Adaline Kay: Birth Story

Adaline Kay's Birth Story

Welcoming Our Baby Girl!

It seems like it's been forever since I've been here on the blog! I took some (unintentional) time off after our little girl was born (although if you follow me on Instagram, I've been posting over there a ton!) I knew I'd slow down, but didn't quite realize exactly how the first few weeks with our newborn would go! Today she is two months old, which blows my mind. I'll go into more detail about some of the hurdles we're learning how to overcome in future posts, but today is all about our birth story!

Grab a snack--I was in labor for quite a while! This post will also contain a bit of oversharing. If you're not a fan or cervix checks or breastfeeding, time to sign off now. :) But I'm sure you're prepared for that--it is a birth story, after all!

(If you're catching up on our baby journey, you can see our pregnancy announcement here, and our 15 week bumpdate heregender reveal here 21 week bumpdate28 week bumpdate32 week bumpdate37 week bumpdate, Welcome Adaline Kay, or our office to nursery progress post here.  I also have a post on office maternity outfits if you'd like to check that out too!) 

April 18th

I'd been having some Braxton Hicks contractions late in the evening, but since I'd been having them since about 34 weeks and I was now at 40+2, they didn't seem out of the ordinary and I wasn't keeping track of their timing or frequency. I went to bed around 10 and Ricky came in around midnight. 

April 19

4:45 a.m: I woke up to a little "twinge" contraction. I felt like I needed to get up to pee, but when I moved, there was a trickle. Moved a little, trickle a little. I woke Ricky up and, surprisingly calmly, said "My water just broke. I think we're having a baby today."
Ricky said "Ok, ok, ok," a few times and then grabbed me a towel so I could get to the bathroom and change. Fortunately, I had put been putting puppy training pads under the sheets since about 35 weeks just in case my water broke at night. I was also keeping one in each of our cars, in case contractions started at home, to put under me on the way to the hospital. 

4:50 a.m: I got dressed in comfy black cotton pants, a sports bra & v-neck tee, and a zip up hoodie. I grabbed our hospital bags and pillow, boppy, and yoga ball and put them by the door, double checking to see if we had forgotten anything on the checklist. I know most people end up needing to pack their "everyday" stuff like a phone charger and toothbrush but I had gotten extra of those items so all we needed to do was grab the bags and go. (I had kind of assumed Ricky might be running around in panic mode and planned for that possibility. Fortunately, he kept it together surprisingly well!) Ricky got dressed, checked to make sure there were no dirty dishes and took out the trash. We grabbed our bags and phones and hit the road!

5:15 a.m: On the way to the hospital, I called my mom and let her know my water had broken and we were on our way in to the maternity ward. I was calm. She was calm. Ricky was calm. I thought it was weird, ha! This was a momentous, life changing, bodily-traumatic occasion! But then Ricky stopped for a green light and I realized how nervous he was, and it all seemed normal again to me. Mom & Dad live about 6 hours away, and I knew my mom would be helpful and supportive during labor.

5:33 a.m: We got checked into a labor and delivery room. My contractions were about 10 minutes apart still at that point. Ricky went back down after checking me in to move the car from the entrance to a parking garage. I had two nurses at this point, but Julie, a slightly gruff but clearly very experienced woman, was clearly the one in charge. She seemed like she knew what she was doing. 

5:37 a.m: I called my in-laws, Rick & Wendy, to let them know the show was on the road! I told them I didn't think it was happening very quickly, but I later found out they came and sat in the waiting room anyway, excited for their grandbaby! Ricky got back to the room and got out our Canon to take photos throughout labor. 

6:03 a.m.: The nurse (Julie) seemed to think my amniotic fluid bag was still intact. I felt pretty sure I had been leaking for the last hour and it was definitely fluid. They took a swab to test and make sure. Otherwise, she told me I might be going back home until my contractions got closer together. She thought she could feel the membrane and it wasn't broken. I was fairly indignant about this for some reason. Not sure how I felt about Julie. She checked my cervix and I was about 1 cm dilated at that point. 

6:37 a.m: The amniotic fluid test came back positive. I was there to stay! The nurses called my doctor, Dr. Lovegrove, to let her know. I was ridiculously happy I hadn't got in to labor two days before  because she would have been out of town and I really like and trust her, and wanted her to deliver Adaline. 

I really liked the yoga ball for labor--bouncing made me feel like I was doing something
besides just waiting for another contraction. 

7:00 a.m: The nurses change shifts at 7. I want to say this one was named Sarah, but I can't remember for sure. She'd been there 5 years or so, and was extremely sweet. 

7:50 a.m: Because I was still only 1 cm and contractions were about 7 minutes apart, they decided to start me on Pitocin to strengthen and speed up contractions. I had heard Pitocin kind of sucks, plus it starts the "cycle of interventions" and prevents you from being able to spend the early part of labor in the tub, so I wasn't thrilled about this. However, I also know that once your water breaks, the chances of infection go up so we needed to get things moving. I started bouncing on the yoga ball we brought to help things along. During my contractions, I counted my breathing (in, 1, 2, 3, 4, out 1, 2, 3, 4) and usually held Ricky's hand. I was dilated 1.5 cm at this point. 

8:28 a.m: I called my sister Kaylyn, who was about a 7 hour drive away, and we texted my two sisters-& brothers-in-law who live in town, as well as our connect group friends. 

9:02 a.m: The nurses told me if I didn't make it to 2 cm dilation and my effacement hadn't progressed when Dr. Lovegrove got there, she might need to use a Foley bulb to artificially dilate. I had done too much online research during this pregnancy and never heard anything fun about the Foley, so I was really hoping to avoid that. 

9:30 a.m: I took a break from the yoga ball and laid down on my side in the hospital bed--I was already tired and knew I probably wouldn't be getting much rest anytime soon. 

10:15 a.m: Dr Lovegrove arrived, let me know the possibilities (including Foley bulb, which she was surprised I'd heard of) and then checked me. I was about 2 cm (yay!) and she could feel the amniotic sac. Turns out the nurse and I were both correct and I apparently had multiple bags of fluid, which is unusual but not abnormal or anything to be concerned with. Dr. Lovegrove prayed with Ricky & I, which is one of the many things we love about having her as our OB. 

11:10 a.m: I felt another "break" of water (possibly a third bag, possibly just another "pocket" from the first one) and this time when I got out of bed, we noticed the fluid had a greenish tinge. That's an indicator of meconium (the baby's first fecal matter), meaning the baby had a bowel movement in utero. That's a little scary because the baby practices breathing by breathing in amniotic fluid, and if she breathed in the meconium she could get an infection in her lungs. The NICU team had to be put on standby for the delivery and would take her if necessary. This was really the first time I got worried about the birth, I teared up a little and prayed with Ricky. 

11:30 a.m: I got a straight catheter (administered by a nursing student) to check for protein. Super fun. Back to yoga ball. 

12:25 p.m: The nurse checked me, and I was still at 2 cm so the upped my Pitocin level. Also, this nurse's cervix checks were a little more gentle than Julie's, but took longer. You win some, you lose some. 

Super flattering labor photo. Let's add fluid for extra puffiness to the 40+ week pregnant girl!

2:30 p.m: Progressed to 2.5 cm. I started trying the "hands and knees" position which seemed like it would be easy but is surprisingly hard on the knees during labor. My contractions were definitely getting closer together and more intense. 

2:55 p.m: The baby was being monitored by a heart monitor on my belly, and she had been consistently moving around and making it difficult for them to keep track of her. So at this point, they inserted an intra-uterine monitor which is attached to the top of the baby's head to monitor her more consistently. They also included some monitor for me that would show the level of the intensity of contractions, since they thought maybe my contractions weren't intense enough to progress my cervix. The monitor showed that they were plenty strong, and perhaps my body was just being stubborn.

3:20 p.m: Pitocin level increased. Also, my parents arrived! Dad hung out in the hall and Mom came in the labor room with Ricky and me. Ricky thought it would be a good idea to socialize with her and crack jokes. He was confused why I wasn't laughing at his hilarity. I informed him that just because I was breathing through contractions rather than screaming did not mean I wasn't in pain. 

4:30 p.m: I moved back to the yoga ball, and got even more Pitocin. My sister also arrived around this time. 

Kaylyn joined us for the festivities

6:00 p.m: I really needed to get up and walk around, so the nurses kindly found me a monitor that could be attached to my IV thing and walked around with me. 

6:30 p.m: Dr. Lovegrove returned and checked me--I was about 4 cm. The contractions were getting pretty strong by this point and I knew I would want an epidural before I reached the transition stage (7-8 cm). I let the nurses know that I would be needing the anesthesiologist at some point in the near future. 

7:00 p.m: Nurse shift change--Julie is back!

7:30 p.m: Julie came in and let me know that the anesthesiologist would be going in to a surgery in the next hour and would be unavailable for a while. I decided to go ahead and get the epidural at that point. I'd been in labor for at least 15 hours unmedicated at that point, and I knew that studies suggest that once you're at 4-5cm, epidurals don't tend to slow labor down. 

7:50 p.m: The epidural is administered. Shockingly, the easiest part of this whole process. Also, I started to realize around then that unless baby girl got it together pretty soon, she was going to be born on 4/20. Boo. 

8:00 p.m: The nurses determine I need to take a break from Pitocin and use an oxygen mask for a few minutes. This freaked me out a bit. 

8:45 p.m: Julie checked my cervix, which was waaaayyyy less painful now with the epidural, and I was unfortunately still around 4 cm. Fortunately, I felt much fonder of Julie at this point but I was still disappointed I had't progressed more. The anesthesiologist came in and reminded me that I had a button to administer more epidural when I needed to (since I hadn't pushed it yet).

10:00 p.m: Ricky's note from 10 o'clock reads "Pen". I don't know what that means, and he doesn't remember either. But apparently something significant happened around 10. Maybe I received penicillin? they had talked about that possibility due to the water breaking so many hours before, so it would make sense.  I do know the anesthesiologist came in around this time and reprimanded me for not hitting the button to give myself another dose every so often. He said it is easier to stay at a manageable level of pain than to try to manage intense pain later. I don't remember what amount of time he told me (every 1.5 hours maybe?) but I started taking his advice. 

11:30 p.m: Julie checked me again, and I was between 4 and 5 cm. She let me know that if I didn't start progressing soon, the baby might be coming out another way. I was not happy to hear this info--I really, really wanted a vaginal delivery. I appreciated that Julie was trying everything she could think of to make that happen for me though. Since I wasn't in much pain at this point, I took a little nap to get some strength for pushing. After all, I'd been in labor for 19 hours. I kind of dozed off and on with Ricky & my mom in the room, and Julie coming in every so often to check on me .

April 20

3:00 a.m: The baby's heart rate, which had been a little worrisome at times throughout the labor, started to drop to scary levels. Julie called Dr. Lovegrove and it was decided that we were having a C-section. I was pretty upset by this but of course knew it needed to happen if the baby was in distress. Ricky got scrubs to change in to, I got hooked up to a bunch of things and wheeled to the OR.

Trying not to freak about the C-section

3:27 a.m: As they were wheeling me in, I could feel my teeth start to chatter and feel tears rolling out of my eyes. I had never had major surgery before and was so emotionally unprepared for a C-section. The pregnancy had been pretty uneventful, the only real bummers being extreme nausea and insomnia, so I had been kind of expecting an uneventful delivery as well. Plus, Ricky didn't get to walk back to the OR with me for some reason, although he arrived a few minutes later. Dave, the anesthesiologist, clearly felt bad for me and kept telling Dr. Lovegrove that he could tell I was scared. He was right, but I was right there-I could hear him! I appreciated that he was trying to be empathetic though.

Our first family photo

3:32 a.m: Ricky arrived in the OR and immediately took my hand and tried to distract me. He asked me questions like "What do you think she'll look like? What do you think her first word will be?" to keep my mind off of my body. He also took a couple of photos, as he had been doing during labor. It was a big help in calming me down. I could definitely still feel the surgery, feel the cutting and tugging and the final pull that delivered our baby.

Her poor little head-you can see one of the scrapes in this photo

3:45 a.m: She cried immediately and loudly, a great sign. Tears started pouring out of my eyes again at the sound. Ricky went over to her and took a few photos, and stayed with her until she could be brought to me. He told me that she was turning towards my voice and rooting in my direction. I was happy that even with the C-section, the team was able to honor my requests of delayed cord-clamping, and some skin-to-skin contact. We were also hugely blessed in that she hadn't aspirated any of the meconium and the NICU team wasn't needed. However, I was definitely bummed that for several minutes after she was born, I couldn't see her and she was with other people.
When Ricky brought her over, he laid her on my shoulder/chest area and she nestled into me. The feeling was indescribable. Unfortunately, after a few minutes I got nauseated, and Ricky had to pick her up so I could throw up the ice chips I'd had during labor. It passed quickly, and we were rolled into a neighboring room once my midsection was stitched up. It struck me that removing her only took a few minutes, but stitching me back up obviously took much longer.

Her basic mood for the next few weeks

4:40 a.m: In that room next to the OR, we had our first breastfeeding session, and she latched on well and fed. I'm pretty sure I cried again during that time. I had been so concerned that due to the C-section she wouldn't be alert enough to latch, but she seemed to not have any problems. Dr. Lovegrove came in and let me know that my upper pelvic bones are too narrow inside and that's why I never progressed--Adaline's head was in position but couldn't move any lower due to the bones. She had a pretty big hematoma (cone shaped bruising) on her head and a couple of large scrapes from the bones. She'd also rubbed off nearly all her hair during labor, leaving her with a funny little patch of dark hair on the back of her head. Unfortunately, she told me that any future children I have will need to be delivered via C-section as well. Even though I know that what matters is delivering a child in the way that keeps the mama and baby the healthiest, I am really disappointed that I will never have a vaginal birth. I'm still coming to terms with that fact today. The upside, however, is that next time I can bypass the 23 hour labor and go straight to the C-section.

Learning to nurse in the recovery room.

4:55 a.m: Adaline, Ricky & I moved to the recovery room where we would be for the next 3 days. My parents & sister were there waiting, but they basically just said hi and then left us so we could nurse her and try to get some rest, which we appreciated. Ricky's family had been in and out of the waiting room all day and I'm sure they wanted to meet her, but Ricky told them I was resting and that they could see her later in the day, so they went home to sleep as well. By noon the next day, she'd met all her grandparents, one great-grandparent, and all aunts & uncles except one (who was at work).

Precious little girl!

Whew! So that's our birth story. I will be back soon with updates, as well as nursery photos, baby organization, our experiences with CMSPI & reflux, and more!

Please share any birth experiences you'd like in the comments--I love reading about births!

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