Category Archives: Labor

Guess Who is Here?!

Evelyn Elizabeth entered our world on a beautiful Monday, June 18, 2012! Weighing in at 6lb 10oz and 19.5in long she is bigger than Caleb was and nearly identical to my own birth stats! Head full of dark hair, mommy’s lips and ears and hooray daddy’s nose.

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Crazy crazy birth story to come! Once I get my doula’s notes I’m going to get right on it!

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Birth Story: The Dramatic Conclusion

Waiting for the contraction...

After getting permission to push, it was maybe 2 pushes and Caleb’s head was showing! J____ had to called the doc again and tell him to hurry. I told her to tell him to hurry because I wasn’t going to wait any longer. They said I could push, and by golly I was going to do it! Just the knowledge that I could push made the contractions much more bearable. J____ told me it would probably take him 5 minutes or less to get there, that Dr. C was known for moving quickly when need be. I prayed to myself that he’d skip the elevator and take the stairs. Once J____ had called Dr. C the room suddenly filled with people transforming my labor room into a delivery room. I don’t even know where they all came from but there were probably at least 7 people who flooded into my room and got to work like crazy ants, readying the baby bed, pulling out lights, and literally taking apart my bed to make a delivery table. It seemed like an eternity but in reality Dr. C arrived very quickly, suited up, and I was pushing. After only a few pushes and less than 10 minutes later, at 5:30pm, Caleb Michael S____ entered this world. Right before he was born one of the nurses asked me if I wanted to touch my baby’s head. I quickly and a bit harshly replied, “No!” She must have thought I was nuts, but my thinking was why don’t I just push him out and I can touch his little head all I want. After 37 hours of labor I was very eager to be done with the process. I remember that last push where Caleb came out all at once and the total relief that labor was finally over and my son was here. There is no feeling like that in the entire world, and I felt every moment leading up to it.

Pushing...

End of the big push...he's HERE!

I did not get to have the Kodak moment of Caleb being placed on my chest, Zach cutting the cord, and the both of us reveling at this new little life. Caleb was not breathing when he was first born and the doctor quickly cut the cord and got to work to get that little scream out. To be honest, I did not entirely know what was going on at the time, only that things seemed to be going differently than I had thought. After a few minutes, or maybe less, Caleb was screaming at full volume and announcing that he had in fact, arrived. The doctor actually rubbed Caleb’s back raw trying to get him to breathe. He apparently took a big gulp of fluid right as he came out which hindered his breathing abilities. The cord was also wrapped around his body. Not his neck, but he was tangled up a bit and this might have been the reason he was so small at birth. He likely was no longer getting the proper nutrition through the umbilical cord near the end of the pregnancy.

Caleb being born

Relief and probably some confusion

Our wonderful doula, Megan!

Once he was breathing and bundled up, I was finally able to hold my tiny little man. There was nothing like seeing his little face for the first time and holding him close. 9 months, 37 hours, and in one moment I became a mom. My labor was longer than most and shorter than some, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I am so glad that I made the decision to have a natural birth and even more glad that I was able to stick to my goal even when things changed and strayed from what I had planned. Labor certainly would have been easier if it were faster and much less painful without the pitocin, but in the end that is what it took to get my son into this world. The pain of labor is something that I still can’t really describe even after experiencing it. There is nothing I can compare it to in order to make it understandable to someone who hasn’t been through it. Labor hurts. I think that is the best thing to tell any mom-to-be. Not to scare them, but to be truthful that the delivery of their baby will likely be painful and emotional, but neither are a bad thing. God has equipped women with all of the resources necessary to grow, nurture, and give birth to human life. That includes the ability to handle the pain of childbirth, both physically and emotionally. In a strange way the pain of labor is a good pain, a productive pain. It is not pain without reason. Each contraction is one step closer to meeting your baby. You will never have to do that contraction again once it is over. All of the pain is towards an end goal, that, without fail, will be realized; a baby will be born.

Getting Caleb presentable

Tiny boy!

My precious little man, so perfect!

I understand that not all women want to feel the pain of childbirth. Those who do not have their reasons just as I have my reasons for wanting to. For myself, I am thankful that I experienced a natural birth and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There were many times throughout labor, especially when my contractions were hard and on top of one another that I thought, “Why am I doing this? I must be nuts. Why on earth didn’t I get an epidural?” I did not necessarily enjoy the pain of each contraction, but I am glad I felt that pain. I want to feel every contraction of each of my children’s births. If I don’t experience those aches and pains I cannot fully experience that wonderful euphoria just after delivery that no drug on earth could ever create. I have arrived at my destination and labor is finished, but an entirely new journey has just begun.

Together at last

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Birth Story, Part Five

My contractions were getting much more painful and intense and were also coming right on top of one another. This was the exact reason I wanted to avoid pitocin. I knew it would give me transition-like contractions before I was to that point of labor, making it much more difficult to labor without an epidural. I kept trying to move to different positions to help the pain which was also radiating in my back. By this time I was on monitors constantly due to the pitocin. This severely limited the way in which I could move around and find better positions. Through each contraction my mom, Zach, and Megan would count and I would breathe while moaning in low tones. I often rocked back and forth and kept my eyes closed. At all times someone was putting pressure on my low back and at least one hand was being held, often both. I am so grateful for the incredible support given to me by my labor coaches! A few times I reached a breaking point and went a little hysterical with the contraction, screaming some, crying, and saying how I couldn’t do it, couldn’t take another one. These episodes would only last a few seconds and I was somehow able to regain my composure and moan-breathe through the rest of the contraction.

Some of the tough ones

I started to feel an increase in pressure along with the hard contractions. At that time I don’t believe I had dilated any more from 6cm. Possibly I had made it to 7cm, but it was a slow road still. The pressure made me want to move around more to alleviate some of it, but this did little to help. I began to get to a point where each contraction also came with an urge to push that I could not ignore. I did all I could to keep my body from pushing, but my body kept trying to push anyway. I’m convinced if I had passed out my body would have delivered the baby without me! My friend, Liz, came in for a few minutes and I swear her being there, even that short time, helped tremendously! She is a labor and delivery nurse at my hospital and she was finally able to drop in and check on me. I then had four coaches to get me through those terrible contractions. Liz helped me to slow down my breathing and that alone made a big difference in how I was able to cope with the pain. In her short visit she was more helpful and encouraging than J____, my nurse, had been since 7am!

Zach was WONDERFUL!

I had gone to the bathroom several times throughout labor, but likely not nearly enough. Since the pressure and pushing urges of labor are also close by to another function of the body I really felt a bathroom excursion was necessary. My thinking was if I can get rid of one of my pushing urges, maybe I can better deal with and ward off the labor urges since I knew I was not dilated enough to actually push. J____ was not happy with the idea of my going to the bathroom but I went in there anyway. Zach stayed with me and I think eventually my mom and Megan came to help me get back to the bed. It took several contractions to get me to the bathroom. I labored there for quite a few more, mostly out of fear of moving, plus the position of sitting helped a lot. It then took several more contractions to get me back to bed. The entire time I had immense pressure and very strong urges to push. I know that a couple of my hysterical moments came during these contractions because I was doing all I could to tell my body NOT to push, but it kept trying anyway. I wanted to push so badly and I honestly hated anyone who told me I was not allowed. After my return from the bathroom J____ checked me again and I was at 9cm! My best guess is that this was just before 5pm. I was officially in transition! I was very happy to have progressed so much but also scared to death that  contractions might actually worsen during my transition to 10cm. In reality, I think they were about the same as they had been just before that only the urge to push was even more difficult to control or ignore. I think I was in transition for 15 minutes, if that. Since I was begging to push, J____ checked me again and barely had to do anything before she realized I was fully dilated to 10cm. I literally said, “Praise the Lord!” and asked if I could push…NOW. J____ called Dr. C to get permission to push. Why on earth that was required I don’t entirely know, but I was not thrilled with the wait, even though it was probably 2 minutes….

I believe I was in transition here...Mom was amazing!

Final installment of the story is JUST around the corner!

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Birth Story, Part Four

Zach and I had had very little rest since Friday night and it was taking its toll on both of us. I was beyond exhausted but could not sleep since every time I was about to drift off I would get another contraction. Since labor was moving so slowly and showed no signs of speeding up I asked Veronica about any type of IV drug that might help me to get a bit of sleep. I was only partway through the marathon and as much as I wanted to avoid any pain medications, I knew I needed some rest or I would never make it through labor without the big guns. About 6am I was given Nubain via IV to ‘take the edge off’ my contractions, but really it’s main purpose was to make me drowsy. It certainly didn’t help the pain but I was able to nap some between my contractions which were still 7 minutes apart. I had previously noticed Zach drift off now and then so I was happy I could finally join him in the bliss of dreamland, even for short periods of time. Dr. C checked me again at 7am and I had no progress. It was then that he first mentioned pitocin to speed up my labor. At this point it had only been about 3 hours since my water broke. I did not feel that pitocin was necessary at that time, especially since I knew it would make natural labor much more challenging. Zach was a great advocate, asking why pitocin was really needed and emphasizing that I wanted to avoid augmentation of my labor as much as possible. Dr. C said he would check me in an hour and then discuss pitocin again if I had still not progressed. I wasn’t thrilled with this, but I was happy to put it off for an hour at best. The doc did not come back in an hour and I was very happy about that! I believe Zach’s firmness stuck with Dr. C and he left us alone for awhile. It was also about this time that we said goodbye to our wonderful nurse V_____ and got our next nurse, J____.

Labor continued on slow and steady. I was not technically allowed liquids, but I stole Zach’s water whenever the nurse wasn’t looking or left the room. I did have a couple of popsicles and the token ice chips. I really felt dehydrated and I used the ice to wet my lips and also to hydrate me as it melted. What I really needed was a vat of Gatorade. Around 11am or so my mom came in to check on us since Zach had not left the room to update the family. That gave Zach a break for a few minutes which I think he really appreciated. My mom was going to leave, but at Megan’s urging she stayed to help me labor. Neither I or my mom realized it initially, but her being there really helped me so much! I never imagined I would have three people coaching me through my birth and now I wonder if I could possibly do with any less! It was wonderful to have three people to trade off doing pressure points on my back, hold my hand, and talk me through contractions. This also allowed each of my coaches to take a break when needed. Labor is hard on everyone!

My labor was still progressing relatively slow. At the next check, maybe around 1-2pm I was 6cm and pitocin was mentioned yet again. Our nurse, J___, said that I was progressing at about 0.5cm per 3 hours and if I continued at that rate I could be in labor another 18 hours. While I was not at all happy about pitocin I also knew that without adequate rest, hydration, and food, none of which I possessed, I could not last another 18 hours, and if I did, I would never have enough energy to push. To be honest, our nurse was pretty condescending and a little bit rude, practically pushing me to get the pitocin and attempting to put off my questions about it. When it was apparent that her explanations and answers were the best we would get without calling the doctor in I decided to go ahead with the pitocin. It was time to get things going and meet our baby boy! If I had not been laboring so long already I would never have even considered augmenting my labor with pitocin, but in the end it was the right thing to do for my situation, as much as I hate to admit it. The pitocin was started at a low dose at maybe 2pm. It was my understanding that the pitocin would remain at that low level unless I wasn’t progressing. Apparently what really happened was that the dosage increased every 15 minutes! Before the pitocin my contractions were every 5-7 minutes. Once it was in my system they were every 2-3 minutes and lasting 30-60 seconds. At the next check I was still at 6cm, even after being on the pitocin for at least an hour…

Shortly after getting the pitocin

We’re getting close…still more to come!

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Birth Story, Part Three

 

All set up in my LDR room

 

I remember being relieved that this was the real deal. We knew that for most of labor so far, but it didn’t seem real yet. Maybe because I was still at home, or maybe because labor was being slow and erratic, but until we were heading to the car it did not set in that soon I’d give birth. In the wee hours of Sunday morning I felt that ‘this is it!’ feeling and was very excited, but it faded quickly as my labor slowed and I even wondered if it was all a big mistake and I was having false labor. Grabbing all of our gear and going down to the car to load up again and leave really gave me this surreal yet real feeling I’d been waiting nine months to feel. I was going in to the hospital, in labor, and very soon I’d be holding my child.

 

Obviously not too tired yet

Labor playlist, an absolute MUST!

Contraction...

No more contraction!

 

We arrived at Woman’s around 9:30pm and got into a room. I changed into the nightgown I’d  bought since I hate hospital gowns and the nurse, V—-, got me hooked up to all the monitors. I wanted intermittent monitoring, but they had to get at least 20 minutes of monitoring when I was admitted to see how things were and make sure the baby was ok. I also had to be started on an IV with antibiotics for Group B Strep since I had tested positive. That meant I had to have the antibiotic every four hours and since it took probably 2 hours or so for the drug to finish in the IV, I was stuck with my friend, the IV cart, for all of labor. I had hoped for no IV, but sadly it wasn’t worth it to take it out or off and put it back on over and over. This sacrifice meant that Caleb would be safe from infection during delivery and that was worth the annoyance of the giant IV cart. V—- went over our birth plan with us and the only ‘issue’ was the I would not be allowed to have liquids during labor. Pretty good fare for a hospital given that I had a lot of very natural provisions in my birth plan. Zach’s parents came about an hour later and mine arrived not long after that. I was shocked they wanted to be there so soon since we had no idea if labor would move quickly or not. I think they were just excited and anxious for the arrival of their grandbaby.

 

fly on the wall...errr curtain

This is where baby boy goes when he arrives!

Another contraction

 

I was still at 2cm after laboring all day. Not the news I wanted to hear. Labor kept on with contractions about 7 minutes apart. They were fairly manageable for a while, and I kept wondering when things would really get going. We took a walk through the halls hoping to speed things up.

 

Texting my mom

Me, Zach, and Bill the IV cart, just walkin' the halls

 

Zach and I had made a labor playlist which we played for awhile. By the early morning my contractions were becoming more painful. I reached a breaking point and finally started to cry some whereas before I was able to get through each one, but still I was not progressing much as far as dilation went. I started to have more back labor so Megan and Zach traded off doing pressure points on my low back. Megan did some reflexology massage on my feet and ankles. That really helped me mentally, but also after that I did have some progress! Around 4am I felt and heard a “pop!” and my water broke. I was pretty surprised it broke on its own, but very excited for something new to happen. At the next check not long after I was 4cm which was encouraging and discouraging all at the same time. Glad to have some progress but frustrated that it was such a minor change given all the time that had passed. Once my water broke the contractions were much more painful and intense from what I’d been experiencing. The first one after I actually had my first urge to push, but it definitely was not time for that yet! During most of this I did get to have the monitors off for 40 minutes of every hour. That was a relief as the monitor straps wouldn’t stay in place and often caused additional pain during contractions. I moved around into many different positions, standing, sitting, laying down. Sometimes leaning on Zach, sometimes using the birth ball, and other times sitting in a rocking chair that V—- had managed to snag for us.

 

Fetal monitoring...how I hated thee!

Around midnight, July 18/19

Zach was SUCH an incredible coach!

Look at that concentration

Around 3:30am, July 19, about 30min before my water broke

Still more to come….more photos too!

 

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Birth Story, Part Two

 

Last belly pic...38 weeks

Around 4:30 in the morning Sunday, July 18 I finally gave up on sleep, and Zach and I started timing the contractions. After about an hour they were 5 minutes apart and lasting about 30 seconds or so. We called Tina to get her opinion and decided that yes, I was in early labor. Our plan had been to labor at home as long as possible, and since the hospital likes to see contractions 5 minutes apart lasting at least a minute each, it was no where close to time to head in. Megan, after getting the call from Tina, headed our way to help us labor at home. Zach and I really did think that things would keep progressing and that we’d be at the hospital before lunch on Sunday. Zach even loaded up the car with everything minus my bag and my pillow. It was time! How very wrong we were! Early labor kept on all morning. For awhile I maintained my 5 minutes apart, 30-45 second long contraction rhythm. I went back to bed for a bit, we took several walks before it got too warm outside, and I even spent some time in the shower, hoping to get things rolling faster. My labor seemed to be at this awkward standstill of confusion. It was as if Caleb had decided that maybe this being born business wasn’t such a wonderful idea after all. In the early afternoon Megan left to grab some lunch and also to see if her leaving would somehow get my labor back on track and progressing. Zach made us waffles and we enjoyed spending some time together, just us. After about an hour or so Megan called to check in and we decided to let her salvage what was left of her Sunday and we’d give her a call as soon as things picked up again.

 

Dinner out on July 17!

At some point in the afternoon I talked to my mom who said I should start a project because he was sure to come right when I got going and really into it. I had been  putting together the pieces to finish Caleb’s quilt but at that time I just didn’t feel like being crafty. Zach and I watched TV and relaxed. I think I might have napped again at some point as well. Sunday evening we ran to Little Caesar’s to grab a pizza and crazy bread. Neither of us felt like cooking. We both started to wonder if labor would ever get going again and when would we finally meet our baby boy? After eating I gave in and took my mom’s advice. I pulled out my sewing gear and got going on piecing the quilt while we watched more TV to pass the time. I should’ve started sewing earlier because once I got going, so did labor! It was probably 7pm or so when I started sewing and from then on my contractions became more frequent and were lasting longer. Next thing I knew we had a pattern of 5 minutes or less apart and lasting at least a minute long! Zach and I were both so happy to finally have a pattern again. Things were moving and soon we’d meet our son. Around 9pm we called the doctor who said to go ahead and come in. We also called Megan to let her know to meet us at Womans since we were heading in at last…

Stay tuned! The next post will have a few more photos as well!

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The Long Awaited, Long Labor and Birth Story…Part One

I have finally finished my Birth Story! It is pretty long and as a result I have decided to post it in a mini-series for your reading and sanity’s pleasure. Some posts will feature photos taken by Zach and also by our doula. I promise the photos are G-rated.

WARNING: As this is a labor story and labor can be quite…colorful, I wanted to let you know there may be a few instances of ‘color’ within the story. Nothing that I think is too bad, but then again, I’ve been through labor so it is pretty much all over at this point.

The Birth of Caleb, Pt. 1

This is the story of how I went from being a pregnant woman to the mother of Caleb Michael S_____. I want to chronicle this miraculous event not only for posterity, but also to encourage other women who are seeking to have a natural labor and delivery. I found during my pregnancy that nothing was more uplifting and encouraging to me about the birth process than talking to others and reading the stories of moms who had gone through natural childbirth. Each story is unique with different twists and turns, and most will admit the pain of the process, but all have the same ending of the glorious beginning of motherhood when her baby is finally born.
Caleb Michael S____ was born at 5:30pm on Monday, July 19, 2010, weighing 5lb 12oz and measuring 17 1/4 inches long. When hearing those statistics one might think that labor began that morning and by the evening my precious baby boy was in my  arms. This would be possibly the most incorrect assumption ever to be made. The birth of Caleb came about after almost 37 hours of labor. At the time all I wanted was for labor to be done and my boy to be in my arms, but looking back I wouldn’t trade one single moment. My first clues that Caleb might be coming appeared on Saturday afternoon, July 17. I had some mild discomfort, otherwise known as contractions, and upon one of my many bathroom visits I noticed some bloody show beginning to appear. Aha! My wipe watching had finally paid off. I referenced What to Expect for a confirmation of what exactly bloody show was and that it was in fact a sign of early labor. At this point my excitement only grew, though I was still skeptical since I hadn’t lost my mucous plug and I didn’t even begin to hope my water would break on its own, giving me that definite sign it was ‘time’. I talked to our doula, Tina, and she had said to keep watching and waiting and let her know if things progressed. Sadly, she was out of town in New York and if this was the real thing, we’d have Megan, a doula working and learning under Tina, to assist us in the labor and delivery journey. The rest of Saturday afternoon was spent leisurely, taking it easy since I was tired and started feeling under the weather from the contractions. At this point contractions were not something that hurt, merely something I noticed now and then as a minor annoyance. Zach and I went out to a delicious dinner and dessert with another couple to celebrate a birthday. I am so glad we went and shared that time together, but also in fellowship with friends. There was a thunderstorm going on which only added another story-like element to the evening. We had a wonderful time, ate too much food, and all the while I noticed my contractions getting stronger and more frequent. Still, these were not painful, they were more crampy, similar to a menstrual cycle, and often accompanied by some minor low back pain. I became more and more excited, thinking to myself that by the next afternoon I would probably be a momma! Zach and I went to bed, anxious at the thought of possibly being in labor, but hoping sleep would come. I slept on and off but the contractions were coming even more frequently and almost always with the back pain now, which made it much harder to stay asleep. I’d find a new comfortable position and then get a contraction and it would be all over….

To be continued…stick around!

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