Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ella's Birth Story (12.20.13)

Ella was born via c-section on December 20 at 6:58 AM. I had a c-section scheduled for December 21 but Ella had her own idea of when she would be brought into this world.

I have a few friends that have posted their birth stories. Over the years I've read them. I also have a few blogs I follow that have posted their birth stories over the years. I always picked the worst things that happened out of them and figured that's what would happen to me.  Sometimes I'm just not the optimist.

Overall everything happened much faster than I ever anticipated.

A little after 3:30 I woke up to go to the bathroom or something but think I might have lost my mucus plug at this point. Right after this I did some research on my phone about it and you can lose it a week before labor so I wasn't concerned. Dave woke up at this point and asked what I was up to. I told him and he went back to sleep.

At 4:34, I woke up because my water broke. It wasn't a huge gush. I wasn't 100% sure it broke.  I changed my clothes and started doing some research again even though I was just confirming what I read in the past. A contraction started. This woke Dave up. He said I was in labor. I wasn't sure. I mean they don't tell you what exactly contractions feel like. I got my phone to time the next one.  I still wasn't sure it was a contraction. Most people I know have started out with contractions far apart.  The first contraction I timed was 51 seconds long. Then there was a 3:09 break between that and the next one. I clearly thought this couldn't be labor because they started so close together. I timed the next one and it was 58 seconds. Then there was a 5:28 break between them. Then 54 seconds. I was actually on the phone with the hospital during the second one I was timing.  Since I had a c-section scheduled they just told me to come right in. They didn't even ask contraction stats.  (I was on the phone with them at 4:52.)

Well I had to finish packing my bag. I kept forgetting to time future contractions so I don't have any more timed. I needed cameras and chargers and cords. I had clothes packed. Somehow packing while having contractions took a long time. I think it was about 15 minutes before we left the house.
packing my bag
On the way to the hospital I thought how awful contractions were and if people had to go through what I was dealing with for 24+ hours that's crazy. (Later I learned what I dealt with isn't quite what people feel early on.)

We get to the hospital and just park in a spot even though at birth class we were warned to drop the mom to be off at the circle and have the dad go park. I'm tough and didn't even believe I was really in labor so I walked from a spot in the back of the parking lot.

We get to the door to get in and a lady is in front of us not sure how to call in. She calls in. She has a scheduled c-section for 2 hours from that point. We walk in together. They fill out their forms before a nurse even gives us ours. Dave fills it out. He told me to and I reminded him that at birth class the instructor said dad's should fill out the form to be nicer to a mom in labor. Ha. I hate filling out forms so I decided not to be my independent self. There were only 4-5 questions on the form but I didn't realize that at the time that I made Dave do it.
during a contraction
We got taken to a room and I was told to change into a gown. They said they were going to test if the fluid was amniotic fluid. It was so my water did break. One nurse was working with me doing a few things like getting the baby set up to monitors.  She checked to see if I was dilated. That really really sucked.  I'm not sure if it normally does or not. After what felt like forever but was probably seconds she asked if the baby was breech. She could feel a butt. She said "you are 9 centimeters dilated. We'll go with 8. You are 8 centimeters dilated." The next thing I know there are 4 nurses trying to do the prep work. They asked questions and didn't write a lot down. Then they started entering things into the computer. At one point a nurse asked where I'm originally from. Apparently I said "pop" instead of "soda" so that gave it away.  Dave was sitting at a chair at the foot of the bed during all this. I didn't have a hand to squeeze on to. He wasn't taking pictures. I had to try to tell him to between all the nurses asking me questions. He never got a picture of the monitors that were monitoring my contractions!  He also swapped batteries on my camera and lost the dead one. I think this is why I don't leave others in charge of my cameras on a daily basis.  Dave took a video when I was in labor. The video ends with me telling him he's recording for too long and it'd be boring.

When I got to the hospital but before it got busy with nurses I texted my parents with "FYI I'm in labor." This was at 5:42. Then things got busy with the nurses so I gave Dave my phone and said he should update them since I never got to even send a second message.

At 6:05 the doctor performing the c-section came in to talk to me.  At 6:20, the anesthesiologist came in to explain things.  They brought Dave the outfit he was supposed to wear in the OR but it was a big onesie and no way it would even get up to his shoulders. So then they went and got him scrubs. He could pull the pants way up over his belly and then the shirt and pants would overlap. I wish I had a picture of the first outfit he was trying to wear.

They brought a wheel chair in for me to get to the OR then decided they were going to wheel the bed. My contractions were getting closer according to what they were saying and how I felt but I have no data to back this up! I signed one paper that said who was performing the surgery and I gave them permission to do so.

I was wheeled into the OR at 6:34.  Dave had to wait in the hallway while they set everything up in the OR. He said while he was waiting someone from the nursery came to have him pick a hat. He had the choice of a red white with a red stripe or the one he picked. Later I saw the white/red one and he picked the better choice. He picked the one we got because it has purple and I like purple.

I was wheeled into the OR on a bed so then I had to sort of crab walk from one bed to the other.  Once I was in the bed, they realized I had to sit sideways on the bed and hunched over for the spinal so I had to go from lying to sitting. Before I got the spinal, it felt like some sort of liquid was put on my back. They had some sort of paper against my back and the bed to catch the liquid.  Then they rubbed something on my back.  I felt some poking but not sure if that was the needle for the spinal or something else to numb the area before the spinal needle. I was supposed to let them know when I started to go numb.  At one point they asked a question about my right and left side. My right side felt weird but not my left. I'm not sure how to describe it maybe tingly? It's also been weeks so my memory isn't as good. The anesthesiologist said OK and went and did something in my back. There were a few things between the liquid and the needle but I'm not sure what any of it was. I felt the needle going in and getting into position.  Then my legs started to go numb. As soon as I was going numb, they shifted me so I was lying in the bed.  It was difficult to hold still through 2 contractions to get the spinal.   They put up the barrier between my head/chest and the rest of my body for the sterile field. I could hear them talking but could only see the anesthesiologist.  I heard the nurses/doctors going through the list of equipment they had. I guess to confirm they have everything so later they really know if something ends up missing.

They brought Dave in but I'm not sure if they cut into me at that point or not.

It was weird to feel them touching my belly. It felt like someone just touching me not cutting into me.  I could feel slight movement and tugging but no crazy pain. I enjoyed how the spinal stopped contractions too. They were a little rough.

I was shaking a lot. This is apparently common but I was shaking a little more than normal I think. I shook a lot at knee surgery so I mentioned that to them. They asked if I was cold. I was not. They covered my arms with warm blankets anyway (6:45). Apparently you can shake from surgery and from labor. The shaking affected the blood pressure cuff so it was tightening more than it needed to. This ended up making my arm tingly. Since I have had this happen at home when taking my BP a few times in a row, I didn't say anything. My BP was taken every minute.

During surgery, I realized I could tilt my head way to the right and see the monitor for my vitals. The first time I looked my BP was 140/45.  The low number went up each time I peaked over. The high number only went down to about 130 during the surgery.  I think it did go up to 154/something at one point.

The anesthesiologist likes to peak over the sterile field curtain and keep me updated. At one point she said "they have her butt out and still have to get her head."  Then I hear "out" and someone say "it's a girl." Then my reaction was "oh good. so the ultrasound isn't wrong like the dentists friend."
Ella was born at 6:58 AM.  They took her over to do whatever they do to her. Dave got up and joined the nurses/Ella. They still continued with surgery on me.  There was no crying right away. But they use the bulb sucker to try to get her to cry. She beat Dave over to the baby area.  Dave said she was blueish and turned pink and it was amazing to see.  When she cried there were "yays" in the room. I'm not sure how long that really took. But after that, they brought Ella over to meet me (7:04).  They held her so close to me it was hard to see. I asked if she had hair or not. She was already wearing a hat. The nurse took it off so I could see her hair. We got a few pictures taken.   I had asked the anesthesiologist to take a picture of us 3 because my doctor told me she would. She said she wasn't good at pictures so she asked a nurse to do it.  The nurse only took 1 picture. People should know to take 2 or 3 or more just in case someone blinked.    After the picture Ella is lead out and Dave goes with her.

While they were finishing up surgery on me, I could hear general chit chat from the doctors/nurses. I remember them counting the tools at the end of surgery.

Apparently a side effect of the spinal is making it seem like you aren't getting oxygen and you can feel it in your chest/lungs. It made me want to cough. It was like some sort of pressure on my lungs.  I was talking to the anesthesiologist about it during the surgery.

At 7:35, I headed to recovery.

At 7:45, we had our first breastfeeding.  It went much better than I expected. I read about how some new moms have issues with breastfeeding and then also read that breastfeeding after a c-section can be worse.

My nose was quite itchy. I learn this is a side effect of the medicine they gave me with the spinal. I can't remember what that medicine was though. They asked if I wanted medicine for it. I said no. Later I did say yes after realizing I made my nose all red and then I'd look like Rudolph in pictures.

In recovery they had Dave sign different papers. I think some are normally signed prior to surgery but we were a little rushed.

The recovery room (well area) was a lot smaller than I expected.

At 9:50, we left recovery.  We ended up leaving a bag on my bed that had my shoes, hoodie, and pants in it. I was able to realize this later and then they found my stuff and returned it to me.

We were finally set up in the room at 10:12. It takes a lot longer to get from point A to point B when you are being wheeled in a bed and also when you have luggage and when you have a catheter and IV.   The hospital bed has to be kept at 30 degrees or higher.
At 1:45, Dave decided he needed a nap!

At 2:45, I dangled my feet and stood up. I wanted to do this earlier but had to wait for a nurse to be there.  I was told standing up was early compared to most people. I even wanted to do it earlier. I wanted to walk at that point but they recommended just standing and later walking.

I can't get out of bed because of the catheter, IV, and leg compression things. Everyone brings Ella to me. Sometimes Dave did and other times nurses did. We would time feedings for right after nurses had to wake Ella up to get her vitals. She enjoyed eating and falling asleep before she was done. I needed nurses to give me tricks to wake her up.
So the day of surgery, my meals are all liquids. I'm also warned not to "eat" too much because people tend to do that the day of surgery and end up throwing up.

Throughout the day I have my phone and camera within reach. Dave wasn't taking enough pictures so I decided to hold my own camera and just take a million selfies.
just look at these cute feet
I have pictures on my picasa from December 20 but also some other days since she was born.

So overall I was in labor for about 2 hours. Well slightly less than 2.5 if you count the surgery. I had to be told not to push prior to surgery. The nurse said it seemed like my body wanted to push but I couldn't.  I think I would have still had a fast labor (precipitous labor) which is anything less than 3 hours. Just imagine if I didn't have to go in right away because of a c-section. This baby might have been delivered in my living room. From reading a little about fast labors I think future kids can be even faster. I'm curious what future births will be for me.  I think I'm more shocked about my fast labor because I've had so many friends with long labors like my friend Emily had.

I still can't believe how dilated I was by the time the nurse checked. Or how strong contractions were right away.

This post is really long. I feel like I could have written way more if I didn't wait a few weeks to write it.  I should have probably written less but this will be fun for me to read in years to come.  I typed this over several days so I hope it makes sense. It's hard to find time to type on a computer nowadays. I would really love Dave's version of the birth story but I highly doubt he'll type one.   Dave did create an email address for Ella and emailed her. I think he was going to email her more but then was unsure what age she would be reading emails so then didn't know how to write them.  He signed the email "Love, Daddy."  I thought of putting his email here but decided against that. It's a short 2 paragraph email with a picture of her in the bassinet.


  1. You are so funny, stopping to take a picture of the suitcases that you are packing. Great post! I really enjoyed reading it. It didn't seem long at all.

    1. I took pics of me before I changed into hospital gown and once I was in the gown. I just didn't post all those. It felt long trying to get it typed since I could never get it finished. I spent 2 hours today finishing it but had all the way up to the OR typed already. I did have more typed and somehow lost it so I had to retype the stuff from the OR.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Glad to know im not alone checking my phone for things when they happen Im sure I'll do the same.

  3. That is the funniest text.

    Also, I thought you wouldn't want anybody taking pictures in there (actual labor room), and am surprised to hear that you wish there were more of them.

    1. Well my labor wasn't a normal and delivery. Where I wanted pics of the monitors was more the evaluation room. And pics of the 3 of us still would have had the sterile field curtain up so nobody would see parts of me they shouldn't.

  4. Loved reading your birth story! I was wondering how long it takes until we will get to see Sara's baby and Sara. She is scheduled for 1:00pm. At least this gives me an idea. I also had a fast labor with Tommy, 51/2 hours. Sara took much longer. Hopefully your next one won't have to be a c section. I believe being in shape makes labor go more quickly.

    1. Thanks.
      Here's another birth story from someone whose baby was breech and she had a scheduled c-section http://www.thesmallthingsblog.com/2014/01/my-c-section-experience.html

    2. Thanks Colleen. I will just feel so much better when she is here safe and sound. Your story and the other one helped ease my mind some.

  5. I went back and read this again to refresh my memory before your next labor. Are you scheduling another c-section or trying for vbac? I can't believe how fast your labor went with Ella, kinda scary! I hope you make it to the hospital in time with baby #2!