Monday, October 22, 2012

Lucy's Birth: The Whole Thing

In order to *fully* document the birth of Lucy, I must start on the day of my 36 week check-up (technically I was 36 weeks 5 days). Also, this may have to take place in installments--I hope it doesn't come to that--but I am going to try my darnedest to get this thing typed and just give it to you straight, so you're not left hanging. I hate cliff hangers. So it may need to be divided into chapters, but at least you will have it at your birth-story-loving finger tips.
Already one week old, dressed in naomi's baby doll dress, best ever

Chapter 1: Prodromal Labor is the Worst

I woke up that morning feeling, um, different. My typical waddle had gone from duck-like to very-very-pregnant-duck-about-ready-to-drop-a-dozen-eggs-any-day. I was feeling really yucky and my braxton hicks had kicked it up a notch. I was super glad I had an appointment that day where I knew that the Doc would be checking to see if I was dilated. I was guessing--based on how I was feeling--that I would be (at least a little), but I was also bracing myself for the reality that I may not be dilated at all and that all this "feeling different" stuff would end up being in my head. The doctor would also be doing an ultrasound that day to double check that the baby's head was down, since my last baby was a c-section due to her being very breech.

I hopped in the car sans kids (muchas gracias, Mike), excited to be out without them and excited to see little Lucy on the ultrasound. Cue the appointment: Doctor goes to check me first, then we'd do the ultrasound. Her eyes open widely and she exclaims with surprise that I am already a whopping 4 cm dilated and 70% effaced and there is no need to do an ultrasound since she can feel the head- it is right there. "4 flipping cm?!?!?! Can I just have her now??"--was the thought going through my head. I was 5 cm when I went in to give birth to Naomi. I was totally shocked and super excited, I figured the most I would have been was a 3, but FOUR?!?! This was monumental. Or so I thought.

I called Mike to share the news, then I called my doula to give her the update. I felt sure we would be having this baby by 37 weeks and that there was no way I would be going in for another doctor appointment. I was still contracting fairly regularly all day that day and feeling really gross. The next day would be Bernadette's birthday and I started getting really excited about the thought of them sharing a birthday- maybe they would! Or not.

The contractions continued, getting stronger and stronger, and woke me up around 11 the night after my appointment. I started timing them- 5 minutes apart, 1 minute each. While laying awake I timed them for about an hour, then got up to tell Mike that I thought it might be time to ask his sister and her husband to come over so that we could leave for the hospital. We called her, and I got up and started getting stuff ready to go, and just like that the contractions started spreading out and getting weaker. Great. Mike's sister and her husband got to our place around 12:30am and by then the contractions had pretty much stopped. BLURG! Since we thought that my labor might pick back up and that we might still be going to the hospital that night, we had them stay over. Long story short: no more strong labor, no trip to hospital, baby not born.

The entire next day as we celebrated Bernadette the contractions kept up, confusing the heck out of me, so I finally called the doctor who said it sounded like early labor but that they would need to pick up in intensity for me to go in to the hospital. So I did lots of squats, ran up and down the stairs as many times as I could, crawled around on the floor as much as possible, and rested a little. Nothing.

I will just say this: prodromal labor (<--read the link!) sucks. I remembered hearing about it and just hoped so hard that it would never happen to me. However, it only took a couple of these awful false alarms-- including our doula coming to our house and one hospital trip (I was told I was still just 4 cm and so was sent home)--to realize that this is exactly what were dealing with. Well, that and my doula flat out saying that is was prodromal labor during one of our false alarms.

last preggy pic taken @ 38 weeks

Chapter 2: Getting Things Going

So what does one do when one has a baby not quite in the right position and is having painful, time-able contractions every day, all day? Well I hung upside down off the couch, crawled around as much as I possibly could, did lots of lunges, squats, running up and down stairs, swimming, walked 3 miles with the girls in the double stroller, bounced on the edge of the bed a lot, ate spicy foods and pineapple, drank some caster oil, and prayed a thousand Memorares that my water would just break so that then at least they'd have to keep me at the hospital and we'd know the baby was actually coming. Eventually it all worked.

Last Sunday-- one week ago yesterday-- things got real. I did not let myself think they were real;  I was NOT going to be able to withstand the embarrassment of going to the hospital and getting sent home again.

As we were putting the girls to bed, my contractions finally started feeling serious. I had been timing them all day (what else was new?) but now they were finally to the point where I couldn't say nighttime prayers with Mike and the girls. I tried to go to sleep right after the girls went down, but every 5 minutes one would come and wake me up. I would breath through it and try again to sleep. This kept up until around 3 a.m. Now some were coming 3 minutes apart, but I was still sure that the second we loaded up to go to the hospital they would stop. But then one came that really hurt. So I rolled out of bed onto the floor to breathe through it and POP went my water. YAY!!!!!! I was absolutely thrilled. Thrilled and terrified.

Chapter 3: At the Hospital

When Naomi was born my water had broken, and it had immediately made my contractions get crazy, so I knew this was going to greatly intensify things. And it did. We called Mike's sister and her husband and this time we had something real to tell her. We got in the car and left for the hospital.

As expected, the good folks at the hospital didn't initially believe that my water had broken (this had happened with Naomi too), but their doubts were soon put to rest and we got settle in to have this baby. Well, sort of.

I was on the fence about whether I wanted to try to do the natural tub-birth thing that I had done with Naomi or just get an epidural. I was leaning entirely toward the epidural route- especially after weeks of early labor and then a whole night of no sleep and labor-- but this hospital only has one tub and you have to get into that room if you want to use it. So, we went first to the tub room to play it safe. They checked me to see how far I was. STILL ONLY 4 CM?!?! What the H??!? My contractions were already feeling so strong, and I decided that I couldn't face the prospect of laboring indefinitely.  So I promptly left the tub room, opting for the epidural route instead.

At this point it was about 4:30am and we were told it would be at least an hour before we would be getting the epidural. I was disappointed about this, but it was ok because I could still talk in between contractions and stay fairly relaxed during them. However, the anesthesiologist could not have come at a better time because after that hour was up this was NOT the case anymore. These contractions were getting mighty crazy, and it was quite the feat to stay still and relaxed while the nice man stuck my back with that needle. But it was oh so worth it.

The epidural was in and doing its thing by 6 a.m. and I was able to sleep-- SLEEP!-- while in active, crazy labor! I was in heaven. I was only worried that the epidural would slow things down and that they'd have to give me pitocin (we took a Bradley class during my first pregnancy and I was adequately schooled on all the many dangers and evils of the epidural). Anyways, around 7:20am Mike decided he should probably run home to give his sister the girls' car seats. I figured this was fine since I was sure we had a couple more hours of labor left and we only live 10 minutes from the hospital. I gave him the OK and he left.

Chapter 4: The Birth

At 7:30am, an hour and a half after I got the epidural, the doctor came in to check me again. "Oh my, you're fully dilated and ready to push," she exclaimed. WHAT THE H AGAIN?!?!?!?! I explained that my husband had just left and that I would realy really like it if he could be there for the birth. She calmly responded that, since I wasn't really feeling any of the contractions or the need to push, we could just wait for Mike to return. Besides, she said, she wanted to shower beforehand anyways.

I called Mike immediately to give him the deats, and luckily he was already almost back to the hospital. He made it with a few minutes to spare, so we sat together and let it sink in that we'd be seeing our new daughter within the next 10 minutes- as if it is possible for something that to actually sink in.
About 5 minutes before little Lucy made her grand entrance into the world

The doctor eventually walked in looking refreshed and ready to catch a baby. I am still a little confused and shocked that I could just sit there with a baby practically hanging out (sorry, that was a gross word-picture), but seriously. I got all ready to do a "practice push," but it only took the doctor one look to see I would not be needing any practice- the baby was about to come out. So I pushed once, I pushed twice, and I pushed a nice big third time, and out she came! On October 15, 2012, at 8:10 in the morning, 38 weeks 4 days -- and with 2 full weeks of early labor-- little Lucy Josephine was ready to come out.

Praise. The. Lord.

And our lives will never be the same.
please keep the focus on the sweet daddy staring at baby and not sleep-deprived mother's face


  1. Yay! I felt like an addict cause I immediately clicked your "hot off the press" haha....Thank you for sharing! I am really glad to read about your experience because this kind of labor could happen to anyone! I am so so happy to hear about how well the delivery went and I think Lucy is one of the prettiest babies I've ever seen =).

  2. love love LOVE this birth story. And epidurals. Amen.

  3. This was AWESOME!!!! And I am so excited you got a vbac - they are not allowed around here. Plus you look amazing!!

  4. Hallelujah! You have your baby! All brand new and perfect and precious. Muwah!

  5. Baby doll dress!! Ahhh-mazing. So cute for Halloween!

  6. I'm so happy for you that you got the VBAC AND the epidural!! They are truly magical. Especially if you water breaks. That picture of her in the dress is to.die.for. And I think you earned the sleep/quick progression/3 push magic after so many weeks of prodromal. You deserved a break!!

  7. Thank you for sharing your story! A bright spot in my day! P.S. I love the doll outfit on Lucy- haha!

  8. Your birth story is a great example of what you call the well timed epidural. My 2nd's birth was that way. i was stalled at 7 cm forever and i got the epidural and 20 minutes later, I pushed a flipping 10 pound baby out!

    congrats on your beautiful baby!

  9. I'm over here all first-trimester hormone-y balling my eyes out at this. I just love a good birth story. Congrats again :)

  10. Thank you so much for sharing the narrative... and for taking great care of Nana!

  11. Congratulations! I had the same "baby hanging out of me ready to go" with my second. Then I had no epidural with my third (also a Lucy) and there is no. waiting. if there's no epidural. Enjoy the babymoon!

  12. Congratulations on a great labor, a VBAC, and a beautiful baby!

  13. Yay for the VBAC! So glad everything went well - she's just precious.

  14. Congratulations!! By the way... you looked GREAT in all of those pictures!! Seriously. You know how usually women look really puffy after they give birth? You did not. You'll need to share your secrets for that one. :)

  15. Hi! I don't know you, but because of Grace, I am definitely a silent creeper on your blog. (Incidentally, I was your husband's RA in Kolbe/Clare about a million years ago.)

    ANYWAY, I just want to say that *I feel your pain*. Not sure if it was officially "prodromal," because it was my first baby, but my labor lasted on and off (mostly on) for seven days. Apparently, my little Philomena was malpositioned just enough for this to happen. I am so glad everything turned out well with little Lucy (l-o-v-e the name, btw). My baby ended up being a very easy, mild-mannered newborn, and I figured it was because God evened things out with the labor from gehenna. I hope the same goes for you!

  16. Love it Ana! So happy she's finally here! Lovveee her hair!

  17. And now that I discovered your blog, I have to read this birth story - the baby doll dress absolutely drew me in. That's amazing!!!

  18. Sleep during active labor?
    Push without the pain?
    I Really missed out on a lot of stuff!