lorelai's birth story

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sunday, December 15th of 2013 started out like any other ordinary Sunday. Football and laundry and a lot of lounging on the couch. Dinner time rolled around and I whined to Brian about the pizza I had been craving for a couple weeks now. Pizzaria Uno. A craving that had gone unsatisfied for weeks. The restaurant is about 20 minutes away though and I didn't feel like going out, so he drove out to get carryout to satisfy my craving.. what a guy.

all starting to happen
Brian returned with my long awaited pizza and we watched the Cowboys game on the couch with G. Near the end of the game, I adjusted myself on the couch and felt something... wet. At this point in pregnancy it could have been one of many things, but I got up to go to the bathroom and check it out. Walking to the bathroom.. and feeling a little more wet. Okay, this is interesting. I get to the bathroom, start to sit down on the toilet when water started pouring out of me. I mean, like someone turned on a faucet kind of pouring. I called for Brian to come.. as he rounds the corner and sees me hovering above the toilet with water gushing out, I can remember saying to him "I am not peeing.. I am NOT PEEING." His face literally went blank. Stunned. My due date wasn't for another week. I still have Christmas presents to wrap. Half of my shower thank you's remain unwritten sprawled across my coffee table. Yet, here we are! And what's with all that gibberish about your water breaking that they tell you... I specifically remember at our birthing class hearing that "it doesn't happen like it does in the movies, if your water breaks naturally it will be a slow trickle." Ummm.. this was no slow trickle. This was straight-out-of-the-movies, slippery-floor inducing, someone-turned-on-the-hose, water breaking.

Brian remained stunned and standing in the hallway, unable to move. I told him to first, call my mom. He retreated to the kitchen for his phone and tried calling and texting my mom repeatedly, but my mom wasn't in a service area at the time and wasn't responding. I found the largest pad known to man that I had stocked up on for postpartum and walked to the kitchen. By the time I got there and realized that Brian was frozen in place, unable to do anything but call and text my mom over and over, I had already soaked through and was dripping amniotic fluid all over the floor. Back to the bathroom I went, instructing Brian to follow me. I talked him through the fact that mom is not available, so we need to move on to the next thing! In retrospect it is seriously cute that he was so stunned he just didn't know what to do. Eventually we managed to put the pizza away (so not to torture poor Guinness while we're away), throw a few last minute things into the hospital bags and kiss my dear Guinness goodbye because I knew it would be days before I saw him again. I knew that once your water breaks, there is no being sent home from the hospital and that this was the real deal.

^one of my last bump photos^

We arrived at the hospital about 15 minutes after my water broke (we live 2 minutes away) and I will never forget the visual of this moment.... Brian dropped me off at the front doors and I waddled (dripping all the way) to the registration desk and he went to park the car. Two seconds later I see him running through the sliding doors of the hospital with our hospital bag in one hand and the baby's bag in the other... he was literally running so fast and the look on his face... I will never forget it. I asked him how he parked so quickly and he said he grabbed the first spot he saw and it was a handicapped spot! The man checking us in said that probably wasn't a good idea and that we were okay, so back outside he went to actually park this time.

We checked in, were taken to our room and the nurse confirmed what we clearly already knew.. my water had broke. Heck yes it broke.. and you could surely find a trail from my house to this very room! And then the bad news..  I was only 1 centimeter dilated. Yikes. I knew that this meant we were likely in for a long labor (I was half a centimeter dilated at my 38 week appointment, almost one week prior). By the time we got through all of the initial questions and checking in with the nurse, contractions had started on their own which was a great sign. They were not painful yet, and not very close together.. but definitely contractions and Brian loved watching the monitor to tell me when one was coming. Eventually Brian got in touch with my parents who were out of town for a concert at the time. They ended up leaving before the show even started and my mom was in the hospital room about an hour after we got there. I remember I kept saying "I can't believe it's really happening. I can't believe we're going to be parents!"

The next several hours were actually quite fun and I was enjoying every minute. It was the middle of the night, but I couldn't sleep no matter how hard I tried, even though I knew that I would need it. Brian's dad popped in for a bit in the middle of the night because he was too excited to stay away. I was slowly dilating and about 4 centimeters (which I think was the next morning sometime) and things started to get a bit blurry for me. I could no longer talk through my contractions, but they still weren't as close together as the doctors would like to see, so they started me on pitocin. Then things got horrible. I can honestly remember writhing in pain asking Brian how the hell I was going to do this?! I was so excited to meet our baby, but it was almost impossible to remember that through the pain.

At around 5 centimeters and contractions coming so fast and so strong I could barely breathe, I got an epidural. Getting the epidural was a horror. It seemed to take forever. They wouldn't let Brian near me while they did it. And I had about 5 majorly painful contractions while they were inserting the epidural that I could not move through. I had to sit there, perfectly still, while they inserted needles into my spine, while experiencing the most painful contractions yet. I'm sure many women have been through this, but it was horrible and seemed to take forever. But about 5 minutes later.. I was sooooooo happy. The epidural worked and I felt GREAT! Chit chatting with Brian and mom.. letting visitors come in to say hello.. getting to know the nurses.. and so flipping excited to meet our baby!! Again, I tried to nap, but silly me and my excitement I just couldn't do it.

Some hours later, and the epidural was starting to wear off. It worked so well at first that I never dreamed it would wear off so quickly. Again, the pain was becoming unbearable and they "boosted" my epidural to help for a bit longer. It did, but not nearly as well as the first time and I found myself again unable to breathe and writhing through my contractions. But finally.. we were there. I was dilated to 10 centimeters after nearly 24 hours of labor and could begin pushing. While the pain was almost unbearable, being able to push was a relief. I wanted so badly to push. And so it began. I could feel everything.

Brian held one leg and my mom held the other and I pushed harder than I thought was possible. Not only did I want to meet our baby, the love of my life, but I wanted this agonizing pain to be over. I knew the harder I pushed, the faster this would all happen. I pushed so hard that I think Brian is permanently scared from my facial expressions (or so he says). He was horrified at how much pain I was in, but I couldn't even think about what was actually happening. I just had to bare through the pain, no room for thinking. I was lucky if I could catch a breath in between the contractions because they were long and hard and seemed to be coming all at once. Most of labor, I had visualized the contractions as waves... knowing that if I could just "ride the wave" I would feel some relief eventually. But at this point, it felt like... a hurricane? No more waves.. just pain. After an hour of pushing, the doctor became concerned because the baby's heart rate was very high. The baby was moving down and they could see the head, so she said she would give me a bit longer to see if things improved.

Brian was so supportive, but had a very hard time seeing me in so much pain. Seeing how hard that was for him was truly heartwarming. But I was also glad that my mom was there to tell me to suck it up and push. I can remember looking at them as tears rolled down my face and I pushed and they wiped away my tears and nothing was said, but there was so much support and comfort and love.

Most of the time while pushing, the doctors aren't there with you, and sometimes the nurses step out too. This was complete news to Brian. I remember that I kept yelling at him because he was so worried that no one was there, so he would walk out of the room to find someone and a contraction would start and he wasn't there to hold my leg, making it harder for me to push. I could have killed him! This same fight continued and continued, because he kept stepping out into the hall, freaking out, calling for doctors and I just wanted to push as hard as I could.. couldn't give a care in the world about who was in the room! Looking back now it's kind of a sweet memory from labor; Brian being worried and me yelling at him in pain. I just wanted to remember that part.

Another hour and a half of pushing passed. The time seemed to take forever and fly by at the same time. The baby's heart rate had improved momentarily, but it was starting to speed up again and suddenly I had a fever. After the hardest two and a half hours of my life, pushing through contractions with everything in me, the doctors approached us and insisted that I get a c-section. I was crushed. I did not have anything against cesarean deliveries in general, but after laboring for 26 and a half hours and pushing through the worst pain that I could possibly imagine, they were telling me that I had done all of this for nothing?! The baby was moving down, they could see and feel the head and hair. But because of the baby's high heart rate, my fever, and the fact that my water had now been ruptured for 26+ hours, the risk of infection was too high and they insisted on a c-section. My disappointment was evident, but who was I to argue? I wanted to do whatever was best for my baby. I cried, but I agreed.

Once the decision was made, the room around me changed into fast forward. People buzzed around me so quickly I couldn't follow them, prepping me for surgery. Brian changed into scrubs and I could see the look of relief all over his face. He was glad that I wouldn't have this pain anymore. I felt such a mix of disappointment that I wasn't able to give birth naturally and also excitement that we would soon meet our baby.

I remember being wheeled past our family in the waiting room on our way to the operating room. They were all so excited and my sisters cried when they saw me and I couldn't help but cry too.. everything was so heightened. I have never felt so many emotions. I was thankful to have Brian with me and holding on to me. Throughout it all I remember looking at him (so cute in his scrubs) thinking how he was already the best father.

meeting her
The doctors and nurses were wonderful to me and made me as comfortable as possible. I felt a lot of pulling and tugging and pressure. It wasn't pleasant, but it was absolutely nothing compared to the agony of labor. After what felt like an eternity, I heard the doctor say "oh there you are!" in a way that I will always remember perfectly in my head. Seconds later I heard a wonderful, beautiful cry. A moment that froze in time. Cries hung in the air and I knew that it was my child. I was a mother.

They gave the baby to Brian a couple minutes later and he came over to show me.. "it's a girl" he whispered. The happiest moment of my life. The moment I laid eyes on her I can honestly remember thinking "oh my gosh, she looks like me" followed by an overwhelming gush of the purest kind of love I have ever known. A love so overwhelming that I couldn't have possibly imagined it before this moment. I had a daughter. My perfect, beautiful, darling daughter.

^our first family photo^

Brian went with our daughter to document every single thing while they finished closing me up. I don't remember much after they left the room (they knocked me out) because the next thing I remember is waking up back in our room. I remember being so groggy and unable to focus because of the drugs from the surgery and getting so mad because I wanted to hold my daughter right away. I don't remember the exact moment that they laid her on my chest, but I do remember not wanting to let her go. Slowly, but surely my grogginess began to fade. Our whole family came in to meet her.. my parents and sisters, Brian's father and brother.. they all surrounded our new little family and the love bounced off of the walls. Lorelai Mabel, I have waited for this moment.

^skin to skin with mama after birth^

Brian filled me in on some of the details that I missed after surgery... he captured her first moments for me because he knew that I was heartbroken to have missed them. The doctors had said that when they opened me up, Lorelai was grasping the umbilical cord with both hands and a tight grip! Little buttercup didn't want to come out yet after all.

At this point it was very late in the night and our family slowly left. Then it was just us. Everything seemed so surreal and so magical at the same time. I was completely exhausted after 26+ hours of labor and almost 48 hours without sleep, but I couldn't help but just stare at her. I barely slept all night because I couldn't quit staring. I kept dozing off and would sleep in 20 minute increments before jolting awake to stare at her some more.

^her very first night; I could not stop taking pictures of her..
or sleep. I mean, look at her!^

our daughter
Waking up the next day was a dream. I can remember the sunlight filling the room and I couldn't wait to get up to cuddle and take photos of our girl! Unfortunately, I was still in rough shape from the cesarean, including a catheter. Uhhhhhh. I begged the doctor to take it out and allow me to be mobile, which she reluctantly granted, but I just couldn't wait to do everything with my baby. (Yea, my eagerness later caught up with me. Ouch).

We spent every waking second staring at the beautiful human that we created; visiting with guests; our room flooded with pink balloons and flowers and teddy bears that said "it's a girl!" We were also working hard to feed her every 3 hours; pumping to stimulate my milk to come in; recovering from labor and surgery and getting to know our little daughter. It was overwhelming and all very wonderful.

^lots of sleeping and visitors at the hospital^

She took to breastfeeding right away, but would soon after become very, very lazy and fall asleep. The doctors soon became worried that she was not being aggressive enough and that we would have to supplement with formula. I was not in agreement because I knew that we wanted to breastfeed and would not allow anyone to push formula at us so soon. Thankfully, the nurses were very supportive and we soon began working with a lactation consultant. Even though Lorelai was latching and appeared to get the hang of it, she was just not aggressive enough at the breast and her blood sugar began to drop, which also caused her body temperature to drop. At this point, the lactation consultant agreed with the nurses that we needed to supplement with some formula until my milk came in (and would hopefully help her to eat better) but that we could do so using a syringe and nipple shield at the breast, so that it would not interfere with her learning to breastfeed. We agreed because this was obviously best for Lorelai and seemed like a good compromise. It was a lot of work, but I'm so glad that we stuck this out. It took both Brian and I to feed her, including in the the middle of night, because there were so many things to set up and hold, etc. But all was well.

^these precious, priceless moments^

hospital stay
On the day that we were to be discharged, the doctors gave us the news that some of Lorelai's labs did not return the results they had hoped for, specifically her white blood cell count indicated that she may have an infection. Because my water was ruptured for so long, this was the concerning reason for the cesarean and rightfully so since it appeared that she did have an infection of some sort, this could be the culprit. The doctor explained that we would not be discharged and Lorelai would have to get an IV to receive antibiotics for either 3 or 10 days (he was not yet sure; this would depend on how her labs appeared after a couple of days). This news was very frightening and disappointing to us because we were obviously very excited to take our new baby home! However, we wanted what was best for her and were so grateful that this was caught before we did go home and it escalated. This was also an indicator as to why she was so sleepy and not eating aggressively.

She ended up needing the full round of antibiotics for 10 days, so our stay in the hospital was long. After 3 days of the IV being administered in Lorelai's hand, they had to move her IV to her head (!!!!!!!!). Apparently this is the best location for newborns because the veins are bigger, but boy, this mama was not very happy when she learned of this initially.

^poor little thing with her IV; she handled it much better than her parents did^

We are so grateful for the care and love that Lorelai received during our long hospital stay. At first, it was wonderful because the nurses were able to work with us after my milk came in and help us establish breastfeeding. We also had extra help at night when we needed it for that first week, which was very welcome. We grew very close to several of the nurses and were sad to say goodbye to them when our stay had ended.

^hanging out at the hospital and rocking her bilirubin blanket that she had for a day^

^we got pretty good at being in the hospital after a while^

going home
We were discharged on Christmas Eve and the feeling was indescribable. Thrilling. Exciting. Relieving. Terrifying. It was everything. We had to wait until around 7pm so that Lorelai could get her last round of antibiotics. We loaded her into the car seat for the first time and Brian started the car about an hour before we had to leave to make sure it was warm enough. We walked outside the doors of the hospital; it was dark and had just started snowing! I sat in the back with Lorelai and insisted (over and over again) that Brian drive so slow because the roads were slick. We live literally down the street from the hospital and it took us all of 5 minutes to get there we were driving so slow. It is one of the fondest memories I will ever have. So many emotions flooded my heart as we drove our newborn little baby home as the snow just started falling on Christmas Eve. I cried tears of happiness the whole way.

^discharge day!!; Christmas Eve^

Our first Christmas Eve together is a night that will always be in my heart. She met her brother for the first time. My heart literally aches remembering it... he licked her face over and over again. And we weren't sure if we were suppose to let him do that or not, but we did. And it was wonderful. We all sat on the couch for the first of many nights and just loved each other.

This entire experience has been everything that they say it is. And then even more. It's the most overwhelming love that I could ever dream to feel. It's the most pain that I have ever endured.

It made my husband a doting, loving father.

It made me a mother.



Micaela said...

You told your story beautifully and the photos are incredible.

And I can not believe you waited a few minutes to find out she was a girl!!

Unknown said...

Such a wonderful birth story. Mine is very similar as I had a c-section as well after about 20 hours of labor. So I definitely understand how that feels. Your family is just precious!

(ps, I run the IG shop that you bought that vintage baby dress from!)

Chic Boston Mama said...

love this so much! Your love for that little lady can be felt thu your words and although we are just IG friends it makes me love you more!! During Z's birth I had to learn when to just give in on my plan and when to hold my ground.

Your an incredible mama!