Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Eli's Birth Story, Part III

Much like I expected labor to take 11 to 12 hours, I expected pushing to take maybe 30 minutes. After about 2 hours of pushing I became convinced nothing was really happening. I mean, how far does the baby really have to go? The midwife made me reach down and feel the baby’s head. The whole team was cheering me on telling me I was doing an awesome job during each push. A Jack Johnson CD was playing on repeat— as it had been throughout much of the labor. I had an oxygen mask on at this point and was covered in wet washcloths that would fall off me every time I leaned forward to push. The baby nurse started setting up and the pediatrician finally arrived. Forty-two hours into labor and 2.5 hours into pushing, our baby was born at 1:28 AM on February 23, 2010.

date Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 3:57 AM

subject Update 06: 42 hours had to end somehow!

Start: Sunday 7:00am

End: Tuesday 1:28am

We pushed and pushed and pushed for two and half hours.

Meet our new baby boy!

6lb 8oz

Name to come.

Love you all!

We were hoping he would not immediately cry so that he wouldn’t breath in the meconium. He came out screaming. Kenny cut the umbilical cord. It took him three tries because he was so nervous. They took the baby over to the warming table and began working on him. According to our birth requests, Kenny was supposed to announce the sex. Baby was at the table, and I had to ask what it was before Kenny looked and told me it was a boy. They worked on him for what seemed like forever. Kenny took pictures and brought them over to show me. I could already tell he looked just like Kenny.

I thought it would be a while before the placenta came, but it was like 5 minutes later. Finally something happened quicker than expected! I asked to see it and demanded that Kenny take pictures as I was quite proud of it. It was a good looking placenta. Then the student midwife stitched me up—only two stitches, so I thought that was pretty good.

Baby was a bit pale, and they weren’t sure about his breathing so they needed to take him to the nursery to monitor him. They brought him over to me for a minute before—Kenny had to hold oxygen over him while I held him. For some reason, I wasn't too worried though. I just knew he was strong and healthy and would be fine. Perhaps its because of the strength of the force with which he'd been kicking and punching me for weeks.

Kenny followed him to the nursery. I called my family. When Kenny came back we worked on giving our little boy a name. We had spent many, many hours trying to agree on a name before the birth, but it only took about 5 minutes for us to agree on Elias after.

The nurse and midwives were eager for me to try peeing. I had to take the nurse with me to make sure I didn’t collapse or something and to be shown how to deal with the lovely aftermath (a multi-step process involving many products). All dignity had been lost along the way anyway.

Elias came back with a clean bill of health after an hour in the nursery. I held him and maybe sort of nursed him. I was relieved and of course exhausted. I handed him to Kenny and promptly passed out.


A few days after we’d been home from the hospital I was recounting what labor was like to my friend Megan (who was curious because she was a few weeks away from giving birth herself). When I finished the description she said that it sounded pretty terrible. I was surprised when she said that, because for me it really wasn’t terrible. Reading it here, I can see how maybe it sounds pretty terrible--but really, I feel like we had a wonderful birth. When possible all of the plans we had made were honored. Labor was long and during parts of it I began to wonder if I would ever see my baby, but man was it worth it. I wouldn’t change the place or the people who were a part of it. I was disappointed to be taking a morphine nap at the time, but in retrospect I think it was the right choice. In movies the pushing stage always seems terrible and horribly painful—but for me it was the exciting part. Labor was painful, but nothing I couldn’t handle. The doula told me that several times--that the pain would never be so much that I couldn’t handle it. Immediately after and for the days following, I was on such a high. I always treasure the time when Excedrin kicks in and takes away a headache and joke that a headache is good in that it helps you appreciate when you’re not in pain. This was like that for me but a million times more. After the birth the nurses kept asking me to rate my pain. I found that odd because I really wasn’t in any. Did I mention we got to take this wonderful creature home with us?

Eli's Birth Story, Part II

Sunday morning at about 3:00 AM we headed back to the hospital—determined to stay this time. I don’t even remember how dilated I was. As I was getting checked in again the midwife told me she had an idea for how I could get some sleep. I was intrigued. Her idea was a dose of morphine. Kenny and I briefly discussed the pros and cons. We had wanted to do everything as naturally as possible, but man the prospect of a brief respite sounded awesome. She said the morphine should basically pause but not stop labor and that it would be out of my and baby’s system very quickly afterwards. Considering my slow progress, we were pretty sure we had a good amount of time to go still so we decided to go ahead and do the morphine. I felt a bit like I was giving up on the whole natural thing too quickly. After we made the decision and got admitted we had to wait for what felt like an eternity for the pharmacy to fill the morphine prescription. Apparently it’s not really typical practice so it took a lot of back and forth and convincing.

date Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 7:16 AM

subject Update 02: This is going to take some time

Its a long story, but we are still in labor and everyone is doing fine. Emily is not as far along as we would like, so we just have to wait and see. We are trying to get her to sleep.

I think the baby will come in 6-12 hours, but what the hell do i know.

Love you all.


At about 7:30 AM I finally got the morphine. I actually enjoyed getting the IV as the needle sticking was a nice distraction from the pain of the contractions. The morphine didn’t take away the pain really, but made the sleepy outweigh the pain. The midwife stayed with me and rubbed my feet as I drifted into la la land. The nap ended around 10:00 or so. I was in bed for another hour or so waking up and dealing with the contractions again. A new midwife, Amy was now on call and she had a student midwife in tow. I got another exam and this time I think I was 4 or 5 cm. They asked me what I wanted to do. I said that I’d like to get out of the bed and do some walking. They agreed that this was a good idea. Amy asked if I’d like a doula and I said a big yes. I got disconnected from all of the monitors and Kenny and I started the walking laps.

I’d been having trouble peeing, so when I created a puddle during the walk I though that I had peed myself. Oddly enough, I wasn’t embarrassed. I just looked down and thought, oh, that’s good. I told Kenny to find somebody to clean it up and went back to the room to try to change gowns. I was sure it was pee and not my water breaking because it wasn’t clear as I had read it was to be. When Kenny found somebody they looked at the puddle and thought that perhaps it had meconium in it. The midwives and nurse came to my room and confirmed that I had not peed. My water had broken, and it contained meconium—meaning our little one had basically pooped in the womb. This killed our plans for delaying cord clamping and having immediate skin-to-skin contact. Baby would have to be whisked away for suctioning out of the lungs. With meconium, the fear is that baby will take it in with its first breath and that’s no good.

date Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 1:00 PM

subject Update 03: A Wet Walk

The midwifes made Emily get up and move. Well, asked that she try.

We went for a walk for about 15min and Emily's water broke all over the hall!

Baby is doing well. Mama is doing well.

Love you all.


The doula, Valerie, arrived shortly after the water breakage. She was wonderful. She made me take drinks of water in between contractions and was full of ideas for moving labor along and relieving pain. She showed me how to breath the right way—something that usually fails. When I try to change my breathing, I almost always end up yawning instead. The breathing made a world of difference. Most importantly, she had this lovely little massager. At one point I was in a near-panic as the battery began to die and we didn’t think we had any backups.

date Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 3:14 PM

subject Update 04: The a Doula shows up

Just a quick note. Emily is a rockstar. She is doing awesome!

Our midwife found us a doula and she has been a big help.

Things are looking up.

Around 4:00 PM we realized it had been about 12 hours since I had peed. I just couldn’t pee. The mechanics of it all were broken. Somebody’s head was blocking the path. They made me get a catheter as apparently a full bladder can be bad news for baby delivering. They just cathetered me long enough to empty my bladder. I must say, if you can avoid getting a catheter, I would recommend that. It was the opposite of fun.

We tried a million different ways to make my contractions stronger and closer together. It is awfully difficult to hear that you need to be in more pain and more frequent pain when you are in pain, but the midwives could tell that I was not at the level I needed to be. They said I could walk, push on pressure points, use a breast pump, and/or go on pitocin. I really, really did not want to go on pitocin.

date Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 8:35 PM

subject Update 05: This is the labor than never ends. It goes on and on my friends.

Hi All,

Just a quick note. We are still in labor. Going on 36 hours strong. No big news to report.

Love you all.


After having tried everything short of pitocin, I took a hot shower and came back to the room filled with my “team” (midwife, student midwife, doula, nurse, and Kenny). Amy asked if they could do an exam to see where I was. I was placing my bet on 7 cm. Amy said she’d be thrilled if I was at 7 cm. I was not. I was only at a measly 5.5 or 6. I was running on fumes, and it was time for the pitocin talk. I was fearful that it would make contractions that were too strong for me or baby to handle but knew I didn’t want to be in labor for another gazillion hours.

The pitocin meant I had to get hooked up to all kinds of machines again—the fetal monitor, the contraction monitor, an IV, a blood pressure cuff, and pulse thingy. I got in bed and listened to my Hypnobirth CD. Pitocin did indeed usher in a whole new level of pain. I was focusing on the CD when the nurse came in to increase the pitocin. Kenny jumped up to see what was happening. She said she was moving it up as the usual practice was to increase it every 20 minutes. This was not what we had discussed so Kenny asked her to move it back down and said that we’d like to discuss it with the midwife. I was struggling, and Kenny could tell. I had to figure out how to cope with the current pain level before moving it up. We wrangled the wires enough for me to be able to get out of bed. Kenny positioned himself behind me with the massager. I tried the birthing ball for a bit and then moved to standing and leaning on the bed. After 40 minutes with the pitocin at 1, we moved it up to 2. At 2, things took a turn. I believe this is what they refer to as the transition. There was hardly any time between contractions and they took on a body-splitting feel to them. Amy told me she thought I needed to go to 3. I thought she had lost her mind. I told her I was not sure about that. A few moments later I was making some rather primal screams and asserting that no, I would not be going to three with the pitocin. Once I said I felt like I had to go to the bathroom Amy said she was almost positive I was ready. I got checked again and there was no cervix to be found. I asked for the birthing stool. I remember looking at the clock and seeing it was 11:00 PM. I was pretty hopeful the baby would be born before midnight and get to have a 2-22 birthday. I sat on the birthing stool and Kenny sat behind me supporting me while I rested between contractions. We went back and forth between the stool and the bed a few times.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Eli's Birth Story, Part I

Like I said, this whole having a newborn in the house thing has made it pretty difficult to get things done. Today's post is the first of what will probably be a 3 part story. I planned on doing it in one, but I want to capture all of the minutia while I can remember it. In blue I'm inserting the email updates Kenny sent to some family and friends along the way.

Saturday (the 20th) Kenny and I were both pretty grumpy and sad about not having the munchkin here yet. We tried everything we’d heard might help bring labor along for the second or third time. We went to Home Depot and walked laps. We ate pineapple, spicy food, and leftover eggplant parmagiana. Sunday morning I woke up around 7:00. I was feeling some pain. I’d been getting excited about pain for several weeks at this point. I started timing this pain and poked Kenny when I realized the pain was happening about every 10 minutes. He mumbled something and then rolled over and went back to sleep. About an hour later we got up and sprang into action. Kenny began vacuuming and dusting. He froze bananas, and boiled beets. I bathed and shaved my legs. We found a program online to time contractions, and I parked myself in front of some HGTV. We called our parents. Contractions were getting to be about 7 minutes apart by midday. Kenny made some macaroni, hotdogs, and applesauce for me. He made the unfortunate choice of macaroni and chili for himself. That meal ended up being the last food I would willingly eat. Kenny took a nap and changed the sheets. I watched several more hours of HGTV.

By 5:00 contractions were about 5 minutes apart. We were supposed to go to the hospital when contractions were 3-4 minutes apart for an hour. I called the midwife to let her know we’d be coming in later. We decided to go for a walk to help things along. The contractions started to get closer together and more intense. They required counter-pressure on my back from Kenny. I would grab a wall and ask for help then yell at Kenny until he was pressing in the right spot.

date Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 8:21 PM

subject This is not a test!

So we are in labor and going to the hospital in the next half hour.

Wish us luck!

More info to come!


Kenny and Emily

We were of course having a bit of a snowstorm. Kenny made arrangements for the neighbor to walk the dogs before bed, cleared the car of snow, grabbed our millions of bags and we were on our way! It was exciting and a big relief to be going to the hospital. Because of swine flu restrictions we’d never been able to tour the birthing facility, and I was looking forward to finally seeing the place (among other things ;-).

Our midwife met us at the front desk. They put me on the monitors for 20 minutes, made me answer lots of questions, and checked me. I was not dilated enough—only 2 cm (though that was up from the .5 I was at my appointment a few days before). Sooo, we got sent home with instructions to take a warm bath, maybe take some Tylenol PM or Benadryl and try to get some sleep. That was super discouraging. The thought of taking my contractions back into the car knowing that I’d have to come back later through the snow was a bummer.

date Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 10:17 PM

subject Update 01: The Drive Back Home

So we went and did the hospital thing. As it turns out we are back home and confused. Emily is 2cm dilated, so they sent us home. I think we will be back in 4-18 hours, but we will see.

Time to TRY to get some sleep and maybe have a snack.

Love you all,

Kenny and Emily

We got home, and I took the bath. The contractions continued to be pretty strong. I’d shout for help from Kenny each time they came on and he’d either press on my lower back or for some reason raising my leg at a 90 degree angle seemed to help so he’d do that. We got into bed and tried to give the whole sleeping thing a shot. I listened to a guided relaxation CD from my Hypnobirth CD. Sleep did not occur. Finally around 3 or 4:00 Kenny had our midwife, Libby, paged. I felt like if we waited any longer I wouldn’t be able to handle the time in the car without the counterpressure. And back to the hospital we went!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


We'll call this little break in posts part of my maternity leave. The thing that has surprised me the most about this whole parenthood thing is my complete inability to get anything done. I'm hoping to write up Eli's birth story and post it this week. In the meantime, Kenny has started his own blog featuring 90% Eli content.