A Birth Story/see you in a week

June 16, 2014

Baby favorites / Uncategorized

Birth storyBirth story-2Birth story-3Birth story-4Birth story-5Birth story-6First of all, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and support. This is such an emotional time where sometimes I’ve doubted myself or wondered if I was going to be able to handle it. The encouragement and my faith have kept my spirits up. Life has been one handed lately-one holding the baby and the other cooking or web surfing on my phone while he sleeps. I just love holding him! I type this mostly one-handed as well.

A Birth Story

My sister had told me about a new highly addictive, free, online game called Hearthstone and I insisted that Chris try it out that night after Jen’s birthday picnic. He was instantly hooked and unbeknownst to me he played in the dark as I drifted off to sleep at midnight. When I woke at 2:00 am with my water breaking, he had only just fallen asleep!

I woke in a sort of panic. I hand’t felt a contraction so I was really confused. My doctor, knowing that I wanted a drug-free experience if possible had told me to stay at home as long as I could before coming UNLESS MY WATER BREAKS. In that case she said to come in very soon.

So, I took a shower to clean up and calm down as Chris packed up the car. I was feeling disappointed and little concerned. So of course, I gave myself a quick manicure and put on some makeup. Better.

Two hours later we checked into Labor and Delivery. The room was SO big and so nice. I think we went to sleep. Chris had a comfortable pull-out bed near me. 

Hours later, the on call doctor (not my regular OB) checked in and said that if my labor did not start on it’s own by 2 pm, I’d have to get induced because they fear infection for a baby with a broken water bag and would like the baby out within 24 hours. I think midwives will give you longer but traditional western medicine says to get that baby OUT!

I was disappointed but I got up and did all the labor induction things I could think of. Truly though in the hospital, with a “deadline” I was probably way too stressed out to “perform.” The natural contractions started but they were so mild and far apart. The team pushed the time to about 5:00 p.m. and then started the Pitocin (the artificial version of oxytocin which causes the uterus to contract thus opening the cervix so the baby can drop down and come out). 

At first, it was not so bad and then 9 hours of pain and contractions later with only a centimeter of dialiaton I was wondering if this was ever going to happen. Then there was an earthquake.

Kind of strange side note, but a few months ago when there were some earthquakes here in LA, I thought to myself, “There’s going to be an earthquake on the day the baby is born.” 

When Pitocin is being administered, you are tethered to the hospital bed. There are two monitors on me-one for the contractions and the other for the baby’s heartbeat. I felt like a passive observer of my labor. That is so out of character for me but I kept focusing on the outcome.

Well, when I’d lie in certain positions, the baby’s heart rate would drop and the staff would get very nervous. What they didn’t tell me was that this most likely meant the cord was wrapped around his neck and that coupled with less cushioning fluid from my water breaking, he was getting less oxygen. In hindsight, I’m really happy that they didn’t tell me that at the time.

The on-call doctor suggested that they put a monitor inside with the baby and a tube inside to add more fluid for the baby. OK, this was my epidural point. 9 hours of artificial labor (there were a few hours where they stopped the Pitocin and I was in labor on my own as well but it was “too slow”) and the thought of “adding” things to me had me signing the waiver. I kept visualizing a “natural” birth and avoided the C section fear thoughts.

I reached 9 centimeters eventually and that’s when the epidural drug bag ran out (this labor was very long). The anesthesiologist was called but he was in surgery and it was 45 minutes of Pitocin contractions at 9 centimeters that came on FAST and HARD. He finally arrived and it took a while to get the medicine to kick in again. I was falling asleep for 3 minutes between each contraction from the pain. Chris said it was the craziest thing he’d seen: asleep, awake, breath through contraction, asleep…repeat.

It was time to push and then 15 people were in the room. The NICU team, my doctor (regular OB at this point is on call) and a team to take me to surgery if need be. There were probably some students as well. I heard the word OR and I asked Chris if they were talking about me. He told me that everything would be ok.

“Don’t let her push for 15 minutes,” I heard someone say far off. “The OR (operating room) won’t be ready for 15 minutes.”

I made a decision there that I had to be brave and trust God and my body. Then they told me to start pushing. My doctor said that she was going to perform a vacuum assisted delivery to get the baby out as quickly as possible so that they could check him out and treat him if necessary. Again, I was disappointed with another intervention but focused on avoiding a C-section.

It was a point of no return feeling. The top of the roller coaster where there’s no way you can change your mind. It was like sucking in a bunch of air and then going under water, looking forward to surfacing. 

“I can’t get it to suction. This isn’t working,” I heard the doctor say as my eyes were closed and I gripped Chris’ arm. I kept praying for her to stay calm and focused, letting her know that I trusted her to make it happen.

Then he was born on Saturday evening. “Look at your baby!” “Look at your tummy!” I thought the second statement was interesting and wondered if it was some kind of psychological shock thing that you’re supposed to say to a woman who’s just given birth. Maybe it’s an LA superficial body thing. HA!

Yes, I had an epidural but as for the “birth” part, I surely felt a LOT. I heard myself make a sort of scream/yell at the last two pushes. They were like lower yells that I let out in a sort of “I have the right to make these sounds and they are actually pushing the baby out” kind of way.

Chris later told me that the arm I was gripping was not his but a nurse’s! There were SO many people by my bedside and I grabbed the harry one! HA! I was so focused only on what the team was telling me to do. 

After a few little exams from the NICU team, the room cleared out and we were left alone to have skin to skin time. I was finally given a big thermos of juice with a straw. The only thing I’d eaten/drank in about 2 days or so was ice chips.  

A little while later we were taken to a postpartum room that was much smaller and cozy. Grant was wheeled over in his clear little crib. We were both so tired we didn’t even know what to think. 

A nurse offered to take him to the nursery for 3 hours so we could sleep. This was not at ALL what I thought I would want but at that moment, 3 hours of sleep was the best way I could care for the baby. 

The next couple of days in the hospital included a few lactation consults, little exams for the baby and family visits.

My milk was VERY slow to come in. This is “normal” for women who have been getting an IV and/or drugs for a long time before delivering. My feet and legs were so swollen on top of the pregnancy swelling I had. I kept calling them clubs. HA!

The baby wasn’t urinating much any more and I was terrified. They suggested giving him some formula and I was heartbroken but I had no choice. I felt like a failure and I was so scared. He had to get hydrated. Everything is going well with breastfeeding now and he doesn’t need any supplementation. His weight is going up and he’s happy!

When they wheeled me to the car, it felt so good to feel the fresh air and I wondered how I was going to tackle the first night at home. Now, two weeks later, I’m not even sure I remember anything! 

In the end, I’m SO grateful for a healthy baby and healthy body. I knew that no matter how he came into the world, he was coming and that was the focus. 

P.S. Yes, here are my extra swollen Cabbage Patch knees on the blog. Do you see how exhausted I look? I fell asleep holding the baby more than a couple of times!

I’ll see you in a week! 

  • Oh, this is so beautiful!!! I love it! I am beyond happy for you. These pictures are so precious.

  • Jessica

    Wow! I can’t even imagine what you went through. Congrats on the baby. He is so adorable!

    Jessica @ Sunny Days and Starry

  • Nicole B.

    What an experience! We have all of these hopes and ‘birth plans’ set, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way we expect. I’m glad ya’ll are healthy! Gosh I remember pulling into our driveway 20 months ago and wondering how in the hell I was going to even get out of our car with how sensitive my lady bits were. Jeeze! I guess the real crazy part is mother’s would do it tons more times for those sweet little babies! Eee! So happy for you and hoping little Grant is letting his mommy get a little bit of rest every now and then. 🙂

    Much love,

    Nicole B.

    • Ha! Yes, sensitivity! I was afraid to leave the comforts of my home bathroom with all the equipment a they sent me home with! Grant is actually doing some 4 hour stretches of sleep and it’s awesome!! Thank you so much!! We want more!

  • Oh Christina! This was a joy to read and the pictures are beautiful, too. It seems births rarely go the way people think they will, but I’m so happy to hear that both you and baby are healthy and doing well. That’s what matters most! I do hope you’re catching some zzz’s any chance you get, too! 🙂

    • Totally, Abby! I hear lots if unplanned birth plans! I figured I’d be in that group too. I have resigned to sleeping when he sleeps And it’s saved my life!! Lol. Thank you!!

  • Absolutely beautiful! You did wonderfully! Have the best moments, days and weeks with Grant, ok? Treat yourselves, cut yourself some slack and just enjoy each other as a family. xo

    • Yes, Olivia, cutting lots of slack around here! Lol Now I’m ready for the treating ourselves! 😉 Thank you so much.

  • thanks for sharing! sounds like there were some scary moments but everything worked out for the best and that’s all that matters. sounds like a long labor but hopefully that pain is now just a distant memory!

    • Thank you, Jackie. I hear that the memory fog happens after a couple of months and I’m welcoming it because we want more! The good news is that births are rarely the same so next time it will be all new. 🙂

  • Jenny Kim

    Christina, thank you for sharing such an honest account of Grant’s birth story 🙂 Hope you’re drinking a lot of miyuk gook! Grant is so adorable and precious! Many blessings to you and your family.

    • Thank you for reading, Jenny! Omg I have been craving miyuk gook! My mom is coming later but I may run to a restaurant to pick some up! It is the best thing for recovery!

  • What an incredible story Christina! How crazy that you foresaw that there would be an earthquake. Thank you for sharing your personal experience and precious photos with us. Giving birth truly is a miracle. Now you get to enjoy Grant’s journey as a newborn 🙂

    Rowena @ rolala loves

    • Thank you, Rowena. The earthquake thing was weird! I have to keep reminding myself to enjoy this time! It’s easy to get caught up in worries. 🙂

  • I am so very proud and happy for you! Thank you for opening up to us and sharing your story. Even though I’m scared to read these, I’m always curious to, especially now that I’m going to have my own. I feel like I’m going to scream and swear and tell them to just cut the thing out of me though! You’re such a trooper! Then again, I might surprise myself. I’ve heard that it can be very different than what you think. We shall see. I’m more excited than scared though because I know the end result will be amazing!

    • I am excited to hear YOUR story! It will be wonderful. Yes, that moment before the baby came, I thought to myself how this moment was about to change me and our lives forever. It was a peaceful lapse of time that gathered the strength and released the fear. Thank you.

  • Congrats Christina once again! Very brave of you to share your birth story. I enjoyed reading it.

    • Thank you, Andrea. It’s tough to share about pain and total vulnerability but it also made me feel good to share it as well as get feedback. I look at moms so differently now!!!!

  • WOW. Amazingly crazy awesome birth story! And of course, an earthquake!! I loved reading this and am so happy for you! That last picture of you and Grant MELTS MY HEART. Wow again!

    • Thank you!!! It’s all so worth it, right? I have a whole new respect for mothers. I just had no idea what to expect. What a right of passage.

  • Wow, what a story! It’s so different from the birth that I witnessed just a few months ago. Grant is such a precious baby!

    • Thank you! Oh I have had friends who had their babies naturally in under 5 hours start to finish. I was so surprised by how everything turned out! The craziest part for me was how many different nurses I had because it went on so long! I’m just glad my water broke at home!

  • Awwww, Christina! I love this! I wish I would have written out my birth story. Nature plays tricks on your mind. It is a phenomenon called, “Mommy anesthesia”. You forget the whole thing, the discomfort and the pain. This way you are willing to do it again in the future. I am so happy for you and I hope you are enjoying this special time with your little fella. It goes by so quickly!

    • Pamela, I’m looking forward to this phenomenon! Lol. I’ve been told I have the memory of a baby elephant but no matter what, I would do it again in a heartbeat to have more kids! I was just thinking about people who have twins! Now THAT is an undertaking! Thank you!

  • Wowowowowow!! What an amazing birth story!! Grant is so precious. I can’t wait to see and read more about your precious little one!

    • Thank you, Ashley! The wonderful feedback is really helpful. It all worked out. Now to enjoy! When does he start talking? Lol Chris is ready to take him to Lego Land. We need to chill out. 😉

  • What a beautiful and inspiring story!! In the end you are blessed with such a precious little guy, and it is all worth it I am sure!

    • Thank you, Macy! Yes, it’s a small price to pay. Now I’m ready to get out of the house more!! We are venturing more each day!!

  • Teresa Welge Harris

    Loved reading your story! It is very similar to my story. Thank you for sharing! Grant is a beauty!

    • Thank you for all your love and support, Teresa! I really appreciate all of it! The pitocin/epidural story IS so common amongst people I know too. In ready to have another baby! lol

  • Thank you for sharing such an intimate experience! I loved reading your story. Can’t wait to hear more about life with a newborn. 🙂

    • Thank you, Rebecca! I wondered how “intimate” I should go! There are some uncomfortable things many people don’t talk about! 🙂 This parenting thing gets easier every day!

  • traceynicole

    What a beautiful story. Thanks for being so honest and sharing your highs and lows. It was neat to follow along during your pregnancy and then read the birth.

    • Thank you very much, Tracey! It’s hard to share lows sometimes! I appreciate the kind feedback. I’m really enjoying being a mom and I get to learn so much every day.