December 23, 2013

Mary's Arrival

This will be a very long post - fair warning.

Last weekend was a very busy one for us which was good as it kept me busy, mostly out of my head, and made the time pass quickly before my Monday morning induction. The morning prior to the induction we spent the morning hanging out, playing with Finn, baking, giving Finn a bath, and just lounging about.

After Finn's nap we drove down near Austin to visit with Miles' family who was in town and to celebrate an early Christmas with them. We left Finn with his Aunt and Uncle and cousins for the night. I thought I was going to get really emotional putting him to bed, but I didn't. For one, Finn wanted Dadda to put him to bed (thanks, kid) and secondly, Finn was SO excited to get to stay the night with his Aunt Jenny who he adores. I think knowing he was so happy made it a lot easier on me.

What a stink face, Finn!

We drove back home and linked up with our friend and photographer Neely who came out to capture the delivery, and then got ready for the next morning. As we were driving back home I started to get that anxious/nervous feeling - like I was just about to run a race or had something big coming up - ya know, like giving birth. At any rate, the nerves made it hard to sleep. I had my alarm set for 4:30am which is when I could call the hospital to ensure there was a room available and if so, I could go in at 6am. Naturally, I woke up at 4am and couldn't go back to sleep so I showered, did kick counts, even blow dried my hair and got a little something to eat.

At an appointment at nearly 36 weeks, I was 1cm dilated. Hoping that I would progress more in the coming weeks, I was disappointed when the week prior to my induction, at over 37 weeks, I was still only at 1cm. But last weekend I really thought things were moving in the right direction and wouldn't have minded if I went into labor naturally. So when we showed up to the hospital a little after 6am, and by the time I got all hooked up to the monitors and my doctor came by to check me, I was even more disappointed to learn that at over 38 weeks, I was STILL just 1cm. I knew that meant it could be a long day. But at least we were finally admitted, hooked up to the monitors, listening to a healthy baby, and anxious to get things under way. The end was in sight. (Side note, all or most of these are pictures from our cell phones. Neely captured the quality, professional pictures and I look forward to sharing them later on.)

My doctor started me on a low dose pitocin drip at 7:45am. This was not to jump start painful contractions, but rather help the umm, "ripening" process. Four hours later I was at 2cm. Three hours after that I was at 3cm. By 4:30, nearly ten hours in, I was still at only "a good three." By then the contractions were picking up and while still bearable, I knew they would become much more uncomfortable when my doctor broke my water. I opted to get an epidural prior to her breaking my water as she said they would need to push down on my stomach a little bit to help bring the baby down. That on top of the contractions I was feeling and the act itself of breaking my water just seemed miserable without the epidural. I was very torn though because I didn't want it to stall out labor since I wasn't even 4cm (With Finn, I didn't get an epidural until after 7cm and my water had been broken already). But my OB reassured me that I was unlikely to stall as not only would breaking my water help things progress, but she would be increasing the pitocin as well. I also had a really great nurse who said "in my experience, no one ever regrets getting an epidural." Valid point.

At 5pm my nurse walked in the room and said, "I brought Santa Claus" and I kid you not, Santa walked in to give me sweet, sweet pain relief for Christmas:

When he introduced himself as Jeff something or other, I said "no it's not, your name is Kris Kringle." I'm sure I was the first person to be so witty. Har har. But he was a great sport and even threw in some "Ho, Ho, Ho's" at some point.

After Santa left, it was less than thirty minutes before my OB was back to break my water. She broke it at 5:39pm and then told me I would not be having a baby that day and she didn't think I would deliver until 2 or 3 in the morning. She left the room and I cried. Because holy hell, I was not mentally prepared for that. My induction was scheduled for the 16th so I was going to have a baby on the 16th, damn it!

Sad and frustrated, I told Miles and Neely to go and get something to eat. Miles hadn't left all day and if I wasn't even 4cm when she broke my water, it could very well be a long night. I said I would try to rest while they were gone, and we would just have Finn come back in the morning so he could go to bed at his normal time. They left shortly after 6pm.

By 6:20 I realized that my contractions had picked up. A lot. I was kinda caught off guard by this because I had just gotten an epidural and shouldn't be feeling anything (though I could still wiggle my toes and move my legs - it wasn't like I was totally numb). My nurse came back in to check on me and said she wanted the Doctor to check me again as she didn't think I should be feeling the contractions as much as I was. Santa also came back to evaluate what was going on - he increased the epidural a little bit, but that only seemed to make my right leg more numb. He had warned me that sometimes they take differently and sometimes are more or less effective than one would think. I had just assumed it would be just like how it was with Finn (I also had an epidural with Cale, in addition to a crap ton of other pain meds they don't normally give you if your baby is alive but the timing of that is such a blur). I assumed that I'd get instant relief and that would be that. But this was definitely not the case and the intensity and frequency of the contractions were only getting stronger. So I sent a text to Miles and Neely and told them I was in some pain and my OB would be checking me soon. They, along with my sister-in-law Jenny, rushed back to the hospital after scarfing down some food and arrived around 6:30. As they walked back in my OB had finished checking and said that I had progressed nicely to 5cm and the baby was lower. She said maybe she was wrong and that I would in fact have this baby before midnight.

With the contractions not letting up any and the fact that I was needing to focus on breathing through them, I was still a little bummed to only be at 5cm. And by a little bummed, I mean I cried again which only made me lose focus on my breathing and then start to freak out that I was going to hyperventilate because it was really hard to breathe, contract, and not freak out all at once. I don't really know why I was having that reaction - maybe because of the pain, maybe because of all these emotions trying to escape, or maybe I just really didn't want to wait until midnight to meet this baby! Whatever the case, Miles and Jenny were on each side of me massaging my hands (which felt like they were cramping up - probably from me freaking out) and saying sweet things to help me concentrate and not lose it (again).

A little after 7pm (about thirty minutes later) my OB came back in the room. She asked if I was pushing (I wasn't) and said that she was watching the monitor and it looked like my uterus was trying to push out a baby. So she checked me again and somewhat laughed and smiled when she said "well, you proved me wrong. You're complete."

She left to go get things ready and while I was so happy and excited for it to be "go time" I was also still having to breathe through the contractions and try to manage the pain. Just as I did for Finn's delivery, I had Miles put Cale's picture in my hospital gown pocket, but also put a picture of Finn in there. I had one intense contraction that made me feel like I really did need to push so Jenny rushed out to let them know. When they came back in and had me get in position, my OB immediately said "I can see a lot of hair" so we knew baby was close! She said "ok, hun - you're going to get this baby out in one push," and had me grab my legs and take a deep breath and push on my next contraction. Jenny held one leg, Miles the other, and with a couple deep breaths I started to push.

Next thing I know Miles is saying, "do you want me to tell you!? Do you want me to tell you?" And I realized he meant tell me the gender. I didn't realize the baby was out far enough for him to know so almost wasn't expecting it and just as we heard that wonderful cry, Miles said "I think it's a girl! Yeah, yeah - it's a girl!" (He said he had to double check as the doctor's hand was positioned just over the baby's bits and he didn't want to say the wrong thing). I couldn't stop crying and even laughing a little bit - a girl! A perfect and healthy baby girl was laid on my chest - born at 7:39pm, exactly two hours after my doctor had broken my water.

Mary wrapped in the same blanket her brother's were wrapped in at birth.

Having a girl was such a shock to us. It made waiting to find out the gender even more exciting, and while we both kind thought maybe the baby was a girl, a boy wouldn't have been nearly as much of a surprise. The nurse who works with the MFM I saw had referred to the baby as "he" a couple weeks prior to my delivery so that really threw me for a loop - wondering if she slipped up or not.

Miles gave Mary her first bath, something he also did with Finn:

And we spent the rest of the evening in a surreal sense of awe, getting to know the little lady who joined our family.




  1. So. So. Awesome. Welcome to the world tiny!!

  2. What an incredible birth! You were simply astonishing in your composure and ability to let her do what she needed to be born. That is tremendously difficult after loss. Way to go!

  3. Incredible! Good work, amazing mama! I can't think of a more natural reaction to 'dilation discouragement' than the crying and hyperventilating cycle. (That and wanting to punch whoever tells you). But you did great! And I don't know why I thought I'd get through this post without having to stop and de-fog...I made it to the part about the pictures of Cale and Finn in your pocket. How very, very special--and his blanket too. Can't wait to see Neely's pictures to go along with these of yours that are so beautiful and meaningful!

  4. I love her. I can't believe how much she looks like her brothers. <3

    Excellent dilatation techniques, way to prove the doctor wrong! lol. :)

  5. I love her, too. She's beautiful.

    With Benjamin, they broke my waters and I was about 7cm before they gave the epi... and only because the technician was practically waiting outside my door and wouldn't be available later. I wasn't in much pain! Hoping that continues as I embark on another birthing journey in the coming weeks... hopefully to welcome Mary's friend. :)

  6. This made me teary-eyed. So happy for you guys and your sweet Mary.

  7. I'm late to comment, but read this birth story right away!
    I love her. I just love her.

    So proud of you. I must admit, I'm getting a bit of baby fever from this... kiss that soft skin behind her neck for me <3