Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Charli’s Birth Story

Here’s my birth story caveat:
***Fair Warning - This is long and may contain some details you think fall in the too much information category. Also, forgive me if you find any typos or if things just don't really flow or make sense...I'm tired.***
Tuesday, the 16th, I went in for my 41 week check-up. Yes, 41 weeks, which would make this my third pregnancy to go past my due date. If you’ve never gone post-due, you may not know what your mind can do to you. You, or at least, I, actually start to doubt if labor will ever begin. Of course, the logical portion of my brain knows the baby will come out…it’s just the whole wondering if labor will actually ever start or if my body will have to be jolted into it with pitocin. That’s the worst part about going past your due date, if you ask me. So, at my appointment, I had a non-stress test, an ultrasound, then met with my doctor. During this ultrasound, they estimated Charli’s weight at 7 lbs., 6 oz. (Dr. Edwards estimated 7 1/2 – 8 lbs.) and that’s the closest they’ve ever been on a weight estimate! Way to go u/s tech, computers, and Dr. Edwards!
Moving on…

Throughout this pregnancy, I thought Charli would come early. Again, I let myself fall into the ridiculous thinking that, in this case, it’s my fourth child, surely my body doesn’t wanna hang on so long this time. I also felt like I nested a lot more than I did with the boys, and earlier. So, for whatever reason, I let myself think she was coming early. Obviously, she did not.

Knowing I was going to the doctor and that he would, most likely, sweep my membranes (which put me into labor with Sam and Bo), I figured the chances of me going into labor that night were pretty high. I went ahead and asked my parents to spend the night just in case…to avoid having to decide whether or not to have them come over, what time to come over, a late night call, etc. They happily obliged and I’m so glad they did. Having childcare in place made the logistics of laboring at home and leaving to go to the hospital so much easier!
 Over the previous weekend, I had some random and sporadic contractions. As in, I’d have 4 in an hour and then they’d stop, each night I’d have one or two that woke me up, and throughout the day, I’d have a few here and there. The closest I’ve ever had to prodromal labor, if you want to call it that, was a couple hours of consistent contractions about a couple weeks before Bo was born. Needless to say, having contractions like that is really frustrating. They’re not very painful, uncomfortable and different than Braxton Hicks but not very painful. The irritating part is that you get your hopes up that you’re actually going into labor…and then they stop. Then you wake up at night and think, “oh! is this it?!” and then nothing. Not my idea of fun.
The only good thing about those random and sporadic contractions was that they were dilating me, just a leeeetle bit, but they were working nonetheless. I was 2 1/2-3 cm at my appointment Tuesday and had been about 2 cm the Thursday before. My thoughts always go to, that’s great, I’ve got 7 to go during labor and then we can get this kid out!
 After my appointment, we headed home and tried to go about business as usual all the while, keeping in mind that labor could start at any minute. Gotta love planning for something that may or may not happen. Anyway, I think we got home around noon and I told myself if nothing was happening by 2 or so, I was just gonna go about the rest of the evening like it wasn’t going to happen.
I laid down around 3:00 to try and take a nap but woke up shortly after that to some very light contractions which continued for about an hour and half but stayed about 13-15 minutes apart and were only lasting 40 seconds or so. I reminded myself that was a far cry from where I needed to be and those contractions probably weren’t even making much of a difference (trying not to get my hopes up). I texted Melissa, my sweet friend who volunteered to doula for us, to let her know what was going on. It was so reassuring to have someone more knowledgeable than myself, who has been to quite a few more births. She was such a great encourager, even through the weeks leading up to labor. Every time I’d update her on my doctor’s appointments, she only had encouraging things to say. This is priceless, people. You have enough people, unknowingly, giving discouraging comments. I really, really appreciated knowing that she knew how I was feeling, being able to laugh with her, and have her celebrate even the smallest move my body would make towards labor. Thanks again, Melissa!!
So the contractions stayed about like that until around 8 p.m. Now, I did have a few that were much closer together and a little longer, and then I’d have one that was about 20 minutes later. Contractions are so weird. It’d be helpful if, once they started they would continue, and if they would just stay consistent! Between about 8 and 9, the contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes. Bob, my parents, and I were all sitting in the living room quasi-watching the Presidential debate. I say quasi because I could feel all eyes on me…especially when they could tell I was having a contraction. Nothing like being observed while you’re in labor. This was a bit of a theme that continued through the entirety of this labor. I remember telling them I was feeling ok, I just didn’t know that I’d know when we needed to go to the hospital. All along, I thought we'd probably need to head on to the hospital once the contractions were consistently about 5 minutes apart. However, once that happened, they didn’t seem long enough or strong enough to me to warrant making the 35-40 minute trip to the hospital. I really did not want to get to the hospital too early. What’s too early you ask? I don’t know…some arbitrary timeframe I apparently had in my head. Anyway, I texted Melissa that too, about not knowing when to go and she reminded me we didn’t want any roadside babies. True, we did NOT want any roadside babies.
Around 9:15, I had a 2 minute long contraction. You can imagine, going from a 45 second ctx to a 2 minute long one got my attention. As soon as that ended, I announced that I thought we should probably head on out. Honestly, I felt a little frantic after that, thinking, “oh crap, I waited too long! I’m in trouble…Bob’s gonna be ticked if this kid comes in the car.” Ha. Thankfully, the kid did not come in the car. I let Melissa know we were headed to the hospital and she headed on over too. She lives much closer than we do so she arrived before us and had already made sure we had a room waiting. Such service!
To say the ride to the hospital, in Bob’s 4Runner, was uncomfortable is a little bit of an understatement. That was one bumpy truck ride, which normally, I appreciate. I was practically hanging from the grab handle to keep from sitting all the way on the seat. Bob kept apologizing after every bump…and so go our drives to the hospital (it’s been the same way every time). You’re sweet, babe…I love you!
We got to the hospital a little after 10 p.m. and went straight to our room. It always frustrates me that they make you sign in, then ask 10,000 questions to check you in.  Yes, I know it’s necessary, but when you’re in labor, that’s the last thing you want to be bothered with. Anyway, we got to the room, I changed and got strapped up to some monitors to check on Charli and hung out in the bed for a bit. The nurse checked me and told us I was a 4 1/2 – 5 cm. I was going to be disappointed if I wasn’t at least a 5 so I just went with it…knowing things would pick up soon. The monitors showed Charli’s heart rate was a little bit low so they ended up giving me some IV fluids which totally took care of that issue. I don’t know if I just need more water than the normal person or what, but I drink SO.MUCH. water when I’m that far along in a pregnancy and this is the second time the nurses have asked, “have you been drinking?!” Each time, I think they mean alcohol. Nice, right? So the only downside to the IV fluids is that they make your hands and feet swell up like monsters after delivery and then it takes a week or two for that to completely subside. Who doesn’t want to deal with the discomfort of swelling along with all the other discomforts of being postpartum? Me! I don’t want to!
Here I am…drinking. Take that, IV fluids. Thank you, Melissa, for keeping me well supplied with water, Gatorade, and that awesome hospital ice!
I stayed in the bed for a while, laying on my side, while I got the fluids and waited for Charli's HR to start behaving. After we got the all clear on that, they took off the monitors and I went to the bathroom before we planned to go walk out in the hall. It had been about an hour since we got there. Melissa suggested the nurse check me one more time before we left the room and surprise, surprise, I was 8 cm. Again with the fast dilation (it happened that way with Bo too). The nurse called my doctor, sweet Dr. Edwards, who had agreed to come in that night, even though he was on call the next day. He lives close by and got there pretty quickly.
During the next 20 minutes or so, I tried to find a comfortable position outside of the bed. I tried standing, leaning over the back of the bed, and ended up sitting on the bed and leaning on the birth ball, just like I did with Bo. In those 20 minutes, I got to 9.5 and my water still hadn’t broken. I think having my water intact that whole time really made the contractions more mild than I was expecting them to be. At one point, I was sitting on the bed, leaning against the ball, noticing that everyone was just sitting around watching me, oh and I had a spotlight on me. Remember? Earlier at home, during the debate, I was being observed there too.
I kept thinking, what are we doing here? Why aren’t these contractions longer? Why am I not freaking out? What’s the hold-up? I’m at 9.5. This baby is gonna be here in minutes! Well no, she was NOT coming in minutes. It was the weirdest transition I’ve experienced because I really couldn’t tell any difference in any of the contractions I had at the hospital. Anyway, around 11:30, everyone seemed to agree that Charli would be born before midnight. Midnight came and went and there was some discussion about breaking my water. Really, I just wanted someone to tell me that’s what was gonna happen, it was time, and they were going to do it. Instead, everyone was just sitting around asking me if I wanted it done…and then sitting around...and watching me. It was the strangest thing. Let me say now, now that I’m not sitting at 9.5, I completely appreciate that so much of this labor and decisions like when to have my water broken, if at all, were left up to me and my birth plan was followed exactly as I requested.
After expressing some concern that breaking my water would increase the intensity and pain of the contractions, something along the lines of, “I don’t want you to break my water and then I have crazy contractions for 45 minutes,”…Dr. Edwards reassured me that if I was at a 4 and he broke my water, then yes, they’d get a lot more painful, but since I was so close, he really thought they wouldn’t change much and she’d be out in minutes.
That seemed to make sense so I agreed. Oncethat decision was made, they leaned me back flat on my back. This did not a happy Greta make. By far, being flat on my back was the most uncomfortable I was during the whole thing. Apparently Charli’s head was so low there wasn’t even much fluid so Dr. E had a little bit of a hard time breaking my water. Actually, she ended up with a couple scratches on her head from the amnio-hook because of that. So sad.
Dr. E was right about the intensity of the contractions not really changing. However, she still wasn’t out in minutes. He could tell that she was transverse, meaning she was laying on her side. This is not an ideal position for a baby to be in when you’re trying to get them out. The ideal position is for them to be facing down. So, my awesome nurse suggested turning me on my right side for a few minutes and then flipping to the other side. She said that usually helps a transverse baby go on and flip. Yay, more laying on my back. Bleh. They leaned me back again, and basically rolled me over like a beached whale, all while I’m telling them forcefully, “I don’t like this! I don’t wanna do this! This does.not.feel.good!” (because apparently in my mind, labor is supposed to feel good???)
Rockstar husband.
I got “comfortable”, gripping the bed rail for dear life and started feeling some pressure so I let myself bear down a little. Keep in mind, I hadn’t gotten the all-clear to push but it felt so much better to just bear down a little. Dr. Edwards came over to tell me he was going around the corner to take a catnap since he was on call the next day. I thought he was joking. Nope.
After they flipped me to my other side, I got my grip on THAT bed rail, and I started pushing a little. No one told me to stop, so I just went with it. As I realized I was “allowed” to push at this point, I started pushing like crazy. At one point, I felt something pop out and back in. It felt like Charli started to crown and then slid back in. I mentioned that to the nurse and I guess that clued her in to the fact that she needed to get Dr. Edwards back in the room if he was going to be there for this birth.
While we were waiting for Dr. E, I started to feel the infamous ring-of-fire and everyone’s telling me, “don’t push, don’t push! He needs to hurry if he’s gonna be here to catch this baby!” And I’m thinking, “omg, why is this crazy nurse holding her hand over where this baby is coming out!” and “owwww, this is terrible having to wait!” Dr. E got back in the room, they flipped me over and I’m pretty sure Charli’s head came out as they were flipping me. Ahhh, after that, it’s smooth sailing. That little girl came out, with the cord around her neck, which makes 3 out of the 4 coming out with nuchal cords. Is this that common?! Dr. E confirmed that she is a girl and promptly placed her on my chest. Nothing compares to that feeling of relief and awe that a tiny person just came out of you. A baby is inside you, and then they’re not…they’re laying on your chest, looking up at you and they’re all warm and soft and rubbery feeling. Nothing compares to it.
As promised, Bob cut the cord, even though it took a little encouragement. He said he couldn’t not do it after watching what I just did. Fair enough. (Rachel, this picture is for you.)
It was pretty sweet getting to hand that man a daughter.
So great to have a wonderful doctor and sweet friend in there, facilitating this birth!
I got to hold Charli for a long time and nurse her before they took her to weigh her and bathe her. She was 7 lbs. 11 oz., 19 3/4 inches long and arrived at 12:42 a.m., October 17th.
To sum it all up:
41 weeks pregnant
About 9 hours of labor
About 2 1/2 hours at the hospital
No meds
We are all thrilled that she’s here. The boys love her and are so sweet with her. Bob is so cute with her. How can a man be whipped by a baby immediately? I don’t know, but he is.
Family of Six
Healthy, family of six. Wow. We are so thankful!


Lindsey Bridges said...

Thanks for sharing Greta! Can't wait to meet her!

Anonymous said...

four and finally your GIRL!! :) praise God for His incredible blessings! so glad everything went smoothly for you! i've had that issue of my water not breaking until the very end w/pushing too... (but i still thought the contractions were insane! even w/the "cushin":) enjoy this sweet, sweet newborn time!! -amanda

Karen said...

Absolutely beautiful story, beautiful family, such a blessing!

Allison said...

You have a beautiful family! Congratulations:)

Julianne said...

YAY!! Great story :) And, I wanted to kick the nurse that told me not to push yet bc the doctor wasn't in the room! You showed such grace :) Congrats on a healthy baby girl.

Lauren said...

So sweet! I cried, what a beautiful story. And that picture of y'all that you captioned "rockstar husband" is so precious. Congratulations and praise the Lord for you!

jessica said...

Loved reading your story. You are my hero! And every time I read one of your birth stories I consider natural child birth...for a second. =) Maybe next time. Love you and miss you, my friend! Hope to meet sweet Charli girl soon!

Kaity said...

I JUST found your blog and I'm so pumped that the first post I got to read was your birth story!!! Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby girl! :)

Heather said...

Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)