Monday, May 7, 2012

Birth Story - Part 2: Labor and Delivery

(catch up with Part 1 here)

....Is my water breaking?! 

I ran upstairs and it happened again. And again about 3 minutes after that. It was about 3:30pm. I called the on call nurse, who told me to come in and get checked out.  The office is only two miles down the road, so I figured I'd make it okay. I told the Husband to get home and I threw on a pair of his sweats, a heavy pad (that thankfully I had just bought the day before for postpartum preparation), and grabbed a towel for the car.  As I went to pull out of my development, I was stopped for local school bus.  And then stuck behind the thing the whole 2 miles to doctor's office - go figure!!

At 3:45, I got to the doctor's office and was luckily seen in less than 5 minutes - an office record!  The nurse, who I just seen a week earlier for a fear that I was leaking amniotic fluid then, I was not, came in and immediately confirmed that my water was indeed breaking and that I was to head to the hospital.

The Husband met me at home and took out and fed the dogs while I tried to throw a bag together waddling around with a towel between my legs. After trying to grab all I could think of needing, we headed to the hospital around 4:45pm.

After a bit of rush hour traffic, we made it to the hospital in about 30 minutes and got checked in.  We went through all the paperwork and my contractions started. They were very irregular and I was officially in early labor.  Since I was hoping for a natural birth, I decided since I was only 35 weeks along, I had to put priority on getting Ashlynn here the safest way possible over my ego. Her heart rate was strong and they were fine letting me try to get labor going on my own without induction drugs or a cervical check. I did have to have antibiotics because of my water breaking, which can lead to a risk of infection.  I was okay with it  since so much was unknown.

I also was monitored almost constantly, though I didn't have to be, I did like being able to see the patterns in my contractions. I labored the whole night with no real change in contractions and no sleep. From 2-3 minutes apart and back to 8 minutes.  We played Pandora and I labored about half the night in the glider. 

The doctor did the first cervical check at 7am, she was holding off until active labor kicked in because she wanted to reduce infection risk.  I was fully effaced - awesome, but only 1cm - not so awesome. They let me labor another 3 hours until the next doctor came on for the day at 10am.  My contractions were more of the same, pattern was irregular and frequency and intensity had not increased.

At this point it had been 19 hours since my water broke.  We had the pitocin talk. I REALLY wanted to avoid pitocin. I knew if I got pitocin, the door for the epidural would also be opening.  However, I was becoming concerned for A, too.  Even though her heart rate was stable and my blood pressure was looking good, I couldn't help but wonder if something else was going on since I was only 35 weeks along.  I agreed to starting the drip as I was told it could be another day before my labor progressed from 'early' to 'active' and I knew that couldn't be good for our little girl.

Contractions increased quickly, as did the pain and back labor.  I was also now confined to laboring in the bed since the monitors had to stay in place due to the pitocin drip. With each contraction my back would spasm and arch, then my shoulders would tense and my hands would clench.  The Husband tried to walk me through some of the hypnobirthing exercises, and I would relax my shoulders and hands, but I could never get my back relaxed until the contraction ended .

I was so exhausted from being awake since 7am Tuesday morning (it was now 11am Wednesday) and not eating much of anything, I was afraid at the pace we were going I was going to run out of energy before transition and time to push, I was already getting very pale and shaking between the contractions.  I was afraid if I didn't have the energy to finish labor, a c-section would be required to get her out.

At 11:40 I decided to ask for the epidural in hopes I could get an hour of sleep or so while finally dilating and get back on track for delivery. The epi was delivered at 12:20pm and by almost 1pm I was feeling pressure from the contractions, but no pain - Hallelujah! At 1:30pm the Husband and I were both about to lay down and try to get a nap in, but the doctor came in to check my progress.

post epi... smiling again, going to meet our baby so soon!

"Well, you're done. There's the head - so much hair! We're having a baby now."

I went from 1 cm to 10 cm in less than 3hrs! My contractions never were regular, still anywhere from 2 min to 6min apart so the nurses had no idea I had progressed so far, so quickly. And since I had just had the epidural administered an hour before, my legs were dead. I could feel them and wiggle my toes, but they felt like dead weight (like when you fall asleep on your arm!).  A team of nurses rushed in and started breaking down the bed and setting up the room.  I was told I was to bear down and push at my next contraction, which of course we had to patiently wait for...

Due to the numbness down my lower half, I had zero clue if my "pushes" were working.  It seemed like a lot of face making and "grrr" noises.  The Husband looked over and confirmed the head was right there (and so there was so much hair). The doctor asked for my hand and placed it on her head and I freaked! I couldn't believe it was real since I couldn't feel anything!   I pushed for 4 contractions (4 pushes each one) over the course of 10 minutes and then was told to stop. The next thing I know she was being placed on my chest. The Husband was able to cut the cord and they took her after about 5 or10 minutes to do her vital checks in room since she was preemie and they wanted to make sure a NICU visit wasn't necessary. She scored 8/9 on her APGARS and had stable blood sugar at 56 - they wanted anything over 40.

Ashlynn Hazel born at 1:53pm on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, after 22.5 hours of labor. 5lbs 1oz and 17 1/4" long.

Even though she is considered a "near term preemie" she was allowed to stay in room and was healthy enough to never need a trip to the NICU.  Thank goodness, even almost 3 weeks later, I can't bare the though of her not being with me!

As usual for most deliveries, ours didn't go according to "plan".  In fact, we never even had the chance to write up our birth plan for our doctors and team of nurses.  We had just finished our Hypnobirthing course the Saturday before she was born and I had a word document template ready to be filled in on my computer the night she was born.  I guess like most babies, she didn't give a damn what we wanted and with her deciding to come so early, we didn't really care too much about we wanted other than safe and speedy delivery of a healthy little girl.

I can't believe I "missed out" on the hardest part of labor.  I think some women may feel cheated, as they do with emergency c-sections, but I'm just thrilled our little 5 pound baby is healthy and here in our arms.

We love you, Ashlynn.  More than you'll ever comprehend.


  1. Epidurals are amazing things, aren't they ;) She's absolutely beautiful and I adore these pictures of her and you right after she was born. Congratulations again!

  2. What a beautiful story and result . She is so gorgeous.

  3. I agree with you - what's most important is that your little girl is safe and in your arms. That first picture made me tear up - brings me back to my daughters birth day - such an amazing experience!

  4. Such an amazing story!! Thanks so much for sharing! And I feel like keeping an open mind is really the most important thing since so much can happen that's out of your control! But how amazing to have a relatively smooth labor and now have her in your arms! xo

  5. Your story was beautiful, thanks for sharing! I'm sitting at my desk in tears, I'm in my 10th week of my first pregnancy and I am a scared, nervous, emotional mess but reading this really puts everything into perspective :). You have a beautiful daughter!

  6. What a strange labor!! I respect your decision to want to try and go natural but how great for you to decide to go for the epidural due to the safety of your child!! Thank you so much for sharing this story with us and keeping it real, not romanticizing the whole thing. Good job Mommy!!!

    She is just beautiful! I am beyond happy for you two!

    ♥ Ashley

  7. i can't believe A was so healthy at 35 weeks! My baby Blair weighed a whole pound more and STILL had to spend 10 days in the NICU at 35 weeks...crazy how different babies can be!

  8. Thank you so much everyone! It will be a day I never ever forget!

  9. I found your blog through Natasha at and I just love it! I'm 20 weeks and can't seem to get enough of blogs/bloggers who are pregnant/new moms.

    What a beautiful birth story, regardless of it not going the way you wished! So glad Ashlynn didn't have to be sent to NICU, what a relief :-)

  10. Hi Ashley, congrats on your pregnancy!!


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