Thursday, October 29, 2009

Our Birth Story

So I realized that I am already forgetting some of the details of the labor and delivery. I need to write it out before I forget anymore. Here is our birth story, as best as Daniel and I can remember:

Our doctor told us that he would be out of town from Oct. 1-4. We prayed that Alexis wouldn't come until after he came back. Saturday, Oct. 3, I had a few painful contractions, but thankfully they quickly stopped. On Oct. 4, we breathed a sigh of relief and told Alexis that she could come anytime now. That night while we were watching Amazing Race (between 9pm and 10pm), I started having painful contractions, about 10-15 min apart. We got excited and wondered if this was real labor. We went to bed and tried to sleep. Daniel fell asleep and I didn't wake him up. If this was real labor, I wanted him to get as much rest as possible so he could coach me when I needed him to. I tried to sleep in between contractions, but I couldn't. They were painful and I had to go to the bathroom often. Daniel woke up during some of my contractions and rubbed my back and reminded me to relax. I don't know how far apart these contractions were, I wasn't paying attention to the clock, but I would guess 6-10 min apart. Daniel's work alarm went off at 6am. He woke up and started timing my contractions, which were 5-6min apart consistently. Daniel decided he was definitely not going to work that day. My contractions became closer. Daniel started calling certain people to give them a heads up that we were in labor. While on the phone with Trisha, my water broke while I was laying in bed at 7:30am. It freaked me out and we got both nervous and excited. After my water broke, my contractions were stronger and much closer together. Daniel suggested I take a shower, during which he kept timing my contractions using a stopwatch. From 8:30-9:30am, my contractions were 3 min apart, a minute long. We previously talked about going to the hospital when we got to 3-1-1, which means contractions are 3 min apart, 1 min long, for about an hour. So we decided it was time to go to the hospital. We packed some last minute items, threw our sheets in the washer, and got ready to go. Although I wasn't hungry, I ate some apple slices. Then we left our home for the last time as a family of two and started driving to Pasadena.
We arrived at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena at 10:30am. We left the car with valet parking, and checked in at labor/delivery. They took me to the triage area to assess my situation and whether I should be admitted. They checked my vitals and at around 11am, they checked me and I was 3-4 cm dilated. We got really excited and thought things were moving along quickly. Daniel said, "Sweet, gonna watch Monday Night Football with my girls." They called my doctor and he told them to go ahead and admit me. My parents arrived while they were preparing my LDR (labor-delivery-recovery room). They took us to LDR suite 4. The rooms at this hospital are beautiful. During contractions, we walked around. Sometimes in the hallway and sometimes in our room. I preferred to walk around my room, because it felt weird to walk around in the hall where people could stare. When I walked, my contractions were stronger and closer together. My doctor was at the hospital attending another birth and stopped by to see me. He said that there were no time limits, which was encouraging since my water had already broken. He encouraged me to walk a lot. He also told me that since my water broke, I would have very few vaginal exams, which was fine with me. The nurse checked my vitals every so often and I got a blood test. They also monitored the baby intermittently using the external monitor. Everything looked good, and Alexis would kick the monitor on my belly. I had to pee often, after every few contractions. I was allowed to have visitors during labor. My brother Mike came and stayed with us for a little while. Then they wanted to put in a heparin lock for an IV. I did not want an IV, but I was going to compromise and get a hep lock in case of emergency. However, I have very small veins and they had a hard time putting it in. The nurse went through my vein and my hand got swollen. She said she didn't feel comfortable trying again, so they called the anesthesiologist. They said he was an expert and is always able to get it in. He attempted on my inner arm. I told him that spot was ok, as long as I didn't get one in the inside of my elbow. They said they never do that anyway. He tried to put the needle in, which hurt so bad. He couldn't find the vein either. I was left with an ugly bruise on my arm. So then, he said he had to put the hep lock in the inside of my elbow. Then I panicked and told them that I absolutely didn't want it there. Daniel stood up for me, and reminded them that they said they never put the IV there. The anesthesiologist started preparing the spot anyway and even asked the nurse to get a local anesthetic to give me before he attempted. I told him that I didn't want the local anesthetic and that I wanted to talk to my doctor. Daniel told him to put the needle down. The anesthesiologist told us we had to make up our minds because he was needed in the OR. We told him to leave. The nurse called my doctor and handed the phone to Daniel. Daniel told him that we didn't want to have a hep lock and that we would agree to try again if there were any complications or signs of distress. Our doctor agreed since baby and I were doing fine. The nurse was getting on my nerves because she kept touching me during contractions. At one point I knocked her hand away because she wouldn't listen to me when I told her not to touch me during contractions. She also kept bothering us and kept asking me stupid questions about my level of pain. Then Trisha, her son Daniel, and her mom came to the hospital. They stayed in our room for awhile. At that point, my contractions were extremely painful and it was getting harder for me to relax. Then they asked the visitors to leave the room so they could check me. Daniel and I were excited to see how far along I was. The nurse said I was 4cm dilated. I couldn't believe it. I was sooooo disappointed, even though I knew it didn't mean much. After all those contractions, no progress. Daniel kept encouraging me. My mom and Daniel suggested that I take a shower. So I took a shower. It didn't help with the pain, but I felt a little refreshed. Thankfully, during my shower, the shift change came and I got a new nurse. Thank God, she was the most amazing nurse ever. Her name was Amy, and she was so helpful and nice. She explained everything to us and was very considerate of our birth plan. Anita also came to the hospital during that time. I then labored for awhile on the birthing ball, which was the best position for me. On the ball, I lost more amniotic fluid with each contraction, which meant the baby was getting lower. I didn't realize how messy labor could be. Luckily my mom found where all the supplies were located and was able to constantly give me fresh towels and sheets. My doctor visited me again and told me that there were still no time limits, and that he was going home to sleep. He told us that his house is only 10 min away from the hospital. Amy checked me at 11:30pm and I was 6-7 cm dilated. I was glad I made some progress, but we realized we could be in labor for several more hours. So we told all the visitors that it would be best if they went home and came again after the baby was born. Anita didn't want to leave, but we convinced her it would be best since she had school the next day. My dad also went home. He had moved to the waiting room because he couldn't handle seeing me in pain. My mom told him to go home, so she could concentrate on me and not have to worry about him. It was sad to say goodbye to everyone, but I knew it was the best option.

I continued to labor on the birthing ball and the contractions were constantly getting stronger and longer. I was in so much pain and I was doubting myself. I kept telling Daniel that I couldn't do it. I kept praying that it would be over soon and that the baby would come. At 1:20am, I was 8 cm dilated, and my cervix was still in the way. I was so tired because I hadn't slept the night before. The pain was almost unbearable. Every contraction, I needed my mom and Daniel to hold onto to. I would grab both of them and they would tell me when the worst part of my contraction was over. I didn't like the monitor being on my belly, but it helped me when they were able to tell me when a contraction was coming on and when it was ending. Although sometimes, it wasn't always accurate. Amy encouraged me to try laboring on my side so that my cervix would move out of the way. At 3:15am, I was 9cm dilated, but my cervix was still in the way on one side. Unfortunately, that's when I got the urge to push. Amy said I couldn't push because I could tear my cervix. She told me to lay on my other side. It was the worst pain. Every part of my body was telling me to push, and I couldn't. It made my contractions unbearable. The contractions were so close together at this point, that there was hardly any rest in between them. Thank God for Daniel, my mom, and Amy. They kept encouraging me. At 4:20am, Amy checked me and said I could start pushing. Yay! Once I was able to start pushing, I felt so much better and had energy. I was determined and focused. I was even able to joke around with the nurse. Pushing alleviated the pain of the contractions and I actually felt I was making progress. I pushed in a semi-squatting position on the hospital bed. Daniel and my mom dozed off in between my contractions, but woke up to hold me during contractions. I surprisingly didn't feel as sleepy. I kept losing a lot of amniotic fluid. I kept pushing. Amy showed Daniel the head at 5:10am. About 6am, Amy told me I had to get the baby out before the shift change, because she wanted to see my baby. I told her we still had time. She said that shift change was in an hour. I couldn't believe I had been pushing for almost 2 hrs. I had lost all sense of time. My doctor had arrived and waited in the doctor's lounge, to our surprise. Amy told us that the nurses do all the work, and the doctor comes in at the end and delivers the baby. I kept pushing and then Amy called the doctor in. With each push, I closed my eyes to concentrate. I knew the baby was crowning because I could hear my mom and Daniel . They got so excited when they saw the head. The doctor told me I could touch my baby's head. It was so surreal to be able to touch Alexis and feel the hair on her head. A few pushes later and I heard them say, "The baby is out!" I still had my eyes closed and didn't believe them when they said that. Then I opened my eyes and I see Alexis held out in front of me, with her eyes wide open. It was amazing! I felt so relieved that it was over and the baby was in my arms! She was born at 6:44am. She was 7lbs, 8oz. and 21.5 inches long.
Daniel then cut the cord. They then had to take the baby away from me because she had some mucous and fluids in her lungs. While they were checking on the baby, with Daniel keeping an eye on her, my placenta came out. I didn't push or anything. I really think the doctor pulled it out, which was fine with me because I didn't want to do any more work. He asked me if I wanted to see it. I said sure and he showed it to me. It was small, compared to what Daniel and I had seen in all the birth videos during Bradley class. I had minor tearing, so the doctor stitched me up. I did have a local anesthetic for the repairs, but that was the only pain medication I had the whole time. I was glad I was distracted with that and didn't see what they were doing to Alexis. They had to stick a tube down her throat to get the junk out and put an oxygen mask on her. Daniel assured me that she was fine, but he had tears in his eyes watching them work on Alexis. Soon, I was able to hold Alexis again. We took pictures with the doctor and nurse and each other. We couldn't believe how alert and beautiful Alexis was! Her eyes were open the whole time. Thank God for a beautiful baby! They said that they wanted to take Alexis to the nursery because her oxygen levels were lower than they should be. We asked if it was necessary and they said it was. The pediatrician told Daniel over the phone that she should go to the nursery and that Daniel could stay with her the whole time. They got me ready to go to the maternity ward. I kissed Alexis and Daniel goodbye, and they wheeled me to maternity, while they went to the nursery. I was so sad that I couldn't be with them, but I wanted Alexis to be ok. Once in my maternity room, my mom and I took naps. When I woke up, Daniel and Alexis were in the room, to my delight! Apparently, they didn't let Daniel in the nursery like the doctor had said. So he waited and kept asking them when Alexis could come to our room. Finally, her oxygen levels were good and they said she could room-in with us. During our stay at the hospital, Daniel and Alexis both stayed in the room with me. I was so happy. Our family had gone from 2 to 3 after over 30 hours of hard labor. We were so happy. Thanks to our Bradley classes and instructor, Pauline, we had the natural, drug-free birth we hoped for. I couldn't have done it without those classes, Daniel (my amazing coach), my mom, and nurse Amy. Everyone at the hospital was impressed with our birth, and how alert our baby was. They said they couldn't remember a birth where the mother didn't even get a heparin lock. The funny thing is that the nurses in maternity kept asking me if I wanted pain medication for my postpartum recovery. I kept telling them that I went through 30 hours of labor with no drugs, and that this pain was nothing compared to that. It was worth it to get such a wonderful baby!!!

Us with Dr. Grady
Us with Amy, our awesome nurse
Our beautiful and alert baby!
Me and mom
Our First Family Photo


  1. I finally had time to read your birth story. It is a shame that more women dont have the patience and strength to do what you did for your baby. I am so glad that everything went well for you in a hospital. What an accomplishment!

  2. What a beautiful story! You are an amazing woman, Ann!