I know it has been forever since I posted anything but I figured the birth of my first daughter should be something I share. I didn’t have a very normal labor and delivery story. It certainly didn’t go the way I had suspected. I was pretty terrified about giving birth but any scenarios I came up with were no where near what happened! So I guess I will share my story now.
We were staying at the base where I was to give birth just waiting to go into labor. It was a very relaxing/boring/anxious time. Normally people work, get their houses ready, and just generally live their lives until they go into labor. But not us! We stopped everything and moved into a hotel to sit and wait and wonder “Is today going to be the day?”
I woke up December 17th at 3 am with pretty painful contractions. I started timing them. They were coming about every 5 mins for an hour. Usually that is a sign that you are going into labor. I woke Pat up and took a shower. I walked over to the labor and delivery to get checked. I was monitored and checked to see if I was dilated. I think I was 3 cm but they told me I was not in active labor and sent me to go walk to get labor started. I tried relaxing, showering, sleeping, walking. I tried everything and the contractions kept coming. They were getting more painful. I went to get checked again and there was no change.
Later that night I was having super painful contractions every 4 mins for a couple hours. I was in tears I was in so much pain. I came back to the hospital. They let me stay the night and gave me some morphine to help me sleep. Of course during the night my contractions slowed to every 6-8 mins. I thankfully was able to get some sleep. That morning I was checked. Still 3 cm! How could I not have had any progress?!?! The doctor offered to induce me the morning of the 18th but I declined. I wanted to go into labor naturally. The contractions were not that painful plus I was starving. I hadn’t eaten a meal at all the day before. I went back to our room to eat breakfast. It was delicious!
About an hour later my morphine wore off. And oh man was it terrible!!! Painful contractions every 3.5-4 mins. I was hysterically crying. I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t progressing but I was in so much pain. Finally I just couldn’t take it. I went back to labor and delivery just hysterically crying. Of course they knew who I was at that point. They rushed me back to check me again. I was 4 cm!!! That means I was far enough along to be admitted! I was so relieved! They immediately took me to the delivery room and ordered my epidural.
Once I had my epidural in place, everything was amazing. I am so thankful for modern medicine. I don’t think I would have made it through this whole thing without that medicine. I was in no pain. Pat and I were just sitting waiting for me to progress. My contractions were still coming strong and steady. We took some naps. We watched tv. Everything was very calm. Nothing like what you see in the movies.
I stalled at 5 cm after having my water broken so the doctor ordered pitocin (that is a drug to help you contract and progress). My contractions started coming about every 2 mins and were very strong. The only bad thing was the babies heart rate went too high. The doctor got concerned so she discontinued the pitocin. I was then 7 cm. I loved the progress!
After that things started to move faster. I finally was progressing at a good rate. The problem started when I spiked a fever. That combined with the high baby heart rate meant that I had an infection in the amniotic fluid. They immediately started me on IV antibiotics. They said the real cure for it would be to give birth.
Well the time came. I was finally dilated enough that I could start pushing. I will not go into much detail about that part other than it was exhausting! I was pushing for over an hour and the baby was not coming down the way she should. The doctor suggested we use a vacuum to help her come out. I was so tired at that point that I would do anything to get her out. The vacuum did the trick. She started coming out. Her head came out. Then something went wrong. For some reason the baby decided to turn 180 degrees. So instead of facing the floor she was suddenly facing the ceiling. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what was happening. I continued to push but she wasn’t budging. Her shoulders had gotten stuck. The doctor had to make a quick decision to save the babies life. He reached in and pulled out an arm. Unfortunately that broke her little arm. But it did the trick! She was out!
She was immediately taken over to another part of the room where a pediatrician was waiting. I had no idea he was even in the room. She started crying which was a huge relief. They also said “Wow this is a big baby!!” In my head I was thinking wow I had a 7 lb baby. They then said she was over 9 lbs!!! I had a 9 lb baby inside me?!?! No one including all the doctors had any idea she was so big. That is why I had such a hard time progressing in labor and why she got stuck. Everything was so scary! They said they think her arm is broken (which I already knew because I felt it break…pretty horrible). They had to take her away immediately to get an x-ray and to place an IV catheter and collect blood work. Pat went with her while I had to stay back to be worked on. They were gone for almost 2 hours! They had to place an IV and collect blood work because of the infection I had during the labor. They needed to make sure that she didn’t have an infection. The IV was so they could start her on antibiotics until they got the results back from the blood test.
It took forever but they got everything they needed. We went back to our room where I was finally able to spend time with my daughter. It was a crazy experience but I was so happy to have such a beautiful daughter, my Ellie Noelle.
While we were in the hospital, Ellie’s vitals were taken every 4 hours 24/7. Apparently they were looking for any signs of infection i.e. a fever. Thursday morning the pediatrician came in to speak with us. He was saying all the test were coming back great and that we will most likely go home Friday morning. We were so excited! We couldn’t wait to bring our girl home. Well of course something else had to go wrong. When her vitals were checked Thursday night she had a fever! It was over 100.4 which in a newborn is a very big deal!
The pediatrician was called immediately. He said we needed to run more blood work, a urine test, and even a spinal tap. My poor two day old needed to get a spinal tap?! What was happening? He explained that if it was an infection of some sort newborns had no way of keeping it in one area of the body. He said the last place it would go would be spinal fluid so that would show a lot. We were pretty terrified with all this new information. We thought we were going home in 12 hours and now everything had changed!
Luckily (knock on wood, fingers crossed, any other lucky superstition) all of her tests have been coming back normal. The biggest relief was the spinal tap. That came back completely clear. Now they say the earliest we will go home is Sunday. The rest of the lab work will be back Saturday night. As long as they look good her IV catheter will be removed and all medications stopped. I am hoping everything comes back just fine. She hasn’t had a fever since Thursday night (the fever was gone a few hours after they found it). She is eating great! She is gaining weight. She is sleeping well. She is pooping and peeing. She is perfect! She is the strongest person I know! To go through all of this just being hours old and still be so amazing is just mind boggling. Thank you to all our friends and family all across the world for all the support and kind words. You will never know how much it means to our small family. We love you all! And thanks for reading this super long story!