cherrypop_00_02: Isabell's Birth Story
Wednesday, September 10, 2008 10:54 AM
"The most wonderful thing in the world was
when my stepson met his sister for the first
time and held her. He was so curious and gentle as he held her.."
It's been six months since the birth of our little girl and this is the first time I've felt right about putting it all in writing. I will say that although I did have a wonderful experience; my labor and delivery did not go anything like I expected them to. I was completely prepared to be in it for the long haul, to have pain meds, and a possible c-section because of the concern over how small my pelvic opening is. Here's the story of my amazing daughter's birth that shocked us all...
On February 29, I had my 39 week appointment -- only two days after my mom had flown in from Florida to be here. I was 2-3 centimeters dilated and had only a lip left of effacement. The OB I was seeing that day decided to strip my membranes to see if we could get things started that way. If I didn't go into labor on my own, I would be induced on March 6th, my actual due date. After my appointment, my mother and I did a little last-minute shopping of some things I still needed (mostly newborn diapers that we had forgotten to get). It was a good thing we did...
Everyone had joked that Isabell would be born on February 29 and be a Leap Year baby. It was the one thing that I did not want, so I pleaded with her to stay in until after the February 29. Then it was up to her to decide! She listened to her mommy and at the exact turn of the hour starting March 1, I woke up to horrible contractions. I had been having them off and on for the last 2 days but nothing that felt real to me. I got up and went to the bathroom only to find that once I got there I was in too much pain to get back to the bed. So here I was sitting on the toilet thinking, "Great, now what?." I yelled to my husband Mark that I needed help and he came to get me up. I figured it was just sciatica pain and went back to bed. When I woke again I yelled at him to wake him up, and told him to call his mom to come over because we needed to go now. My mom woke up at this point to see what was going on and realized what was happening. Before I could say anything, she began timing the contractions to find they were already five minutes apart. As soon as my mother-in-law arrived to watch my stepson, we headed for the hospital.
The ride to the hospital
It was snowing like crazy when we left the house, so the thought going through my head was Please, God get us there safely. My mom sat in the backseat and continued to time my contractions, which were two minutes apart by the time we arrived at the hospital. Thank goodness the trip to the hospital was only a 20 minute drive.
We finally got to the hospital at 1 a.m. and checked in at the ER entrance (thank goodness for being preregistered!). Within 15 minutes I was checked in and wheeled up to my room where I began changing into my gown. Once in my gown, I was given the IV, which I usually hate but I have to say the nurse was wonderful and got it in on the first try. She also put it in while I was having a contraction, so I didn't feel a thing. They hooked me up the monitor, checked me (I was still at 2-3 cm dilated), and said they were going to notify the OB that was on call. They came back about a half-hour later to say that Dr. Schultz would be in shortly. I thanked God that Dr. Schultz was the doctor who was on call, because he was my favorite OB in the practice and I really liked his attitude. They checked me again and I was at four centimeters, so I asked for some pain meds. I was told no, since the baby's heart rate was starting to decelerate a little bit with the contractions, and also because the doctor needed to check me first.
Waiting to get started
Finally by 2 a.m. the doc arrived. He checked me and I was seven centimeters, but Isabell's heart rate was still fluxing a lot, so the doc didn't want to give me meds. He was afraid of what the baby's reaction might be. At this point I wasn't even thinking about pain meds anymore -- I just kept focusing on getting through it all and being done. Every time a contraction would come, I did the most natural thing to do when in pain: tighten up and hold my breath. I remember Mark and my mom telling me, "Breathe! You have to breathe," and I would let out the air I was holding and suck in more. At 3 a.m. I was checked again to find that I was at 10 cm and ready to go.
All I could think was Thank God I'm ready to do this. I felt so much pressure. I kept telling the nurse there was pressure and I wanted to push and she would say I had to wait for the doctor. I told her finally to get the doctor because I was definitely ready. She paged him and we did a few pushes while waiting for him to come in. Since I was the only woman on the floor that night, it didn't take long. I was on my side and pushing, which felt so much better than anything else did at the time to have her come down.
After a few pushes on my side, they moved me onto my back and got everything set up. It seemed like forever for them to break the bed down to deliver. I pushed and pushed and pushed some more. Then I heard, "Hold on, stop" and I couldn't help but think, "Wait, what? Stop? Why?" I found out afterwards that Isabell tried to come out with her arm up by her head. So when her head came out with her hand, the doctor had to push it back in to position her shoulders properly. This involved needing an episiotomy, which hurt some and felt like a paper cut. Pushing the baby back in hurt so much worse than any of the pushing did. Once that was done though, her head popped right back out, without a hand this time. Two more pushes later and Isabell was born at 3:25 a.m. -- after only 3 1/2 hours of labor.
After briefly seeing my beauty, it was time to get some stitches since on top of the episiotomy I had a wonderful third-degree tear. It seems that since everything went so quickly, my muscles didn't have time to stretch enough for her to get through without tearing. So as they were cleaning her up, and taking measurements and pictures, I was being stitched up. This actually took longer to do than it took me to push her out. The whole time I kept saying "I can't believe I just did that." The doctor said that it was nice to see that I was in such great spirits and was able to joke around through the whole thing (though I must say, I don't remember joking). He told me that I mentioned that I wished she would've waited a few more days, so we could watch the Red Wings game while we were in the hospital (since we don't have cable at home and would miss it).
Once we got over the excitement and had time to spend with our baby girl, the exhaustion finally hit me and I was out. Mark asked the nurse to take her to the nursery so that I could sleep and then he went to breakfast with my mom. I later learned that he talked the whole time about how amazed he was at the whole process and how proud he was of me. He didn't have a real opportunity to be involved much with his son's birth, since the mother wouldn't let him be in the room. So still to this day he's amazed by what my body can do. I spent the rest of the night and day sleeping, until the nurse came in to ask if I wanted to take a shower. I did and it was heavenly.
Afterwards, I got some breakfast and then family started to show up to meet her. The most wonderful thing in the world that I will cherish forever was when my stepson (whom I've now adopted) met his sister for the first time and held her. He was so curious and gentle as he held her in the chair, and gave her a kiss to welcome her to the outside world. He thought it was funny that he had picked the right day that she would be born and that they would have the same month for their birthdays. Their bond has kept growing since that moment.
We checked out on Sunday afternoon and were able to take our precious little girl home. At 7 pounds and 20 inches, Isabell Marlene was a healthy wonderful baby; who has been growing and exploring the world every day since.
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