Sunday, March 30, 2014

Baby Evie Birth. Long, Boring, and/or useful Birthing Story by Danelle

We were getting so excited for you, Evelyn, to come. We had picked out a name, I had decorated your nursery, my daughter Adeline was helping with so many things and loved to play in your nursery rocker chair with the pink minky boppy and tend to her doll like it was you as a little baby.

I took some pregnant belly pics for the nursery and memory book.

35 weeks

32 weeks

You passed your due date, Feb 19. I was having contractions and dilating here and there, but nothing too much. But then Sat Feb 22, I had a lot of contractions in the middle of the night and I thought Dad and I would have to leave at 3 am and find someone to watch Adeline. But I went back to sleep, I was too tired to deal with it, and luckily, no baby came during the night when I felt unprepared with no one to help Adeline. Grandma Anne came over on Sunday the 23 to help, and it was marvelous. We even went to the hospital on that day, they had me don a hospital gown, I laid in bed, and they monitored me, but then my contractions slowed down. My doctor wasn't around to deliver that day anyway so we left. Snuck out the back door before they could say the words "induce labor."

Anne decided to stay and help until Grandma Margie arrived Tues evening, Feb 25. It was a great relief to have them both help.

Dad and I went to the gym a few times while Grandma Rowley or Grandma Brown would stay with Adeline after 8 pm, hoping to get me walking on a treadmill to induce labor once Adeline had gone down to sleep for the night. This winter had had some pretty terrible weather so we would go outside to walk when we could (not often!) or get to the gym. Still, you were a no-show. The 24th came and went, the day I thought you'd come, a due date I calculated at 40 weeks. Then a lot of my friends and family hoped you would come on the 25th because a lot of them had birthdays.

At 41 weeks, I was scheduled for an induction on Feb 27 at 5 am!!! Grandma Anne left for St Louis and Grandma Margie arrived from Utah on the evening of the 25th. We got to hang out and shop at Target on the morning of the 26th. My contractions started up in Target and were getting pretty bad. It was hard to walk. I called Dad to meet us at St Mary's hospital. The contractions were bad for about 20-30 min. We got to the checkout line but then things slowed down and I had to call Dad back and tell him to stay at work.

Finally, the bright and early morn of Thurs Feb 27 arrived. We sleepily got ready and headed to the hospital, a gorgeous orange, nearly new crescent moon hanging low in the sky by the Missouri Capitol building in Jefferson City.

41 weeks

We went to check in, I brought my camera and we got some photos. I wasn't really having any contractions so early and I had only had Greek yogurt and some water for breakfast. The night nurse finished up with me and the day nurse, Karla, took over. At 6 am she got me going with the labor-inducing pitocin.

Hello pitocin my old friend. I hate you.

Made in Canada? I don't know if that bodes well. ;-) *wink*

This was the only part of the birth when I cried. I was keeping it together, but the needle was so yucky and I could feel it pinching me terribly for the next hour or two! Usually if you get a shot or give blood the sting goes away quickly and then you are done. This, not so much. I didn't cry during labor or the pushing, just the stinkin' stupid big catheter needle. I don't know if the nurse did a very good job placing it. What a pain.

Pitocin selfie!

It was a flashback of Adeline's delivery when my water broke but I wasn't having any contractions and needed pitocin to get things going. Then I could feel the contractions already coming around pitocin level 2, but they would weaken and slow. The nurse kept upping dosage until I finally hit 14 a few hours later. (Kind of out of 20 max, although it can go to 30.) It was pretty intense, but I was deep-breathing and getting enough break time (2 min) between contractions that I could just barely handle it. Let me tell you, I let my body relax for those short breaks! A lifesaver.

I was getting hungry and dehydrated. The hospital broth left something to be desired. Adam went to get lunch and brought me back some delicious nutritious broth from the store and it tasted so great! I think I'm gonna crave that stuff even when I'm not pregnant!

I slowly dilated and effaced, maybe a cm or less an hour. I was about a 4-5 and 75% effaced when Dr. Berendzen broke my water. It was 3 pm. (She said she'd break it at noon but I'm glad she gave me more time.) Around 5 cm and 3:30 pm, I started to 'transition.' I think I transitioned 3 times. Basically I threw up a few times during the first one, lots of broth and green popsicle. I had been trying to stay hydrated, Dad was nice enough to pick me up some wonderfully-tasting broth at the store and I had been sipping it from 11 am to 3 pm. But the nurse warned me that now it was time to take it easy with liquids. Things were getting a little intense so I asked for the anesthetic that they add to your IV, as I was already hooked up to saline and pitocin. I tried to stay active, I didn't have an urinary catheter so I could get up and stand, which helped keep things progressing. I was afraid the contractions would stop, we'd have fetal distress, which could slowly lead to a C-section, what almost happened with Adeline. But let me tell you, Evelyn, you were a trooper. No fetal distress. (Adeline had some fetal distress basically all night long so I was very exhausted for her delivery and pushing, even with the epidural.) I also had to pee multiple times this delivery but could handle a lot of it myself. I wanted to minimize swelling and side-effects later by not using the catheter and epidural and so far so good! Okay, I swelled a bit on days 2 and 3 but I recuperated much faster than my first birth.

What I look like during a strong contraction and deep breathing through the pain. The cold compress helped after I threw up. I was starting to feel hot and yucky.

I'm so glad that's over. . .for two minutes.

The drugs took a little edge off the pain but not much. Instead of being at a level 9 for pain, it was more like a level 8. The labor ball and especially the labor bar on the bed helped me immensely. I would use the bar for 5 or so contractions, I would kneel and flop over it like a rag doll, or take a knee, or sometimes squat but my legs were already tired from working out so I didn't do that much, and then lay in bed or stand to go pee. It helped me cope and it helped the time to go by. Gravity working with the bar could help with the dilation and bringing the baby down, so instead of laboring a miserable 24 hours with Adeline, it was more like 2-3 hours hard laboring. (Heh heh, hard labor.)

The wonderful labor bar. At first I was skeptical, but I tried it out and found it really useful in keeping things progressing and with handling the pain of contractions.

I still think my body and some of my sisters' bodies don't like to dilate. I didn't know Christine needed pitocin to get things going for at least one pregnancy, and she has to do it without an epidural because her spine is fused from scoliosis. She likes to say, 'Hold to the Rod' and make a joke of it. She was a little bit of an inspiration today as I delivered, as well as my sister (your Aunt) Rachel and her hypnobirthing, and my cousin Emily also hypnobirthed and had a great recovery. While I don't know too much about hypnobirthing, I do know that it ties into deep breathing like yoga breathing, which I am familiar with. The other parts are approaching labor and delivery without fear, listening to your body, and not tensing up with pain but deep breathing through it. Shout-out to your aunt Michelle who has also shared some good advice and delivery stories with me, and also her diligence in slathering her belly with cocoa butter lotion for stretch marks to prevent them. I had some from Adeline but the lotion helped them and helped prevent new ones this pregnancy. I also found that your skin gets itchy during pregnancy but Don't Scratch! I'm pretty sure that causes the dermal layer below to split and tear. I would scratch with Adeline but didn't with Evie. (Adeline, I still love you dearly. I don't care that much about stretch marks but it's nice not having new ones.) Another shout-out to my doctor sister Jarilynne and her always invaluable advice. I used a lot of it, especially her baby-whispering skills.

I transitioned again around 8-9 cm dilation. I threw up again, and water came out below from the previously burst sac. But I have to say, throwing up like that during those contractions was actually less painful than a normal one and preferable! The contractions were getting unbearable and I was wanting things to be over with and have my doctor arrive.

I also found a cool trick that worked for me from about a 3 cm dilation onward. Sometimes when I was deep-breathing just right, arching my back and taking pressure off my bottom, it felt like invisible hands were pushing down near my ribs (top of uterus) toward my feet during the contraction. Some of the early ones were even painless but felt like they were doing as they should, the uterus working to expel the baby, getting the baby down toward the birth canal. I would like to think it was the invisible hands of the soft angel's touch trying to help my baby out. With the epidural with Adeline, it was impossible to feel these details and understand them. Although the epidural certainly has its pluses. I didn't feel the pain (OH, THE PAIN!) of pushing the baby out and of tearing and getting sewn up.

I was in immense pain and getting shaky and exhausted when I was at a 9 with Evie. The doctor was on her way but it didn't feel soon enough. I was deep-breathing and trying to stay in control, which helped, but I also did my share of writhing and yelling and screaming, also things I didn't do so much with the epidural with Adeline. I was loud, like, REALLY loud. It was embarrassing. I could hear my voice booming off the walls, but I didn't care, I was in pain. I would yell, 'I want to push!' Because I did. I was getting ready. I knew I was not quite there although in just minutes I would be. The nurse warned me that if I pushed too soon I could tear my cervix. That helped hold me off, for a bit, although I was still slightly pushing because I wanted things to progress.

I was nearly losing it.

But Adam was coaching me so well, he's a natural, to breathe deeply in and out, that I was doing great, that I was almost there, that I was almost done. He squeezed my hand so tight it was cutting off my circulation (and I was squeezing back!). But I couldn't even notice, it felt fine. He had to bring it to my attention.

The doctor came. Hail, the conquering hero. I was a little mad that it felt like she took her sweet time but she got in there and got the pushing going. Before I knew it, I was feeling major fire in my crotch. I thought I had blown it and tore my cervix or something really bad in the front. It was a new, terrible, level ten terror. I had no idea pushing hurt so bad. (Again, epidural with first child. Just did as nurses said when they said push, and it only took 15 min with Adeline, which I am so grateful for. But I really didn't like how my back felt for months after the epidural, so I really didn't want it if I could do without.)

I asked the doctor if I tore. She said no, and the baby's head was crowning. She asked me if I wanted to reach down and feel it. I did. It was awesome. It was like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. A really really painful tunnel that was about to get much worse. I tried holding in the breath, not arching but curling for the pushing, very important!, but I would forget the synchronization and let my breath out or yell and we only made a little progress with the first few contractions. I quoted Gob from Arrested Development, "Aw, COME ON!". I got much more determined to get the pressure of that baby out! It was horrendous. Finally after seven or so contractions and about 25 minutes, the head popped through and you, Evie, popped out. I was getting out of it and it was a relief, but Dad reminded me, look! And I looked and the doctor was holding you up for me to see. You were all white and cheesy with fluids and doing so great.

It was apparent from the getgo that you were very much awake and ready to cry til we got you touching skin to skin with towels and blankets over you and me. I think it was about 20-30 min of pushing, not bad. You were even already rooting so I gave you some colostrum and you drank almost for the whole hour from each breast, with an excellent latch!.

Me and Dad and Evie (You)

Dr. Berendzen, she delivered you and she's a great doctor.

My L&D nurse Karla. She was so helpful and a great nurse.

A tasteful nursing picture. (I hope?)

Then the nurse gave you your bath and cleaned you up. You hated it, and Dad got a lot of great photos of it. You may have some mild bruising from the nurse cleaning the crusty cheese off.

Dad coached you through the cleaning, just like he coached me during labor.

You liked the heat lamp. Look at your cute little dimple!!

When all was said and done, you, Evelyn "Evie" Valentine Rowley, were born Feb 27 2014 at 6:40 pm, weighing 7 lbs 14 oz and you were 20 inches long. You are alert and ready to root.

My friend Natalie wished me that I could have the birth experience that I want, she sent a little note to St. Raymond Nonnatus for me, and gave me other encouraging words that cheered me up during labor. And I got as close as possible to the labor and birth I envisioned in my mind. Hooray! I lucked out this time. The needle from the IV stunk and I would prefer not to be induced, but things still went well.

The weird thing I wrote on my birth plan was that I wanted to see the amniotic sac and placenta. I didn't get to see Adeline's at all. I don't even remember the after birth. I was really out of it while they were sewing me up when I delivered her, and I don't remember much, other than they cleaned her up and brought her to me. It's nice that they gave you, Evie, to me right away and we got to bond. You looked a little messy but we got to bond right away and I got to feed you right away. I really liked that about my clinic and my hospital, it was a box you could check right on the birth plan. The birth plan was easy to formulate, just check the boxes of things you want, or add stuff, and it ranged all over from very granola to also "let the nurses and doctors handle it and drug me up," depending on how you felt about it all.

Anyway, the doctor showed it to me and explained where the sac attached and all that. She was poking it and it reminded me of a red jellyfish. (I did joke about Evie feeling like a blob of jelly, jellyfish, inside me, even at 18 weeks. And I could feel her movement early on, too early. It was weird.) And I blurted out, "Why do some people eat it?" My doctor didn't know. But then again, they do say that it looks like liver, which is nutritious and high in iron. I guess if it helps you make milk, I might consider it, even something that bizarre. (In my mind, anyway.) Then I was joking about if they send it home in a doggy bag to the happy recipient.

I did tear a little toward the back, but not bad. It required a few stitches. I bet they have already dissolved by now. I didn't really care. I tore worse with Adeline, but not bad then either, just a little on the front and back, which also required a few stitches. This was the first time I got vaginal "skid marks" though (that I remember), and those HURT! It feels almost like female circumcision and healing was a little harder, since things that shouldn't be were trying to grow together and kept pulling apart and would have to heal again. But I'm pretty much done healing now from that, a few weeks later. I think when I was feeling "fire in the crotch" that it was the skid marks happening.

I had also done some "milking" here and there during the months leading up to your birth, and I was already making a bit of colostrum. I think that helped set me up for good nursing, as well as letting my breasts grow as needed during pregnancy. Nursing was such a struggle with Adeline, I never had enough milk and I know there were things I did wrong during pregnancy and after. (Wearing too tight of a bra while my mammary glands were trying to prepare themselves and grow, for one.) I also know how diet and getting your leafy greens and other sources of good nutrition play into making good and plentiful milk. My body also needs exercise and good circulation (which can come from regular, moderate exercise, like walking). I was a lot more prepared this time with all the trial and error I had done with Adeline.

Dad got me Panera soup and salad (and lemonade!!!) and we moved to our recovery room around 8 pm and ate it while you slept. Then I fed you again at 10 pm but I fear we fed you too much and burped you too little and you were in gassy tummy pain. Dad finally got a good burp out of you and it helped you stop your already loud crying (most newborns are a little more quiet!). Your cry can sometimes sound like an angry cat ready to fight! Mrowr!! He left the hospital for home at 11 pm so he could get good rest and bring Grandma Brown and Adeline tomorrow. He was only gone a few minutes before you were crying again full-blast. I squished your belly with your legs thinking you were going to have your meconium poop, but no avail. I checked your diaper. Dry. Then I figured you were still too full. I gave you a good long burping and you burped five good burps and then drifted off. As soon as you were down, the nurse came in to check your vitals. Bad timing.

But she promised she would get you back down for me. Fair enough. You stayed sleeping while she checked you, and when she was done you let out a big meconium poop, which she was nice enough to change while Mom rested in bed. Gooood timing. :-)

And here I am blogging while you are sleeping and I should be sleeping, too. But I knew I would forget so many great details if I let sleep erase my brain and wipe the slate clean for the next day. I love you, Evie.

Love, Mom

PS Movies we watched were Disney's Robin Hood, the 'Mormon' Pride and Prejudice (I never realized the acting was soooo bad until I was in labor, it made me sad, but I still laughed at the jokes), The Hobbit, and Ender's Game. We watched some of Mulan but I barely recall and it barely registered in my brain. I meant to watch the A & E version of Pride and Prejudice but Adam came back with the RedBox DVDs Hobbit and Ender's Game and I was excited to watch them. I labored pretty hard during Ender but I was still able to follow most of the movie. I liked it. And you share a middle name with one of the characters from the movie, Valentine. We were thinking of that name before watching the movie that day, but I was taking it as a sign that it's a good name and it would be good for you. :-)

Evelyn Valentine Rowley. Evie Rowley. E. V. Rowley. What's not to love?

PPS When you first met Adeline! And our first family photo.

PPPS Photos of going home!

"I Received My First Hug At St. Mary's." Love that hat! We call it the magic hat because you (Evie) sleep really well when you are wearing it. :-)

Thanks, Grandma Rowley!

Thanks, Grandma Brown!