Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gabrielle's birth story!

So here goes – Gabrielle’s birth story!  This is going to be long, full of details and there may be too much information in places, but I want this all documented for my daughter one day!
Around 6:10 p.m. on Friday, December 4, 2009, I decided it was time to lay down on my left side and relax for a bit because I had not felt the baby much of the day.  I wanted to make sure she was alright in there so I took a few sips of a Mountain Dew and got comfy on the couch while Gavin played with his matchbox cars.  I started to feel her move only minutes later and was very relieved!!  At 6:23 p.m. I had a very bad contraction that lasted for over a minute.  This one was definitely different from any other.  The thought that tonight could be the night my labor would begin crossed my mind but then I really felt like it would just be too crazy if she actually came on December 5, 2009 – there was just too many things that had happened, that had been said, or joked about – and it would just be way too funny if it all happened that way…
6:30 p.m. – I feel a warm liquid sensation and I jump up and run (okay, quickly walk!) to the potty – I think my water is starting to break.  I’ve had a lot of discharge over the past couple of weeks but this was not mucus or thick – this was liquid!!  I decided to put a pad on and monitor it for a few minutes.  I continued to leak so I decide to call May Grant.  The midwife called me right back and told me to come in to get checked out to confirm it is amniotic fluid.  I called Steven because he had just left for work around 5:40 p.m. and I told him that I thought my water was breaking and we needed to head to the hospital.  He was very calm and super sweet, as always, making sure I was okay.  I called Aunt Patty, who was taking care of Gavin for us – she was headed to the movies so I called her oldest daughter Amanda who was shopping at Park City but should be home soon.  Amanda didn’t answer right away so I left a message.  I called Aunt Donna to see if she had Patty’s home phone number but as I was on the phone with Aunt Donna Amanda was calling back.  Amanda shared that they would be home in about 10 minutes and to bring the big brother over!  (Patty had actually sent me a text on Friday evening at 6:22 p.m. giving me the phone number for her middle daughter Aly in case Patty wouldn’t answer her phone when I went into labor.. crazy!)  I tried to stay calm while gathering my last minute items, I didn’t want to freak Gavin out, but the entire time I just kept thinking – there’s no way this can be it – there’s no way this can be it – there’s no way she could arrive on December 5th , 2009 – is God really that amazing?!
Steven called his mom while he was on his way home from work.  She had to work until 9:30 p.m.  He told her just to keep her phone with her and we would call when we knew more.  I called my mom after talking with Amanda and told her that I thought my water was breaking.  She was very excited but I kept telling her, again, that there was no way this could be it – tomorrow is December 5th – it would just be too much if she really would arrive on December 5th.  I told my mom we would call when we knew for sure what was going on so she could head to the hospital if necessary.
Steven got home, changed his clothes and packed the car with our hospital bags and big brother’s over night bag.  We took him to Aunt Patty’s house where he was greeted with very excited faces!  I was super nervous about leaving him, simply because I wasn’t sure how much he understood and I didn’t want him to be confused or scared.  I knew he’d be in great hands and would have tons of fun!!
The drive to the hospital was very surreal – I wasn’t really contracting too much but was still leaking a little fluid.  This may be my last car ride as a pregnant momma!!  We got a front row parking spot, which is extremely rare at Women & Babies – we checked in at the front desk and headed to Triage.  I walked in and went right to the registration desk to check in.  The receptionist had to enter a ton of information then had to do it all over again because the system kicked her out.  Good thing I wasn’t in a lot of pain or it would not have been very fun!  After getting everything entered we headed to Triage room #1.  The receptionist told me to undress, leave on my bra and socks and put on the gown.  Now it’s feeling real – I’m about to put on a hospital gown because I’m likely in labor – this is just insane!
My first impression of the room was wow, this is super tiny but I guess it’s not a big deal if you’re only there for a couple of hours.  My Triage nurse’s name was Mary Louise – special to me because it’s my Aunt’s name – and Louise is my middle name, my Grammie’s middle name, my niece’s middle name, and of course, my daughter’s middle name!!  Mary Louise got me hooked up on the monitors and asked me a ton of medical questions.  She took a swab of the fluid I was leaking and, sure enough, it was amniotic fluid!!  There it was – a silly swab stick that turned black – confirmation that my water was breaking and I was indeed in labor!!  SO INCREDIBLE!!  Mary Louise said she would have the midwife Tiffany come in and check me out and we would move forward from there.  Steven and I laughed and joked and watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation while waiting for Tiffany.  She came in and asked more questions then did her own swab.. it turned black immediately, as it had when Mary Louise did it.  Tiffany stated that it was time to get me admitted and have a baby – OH YEA!!!  We both called our moms to tell them the exciting news – their granddaughter was on her way!
My labor and delivery nurse Dana came to get us from Triage.  She unhooked me from the monitors and escorted us to our Labor and Delivery room - #64!!  When we got into the room Steven ran out to the van to get the bags since we were definitely staying.  Dana had a ton of questions for me – one was, do you have any valuables you’d like me to mark down.  I told her that I had an iPod radio and cameras with me, a video camera and a small, medium and large camera.  She just laughed but then I had to tell her that I was serious – I really did have 3 cameras and plan to use all of them :o)  Dana was very nice and we talked a lot about our jobs and families.  I still wasn’t contracting much so I was in a good mood.
Dana started my IV around 10:15 p.m.  I was very nervous about getting an IV started because when I was in labor with Gavin it took the nurse over 45 minutes to get the stupid needle in.  I shared my anxieties with Dana and she assured me that if she didn’t see a good vein she would grab the charge nurse, who apparently is the IV queen.  The charge nurse wasn’t needed, Dana did a great job and it wasn’t bad at all, just annoying.  Our moms arrived shortly after and the party began :o) They were both very excited – but we really didn’t know at that time how long our night would really be.
I got a new nurse at 11:15 p.m.  Her name was Sarah – she was very nice but I didn’t connect with her as much as I did Dana.  Oh well, I wasn’t there to find new friends, I was there to bring my daughter into this world and she was going to help me do that!  Steven and I took a couple of walks around the hospital and got him some dinner from the wonderful vending machine.  Tiffany, the midwife, came in around 12:15 p.m. and said that I may want to think about pitocin to help bring on my contractions since I wasn’t contracting strongly enough on my own.  My contractions were coming and were close together but they were not very strong.  I immediately became nervous, I did not want pitocin, I wanted everything to progress naturally.  Tiffany shared that they start to become worried about infection about 12 hours after a woman’s water breaks and since it had been about 6 hours since mine had started to break she wanted to simply be proactive.  She left the decision in my hands and said she would check back with me in a bit.  I prayed about the pitocin and felt that, despite my worries and anxieties it would be wise for me to at least give the pitocin a try.  I think my biggest fear at that point was the pain – but it really was time to get the show on the road.
I was becoming more uncomfortable so around 1:45 a.m. I got into the Jacuzzi tub.  I was very uncomfortable in the tub at first, it was just too hot.  But my wonderful hubby and mom came to the rescue and got me comfy.  I had my iPod radio next to me and just did my best to relax, breathe and listen to the music.  Around 1:50 a.m. Sarah started my pitocin.  It began working fairly quickly and my contractions became stronger and closer together.  I stayed in the tub for a little over 2 hours.  I was afraid to get out because I knew the warm water was easing some of the pain of the contractions and I wasn’t sure if I could handle them out of the water.  I sat on the birthing ball for a while after the Jacuzzi.  That was helpful but I was freezing cold so Sarah wrapped me up in some super warm blankets and Steven helped to get me dry and keep me warm. He even put dry socks on for me :o) After I warmed up Steven fed me some cherry water ice and we chatted with our moms for a bit.  I was right, the warm water was definitely minimizing my pain and the birthing ball wasn’t cutting it anymore so I decided that it was time for my epidural.
My epidural was placed around 4:10 a.m. after the doctor had to do it twice.  He was explaining the entire process to me, which I appreciate, but I was not paying any attention to him, I was too busy watching the baby’s heart rate, the mountains on the contraction monitor and praying.  The nurse kept commenting on how great her heart rate looked so that made me feel better!  Gavin did not react well to the epidural so I was understandably nervous when getting the epidural this time.  After the epidural was in I started to feel a little relief.  Steven and I decided we would try to get some rest so our moms left the room and headed to the family lounge. 
Around 6 a.m. Sarah had to empty my bladder.. oh joy!  I tried to get more rest but couldn’t because I noticed that I was feeling the baby move and feeling her hiccup but wasn’t feeling much discomfort from the contractions.  I feared that I wasn’t contracting anymore but Sarah assured me they were still coming every two minutes and were definitely strong. 
I got a new nurse at 7 a.m. – her name was Rachel.  She looked like she was my age, which surprisingly did not bother me at all.  Rachel was very nice and jumped right in to my labor!  Everyone hung out for the next two hours, watching the news, listening to music, and taking guesses on Gabrielle’s weight, height and time of arrival.  My left side began feeling the contractions but my right side was still mostly numb.  I started wondering if I should get another epidural shot from the doctor but didn’t want to get one too soon.  I was becoming increasingly itchy so around 8:30 a.m. I finally gave in and got some medication (Neuvaine) into my IV – that helped the itching immediately. 
Around 9 a.m. Rachel had to empty my bladder again and at 9:10 a.m. my midwife Barb checked my cervix.  I was 7 centimeters – WAHOO!!  She also broke the remaining sac of fluid and became slightly nervous because it was very bloody.  Barb told me just to try and rest because I’d need the energy soon for pushing – little did we know how soon I would need that energy!  I told Barb I was nervous about pushing because I pushed for over 3 hours with Gavin and I did not want to go through that again.  She assured me she would not let that happen, and I prayed she was right.  I decided that I was in a lot of pain on my left side so I asked for an extra shot of the epidural.  The doctor got that in around 9:15 a.m. but it didn’t work.  At 9:30 a.m. I began feeling the most intense pressure I have ever felt.. I will never forget that feeling.  It was nothing like any of the pain I had when delivering Gavin.  I let Rachel know about the pain and she called for Barb to come back in and check me again.  Barb checked my cervix at 9:35 a.m. and announced I was now fully dilated and baby was at +2 station – we were ready to meet our daughter!!!  I was so excited and completely in shock that it only took me about 25 minutes to go from 7 to 10 centimeters!
My husband grabbed my left leg, my mom grabbed my right leg and my mother-in-law stood next to my mother ready to take photographs.  At 9:37 a.m. I started pushing with all my might – I was not going to be stuck pushing for 3 hours – I was ready to meet my Weezie Bug, and so was everyone else!  I pushed through 3 contractions – for a total of 4 minutes – and my daughter was here!!!  It was such a beautiful moment, she came out looking lovely and her lungs worked perfectly!  She was placed right onto my chest and immediately I praised God for all of his goodness.  I sang her Happy Birthday, just as I did with Gavin then we all just snuggled, cried and cried some more.  Steven and I got to feel the umbilical cord pulsating, completely incredible, then Steven got to cut the cord – he was such a proud daddy!  I had to deliver the placenta, which was not painful, just felt a little funny.  Thankfully I did not tear at all, only had a slight brush burn, as Barb called it.  After looking at the placenta Barb shared that there was likely a small tear in the placenta and a large blood clot.  She said she was going to send it to be analyzed and would let me know the results.  At that moment I was not at all worried because I was completely mesmerized by my beautiful daughter lying on my chest screaming her little heart out!
The nurse took her to clean her up well and get her weighed – 7 pounds 10 ounces – much smaller than I expected, but then again, she was 9 days early so I wonder if we had made it to her due date how big would she be?!
The most incredible part of this entire experience, besides having a beautiful, healthy daughter of course and falling completely head over heals in love with my husband again (because he was absolutely wonderful through the entire pregnancy, labor and delivery) is that she arrived on my grandparent’s 67th wedding anniversary.  About a month ago my mom called and asked if there was anything she could do to help us prepare for the baby.  I jokingly said that she could tell me when the baby would arrive so I wouldn’t be so anxious.  Mom said, “December 5th would be a special day – it was Grammie and Grandpa’s wedding anniversary.”  I of course said, “Oh wouldn’t that be awesome, and 5 is my favorite number!”  I never got to meet my Grandpa, he passed away a few years before I was born, and my Grammie is my hero and is one of the most exceptional women I know.  I always had a feeling Gabrielle would arrive early, and my husband always said she was coming the first weekend in December.  Another funny story about my labor beginning on December 4th and her arriving on December 5th is that earlier in the day on Friday, December 4th I was actually at Women and Babies for work – my coworker Amy and I were there for the discharge of a baby who was coming into our agency’s interim care.  We joked with the nurses in the nursery and with the social worker about when I would deliver.  They all told me to make sure I let my labor and delivery nurse know where I work so she can hook me up with a new room and all the special treatment! I guess being there in the nursery, hearing all the other adorable newborn babies cry and knowing that December 5th would be such a meaningful day was enough motivation for Gabrielle to bless us with her arrival.
I promise to add more about our hospital time, but I think this is a good start :o)

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