July 6, 2014

Lily's Birth Story

Lily's birth story is actually pretty boring typical. After being told that I would be induced on Monday the 9th at 39 weeks (you can read about my pregnancy and the reason for induction here) Mike and I went into hustle mode to have everything ready for Monday. We spent Friday afternoon painting our dining room - yes, I did spend multiple hours on a ladder cutting in the ceiling at 9 months pregnant - and then we went to see a movie for one last date night sans babysitter. We decided later that seeing a really sad (but wonderful) movie like Fault in our Stars is apparently a natural labor inducer. After sobbing my way through the movie, I started having contractions at about 1:30 am (Saturday). I slept off and on for the next couple hours and once I was having contractions every 5-6 minutes, I woke Mike up to head to the hospital. His response to having to wake up at 4:30am on a Saturday? "mmm... are you sure?" "Umm... 90... no, 75 percent... but yes." We couldn't get a hold of First Nurse, so we grabbed our bags and headed to the hospital.
Once we got to the hospital, we got checked in and I got hooked up to the monitors and checked. Turns out I was having minor contractions in between the ones I was counting, so they were actually coming every 3 minutes. I was also 80% effaced and almost 2 cm dilated (I had been 30 and 1 at my appointment 12 hours earlier). The doctor I had seen on Friday (Dr. Downard) was on call over night, so he talked to the doctor on call for the day (Dr. Lines) and they decided that even if labor slowed, they wouldn't send me home without a baby! They got me fully admitted and then recommended we try to sleep for a few hours and see how I progressed naturally. There was too much adrenaline and excitement to really sleep, but we relaxed and watched lots of Property Brothers and Yard Crashers.

At 10:30, Dr Lines came back in to check me. I was 2.5 cm dilated and 90% effaced, so she broke my water to try to keep things moving. That's also when Mike texted family to let them know that Saturday was the day instead of Monday. Labor continued progressing for about an hour, with my contractions getting more intense, but then they started slowing until they were coming every 7-10 minutes. At 1:30, they gave me Pitocin, a synthetic version of the hormone that stimulates contractions. It's an incredibly slow drip, so they only change the dosage every 30 minutes to try to find the "sweet spot" of increasing contractions, but not too far. Because of this, I had been warned that it could take up to 3 hours to get the right dosage. Luckily, it actually only took one minor dosage change, so we didn't have to wait long for labor to start progressing again.

Between 2 and 3, my contractions hit what I would call a 7 on the pain scale, but then again, I really have no idea what a 10 is, so who really knows. Anyway, during that same time Bob and Bev came up to visit, which was great because I was distracted. Mike also helped by reminding me that even though we didn't know how many contractions I would have to deal with, after every one, the number left got smaller. I would never have to have that contraction again. At about 3:15 I hit the point where I wanted something to help with the pain. I felt like if I wasn't hooked to the pitocin (and therefore the monitors) I would have gotten in the whirlpool bath and waited it out to see how bad the pain got, but since I couldn't, I was ready for an epidural. I had been told it could be up to an hour to get the epidural because of the anesthesiologists being in surgery, etc. but it actually only took about 15 minutes. My anesthesiologist was actually pretty funny as he told me about the risks ("1 in 50,000 epidurals lead to severe complications, compared to 1 in 500 births... and this would make the birth part way more fun") and did a great job. I've heard a lot of stories about women who get a little too much in their epidural and can't feel anything, but I didn't have that at all. I didn't have any pain, but did have that Novocain numb feeling from my belly button to my knees. 

My mom and dad arrived as I was getting the epidural, so we got to chat with them for a while before the doctor came back to check me again at 4. The pitocin was definitely working, as I was 4 cm, 90% effaced, and at -1 station with contractions every few minutes and much stronger (according to the monitor - I couldn't feel the pain to tell). After that we all just hung out and relaxed. In the next couple hours Melissa, Amanda, Jenny, Tyler and Ben all came to see us too.

At about 6:30, everyone was going to head to dinner, and I asked Mike to stay at least until the doctor had checked me again. Luckily, when she came to check me at 7:15 I was 8 cm, 95%, and 0 station; so I didn't feel bad for asking Mike to stay. It would have been a bummer if I was still a 4/5! After they had dinner, everyone just hung out in the waiting room so that Mike and I could take a nap. At about 9:30 the nurse came in, thinking I was going to be ready to push based on the intensity of the contractions on the monitors - I was completely asleep! At about 10, the doctor came in and checked me one last time. She said I was ready to go and she could even see baby's head. She was very laid back the whole time, and mentioned that I may have been able to push at 9, but since I was sleeping, it was way better to let my body do the work without me knowing it. They finished setting up the room and at 10:15 it as time to deliver!

Between the epidural and napping on my left side, I had zero function in my left leg. I had some control of my right leg, but when they put my left foot in the stirrup my foot slipped right off. Mike had to reach over and put it back in for me. Mike and Nurse Sarah held my legs for me and we laughed about being distracted by the hockey game on TV behind the doctor in between contractions. Because I had labored so long while sleeping, I really had very little pushing to do. It only took a very minor tear (2 stitches), 4 contractions (12 pushes) and 11 minutes later, at 10:26 pm, we had our baby girl! We looked at her and agreed that she was our Lillian Kay, no reason to pick a different name.

Lily was immediately brought to my chest for all of her initial tests and some cuddles as she got ready to eat for the first time. Unfortunately, she had a lot of liquid in her lungs that she was still working on getting up before she could breathe very well. Not bad enough to need taken for suction, but enough that combined with flat nipples, we couldn't get a good latch to breast feed. Luckily, I had a very good supply of colostrum, so I was able to hand express a half ounce for her to eat from a cup. After she ate, she got to meet all of the family that was waiting to meet her. Grandma Sherry, Grandma Bev, Grandpa Doug, and Aunts Melissa, Amanda and Jenny all got to take turns holding her (Grandpa Bob, Uncle Tyler, and Cousin Ben had gone home for Ben's bedtime).

After family left at about 12:30, Lily still wasn't able to latch, even with help from the lactation consultant, Angie. Because she didn't want to resort to a shield too soon, Lily had another cup feeding. She was then weighed, measured and had her first bath with Daddy and nurse Sarah - I was still waiting for my legs to work again. I was then helped to the bathroom and we all settled down to a much needed few hours of sleep.

The next day, we met with the lactation consultants again and decided to try using the nipple shield to help her latch on and start to figure out breast feeding. It is pretty much a silicone nipple that goes over your own nipple to make it longer and stimulate their sucking reflex. She was able to latch pretty quickly and eat, so it was worth the future difficulty (we'll want to wean off of it later) for her to be able to "figure out" breastfeeding pretty early. She has since been a champ at eating (great latch and efficient eater) but we still have to use the shield. Because she's eating so well, there's no real NEED to wean from it, just that it's one more thing to worry about losing! And now that I'm posting this so late, you'll get another post right away, as Lily is one month old tomorrow! 


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