The Birth Story

Because this is apparently a rite of passage, and every blogger needs one.

I never thought I'd write a birth story, I didn't think the event would be one worth sharing or remembering... I mean, I think remembering the birth of your child is obviously important, but what more was there to it, besides "He was born and I felt like this..."

There's a lot more, apparently.

Let's start with 36 weeks. The Braxton Hicks contractions started getting much more intense and I was feeling pretty good about labor coming soon.

37 weeks came and I was all excited about it "most likely" being the last week I'd have to squish into my dresses for church. 1cm dilated.

38 weeks came and I was DONE. If he wanted to be here in time for Christmas, he was making a pretty late show of it. I was getting contractions that would keep me up for about 3 hours every night, but they'd fade during the day. Still just 1 cm dilated. Frustrated me that the contractions to me didn't seem like they were doing anything.

39 weeks and things just seemed impossible. I was definitely going to be pregnant forever. December 30th though. December 30th Joe and I went to bed and I put on Iron Chef to watch as I fell asleep. After 4 episodes, I realized I wasn't gonna fall asleep any time soon, and I realized the contractions hurt, and I realized they were 5 minutes apart and getting closer. Adrenaline kicked in and then sleep was impossible. I told Joe, and the two of us mustered up enough excitement to keep ourselves awake all night long, certain that baby boy was on his way. At about 3am, we packed our bags and drove to the hospital, where we stayed for an hour, and then were sent packing, STILL ONLY 1CM DILATED. And I felt like a failure. I felt like I didn't know my body. I cried the whole way home. We got home at 5, and slept until 11, and I woke up angry and certain I would be pregnant for forever.

After 40 weeks my doctor set an induction date for January 7th at 3:30pm when I was at a 1.5cm dilated at best. I resigned myself to this but I was so disappointed. It was the DAY before my mom would fly home. And getting induced at 3:30 doesn't mean you have a baby at 3:30. I didn't think she'd be there. I spent a couple hours crying in the bathroom feeling like a failure again. The last week of pregnancy involved a lot of self blame and feelings of letting people down.

So that appointment was January 5th at 8:30 and contractions started right then, every few hours, but very intense. I got to sleep that night and woke up at 3:30am feeling even worse. I was told to wait to go to the hospital until I couldn't walk through contractions, so I decided to try and walk them off, and I effectively couldn't. But they were about 10 minutes apart, and that didn't seem good. I did eventually get to sleep again, and woke up to the contractions back to 30 minutes apart, but getting closer, and more intense. I still couldn't walk through them. I called up my mom and told her what was going on by the time they were about 15-20 minutes apart, and she came over to keep me company while I played Just Dance for a while and waited for my doctor to call me back and tell me what to do.

When you go to the hospital only to get sent home, you're hesitant to go again.

The doctor called back and told me to head to the hospital if only to get monitored to make sure baby was handling the contractions well. I called Joe, and he headed back from work, and my mom and I met him at the hospital.

Monitoring went on for an hour, and they came back to tell me that YES my contractions were intense (thank you!) but I was dilated to just a 1cm STILL and that the contractions weren't close enough together to progress me. So if they got to be 2-3 minutes apart, then I could go in. But until then....

And it didn't help that the woman in the room next to us was screaming. I can't compete with that.

We all headed home a big bundle of annoyed and frustrated, probably most of all me... and on the ride home the contractions bumped from 10 minutes apart up to 4 minutes apart. Joe and I did some passive aggressive angry laughing awkward kind of thing like "OH LET'S JUST GO TO THE HOSPITAL AGAIN NOW! And come home! We can do this TWENTY FOUR HOURS, RIGHT?! Until the SCHEDULED INDUCTION TIME?! AHHHHHH."

Joe worked from home the rest of the afternoon while my mom and I got pedicures and made lots of jokes to the Asian man working on my feet that if he put me into labor, we'd tip him well.

Came home, did some Just Dance, contractions got to be 3 minutes apart, I still wasn't buying it... And Joe needed a new drivers license so my mom and I dropped him off at the DMV while we walked around some stores. Where the contractions started coming 1-2 minutes apart, stopping me in my tracks.

We picked up Joe and headed back to the hospital.

I got to triage at 6, where we were met with shouts of "You're back!" and they were met with our (mostly my) dirty glares. When you're having 1-2 minute contractions, you don't have time for silliness.

And I was dilated to a grand total of.


1 centimeters. An entire. One. Centimeters. I gave up. I cried. I couldn't do it, I was so frustrated. They watched contractions for an hour, agreed that they were intense, and put me on a morphine drip to try and relax me and hopefully get me to dilate. An hour later and!

1cm dilated. But I was in pain at this point, and was vocal about it. Remember that hollering lady? I thought maybe if I hollered, they'd hear me. But really I was in pain enough to yell, so I did. The morphine did nothing for me.

The nurse came back and told me she talked to the doctor and.

The words I'd been waiting to hear.

"We're admitting you."

Me and my party of three headed to our labor room where they put me on pitocin for about an hour or two, and I labored drug free. I was pretty confident in my pain tolerance ability, boasting of broken bones and feeling fine and blah blah blah.... And at midnight I snapped. I couldn't do it anymore. My face was rubbed raw from burying it in a pillow to scream, and I hated everything. I called for the epidural.

At this point I was 2.5 cm dilated!

And they put me on the epidural, and took of the pitocin because the contractions were coming often and strong.

At 1am I was at a 4. After 5 weeks of being told I was 1cm, it was a miracle to hear 4. And let me tell you about this epidural. Pure heaven. The epidural wore off again at 9am or so, and when they re-dosed me,.... let me tell you. That relief is just OTHER WORLDLY.

Ok, I was at a 4, they gave me a few hours to let my water break on its own, saying that when they broke, I'd move really fast. But after a few hours, there was still very little progress, and they called in the doctor at 7am to break my water. That was a weird experience. When pregnant, you have this idea of what your water breaking would feel like. But remember the epidural? I didn't feel anything. The doctor got up to leave and told me I'd progress more quickly now and I said "Wait, what? You broke my water already?" Turns out yes. Zero feeling.

I don't really remember the next few hours. I was trying my best to sleep as much as possible. My husband and mom had the fun experience of not sleeping at all.

Let me talk to you about them. I couldn't have done it without either of them there. Their support and encouragement and distraction was what got me through the hard parts (i.e. epidural not working, or getting sent home the first time, and the general discomfort of it all....)

At noon, the nurse checked me again and I was fully effaced and dilated. Baby was still sitting up very high, though, and she told me she was going to let me labor down for a little while so I wouldn't exhaust myself pushing. She said I still would have a ways to go, and left.

20 minutes passed and I was in so much discomfort. I was feeling a lot of pressure, and at some points feeling like I was having to hold something in. I kept having this horrible nightmare of the baby coming when the nurses and doctors were out of the room. Joe kept telling me to call the nurse back in but it hadn't been that long since she told me the baby was so high and I had a while to go, it had only been about 10 minutes. And I was full of experience of being told I was 1cm dilated for weeks on end that I was sure I would always progress slower than I thought I was. So no, I didn't call in the nurse.

It had been 20 minutes since last being checked and, the other nurse came in, told me that she had sent the first nurse off to lunch, and she was going to check me, which she did. She said if I had made any progress, they'd let me start pushing. And she checked and shouted "YEP. The baby's head is RIGHT THERE. Ok!" He was so low she couldn't get the catheter out and had to do some tricky maneuvering to figure out how to get it out, and eventually it did come out thank goodness. The other nurse came back into the room and they helped me get all situated while my doctor drove over.

Ok but actually it wasn't my doctor, he was in with patients, so Doctor Kale, a doctor I'd met with a few times during my pregnancy came to my aid. It took her about 15 minutes to come over, and the nurses helped me push during that time.

And then the next little bit is a blur. But at noon, I was told to labor down, 20 minutes later I was ready, 10 minutes after that I was pushing, and 30 minutes after that he was born. A really chaotic rush and blur of one hour.

Baby boy was born at 1:01pm, sunny side up with one hand by his face. 7lbs and 15oz. I was told he would weigh around 6lbs, with 7lbs being the maximum, so we were really surprised by his size. He's 20.5 inches long.

And true to his name, he continues to bring laughter into my life. Laughing is hard when your ab muscles are numb and you can't feel them. Laughing is hard when you're very sore. Laughing has been hard for me, but he's been making me laugh. Like when he startles when we rustle paper near him. Or when he spit up all over his homecoming outfit. Or when he still hadn't peed after 24 hrs and we were starting to get worried and when Joe changed his diaper, he peed all over Joe. Maybe I wouldn't have been laughing if it was me, but maybe I would have still.

I love this little boy. It is surreal to have him here and to see his face and to feel him move outside of me. I'm exhausted and overwhelmed at times but the overall feeling is just happiness and love, love for him, love for my husband, and the feeling of love coming from angle around me as my friends and family shared their support from around the world. Thank you to all who supported me through this pregnancy. It has been quite the adventure, and I'm excited for the adventure to follow.


Ashley Ziegler said...

Lara!!! I'm so happy for you!!! :) I'm so glad that he's here and that your mom was there to help!!

~The Vreeken Family~ said...

I had a similar experience with my first born. I got very frustrated after being sent home, with the baby, myself and the world. My doctor stripped my membranes once a week for 3 weeks until my stubborn son decided to make his grand entrance...and right after he was handed to me, he promptly peed on me. He was born 1 day before the due date... I was glad of that because they had set me to induce 4 days after the due date, only after a threw a royal fit at being told I could be induced at 41 weeks, which would have been Halloween.