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Matilda’s Birth Story
July 4 (40 weeks exactly)
8 pounds, 8 ounces
21 inches long
vacuum assisted vaginal delivery with an epidural and augmented with pitocin
Disappointment turns to early labor
Monday June 30th (39w3d) I had my regular OB visit. I was only 1cm and not effaced at all. Matilda was still at -3 station, but because I had noticed a slow down in her movements, we did an NST. She did great on her NST, but she had a few decels in her heart rate during contractions, so they sent me to the high risk office for an AFI. The AFI revealed that we had a pretty low fluid level—6.9, so they scheduled me to come back for a follow-up biophysical profile on Thursday July 3. It sounded like they were thinking induction.
DH and I were all ready for induction. We had a reservation for the dogs at the kennel, the house was clean, laundry was done, and the bags were in the car. So we went in Thursday morning for the test, and everything was perfectly normal. I broke down in tears in the office—I was just so tired of being pregnant! They looked and looked and looked at everything and just couldn’t find any reason to do an induction. They said she could be in there for a while.
To cheer me up after the appointment, DH took me out to Red Robin and I had a delicious, very malty, chocolate malt. Then we went home, I took a long bath, and early evening we went to see Wanted. It was a fluff movie, but it took my mind off things and I enjoyed myself. But I noticed during the movie that I had developed a back ache that would come and go. By 7:00pm, I noticed that I could time the back ache and it wasn’t easing up, it was getting stronger and I was having some contractions.
I don’t believe it’s the real thing
By 11:30 I tried to go to bed, but it hurt too much to lay down, so I just grabbed a blanket and sat in the rocking chair and tried to get some sleep, but the contractions were getting stronger. I didn’t believe that it was labor—I believed I would be pregnant forever. DH came upstairs and found me in the chair and convinced me to let him time the contractions. He timed them for a little over an hour and they were all 3-5 minutes apart and lasted 45 to 75 seconds.
I STILL didn’t believe it was the real thing, so DH talked me into calling L&D. They said it sounded like early labor, and I could come in whenever I wanted, but I might want to labor at home for a while where I’d be more comfortable. I told DH to go ahead and go to sleep—I still didn’t really think it was time. That was 1:30am.
By 7:00am I still hadn’t gotten any sleep and nothing was stopping the contractions. They were getting stronger, but I could still talk and walk through them mostly, so I just didn’t think it hurt enough to be labor. But I was so tired I figured I’d go into L&D and get checked and see if maybe they could give me something to help me sleep.
Off to the hospital
At 7:30 we got to the hospital. I still figured we’d be sent home, so I only brought in the labor bag and left the overnight bags and pillows in the car.
They checked me in, and a nurse came to check me and I was at 3cm and 80% effaced! My doctor arrived at 8:30, checked my printouts and said the magic words “you’re definitely in labor!”
I was so shocked and thrilled that I didn’t even take the time to get scared. DH got busy arranging for the dogs to be taken to the kennel, and I got prepared to settle in for a long wait. The nurse told DH he should go get himself breakfast before things started happening, and our Dr. said that we should be having a baby around dinner time.
Since I’m GBS+ I had to get hooked up for the antibiotic drip. I have rolling veins, so after digging around in my arm for a bit, they called IV therapy down to get me set up and started the penicillin. My contractions were still light enough that I noticed the antibiotics stinging.
While DH was out getting breakfast (and dealing with his parents) the doctor came and broke my water. Since my contractions weren’t in a very reliable rhythm anymore, they decided to start some pitocin. Around 10:30 they started the pitocin, I was still a 3.
I wasn’t having terrible contractions or terrible back pain, if I was sitting up, but when they made me lay down, the pain was awful. Thankfully they didn’t make me lay down very often!
Around 1:00 they checked me again and I was still 3 cm but 100% effaced—but Matilda was so low—already +2, that when the nurse first checked me she thought I was complete!
Walking to try to progress
We decided to walk around a bit to try to get things to progress. I stood up and the nurse started changing my monitors to portable monitors. Before she was finished changing the monitors, I was sweating and shaking and basically went from 3 to 5 just from standing up and I was entering transition. I begged for the epidural.
The Epidural—from 5 to 10 in less than 2 hours!
That’s when they noticed that my IV had kinked and the fluids I needed to have before I could get the epi hadn’t been administered! Arg! They put a pressure cuff on the fluid bag to speed up the delivery of the fluids after they got the IV fixed, and around 2:30 they finally administered the epidural. It was wonderful. I felt better than I had since I’d gotten pregnant! I took a nap… for an hour. At 3:30 I woke up feeling horrible! I paged the nurse to tell her that the epi wasn’t working any more, I was in horrible pain! She checked me and I was an 8! They turned up the epi but it didn’t seem to be doing anything except that I couldn’t really move… especially my right leg. I was in so much pain I started vomiting. The nurse checked me again at 4 when I started vomiting and said I was a 10, but there was a “lip” left. They called my doctor and when he came in around 4:10, he said it was time to start pushing.
Pushing—she came sunny-side up!
I started pushing semi-reclined on my back and they said I was making good progress, but Matilda’s heart rate was dropping. I couldn’t really feel the contractions so they had to tell me when to push. Shortly, even though I couldn’t feel the contractions, I could feel the urge to push and knew when to do it. But, I had to roll over and push on my side with an oxygen mask for Matilda, and when I did that, she seemed to be handling things ok.
I pushed for an hour and a half. By the end of the first hour, I started to think I wouldn’t be able to do it. Turned out she was face up. I was getting very tired and needed some help, so they used the vacuum to assist her delivery. DH didn’t think he would look, but when they had him holding my leg he looked and he said it was just amazing to see her come out looking up at him. After the head was out, the rest was delivered in one push at 5:58pm.
I guess she pooped on her way out because when we started the fluid was clear, but when she was born they didn’t let DH cut the cord, and they just let me have her for a second before they took her and started working on her. But she was fine.
I delivered the placenta four minutes later and the doctor started stitching me up. It took about 45 minutes! I was so impatient, I just wanted to hold my baby!
She was 8 pounds, 8 ounces, with a full head of light brown hair and 21 inches long. I can’t believe how punctual she was—on her due date and just in time for dinner like the doctor said!
She wasn’t even that wrinkly and I didn’t notice any vernix. Blood yes, but none of the cheesy stuff or extra hair and she was pink and plump. She had a swelling on her head from the vacuum, but that was gone before we went to sleep. She was (and is) perfect.
I can’t describe the overwhelming love I felt when I brought my daughter into this world. I would do anything for her. And I know women all over the world do it every day, but I was so proud that I had delivered my daughter! There were 20 babies at the hospital that day (my hospital is not big—they’re used to 8-10 babies) and I was one of only 2 vaginal births that day. Matilda was not the biggest baby in the nursery—there was a 9.5lb boy, but she was the longest.
Now that we’ve been home for a little over a week, we’re settling into a breastfeeding routine, and healing, and just more and more in love every day.
What a wonderful birth Jen! I'm so happy for you that it was such a wonderful experience (well, except for maybe vomiting). And she is so beautiful! And WTG having one of the only 2 births out of 20! You're awesome!