Chloe’s Birth Story

Chloe’s Birth Story

Well, second babies are much different than first babies. Chloe is 5 months old and her birth story is finally being written! Poor baby! Hopefully I can remember all of the details…I’m pretty sure I can since the story is much quick than Winter’s story, since the labor and delivery process was a quick process. Less than 4.5 hours of laboring with a second baby….little did I know that would be our story!

When I was pregnant with Chloe, I had a strong desire to go for an all natural, drug free delivery this go round. With Winter’s labor and delivery, I went majority of the time unmedicated and ended up getting an epidural towards the very end before giving birth. I have no regrets about getting the epidural in that situation, but there was just this strong motivation and desire within me to see what a natural childbirth experience felt like for my second baby. I read Hypnobirthing, which is a method that helps mothers use visualization (aka hypnosis) to get through contractions to achieve a natural birth. It very much empowers the mother that women are designed to do this and we are taught by our society that we aren’t strong enough to handle the pain of birth. It teaches us that the more fear we have, the more pain we will feel. If we tense up and resist the contractions (or “surges” as the book refers to them), then we actually feel more pain. So…anyway, reading the book and getting mentally prepared ahead of time was very helpful. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a good method of natural childbirth.

On Saturday, October 24, one day after my due date, we decided to go to the zoo as a family. We knew that time was running out for us to do anything as a family of 3. It was a gorgeous day outside. We drove to the Denver zoo and discovered upon arrival that it was Boo at the Zoo, a Halloween event. This meant that the zoo was much more crowded than a normal Saturday. Ugh! I was not in the mood for this! We drove around the entire parking lot and failed to find a single spot to park. We had to drive about a mile away and parked in a neighborhood. While this was annoying to park and have to walk since I was 40+ weeks pregnant, I knew that walking was good for me at this stage if I wanted to see any progress towards labor. Between the mile walk to the entrance, plus walking around the zoo, and finally walking the mile back to the car, I figure we must have walked anywhere from 3-5 miles. I kept telling my husband over and over, “Eric, I feel like her head is so low that she could just fall out of my body at any moment.” I also kept repeating, “It feels like my water could break at any moment.”

Well, my water did break. But not until late that evening. We had put Winter to bed and were watching TV on the couch. If I remember correctly, I believe we were watching an episode of one of my favorite TV shows, Jane the Virgin. Around 10:45pm, I suddenly felt a slight bit of fluid. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom. I came back and Eric looked at me with a confused expression and asked what was going on. I replied that I wasn’t sure, but perhaps I had a leak in my bag of waters.

To be safe, Eric put a towel on the couch for me to sit on, and over the next 15 minutes, I continued to have more fluid leaking. I knew for a fact that I wasn’t peeing….so I was beginning to think it must be my water had really broken! It was 11:00pm and I wanted to call my mom to see what she thought. She lives in a different time zone so it was 1:00am her time, but I called her anyway. She didn’t mind. We spoke and she confirmed what I was thinking that my water had broken. She suggested two ideas: 1. Get off the couch and start walking to see if that helps labor to begin, or 2. Get to bed and see if you can get a bit of sleep since you’ll be needing it. I decided the latter was the option that I’d rather choose. Sleep would probably be a good idea if I was going to need my energy for labor! We stayed up a bit longer to finish watching our show and then got in bed around midnight or so. I wasn’t having any contractions yet and I was tired enough that I quickly fell asleep.

Thank goodness I had decided to get some sleep! That was a good decision. At some point in the next few hours, contractions began. I was awoken from my sleep because of the contractions at 2:30am. When I woke up I got excited because I knew that this must be it! My water had broken and now I was in labor. For an hour I stayed in bed and breathed through each contraction as it came. They were coming every 5 minutes or and lasting for around a minute. After an hour I noticed the intensity was picking up with the amount of pain I was feeling, so I couldn’t bear to lie in bed anymore. I got up.

Eric ran a bath for me, and as soon as I entered the tub, I felt like I could manage the pain of the contractions so much better. The water was so soothing. I had the lights off and a candle right next to my face. I stayed very calm and very relaxed. Every time I had a contraction I used my breathing and visualization techniques I had learned. I distinctly remember that I used two main visuals: 1. Winter’s face and 2. Like I was in the ocean and I was surfing on a wave. I just kept riding it out until the contraction/wave ended. Keeping my mind busy really helped me get through the pain. The other thing that helped me was staying as relaxed and calm as possible. I tried to avoid tensing up any muscles if at all possible. I was very quiet too. I felt very excited at how well I was managing the pain!

Eric called the midwife around 4:15 or 4:30am and let her know what was going on. I had only been in labor for 2 hours at this point. We only live 1 mile from the hospital, and my goal was to stay home as long as possible, get to the hospital and pop that baby out right away. I didn’t want to rush to the hospital because I knew I felt more comfortable in my own home to labor and stay relaxed. I overheard Eric on the phone with the midwife and I could tell that she was strongly urging him to get me out of the tub and get to the hospital right away. She said that second babies have a tendency to come quickly and she wasn’t interested in me having an accidental home birth or being in an emergency/rushed situation. Eric got off the phone and I told him he was crazy if he thought I was getting out of that tub and going to the hospital. I had only been having contractions since 2:30 and it was 4:30 at this point. He lovingly insisted that my midwife said it was time to come in, so I begrudgingly got out of the bath. I took my sweet time at getting dressed and getting ready to go.

I noticed as soon as I was out of the tub, my contractions began to pick up in pain intensity. They were suddenly SO BAD and much more painful to manage than when I had been in the water!! Not only were they more painful, but they suddenly were coming much more frequently, like every 2 minutes instead of 4-5 minutes. I continued to breathe and use visualizations during contractions. With every contraction, I bent over (against the bed or a piece or furniture) and rocked my hips back and forth. This was my go-to move and I never really did anything else besides this specific position. This really seemed to be my go-to.

We called our friends who were going to be taking care of Winter to let them know we were coming to drop her off. I felt so bad waking them up! We pulled Winter out of her crib and loaded up in the car. We dropped her off at around 5:00am and headed to the hospital. Thankfully it was a very short distance to the hospital because managing contractions when confined to a seat and buckled up is not easy feat.

It was shortly after 5:00am when we parked the car. I had a few contractions in the parking lot. Since it was after hours, we had to enter through the emergency room. We had to wait a few minutes for a nurse to come down to escort us upstairs, so while waiting in the emergency room lobby, I had several contractions. I continued to bend over and lean against a piece of furniture while swaying my hips each time. That seemed to help me.

We got upstairs and they hooked me up to the fetal monitors. They did a swab test to check to see if my water truly had broken. I filled out and signed all kinds of papers. This whole process took a while, perhaps 45 minutes or so. They had me lie down on the bed while all of this was happening, which was miserable! I hated lying on that bed. Every time a contraction would come (which was often!), I would jump out of that bed and lean over the bed and rock my hips. The nurses were so encouraging and continued to tell me again and again how awesome I was doing at managing the pain.

I got the report back that yes, my water had indeed broken. The nurse then did my first cervical check at that time (approximately 6:00am) and I was 6 centimeter dilated. Okay! This was good. I had been scared that I wouldn’t be very dilated, but hearing that I was at a 6cm made me feel happy.

I told them that I needed to move to the tub since they were done with all of their initial monitoring and admittance things. They changed my monitors to the wireless monitors that I could wear in the tub. I put on my bikini top and got in the tub wearing just that. I turned off the lights and continued to get myself through those contractions using my techniques. Eric sat outside of the tub next to me and was so supportive and encouraging. He is such a good husband!

Over the next 20 minutes I began to feel very nauseous. I had a nurse bring a pan for me in case I decided to throw up. I didn’t throw up, but I felt like I could at any moment.

At approximately 6:40am, I suddenly felt pressure and pain like I’d never experienced before! It happened so fast and I can’t even describe how intense it was. It just hit me, like BAM! Pressure, pressure, pressure! Suddenly I had contractions back to back without any break in between! It was overwhelming and I started to really freak out. It’s like the floodgates opened and all hell broke loose! Eric was sitting next to me outside the tub and he began to look very worried and concerned for me. I was now thrashing my body around as I couldn’t deal with the intensity of pain. I yanked the cord to call the nurse in. Several nurses flooded in the small bathroom and they quickly realized what was happening based on my wild behavior. I was thrashing around and in very intense pain, much different than the behavior they’d witnessed from me in the short time prior.

I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even stand up to get out of the tub. Eric grabbed one shoulder and the nurse grabbed the other. They were trying to pull my body out of the tub. She insisted that we needed me out of the tub because it was against hospital policy to have a water birth. I knew that, but my body wasn’t allowing me to stand up. I practically was dragged and then I crawled from the tub to the edge of the bed.

My midwife was just arriving to the hospital, and at this rate, not soon enough!! The nurse asked me to get up on the bed so she could check to see how dilated I was. There was no way I could get up there! It was nearly impossible. Finally, one leg at a time, I managed to crawl up and I was on all fours on top of the bed. All I was wearing was a bikini top, so this was quite the site! My rear was facing the door, and in walks my midwife. She said hello, and I said, “Sorry you have to walk in to the room to see THIS view of me!” I guess I still have a sense of humor even when I’m in wild amounts of pain. She chuckled.

At this point I was doing a lot of intense yelling and some screaming because I was overcome with pain. I yelled things like, “THIS IS SO STUPID!” “WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS?” “I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS TODAY!” “I CAN’T DO THIS!” “THIS IS SOOOOOO DUMB!!!!” “I DON’T WANT TO HAVE A BABY TODAYYYYY!!!” I was losing my mind.

As soon as I climbed up on that bed and was on all fours, I asked if they were going to give me a cervical check. I yelled, “Can you please just check me in this position? Because I seriously CANNOT move my body whatsoever!” They replied calmly, “Honey, no need to check you because we can see that they baby is already crowning. She’s coming out.” Say, what?!

This was a bit of music to my ears because at least I knew that we were at the end and it was all going to be over soon. But it was an out of body experience. I really wasn’t all the way there. I could feel my body pushing without my help. Crazy! Like I couldn’t control it….it was happening with or without my assistance. The midwife suggested I stop trying to hold the baby in, but rather just give a little push with the contractions. So I did. There was none of the counting to 10 stuff…nope…it was just me pushing a little. After one push Eric shouts, “Katy, her head is out!” I was amazed. That was quick. But I was so in pain and couldn’t catch my breath. I was overwhelmed and scared. The midwife said, “Push one more time and she will be born and this will be over!” I pleaded that I needed to take a quick break, but she said, no, just to do it and it’ll all be done. So I did. I pushed that second time and then she was born. Wow. 6:47am. I couldn’t even believe it. Those last 5-10 minutes had been a whirlwind and now it was all over. She was born! Hallelujah!

Since I was on my hands and knees with my rear in the air when I delivered her, they handed the baby to me through my legs. I grabbed her and sat back on my ankles and held her on my chest in disbelief. She was here. I held her and just laughed. What an experience that was. Intense, fast and now my baby girl was in my arms. Joy filled my heart as I cuddled this sweet new being. She was so tiny, but yet so huge when I thought about how she had just been inside of my body moment ago. This was the baby who I had been waiting to meet all of those months. This was the one who kept me up at night. This was that active little girl who kicked and did gymnastics on my bladder at all hours of the day. And here she was. Just perfect and beautiful as can be. My baby. Perfect. Chloe Rose Lute, my sweet second born daughter.

My legs started to go numb because I of how I was sitting. So I got up and turned around so I could lie in the bed in the other direction. Chloe latched on right away and began breastfeeding. She knew what to do. Just like that. She continued to suckle and bond for 40 minutes. Then, the nurse took her measurements and she was 19.5 inches and 6 pounds, 15 ounces. I was surprised she was under 7 pounds since I had been thinking she was going to be a huge baby with how big I had been feeling at the end of my pregnancy. She was just a hair smaller than Winter’s birth weight.

That whole day felt surreal to me. Because I had an all natural drug free birth, I felt such an adrenaline rush. I was on an emotional high from having my baby, but also from a girl power stand point. I felt amazing both physically and emotionally, and it was such a different experience than my first birth. I would totally do it again, as crazy as it was. My recovery was so much easier and I felt great. Maybe it’s the combination of a short 4.5 hour labor and the natural birth….who knows? But what I do know is that if we have another baby, I will definitely do it this way again!

Winter came to the hospital around noon and we got to spend at little bit of time together as a new family of 4. Winter was in awe of her baby sister. It was absolutely precious to see my two daughters meeting for the first time. They say that when you have more children, your love doesn’t divide—it multiplies. And that is so true. I was amazed at how full my heart was feeling. It’s like I could explode. And that’s just the beginning…

A few photos of that morning Chloe was born:

DSC_0361

A few minutes after Chloe was born.

DSC_0374

Sweet baby girl looks like her daddy – getting measured for height and weight.

DSC_0367

Daddy holding Chloe for the first time.

DSC_0382

Big sister, Winter arrived and got to see her baby sister for the first time.

DSC_0400

Winter loved Chloe from the first moment!

DSC_0407

Holding her…my heart!

DSC_0437

Sweet Chloe Rose, just a few hours old and absolutely perfect.

Advertisements

Winter’s Beautiful Birth Story

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here is the birth story that I will never forget and always cherish.  I hope that I wrote this in the best way possible.  It’s very long, but I did not want to leave anything out.  I absolutely loved Winter’s birth and would not change a thing about it.  Here is how she came into the world…

Winter’s Beautiful Birth Story 

When I hit 39 weeks on October 1st, I all of the sudden felt very “ready” to have my baby.  Something just suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks: I was ready to be done with my pregnancy and ready to meet our little girl.  I started to think that she was coming any day, and then nothing ever happened.  My Braxton Hicks contractions were becoming more frequent and much stronger, sometimes even painful!  “Surely today is the day,” I kept thinking to myself — everyday.  And then nothing would result.

My due date came and went.  As I was a runner all the way throughout my pregnancy, there was something special about the run I went on that Tuesday morning — my due date.  It felt like a momentous day.  It felt great that I could celebrate that day with a healthy run outside in the gorgeous fall weather.  I started trying all kinds of old wives tales for helping stimulate labor…with no avail.  At my O.B. appointment that afternoon on Tuesday, October 8th (baby’s due date), my doctor said her best friend always swears by eating eggplant parmesan to induce labor.  So I thought I’d give it a whirl if nothing had happened in a few days. I just wanted to meet our girl!

IMG_20131008_085351

Post run on my due date!

On Wednesday, October 9th I felt very emotional and depressed because I was still baby-less.  It felt as if every single day was a year long.  At that moment, it felt as if I were NEVER going to go into labor.  I was in a bad mood and I felt awful — both emotionally and physically exhausted.  My back was killing me from sciatic nerve pressure and I was just feeling defeated.  I went to the gym to workout and made myself do an “extra intense” workout just to see if that could get baby motivated to make her grand appearance.  I worked out on the stairmaster, the rowing machine and jacob’s ladder (that was probably hilarious to watch a pregnant lady use).  After over an hour of cardio, I did a full body weight lifting.  As I left the gym, the front desk person and I briefly chatted how if they saw me again I was going to be sad that I still hadn’t given birth.  Well, thankfully they wouldn’t see me again — since that night I went into labor!

jacobsladder

Jacob’s Ladder – I bet that was interesting to watch a pregnant lady use!

Because of my sciatic back pain, I went to see my chiropractor for an adjustment around 6pm on Wednesday evening, which was my second adjustment that week.  On the drive home, I called and talked with my dad for a half an hour.  During that drive home/phone call with Dad, I was noticing really strong Braxton Hicks contractions, but didn’t allow myself to get my hopes up.  After all, these were just more of the same.

When I got home, Eric and I decided to go out to dinner for our weekly date night early since we hoped that by Friday the baby would already be here.  The eggplant parmesan recommendation from my doctor was ringing in my head, so I suggested the Macaroni Grill.  Just before heading out to dinner, I went to the bathroom and noticed a bit of a bloody show….that got my heart racing…maybe this was the start of something?!

At dinner I found myself feeling extra excited and told Eric what had happened in the bathroom at home.  Neither of us wanted to get our hopes up yet.  As we ate dinner, I noticed my Braxton Hicks contractions started to feel painful — a different type of painful than I had previously experienced.  To be honest, I was not quite sure if I was having gas pains or contractions.  If they were gas pains, I needed to find out!  So I went to the bathroom to investigate, and no, they were not gas pains.  During the rest of dinner we both started to get more excited that we could potentially be at the beginning of something real!

macaroni-grill-interior

Macaroni Grill – where my contractions started.

We left the restaurant and arrived home about 9pm (we are late eaters).  Because we were now in the comfort of our home, we decided to start timing my contractions.  The way I would describe what I was feeling was a menstrual cramp/pain down low in the bottom of my belly.  It felt like a sting or a sharp pain, or almost like someone was sticking a knife in my uterus.  Ouch!  At that point in the evening, it hurt, but was still very manageable.  We decided to run a bath, so I hopped in the tub and tried to relax between contractions from 9-10pm.  We continued timing, and the pains were very regular, ranging from 5-7 minutes apart.

At around 10:30 p.m. I decided to call my mom since my parents are on Eastern time.  If this truly was labor, I wanted to inform her before things progressed too much and had to call her with a middle-of-the-night phone call.  I described my “knife stabbing into my uterus” pains to Mom, and she said I needed to stop calling them that, and call them contractions.  Haha!  I still was not really 100% convinced that I was in labor.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up just yet — but my excitement was growing.

Between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. my contractions were coming every 4-6 minutes and getting stronger and more painful.  Eric was my dutiful timer.  We used an app on his phone to time the contractions, which made things really easy!  During that period of time I bounced on my exercise ball, got on my hands and knees to allow baby to hang down, and rocked my hips constantly to encourage baby to move down.  I took a second bath, and this time the water felt SO AMAZING on my body.

At 1:00 a.m. I needed to get out of the house, so we decided to go for a walk outside.  Yes, at 1:00 a.m.!  We walked laps and laps around our neighborhood, trying to be quiet since we didn’t want to wake anyone.  We probably walked 2 miles on that crisp fall night.  I was still able to walk through the contractions, though they were getting stronger and sometimes coming every 2 1/2 minutes apart.

After our walk, I decided I wanted to take a hot shower.  I needed the pain relief as well as I wanted to look decent for birth.  Ha, of course!  After my shower, I was starving, so Eric and I sat down at the table and ate our Macaroni Grill leftovers from dinner at around 2:30 a.m.  I continued having contractions, but it felt SO GREAT to get a bit of food in my stomach.  I was starting to feel exhausted from getting no sleep combined with the pain I was feeling.  After eating, we deemed it felt necessary to go to the hospital.  I was feeling quite a lot of pain during each contraction and I knew that SURELY I was getting really fair along at this point.  So Eric loaded the car with our bags, he snapped a couple of photos of me, and we were off!

IMAG1173

Heading to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning, nearly 3am.

IMAG1170

One last look from both sides.

During that 15 minute drive to the hospital, I had at least 3 or 4 strong contractions.  Sitting down in the car, being unable to move through the contraction, was really excruciating for me.  At least when I was at home I could move around as needed or roll/bounce on my ball to help ease the pain.  Sitting in a seatbelt in a vehicle is NOT ideal for labor.

We arrived at the hospital at 3:00 a.m. and I called my mom to let her know an update of where things stood.  I still was unsure of how “far along” into labor I was, but I knew surely we were making some definite progress since I was in a lot of pain and the contractions were 2-5 minutes apart lasting for a minute or longer.  We entered the emergency entrance and notified the staff that I was in active labor.  A nurse was sent down to escort me up to the labor and delivery wing via wheelchair.  I was wheeled up to the maternity floor — my first time ever being a patient at a hospital.

From the moment I arrived in the hospital, I noticed an extreme change in my contractions.  They seemed to slow down and feel less intense.  Perhaps it was the adrenaline rush from being at the hospital, who knows???  We were brought into a room and the nurse had me change into a gown and give a urine sample.  They hooked up the two monitors to my belly to start monitoring contractions and baby’s heartrate.  For about an hour we dealt with logistics: 100 million questions that I had to answer.  My contractions continued coming, but not as close together or quite at the intensity they were before my admittance.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Talking to my mom while at the hospital,

At the end of that hour, the nurse finally checked my cervix.  She estimated I was over 3 but less than 4 centimeters dilated.  This just about crushed my spirit!  Just on Tuesday, I had been just under 3 centimeters at my O.B. appointment.  How on earth had I not made ANY progress after all these hours of painful contractions?!  It just left me feeling so discouraged.

The nurse suggested that Eric and I get up and walk around the hospital halls for an hour to see if that caused any cervical change.  Being SO EXHAUSTED from pulling an all-nighter, that hour of walking felt like it lasted for 5 hours.  Plus, I was walking around in a hospital gown (with one over the back for extra modesty), so I felt less than comfortable.  A few times during the walk I stopped to use the rest room and noticed heavy bleeding.  Bleeding that somewhat scared me!  It was heavy like a period, and each time I used the restroom, there was lots more blood.  This is something I notified the nurses of, and they seemed to think it was normal for labor.

At 5:30 a.m. we returned to our room to see if our hour-plus walk had made any cervical change.  I was feeling extremely beat and worn down from a lack of sleep combined with the exhaustion from being in labor all night.  I did not feel hopeful because I was having hardly any contractions at that time.  The nurse, Amy (a different one because of a shift change during our time walking) came in to check me to see if there was any more progress.  After checking my cervix, she estimated that I was 3-4 cm dilated.  BIG bummer.  Again, I felt so frustrated and defeated.

This nurse, Amy, was a really pushy and opinionated gal.  She strongly suggested we could use pitocin to get labor jumpstarted and sped along.  RED FLAG!!  I did NOT want pitocin AT ALL.  No way, no how.  In my mind, my baby girl was going to come out when she was darn well ready, and I did NOT need pitocin to make her mad.  I expressed this to the nurse, and she looked at me like I was a whacko.  I told her that I wanted to leave the hospital and go home because apparently the baby wasn’t quite ready yet.  Being pushy and opinionated, she pleaded with me to stay.  It really took a lot of courage for me to stand up for myself and say no.  I wanted to go home, be in my comfort zone and labor at home as I pleased.  I did NOT want to stay strapped to a hospital bed, exhausted from an all-nighter and having some bitchy (sorry for the language) nurse push her opinions and drugs on me.  She left the room so Eric and I could talk.

pitocin_refusal

We said NO to Pitocin!

We decided to check ourselves out and go home.  The nurse returned and said, “well, I guess if your baby wants to be born today, you will probably be back by noon anyway, so go home.”  What relief.  They let us go.  At this time it was 6:00 a.m. and I was having basically no contractions.  My level of discouragement was prevalent.  But I felt we were making the right choice for us to go home rather than staying at the hospital.  I needed to do this the RIGHT way.

Upon arriving home around 6:45 a.m., we thought it would be best to try to get some sleep, since we were both extremely exhausted from getting none all night long.  We lied down in our bed and I think I was able to be restful (translation: not ACTUALLY fall asleep) for a period of time.  I did not actually sleep, but the rest gave me a nice jumpstart.  I  needed anything I could get in the way of relaxation,

Around 9:00 a.m. I was started to get extremely painful contractions again.  In fact, the pain was SO MUCH stronger now than anything from the entire night before!  Eric was still asleep in the bed and I didn’t want to disturb him yet, so I ran a hot bath.  While the bath was running, I found myself dropping on the floor to my knees in such extreme pain.  THIS WAS IT!  Things were rolling again!  I was excited but still not positive that we were having a baby that day yet.  From 9:30-10:30 a.m. I soaked in the tub, breathing through really intense painful contractions every 3-5 minutes apart.  Eric, who was awake now, was so supportive and helpful and tried to help me through each one.

Eric called my O.B. office to see if there was any way I could come in to the office to be checked for cervical change rather than going to the hospital before we truly felt ready to go again.  She apologized that the earliest they could see me was 2:00 p.m. if I could even make it that long.  So my goal was to get myself to 2:00.  At that point, it was really hard to focus on anything because I was in such extreme pain.  I remember calling my mom while lying on the floor in pain saying, “Mom, how on earth do people do this?!?” and she said, “Katy, after the baby is born, you will forget all of this pain.”

From 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. the contractions were SO INTENSE and coming 2-4 minutes apart.  I couldn’t focus on anything and I dreaded the next contraction ahead.  I bounced on my exercise ball, leaned over pieces of furniture and just tried to breathe through each one.  I found that they would come on really strong and peak and then fade out.  It helped me to close my eyes and breathe deeply throughout the peak of each contraction.  After one was finished, at least I never had to “deal with THAT contraction again!”

At 12:00 p.m. I needed to get outside and walk the neighborhood.  I was walking SO SLOWLY and had to stop to hold myself up against Eric or fences when the contractions would come.  I felt miserable that 2:00 p.m. was still so far away.  My pain was SO BAD and I was crying on an off.  We got back home from our walk and I called my sister Maggie.  I had to hand off the phone to Eric when a contraction came because I couldn’t talk.  In fact, I ran to the kitchen sink and vomited.  Eric hung up the phone and said that Maggie said to get to the hospital immediately if I was throwing up.  Throwing up means things are really progressed far.  She thought I might even be close to the transition phase of labor.

We drove to the hospital and were admitted at 1:30 p.m.  Thankfully I was assigned a new nurse, Shauna, who was the most friendly gal I’ve ever met.  I was so relieved I didn’t have my previous pushy nurse from that morning.  After getting changed and hooked up to the monitors, Shauna checked me and estimated I was 5 cm dilated and we decided to stay.  She said she was being modest with that number, so even though she said I was at a 5, it could have really been a 6 or more according to other nurses she said…but her theory is that she doesn’t like to tell someone a higher number, just in case.  She hooked up my IV to administer the standard fluids, and we found that I was extremely dehydrated as I had not eaten or drank anything at all since my 2:30 a.m. snack.

Only 20 minutes after arriving, the doctor came in to check me and I had already dilated to 7 cm!  They went ahead and broke my water and I notified them that I wanted an epidural.  I figured the worst of the pain was behind me, but I was just so READY to feel better.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Seeing the baby station in our room was making things feel more real!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At the hospital – ready for a bit of pain relief.

Before the epidural, my entire body started shaking violently.  The shakes were so violent and I could hear Shauna in the background telling someone that we need to get this epidural quickly since I was in transition phase.  It felt like they were in a different world — I was in a cloudy space, almost like an out of body experience.  I kept wondering “how am I going to hold still for 10 minutes for this epidural?!?” since I was shaking so uncontrollably.

Eric went to move the car (since he was parked in 2 hour parking because the garage was full), and barely made it back in time to hold my shoulders while they put the epidural needle in.   Anesthesiology moved fairly quickly.  Right before they prepped me for the epidural, they checked again and I was 8 cm!  Wow, things sure were moving along now!  At this time, it was approximately 3:30 p.m.  By this point I was having such terrible contraction pains and being trapped on a bed was MISERABLE.  Thankfully Eric walked in right in the nick of time to hold me while the needle was inserted.  My violent shakes were going on uncontrollably, but with all my might I held still.

The epidural was easy breezy and took effect quickly.  From that point on, my experience when from “chaotic and miserable-feeling” to “happy and relaxed.”  All of the sudden I began to ENJOY the experience!  My pain was now gone and I could finally relax and enjoy the ride.  I have no regrets about getting the epidural.  I could still feel my legs and was able to somewhat move them and wiggle my toes, so I was not completely numb.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Happy to meet our daughter shortly!  I was feeling amazing now that I had the epidural.

It was about 4:00 p.m. and I was feeling absolutely wonderful.  For the next period of time, our nurse Shauna hung out in our room and we chatted lightheartedly about this and that.  She monitored the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions while we visited.  It was really fun to see that I was having regular/frequent contractions without having to feel them!  Shauna decided rather than checking my cervix, she wanted to just wait until I felt pressure to see when I’d made it to a 10.  Since I was so relaxed, Eric went to grab a quick bite to eat (as did Shauna), and this allowed me time to make a few phone calls.  Up until this point, I had notified no one (besides family) that we were in labor.  I sent out several texts to get friends up to speed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Post epidural when I could finally smile!

At just before 6:00 p.m. Shauna came back and took my temperature.  She became slightly concerned when she saw that I was running a bit of a fever.  She went ahead and gave me Tylenol to help bring the fever down, and suggested that she check to see if I was at 10 cm dilated yet.  She checked, and sure enough, I was 100% effaced and 10 cm dilated!  Who knows how long I had been dilated to a 10!  It had probably been for a while!!  Shauna said because of my fever, it was wise to start pushing now rather than waiting for me to feel the urge to push, so we started a few “practice pushes.”  I was nervous that I wouldn’t know how to do it correctly or that I would be too numb to push, but with her guidance, she said my pushing was perfect right from the get-go.  With the next several contractions, she continued having me push to get the baby to move further down into the birth canal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shauna took our photo right before I started pushing.  Last family photo as a family of only two!

My doctor, Dr. Lewkowski, arrived to the room shortly after (this was right after 6:00 p.m.).  She was supposed to be getting off work at 5:00 p.m. but decided rather than leaving, it would be more fun to stick around and deliver a baby tonight!  I was so grateful that she did that!  It really meant a lot to have her there to deliver my baby.  My doctor and nurse then began guiding me through pushes with each contraction that came.  We would do three 10-second pushes with each contraction.  Eric held my left leg and Shauna held the right.  The pushes were very effective, but I was shocked at how much energy it took out of me!

At one point during the pushing process (perhaps 6:20 p.m.), another nurse rushed in the room in a panic to check my blood pressure reading because she saw that it was really low suddenly.  Moments later, I began feeling really light headed and the room started to fade in and out.  I don’t remember exactly what they said my blood pressure was, but I thought I heard something in the neighborhood of 70/50…scary!  It turns out that I was lying flat on my back, which was causing some sort of blockage in one of my major arteries.  After moving me onto my side, they quickly put a bag of fluid into my IV.

After a few minutes my blood pressure came back up to a healthy level.  I started feeling more normal at that point, thank the Lord.  That was a scary few minutes because the room suddenly swarmed with all kinds of medical staff.  Eric later told me that he felt really scared too.  In those few seconds where I felt like I was “fading out” I remember thinking, “what if I die today?” or “Lord help my baby be ok!” or “I hope they don’t rush us into an emergency c-section.”  Thankfully all it took to get me back into running order was giving me fluid and moving me onto my side.  Once my blood was able to get moving through the arteries again and my blood pressure came back up, I was back in great shape.

With that brief fiasco behind us, it was time to continue pushing and meet our baby!  9 months of pregnancy got us to this point, and it was time to SHINE!  I continued pushing three times for 10 seconds each with every contraction.  The doctor asked if I wanted a mirror (which the nurses all thought she asked if I wanted a beer, how funny!), and my response was a quick, “No thanks!”  As the baby started crowning, I didn’t even need a mirror because I could see her head coming out anyway!  I could see a head with tons of dark hair — that was such a crazy sight to see!  Dr. Lewkowski asked if I wanted to feel her head, so I did, and boy was that nuts.  MY BABY WAS COMING OUT!!!

Once her head was out, the doctor asked me to just keep on pushing, so quickly our baby slid out and they placed her immediately on my chest.  All I remember thinking was “how the heck did this entire human being just come out of my body?!”  I started sobbing with joy as Winter Elizabeth’s wide eyes stared into mine.  Her eyes were so bright blue and she was SO ALERT!  She didn’t really cry much, but she was more looking all around taking everything in.  She was just so perfect.  I cannot even describe the utter joy of those first few moments bonding with her skin to skin.  It was amazing how much my heart could immediately love her.  It felt like my heart could burst from happiness and love.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here we are just seconds after they placed her on my chest.  I cannot even describe how happy I felt in this moment.

My doctor asked me to give one good push to deliver the placenta.  After it came out, I asked to see it.  Dr. Lewkowski brought it up to where I could see it and she showed me all the different parts of it and explained how it worked.  That was so neat!

Eric said to me, “Katy, good thing you got an epidural, because you are being stitched up right now.”  I hadn’t even realized what was going on around me because I was so engrossed in my baby.  Dr. Lewkowski said I had a 2nd degree tear, the “most common type” according to what she sees in her patients.  I honestly didn’t even care a bit.  I was too happy to care about something like that.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A few minutes after Winter’s delivery!

While bonding with Winter skin to skin on my chest, the doctor stitched me up, and Shauna did several fundal massages on my belly to encourage my uterus to shrink down.  The nurses later took Winter so they could give her shots and get her birth weight and height.  When she was away from me, her cries came and she cried and so hard!  That girl has got some lungs!!  She didn’t like her shots or being weighed (what girl does?!).  She was a healthy 7 pounds, 2.5 ounces and measured 18.5 inches long.  Just perfect.  What a fun birthday: 10/10/13!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Crying little girl!

1378099_10102933318263618_1077667598_n

After being weighed and measured!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Waiting on her while she was weighed and measured.

After an hour, Shauna had me get up, and I could walk, though somewhat wobbly on my legs.  We were moved into our recovery room.  Shauna gave Eric and I big hugs…we just LOVED her.  She made our experience so wonderful.  It was sad to say goodbye, but we were so excited to enjoy the next few days and hours getting to know Winter.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Just moments after we were moved into our recovery room, so happy.  Getting to know each other.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We stayed in the hospital until Saturday.  It was so fun getting to know our precious daughter in those first hours/days at the hospital.  It felt like we were living in a dream.  I could have never imagined how beautiful and how much love I could feel for a person.  Winter is my little angel and I love her immensely.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1377538_10102935206344888_319272980_n

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Arriving home with our daughter!

Winter’s birth was SO SPECIAL.  I will never forget how she made her entrance into the world.  Eric and I love our daughter more than words could ever describe.  I hope that I didn’t leave out any details…the whole experience was simply magical.  Our Winter came on the day and the hour that God picked for her.

Psalm 139:13-16 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”