After a first and second trimester that flew by, and a third trimester that seemed to last a year we finally have our baby girl! Here is her birth story…
As most of you know several months ago we hired a Doula and I began to make a comprehensive birth plan with the goal of having a natural and what I called “organic” vaginal delivery at University Hospital. I wanted the experience to be as close to what nature intended it as it could possibly be, I wanted to be alert and involved and I wanted what I had in my mind as the ultimate birthing experience. Due to the health issues/pregnancy side effects that arose my original birth plan was slowly edited little by little, until it hardly even resembled what it once was. The amount of pain I was experiencing from the varicosities was ferocious and it wasn’t long before my Doula, my OB, and I realized that not using pain meds was not going to be an option. The pain from the pressure of carrying the baby landed me on bed rest for 3 weeks, so we knew it was unreasonable to think that I’d be able to endure the pain of actual labor and delivery. There were also some concerns about my health and the rest of the delivery due to the severity of the possible pain. I talked with my Doctor and we agreed that a low-dose epidural was going to be essential to bringing to pass a pleasant delivery. Again, with the level of pain I was experiencing I agreed to an induction and it was scheduled for 39+ weeks. We didn’t go too early, although that wasn’t for a lack of trying on my part, but I’m glad we induced when we did because there was truly no more joy in my pregnancy at that point and I shudder to think about my emotional and mental state had I gone past my due date. I knew being induced was going to limit me to the hospital bed and I wouldn’t be able to be up and moving through labor pains, etc., but I was willing to give that up in order to get my baby here faster!
Two nights before my induction brought the arrival of my mom, dad and younger brother to North Augusta to stay with us and be at the hospital for the birth. They helped us get stocked up on groceries and get the house ready for us to be gone for a couple of days and then come back with our first child. On Monday night my brother brought me Chinese food from my absolute favorite restaurant in our home town which is about an hour from where we are now. Over the course of 2 hours I paced myself through Veggie Egg-Foo Young, fried rice and steamed dumplings. Since I was being induced I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink after 6pm so I made that last meal count! I got in bed a little after 8 pm with the alarm set for 4:30 the next morning and with the help of a sleeping aid actually managed to sleep!
Tuesday morning I got up and hot-rolled my hair, put on a full face of make-up, threw on some clothes, and Chad and I headed to the hospital. I figured that I better make myself look good that morning because there was no telling what labor and delivery would put me through and I wanted to stand at least a decent chance at not looking like hell for a first picture holding my baby girl. We got to the hospital at quarter-til six and met our doula and started to wait…there were about 15 women waiting to be admitted for L&D!!! We didn’t get back to our room until 7 am, and at 7:02 my OB was there ready to get me hooked up to the machines and start the pitocin! I have to say that one of the most painful things throughout the experience was my IV. I have never had problems with IV’s before, I don’t have an issue with needles or anything but the location of the line was super annoying and it felt tight and bruised and made me more miserable than even the contractions I would have!
And so the labor began. The contractions were really manageable for the first 2 hours but my OB was concerned that I was going to take the maximum dose of pitocin in order to progress to where I needed to be for delivery so instructions were given to jack up the meds slowly but surely until I got to the maximum amount. My OB and nurse, who were both awesome during this process, had a hysterical work dynamic. It was very clear that my nurse thought the Doctor was being too aggressive, she even told us that the “policy” was to only go up to a 20 level for pitocin while the Doc was instructing her to take me up to a 40. My progression was checked about every hour and a half and that brought some funny disagreements between the nurse and Doctor, also. Don’t get me wrong, they were very friendly to each other and my nurse did exactly as she was asked, but she gave my Doc a hard time none-the-less and luckily my Doctor took her jabs with a good sense of humor. The OB would check me and in the process stretch out the cervix as much as she could to help it along, she’d call it about 2 centimeters more than the nurse had called it and it proceeded in that same manner all the way up until I started to push. About 2 hours in the contractions got significantly stronger and more painful. I had very strong contractions about 2 minutes apart for 6 1/2 hours- because my cervix stayed pretty high and slowly progressing for a while- it didn’t seem to want to catch up to my contractions. I asked for my epidural about 3 hours into the labor when the pain got really severe and I couldn’t talk through the contractions and was having to seriously zone out to endure them. An hour later the anesthesiologist came and administered the epidural. The epidural hurt. I felt every nerve the catheter hit on the way in and the only comfort I took from it was that after about 20 minutes it was going to help ease the pain of the contractions. So the medicine kicked in and it was all a waiting game. I did lose complete feeling in both legs but I didn’t let that freak me out, I stayed focused on the task at hand. I made up my mind before I was ever admitted that the process of bringing Noah into the world would not continue to be a negative experience for me. I was going to stay calm, focused and as clear headed as possible so that my labor and delivery could be positive experiences. At about 3:45 pm my cervix had dropped lower and I was about 8 cm. so my doctor decided I needed to do some preliminary pushing to try and get to 10 cm. At this point in the room with me was the nurse, my doctor, my doula, Chad, my mom and dad. I vacillated a bit on who I wanted to help hold my legs, who I wanted to hold my hand, etc. Chad stayed in the room with us for delivery despite it being a plan for him to leave due to a weak stomach and tendency to black out. The hospital would not give him a band to allow him to be alone with our daughter unless he was present for delivery, so he and his touch pad sat in the back corner of the room once I started pushing. The “prelimary” pushes worked well and a little after 4 pm I was pushing for real. My dad and the nurse had my legs, my mom was by my head holding my hand, rubbing my head and encouraging me and my doula stayed at the foot of the bed behind my doctor so I could use her as a focal point to concentrate. I pushed for 2 hours. It had been a full 24 hours since I had had any sustenance, and I was exhausted, but I pushed. I pushed hard and long and I stayed quiet and focused. I never screamed out, and I tried not to talk at all- I must say it was very “zen”. I pushed when they told me to, breathed when they told me to and relaxed when they told me to. It was hard. I was so tired and weak but I refused to not push my hardest, I wanted my baby out!! I had a horrible headache and I was violently shaking- the tremors were uncontrollable and something that took me by surprise. It got close and my Doctor suggested an episiotomy. It was in my birth plan that I did not want one. My OB said the way my body was reacting to the pushing and pressure from the baby I was going to be permanently altered if she didn’t do an episiotomy. (I censured the details and exact quote- but you can imagine.) My doula and nurse very quickly agreed with the OB and knowing that they could see down there and I couldn’t- I said sure, whatever, do what you need to do. Snip snip snip. About 30 minutes before I had the baby my mom said “Are you ok?” I thought she was talking to me but quickly realized that Chad was up and standing by my head! He was watching it all and was going to get to see his baby being born! As the baby started to crown my Doula tried to grab my hand to feel her head, but I yanked it back. She said- you wanted to feel the head, you wanted to pull her out! All of which was true, but I was so tired and knew I couldn’t take focus off of my pushing for a single second or else I’d lose what little steam I had left. Before I knew it she was out and up on my chest crying the most beautiful cries I had ever heard in my life!! I kissed her face while they were wiping her off and inspecting her, she was so BIG! My big ole baby was here and I was on cloud nine. Sometime during all the commotion I delivered the placenta, was stitched up and the room cleared of the mess- but I didn’t realize any of it was happening. I had requested for her to be bathed and weighed in the room with us, which is not typical hospital policy so it was about a two hour wait or so before the nursery came in to do this, which worked out perfectly because it allowed all of our family to come in and meet our angel. Chad’s parents, my parents, both of my brothers, and my grandfather were all waiting to meet Noah Layne Stalvey. After what seemed like forever she was weighed at 8 pounds 8 ounces and measured at 20.5 inches. We were so proud. From start to finish my pregnancy was nothing like I thought it would be but I am so pleased with how it ended. I am at peace with the entire event and I’ve never been more in love with my husband and my daughter in my entire life. Being a mommy is amazing, I am so blessed. Layne