I wrote this a week after Penny was born,
(so it's super-long with lots of details)
it just took a while to get it up on the good ole bliggety blog.
What else is new.
Our due date was Saturday, March 8th.
Our insurance was scheduled to become effective Saturday, March 1st.
A week before, on Saturday afternoon,
I suddenly started having contractions three minutes apart for about two hours straight.
I took a nap, and they continued every five to ten minutes for two days.
Phil was concerned I would overwork myself and go into labor early
(which we could not afford to do),
so he asked me to take work off for the rest of the week.
I called the office and told them not to plan on me working the next day (Tuesday).
I stayed home and rested, but I told my manager that I was feeling great,
not even close to labor,
and I thought I would be able to come in the next day.
That evening Phil and I stayed up late finishing the nursery.
Just a few minutes after lying down (around 1am), I felt my water break.
I was shocked.
I got Phil up and ran straight to the bathroom.
I hung out in the tub for about an hour, but nothing major changed.
I called the midwife, let her know my water had broken.
She asked for me to call her in a few hours and let her know how things were going.
Phil set up sheets and towels and pillows in the living room,
and he crashed on the couch and I fell asleep on the floor.
I woke up to the midwife calling me about five hours later,
and I told her I’d just been asleep, and I didn’t know how my contractions were going.
She was concerned that I was able to sleep,
which meant my contractions obviously weren't progressing.
She suggested I come into the clinic as soon as it opened (8am)
and get checked out to make sure things were okay.
I told her we weren’t in a big rush to go anywhere.
I called work, and I was feeling a little nauseous,
so I tried to rest as much as I could.
After about twelve hours of minimal "activity",
I called back to the new midwife on-call, Claudia.
She seemed pretty concerned that I wasn't progressing after twelve hours,
and suggested I come into the hospital and get induced.
We were pretty disappointed
because we had wanted to have the baby without any medication or anesthesia,
and we were worried about starting a chain reaction of interventions.
But, knowing Claudia was a very conservative midwife,
we trusted she wouldn’t suggest it unless there was a valid concern,
so we decided to pack our bags and head out.
We checked in to the American Fork Hospital,
The charge nurse Melissa got us set up,
then Claudia with the nurse Danielle came in to get me checked.
I was 80% effaced, but only 1cm dilated.
I was definitely bummed.
They got us hooked up to the monitors;
the baby’s heart rate was perfect, and everything looked fine.
The plan was to start me on a low dose of pitocin
nd hope that it would kick my body into starting its own contractions.
Shortly into it, I suddenly got nauseous and threw up a couple times.
They gave me some meds to help with the nausea and I was fine after that.
After four or five hours,
I was still only having contractions every three to five minutes,
and I had only gotten to about 3cm dilated.
Because it had been a while since my water had broken
and it looked like it would still be a while,
they got me started with antibiotics to help prevent any infection.
They also suggested we increase the dosage of pitocin and hope things would pick up.
Around this time the nurses changed, and Kimmy came in for Danielle.
She was amazing.
We went for another three hours or so,
and the contractions started getting more and more intense.
I felt like they were pretty manageable except for my lower back.
Kimmy spent about 90% of the next few hours in our room,
helping me manage the contractions.
She and Phil rotated with doing counter-pressure techniques for a few hours.
They really helped for a while, but eventually it felt ineffective.
Claudia came back and checked me again, and said I was barely at 4cm.
At this point I felt pretty defeated.
The contractions were more intense than I felt I could manage much longer,
and they were suggesting we increase the dosage even MORE.
I knew that if they increased it, I wasn’t going to be able to continue without an epidural.
I also knew even if my body DID start its own contractions soon,
the intensity would still keep increasing as we got farther along,
and I wasn’t sure I wanted to put myself through the intensity of that ANYWAY.
We really felt like going natural was the most healthy and safest way to go,
but at this point it felt pretty clear that
my body wasn’t going to take over the contractions on its own.
I started to feel like if we prolonged things any more,
the risk of the baby having problems would be greater
than if I got the epidural and got things moving with more pitocin.
I really didn’t have anything to prove by going natural,
I really just wanted to have the best chance of a healthy birth.
So at this point I thought,
“If I really wanted to do this, I probably could, but I’m really not sure I WANT to.”
I really didn’t feel like I had anything to prove to anybody,
and so I told Phil I was thinking it was time to get the epidural.
He was obviously disappointed.
He kept saying he knew he wasn’t the one doing all the work
and so he knew he couldn’t make the decision,
but he kept saying he didn’t like that we weren’t following “our plan.”
He said there was a reason we made the plan we did,
and he didn’t like that we were changing the plan.
I told him I agreed, but I really felt like the reason we made our plan
was so we would have the best chances of a healthy birth,
and I really just felt like the way things were going in our situation,
those chances were more favorable with anesthesia
and increasing the effectiveness of each contraction.
It was tough.
I felt like I was disappointing him, but I knew what I was capable of doing,
and I tried to stay really calm and think clearly,
and I just felt like that was what we needed to do.
This conversation and decision took about two hours,
with lots of uncomfortable contractions in the meantime.
We finally asked the nurse and midwife to call the anesthesiologist, Brian.
He got me prepped, and gave me half the dosage and then monitored my blood pressure.
It had dropped more than he liked, so they didn’t add anymore.
I honestly didn’t think getting the epidural was bad at all.
I had the whole “Hold still through contractions while I put this needle up your back” deal,
but I didn’t think it was too bad.
Phil had come over to hold my hand and was telling me I was doing great,
and that helped a lot, especially when I felt like he wasn’t very happy with me.
All through this, baby’s heart rate never dropped or spiked once.
She was perfect.
My legs started feeling tingling and my body was able to relax pretty quickly.
After about half an hour Phil and I both fell asleep.
The nurse checked in on me every few hours, but we mostly just slept through the night.
At about 7:30 the next morning, I woke up to Claudia wanting to check me again.
I was at 8cm, 90% effaced!
She and Kimmy were about to go home, and the next midwife, Kathryn,
would be in to help me deliver the baby with Danielle, who was coming back.
We knew it would only be a few hours at this point, and I was really excited.
Baby’s heart rate was still perfect.
When Kathryn came in, Phil told her he had decided he wanted to cut the cord
(something he had been really queasy and unsure about before),
and he came up to my side and we started “getting ready” for what was about to happen.
We talked about how excited we were and what things would be like,
and just got each other mentally prepped for it.
Kathryn then got me ready to push, and we pushed for only about half an hour!
They had set up a mirror for me to see her coming,
and Phil was avoiding looking at it for a while.
But when her head and hair started to show, he got kind of curious and peeked,
and I could tell he was getting excited.
Her head finally came out, and after one more contraction the rest of her came!
They put her right on my chest, but she was a little blue.
They tried to get her to breathe quickly, but she wasn’t starting,
so they had Phil quickly cut the cord and they took her to get her breathing.
It only took a few seconds, and when I heard her
I couldn’t believe how strong she had been through the long labor,
and how perfect the timing had ended up being.
Heavenly Father knew she needed to come when she did,
even though it was nine days “early”
and my body wasn’t quite ready to get her out on its own.
I’m so grateful that we had providers that we trusted
and modern medicine to make sure she came out okay.
8 lbs, 6 oz, 19.5 inches long, born at 10:24am.
I had two moderate tears,
so the midwife stitched me up and delivered the placenta.
We snuggled for a long time, and very soon after we started nursing.
After a little while, they moved me down to the recovery floor,
and they got me situated while Phil went with Penny to the nursery.
He was a papa bear in every way.
My legs finally got un-numb,
We asked the nurses about being discharged as soon as possible
(since we were paying out of pocket),
and they all said that since it had been thirty three hours,
odds were the pediatrician would want us to stay for 48 hours to monitor her.
We got them to do the PKU and bilirubin tests at the same time
so she wouldn’t have to get poked a bunch of times
When we came back, she had the most heart-breaking sad face,
and Phil had been crying thinking about her being so uncomfortable.
It was a sweet and tender daddy moment I hope I will never forget.
My sister Alisha and her husband Spencer came over for a little while,
then Phil’s mom and her husband came by,
and then we Skyped with my parents so they could meet her.
After a lot of snuggling and loving,
we finally sent her off to the nursery for the night while we slept.
They brought her back every few hours to nurse,
We had decided that Phil would get to choose the middle name
(after a lot of negotiating – that’s a whole other story),
but in the morning he was still undecided between two names.
I told him which one I felt like she “was,”
and we agreed to name her Penny Elise Leué.
We gave them the birth certificate and signed a bunch of papers,
Phil brought the car up to us,
and I felt a huge wave of calm come over me
as Phil clicked the car seat in and we stepped into the car and drove away.
We were parents.
Let’s do this.