Welcome, Baby: A birth story

It's been 11 weeks and three days since the moment when everything changed and I caught the closest glimpse of Heaven I think I'll ever experience earthside. As my daughter sleeps peacefully with Lenny pup keeping close watch, I wanted to take a few minutes to share our birth story. Reading
others' experiences helped me as I prepared to bring our little into the world.

Our birth story started about three weeks before baby girl made her arrival. My doctor was leaving the country for three weeks right before my due date and baby was measuring large, so my doctor suggested that it might be best to consider an induction once I hit 39 weeks. I labored over this decision because I had heard horror stories about induction and I know that inducing for baby's size is debated in the medical and mom community. After doing my homework and talking extensively with my doctor, I decided that induction at 39+2 was the right decision for us.

At my 39-week check-up, my body still wasn't progressing much toward labor, so we decided it would be best for me to enter the hospital on Saturday night for a Foley catheter. This device, used in conjunction with a low dose of Pitocin, manually prepares the body for labor. My doctor told me to have a meal and then check in to the hospital at 7 p.m.

Saturday morning, I did one last-chance BodyPump class, finished odds and ends around the house, and loaded the car. Mom arrived so she could stay at our house with the pup and off to McAllister's she, my husband and I went. I was so nervous that I couldn't eat. My emotions were all over the place and I was sick to my stomach. I choked down as much of a bowl of potato soup as I could and that was it.

Last-chance meal at McAllister's.

Next stop: Hospital. 

It wasn't long before I was sporting a fashionable gown and signing consent forms. A short time later, the on-call obstetrician came in to place the catheter. It was rough. My anatomy is apparently not catheter friendly, so it was painful. The good news is that the process was fairly short and once it was in, it was only very minor discomfort. I was able to get up and move around the room freely.

As the evening wore on, I started to get contractions from the Pitocin. They got pretty painful fairly quickly, so I went ahead and requested pain medication in hopes that I could get some rest. Unfortunately, even with the medicine, my anxiety (and my bladder) didn't allow me to get any sleep that night.

The next morning, my new nurse came in and talked through the day with me. My doctor came in and checked to make sure the catheter had done it's job and, thankfully, it had. We had hit 5 centimeters, so it was time to take out the catheter and crank the Pitocin. At this point, it was 10 a.m. and I was given the option for the epidural. I accepted.

I had a lot of fear about getting the epidural. Something about needles and catheters in the space around my spine really freaked me out (but not as much as the pain of labor scared me). The anesthesiologist reminded me of Leslie Nielsen in looks and personality, so I actually found some strange humorous comfort in that. I mean, come on, y'all have seen Airplane, right?

At any rate, I'd heard the pain of the pre-epidural numbing shot compared to that of a bee sting. I'd say it was actually worse than that, but it was manageable and it was over quickly. I would 10 out of 10 get another one because it allowed me to get some rest. At some point after the epidural was in and I was numb, my doctor came in and broke my water.

Then we waited.

Sometime between 5 and 6 p.m., I was told we were getting close. Jake went out to the waiting room to get my mom. I had asked her to join us in the delivery room so she could take pictures of our first moments as a family of three.

A little before 6 p.m., my doctor checked my progress and decided it was go time. I burst into tears. I was so scared.

Tears of terror.

I finally somewhat collected myself and the pushing began. Because I'd had nothing to eat since my half of a bowl of potato soup 24 hours earlier and the only sleep I'd had was about 3 hours of cat naps during the day, I had a lot of of sickness. The cocktail of anti-nausea medicines were powerless in this instance, so I made good friends with the airplane bag and powered through.

The next three hours are a blur. I remember bits and pieces. The doctor yelling at me to push in a way that reminded me of volleyball coaches yelling at me to keep going during wind sprints. Watching the contraction monitor and waiting for the nurse to tell me to push. Begging for ice chips. Listening to the sound of my daughter's heartbeat on the monitor. 

Sometime in the third hour of delivery, I remember the epidural completely wearing off and my sadist of an OB rejecting my pleas for a refill. I remember the doctor commenting that baby girl's heartbeat was increasing. I remember the NICU team descending upon the delivery room. I remember spiking a fever. I vividly remember the pain. I remember that at the exact moment when I didn't think I could do this for even one more second, my body took over and finished the job. Our bodies are amazing things.

At 9:13 p.m., we welcomed our precious little 8 lb. 4 oz. baby girl into the world. It turns out, she entered the birth canal face up and somewhat sideways. For those unfamiliar with the birth process, that's bad. It makes delivery extremely difficult. I didn't get to do skin-to-skin because baby girl came out with a fever over 104°F. The doctor handed her over to the NICU team immediately and they began working on her. I was so scared, but within a few seconds, I heard my daughter's first whimpers. I've never felt relief like that.

Unlucky for me, the placenta did not detach and deliver like it should have. That sucker had been giving me fits the entire pregnancy with marginal cord insertion and placenta previa (eventually resolved), so I should have known we had a stubborn one on our hands. With my epidural having worn off, the removal process was excruciatingly painful. Mom went over to see baby girl while my husband stood beside me and let me squeeze his hand to death while my doctor worked on me. She was thankfully able to get everything removed while the NICU team tended to baby and within a few minutes (that felt like an eternity), I got to meet my long-awaited daughter for the first time.

The most unbelievable moment of my life.

One proud daddy.
It's hard to describe the joy, relief, and beauty of the moment when I first held her in my arms. I cried as I sat there in awe of the miracle I had just lived. A little more than a year prior, I was in the throes of infertility, mourning the loss of one embryo and the miscarriage of another. Now, here I was, holding the most beautiful baby.

Finally a family of three.

Because of her rough entrance, little miss ended up spending a few days in the neonatal intensive care unit for antibiotics. She had some signs of infection, so the NICU doctor felt strongly that we needed to treat her in order to prevent sepsis. Our NICU stay is another story for another day, though, and I'm thankful for the care she received and that her little body responded to treatment quickly. She entered the world on a Sunday and we headed home on Thursday.

Headed home.

Our little lady has been brightening our lives, filling up our phone storage, and challenging us every day since her arrival. She's growing so fast and learning new things all the time. It's hard to believe how fast the time is going, but we're soaking up every second of it. Our daughter is, by far, our greatest adventure and most precious gift from God.

Minutes old.
Two days old and sporting her IV.
11 weeks

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