Friday, April 18, 2014

Eva's Birth Story

Wednesday night I went to bed with a headache and feeling a little nauseous.  The girls had been sick with colds so I thought maybe I was getting sick too. Thursday morning I had an acupuncture appointment. There were some points she was going to do to help with the pelvic pain and I was also going to ask her about doing points to stimulate labor.  Since I had woken up feeling sick, too, we decided to do all of those points, getting ready for labor, pelvic pain and immune system.  She said that if my body was ready, labor would start within 48 hours.

Well, I should have consulted more people before planning that appointment. My mom had an over night trip planned for Thursday night. Mike had an out-of-town run during the day on Friday. Tony was planning to be gone for the weekend. My cousin went out of town so her mom was in charge of her kids. This left only my sister and sister-in-law as options to watch the kids and take me to the hospital if needed.  Thankfully, labor did not start right away.  And my headache did not stop either.

I rested as much as I could on Thursday, Friday and Saturday hoping to get over my cold/headache. On Saturday, my mom took the kids to a 1 km fun run and then they came home and took me to go get my blood pressure checked since I still had a headache and swelling in my hands and feet.  It was 132/83 which is at the high end of normal but lower than my last OB check so if my doctor hadn't been worried, I wouldn't either.

We went to church on Sunday.  I still felt pretty awful.  I've been having contractions for months and I can never really determine whether they were worse or the same.  However, when I tried to go to sleep early on Sunday night, I kept being awakened by contractions. They began to get closer together and by one o'clock I was worried about staying home.  Things had changed so rapidly with Julia. I had 15 minutes of intense contractions before she was born. Prior to that, the contractions had been painful, but I could just breath and rest through them.  I told Mike that we needed to go and I called my mom to come over. He had gone to bed with a stomach ache and when I woke him up he went down to the bathroom and started throwing up.

When he came up, I knew he wasn't going to be going to the hospital with me.  I had a couple of contractions on the 10-15 minute drive. We got to the hospital at 1:30 am. I didn't have the nurses check me because I just wanted to see if I could relax and get into a good labor pattern.   Oddly, my blood pressure was really low now. (97/ 69)  I was monitored for a half hour and was having contractions every 2-3 minutes.  So that seemed promising.  But they began to slow down and I couldn't decide if I should get up and try to get labor going more or just lay down and rest and let if happen if it was going to but save my energy.  I couldn't sleep at all. I would doze between contractions or then be awakened by some beeping monitor. When it beeped, I would move around or roll over to get a contraction going.  Finally, around 5 am I went into the tub to see if I could get things going more.  In the tub my contractions basically stopped. Sigh.

My mom and doctor encouraged me to just stay and rest for a few more hours and see what happens.  I did get some rest and then at around 8 or 9 am we went home.

I continued to have painful contractions throughout the day but with long gaps of nothing in between.  I still wasn't sure if these pains were worse or different from what I had been having for weeks.  I went to bed on Monday night around 6 pm and continued to be awakened every 15 minutes or so with contractions.  I was so annoyed and tired.  I told myself that if I went back to the hospital that night I was going to ask them to give me something to stop the contractions just so I could get some sleep.  At 10 pm, I called my mom and asked her if she just wanted to come sleep here so I wouldn't wake her up.  She was already tucked in bed and opted to stay there.  Tony was home so we could leave before she arrived if needed.  Mike was feeling mostly better. I had found my camera battery charger so that was ready to go.

We went to bed and I continued to be awakened by contractions and wondered when I would know that I needed to really go.  At 12 am, I was awakened by a very strong contraction and a sploosh!  Thank you, Lord! I appreciated the clear sign that it was time to go! My water broke!

Mike got up. I repacked my food bag. (I always bring my own supply. With food allergies, I just don't trust other people to prepare my food. And I keep it handy and eat whenever I want.) My mom arrived and off we went.  Everyone was so excited. I was worried, tired and uncomfortable.

I was checked and found to be dilated to 4 cm when I got to the hospital.  That was encouraging. With my water broken and dilated to a 4 cm, I knew I only had a few more hours. They called my doctor so she could come to the hospital and be ready for me. I felt bad getting her out of bed for a second night. They wanted to monitor me again for at least 20 minutes to see how the baby was doing.  After a half hour, they said everything looked fine and I could go get in the tub.  I was having strong contractions but sometimes there was  a long gap between the contractions. It was very strange. I should have really just appreciated the break and not worried that it meant my labor was stopping again.  After a while I thought I was beginning to feel more pressure with each contraction and thought I should get out and get checked again.  I thought about just staying in the tub and letting the baby be born there. There was plenty of room, but the thought of having to get up and out of the tub shortly after the baby was delivered did not appeal to me at all!

I was at 8 cm when I got settled into bed and they called the doctor and started getting the room ready. After breathing through a few more contractions, I began trying little pushes to see if that helped ease the pressure I was feeling. I had read about a technique where you just sort of breathe the baby out and never really push the baby out.  With Julia, when I started those little pushes, the doctor could see the head coming down.  This baby was not moving so quickly.  The doctor suggested breathing through every other contraction and then trying to push again. At that point I gave up the idea that I was just going to ease this baby out and really started to push.

I felt miserable and uncoordinated and like I just couldn't do it.  Even after I got the head out, I felt I just couldn't push any more.  Doesn't the rest of the baby usually just slip out after the head is delivered? I just don't remember it being this much work.  I found a bit more strength and very soon the doctor was telling me to reach down and grab my baby.  I had asked to be the one to declare the baby's gender so it was good motivation to stay in the moment and grab her and look right away to see that she was a girl! I was so surprised and happy.  What fun! Five little girls! It was 3:02 am.  So, just 3 hours since my water broke.

The doctor and nurses were so great about honoring my wishes from my birth plan.  They made it as natural and intimate as possible.  There was nothing between me and my baby when I pulled her onto my chest. My arms wrapped around her and they covered us both with a towel and blanket. So precious!

Right about the time I had started to push, Mike started to get really woozy and light headed.  He had to go sit down. It wasn't the child birth that was making him sick, he was just still recovering from what ever had bothered him the night before. Poor guy! But I so glad he was there. He came over and peeked at the baby but kept his distance because he didn't want to get us sick too.

I tried to nurse her right away like I did with Tali and Julia but she just was not interested in nursing. She cried very little and looked very small.  I think her face is shaped more like Tyler than Tony and the other girls which means she's going to look more like me than Mike in some ways.  I hoping she'll get Mike's green eyes. Tyler's the only one who got those, too.  Since she wasn't interested in nursing, I had them weigh and measure her and have the doctor do her checks so she could go to sleep before having to start her clinic day. When she was on the scale, I snapped this photo.

I have found myself often referring to these birth day photos when I have forgotten exactly how big the girls were when they were born.  However, this photo is a bit misleading.

We were surprised to see that she was 9 lb 9.4 oz.  Wow! That's bigger than we expected and bigger than she looks.  Mike couldn't see the scale when I took this picture and he heard 9 lb 4 oz, so that's what he posted on FB when he posted about her arrival.

When she came back, she nursed. Since it was very painful, I decided not to let her nurse for three hours like Julia because I had gotten very sore afterwards.  She and I were very sleepy and continued to struggle with nursing throughout the night.  She wouldn't wake up. When she nursed, it would hurt so I would only nurse for about 20 minutes and be done. Sometimes, more than 3 hours would pass between feedings, so imagine my concern when at 24 hours, they weighed her and discovered that she weighed only 8 lb 4 oz. Ack!  Could that be right?  How could she have lost over a pound in that short amount of the time.  The nurse was reassuring and said that maybe she was just peeing and pooping a lot. Hmmm. Maybe. But I was concerned. I tried to get her to nurse more frequently.  She was so tough to wake up.

They came and weighed her again. Still 8 lb 4 oz.  I began to wonder if her birth weight had been wrong. Maybe they hadn't tared the scale with the blanket before weighing her.

Usually we go home after 24 hrs, after they do the PKU check, but since that would be 3 am, we decided to wait until the following morning so our doctor would just come in before she started her clinic hours.  Since I had requested to not have the gigantic security tag attached to her leg, they were good about doing most of the testing and screening she needed done right in our room. It was interesting to see those things.

Anyway, I was waiting anxiously for the doctor to come and discharge us knowing Mike would be there soon and the girls were so excited to have us come home.  The nurse had said, "Your doctor might come before clinic hours, otherwise on her lunch hour." So I was nervous as it got closer to 8 am when I knew her clinic hours started.

Finally she came into the room. Yay!  She and the nurse had been playing detective. Trying to figure out what was going on with Eva's weight.  They also thought that perhaps the scale had not been set to zero with the pad and blanket before weighing Eva.  The weight of a blanket and pad were 9.4 oz.  They looked at the picture on our camera to see what exactly had been on the scale with her.  So, we don't really know exactly how much Eva weighed at birth. That seems to be such a significant part of announcing her birth.

We will go back early next week to have her weight checked again. We have been having some trouble with nursing. She is very sleepy and lazy and hasn't had a good latch. A lady from La Leche League came last night and helped me get her latched better. It's quite a process and I'm very sore. I dread having to nurse her.  My milk came in fine so I know she's getting plenty of milk though.

My mom just back from taking the kids to the park so my time is up but I wanted to hurry and get this recorded before my memory got too fuzzy.


andrea said...

Wow! I'm amazed you've had time to post already! *I'm* encouraged by reading through it - we, too, thought we had a baby coming two nights ago - had everything ready, gave a first call to our midwives, and ...then...petered out. And I've had maybe 8 contractions in the 48 hours since. I'm so glad Mike was better enough to come with you for the real thing! Matt's been sick, too, and finally today is feeling better. But five of the seven of us are getting over strep. Blah. ;)

Maybe reading a birth story will trigger my own labor tonight!

Davene Grace said...

It was so much fun to read this; thanks for posting it! :)

I'm so glad it worked out for you to not have Eva the first time you went to the hospital, so that Mike could be there when she was born. God's perfect timing! (Although frustrating in the moment, I'm sure...)

I had lots of trouble breastfeeding Josiah at first; and in fact, with all of my babies, I had pretty bad pain for the first weeks (months?). So my heart goes out to you, and I do hope Eva gets to be a great nurser very soon!

The Henrys said...

Congratulations and what a great surprise! I bet your girls are thrilled to add another to the mix:). Will was a sleepy baby at first too but once he woke up, all he wanted to do was nurse, lol! I hope it gets easier. Mallory had trouble latching too and it was painful so I used a shield and it was perfect. She eventually was able to nurse without one later but it was such a big help in the beginning.