Birth Story - Be Warned!

So I know not everybody that reads this blog will interested in the details of Piper's birth. However I am always curious to hear how other's birth experiences go, and I know some other moms may want to know the details. Plus, as this is my forum for recording family memories, I want to record Piper's birth story here. So if you don't want to know any more, feel free to stop reading now.

Piper was due on August 20, but was measuring slightly large from the beginning - if you can count 9 pounds plus as large (I don't know if I can after the first two babies were bigger). So when we started looking at the calendar it became quickly apparent that a couple of outside factors would be weighing in. First, Elliott would be smack dab in the middle of budget season and extremely busy. Second, Elliott's parents would be in Las Vegas the week before Piper's due date (after their annual pilgrimage to the Utah Shakespearean Festival).

So I decided from the very beginning that if everything played out like it did with the other two girls, I would induce a week early (a plan I am sure I shared with everyone but my midwife Tracy). Both other pregnancies I dilated early (to at least 3 cm two weeks before) and had quick deliveries (6 hours for Ava and 4 hours for Lily). I even induced with Lily, so I felt familiar with the process and not concerned about anything. I decided that if I induced 6 days early I would:

* be able to work around Elliott's work schedule
* have Mom and Dad here to stay home with the girls
* and have Tracy deliver them instead of whoever was on call

(I should clarify here that I see a Certified Nurse Midwife, who is essentially a nurse practioner in OB/GYN with an OB/GYN practice. So I have normal, hospital deliveries with drugs like most other ladies- not home deliveries.)

At some point in the process I hormonally freaked out that somewhere in my overplanning did I lose the essence of birth (it should be about me and baby, not everyone else) but that quickly passed as I realized what I wanted most was to think of my family as a whole, and it would be so much easier of a transition to do it this way.

Four weeks before delivering I had already begun dilating, starting at 1 cm. Two weeks before I had dilated to 3 cm and baby was head down. The week before I was nearing 4 cm and on last check-up (birth day) I was almost at 5 cm. I can't say at this point that I was having any sort of normal, regular contractions, but there was definitely alot of aches and pains, strains and twinges which would make me pause while walking and decide maybe I had better stand in one place for a minute.

On the 13th, with Tracy's blessing we decided I would check into the hospital that afternoon (after Mom and Dad arrived in town) as I was clearly not going to last the weekend (Tracy's words, not mine) and Tracy was off that weekend (of course!). So I went to pick the girls up from their playdate, ran a few last minute errands, fed them lunch and put them down for a nap. In the spirit of full disclosure you will laugh to know that in the hour before heading to the hospital I shaved my legs and waxed my eyebrows so I would feel pretty after everything was all said and done. (Yeah, I think that's funny too.)

When Mom and Dad arrived I went over a few things quickly, then Dad drove me to the hospital where Elliott was already (thanks to work). So Elliott and I checked in about 4:15pm, but didn't make it into a room until after 4:30 and not into the bed until probably around 5pm. During this time, standing waiting by the nurses station I started to feel achy and was walking around a bit, bending, squatting, etc. Again, not feeling like regular contractions, but something. However, when I got into the room and hooked up to the monitors we discovered that indeed I was having regular contractions, 5 minutes apart! Not overly strong, but during the next 1/2 hour I did start to feel them. (I could also feel Piper clawing her way back up, trying desperately to stay inside me! Every time a contraction would end she would somehow be right underneath the fetal heartbeat monitor and give it a good kick, letting us know she did not appreciate that!)

At this point we decided to see where things headed and would only start the pictocin (our original plan) if the contractions slowed down - which they didn't take long to do. By about 6pm my contractions were not going anywhere so we decided to stick with the original plan of induction (since the contractions had all but stopped) and ordered the pictocin and the epidural.

I received my pictocin and epidural almost immediately and Elliott had fun over the next hour watching the contractions on the monitor, alerting me to their strength and length (ah, the numbers nerd in him strikes again!) since the epidural was working and I couldn't feel them. However by 7pm they seemed to have slowed down again and I was really struggling emotionally with it all. Or should I say hormonally. I hit my wall and was questioning my decision to induce, to receive the epidural, etc. It was going to take all night! I made the wrong choice! Etc., etc. I even started to cry at one point. However, right about that time the night nurse Jill came on duty and was so sweet and supportive, listened to my concerns and soothed my worries. She jokingly told me they start to worry after 12 hours of labor, not two, but that she would check me and see how I was doing. So after two hours of watching a monitor that didn't seem to be showing any progress Jill reported that I had dilated another 2 cm, now up to 7cm. Ok, I started to calm down and not pay as much attention to the monitor (and told Elliott to stop updating me as to my contractions, since it was clearly making me a little neurotic about the process).

At some point in the next hour they broke my water which caused me to dilate to 8cm. About 8pm I was starting to feel an extreme pain in my pelvis during contractions, so Jill ordered an epidural boost (which I thought was funny since I couldn't feel my toes but I could feel this one spot). Turns out, after receiving my booster, the pain was still intense and after describing it to Jill she realized Piper was caught up on my pelivc bone (not a pain covered by the epidural) and I would have to do something to slip her out. About 8:30pm they rolled me onto my side for about 20 minutes, while I tried to not cry out too much over the pain (which is about as close to real labor as I wanted to get). They decided they had better call Tracy since they felt I was really close to delivery.
Tracy, Piper and Sarah

About 9pm Tracy arrived and they rolled me onto my back so she could check my progress According to Elliott she didn't get her fingers in even up to the knuckles before she hit Piper's head - that baby was right there and ready to go! She told me that on the next contraction I would push "but not too hard, she's right there" to which Elliott chimed in "seriously Sarah, if you push too hard she'll fly across the room!" (which is not overly helpful when I am so numbed up I can't tell if I am pushing at all). After only a push and a half, out she came at 9:08 pm. Praise God! At 7 lb 11 oz Piper was smaller than I was betting she would be (my guess was about 8 1/2 lb), but Elliott always guessed she would be down right around 8 lbs., so he won.

So my streak of quick births continued, although I think it might start to give me a complex as I try and beat my own records (much to Elliott's bafflement - "it's not a race Sarah"). I am well aware of how blessed I am and do not take it for granted, regardless of how I might complain towards the end of the pregnancy (I try to not do that too much). Thank you again for all of your well-wishes and prayers!


Lisa Shatzer said...

What I think is funny is how concerned you were that I get my zuchini on the day you were giving birth! Well it just shows what a sweet friend I have!

Jennifer B said...

Yeah for birth stories. Thanks so much for sharing. =)I'm so glad that things went well. Also I think anyone who has ever given birth can relate that "this will never end...." It always does, but it doesn't seem like it at the time.