Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Baby Story

I know not everyone is a fan of reading birth stories. But there are also crazy people out there like me who loved reading them long before I was even ready to be pregnant. Although honestly is doesn't really matter, because I want to make sure I get this all written down, especially because a week later it's already starting to get fuzzy. So read on if you're up for it, especially since this is likely to be the longest post I've ever written!

Last Wednesday was my due date and it didn't feel like the baby was coming anytime soon. With my gestational diabetes they didn't want me going to far past my date and I already had an induction scheduled the following Tuesday, December 16th, as well as one final appointment the morning of the 11th, which would likely tell me that I was still just a centimeter dialated. All day at work (since I was planning on working through Friday) people kept asking me how I was feeling, and I felt great, so the verdict was the baby possibly couldn't be coming anytime soon... except we all know how that turned out.

I got home from work, stepped into the house, and almost immediately after felt my muscus plug come out. Not a really a big deal since it can happen weeks before the baby comes, but definitely a step in the right direction. I did my normal work-out of squats and pelvic thrusts, and halfway through realized I had my bloody show. Another great step in the right direction. After a bath and dinner (which I can't even remember what I ate at this point... I guess it got a bit overshadowed), I went to the bedroom to watch Survivor.

Towards the end of episode, around 7:40, I started feeling contractions, starting off about 5 minutes apart. I'd been thinking I had maybe been feeling contractions beforehand, but once the real thing started, there was a noticeable difference. During one of the commercial breaks I went out to the living room to tell the boy that if he wanted to shave before going to the hospital, he'd better do it sooner rather than later.

After my show ended I spend some time getting the last few items into my hospital bag, then some time on my computer looking at my daily blog stats and goodreads. I even thought about writing a book review, but writing one while in labor was a little too crazy even for me. Nashville started at 9, so at that point I was back in the bedroom watching tv.
Last Pregnant Photo
One last pregnant photo, just before calling the doctor
My doctor said to call once my contractions were 5 minutes apart for two hours lasting for 1 minutes. At this point I met the two hours and 5 minutes, but hadn't really been timing them. I had the boy time a few and they were really only 30 to 45 seconds long, but I figured at that point I should at least call the doctor. I talked to the doctor on call who told me that I could come in now if I wanted. But if I did want to go naturally, and wasn't looking for an epidural or pitocin, I was probably better staying at home till they got closer to a minute in length.

Over the next two hours the boy and I tried to nap on the couch timing each contraction. I remember laying there thinking that maybe I couldn't actually do a natural birth and that maybe an epidural wouldn't actually be that bad. I actually asked the boy at one point if he thought I would be a failure if I wound up having an epidural. As I had my inner monologue the contractions kept getting longer, but never quite made it to a full 60 seconds. The closest we got was 56, but at that point, at 12:30 I was a ready to go.

I went to the bathroom first, and while there I thought my water might have broken. Although didn't have it confirmed to we made it to the hospital and I realized my pants were soaked. And yes, we were of course driving my new car.

We checked into the hospital around 1 am to find that I was still only 2 cms dilated. But being very clearly in labor and with my water broken, I was definitely staying. I was asked by two different nurses about my labor plan, except while I had hoped for a natural birth, never actually wrote anything out, which definitely seem to surprise people. They wheeled me to my room and my nurse started my iv. Or at least she attempted to start my iv, but after not getting the first two called a second nurse to help her with a third. I'm pretty sure this was the first iv I've ever had so while it wasn't the biggest deal to me, the boy was less than pleased.

She did start taking to me about pain meds, and at this point I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I remember telling her my pain was around a 5.5, but asked how much worse it would get. She told me that was well as an epidural there was also a different painkiller they could give me through my iv, and I figured I'd at least start with that. She said most peoples complaints with it were that it made them tired and loopy, but not that big of a deal considering it was already the middle of the night. The normal dose was about 2 portions, but considering my size we started with one. Then when it started to go away, or maybe the pain just got to be greater, I asked for the second half of it.

Honestly this part of the whole night is really pretty fuzy, I'm sure in combination to the fact that it was in the middle of the night, that they had just given me some type of painkiller, and of course the actual pain I was in. There were times where I'd have a contraction and look up to see what time it was and find an hour had gone by from the last time I checked it. Or there were others where it felt like it had been forever since I had one, but the clock said it had only been 10 minutes or so. She also checked me several times throughout, and while I could be wrong, I remember her telling me I was 4, then 5, then 7, and finally 9 cms along.

Just before 7am the nurse asked if I felt like I needed to push. But to be honest for hours now every single contraction made me feel like that. She did tell me that the sign was that I felt like that even between contractions, to which I responded, "Now that you mention it, it is starting to feel like that."

Except 7am was shift change, and when my actual doctor would be getting to the hospital, so I don't think my nurse knew quite what to do. But the new nurse arrived and checked me to see that I was actually fully dilated. They found out my doctor was still about 30 minutes away but the on-call doctor was heading over.

The nurse we had all night was actually really cute and didn't want to leave. She said something along the lines of if "I stay it'll probably be hours still, but if I leave it'll probably come immediately." She even mentioned clocking out and then coming back to check on me, but the new nurse did finally convince her that she should probably head home especially since she was working again at 7 that night.

Anyways the doctor arrived, along with 4 or 5 more nurses and they starting getting everything set up and ready to start pushing. The doctor and nurses kept telling me how impressed they were with me, and how there are women who even with an epidural seem to be in more pain than I was. They also found it hilarious when while pushing through a contraction I started complaining, not about the labor pain, but about a leg cramp. As I started to get close they brought out a mirror so I could see what was going on, which was crazy to see!

The doctor did ask me my thoughts about an episiotomy, which I had really been hoping to avoid. I asked her if she thought I tear anyway and when her response was yes, I figured it made sense to have one. She did tell me that considering the pain I was already in, I wouldn't even notice the cut, but that definitely wasn't the case at all! So they did wind up giving me a shot of novacane first before the actual cut.

At this point my doctor actually arrived. So while the on-call doctor was the one with me the most of the time pushing, my actual doctor was the one who caught our doctor at 7:42, almost exactly 12 hours after I noticed my first contractions and about 8 hours after arriving at the hospital. They showed her to me first so I could tell the room, "It's a girl!" and then took her over the be checked out.

I did pass a bit of meconium so they wanted to check her to make sure she hadn't breathed any in. I asked the boy to get the camera and take photos, except he couldn't figure out how to turn the camera on and neither could one of the nurses, so they handed it to me to get it working. The boy of course took only 4 photos, and decided that was enough. Fortunately one of the nurses kept taking photos at that point.
Born 7:42 AM
One of the Boy's 4 photos
Thankfully while I may have passed meconium, Elley didn't breath any, so less than 10 minutes after she was born a nurse brought her to me to hold for the first time.
About to Hold Her
We did have skin to skin, and then one of the nurses came over to help me breastfeed. Since I didn't have an epidural, she was more awake than most babies are, which meant in theory she would crawl up my chest to eat. Both the nurses said they had only seen it done in video, never in real life, so they were quite excited when Elley started moving on her own just like they'd always heard would happen. Definitely a pretty miraculous sight to see!
First Family Photo
Our first family photo
I've read my fair amount of birth stories, and so often you read that it didn't quite go as expected but it still something they're incredibly happy with because its their story. Except with me, I feel like everything went even better than I could have expected. Almost too good to be true even. I feel so lucky and blessed to not only have brought our daughter into this world, but to have had such a practically perfect experience doing so.

If you're still hear reading, I have to say I'm impressed, and as a final reward here's a few final photos from our hospital stay.
photo 1 (1)With her Cousin
With Her Cousin
With her Cousins
Ready to Head Home
Ready to Head Home


  1. Welcome to the world. sweet Baby! I couldn't have stopped reading in the middle of your story. Hope you are all doing well. Every happy wish!

  2. Shoshanah you look radiant and the baby is beautiful!

  3. What a great birth story! I have to say, I am incredibly impressed with how you handled everything and how calm you stayed throughout. Thank you for sharing this because most stories I read are terrifying and yours has made my less scared about giving birth in a month.

    You and the baby both look amazing! Congrats!

    1. I do think that with so much else in life, your birth experience is likely to live up to your expectations. If you go in expecting it to be miserable and terrifying it's likely to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. And while going in with a positive outlook doesn't guarantee a good outcome, I do think it makes thinks far more likely.

      I'm not sure if your up for more reading before your baby arrives, but if you're looking to read more positive birth stories I'd highly recommend Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. While the second half does have a bit more advice, the entire first half is all birth stories which might be enjoyable for you. Even if you're aren't up for it, I do think it's still good to know the happy, uplifting stories are out there if you look hard enough for them.

      And thank you! And good luck to you in the coming weeks as well!!

  4. Wow, I am so impressed that you were able to deliver without an epidural. I think you are the first person I have personally known that has done that intentionally (my SIL didn't have one with her 2nd because Matthew came too fast for them to administer one!). The baby is just beautiful and you are glowing! I hope you are healing well at home!

  5. So sweet! She is precious and glad you're home and well!

  6. Awwww, what a wonderful story! I have to be honest, considering Bill and I are currently family planning, your story half terrified me and inspired me. I know when the time comes, I will be fine, but .... oy. I am scared.

    Elley is so beautiful and I am impressed by you and proud of you. Seriously, maybe I'm more inspired than terrified ...

  7. I am so happy that everything went well and as planned! you are very lucky, as so many women don't get that amazing experience. I love that she was able to initiate breastfeeding on her own too! great job!

  8. That family photo is just precious! Definitely one for a frame. I'm glad you had a good birth experience! You seemed to remain so calm throughout... I'm not sure I will be able to when that time comes! And I am SO astonished and impressed to see you blogging so soon, haha. I would not have been surprised if you were on hiatus for awhile, busy with mommyhood. But thank you for sharing your story! I loved reading it. xoxo

  9. Congrats again! Hope y'all have a safe and speedy recovery

  10. I'm so glad your labor and delivery went the way you wanted! Congratulations, she's beautiful!

  11. Wow! What an amazing story! I did read the whole thing and you are a freaking warrior for doing that without pain meds. Good for you! She is such a beautiful little girl and I'm so happy for you guys! So glad to hear that your labour and delivery went exactly as you had hoped it would.

  12. What a wonderful and positive birth story! You were made to have babies. It is so refreshing to read something that depicts childbirth as the amazing experience that it is.

  13. Like you, I'm one of those people who is so far away from having babies, but I LOVE reading birth stories! This one was so fun to read and I'm thrilled your birth went better than you expected! So wonderful and I'm so beyond happy for you and the boy! Crazy to think we've "known" each other for so long…it's amazing to see your family grow!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this. Giving birth was nothing like what I expected but every story is so unique and amazing. I'm glad that you feel good about the birth and how it happened but the most important thing is that Elley is in your arms :) Congratulations again!

  15. I'm so glad you shared your birth story! The older I get, the more interested I am in birth stories. I'm so glad to hear that Elley's birth went well.

  16. Congratulations on the new addition to your family. She is absolutely beautiful.

    Amy @

  17. Congratulations on the beautiful new addition to your family! She is so beautiful and precious!

  18. It sounds like it was a successful and positive birth!

  19. That is awesome that everything went as planned! Elley is beautiful!! Congrats!!

  20. I'm glad you were happy with your birth story, and that's what really matters! Congratulations!