Hey darlings! I'm back after a small little break -- thank you all for your patience! I'm so happy to share with you all our new baby girl. I want to share with you my labor and delivery story, as it's quite unique and I always see the positive in sharing my experiences (good and bad).
Our sweet girl, Courtney Kathleen, was born on her due date, December 6, 2012 at 6:37 PM. My labor and delivery was quite chaotic to say the least. My husband had been in the hospital for two weeks battling a severe case of ulcerative colitis and anemia. Our baby was due any day and I was praying each night that my husband would heal and he would be released in time for her delivery.
On Wednesday, December 5, 2012 I started to feel contractions. It was 3:00 AM and I was alone in our house -- nervous, excited, but desperately wanting my husband by my side. I started to time my contractions and they were coming every few minutes and each lasting almost a minute. After an hour and a half of timing them, I knew I needed to call my neighbor, so she could take me to the hospital. As excited as I was to meet my sweet new child, I just didn't want to accept that I might be having my baby without my husband by my side. I stayed calm, continued to time my contractions, and we made our way to the hospital. While at the hospital, the nurse checked my cervix and I was only 1 cm dilated. She said we needed to wait an hour, and they would check me again and if I wasn't dilated more than I would be going home. Unfortunately, I was still 1 cm after the hour passed, so we made our way back home.
By the morning, my contractions had subsided and my mother-in-law (who lives a couple hours away) had made it to our house. My mother (who lives 6 hours away) managed to book a flight just in time to fly in by 10 AM on December 6th. We didn't know when my husband would be released from the hospital, so I was relieved that my mother was flying in to be with me during this stressful, but still exciting time.
That day we visited my husband in the hospital and ran a couple errands. I tried my best to relax and not stress. By 6 PM that evening, my mother and I had eaten dinner, trimmed the Christmas tree, and were just relaxing when I started to feel contractions again. This time they were stronger and closer together. I also started to feel pain, whereas before I had only felt discomfort. My mother drove me to the hospital and the nurse checked my cervix again. This time I was only 1 cm 1/2 dilated. I was so frustrated because my contractions had been coming for over 2 hours, were starting to get real painful and yet I was only 1/2 a cm more dilated than I was previously. The nurse sent me home again, but not before she had given me a shot to help me relax and fall asleep (which would help my cervix to dilate some more). The shot only made me high as a kite (my Mom said I was saying some pretty funny things on the car ride home). and unfortunately, I wasn't able to sleep a wink because my contractions continued and I felt them all.
By 3 AM my contractions were really painful and all I could do was walk around the house and concentrate on my breathing to help get me through each one. My mother insisted that we go back to the hospital, even though I was worried they would send me home yet again. We headed back to the hospital, the nurse checked my cervix, and this time I was 2 1/2 cm dilated. The nurse gave me another shot and two pills that would relax me and help me fall asleep, so my cervix would continue to dilate. I was exhausted (hadn't slept a wink since 3 AM on the 5th of Dec), and luckily the medicine helped me to fall asleep.
I was so relieved that they weren't sending me home, and by 10 AM the nurse came in and said they would be giving me my epidural. At that time my husband was in the process of being released from the hospital he was in, and I was relieved to know that he would be making it in time for delivery.
I was super nervous about the epidural, but it surprisingly didn't hurt at all. I squeezed the nurses hands, took deep breaths, and before I knew it they were done! I laid back down and within minutes I started to feel ultimate relaxation and my body started to numb. I could still feel my legs (my lower body wasn't completely numb), but I had zero sensation when the doctor checked my cervix and broke my water.
An hour after I received the epidural the doctor started me on pitocin (to speed up the dilation of my cervix), and I started to feel contractions come on. It made me nervous because I no longer felt like the epidural was working. The epidural felt like it was wearing off and I was beginning to feel every contraction come and go. The nurse told me I would be feeling pressure, but that I shouldn't be feeling contractions. After about an hour of painful contractions, the anesthesiologist came back in to remove my epidural and place it back into my spine, but in a higher region.
After the second epidural was placed, I still felt my contractions and by now my pitocin had been increased from 4 to 8. I was in a lot of pain and I felt hopeless. The anesthesiologists had also given me drugs via IV and they still didn't take the pain away. By now my husband arrived and I was so happy to see him. He sat by my side and held my hands, as I breathed through every painful contraction.
By 5:00 PM I started to feel a great deal of pressure and the sensation to push. The nurse told me I was only 8 1/2 cm and could not push until I was 10 cm. I was so frustrated by then the pain was unbearable. The contractions were so close together and were so intense -- all I could do was squeeze my husbands hands and breath in and out. Of course, by then the occasional scream and cuss word only seemed natural. ;)
By quarter to 6 I pleaded with the nurse to let me push. I felt ready and all I wanted to do was push this baby out and just be done with the pain. The nurse said I could start pushing and so the pushing began. I was exhausted but pushed with everything in me. The pain was so intense, but all I could concentrate on was the excitement that I was finally going to be able to meet my sweet baby.
When the baby started to crown the nurse told me I had to stop pushing because we had to wait for the doctor to come. I wanted to scream because I felt like the baby was there, just ready to come out and it was so painful to sit and wait and not be able to push. The doctor arrived about 15 minutes later and the pushing began again. I pushed for about 30 minutes and finally our sweet child was born. The nurse said "it's a girl!" We were all so shocked because everyone had thought I was carrying a boy.
When they placed my baby girl on me the feeling was pure heaven. Here was this sweet, perfect, little angel that my husband and I had created -- such a miracle. Her coloring was perfection. Her features so tiny -- she was beautiful. She weighed 8 lbs 13 ounces, and was 22 inches long. A big healthy girl! We were on cloud 9 (and still are)!
I was in the hospital for a day and a half. Before being released I was brought into the ER to have a blood patch performed. The initial epidural had released spinal fluid from my spine, and thus resulted in an intense headache that creeped up my spine, to my shoulders, neck, and head. It was the worst throbbing headache I've ever had. The doctor drew blood from my arm and injected it into my spine. Within a couple hours my body started to heal and the headache and throbbing went away.
Although my labor and delivery wasn't the best experience, it really is true when moms say "it was all worth it." My husband and I feel so incredibly blessed to have this darling baby girl in our lives and we are cherishing every second spent with her.
I'll be on maternity leave for 6 weeks and then I'll be returning to work. I know once my 6 weeks are up I'm going to ball my eyes out, so right now I'm just concentrating on my days off spent with her. She's such a good girl. We've been out and about, in and out of the car seat and stroller and she never makes a peep! She eats constantly and loves her baths. :) Nights are good and bad. Some nights she wakes up every 4 hours, while others she's up every two. Right now I'm breastfeeding and using formula.
So that's my story -- sorry for all the details (quite a long post, I know), but I wanted to be able to share all of this with my wonderful followers because I feel you all have taken this journey through pregnancy with me. It only feels natural to share my story with all of you.
I want to say thank you so much for all the sweet messages you've sent me via twitter and instagram. My husband and I appreciate all the prayers that were sent and all the kind words! Ya'll are the best! :) xo