I've been posting about our experiences with Hattie on my private blog that Jonathan and I use as a family journal (only he and I can write in it and view it). I wanted to avoid oversharing about my beautiful little girl and possibly boring people. However, I thought I'd share the post I wrote about Hattie's birth for any curious family and friends.
We made it! Here's how it all went down...
Saturday, September 11, 2010. It was four days past my due date. Four days may not sound like much, but I was done. I felt like my body would never go into labor on its own. I was anxious for the big day to just come. I wanted to meet my daughter. I wanted my body back.* I wanted scary labor to just be over with and for everything to be okay and done. I was ready to cuddle a warm, chubby baby.
I got up late in the morning wondering what to do with myself that day. I was slightly self-pitying and a little depressed. Jonathan was working on homework so I headed over to my parents' house to hang out with my mom for awhile. She was canning peach and blackberry jams and earlier she'd made some peach cobbler and fresh salsa. So I snacked and we chatted and half-watched an old Mel Gibson western movie that was on television.
After awhile I headed back home and got a little teary on the way... just pregnancy hormones and the frustration of being pregnant past my due date. I crawled into bed with a book and eventually fell asleep for a long nap. I woke up around 7:45 and went to the bathroom. As I was washing my hands after, I felt like I peed a little more... but then it stopped. I thought maybe something was up but I didn't feel like telling Jonathan because I didn't want to get his hopes up and I was in denial that anything would ever happen labor-wise.
I went out and sat next to Jonathan at our desks and googled "how do i know if my water broke?" As I started reading, I shifted in my seat. A small gush. I went back to the bathroom. Nothing. Back to the desk. Slightly painful contraction. Nothing. Shift in seat. Small gush. Slightly more painful contraction. I told Jonathan that I thought my water had broken. He wanted to know if I was sure.
Yeah... I'm sure
(more painful contraction).
I told him we should go to the hospital so we started taking our time getting our stuff together. I got my toothbrush and makeup and added it to my hospital bag. Jonathan grabbed some extra clothes and homework stuff. Then the contractions really started hurting. I had to stop what I was doing and breathe. I grabbed the car seat out of the nursery and was getting very anxious to leave.
On the freeway on the way to Intermountain Medical Center, I realized that I hadn't timed my contractions at all. I knew they wouldn't send me home if my water had broken, but what if I was being silly and it didn't? I had a small moment of doubt until the next contraction kicked in. It was a doozy... Ouch. By the time we got to the hospital, I was comforted because my contractions were 3 - 5 minutes apart. But man did they hurt.
We parked and walked into the women's center around 8:45. The woman at the desk seemed doubtful even after I told her I thought my water had broken but they got me into a room (#17) and sent in a nurse. By this time I was in a lot of pain. Every contraction was worse than the one before and I couldn't believe how much they hurt. The nurse checked me and said she couldn't tell if my water had broken for sure. I was confused by that because, ahem, what about the big wet spot under me on the bed? She thought I was at about a 4.
My mom and sister showed up sometime around here. I was in a lot of pain. I've said this before and I'll say it again: I do not know how women give birth naturally. I just don't. The nurse wanted to call my midwife to make sure it would be okay for me to get my epidural. I was ready to fight if my midwife had any issue with it. Luckily, my midwife said that of course it would be fine for me to get my epidural right away and that she would be to the hospital soon.
Getting the epidural was kind of scary but I was up for anything to end the agony. The hard part was staying still enough through the pain to let the anesthesiologist get the needle in. I was terrified that I would jerk and he'd stab my spine and I'd be paralyzed forever. But he didn't and a few minutes later... sweet, sweet relief.
Once I got my epidural, I remembered to start documenting the day with photos
My midwife, DeeDee showed up a little before 11:00 PM. I had had a couple of my prenatal visits with her and she was my favorite midwife in the practice so I was really excited that she happened to be on call that night. She checked me and said I was about a six and then sat and chatted with us and charted. I loved having a midwife because of the personal attention I got from her. She was in my room from the time she showed up at the hospital until I delivered. We talked about her past experiences with labor and delivery, my fears that the ultrasound would be wrong, my plan for labor, etc. It was great.
My awesome midwife, DeeDee Fedorchak
Meanwhile, my first labor and delivery nurse went home and a new one came. I was a little surprised because the new nurse seemed old. Really old. The second she walked in the door, my mom asked her what her name was and if she had worked with Dr. Larkin at LDS Hospital before. She confirmed that she had and my mom said, "I knew it, you were my labor and delivery nurse when I had Amanda." Crazy! The nurse that helped deliver me was there to help me deliver my oldest daughter.
My Labor and Delivery nurse, Karen (I think that was her name. Mom?)
A short time later, around 11:15, my midwife checked me again because I was feeling some pressure (My epidural was great. I could still feel my legs and feet and move around. I could feel each contraction but without the huge amount of pain.). I was already at a 9. I went from a 4 to a 10 in a surprisingly short amount of time... Maybe that's why it hurt so bad. My midwife said that I could start pushing really soon if I wanted but since she'd heard me saying that I didn't want a 9/11 baby, she said I could wait until midnight to start pushing if I wanted. I decided to wait so we just relaxed and chatted.
When it was finally time to start pushing, I was really happy to see that my midwife kept the lights dim. She didn't bring out the huge harsh surgical light from the ceiling as she said she doesn't think it's very comfortable for newborns to have all those harsh lights on them right away. She also let me stay on the long bed rather than taking it apart and making me scoot down and get into stirrups like a lot of the doctors do. It was a really nice environment and I felt mostly at ease... but of course a little bit nervous. I just wanted our baby to be safe and healthy.
As I started pushing, Jonathan would hold my right leg and the nurse would hold my left and count through the contractions for me. My midwife sat at the end of the bed and just said encouraging things. She let me decide to push when I felt the contractions instead of telling me by what the monitor was showing on the computer. After a few pushes, the baby was descending at a nice slow and steady pace so she kept telling me to just push as hard as I could.
My mom and Emily started to get really excited because they could finally see the baby's head and there was hair! I pushed really hard the next time, and much to everyone's surprise, including the midwife's, her whole head came out. My midwife had to lunge forward really quickly to catch her as her whole body quickly came out. It was 12:47 am on Sunday, September 12th. I was sitting far enough forward from pushing that I actually saw her come out of me. It was amazing. They put her pink, healthy, crying little body right up on my chest, blood and goop and all and I loved it. One of the first things I noticed about her besides her cute face was her large hands. Just like mommy! haha...
My first gory look at my beautiful girl
It's possible she wasn't too excited to be here right at first :)
Since they weren't expecting her to come out so fast, the nurse and CNA for the baby weren't even in the room yet like they usually would be. The labor and delivery nurse frantically paged them and they eventually came. They weighed and measured her, gave her a quick check, and then gave her back to me. 8 pounds 3 ounces, 21 inches long.
I love this epic hand shadow photo.
I got to hold her skin-to-skin on my chest for a long time while the midwife started the arduous process of stitching up my battle wounds. It turns out that because of Hattie's quick arrival, I had some pretty crazy tearing. It took the midwife 1 hour and 45 minutes to get me all stitched up. Two times the stitching got so complicated that she had the on-call obstetrician come in and give her opinion and take a turn stitch me up. Needless to say, I lost a lot of blood. Again, thank heavens for my epidural. By the end of the stitching, though, the drugs were wearing off and I could feel the needle going in and out of me. Yeesh. I do not want to repeat that anytime soon.
Jonathan was out in the hall with his parents and Hattie for the last half of the stitching. After it was done, they dropped in to say hi to me and then it was just Jonathan and I. The nurse sent Hattie up to the nursery and told me I'd be on my way up to recovery soon.
Jonathan's cute parents getting their first look atBaby H
After a slight roadblock (my blood pressure dropping a ton, throwing up, almost passing out, and freezing and shivering uncontrollably) they finally had me go up to my room on the recovery floor sometime around 4 am and Hattie was returned to us. A CNA came in and gave her a bath. Sadly, she hated it. Her little cry was so cute though.
Hatin' her first bath
Finally done with the labor, stitching, wooziness, nausea, barfing, and chills and up to recovery. Made it!
We had a lot of nice family and friends come visit us Sunday and Monday.
Jonathan's siblings, Joseph and Kristine
Jonathan's bro, Sam
My friend, Tiffany
Other little bro, Ben
Monday evening we were discharged after I talked my midwife out of making me get a blood transfusion. I had to walk around the recovery floor for 15 minutes to prove I wasn't going to pass out.
Driving home with Hattie was a little bit of a surreal experience. Two people became three... just like that.
We are loving our little Hattie and all of her cuteness. She has brought a wonderful spirit to our home and I can't believe how much love I have for someone I've known for such a short amount of time.
After all of the tips and tricks I tried to get labor going, I'm going to have to say that what finally did the trick was the delicious peach cobbler my mom made. Say what you will about walking, spicy foods, and sex, but what did it for me was a little self pity, a long nap, and some delicious homemade peach cobbler.
Nature might have had a bit to do with it too. You never really know.
*Little did I realize, giving birth wouldn't do much to "give me my body back." I may look normal again, but when you are someone's sole source of food and that someone wants to eat every 1 - 3 hours, your body is not really your own. :)