Monday, February 17, 2014

And then there were 3...

I've been excited about making a birth story post ever since we knew there was going to be a birth.  And I've been imagining the birth of the little thing for that long as well.  Now that the story has come and gone, it wasn't anything like what I was hoping to write or how I expected it to unfold.  But I'll give away the ending...when he came out and they put him on my chest...I didn't care one bit that it wasn't the picture perfect birth story that I had been envisioning for months, if not years.  But let me get back to the beginning :)

Over the weekend Tanner started feeling sick.  He stayed home from church Sunday and also took the day off of work Monday - hoping to get feeling better asap...seeing there was the possibility of a kid at any given moment.  Monday was my due date - the 10th of February.  We had a lazy morning and then in the afternoon I went for a decent walk with Rozzi to get her some exercise and maybe get things moving for myself.  I had been having more crampy  but still sporadic contractions for a few days.  Monday they seemed a tiny bit worse but still nothing that made me feel like labor was impending (like I knew, anyway).  I hadn't really been planning much by way of dinners.  Didn't know when baby was coming and I just didn't want to be thinking about that.  So each day was kind of throw something together.  Tanner requested some chicken noodle soup for his poor sick self Monday so I went to the store to get the goods.  I've never made that before - and it turned out pretty good.  I'm a food picture lover and since it's part of the day - you'll get a pic of the soup too.

Sometime soon after that I was standing in the kitchen and felt a little trickle and wondered if perhaps that was my "water" breaking.  I mentioned something to Tanner and then went on with whatever business was going on.  A little later there was a bit more than a trickle and by then I was basically 100% sure that my water had officially "broken".  So started a frenzy of emotions. What do we do!? Is this for real happening?! Ahhhhhh!  I texted my doula and told her what I thought was going on.  She recommended we just make sure everything was ready and try to rest and stay home as long as possible.  So we finished getting all our bags packed and thrown in the truck, Tanner and our friend Steven gave me a blessing, and then we sat down to some Olympics.  Each contraction I was losing more and more fluid and was having a really hard time resting.  Just super anxious about everything.  I'll have you know that it was my hope and dream and desire to do this whole delivery thing naturally.  Hence the doula.  I had wanted to labor at home as long as possible, show up at the hospital dilated to a 6-7 and suffer through the end of it there and then have a baby.  Bam.  Easy as that, right?  Well, my doctor had told me to come in if my water broke.  She also had told me that if she was around that she would take care of me even if she wasn't on call.  So I was having an internal battle of if I should call or not.  I ultimately decided to call because I didn't want to miss out on the chance of her being there because I waited till 3am to let her know.  So I called and she said to come in - to check for prolapsed cord and keep an eye on the baby and make sure he was doing fine without all the fluid, etc etc.  So we slowly got more together and then headed to the hospital.  I think my first evidence of breakage was around 6pm.  We got to the hospital at about 9pm.  About that time contractions did feel like they were getting more evenly spaced and more intense. 

When we got there they got me in the bed and started doing all their stuff.  I was only dilated to 3cm.  That felt highly disappointing to me.  My water wasn't supposed to break and I wasn't supposed to be in the hospital only dilated to a THREE!!!  Ugh. So it began.
 Still was all very exciting though.  We were in high spirits and just excited with the prospects of holding a baby in the very near future.  They left me alone soon after everything was done.  I just had a saline lock for the IV and was getting up and moving around as much as I could.  Around midnight my contractions were getting way worse so I texted Kim (my doula) and had her come in.  So she did and we labored away for another 3 hrs or so.  It sucked.  I was exhausted and it hurt a lot.  I bounced on a ball.  We walked the halls.  She pushed on my hips.  I laid in the bed and dozed for a few minutes here and there between contractions.  I have to admit during that time I was starting to internally doubt myself, my ability, and my resolve for the whole natural thing.  I didn't let on to this yet. Because Tanner was sick and Kim was there he tried to get as much rest as he could.
The nurse came in again around 3 and said it had been 5 hrs since she checked me so she was going to do it again.  I was a 4-5.  Dang it.  Five hours of insanity and I'd maybe gone a centimeter and a half.  Thinking back on them, I wonder if the contractions were really that bad or if I am just a huge wuss.  It's hard to say now but I wasn't loving life at that time.  We decided to walk some more and carry on with everything.  The contractions seemed to be getting worse but never much closer together.  Staying 3-5 minutes apart and lasting about a minute...give or take a bit.  It was hard to imagine them coming closer and being worse.  So another 2 hours went by and I was dying.  And I told her I didn't know about this.  But was having MAJOR internal battles with myself.  I didn't want to be a quitter.  I wanted SO bad to do it naturally.  To be successful.  To be able to say I did it.  To experience it differently.  But it was so hard.  And I felt stupid for being so gung ho "I'm doing it natural" and then potentially not.  So after two hours I asked to be checked again to see where we were at.  EXACTLY the same.  Not a change.  That defeated me.  I know in all the books and things I read you can hold steady at a certain dilation and then shoot up pretty fast.  But at that point I realized I was done, mentally and physically.  I didn't want to feel anymore.  So I woke up Tanner and told him what I was thinking.  He just said to do whatever I wanted and no one was going to think less of me, especially him.  So as much as I was thinking less of myself, I called in the troops.  Change of plans.  So I got the epidural around 6am.  It only was working on the right side for the longest time.  He had to adjust it a few times and have me lay on my left side for a bit to see if it would soak all the appropriate nerves.  Eventually it did work, which I was grateful for because otherwise he was going to have to take it out and do it all over again.   Not the end of the world, but I just would have rather only had no epidural - definitely not two!

After that Tanner went home to get a shower and let the dogs out.  Kim stayed a little longer but I ultimately told her she should go home because it was stupid to stay when I was tied to a bed and feeling just dandy and not needing help through any contractions anymore.  My spirits did perk up a bit because I didn't have to feel the pain or have the mental pain of anticipating the pain.  She left around 7:30.  I slept for a few hours which was glorious.  They came and checked me again around 10am and I really hadn't gone much more.  Maybe 6cm if I remember right.  So they started pitocin.  Things still seemed to move SO slowly! And in the midst of it all, the nurse kept coming in saying the baby's heartbeat was dropping during the contractions.  So they moved me on my side.  They stopped the pitocin.  They put me on oxygen.  And they kept coming in.  That's when I lost it.  I just started bawling as much to myself as I possibly could.  I was worried so much about the baby.  I was expecting the doc to come in at any moment saying we had to do a c-section.  And then I was just so incredibly sad that it was going the way it was.  Nothing was going the way I had so badly wanted and I hate to admit that I felt spiritually abandoned.  It was an extremely low point for sure.  Probably going off some lack of sleep and other heightened hormones, etc as well, but it was hard.  And I freaked Tanner out too, with all my stress.  It felt like everything was going SO slow and Harvey never was going to get here and I had all these fears that he wouldn't make it at all.  Honestly it was awful.  But then they said he was doing fine.  And oxygen came off and pitocin came back on.  And slowly I went from a 7 to an 8 to a 9 and then a 10.  Complete.  Hallelujah.  The nurse kept asking if I had any pressure down low and I kept saying that I couldn't feel a blasted thing.  So she said the doc told her to let me stay at a 10 for an hour and then see if I felt the urge to push.  I did start to feel a little pressure around 1:30, which was about an hour after I was fully dilated.  She came back in and felt while I tried to push a little when I thought I was having a contraction.  I really couldn't tell that much and she wasn't really guiding me that much either so I just felt like we were doing some practice rounds or whatever. Then the med student came in (who I had already told it was totally fine if she were there and performed the delivery - I had worked with her in the ER before so it was all good).  Then they started pulling in the baby carts and everything.  It hit me so strangely that it was happening.  Like now.  Like I said, everything had felt like it was so long that it still felt like it would be a week before he was born.  It was such a weird feeling.  But them bringing everything in was like, oh...if they think he's coming soon, he must be!  And that was crazy to me. 

So about quarter to two, Courtney (med student) sat on the bed and felt while I pushed.  She was much more proactive about telling me when and how to push.  Dr. Tong came in soon after that as well and then they were lifting my legs up and making me push super hard for 10 seconds about 3-4 times during a contraction.  We missed a couple contractions in there as well.  Dr. Tong had initially told me that I'd probably push for a couple hours - being my first baby and with the epidural etc.  So I was still thinking that it would be a long time.  I asked Courtney if she could tell from what she felt about how long it would be.  And she said he'd probably be out in like 30 minutes.  That shocked me.  We pushed hard through maybe 2-3 more contractions and then they asked if I wanted to see his head.  What?!  His head was already down? So they showed me via the mirror and I got to feel his head.  So crazy.  The next contraction he was out - born at 2:10pm on February 11th.  They pulled him out and his cord was wrapped around his neck twice and Dr. Tong let out some surprise that he had done so good with the cord like that.  Then they put him right on my chest and started drying him off.  I looked at him and looked at Tanner and then the tears of a joy I've never experienced came.  Incredible.  He was here.  And he was perfect.  The pushing going as well and quick as it did was a tender mercy that I had been praying for for the last few hours.  I needed that.  And honestly, after he was sitting on my chest, all fear and doubt and sadness and embarrassment melted away and I knew I was never spiritually abandoned - probably had much more support and watchful care than I'll ever even know.

They weighed and measured him: 7lbs 1oz (much smaller than I was expecting for some reason) and 20.5 inches long.  They gave him back to me to try to see if he would latch on and he did without even a morsel of hesitation.  It was awesome.  (He's been a perfect eater since then, actually - so grateful for that!).  Then bath time.  Loved it. 
 This is one happy and proud daddy!

 After my epidural wore off we got to go to our overnight room.  Tanner headed home that night to try and get a good nights sleep so he could actually maybe get better.  Emily Merkley visited that evening.

The night wasn't too terrible.  They took him for a couple hours to take pictures and do a hearing test.  He failed his right ear (both times they did it in the hospital so we have to go see an audiologist in a month.  Apparently that isn't uncommon at all that they fail, but I still have anxiety over it).
They did his circumcision in the morning.  So sad.  Tanner came in the morning for a few hours before he had to go to a mandatory work meeting.  While he was gone we had a couple other visitors but I'm dumb and forgot to take pictures.  Larissa and Nikki and Colin came to say hi and bring treats.  So nice! 
Tanner showed up with my mom after that.  She flew in right after Tanner's meeting so that worked out nicely.  Then we waited a few hours till we were ready for discharge at about 4pm on Wednesday.  And here's a lot more pics from the hospital.

So even though it didn't turn out like I had planned and prepared for, I could not be happier with the result.  It's hard to put the emotions into words of what I'm feeling when I think about him and about being his mom and being a parent with Tanner.  It's awesome.  We can leave it at that and I'll just know that you other parents out there know what I mean.  Or I know what you mean now :)  We love you, Harvey! Welcome to the world!


  1. Oh, I absolutely love birth stories and they are even better when it's someone you know! The part about the feeling of joy made me cry. Harvey is lucky to have such awesome parents!

  2. Oh how I love birth stories!! It takes me right back to the day Hadley was born. Harvey is just perfect, and I can't wait to meet him. You are a ROCKSTAR no matter how it went down. There is nothing easy about pushing a baby out any way you look at it! Love you guys!!

  3. I loved your story. You are such an awesome mom! I love that you did what was best for you and your baby even though it went against your plan... That shows what an awesome mom you are! Congrats to you guys! Harvey is adorable and so cute! So glad he is here and you guys are well!!

  4. I concur with all the previous comments: ROCKSTAR no matter what…….AWESOME parents……LUCKY all around……….LOVE the story and LOVE you guys!!!