travis. And I drank a whole bottle of Gatorade, plus two glasses of apple juice, and a bunch of water.

After eating, we decided to try to get some rest, so we closed the shades and laid down, but I still couldn’t sleep! Ugh, it was so frustrating. I just could not stop thinking about anything and everything.

One of my co-workers came to visit around 3 pm with balloons and gifts for the girls, and a card for us. My boss came to visit around 5 pm. They both stayed about 20 minutes. Travis and I ordered dinner, then around 6:30 pm, Travis’ parents came with the girls. They were very excited to see Corbin, and wanted to hold him for about 5 minutes, then they were interested in checking out the room. Having kids in a hospital room is chaotic. They left around 7:30, with Emma crying because she wanted to stay with us at the hospital, or have us come home with her.

I ate an amazingly delicious sub from Erbert’s and Gerbert’s, then my Bible study ladies came to visit around 8:45. They stayed for about half an hour, then left so that we could get some sleep. I tried to nurse Corbin once more before going to sleep, but he wasn’t interested.

For the first few hours after “going to bed,” I was able to fall asleep but was woken up by intense cramping (afterpains). I paged my night nurse, Jena, and asked for pain meds. She gave me some Tylenol, and then an hour later, some ibuprofen, but even after both of those, the cramping was still really painful, so I asked if I could have anything stronger. The doctor on call approved Tylenol with codeine for me, so sometime between midnight and 2 am, they gave me some of that with a heating pad to place on my belly, and that helped a lot.

After that, the night is a blur but I recorded on our breastfeeding and diaper log that Corbin woke up at 2:45 and nursed for 10 minutes on each side. He nursed again at 6:45 and 9:30. Sometime during the night, Jena took Corbin for his hearing test and baby pictures, and Travis and I were able to get some sleep then too.

A little after 7 am, our day nurse, Katie, came in to let us know that the pediatrician would be coming by soon. I was also starving so I woke Travis up and asked him to order french toast, bacon, eggs, and coffee for breakfast. Since we were trying to leave the hospital before noon and knew that there was a slew of things that needed to get done before then, we decided to just get up. It was sunny that day, so that helped wake us up (the day Corbin was born was cloudy).

After the pediatrician looked Corbin over and gave the green light, I took a shower. Dr. Rice, my OB, popped in a couple times while I was in the shower, but I didn’t actually end up connecting with her (not sure if this was an oversight?). She did write me prescriptions for a breast pump and Tylenol with codeine, though. Then we worked on getting all our stuff packed up and loaded onto a cart.

Right before discharge, Katie did Corbin’s newborn PKU screening and the CCHD test. When the girls arrived with Travis’ parents, we quickly had Katie take some sibling pictures and while they printed those out, Travis and his dad took a load of stuff down to the car.

Finally, it was time to go home! We had always been required to stay for 48 hours in the hospital (I think because my water was broken so long with both girls?) so it was nice to get to go home earlier, and stop being monitored constantly by nurses.

We ate lunch when we got home, then took nice long naps. And the rest I’ll talk about in Corbin’s 1-week update, coming soon! He’ll be a week old tomorrow already! We are in love with our little sweetheart already.

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