Friday, September 7, 2012

Eden's Birth Story, Part II

Read Part I here

I prayed and prayed the whole way to the hospital that my water would break before my scheduled induction. But alas, it was not meant to be.

Quite contrary to the frantic story we had imagined in our minds prior to that moment, we were calm, organized, and ready for Eden's birth since a scheduled induction allowed us that. It was not a chaotic scene like something out of "Father of the Bride II" where Steve Martin is haphazardly mapping out hospital routes in a state of frenzy in the middle of the night. We had prepped ourselves as much as possible with a birth class, two hospital tours and as much research as we could possibly devour. It was finally time to meet our daughter.



We arrived at the hospital early and had plenty of time to check in. We already had filled out the information that was needed in advance so it was pretty smooth sailing. We were taken to a small waiting room and waited to be called. I remember feeling oddly calm.


About 10 minutes later, our nurse came in and introduced herself. Debbie was her name, and she was as calm as calm could be which helped keep me calm despite my growing anxiousness. We were admitted into room #4. Joshua and I gave one another a high-five. During our hospital tour a few weeks before, our birthing class instructor, Monica, had told us that rooms #4 and #7 had the nicest views and were the roomiest. So, we were stoked. It's the little things :)


We put our bags down and I was instructed to change into the super stylish hospital gown (note: sarcasm) and do whatever I needed to do to get comfortable before settling into the hospital bed. We had about 45 minutes in our hospital room, just me and Joshua.
Both nervous and excited, we were able to talk for some time about all that was happening. Around 8:30, Debbie came back in and helped me settle in comfortably on the hospital bed. After I was situated, she put in the IV above my hand. Meanwhile, while that was going on, another nurse came in and joked with Joshua about all the candy we brought. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we brought a gigantic bucket of goodies for our nurses and doctor to eat. Let me tell you-- it scored brownie points big time. (Thank you, sweet couple that we met walking at the lake, that encouraged us to do that!) After she stopped going crazy about all of the Reeses peanut butter cups, she came over and swabbed Joshua's finger for his finger prints. After she left, we realized that it should have been my finger prints that were recorded, so big fail on nurse #2 that day. So we had to do it all over again. Man, Reeses peanut butter cups really can get a woman distracted, ha!

For the next half hour or so, we had a few nurses and doctors coming in and out of our room talking to us about what to expect. Since we chose a teaching hospital, we had a larger medical staff than normal. We had the option to not use residents, but we figured why not give them the experience and also the more help, the better right? (The residents actually stole the show, if I were to be honest.) The doctor on the floor that morning came in and introduced herself and told me that they felt more comfortable inducing me with Pitocin rather than breaking my water first like I had requested. This was because it was my first baby and they didn't know how long my labor would take, and a baby should only be outside of the bag of waters for less than 24 hours. I was disappointed, but knew that I should trust a team of people that had previously been discussing my labor in their morning meeting. So they got the Pitocin started. That was around 9:30 am. 


Since I started at 3 cm, I already had some progression to my advantage. They dripped the Pitocin slow. I later found out that my doctor is a huge advocate for not rushing her patients. Let me tell you-- this saved me. I know it. I experienced similar contractions to what I was having the week prior at home. Since it was a slow day at the hospital, the staff let my family and in-laws hang out in my room despite the 2-guest code. Over the next couple of hours, we talked in the room and enjoyed our time together since things weren't crazy. Joshua and my dad and brother ran down to the cafeteria for some lunch around noon, while my mom stayed with me. My in-laws headed out for lunch. The smell of food that trickled back into my room killed me. I was so, so hungry. At that point it had been almost 7 hours since breakfast, and to deprive a preggo woman food, now that's just wrong.

I was checked every 2 hours to see how far I had dilated. By 2 pm, I hadn't progressed past a 4 and that was discouraging. My contractions were consistently uncomfortable but not unbearable. I was asked if I wanted an epidural.

Now, I will be really honest here-- I didn't feel like it was time for an epidural. I wasn't that miserable yet. Joshua and I created a birth plan for our doctors and nurses and we really just wanted to let everything take it's time before we made any huge decisions. One of the things I was not opposed to, prior to labor, was having an epidural. In my personal experience, I decided to not oppose it because I didn't want to be mad at myself if I retracted my desire and ended up having it. I just let it be and figured I'd make a decision when I needed to.


The doctor came in and informed me that if I didn't schedule an epidural with the anesthesiologist, I would have to wait until around 5:30. That was about 3 hours out. I would have to wait because he would be needed for two scheduled C-sections that were happening just down the hallway. So I said yes and scheduled it at the encouragement of my mom and Joshua. I could always say no when the time came.

Praise God I said yes when I did. I had extreme back labor in the time that ensued until the anesthesiologist came. I thank God every day for that epidural. It was, in my opinion, better than the best red wine, haha! I felt like God has given me help, why not use it. I had nothing to prove. I had already gone for almost 8 hours without it. My biggest fear was that I wouldn't be able to sit still long enough to be given the epidural. But I just sat there, prayed over and over again, and my mom stayed right there with me and let me squeeze her hand as hard as I could. Joshua enjoyed watching the whole ordeal. I think he fell in love with me all over again ;) For the 2 minutes or so that it took for the epidural to get going, I know that it was a God thing-- but I had a lull in my contractions and I was able to sit still. A sweet, beautiful coldness went all over my body and for the first time in weeks I felt no contractions.


I finally was relaxed. For the next 5 hours, I had relief. Except I was freezing in the beginning. Absolutely freezing. And starving. Since the only thing that could be abated was the cold, the nurses brought me warm, hot blankets and wrapped me all up like I was in a cocoon. It was wonderful. I was able to sleep. The setting sun lit up the desert sky and our hospital room light went from afternoon sun, to dusk, to darkness.

I was having an August 14th, 2012, baby.

My epidural began tapering off, which is what started to wake me up from dozing in and out. My back labor started back up again. For over an hour, I could not find comfort any way that I layed in bed. I moved around using the labor bar by swaying back and forth in bed. I had my mom and Joshua rub my back, but the area that hurt the most was in the way of getting reached because of where the epidural IV drip was located in my back. And to be honest, no amount of back rubbing would kill that pain. The anesthesiologist came back around 11:30 pm and topped it off. Again, I found instant relief. Prior to that last epidural top off, I remember being checked to see how far I had dilated and I believe I was at an 8. We had a new nurse that started at 7 PM named Katie. She was a God-send. She was almost like that girl you meet and instantly you are kindred spirits. I could go on and on about her, but I won't because I don't have enough time... but she was just plain amazing. She encouraged me every step of the way as if I was her own sister. Every time she walked into the room, she was covered in a huge smile and always ecstatic to meet Eden. After she checked to see how far I had dilated, Eden's heartbeat dropped quite a bit. She monitored me closely and attributed it to the fact that she had just bothered her. I was put on oxygen. Eden's heartbeat increased and things were okay.


My personal doctor had called my hospital room and I got to talk to her on the phone. She asked how I was feeling and if I was happy with how I was progressing. I told her I wanted the Pitocin increased so that I could get the baby out already, but she just encouraged me to be patient and to keep it going slow. So I waited. And at the encouragement of the hospital staff, I tried to rest as much as possible while I was still comfortable since the big end result was coming pretty soon and I needed all the strength I could muster.

I remember looking at the clock right before midnight and being a little stunned that a whole day had passed. I had assumed Eden's birthday would be the 13th of August. The number 13 is Joshua's lucky number, so I was bummed that we missed that date. And then I remembered quite randomly: August 14th was the day we went out on our first date. So I was quite okay with it being August 14th. It just needed to happen soon.

I was able to rest for about an hour and during that time, my doctor was called and I was checked again. I was at 10 centimeters dilated and I was free to push. I remember my doctor showing up and all of these people flooding into the room. The lights got brighter and I remember seeing my doctor with a face mask. The end of my bed was dropped and it was push time. The weigh scale was wheeled in and a mirror was brought at the end of the bed so I could see everything. The energy in that room in that moment was insane. 



I pushed for 50 minutes and out she came. My doctor held her up high so I could see her and I just remember noticing that her eyes were so big, so wide-eyed and that she was so alert. I could never put an image in my mind of what I expected her to look like. But she was more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. It truly is instant love. Her hair was dark and curly and she was bright pink. She didn't cry right away, but since I had seen her healthy and alert right away, I didn't panic. She was laid on my chest immediately and I just remember looking at Joshua who was in pure amazement and then at my mom who was crying. Joshua cut her umbilical cord. She was handed over to be weighed and I remember being flabbergasted when they announced that she was 9 lbs and 3 oz! Holy cow! I remember Joshua hovering over the nurses as they took care of her. Already so protective.

After she was bathed, she was handed over to Joshua and I'll never forget seeing him with our daughter for the first time. It was pure beauty. All of our other family members came in to meet her. Everyone was crying. My in-laws were the only family members that didn't know her name. We told them it was Eden Grace, "perfect, delightful grace," and my father-in-law started weeping. It was truly beautiful.


After everyone had their time, they left me and Joshua and headed back home for some rest. We stayed in that room for another 3 hours where Joshua got a cat nap and I just stared at Eden for hours and hours. I got to nurse her within the first hour. I could not get over how small, and yet how big, she was all wrapped up into one. She was truly angelic and truly our God-send.

From the initial stages of labor to the post-delivery experience, we had an experience that was really awesome. Often I wonder why God brought us to Arizona, and I know it was for Joshua's job but I also know it was to have our baby at that hospital. It was so difficult and so wonderful all wrapped up into one. The staff really made it amazing and I feel like I owe each and every one of them a million dollars.

Our little Eden is here and the love I have for her grows stronger every day. Being a mom has been a huge adjustment, but that's for another day. It has not been easy. I've had some really bad days. And some really good ones. But all I know is that I would do it all over again to just re-live those final moments of meeting her for the first time. There are no words for that amazing feeling.
Also, I will add, my infamous first words to Joshua after admiring our first born daughter were, "Can we go get some In-N-Out now"? :)



For women approaching labor, don't be nervous. This is my opinion: Educate yourself about what to expect. Create a birth plan (our hospital staff loved knowing what we wanted and did everything they could to stick to it) but be open to your plans changing. Birth and death are two things that are unpredictable. Take classes and go on a hospital tour. The more prepared you are the better. I loved knowing where the elevators were and what the rooms would look like before I was in them-- it caused less fear. And lastly, yes, it will hurt but it's for a wonderful end result. I really do believe now that labor is about 90% mental. You can do it! 

19 comments:

Andrea @ Love is... said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! Eden is so gorgeous & you both make amazing parents!

I love your tips about a birth plan, touring the hospital & the candy for the snacks! Definitely things I will keep in mind when we get pregnant!

The Students Wife said...

Beautiful pictures! I wish I had taken more pictures at the birth of my son!



www.studentswife.com

Erika @ rouge + whimsy said...

Tearing up. What a beautiful experience. To be honest I've always really really feared child birth but your story makes it sound way better than I've ever imagined. Thank you for sharing!

Lindsay said...

What a beautiful story. You did a great job! Thanks so much for sharing this with us!

Hannah Hurley said...

I totally agree with the last part of your post. Labor is soooo mental! I really educated myself and it was the best thing I could have done! That picture of eden looking at you is beautiful! She loves you so much I can see it in her eyes!!! Blessings to you!

Hannah @ HurleyLove

GingerPeachT said...

Wow truly amazing experience! I'm not ready for a baby yet but this really did help with the fears of the unknown for me. And I'm such a wimp when it comes to pain. Lol I will want that epi asap
So beautiful!!

Aleksandra said...

Awww great post!

AtlAng said...

Congratulations on your beautiful Eden! She really is a pretty baby. I'm new to your blog and enjoy what you share, and admire how you live your life.

Samantha said...

Oh my, both parts (especially 2) brought tears to my eyes. So wonderful to hear such a great story about your little family!

I must agree with others that your entire labor journey seemed so relaxed and I only pray that I can experience such calmness. Congratulations!

Katie {katie lately} said...

I could hug you for this miss Heather. What a beautifully written story about such an amazing experience! And, totally made me feel better. We have a hospital tour scheduled for the end of this month and I'm sure that will help also. I have the same feelings as you about not wanting to force with Pitocin but ultimately trusting the doctors. I also want an epidural and believe that God gave someone the wisdom to invent that, I don't need to prove anything by doing this without one. Thank you for sharing this and for being such an encourager just through your own story!!

Girls Love Fried Pickles said...

Beautiful just beautiful. Its a love like no other. So Happy for you both, and Eden is so lucky.

Heather Leigh Riley said...

How exciting! I'm excited about labor and a little nervous as well. I want to know what all the ladies are talking about ;). Eden is absolutely beautiful and so is the name! Xoxo

Jessi said...

I'm so happy that she is finally here!! You are such a strong and beautiful mama. God has definitely blessed your family with Eden's addition.

ps- be thankful they didn't break your water :) Contractions are SO incredibly painful and intense once your water breaks (mine broke before labor even started)

Lora said...

What a treat to hear a GOOD induction story! What a wonderful hospital you were able to deliver at!

Lottie said...

i am so glad you wrote this. i am about 30 weeks along and the birth is becoming really real and i was beginning to get a little anxious.

and i was worried about the prospect of being induced as my mum was induced with us due to high blood pressure which i am worried will happen to me.

but this has made me feel so much better about it all. i feel so much calmer and it just shows that induction does not have to be this horrible thing.

Kassi Mortensen said...

Again, thank you so much for sharing!!! It really does make it seem less scary and daunting!!! Eden is an adorable little angel girl!!!!

Kerrie said...

this was beautiful. I welled up with tears. What a "perfect, delightful grace" indeed.

Ashley said...

I love this story! I am so glad you shared it. My sister just had her baby two days ago and I think I could cry at every birth story!

I have several friends who are just having their first babies and would love them to read your story. Would you like to link this on my blog? http://pencilleddaydream.com/2012/11/14/i-am-a-storyteller-link-up/

-Ashley

Alessandra Ferguson said...

So I pretty much just read this entire thing with tears in my eyes. I am 12 weeks and counting until I approach my due date, and I wasn't nervous at all before about giving birth, but now I definitly am. I have heard so many things that could go wrong, and not enough of just encouraging good stories. And just your advice to be open to things that could change was huge for me. This was super encouraging to me. Such a beautiful story!

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