Birth Stories

Kristi & Griffin’s Birth Story – 3/31/08
The second pregnancy seemed to go so much smoother than the first one. Probably because I was a lot more relaxed and my body already understood what it had to do.  That being said, I had so many Braxton Hicks contractions the last three months that I felt so immune to them by the time my due date rolled around.  For the last three to four weeks I was getting contractions several times a day and usually a few every hour.

My Due Date this time was March 26th, per my ‘last menstrual period’, and April 1st per the ultrasound and my ovulation date.  With my first pregnancy, it was about the same timeline (they were about a week apart for that one as well) but since I was two days after my first due date with Samantha, I was expecting it to go along the same lines with Griffin.  Obviously, keeping in mind that things are rarely the same. :) But still.

March 26th rolled around and nothing.  On March 27th, which was a Thursday, I had my 40 week appointment with the nurse and found out I was 2cm and about halfway effaced.  One week earlier I had been halfway effaced and about 1cm dilated, so not to much progress.  I also found out that my Dr went on vacation for the weekend thinking she didn’t have any more patients to deliver for March!  So that was amusing.

What was also amusing was that Justin had an awful cold. He got sick on Monday and by Thursday (when I was overdue!) he was convinced it was the flu and went in to the Doctors.  He was seriously dying and just kept sleeping and resting and actually took off Friday from work. This was highly amusing to me because I was just imagining me in horrible labor pains and him passed out on the couch sleeping.  Every day, Justin kept saying ‘one more day’ for Griffin to stay in my tummy.
Thursday night I had the worst labor pains in bed.  Nothing was time-able but my back was killing me and the waves of pain were really awful.  I told Justin that I thought I might be in ‘early labor’ and he better get as much sleep as he could!  Sadly, nothing happened that night or Friday except for the fact that I went CRAZY staying at home all day and wondering when this was going to happen.

Saturday, March 29th, and I was dying to get out of the house and in the worst mood.  I left Justin sleeping and went to Target and the park with Sam.  We had a really nice day out and then I just sat on my ‘birthing’ ball in front of the computer and rediscovered ‘WebSudoku’.  Mindlessly playing games on the computer satisfied my anxiety a bit and that killed a whole bunch of time.

Sunday came around and again Justin said, ‘one more day, please!’ at which point I snapped at him and said, ‘you’ve been telling me that for a week, I’m sick of hearing it!’. Around 11am I started having time-able contractions every 3-4 minutes apart.  I was so over it at that point though.  I went over to my ball and played on the computer for about two hours keeping track of them at which point I stopped because it was annoying me and went and took a nap.  The contractions stopped as I went to sleep.  They came back later that night but again stopped as I went to sleep.

Monday, March 31st, I woke up at 7am to Justin’s alarm.  He was finally feeling slightly better and was getting ready to head into work.  As I woke up my contractions started up again.  I noticed them in the shower and they were really present when Sam and I were downstairs having breakfast.  Again, they were just contractions and while I noticed them, they did not hurt. I was walking and talking through them.  Being that I was 5 days overdue, I was not staying at home again to sit and wonder when my body was going to get going.  Sharon usually sees Samantha on Monday’s but I told her to go into work and to save her days off for when we needed her to watch Sam.  I knew it had to be sometime this week because if Griffin didn’t come soon I was going to be evaluating my ‘no induction’ policy because this was just ridiculous. Since it was just Sam and I, I called Krysta and told her we were heading over to Chuck E Cheese over in her neck of the woods in Foothill Ranch and to come join us!  I had a few thoughts at the wisdom of going over the toll roads with no cell phone service but I decided that my mental health was more important that day and we had to get out.

As I was driving over the toll roads my contractions were starting to be felt a little more. I was tired and irritable, although I had been that way for the past few days, but I was determined to keep going.  We played at Chuck E Cheese for an hour or two until about 11:30 at which point I told Krysta I had to go home. I knew Justin would be home for lunch and these contractions were not going away and were slowly getting worse.  I jumped in the car with Samantha and headed home.  I figured that, worst case, I would only have about four contractions in the car anyway.

On the way home the contractions got worse. I had a really bad one getting off the freeway by our house and was feeling very grateful that home was close by.  Justin was at home having lunch and I sat down at the table.  Again, I had a very bad contraction that was extremely painful and I asked Justin to put Sam down for her nap while I went upstairs to lie down.  I went upstairs at around 12:30.

I laid down on the bed for about 20 minutes and each contraction got worse and worse as I was starting to cry through them.  Even though my water hadn’t broken and these were just painful contractions, I knew I would want to go to the hospital soon to get checked out and make sure everything was ok.  I walked out to tell Justin that and tell him that once he put Sam down he would want to go back to the office for a short while and get everything ready and come back home because in the next few hours, I wanted to go in. I didn’t see these contractions stopping since they had been going on for the past five hours and were only getting worse.  He told me that we should probably just call a Grandma and have them watch Sam if I thought I would be wanting to go to the hospital soon.  So I called my Mom since Sharon was still at work.  I figured Sharon could go get Sam after work and then my Mom could come to the hospital later to help Justin and me.

Once I called my Mom, she immediately flew to our house to come get Sam.  In-between contractions, I was packing Sam’s stuff and calling out instructions to Justin on what else to pack.  That was the funny thing about the contractions was that they were so painful the 30-45 seconds I was in the middle of them but the other three minutes I was walking around, talking, and feeling completely normal! So that was a little frustrating as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

My Mom arrived around 1:15 and took Sam while I decided to take a shower. Oh my gosh, a hot shower aimed right at your back makes the contractions feel sooo much better! I think I stayed in there for 20 minutes.  When I got out, they felt worse so I was tempted to get back in but since things just kept getting faster and harder I decided to get dressed instead.

During this time Justin was downstairs emailing, talking to his Mom giving her instructions, and apparently getting locked out of the house… So he had to break in through the screen door, haha.  I guess he knocked on the backdoor and he panicked a bit and broke in and rushed upstairs to make sure I was ok.  LOL

As I was getting dressed and making sure I had everything, Justin kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to go.  I was sure. I really didn’t care at that point, I was hurting so bad. I wanted to hear Griffin’s heartbeat and make sure everything was ok. I was halfway convinced that we may get sent home but I wanted to go in. Now that I think about it, there was probably no way they would be sending me home as I was five days overdue.

The drive to the hospital was different than the last midnight run with Sam. I was doing a blog post and texting my family and friends to give them a quick update.  St. Joe’s was very fancy with their valet parking and they got me in a wheelchair immediately to be wheeled inside. I told Justin to leave our things in the car as I was still thinking we might not stay! I did however bring my polka-dot pillow in which I’m convinced a couple sitting in the waiting room was laughing at me for.  They obviously have never rested on the flat hospital pillows!

We went upstairs to the admitting room, they checked me in, and then we went to the nurses station. We got ourselves a nurse (who sadly I’m forgetting her name right now – I will call her Lisa) and rolled ourselves into the birthing suite.  She started asking all her questions and checked me out.  After she checked me, she kept asking me questions and I had to ask her where I was.  I was 4cm dilated! So, I said, ‘Well that was progress from last week!’.  She continued asking me routine questions about the pregnancy and I had to ask how effaced I was.  I was completely effaced.  So then I asked, well am I staying then?  She seemed surprised. LOL – Of course I was staying!  Wow!  I don’t know why but I was still shocked even though I was five days overdue.  Justin looked shocked too and then he went down to get our bags.  I think we were both shocked because last time was so expected with my water breaking and this was just so different. During this time we were also having the fetal monitoring going on. Lisa asked if I would want an epidural now. Surprising! They would give it to me now? She said it looked like I was in a lot of pain.  Well, I was during the contractions but again when they were not going on, I felt fine. I had big issues with sticking a huge needle into my back when I was feeling fine so I wasn’t quite ready. I said not at this time, we wanted to walk around for a bit but I would want one later.  She explained that I would need an IV for about thirty minutes and I would need to be worked into the c-sections happening that day so I needed to be aware of that.  I knew how it worked and thanked her.  She asked if I was feeling any pressure at all? Nope, just horrible contractions.  She then sent us on our way, without putting a heplock or an IV in! Score! We proceeded to start our walk around the maternity ward.

The time was about 3:30 or 4:00pm when we started our walk. We only made it once around before we had to do the fetal monitoring again. The contractions got worse and I felt so awkward moving around with all these wires connected to me. Who wouldn’t, right? At least this time I realized I could actually stand up on the bed, or next to the bed when I had them on. I think last time I was under the impression I had to lay on the bed the whole time so at least that was a little better.  As the fetal monitoring was ending, I told Justin that I wanted the epidural.  I knew it would be at least another hour before I could get it and I knew I wanted it and was going to get it at some point, so why not right now.  The only thing I was worried about is that Justin has a needle phobia and last time he was supporting me but had to sit down and my Mom took over during the epidural. So I asked him if he wanted to wait for my Mom to get there. He assured me he was fine and this time he really WASN’T going to look at the needle. So that settled that.  When Lisa came in we told her of our decision so she got the IV ready. This was probably around 5:00pm.

I have a needle phobia basically from the fact my veins are extremely tiny (along with my teeth and fingernails, kind of strange actually).  Almost every single time I get blood taken I either get a nurse who doesn’t believe me, or doesn’t really care and blows out my veins.  I made sure to warn Lisa about this before but I’m sure you can assume where this went.  She tried the vein that runs by my left thumb. Why my thumb, I have no idea, but she must have hit a nerve because I could swear I felt that needle go through my ENTIRE thumb it hurt so bad.  For the next week and a half my entire left hand was bruised as well as the area on my inner arm by my hand. It was truly an amazing bruise. I took a picture of it. ?  The IV finally got put in and had problems with it dripping which she told me I had to hold my hand a certain way to make sure it continued.  There was no way I was holding my hand a certain way through all of my contractions so I pretty much ignored her and things just progressed.  She wandered around the room fixing things up and told me that it would be 45 minutes before the anesthesiologist came in because they had to fit me in between two surgeries.  She kept asking me if I was feeling any pressure and I wasn’t. She told us to press the nurses button if I had any pressure or needed anything. I asked about other pain medication and she offered morphine. I said YES give it to me but then Justin asked about how it would affect Griffin. Apparently morphine can make babies a bit sleepy when they came out. I didn’t want that so I said I would just wait for the epidural. She walked out the door around 5:30.

About three minutes after she walked out the door, I got hit with a contraction that was so awful my body decided to convulse. I realized that this was the pressure she was talking about. My body wanted to push.  It was pushing. It was awful! I felt so out of control!  This is where the ‘Evil Kristi’ took over as I was snapping at Justin to hit the nurses button and get Lisa back in the room.  I was on my side clutching at the side of the bed and he hit the nurses button.  I kept ordering him to hit the button and he didn’t sound too sure of himself because the nurses were not calling back over the speaker. I couldn’t turn around and look at the partition that held the buttons so finally I snapped, hand it to me and I will push it myself! His response was, ‘Oh THAT thing?’ at which point I think I screamed at him to PUSH THAT BUTTON and get her back in the room RIGHT NOW! LOL – Later he was explaining to me that there were multiple nurses buttons and he was pushing a different one and they just weren’t responding but I was too freaked out at the possibility that my body was taking over and I didn’t have any pain medication yet.

Miraculously a VERY nice Doctor came strolling in the room. Justin thought it was because of the button he had been pushing (they still hadn’t called our room in response to it!) but no, it was the anesthesiologist who was here in 20 minutes instead of 45! Yes! We got that show on the road thankfully.  Putting the epidural in was awful but I was so thankful we were getting it in, it wasn’t that bad.  I had a really bad contraction (again, where my body was taking over and bearing down) but the nurse and Justin kept my head down and back curved and talked me through it. When I laid down, I could still really move my legs which was different from last time but the medicine was taking effect quickly and the contractions were already a lot more bearable.  I told Lisa that I had incredible pressure so she checked me quickly.  I was 10cm and ready to go.  At that point my room got really busy.  It also started to hit me that we were ready to have this baby! It was probably nearing 6:00pm by this point but I was so confused by the time, I didn’t know this. The clock was above my head so when I tilted my head back to look at the time I kept thinking it was later than it was (when it was 5pm, I thought it was 7pm – hehe).  I started wondering where my Mom was! I knew they were switching off with Sam and Sharon. I think Justin tried calling them in the room but my hopes of ‘live blogging’ (haha) my labor was dashed when we had no cell service at all. He went out of the room and came back shortly. When he came back in, he was pretty shocked to see me almost prepared to start pushing.

As everyone was running around the room getting things ready, I got the predictable ‘epidural shakes’ where my whole body was shaking uncontrollably. Fun! I could hear the nurses talking back and forth, apparently my nurse had to go oversee a c-section so I got another nurse. We will call her Karin. It was funny to hear the nurses talk about which patient they wanted and barter back and forth. I barely heard it.  They were attempting to hunt down a doctor though.  Dr Fee was apparently ‘on her way’ but I was ready to go!

At that point my water broke! Woo, that was fun. Having water pour out of me while just lying there feels extremely weird. I told the nurses and they said not to worry about it unless I was feeling pressure. Well, yes I WAS feeling pressure! They peeked in and checked me and said they couldn’t see a head yet so keep my legs closed! Haha!  The main nurse said she did see meconium though. Again, the nurses got busy and alerted the pediatric staff so they could be on hand in case anything was wrong. That was a little worrisome but I just felt so out of it, shaking uncontrollably and I knew with all the doctors around we would be fine. I do remember telling Justin that if anything was wrong he had to follow the baby.  I think he told me that he would follow the baby as long as everything was ok with me and I said, NO if they take the baby anywhere you are following that baby no matter what!

I still heard the nurses talking about finding me a doctor.  Apparently, Dr Fee was not going to get here in time so they were alerting her backup, Dr Lee.  As a few more minutes passed by, Dr Lee also would not get here in time so I heard one of the nurses tell another to just ‘go grab someone!’.  They were able to grab Dr Villa, whom was actually a previous associate of Dr Fee and someone who I had had an appointment with a few years back so that was really nice.  She recognized me as well and sat down to deliver Griffin.

I was all ready to go and they told me to start pushing any time.  I felt so out of it and not ready to push, even though I felt pressure.  It was a lot different this time, it didn’t have the intimacy of last time, where we waited so long and formed the attachment with our nurse and them all encouraging me and talking me through the process.  There were so many people in the room (even though I really wasn’t aware or worried about it at the time) and I wasn’t quite ready so I just laid back and breathed for a few minutes.  Finally, I think I felt a contraction and the urge to push so I went ahead with that. ? Luckily I remembered the process and the feelings from last time so I think I did a lot better at it this time around, especially with Justin counting down and encouraging me.

After a few pushes, Dr Fee came running in the room!  We were so happy to see her! She delivered Sam and I was really happy she was in the room to deliver Griffin as well.  Dr Villa stood up and wished us luck and Dr Fee sat down.  Immediately, Dr Fee got down to business. Where Dr Villa was sort of waiting for me, Dr Fee was pushing and massaging and it really seemed like she was the one going to take the baby out and I better start pushing if I wanted to help!

Not long, probably 10 or 15 minutes later I was pushing Griffin’s head out!  As Justin was watching Griffin come out, he was shocked to see a thick line at the top of the head. He said it looked so odd that he looked around at everyone but no one seemed to be worried.  Later, we found out that it was his skull compressing together and he was seeing the skin on his head and hair compressed so hard as he came out of the birthing canal.  Justin was so impressed and freaked out by this, apparently it looked really odd.  Dr Fee told me to hold on, as the cord was wrapped around his head, although not tightly as it was with Sam. I pushed again and Griffin just popped out!  She grabbed him and held him over me and he didn’t cry right away.  They warned us that he probably would not because of the meconium.  After a long minute, he finally did cry.  They put him on my chest as Justin got to cut the cord, which he was not able to do last time!  It was amazing to see him.

Griffin Scott was born at 6:30pm on March 31, 2008.  He weighed in at 7lbs, 6oz and was 20 inches long.  After a minute or two, they took him across the room where the pediatric staff was waiting to examine him to make sure everything was ok. Luckily it was so they left the room and brought Griffin back to me after I was stitched up by Dr Fee.  She did not cut me this time but I did have quite a few stitches, as she said she just wanted to make sure I would heal correctly.

I got to hold Griffin for the next hour on my chest and start nursing. After about 15 minutes, Jerra & John came through the door expecting to see me still in labor. They were absolutely shocked to see us with a baby instead.  We also called Sharon and Truck and had them bring Sam down to meet her new little brother. She seemed a bit overwhelmed but knew it was ‘Baby G’ that she was meeting and that he used to be in Momma’s tummy.

It was a wonderful second birthing experience and we are so lucky to have two beautiful children now.  Recovery seemed to be much faster than the first time and we are all having a great time getting to know the new family member.

Kristi, Justin, Sammie, & Baby G

Kristi & Samantha´s Birth Story – 12/9/05

Samantha´s birth was such a wonderful experience for me. After going through 12 weeks of Bradley classes, hours of research on the Internet, and preparing for this moment after 9 ½ months, it was just as I wanted it to be.

My due date was around December 7th and December 12th.  On November 17th, we had our first internal doctor exam. I was 20%-30% effaced at that time and was told everything was looking great. On November 20th, I lost a part, or all, of my mucus plug.  Around that time I was starting to notice small Braxton Hicks contractions at times. It was always really difficult for me to tell what a contraction was and what cramps were. Sometimes my belly would get hard and I would have a full/hard feeling and other times I would get violent cramps in the lower part of my belly without the ‘hard´ belly.  December 1st was our next internal and I was ?more´ effaced than last time and about a ‘fingertip´ dilated.  The reason I was a ‘fingertip´ was probably because the doctor did that herself! I was not a happy camper after that doctor´s appointment. That whole next week I was starting to walk around more to get exercise to bring about labor.  For about three or four days I was getting into the habit of having ‘contractions´ where my belly would get hard from about three in the afternoon to when we would have dinner. Then they would magically go away.  Sometimes I would have the strong tummy cramping during those small contractions and other times I would not. I kept trying to walk around more when that would happen to get things going but all that would happen is that my feet would swell to amazing proportions and my skin all over my body developed a very bad rash.

On December 8th, I went into work for a few hours. That whole week I was working only a few hours at work as I was getting really exhausted. I would then usually come home in the afternoon for a short nap and to walk around the neighborhood.  After leaving work and having lunch, I went over to visit my friends who were baking Christmas cookies.  As I was there, I was noticing that I was having a few more contractions, about two an hour.  They were not hurting though.  After visiting for a few minutes, I left their house to go to work and pick up Justin for our 40 week Doctor appointment.  As we were in the car, we were discussing when the best time for the baby to arrive. Justin thought that Sunday, December 11th would be a perfect time as we did not have anything planned. It was a funny conversation on the way to the appointment. Once we got there, I was pronounced 80% effaced and dilated to 2 with the baby being at the -2 station. (For the ‘station’, babies are usually starting at the -3 station once they are engaged with the head down. As they start to move down, they go to -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, and 3 is when the baby is crowning.) I was perfectly satisfied with this news. I had more Christmas presents to wrap, we had our annual Christmas party on Saturday, and other miscellaneous items that I wanted to get done before the new arrival.  Even though I was starting to be miserable with my pregnancy rash all over my body, my pelvic bones aching, and feeling huge, I really had enjoyed the whole 9+ months I had been pregnant for.  We made an appointment for a non-stress test and an ultrasound to check the amniotic fluid for Tuesday.

We went back to work for the last few hours and I was still noticing my hourly contractions. I was also bleeding a tiny bit from the internal that Dr. Fee had done (that is very normal) and my back was aching.  I was very cranky and exhausted and it was really bugging me that my back was hurting so much.  That night, we went over to my Mother-in-Law´s house (Sharon Davis) for Roy & Truck´s birthdays. Roy´s birthday was on the 7th and Truck´s was coming up on the 11th.  I was sitting down pretty much the whole time with my aching back and we stayed just long enough for a yummy Chicken Pot Pie dinner, cookies and ice cream, and to watch them both open presents.  We left shortly after the presents and arrived home right at 8:00PM to watch Survivor. I didn´t last long on the couch with Justin as my back was hurting way to much and all I wanted to do was to lie down with my body pillow in bed.  I then went straight upstairs to do that and kept turning from side to side to relieve the pressure in my back. After Survivor ended at 9:00PM I couldn´t fall asleep so I got out a book to read for a few minutes so I could try relaxing more. I just remember feeling very miserable and cranky but my book was taking my mind off of things.  Justin was still downstairs watching TV.

At 9:30PM, I was still lying on my left side snuggled up to my body pillow and reading when I felt a bubble pop and a gush of liquid come out! I jumped up so fast out of bed and basically leapt over to the tile of our bathroom floor.  The water was coming out of me so quickly and kept gushing in pulses it seemed. I immediately knew what had happened but the whole feeling was so unreal as I was just standing there. I yelled out to Justin who was still downstairs. He didn´t hear me, so I jumped over the carpet to the door to yell his name again. He finally called back to me and I wasn´t sure what to say! Saying it out loud would start to make it more real.  I then yelled, ?My water just broke ? get up here!´.  I´m not sure if I said to bring towels or not, or if Justin yelled up to me to ask if I needed towels but I walked over to the shower as water was still gushing down my legs. I just stood in the shower (with it off) for a minute or two and Justin came rushing into the bathroom with this HUGE pile of towels.  It cracked me up watching the look on his face, he just looked so wired and freaked out. I was still standing in the shower at that point and I had begun to shake. My whole body was just shaking uncontrollably.  I had not noticed any contractions that I could time so the whole feeling of my water breaking was still so unbelievable.  It was just going through my head that in 24 hours or less, we would have a child.

At that point, I turned on the shower and stood under the hot water. It helped me calm down a little and the shakes went away. Justin started packing his hospital bag and after I got out of the shower and got dressed, I started getting the last few items of my bag together. I started piling everything on the bed and Justin was taking it all downstairs.  Around 10:00PM, I didn´t know what to do with myself upstairs in our bedroom. I didn´t want to lie down in bed so I went downstairs. My back was still aching and I didn´t want to be going up and down the stairs so I made sure I was all packed with everything and went downstairs. I paced around for a few minutes but without noticeable contractions, I wasn´t sure what to do with myself! Justin was still running around (very calmly though) getting things packed in the car so I decided to sit down in front of the computer.  I had one last email that I was putting off for work that I had not finished so I decided to finish that up while Justin was packing things up. As I was writing the email, I finally started noticing my lower stomach hurting pretty bad at certain times. I started writing the times down on a sticky pad.  10:16, 10:21, 10:27, 10:323; After the third or forth one, I called out to Justin that I thought I was having regular contractions.  I finished up my email and they were starting to get harder in intensity so I started to pace around the house a bit. Justin was done with packing the car at that point so he took over writing the times down.  Every time a contraction started it was harder than the last one so I was usually kneeling down on the couch, or leaning over to breathe through it.  After they stopped, I would immediately get back up to walk around the house.

A little after 11:00PM, the contractions were still 5-6 minutes apart. I was starting to become a little anxious about what we should do and when we should leave for the hospital. It had only been an hour since I started noticing the contractions but they were getting intense!  I kept telling Justin that we at least needed to call Nicole (our good friend but most importantly for that morning, the dog sitter!) to let her know that she would need to feed the dogs in the morning.  We also needed to call our parents! Justin kept telling me that we were going to call them but we needed to make sure my contractions were continuing at five minutes apart.  Sometimes it would be six minutes and then go back to five. The next few contractions were a lot harder and during one of them I burst into tears as my stomach was hurting so badly.  After that contraction, Justin said we were ready to go but wanted to wait through two more. Those two were four and then five minutes apart so after the last one we jumped in the car.  I had one of my ‘hospital´ pillows (a new cheap pillow with an old pillow case) that I was holding on to and I moved the seat all the way back so I could lie down and lean on my side.

The car ride was not the best thing in the world but we got to the hospital with only three (I think!) contractions in the car. Justin was really careful driving (earlier that night on the way to his Mother´s house I had told him if he didn´t drive carefully while I was in labor I was going to smack him!) and warned me when we were going around corners so I could hold on to the door.  Since it was around 12:00AM, we had to go straight to emergency. We made a wrong turn at first and had to go over some speed bumps twice but we got through it! We pulled up to the emergency entrance and I waited as the last of my contraction finished before opening up the door. I was still holding on to my pillow as I didn´t want to leave it. We went through the doors and the emergency waiting room was empty. There was a policeman in front and he directed us to a window where a nurse held out a sheet of paper for Justin to write down my name and my doctor´s name. At that point I was in the middle of another contraction and was pretty nervous about being in the hospital. A nurse came around with a wheelchair then and put me in. Justin ran off to park the car and get our bags while the nurse took me through the hospital and up to the maternity floor. I am so glad that my trip in the hospital (and later my trip out) was in a wheelchair as there were so many twists and turns that I would never be able to remember where I was! The nurse took me to the admitting office where as I was being checked in, I stood up and paced around. Then, we went over to the nurse´s station and they did some other things (while I got up and paced around more during contractions) and they took me to my Labor/Delivery/Recovery room.  I was so happy I got to have one of these rooms! They were on a first come/first serve basis and can sometimes fill up fast.

The details get fuzzy around this point. Justin came back up to the room with our bags (I was happy he found me!) and told me that he called Nicole and she was taking care of the dogs and was VERY excited for us. He also said he called his Mom and she had called mine.  The nurse then gave me a gown to put on and I got in the bed while she was taking down stats and got a baby heart monitor on me. Justin got out our birth plan to give to our nurse and a box of See´s candy that we had brought for all of the nurses.

Our first nurse´s name was Kam. She was very nice and upbeat and would be on duty until 7:00am that morning.  She got all my information and also did another internal. I believe she said I was still dilated to a 2 and all the way effaced. She also remarked that because of previous surgery on my cervix (years ago) that the scaring from the surgery would make it more difficult for me to dilate. That was news to me as I have never heard that before. In our birth plan we had also said that we would ask for an epidural, or other drugs, if we wanted them and we did not want the nurses to offer them.  (I knew if someone offered me drugs when I was in pain, I would be jumping at the chance!) I am a big baby with pain but after our twelve weeks of Bradley classes on natural childbirth we definitely wanted to try to go natural. Kam seemed agreeable but got out a 1-10 pain chart and asked me what my pains were at this point and at what point would I be needing help for the pain.  I had said that my pain was around a three and I would possibly want an epidural when I was feeling pain at a nine out of ten. We had also asked for a Hep-Lock (Heparin Lock) instead of an IV because we wanted to try walking around as much as we could during labor. She first tried inserting it in my right hand and was amazed that my veins would ?dance´ around as she tried going for them. I have impossibly small veins that will always disappear and/or blow out every time I have to get blood drawn so was a little nervous about this part. She then moved over to my left arm (above my wrist but below my elbow) and expertly put it in. She got everything taped up perfectly and I didn´t faint, which was a plus. She told us to make sure I was drinking a LOT of water to keep myself hydrated and told us to have fun and she would be back in an hour to put on the external heart monitor for the baby. Every hour we would have to have it on for twenty minutes, which we were fine with. (It´s always comforting to hear that cute heartbeat!)  We then went on a walk through the floor which didn´t last long because I kept leaning against the wall in pain. My contractions were still only five to six minutes apart and I´m not sure how long they were in duration. Probably about 45 seconds.

Justin had talked to my Mom earlier once we were in the room. She said she was on her way to the hospital to come and help us. Justin also called Mike & Angie around 12:30. They were still up (no surprise!) and celebrating at a restaurant as one of their real estate deals had gone through, I think. They told Justin congratulations and said to be sure and call them once we had the baby because they wanted to come down!  After our first walk, my Mom came through the door looking very comfortable and sporty in some work out clothes.  She would need those comfortable clothes for the next few hours.

Those next few hours turned into a blur of walking around the hospital floor, stopping in the room for me to go to the restroom, and then pacing around our hospital room and kneeling over the chair, the bed, or anything that seemed comfortable during my contractions. Kam came in to put the monitor on a few times and the first few minutes would be nice because I was lying down but it soon would be torture as I had to stay in one position otherwise the monitor would fall off. The contractions were getting worse each time and my back was still hurting and in such horrible pain that I would need Jerra or Justin to press with all their weight in their hands on my lower back for it to feel ok during my contraction.  During one of these times, I kept getting extremely nauseas and kept warning Justin and my Mom that I wasn´t feeling good. I kept wanting to know ‘where´ I could throw up if I had to. Kam had said ‘the restroom´ but put out some very small plastic bowls. I *hate* throwing up and the last time it had happened was about six years ago when I had some horrible illness. At some point, it finally happened and was NOT pretty. I think I had the baby monitor on me still but there was no way I could jump out of bed and make it to the restroom anyway. There were a few little plastic buckets around but needless to say, I think I needed three of them.  Poor Justin, he was standing right in front of me. I blocked out a good part of that episode, I think. I just remember it was not pretty and that I was just feeling miserable.

Around 3:30, I had stopped walking around the hospital floor a while ago and just wanted to stay in bed, or close to it, because the contractions were coming with such frequency.  They were actually still only five to six minutes apart but five hours of contractions and no sleep since the previous night, it was taking its toll on me.  I kept looking up at Justin and trying to tell him that when Kam came back at 4:00AM that I wanted ?something´ (meaning an epidural) and I wanted to sleep, I was exhausted, I couldn´t take any more of these contractions coming every five minutes. I never wanted to actually say the word epidural out loud but kept trying to make sure that Justin knew.  I kept staring at him and trying to use my eyes to communicate with him and just tell him that I was miserable. He kept smiling at me and telling me I could do it, I was strong, I could get through it. I´m not really sure the exact things he was saying to me but all of it was comforting.  I just kept insisting to him that when Kam came back, I wanted this to end.

Kam ended up coming in later than she was supposed to for the external monitor around 4:30. I think when she came in I immediately said I was tired, I wanted to be checked, and I wanted an epidural. Justin (I think) said we just wanted to be checked to see how far I was before we decided on anything. Kam checked me and I believe she said I was dilated to a three.  In the process of checking me, I think she stretched me OUT to a three.  Six or so hours of labor and hardly any progress! I don´t think I was disappointed in the no-progress as I was already committed in my mind to having an epidural as I just wanted to sleep. Kam got out the pain chart that listed the numbers 1-10 on it and asked me what my pain level was.  I remember looking at the chart and looking up at her, remembering that I had said I wanted an epidural at a 9.  My pains were not a 9. My exhaustion was a 10 though and I wanted that epidural! I ended up telling her that my pains were around an 8 and she said that she would leave us to discuss it and figure out what we wanted to do and she would come back in 20 minutes to take off the external monitor that she put back on me.  I think I closed my eyes and tried to breath just thinking to myself that it would only be a few more minutes that I needed to go through these contractions and she would come back and Justin would agree with me to have the epidural. My mom was standing back at this point letting me and Justin talk to Kam about it.

The next hour or so was horrible. My back pain took over and instead of being unbearable during each contraction; it was unbearable the whole time. I was lying on my left side with the external monitor strapped to me so I couldn´t move much but someone was always in front of my holding my hand, and someone else would stand on the other side of the bed pushing with all their strength on my back.  Any time they would remove their hands from my back I would either moan or cry with pain. I don´t really remember which one! I just remember it was so painful. After each contraction I would just drop off into a half sleep waiting for the next one.  Justin and Jerra started to switch off faster and faster as they had had NO sleep either and using all their strength (when they had none) was extremely hard. I´m not sure how they did it but the pressure on my back was one of the only things helping me through those contractions.  Whenever they would switch I just felt like crying, or maybe I was crying. I kept asking where Kam was. She was supposed to be back in twenty minutes and I knew it had been so much longer than that.  I was asking faster and faster with each contraction, where was Kam? Go get her!  I think Justin waited until it had been a full hour of her being gone and the external monitor still strapped to me (which made things so much more difficult) and then he either called, or went to ask the nurses station where she was.  She finally came back in and again, I said I wanted the epidural. I think she asked Justin if that was our final decision and since I ended up getting my epidural, I´m pretty sure he said that was what I wanted.

Since I was dehydrated, she said I had to have a full bag of liquid through an IV before the anesthesiologist would give me the epidural. She hooked it up and told me to try and relax my arm so the liquid could go in faster. Every contraction I would be tensing up and my back pain was still going on. I think it took about thirty more minutes for the bag to empty out and it took a few more minutes for the doctor to get there as well. He came in around 6:30AM and they sat me up at the edge of the bed. Justin has a bad needle phobia but he stood in front of me to hold both of my arms during the procedure. It took about ten minutes, I think, and it didn´t hurt like I expected it to. I had to curl over and round out my back for a few minutes and there was pressure where he was putting it in but I think I was just so happy I was getting that epidural that it didn´t bother me. Justin had to step away as they were almost done and Jerra stood in front of me and held my hands as they finished up.  I felt so good as it was being put in. I don´t remember feeling any contractions during the procedure, they seemed to have stopped once they sat me up in bed and from that point on I just felt calm and relaxed. I could still feel my feet and legs, I just felt so relaxed. Once they laid me back down, I started to shake which was weird but I kept relaxing my whole body and it would get better.  Kam had to put in the catheter for my bladder at that point (yuck!) which I could feel and that was extremely uncomfortable. She had to try several times and finally my mom told me to just relax, it would be over soon, and kept holding my hand and Kam finally got it inserted.

The next few hours were quiet. Justin lay down on the couch and tried to sleep.  Jerra got out her blackberry and started emailing people. They would talk quietly, they would talk to me, or we would all just rest.  For the most part, I was lying there with my eyes closed trying to sleep. I never really slept but just dozed off so I was halfway rested. After my epidural was put in, Kam came in later and said goodbye to us as her shift was over. She told us that the new nurse would be coming around during her rounds but it would be an hour or so.  Stephanie was our new nurse. She was just as awesome as Kam was. The whole staff at St. Joseph´s Hospital was amazing.  She checked me out and I think I was dilated to a four. She also remarked that because of my previous surgery that it was harder for me to dilate but the epidural was helping me relax so we would have to see what happened in the next few hours. My contractions were still at five to six minutes apart and that was slow and if it didn´t speed up in the next hour or so they would put me on pitocin.

Another hour or two went by.  Justin and Jerra were still hanging out talking quietly or sleeping. I was still just closing my eyes and trying to sleep. Every forty minutes my blood pressure was being taken which continued to make it hard to get actual sleep. The whole experience was still so unreal for me.  Stephanie came back in around 10:00AM and said that they wanted to start pitocin to speed up my contractions. It had been 12 hours since my water broke and they wanted to make sure my body would continue to be in active labor and get this baby out. She hooked up the bag to my IV, turned it on, and said she would be back later.  My mom had left at that point to go and get some breakfast and to go out to the waiting room to call people so it was just Justin and I in the room trying to sleep.

About ten minutes later we hear this ding-dong noise. We had heard that noise before when the external monitor would slip off my stomach and they would lose track of the heartbeat. Many times Kam would just come in and turn it off and fix the monitor.  Justin looked over at me and asked me if I wanted him to get up to turn off the alarm since it was just continuously dinging. I told him no, that the nurses were aware of it (it was alerting them at the main nurse station) and they would come in soon.  The next thing I knew, the door had opened and at least three nurses and/or doctors come rushing in to the side of my bed. They all had scrubs on with gloves and hats over their head. They looked serious! One of them popped an oxygen mask over my head and a woman (who looked to be in charge) said “Uh oh! What´s going on over here!?”  Apparently, I was in the middle of a seven minute contraction! The baby did not like the fact that my stomach was squeezing it for a good seven minutes and the heart rate had plummeted down to 60 or so.  The contraction had come about because of the pitocin so they turned it off immediately and my contraction starting going down. The pure oxygen helped the baby´s heart rate go back to normal as well.  It was completely freaky having all those people rush in. I just remember having that oxygen mask on my face and gazing over at Justin looking at him trying to communicate through my eyes that I was a little freaked out.

The head nurse examined me at that point and found out that I was dilated to a six.  That was better! It still continued to feel unreal to me though.  She said that Stephanie was in another room and would be back soon and also that they had called Dr. Fee to let them know what had happened and she would be checking in soon as she had another patient who was being induced this morning in the hospital.  They left the oxygen mask on my face which was annoying on one hand but comforting on the other. 10:30AM came around and Dr. Fee came strolling in. She looked so nice in her beautiful clothes; it was funny to see her all dressed up. She took a look at the printouts of my contractions and went over what had just happened with the baby´s heart rate and the pitocin. She commented that it looked like I would be having this baby around lunch time.  She started to sit down to check me out but we told her that the charge nurse had just checked me and that I was a six.  Besides, it looked really weird to have Dr. Fee in her beautiful clothes snapping on some gloves; She said that sounded good and she would be back later.

Sharon (Justin´s Mom) came around this time and we updated her to what was going on.  Jerra was back in the room as well and they all sat down to chat quietly, read, or rest while we waited.  I still had on the oxygen mask as they wanted to keep that on me so I couldn´t really talk with them.  It was okay though as I just wanted to keep my eyes closed and continue to rest.  Since my contractions were still only five to six minutes apart that would make it more difficult for me to push the baby out once I was complete.  Stephanie continued to come in and check on me and ‘move´ me around.  The baby was turned sunny-side up, meaning her face was turned up instead of turned down towards my back.  That was why my back labor was so hard and pushing out a sunny-side up baby is apparently a lot harder than face down.  So Stephanie would turn me from side to side every hour hoping the movement would make the baby turn back down.  She also decided to try the pitocin again while promising she would watch it carefully.  She turned it on and left the room.  She came back about 10 minutes later and said I was in the middle of a massive contraction again so she turned it off. This time she was able to catch it before the baby decided to drop its heart rate again.

Around 11:30 (I think!), John came in. He had been in Las Vegas and rushed home in the helicopter the second he could get off the ground to come see us.  Sharon left the room as there could only be three people in the room at one time.  Jerra left a little later to go find Sharon and make more phone calls.  I think she was updating everyone and everyone was continuing to call her back.  John stayed in for a little while with Justin and was checking out the room and all the machines that were monitoring me and the baby.  Stephanie came back in around 12:00 and decided to do another check.  She kicked John out and then found out that I was dilated to 9! My contractions were still so far apart though so she warned me that I needed to be well rested to push this baby out. She also said that she would be calling the doctor to update her and see when she was coming in. I was feeling a lot of pressure and asked her about the feeling. She said it was the baby´s head coming down. It was still about -1 station and not far enough down which was why pushing was going to be a big ‘thing´.  Every time I would have a contraction, I would start to feel that pressure of the baby´s head. It was a little scary and I was wishing that the epidural worked more to not have to feel that pressure. It didn´t hurt that much but it was extremely uncomfortable and foreign feeling.

After Stephanie left to go call Dr. Fee, I asked Justin to go tell the rest of the family that I needed to rest and we couldn´t have anyone back in the room.  I really needed the next hour or so to try and get as much sleep as I could. We both settled down to try and get lots of rest. Justin was extremely tired as well!  Stephanie came back in to tell us that Dr. Fee would be back around 2:00PM to get this show on the road.  The fact that I would be having a baby in a few hours was starting to feel really scary.  Having the epidural and not feel any contractions was such a nice feeling. It was like I could stay that way for quite a long time and not worry about ?what came next´.  Since I wasn´t sure what was going to come next, I was starting to get a little nervous. Anyway, we settled down to sleep as much as we could with Stephanie coming in and out of the room.

Around 2:00PM, we started wondering what was going on. I could feel so much more pressure going on down there and I was nervous as to where exactly we were with everything.  By the way, there are rumors out there that many women go “#2” while pushing during the delivery process. Unfortunately for me, this was quite true and all that pressure was definitely doing something down there.  Extremely gross and since I know tons of people will be reading this, that´s all we will say about that subject. J We called Stephanie in and told her about all the pressure I was feeling. She checked quickly and said it was just the baby´s head and I was dilated to 10 but the baby was not down far enough.  She went back out to call Dr. Fee and update her.  She came back and said that Dr. Fee wasn´t here yet but she was going to start getting things ready.  I told Justin he should really go and update our family about what was going on. I think he left really quickly to go update them.  He came back and said everyone was really upset when they saw him because they thought the baby had come. No such luck but at least they got a little more information!

Around 2:30PM, Stephanie came in and was bustling all around.  She started hooking up the bed and doing all sorts of stuff that I´m not really aware of.  She got the bed all ready and the ‘leg holders´ and popped my legs up and exposed me and all that fun stuff.  (I had already been so exposed and all sorts of gross stuff had gone on so I was pretty much immune to it, by this point.)  I think I sighed to myself a little though thinking poor Justin was never going to think of me in the same way after this. Stephanie said she wanted to start me pushing even though Dr. Fee was not there yet! She informed us that Dr. Fee was ?in the car´ but she would be there soon. Since I had been warned over and over again that pushing was going to be a big ordeal, I was ok with that. We started on the first push! Stephanie said I had to take a big deep breath, let it out, take another one, and then push for 10 seconds.  We started the first push at 2:45PM.

That first push was so strange. I did it all wrong! I was taking a breath in my chest and pushing and I could tell it was wrong. I remembered all of our breathing lessons from pre-natal yoga and our Bradley classes and tried to do better the next time.  The next time I took a deep breath all the way to my stomach or diaphragm, put my elbows up, chin down, and really pushed.  That was much better.  Stephanie told Justin to be the one counting to 10 and she was sitting down there doing something, I´m not sure what! We did that a few more times and it was really amazing to have Justin counting to 10 and encouraging me and then Stephanie yelling out ?You can do it, that was great, keep going, keep pushing´.  With every contraction we would push three times. My contractions were long enough to do that, apparently. I´m not sure if that is the normal ?pushing´ procedure but that is what we did. Dr. Fee came in around that time.  Again, she was still in her gorgeous clothes and she sat right down by my legs and put on her gloves! We pushed another time and Dr. Fee was actually able to turn the baby´s head so she was facing down! Stephanie was chatting with her about my pitocin problems and generally still amazed that I would have these long 5-8 minute contractions when she would put me on it.  They decided to turn it on again because Dr. Fee was here and Stephanie was in the room in the hopes it would speed up my contractions.  Waiting those five minutes between every push was going to get exhausting.  In fact, it already was exhausting. After every series of pushes, I would just lie back down on the bed and stop holding Justin´s hand and lie completely limp on the bed.  My neck was hurting so bad because I was lifting my head up to put my chin down. Justin would keep moving my pillow up to support my head more.  Dr. Fee left again at this time. Apparently she had a c-section that she needed to go do. We kept up on the pushing with Justin and Stephanie still encouraging me.

The whole last process of pushing was amazing though.  With the room transformed and all the lights shining down on me and the tables they set up next to the bed, it was this cozy room with Justin, Stephanie, and Dr. Fee all encouraging me to push this baby out.  Dr. Fee came back in about twenty minutes after she left and this time she was all in scrubs, although apparently she still had her high heels on and had them on during the c-section too!  (Everyone was laughing about that later, it was kind of funny.)  It felt so amazing that these people were sharing in this experience and helping us through it.  Every push, Justin would be counting to 10 and encouraging me to push during counting with his voice getting so excited.  Stephanie was in the background with encouragement and her voice was so excited saying ?That´s the way! Keep doing that! Push, push, push! That´s the right way!´ and all sorts of other things.  Dr. Fee was being encouraging but also massaging my perineum and monitoring where the baby was and getting her out.  Towards the last twenty minutes Justin and Stephanie kept saying they ?see the head´ and to keep pushing we were almost there.  I kept telling myself I don´t have to do this much longer and it will be over soon.  I couldn´t feel any pain (that I remember now anyway) but the pressure was there and every contraction I could feel the head coming down and I would know when to start pushing.  The last few contractions we pushed four times during it, instead of three. Also, the pitocin had speeded the contractions up so they were coming more frequently and we didn´t have any of the heart rate problems after Dr. Fee was able to turn her face down.  All of them kept saying that they see the head but after while that got a little old. I still kept trying to tell myself that the head was down there, it would come out, and I just have to keep pushing a few more times.

Finally, there was a little more excitement in the air during my pushes. I could tell that it was almost time and the next push or so we would have a baby.  I did three pushes during a contraction and Dr. Fee looked at me and said ?let´s do another one, we are almost there´.  I pushed again and collapsed back down on the bed. The next contraction came right after that.  I pushed two more times.  Dr. Fee looked at me again and said something like, you need to push harder, you are almost there, let´s get this baby out.  I pushed again.  Everyone said, I had one more push! Things were so confusing at this time but Justin was still holding my hand and counting to ten, I could still hear Stephanie´s voice sounding so excited, Dr. Fee was also being encouraging.  I pushed again and I don´t remember what I felt but I remember everyone saying the head was out!  I collapsed back down on the table and Dr. Fee was telling me to NOT push.  I was so confused by this time because I always thought you had to wait to push out the rest of the body.  She, or someone, kept telling me to not push and just to breathe.  At this moment, the cord was wrapped tightly around the baby´s neck and shoulder.  Dr. Fee got very serious and said, ?The cord is too tight.  Sorry, Dad, I´m cutting the cord´.  Apparently, the umbilical cord was wrapped around the neck and shoulder of the baby so incredibly tightly that it would have been a danger to the baby to continue pulling it out and waiting to let Justin cut the cord.  The nurses (I think another one or two were in the room at that time ? I have NO idea) got a little busy and were doing something.  The cord got cut but I was still lying down at the table listening and breathing and trying to actually believe I was having this baby.  I was still waiting to push again but then Dr. Fee just pulled the baby out of me!!  Everyone started telling me to look down.  I looked down and there was our baby in the arms of Dr. Fee.

What a crazy moment seeing our baby out in the room.  Justin was still holding on to my hand and me, or someone, asked him what it was.  Maybe it was Dr. Fee saying ‘What is it, Dad?´.  I was staring at the baby, who didn´t look like any normal baby but a small squirmy thing with all sorts of fun stuff covering it.  I looked back at Justin, just unable to believe that we just had a baby.  What was it??  He looked at the baby and said, ‘It’s… It’s a… It’s Samantha Leigh!´.  We had a baby girl.  I was so happy.  I was still so amazed that we finally had our baby.  Dr. Fee quickly put her on my stomach at that time and a nurse quickly took off my oxygen mask and put it on Samantha´s face which scared the heck out of me.  Since they cut the cord so quickly they wanted to be sure she had enough oxygen.  The nurse started cleaning her off while she was on my stomach and Justin and I just kept touching her, and loving her, and gazing at her.  I can´t even remember at this time when she first cried, or how loud she was but her Apgars were 8 and 9.  She was born at 3:55PM on December 9, 2005.  Weighing in at 7 pounds, 1 oz, and was 20 inches long.

She was on my stomach for quite a long time, it seemed to me.  She was so beautiful with a head full of blonde hair and she had blue eyes.  She seemed so alert just looking around and her eyes were moving around when we spoke to her.  At that point, Justin grabbed the camera and started snapping pictures.  We have about 100 pictures of her first hour that tell just a beautiful story much better than I could write it.  They took her over to the ?baby area´ in the room and started weighing her, cleaning her off, and doing all sorts of other stuff. Justin followed her and was watching and snapping pictures non-stop and talking to me about what they were doing.  Dr. Fee had sat down to stitch me up.  I ended up with a second degree tear and required 10 stitches.  I thought that was a lot but was still feeling no pain.  I could still feel the thread going in and out as she was stitching me up but I was still so excited and elated about our baby that nothing was bothering me.

Samantha ended up having jaundice which we had to get the biliruben blanket for her the following week. She ended up being fine and absolutely perfect. At her two week appointment she was up to 7 pounds and 11 ounces!  We are nursing and it´s going great.  My recovery has been awesome. An hour after the birth, I was telling everyone it was a great experience. Which it was!  I haven´t been very sore and the healing has gone well. The worst part was my pregnancy rash which continued for two weeks after birth and finally started to go back to normal.

We have a beautiful little girl and could not be happier.

Samantha Leigh
Born at 3:55PM on 12/9/05
7 lbs, 1 oz, 20 in

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