Well, it’s been quite a while hasn’t it? I finally found a few minutes to myself to record and share Anabelle’s birth story. This is the first of several blogs covering sweet Anabelle’s first two months of life. Let’s start at the beginning, her birth!
As most of you know I was feeling pretty miserable those last few weeks of my pregnancy. 3 weeks before Anabelle was born, I was feeling extremely uncomfortable and really didn’t know how I was going to make it through the rest of the pregnancy portion of this journey. Fortunately about a week and a half before Anabelle was born I did start feeling a little better and even managed to take some long walks in hopes of “inducing” labor.
At my 40 week appointment, which was on a Tuesday (I was 40 weeks exactly), my midwife informed me that she was going on vacation the following week and would not be at my next appointment, or the birth of our baby girl if she decided to come past Saturday. As you can imagine I was THRILLED by this news. The midwife told me to try castor oil on Thursday to induce labor, if it didn’t happen by then, because I was already 3cm dilated and 80% effaced at this point. She was also starting to talk about a hospital induction if the baby wasn’t here by 42 weeks; again, I was thrilled by this conversation. Looking back I’m pretty sure the midwife striped my membranes at this appointment without telling me because that whole day, after the appointment, I had horrible cramps and even some bleeding.
Anyway, no baby still, so Thursday morning I made a “labor float” which consisted of castor oil, root beer, and vanilla ice cream. The only thing this “labor float” did was give me a BAD case of, well, the equivalent of a bad stomach flu. After that pleasant experience I decided to just wait until this little girl decided she was ready to come and stop trying to rush the poor girl.
Sunday, March 10th was a pretty typical Sunday for us. It consisted of church, doing stuff around the house, I made tacos for dinner, which we ate around 8:00 pm, watching The Walking Dead at 9:00, then I went up to bed around 11:00. I COULD NOT sleep to save my life. I just figured it was going to be another sleepless pregnant night. Around 11:30 I put in my headphones and started listening to one of my hypno-babies CDs, which always helped put me to sleep. At 12:00 I had my first contraction, there was NO doubt in my mind that it was a contraction. I didn’t tell James right away, I timed them for 30 minutes, and they were 10 minutes apart. At 12:30 I told James that I was in labor. He of course told me to lye down and keep timing the contractions and it might not really be labor. At 1:00am, contractions still 10 minutes apart; I told James that this was definitely it. He told me to go back upstairs and get some rest when all of a sudden something happened. I said, “Uh oh, weird, I think I just wet my pants.” James said, “No Havilah, I’m pretty sure your water just broke, let go up and see.” Yes, my water had broken at 1:00am on March 13th, neither James or myself had gotten any sleep, of course. We called my midwife’s office and informed them of the situation. They said go to the hospital since my water had broken. We packed our bags and were taking our time because we didn’t want to get to the hospital too soon. My contractions were starting to get more intense, to the point that I couldn’t really concentrate on packing and was having trouble “meditating” and “breathing” through them. Once we got to the hospital, about 3:30am, after some mandatory triage stuff, the nurses confirmed that my water had broken, and I was admitted. I put on the, oh so wonderful, hospital gown, got hooked up the fetal monitors and requested the birthing ball right away! The nurse put a saline lock (IV) in me, of course on the first attempt my vein popped, so the nurse had to do it again. I was not hooked up to fluids or anything because I wanted to try and stay hydrated on my own. This next part of the story is a little fuzzy. I remember the contractions and I know I was in pain, but I don’t remember how I got from 3:30am to 9:00am. I was listening to my hypno-baby CDs and just trying to zone out on the birthing ball. James, bless his heart, was passed out on the couch in the corner basically this whole time. I was really patient with him, I must say. I wanted his help, but really didn’t know what I wanted him to do, therefore, he ended up sleeping.
At 9:00am I pretty much reached my breaking point. When I was checked by the nurse around 8:00am I was 5cm dilated, so I though I was going to be in labor for a lot longer than I wanted to think about. At 9:00am I couldn’t do anything to relieve or get through my pain during each contraction. Leaning over the bed, over the toilet, standing, lying down, sitting on the birthing ball, NOTHING helped the pain. At this point I woke James up and started asking him and the nurse how much longer I was going to be in labor, I wanted this over with. The nurse told me I probably wouldn’t deliver until around 12:00. “Noon! You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought. The nurse suggested I get up and try walking. I was having some pretty bad back labor at this point, and she thought this was because the baby’s head was sitting on my pelvic bone, so walking, would help bring her down and off of my pelvis. I tried standing, that didn’t go well, and then I tried walking, which lasted about 5 steps. I didn’t know how I could walk the halls when I couldn’t even walk 5 steps. This is when I started talking about an epidural.
I decided to take the plunge and get an epidural; it was about 9:15am at this point. In came the anesthesiologist with the paperwork. James helped me get through it all, as I was, as is to be expected, still having contractions. I was sat on the side of my bed and the bed was raised into the air. James was sitting in front of me and I was leaning on him with my back hunched. The nurse was trying to hook me up to the saline solution to get me hydrated, but something wasn’t working. James pointed out that my hand was swelling up and the fluid was draining under my skin, not into my vein. So they had to take that IV out, and try another, my vein popped, then another, again, my vein popped, finally the 3rd attempt worked. During this time I am still having contractions and the anesthesiologist is poking around my back. I started to feel very light headed and I quietly told James that I thought I was going to puke, which I did. I felt relief within 20 minutes of the epidural being placed. I was checked again at 10:30/10:45am and I was 9cm dilated! Looking back I’m pretty sure that when I hit “my wall” I was starting to enter into the “transition” phase of labor. I think this also contributed to my vomiting and obviously the shakes I was experiencing shortly after getting the epidural.
Around 11:30am, after some much-needed rest, I started feeling like something was going to fall out of me. I kept ringing the nurse, asking her to check and make sure that the baby wasn’t crowning or falling out. The on call OB made her way to the room and everything was ready to go for pushing right about 12:30, maybe 12:45. As it turns out, I had a high leak in my bag of waters, so the bag was still around little Anabelle. The OB broke the bottom of the bag as Anabelle was on her way out. I pushed for what didn’t seem like very long. I just kept thinking about how hungry I was while I was pushing, I felt like I could eat a 12oz steak. In fact, when the nurse asked, “How are you doing?” I said, “I’m starving”. She laughed and said, “You’re my kind of girl”.
Well, I pushed and pushed, and finally, out she came! Anabelle Ruth Greene, born March 11th, 2013 at 1:21pm, 8lbs 7oz, 20 inches long. When she came out I of course lost it and the tears came like a waterfall. All I could say was, “She’s beautiful, she’s so beautiful, isn’t she beautiful, I can’t believe how beautiful she is, have you ever seen such a beautiful girl?” all while crying my eyes out. I had some problems with hemorrhaging after she was born which really took away from our “skin to skin” experience directly after the birth. They did put Anabelle on my tummy and chest, but I was exhausted by what was being done to stop my hemorrhaging and was pretty out of it. When James finally brought her back over to me all bundled up I took a good look at her face and said, “She looks just like you!”
After the nurses helped me get cleaned we were taken to the “Mother Baby” ward of the hospital and to our room. So that’s the story of sweet Anabelle’s birth. I’ll continue the story of course in another post. I have never felt emotion like I did the moment that sweet baby was born. I don’t even really think I can attempt to put those emotions into words. The best way I can describe it is just an all-consuming love and knowledge that nothing, NOTHING, in my life would ever be the same, I would NEVER be the same. Motherhood has changed every part of my life, but again, more on that to come later.