Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Megan's Birth Story

I feel so rusty at this... it has been ages since I've blogged about anything. I realize that birth stories aren't for everyone, but I sure enjoy being able to look back and remember the feelings I had welcoming a new little one. So... here we go!

It is so strange to me, that up until about two weeks before her birth we didn't have the slightest idea what we were naming our sweet lil' Megs. And now that she is here, I can hardly imagine her being anything else. Welcoming her was quite different than what I expected, but oh, so worth it.

My Doctor that I found here in LA (Dr. Jeannine Rahimian) was the first doctor I have had that told me she would let me be induced anytime after 39 weeks. Given my history of needing to be induced with all my others, and my last two babies weighing 10 lbs. I was excited at the idea of going a little early in hopes of delivering a smaller baby. at my 38 week appointment we went ahead and scheduled my induction, and I was so anxious and excited for her to come!

I turned 39 weeks on Tuesday, April 19th, so I arrived at the hospital Monday night at 10:30pm so that I could get all signed in and hooked up to start my induction at midnight. The only hang up was that baby was still high and wiggling around and was almost impossible to keep on the monitor. They needed to monitor her for 20 minutes straight to make sure that she wasn't in any distress before inducing labor. The nurses spent a good 2-3 hours trying to get her consistently on the monitors, and were unsuccessful.

The attending who was on shift at the time, did not feel comfortable starting an elective labor without being able to closely monitor the baby, and so around 2am she came in and talked to me. She told me about here uneasiness inducing me when there was no real medical urgency to do so, and expressed her concern about not being able to keep the baby on the monitor. She told me she would feel most comfortable if I went home, and maybe came back in a couple of days to try again. My heart sank at this idea. We had already arranged sitters and Ryan had taken some paternity leave to ensure he'd be around for babies arrival. A sweet nurse could sense my disappointment, and after letting Ryan and I talk things over, she came in, rolled up her sleeves and was determined to get baby on the monitor. AND SHE DID!! I was so grateful to her!

Once we had the required documentation of the baby on monitor they began the induction... since I still had the cautious attending (I kind of wondered if read my history at all!) she decided to give me a hormone to soften the cervix and hopefully begin labor. Now there are two main ways they do this. One is kind of like a hormone string/strip that they place and leave for twelve hours... which is what we tried first. No real progress after doing that one... and we waisted TWELVE HOURS!!! I was so determined to help those contractions along that I was stepping up and down on a little foot rest in the room. Haha. I'm sure I look ridiculous to any nurse who walked by.

Next we tried the other way, which is placing a small pill (prostaglandin) on the cervix. I had this with Abigail and it sent me right into contractions. I started to feel some mild contractions after they did this. I remember waking Ryan up at 7am and telling him that I thought the contractions were getting closer and that we'd be meeting baby girl before noon (this would have been April 20th). Since it was my fifth baby, the thought things would move pretty fast once I got going, so I told the nurse that I felt things were moving and she started preparing my room. They discovered that the baby warmer wasn't working, so they decided I needed to move rooms. 

Once I got settled into my new room I was so excited for them to check me and to see how far I had progressed. The nurse came in and nothing. I was still at 1cm and like 50% effaced. I was a little frustrated, but the attending agreed to get me started on pitocin (hallelujah!!) They got me hooked up, but... because the residents were cautious... they had to slowly increase my pitocin levels... 

{my new room had a great view!!}

By like 4pm I felt like things were moving and I was making progress, so I asked them to check me again. I was so excited. I thought for sure some real progress was happening, the contractions were starting to get stronger and closer together. They checked me and I was only at 3cm. ugh.  Poor Ryan was such a trooper with all my whining. I tried my best to be positive... but man I was getting tired. 

{Let me insert here, that I really, really wanted to have a natural delivery, with no epidural. I never had and really wanted to do it. I have a hard time getting epidurals. They are really painful for me, and I have back pain for weeks afterwards. So that was one of my goals I was determined to accomplish this delivery}

I finally got a nurse who was proactive in getting my pitocin doses upped and things really started to move. Contractions got strong and very painful. Ryan and I were watching shows to pass the time and I remember that when I felt the contraction coming I would do everything I could to breath deep and try not to focus on it too much. I was determined to not have an epidural... I knew I could do it. So in a way, I was kind of excited things were getting stronger and more painful. It meant things were happening and I was going to meet baby girl soon with out having a painful epidural. 

Around 7pm or 8pm the contractions were getting stronger and stronger and practically unbearable. Surely, surely I had made some progress. I requested they check me again and my heart sank when they said I was only at 4cm. FOUR!! I was exhausted from practically being up for 48 hours. They suggested that they break my water. I agreed and they did it. One of the concerns with breaking the water when the baby is high up, is that as they move down into position they umbilical cord can get pinched in the canal. About an hour or so after they broke my water they baby started to show some small signs of distress. To avoid a c-section they decided to do a procedure where they add fluid to buoy the baby up and help with relieving any pressure that could be causing the signs of distress. By this point my contractions were practically unbearable. Ryan had been so supportive during all this. Rubbing my back, trying to ease my pain in anyway he could. I remember them starting to add the fluid and feeling a contraction coming on and I couldn't handle it anymore. The pain was unbearable. I couldn't sit through it. I begged them to stop, it was too painful. This was around 11/11:30pm at this point. I started crying and asked for an epidural. (later I realized that I was transitioning while they were doing this... awesome! and painful!)

I was so mad at myself for not just giving in earlier and getting the epidural before the contractions were so severe. I began sobbing because I didn't know how on earth I would sit still to get my epidural. They hurt so incredibly bad. My contractions were coming faster and harder and I was restless. I told the nurse that I really wanted to try standing through my next contraction to be able to handle the pain better. I just had to survive until the anesthesiologist made it in. 

I moved to the edge of the bed and as I stood up I quickly sat back down because I felt the baby coming and I had this overwhelming urge that I had to push her out now!! It was a whirlwind of commotion. The nurse ran out and yelled for the residents and attending to get in their now... she may have even hit an emergency button. I remember telling them that I had to push, I couldn't stop. They didn't have time to move the bed around. They barely got into position when I started pushing. I remember noticing the anesthesiologist walk in out of the corner of my eye sort of shrugging, like, "Oh, I guess you won't be needing me anymore." Haha. 

I gave two or three good pushes and she was out. Getting her out was the most amazing feeling ever. It is shocking how the pain instantly stopped and I felt a thousand times better. I was slightly hyperventilating and must have had my eyes tightly shut because I remember the attending telling me to breathe and to open my eyes. To open my eyes and look at my baby.
I opened them...and there she was.

She was here. She was perfect and seemed so tiny. 
That new baby smell, her warm little body next to mine.

Her dark little eyes opening and closing trying to figure out this bright world she just entered into. I'm sure that the room with noisy with the hustle and bustle of taking care of all that needed to happen after baby came, but it seemed so calm and peaceful. She was here. My sweet baby Megan was here. Her thick dark hair matted to her tiny perfect head. 

Her little hands opening and stretching her tiny little fingers. She was perfect. 

Megan AnneMarie Stephenson
Born April 21st, 2017 at 12:03am

8 lbs 15 oz
21 inches long. 

Welcome to the world baby girl. You are so loved. 
We feel so blessed to have in our arms and in our family.