Here I am at 40 weeks exactly, on my DUE DATE:
|Grumpy...so funny. I wasn't, but it sure looks like it in this picture!|
My 40 week appointment came on a Wednesday and we wanted to talk about induction at this point. I figured, in a few days we will be seriously considering it anyways. I would be so annoyed if we waited any longer and then had to induce anyways. We made the appointment to come to the hospital on Saturday, July 20th and STRONGLY hoped she would come on her own time. Before then of course! My original due date was July17th and my appointment fell on that day. My OB was hopeful that I could definitely go into labor on my own and so we kept on hoping! I kept having doubts about the day we scheduled it. I don't know why, I felt uneasy. I thought that I was just really nervous and tried to remain excited and positive about our choice of induction on the 20th. We let everybody know that this was our plan and got everything in order to leave that morning. We had a really fun Friday night with my parents and sister. They took us out to eat at Texas Roadhouse, spoiling us yet again!
We had them over afterwards for a delicious ice cream "skookie" as we like to call them. Greg makes the best skookies. He whips up some cookie dough, puts it in a small ramekin, cooks it, tops it with ice cream and homemade Carmel sauce as soon as he pulls it out of the oven. It is a heavenly treat! After all of that, Greg and Dad gave me a blessing.
I cried through it, and everybody laughed when I half jokingly said, "I am going to die tomorrow." By die, I meant go through something that I feel like will kill me or at least I was afraid of that. The blessing was really wonderful, as far as I remember, Greg blessed me that I would feel the strength of the Spirit and the Atonement. He blessed me that I would know my limits and be able to make decisions that were appropriate for the situation. I have read a lot about birth and some of the biggest advice I received was that labor and birthing is unpredictable. So, have a plan but be flexible, educated, and ready to make decisions when necessary. I did that, I read everything I could think of that may be relevant and tried to talk to as many individuals as I could about their experience. None of this was hard, I was really interested in hearing about the experiences of others so asking about them became quit fun and interesting.
We woke up that morning and I was so apprehensive and nervous, I wasn't sure really what to do and I moved slowly through the motions of getting ready. At 6:07 am, I noticed a voicemail. I knew right away what it was, well, in hind sight I guess I did. I listened to the voicemail which was from the charge nurse of labor and delivery. She apologized but called to let us know they needed to postpone my induction for later in the day and asked me to call her back. I called right away, she wasn't sure about the timing for the day but explained they were totally full and needed to delay the induction until they had more room. I was partially disappointed and partially relieved. I had a feeling about the day that wasn't quit right and I was happy to have more time to let her come on her own time! Plus, I thought, the 20th isn't a good day to be born. She should come on the 21st, the day I was born! That was actually only a partially serious thought. I also felt disappointment, which was important for me to experience. I felt so apprehensive and nervous about the whole thing that to feel disappointment made me realize I really was ready. Otherwise, I don't think I would have felt disappointment. We waited around until after 12:00 before we decided to get on with our day. We went to go do laundry at my parent's house. It was there that I called the labor and delivery charge nurse to inquire about whether or not they were planning on us coming in that day. She again apologized and said that they had room coming available but that it would be too late in the day to start an induction. So, we made plans to start the induction on the 21st of July. I was happy about this! I had pictured it not happening on the 20th ever since I had gotten the original message. But I think Greg really hoped we would go in later that day at the latest. We made the appointment for the same time, 7:30, but now we were going to welcome Tess into our family on the Sabbath. I couldn't think of a better way to spend our time! We got up, showered, got ready, packed the car, and ate the delicious breakfast burritos Greg had cooked the day before. While eating, my water broke!!!! I still didn't start feeling contractions, but, it was a tender mercy for me because she would have come on the 21st no matter what! It was the practice at our OB's office to start to monitor the baby 6 hours after the water had broken. Instead of being monitored in a hospital continually, I would have wanted to be induced anyway! To me, it was another indication that she was ready and we could and should proceed with our plans. We got the hospital right at 7:30 and we took pictures right before we went in. There are some great pros to being induced. We had a fun party the night before, daytime laboring, pictures as you walk in, etc. Not too bad at all!
|Leaving home, only to return as a family of three.|
The IV thing was, no fun. I think I made the first nurse nervous because I told her I pass out easy. She blew the vain on my left arm, so she went and got another nurse to get it started. I did almost pass out, and I would have if it hadn't been for the sniff of something awful they gave me and all the cold rags they gave me around my head. I was even laying down! Getting poked is the worst. They got me all hooked up and the baby monitors going. They start the Pictocin on the lowest drip possible, evaluate your pain, your blood pressure, and how the baby is responding. If everything looks normal, they up the dosage every 1/2 hour till you start feeling contractions.
|Our goal was to walk during labor, but it was rather annoying with this contraption. So, we quickly gave up...and hung out in the room. We could only walk up and down the hallways, so, not very good scenery either.|
|Watching the British Open.|
I started pushing at 3:45. I pushed standing up, I was also on the bed on all fours, on my back, used a bar, etc. In all those "birthing" stories, I had never heard of anybody pushing for several hours. So, I kept expecting her to start crowing and for Martine to tell me she could see her. Martine was there, I was pushing, but no feeling of her crowning and no announcement either. Mmmm....so, after what felt like forever to me. I started to ask, how much longer? Martine told me that it was unpredictable but told me that she was concerned that I wasn't progressing very quickly. She was unable to determine the position of the head and explained to me that only part of her head was through my pelvis and kept rocking back behind my pelvic bone. She was concerned that her head was turned or facing up, making it maybe impossible for me to push her out on my own. She wanted to keep trying for a only a few more pushes to see if I was progressing at all and then consult the on call OB from the clinic I go to. I pushed a few more times and Martine left the room. I continued to push with the nurse and Greg there. They coached me and gave me encouragement. At this point, I had been pushing for a little over two hours. Martine came back and talked with me about my options. She thought I needed to get an epideral. She still wanted to see me deliver this baby, and she thought she could help by pushing in certain places on my pelvic bone to see if we could get Tess's head ahead of my pelvic bone. Martine said I wouldn't tolerate her assistance without one. She also said, that help from the OB doctor on call was likely and that his assistance would require an epidural since it would likely involve a C-section or tool assisted delivery. At this point, even though I thought, I went through all of this to get one NOW!? I welcomed the idea of rest and relief. It was obvious that I wouldn't be able to push her out on my own. We had tried everything, other nurses came to do tug of war pushing with me, different positions, etc. Nothing helped. So, I decided I would take a break from pushing and laid on my sides and grabbed the bed railing. I got through the contractions as best as I could and really only could think of when the anesthesiologist would get there. I couldn't wait for relief! He got there, and performed the procedure. He kept telling me I'd feel pain or pressure. I couldn't feel a thing! I dealt with contractions as he administered the catheter into my spine. All I could think of was, "how many more contractions will I feel?" The anesthesiologist was amazing, he did a wonderful job, was very professional, proficient, and quick. Well, it didn't seem he was quick enough at the time. It took about an hour from the time we decided to get an epidural to the time I felt real relief and boy was I tired. All I wanted to do was lay there. The midwife and nurse came in to encourage me to try pushing again until the doctor got there. I pushed for another 1.5 hours. I felt a new determination and wanted to push her out. I really didn't want to contemplate a C-section. That was, in my mind, out of the question. I felt I could have her vaginally. We kept pushing, and made little progression still.
Dr. Warren James was on call that day. In fact, earlier in the day, I recognized his name on the board. My good friend, Stephanie from nursing school goes to him and loves him! She has said so many good things about him, I felt an automatic trust and confidence in him before I even met him. This was a tender mercy. I didn't feel I'd need to be apprehensive or unconfident in his help and decision. Martine told me we would need to let him make the final decision about what to do. He got there and asked if he could examine me. Dr. James got there with his cowboy boots on and his jeans, like he had been out to dinner with friends or family that night. I felt grateful that he was there. He confirmed what Martine was feeling, that I wouldn't be able to push her out on my own. There were two options and he explained the more likely of the two thoroughly. He felt a forceps delivery with a high likelihood of a level 3 or 4 episiotomy was going to be necessary. He said a C-section was also an option but he said that may even be really tough because I had pushed her so far down. The episiotomy rang memories bell. I had somewhat skimmed this part and skipped this question on all of my appointments because just like I didn't feel that going over due applied to me. I also felt that the episiotomy didn't apply either! So, I decided to not even ask about them or to read much about them. What I did remember was that many women who had had them, felt it made the recovery more difficult then labor itself because of the ongoing problems and pain they had associated with it. At this point though, I just wanted her out and safe. I didn't care how, my desire was that I avoid a C-section if at all possible and it seemed as if this was going to be possible which was great news. The doctor left to go put on scrubs. He advised to quit pushing and said upon a closer examination he would be able to make a final call on what he recommended. I relaxed and was anxious to have him back and to get this little girl out and safe. It seemed to me at this point that she needed to be delivered soon. It seemed like a while before he made it back, but when he did, it was minutes before he pulled Tess from me, quit literally. He did an exam with my first contraction and then called her position, "OA." Everybody, the medical personnel that is, seemed excited and I tried to be funny and said, "well...I guess OA is a good thing!"
None of them seemed to hear my comment and set in motion many things. More people came into the room included surgery techs, nurses, and the neonatal nurse practitioner. At the time I was relaxed and excited to see my little girl but looking back it makes me realize that maybe the situation was more serious then I thought. Normally it would have just been the OB, my nurse, and Greg there in the room. Makes me wonder sometimes, what was going on or if this was just standard precautions for a tools assisted delivery.
He placed the forceps and asked me to push one my legs were where he needed them. I don't know what it took, they told me to watch, but I couldn't. The forceps, although necessary, scared me. At one point, he took some long scissors and told me he was going to cut because I was tearing anyway. I could tell in a sense how hard he was pulling and I couldn't watch. Greg did I guess. I'll let him write his side of the story. I just waited for her to be placed on my chest. This was heaven. I couldn't believe what was happening. I hugged her, let her put her beautiful, long fingers around my pointer finger and told her how pretty she was and how much I loved her. I held her tight and the neonatal nurse practitioner and I don't know how many other hands wiped her and put hot blankets over her to keep her warm. I heard them coach Greg on cutting the cord. But I didn't even see it, I look back and everything is a blur except one thing, Tess. I remember starring at her and not being able to take my eyes off of her. Nothing can prepare you for the moment you meet your baby that you literally have dreamed about. She looked perfect to me, a little blue (which I asked if it was okay and they responded that it was normal), and her head had what looked like to be a mason jar lid placed on top of her head. You could tell where she had been stuck in my pelvis, only the top part of her head fitting through. I don't know what forceps do exactly, push my hips apart, pull her though, who knows, but I am glad somebody who knows how to use them did. My daughter had arrived safe, healthy, and beautiful as anything I had ever seen.
One of the things I did do while I reflected and alone was read through the messages and updates Greg was sending, I was really touched by the support and prayers offered for Tess and I as we went through labor and delivery.
Some things I remember from her birth day, literal birth day are:
I remember how constant, attentive, and supportive Greg was. I don't remember a time he even left my side. I am sure he had to go to the bathroom, send family updates, and grab a cracker or two here and there. But he was there for every contraction and would take "orders" from me like a champ. I didn't really mess around with what I needed and what felt good and what didn't. He just jumped in and helped me. For some reason, his touch felt better to me then anybody else's did. The nurse would try things and help, but I always felt more relief to have my sweetheart there helping. Even if the techniques were the same.
I had some amazing nurses, the top two being both of my labor and delivery nurses. They were both different but both were so good at what they did. The first, Rachel, was also my day time nurse in mother/baby. She helped us out a great deal with breast feeding. Greg and I called her the baby whisperer. The only time Tess cries is when she is hungry and can't get latched. She gets a little frustrated. Rachel could always help us get it figured out. The other, Terri, came in at the end of my pushing and was a true labor and delivery nurse. She stepped right in and took over. She had confidence, compassion, and knowledge. I really liked her. She was protective of me and Tess and made sure we were looked after and taken care of properly. I could tell she was highly respected by other nurses as she would give instructions to them or even correct them at certain times.
I remember the reassuring look Martine gave me when the doctor took out the scissors the cut the section of my pelvic floor. In fact, I remember her reassuring look several times during the doctors visit. No body really explained much to me after a decision was made, it all started happening so quickly. I needed that reassurance, and she seemed to know it.
I believe one reason I felt apprehensive and one reason it didn't work out on the 20th of July was because of Warren James. Forceps delivery is a specialty delivery they don't teach in medical school. It requires additional training I guess. He explained to us why he thinks it is superior to vacuum and safer then any other option we had at that point. I feel because he was on call, we had the best possible outcome for our situation. Yet again, another tender mercy from the Lord. God really does care, and really does look out for us. Tess's successful delivery was another confirmation to me of this. I don't know how many stitches I had, but it seemed that he was stitching me for a long time after Martine delivered the placenta. (She showed us the placenta by the way, and explained all of it to us. WOW! What an incredible body women have, the placenta looked like a 5 pound beef. It was SO BIG. She showed us the vasculature, the umbilical cord, etc. Very fascinating!) And it is by far the worst part of my recovery. It is very painful and uncomfortable. I won't be excited to have another one if it is necessary, but I am just happy that we have the medicine today to help with complications. I am an advocate of doing things the way God created us to do them, but I also believe that medicine is a modern miracle. As inspiration from God, to help us when things don't go as they normally could or would. I am grateful for the support of my perfect husband, Greg, who helped me reach a goal to birth without an epidural. I experienced an entire labor and 2 hours of pushing. I am grateful for the confidence, support, and relief I got as we decided to initiate an epidural in order to open the door for other forms of delivery that were now starring at us in the face. The pain relief was heaven sent, it made the rest of my delivery much more enjoyable! I was able to laugh, talk, and enjoy a renewal of energy from the pain relief. I am grateful, most of all, that we are a little family of three. It doesn't seem real yet, but I certainly feel as if I may be one of the most lucky individuals on earth. I am so very happy and I am enjoying learning how to become a mom to a little girl that means everything to Greg and I! Now, let the Tess shrine begin! I have a lot more to write about and a lot more to express. This is a really good start though!
|The first night is a blur. But I remember waking up frequently and checking her to make sure she was okay and breathing. I loved that she tilts her head to the left, that is her favorite. I could stare at her face ALL. NIGHT. LONG.|
|I love the way she was cradling her own head, relaxing on her hands. She has long finger nails, and loves to put her hands by her head. So, we got her these mittens so she can't scratch herself until we can get rid of those long nails.|
|First family picture. I put this shirt on and some real pants, we were getting ready to facetime Greg's family.|
FRIST BATH! Well, it is more of a sponge bath. For the most part, she really liked it!
Only the part where she was a little more cold did she cry. But this part, where she washed her head under the sink, she really seemed to enjoy. I gave her a bath a couple days after and she acted the same way. Like a fancy lady at a spa, she was loving it.
|Awe! She is just so cute. I can't get over it. I might have driven the technician nuts, but she didn't act like it if I did. I hovered the whole bath and wanted to try and soothe her if she cried.|
|She whimpered a little bit, but she almost couldn't decide. She liked it more then she didn't.... I think!|
|Wrapping her up afterwards, Dad is giving her some loving.|
|Her little card in her bassinet, her hat, nose sucker, and band. She slept well in this little bassinet. |
Getting her foot prints done. She has the cutest face, and the longest toes!
She didn't like the car seat for the first couple seconds, then she settled right in and rested....
The room where we were for most of our hospital stay.
Room where I went through labor and delivery. Its funny because when I first walked in, it was mixed feelings. Hard times and a lot of pain was experienced there, but she made it all worth it.
Where she was born!!! Literally, I was on this bed. Mom is so glad that it is over! Now, to just enjoy the little bundle that comes after all the pain.
|No more baby here! The count in the tummy, zero!|