My sweet little girl Alice turned 2 this week.
In honor of her second birthday, I’m going to share her birth story. I wrote it shortly after she was born and I realize that I’d already forgotten some of the smaller details, so it’s nice to read it again. She ended up being an emergency c-section and it turns out the cord was wrapped around her neck a few times. I’m happy we were both healthy and safe. Happiest of birthdays to you, my sweet little love.
Alice was born at 4:46am. She was 7lb, 1oz, 20″ long. It was a fast weekend, here is how it went down.
Friday the 28th at my Dr. appointment I had an ultrasound. They (OB and US tech) seemed honed in on her respiration rate; she wasn’t doing much practice breathing. My OB told me she wanted me back on Monday for another look to see how she fared over the weekend. My due date was Sunday the 30th. Something seemed concerning to her. I set up a Monday appointment and walked out to my car. As I was unlocking my door I got a call; it was my OB, and she changed her mind. She wanted to induce instead. She set up a Monday appointment at 6:30am for induction. I went home and told my fiance, “We’re having a baby on Monday if not sooner!” I texted my boss to tell him I was on maternity leave effective immediately and we went on a dinner date for Mexican for the last time as childless adults.
Sunday was my due date. I woke up at 2am Sunday morning with irregular contractions: real ones, not the Braxton Hicks I had gotten used to. Excited but wary, I tried to sleep them off. I didn’t want to wake up my fiancé so I quietly told him in the morning that I had been having contractions. They were about 20 minutes apart all morning, so we tried speeding them up. I bounced on my ball, we went shopping, we took a walk. After irregularity most of the day, we wrote off any progress and thought we’d just have to wait for induction at 6:30am the next day. I laid down around 3:30 in the afternoon to relax and watch TV, and I fell asleep.
I woke up around 5:30pm and stood up and went “Oh……” I was pretty sure I was leaking water. My suspicions were confirmed after I went to the bathroom to investigate. Contractions or not, that was a surefire sign! I cleaned up and quietly came downstairs. Brandon asked me how I was doing; he said he knew something was up when I didn’t respond. Instead, I calmly went downstairs by him and said “my water is leaking.” He said “Oh, shit….”
We went to the hospital and checked in; my pants were soaked by the time we got to L&D. We got registered, I got changed, and was hooked up to monitors. We walked the hallways, watched some TV, and I did some more ball-bouncing. My contractions were starting to get closer together but not unbearable, but then they spread apart again, so I got the Pitocin drip to move things along. I was on a deadline with broken water. They started to get noticeably stronger and closer together, but then spaced out again. I don’t recall what time it was by now, maybe midnight.
Pitocin got dialed up some more to move along contractions, and they got really bad. They immediately jumped to intense and 1-2 min apart, but I wasn’t dilating much; maybe like 3 cm. I declined the epidural at first but four or so tear-filled contractions later I asked the nurse “if I WERE to get the epidural, how long would it take for the anesthesiologist to get here…?” The idea of something in my spine creeped me out, but the pain was unbearable and I had been in labor for 24 hours at that point. One perfect epidural later and around 3am I was in heaven. They told me to get some sleep. After all that slogging along I was only 4cm, and baby’s heart rate dipped at every contraction in an unfavorable way. I slept for about an hour and awoke to the OB there with the nurses, watching the monitors and heartbeat ticker tape. It was a little after 4am. The doc thought I was progressing too slow to hit the deadline they wanted the baby out by to mitigate infection, plus her heart didn’t respond well to contractions, which had begun to space out again. At that point, she suggested a section. I got emotional at the sound of that, having deviated almost completely from the “birth plan” in my mind, overwhelmed with the thought that we were about to go into major surgery (my first) and that in a few short minutes I was about to finally meet the little creature with her feet in my ribs. Brandon was awake now and emotional too. It was an overwhelming moment.
So they handed him some scrubs, and we rolled down the hallway to the OR. My epidural was dialed up until I was totally numb. Thankfully I could be awake and Brandon could be in the room. He stood outside as I was being prepped. I remember a nurse coming through the swinging doors and for a brief moment as the doors were swung open I could see him in scrubs pacing the hallway. Then they let him in and he held me and calmed me as we awaited a matter of short minutes to hear our daughter cry. My arms were clamped down but he stayed close to my face and we cried and waited in anticipation. It felt like forever.
I heard something like “here she comes!” And a moment of silence before the first garbled squeal. Apparently the cord was tightly wrapped around her neck three times, and it tightened like a noose as she progressed down the birth canal.
We wept with joy as we waited a few minutes for them to wipe her off, weigh her, put the goop in her eye, and whatever else they do. I had to prompt Brandon “go get a picture!!” I could see her wiggling a little and watched him cut her cord. Then finally, he brought her over and held her by my face. She didn’t really cry much once she looked at me. She had an air of familiarity to the sound of my voice as I cooed and sobbed over her. The moments of stitching me up were quick, but still took too long when all I wanted to do was hold her. Finally they were done, the epidural was yanked, and she was placed in my arms; as we wheeled back to our room, I kissed her the whole way. She was born at 4:46am, an hour and 45 minutes before we were to be induced, four hours after her due date. 26 hours of labor. She came when she was ready.
She nursed right away and was a strong nurser the whole time. I couldn’t bear to send her to the nursery and I hardly slept; even when I had the opportunity I had a hard time not staring at her and marveling. I was so happy to finally have my baby. She is the love of my life and nothing could have prepared me for it.