I always struggle with how much detail to include with giving Gillian's birth story so I will include all details and you can enjoy how many or however few you would like.
The "ideal pregnancy" (according to my OB), led to an non-ideal birth, with more excitement than Landon and I would have hoped for.
We spent 36 hours at the hospital where Gillian and I received a lot of care (read: no sleeping but constant poking and prodding). I was on an IV until 8pm Saturday night because I needed antibiotics to help with any possible infection that I could received from the plancental extraction. I was happy that Gillian got to stay with us in our room the entire time. I didn't even want to sleep because I didn't want to miss a moment with her. Landon stayed with Gillian and I during the 36 hours, although he didn't get much sleep either as he slept on a plastic chair. We asked to leave early (although my insurance would cover another day) because we were really struggling without much sleep. We left the hospital Sunday afternoon. If felt wonderful (and a little terrifying) to take Gillian home.
I had been having irregular contractions for a couple of days. Thursday night, i got little sleep, as the contractions grew to about 8 minutes apart for the majority of the night. Although, Friday morning, contractions were about 90 minutes apart - how does that happen?
We woke Friday to a winter wonderland. I'm not sure if you remember, but I mentioned that I had hoped our baby would be born during a snowstorm, like her daddy was. Between that hope, the worsening snowy roads, the fact that the storm was growing and not waning, and Landon's utter certainty that the baby would come with a low-pressure system (he had predicted that this Friday would be the day ever since he saw the weather report 10 days earlier!), I worked from home that morning instead of going into the office (at my husband's insistance).
At 1pm, the storm was still raging when Landon and I went to my 39 week OB visit. There, she declared me still 80% effaced and still only 4cm dilated. When she asked about baby movement, I told her that I hadn't really noticed the baby moving that day. To play it safe, she sent me to get some fetal monitoring done.
We waited for awhile for this next appointment. Landon had read every single magazine in the waiting room when I suggested that he go run some errands and come back and get me when he was done. I wasn't concerned about the fetal monitoring, as I know i felt the baby move at least once that day and we heard her heartbeat at my OB appointment and it was perfect, as always.
Apparently every woman is supposed to have a certain amount of amniotic fluid surrounding her baby. From 8-22, they said. After having two different women measure my amniotic fluid via ultrasound, it was determined that i only had 3 and would be sent to Labor and Delivery immediately.
This concerned me because I wasn't really sure what this meant and no one could explain it to me because my doctor was assisting with an emergency C-section. And I was totally alone, as Landon was out in the snow buying dog food. I called him and told him to take his time, but please swing by the house to get our hospital bags and car seat. I really wanted him with me right away but I didn't want him to hurry on the slippery streets. He took my message to heart and even took a shower before coming back to the hospital.
It was 3pm when i was admitted to Labor and Delivery. I was put on an IV immediately as I needed to receive a lot of antibiotics to fight against the Strep-B that I had tested positive for weeks earlier. I was still having contractions and they were about 10-15 minutes apart. Landon arrived and we just sat there and waited and waited and waited. Apparently, there were 3 emergency C-sections that afternoon and the entire staff was consumed. They would induce me soon.
At 6pm, the doctor broke my water, hoping to progress my labor, but held off on the pitocin, hoping that the labor would move along on its own. I didn't know this, but when you lose your water is when the contractions become painful. With no fluid to cushion baby's head against your too-small opening and other body parts, the pain grows excrutiating. I labored through these contractions with Landon's amazing support for several hours, with contractions growing closer together. Landon really enjoyed watching the baby's heart beat and my contractions monitored on the screen beside the bed. He would be really encouraging, "that was a big one!", or "the hardest part is over, it's near the end". I was so grateful for his involvement and support.
Around 10:30, the nurse came in to check the progress of my labor. Unfortunately, I was still only 4-5cm dilated. She told me that she would call the doctor (who was on-call but at her home at the time) and let her know that they would be putting me on pitocin, which would "make contractions closer together and more intense". I honestly couldn't imagine contractions more painful than what I was already experiencing so I asked for an epidural before the pitocin.
After passing around the needle during our Labor and Delivery class a month before, epidurals were my biggest fear. And I didn't want to wuss-out of delivery or be imobile. I wanted to be strong during and after the delivery. But I already felt like my contractions were excrutiating and on top of one-another, so I had to concede.
In fact, the process of receiving the epidural was not awful at all! It kicked in pretty quickly and I was happy to have relief from the contractions. Before my nurse administered the pitocin, she checked the progress of my labor and she said that I was 9cm dilated, she could feel the baby's head, and I wouldn't need pitocin after all. That was great news! The nurse had me wait for another hour before I would start pushing so the baby could align with my pelvis properly.
I pushed as hard as I could, and in that moment, baby's heart beat went from 140 to 60bpm. People started pouring through the doors and I was immediately given a shot to end contractions, and was put on oxygen. The nurses flipped me onto my hands and knees to take any pressure off of the baby and I was terrified and praying frantically. At this time, the doctor was called to come in, but she lived 15 minutes away, so we would be waiting for her. The nurses were able to stabalize the baby's heart rate.
When the doctor arrived, she explained to us that my contractions were so strong and lasted so long that our baby didn't have a chance to recover inbetween. We could do a C-section or delivery by forceps. She explained that with a forcep delivery, the baby's heart rate might drop again but she would deliver her as quickly as possible. She thought this was the best option, so we agreed and gave her the OK. They brought in the NICU staff as a precaution, which didn't make me feel very good.
Within the next few minutes my contractions resumed and after 6 pushes (2 contractions) our baby was out and screaming. I was praising God. Landon cut the umbilical cord and I got to see and touch my little girl before they wisked her away to make sure she was okay.
Unfortunately, I could not deliver the placenta for the same reason that I could not deliver the baby. The doctor tried to get the placenta, but eventually had to manually scrape pieces of it out from my uterus. This took several minutes and a lot of bloody tools. She went through 3 suture kits to stitch me up, as she had cut a third-degree episiotomy in order to get our baby out quickly with the foreceps. I am so grateful that I got that epidural, even though I never was administered pitocin.
(Momma's first time holding Gillian)
Gillian Bryce was born at 1:08am on Saturday morning, in a snow storm.
6lbs 12oz, 19inches long with apgar scores of 8 and 9. She is perfectly healthy.
The doctor told me that since I have such a strong uterus, I should never receive pitocin in any future deliveries. I am grateful that i was never given any with Gillian! I am so grateful for the staff at St. Mark's. They were wonderful during our entire stay there, and they were especially impressive during our daughter's delivery. If we had been stuck at home or in the car or 1913, my daughter and I would not have survived the delivery. It's amazing that something that could have been so serious in other situations, was simply a routine birth at the hospital. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the staff there, and for God's amazing provision. His faithfulness is great.
(Daddy's first time holding Gillian)
Getting Gillian ready to go home.