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I posted this in the wrong section of the board, so this is a re-post
If you want to read it with the pictures, visit The Birth of Sophie
Anyway, here's the text only
The Birth of Sophie
I wanted to be able to write this when I had the time to really sit down and think about the events leading up to Sophie's birth. Of course with a newborn you rarely have these moments, and when you do, you probably should be sleeping!
Sophie turned one week old yesterday, the birth seems like it happened months ago. Bits and pieces of the birth have been coming back to me over the past week, I figured I should start recording what I remembered!
It's funny because when Sean and Kelsea tell their versions of the birth there are moments when I'm like, "When did that happen?" or "Seriously???" This is why Sean and I will each write our own versions. Here's mine.
Wednesday, June 30th
We were supposed to check in at L&D by 7:30am. We didn't pull out of the driveway until probably about that time and ended up at the hospital at 7:45am. Sean was crammed in the backseat with the birthing ball since this was the only way we could all fit in the car.
Kristin (the doula) had beat us to the hospital by 30 minutes at least, so our room was all "set up" once we arrived with her essential oils, hypnobabies tracks, LCD candles....you name it. It smelled wonderful and very "home-y".
By 9:15am I was hooked up and the nurse inserted the first tablet of misoprostol. I was already contracting a little once we arrived, but now the contractions started to have some sort of a pattern.
At about 12:30pm she checked me again. Still only 1.5-2cm, 80% effaced and -2 station. Our OB gave her the "go" to insert another tablet of Misoprostol.
Sean, Kelsea, and I spent the entire afternoon watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix. Kristin was in and out for most of the afternoon since we told her to rest until the "big show" when we really needed her. I did get some wonderful foot massages with her oils before she left. Everyone who would come in our room kept talking about how nice it smelled!
At around 4pm our OB came in and checked me, I was maybe 2, 2.5cm. Baby was still pretty high. This was really frustrating because I couldn't get up to labor, my blood pressure was gradually getting higher and would STAY high if I was doing anything but laying on my left side, and I knew I was on a timeline at this point. I think in my head I was hoping that I would go into active labor on my own without the use of misoprostol so we could avoid Pitocin.
I was contracting too regularly with the misoprostol so at 5pm I was put on 3ml/hr of Pitocin. The plan was for me to labor all night with an increase of 3ml/hr every 30 minutes which was something I was really, really not happy about since I've read so many horror stories about Pitocin and how it intensifies contractions.
I had my first BIG contraction at about 7:00pm that evening. I say "big" because it was the first one that I had that I really paniced with and needed Sean and Kelsea to talk me through. I still don't feel like I was in "true" labor at this point.
At 11pm Sean and Kelsea convinced me to take the Ambien that the OB ordered (I was afraid I was going to go into active labor in the middle of the night and be in an Ambien-induced haze!) so I could be good and rested for the next day. I am SO thankful that I listened to them!
Thursday, July 1st
At 5:30am I woke up from a big contraction and what I thought was a gush. I told the nurse I felt wet and sure enough my water had broken on it's own! I was really happy about this because I did not want the OB to break my water in hopes of "speeding things up". After a quick examination it was determined that the water was meconium stained.
I started having hard contractions within that first hour that my water broke. Kelsea sent Kristin a text just to give her an update, and by the time Kristin had responded I had decided that I NEEDED her. She was at our room by shift change, which was really exciting because we learned that we got a friend and favorite nurse of Kristin's, Mel. This is when I considered myself "in labor".
Sometime shortly after that I was checked and found out that I was about 3cm and 100% effaced. I was really excited because I was progressing finally! I think the baby had come down to -1 station at this point as well.
Things were definitely getting rough...
Sean was amazing.
They decided to try to let me labor OUT of bed in the glider, but when they started checking my blood pressure the numbers were just insane. They made me get back into bed laying on my left side, and for the first time this didn't help my blood pressures one bit. Even with the blood pressure medication (a beta blocker) they put in my IV it didn't seem to go down the way they wanted.
At this time we all knew the best thing for me (and Sophie) would be the epidural to hopefully bring my blood pressure down. If the blood pressure wouldn't get under control, I knew I would most definitely be having a c-section. I actually didn't know this until after her birth, but our OB told Kristin and Sean that the chance of me having a c-section at this point was 50/50.
I was a little disappointed but I knew that this is what HAD to happen. Kristin did the "change of plans" Hypnobabies script and by the time she finished the anesthesiologist was in the room explaining the epidural insertion process. Before he put the epidural in, Mel checked me and I had made it to 5cm. I was proud. I was in active labor. This was as far as my body would allow me to go on my own.
The epidural wasn't what I had imagined it would be. I was COMPLETELY freaked out at the thought of having a needle inserted into my spine. My entire pregnancy I had read all the risks of an epidural, I knew exactly why I didn't want one, and here I was having one.
After the epidural things seemed to move pretty quickly. The next time I was checked I was already at 7cm! By 3:00pm that afternoon I was at 9 1/2cm! It was around this time (transition) that I really noticed my epidural wasn't working. I could feel contractions again, I started vomiting, I could move my feet, etc. The anesthesiologist came back in and kept "juicing" me back up and everytime I would get checked it was like I could feel everything again.
At 4:30 Mel told me I could start pushing everytime I felt like I needed to, and I was definitely feeling like I needed to!
Kelsea and Sean will tell you this was the funniest part of my labor because instead of cussing/being loud everytime I would have a contraction, I would say "OH MY GOD, YA'LL...." The only way I can describe it is intense. I felt like I was losing complete control of my body. There was a mirror where I could see what was "going on" down there (whoa!) and everyone kept saying they could see her head and how much hair she had. I couldn't see anything, but I think I was just too worried to focus enough so I could see.
I kept worrying about the doctor being there to catch her and the respiratory baby nurse who came and talked to me earlier that day. A lot of our birth plan had to be changed due to the meconium they kept seeing in the fluid, but we completely understood. We wanted to delay her cord clamping but they have to cut immediately when there is meconium to avoid the baby swallowing any. There was also a chance they wouldn't be placing her directly on my chest after birth. In a worst case scenario she could have even spent time in the NICU! I was no longer worried about what plans we had or even about myself, I just wanted our baby to be born healthy.
After what seemed like hours of pushing, our OB shows up and is ready to catch the baby. One of the biggest concerns about my Brain AVM was the cranial pressure during delivery. I think *I* was even surprised at how hard I had to push, and during the peak of every contraction I could feel my head throbbing on my right side. I started to get scared and not push as good as I could. I know there are studies that suggest that the increase of blood volume in pregnancy is more dangerous than the cranial pressure when you push, but when you're actually in the midst of pushing a baby out, those statistics don't matter to you.
One gigantic push later....
Sophie Jean Christensen was born at 5:06pm!
(After 31 minutes, not hours, of pushing)
Truly the most amazing moment of our lives. They threw her on my chest immediately since she cried out BEFORE her entire body was delivered. Sean cut the cord, we were both in awe of what had just occurred. Not only was our baby here, but she was healthy.
Someone (I had my eyes closed during that last big push, lol) yelled out, "Wow, big baby!" Also, as you can see from that first picture, I had a little assistance from the vacuum for the final push and a half.
Kelsea said when our OB walked in the room he said he was about to deliver his "long shot". I totally beat all the odds. I feel like I need to write "boo-yah" letters to all of the doctors who yelled c-section without getting to know me, all who doubted my ability to birth a baby vaginally.
Finally, we weighed her...
7lb, 15oz! I think had we weighed her immediately after birth she would have been 8lbs. My mother jokingly asked, "Why didn't they just round it off?" LOL!
About two hours later (after shift change) the next nurse came in and asked if we were ready to do her first bath. I still wasn't allowed to walk due to the epidural, but Sean helped give her first bath.
The next two days flew by and by Saturday morning we could go home. Our OB was going to let us go home Friday evening, but I felt like I needed a little more help breastfeeding. After a couple of VERY hard nights, breastfeeding is going awesome! It's seriously the greatest thing ever, I love the little noises she makes.
I know it's so incredibly cliche' to say this, but it's amazing how much you can love someone and something so tiny that you just met. Didn't we just find out that we were pregnant? I can't believe how fast 9 months went by, and how fast this first week went by. I get weepy when I think about how fast she is going to grow up and how one day she'll have babies of her own. I can't imagine what my mother must feel right now.
Sean and I just feel so incredibly blessed to have such a special gift in our lives. She is such a little blessing and we love her so stinkin' much. My parents are up here visiting right now, it's so sweet to see them with Sophie. They are simply infatuated with her.