Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Poppy Ballerina: a birth story

Let me preface this by saying that my birth plan was simple.  I was to be very medicated.  Extremely medicated was even better.  With my first baby, I was induced 5 days late and given my epidural at 2cm dialated.  I felt nothing when she was born.  That was my goal for baby 2's birth...

On November 1 at 2:40am, the contractions were so strong, they woke me up!  They were lasting about one minute and coming ten minutes apart, which was great, but I knew to wait until 5-1-1 (five minutes in between them, lasting one minute, after one hour of contractions) to go to the hospital.  Just when I was about to wake up Tyler, 80 minutes later, the contractions started getting further apart.  Twelve minutes, fifteen minutes, twenty minutes...until I was getting them about once every hour.  This continued for the next day, through the evening.  I was contracting through Alyssa/Grammum visits, getting Scarlett ready, and a trip to the playground.  It made for a very long and uncomfortable day.

That night, we did our normal bedtime routine with Scarlett, but as she slept beside me, I was timing my contractions.  When I think back to this, I'm happy because my contractions were a distraction to the fact that it was the last time I would put Scarlett to bed, just the two of us.  I had been dreading this night since February, but at that moment, I was thinking about getting to the hospital to get my epidural.  No time for me to be sentimental!

By 2:00am, my contractions were coming regularly, so I knew it was time to shave my legs, so I hopped into the shower!  After I was clean and ready to go, I called my mom to have her come stay with Scarjo.

A few minutes later, my mom arrived.  We chitchatted to the background noise of Nashville while Tyler got last minute things packed into the jeep.  Then we were off to the hospital...!

The roads were empty at that hour; it felt surreal that it was finally time to go.  I had envisioned that ride for the past few months, wondering when it would happen and what it would be like.

We pulled into our normal parking lot, parked, and walked the fairly long distance to the doors only to realize too late that they were locked!  (I will say that Tyler offered to drop me off and then park, but I insisted that I could walk.  I didn't want to be a drama queen about my contractions that were now coming every 3 minutes.  I was convinced that I was still in early labor.)  Our hospital closes up shop at 8pm.  After that, you must be buzzed in through the ER entrance.  (This was a different process than what we went through at our last hospital where Scarlett was born.)

When we got off the elevator on the 2nd floor, it was quiet and calm.  I felt a little silly because I was convinced that I was probably only two or three centimeters dilated.  With Scarlett, my labor was forever, so I was prepared to deliver the next night.  Maybe.

Well, we approached the nurses at the front desk, and I said, "I think I'm in labor."  They escorted us to the nearest room, #5, and gave me a cup.  When I was back from the bathroom, the nurse, Tina, told me to lay down and she hooked me up to monitors and took my blood pressure.  Being nervous and still contracting, I asked her if they were going to admit me.  She said, "Honestly, if you were really in labor, you wouldn't be able to talk.  You're smiling and chatting.  You're probably not in labor.  BUT, some people surprise us."  Then she went about her business getting things together around the room.

To say I was crushed would be an understatement.  I had been contracting irregularly since Halloween night and then regularly for a few hours.  I was over it.

Even though she doubted me, Tina had me take off one leg of my jeans to check me.  Much to her surprise, I was SEVEN CENTIMETERS dilated!  Woohoo!!!  Take that!  Well, that's what I thought in my head!  She was so shocked that she had the other nurse, Amanda, come a check to make sure she was right.

Once it was confirmed I was in active labor, they started the process of admitting me.  I was adamant about receiving an epidural, so they started fluids and contacted the anesthesiologist.  The whole thing was going on as I was just focusing through each contraction.  They were really great about stopping their questions and waiting silently for my contractions to end.  Though they also were starting to say things like, "You're doing really great, you could do it without an epidural." and "You're already 7cm, I'm not sure we'll be able to get you the epidural before you're ready to push."  I was not hearing any of it.  I wanted my drugs!

Things started happening really quickly at this point and are sort of jumbled in my memory.  This is how I remember the sequence of events...

My anesthesiologist arrived.  He was a very elderly gentlemen who had rolled out of bed to get to the hospital.  He seemed like it was just a walk in the park for him and was very nonchalant about everything.  My blood pressure dropped way too low, so Tina was pumping me full of something to bring it to normal levels.  There were three nurses and the delivery doctor (not my own or one who I had ever met before -- disappointing) all standing around my bed watching my machines.  Freaky!  But that wasn't the worst part.  After a while of my blood pressure fluctuating from normal to scary low, they decided to turn off my epidural.  I cried.  And then the contractions started coming and I was shaking all over.  Transition.  I cried some more.  Then everyone left except Tyler and the new nurse from the shift change at 7am.  This new nurse was a traveling nurse from down south with a beautiful accent, but not much knowledge about the hospital.  She was there one minute and replaced by yet a different nurse the next minute.  I was 9cm dilated and this strange nurse was telling me to push.  I found out later that they were hoping it would raise my blood pressure, but at the time, I was so frustrated and confused.  I just cried and half-heartedly pushed.  I remember I kept asking why I was pushing and asking them to turn on my epidural.  No one was there and the new nurse had no idea what was going on with me.  Finally, my original nurse came in with a new anesthesiologist who gave me a shot of something magic that made my contractions painless.

I stopped pushing.  My Southern nurse came back (she had had a migraine and needed meds) and the new anesthesiologist came and approved turning back on my epidural.  Then they checked me.  I was ten centimeters, but I had felt them checking me and started to panic.  Dr. Stein came in and reassured me that I was numb, I'd just feel pressure when the baby came out.  This was not very reassuring after she started talking about how she hadn't actually had children, but her friends had kids and they were pretty much her own.  Not. The. Same.

It was time for me to really push at 7:40am.  Everyone left but Tyler and my Southern nurse.  I pushed and pushed and pushed.  At about 8:30, Tyler informed me that Mary was in the waiting room and Scarlett was on her way with my mom.  That just made me want the whole ordeal to be over with.

One second, the nurse was telling Dr. Stein that it'd be a little while longer, then she walked to the machines to look at something.  I just kept pushing every time I felt like I had to, but didn't tell anyone.  (It was weird that I was laying alone on the bed with just Tyler...)  Then the nurse came over and saw the baby's head -- she called for the doctor!

It was go time; one push later and head was out!  As the shoulders came out, I stopped pushing, but everyone screamed to keep going.  That dang epidural was not working and I could feel everything!  But a few seconds later, the baby was out!

At the time, I was oblivious to this, but apparently the baby had had a bowel movement during delivery after her head was out.  They were concerned, so as soon as she was born, Poppy was rushed to the heater and four nurses worked on clearing her out and making sure she was okay.

Poppy was fine, but unfortunately, we missed out on those first few moments together.

Poppy Ballerina was born at 9:00 am on November 2, 2012.  She was 7lbs. 11oz. and 20 3/4" long.
No cutting the cord for Tyler -- he was fine with that as long as she was okay!
 Mary came in right after she was born!  Scarlett, Alyssa, and my mom came 20 minutes later.  That whole morning was spent just introducing Poppy to her cousins and skin-to-skin time with me.  Perfect!

Alyssa was fascinated with Poppy from the very beginning!

Poppy brought her big sister gifts!

Alyssa is a fan of baby Poppy!

Big cousin Lulu with Poppy! 

Happy, happy, happiness!!!  I'll save the Negative Nelly things about the hospital and nurses for a different post...!


  1. I love a good brith story and you didn't miss anything! I need to write up Connor's!

    And you've been given a Liebster Award Nomination - check out my blog!

    1. I love birth stories, too! And the best part is that you can go back and remember everything when you write your own -- you totally should!!!

      YAY! Thank you -- I'm excited to get to my questions!!!