Life after Birth: Alyssa's Birth Story
My sweet baby turned six months old five days ago. Why does it go so quickly?! Everyone says time moves more quickly with every kid, and I completely agree. It truly feels like just yesterday that we welcomed our second beautiful girl but I guess it wasn't. Since I have been reminiscing a lot this week, I figured I would share our birth story! I seriously love reading them, so there have got to be more birth story lovers out there, right?!
A few facts about my first.I had our Penny at 6 days overdue. It took me a long time to dilate and actually be admitted to the hospital, but once I was there, I loved delivery! I chose to have an epidural, and it worked flawlessly. I didn't feel any pain or discomfort, but I could feel when I was having a contraction, so I had great control! We were also able to time my doses so that I was able to get up and walk around within an hour after delivering. I pushed for about 50 minutes and had a small episiotomy but tore significantly after that. I healed quickly and well!
Big ultrasound measurements.At our 21-week anatomy scan baby girl measured in the 98th percentile. They asked how big our first was when she was born (7 lbs 15 oz) and said that this baby was on track to be significantly bigger. They scheduled another ultrasound for four weeks later so we could re-check her growth. At that appointment, she measured in the 89th percentile. That day, my doctor talked to me about baby's potential size and suggested we schedule an induction for 39 weeks to get her out a little early for the sake of safe delivery. I believed them, but had also heard so many stories of measurements being way off so I had my doubts.
Baby day!We arrived at the hospital at 7 a.m. and were so happy to find out that our nurse was one of the nurses we had when we had Penny almost three years before! We loved her! After all the initial paperwork and the IV, they started the Pitocin. At this point, I was offered an epidural. I initially said I would wait, but then changed my mind because my friend that had a baby a few months earlier had chosen to wait and then when she wanted one, the anesthesiologist didn't get to her for two hours! She barely got it before it was too late, and I was not interested in that. I was dilated to a 2 when I got the epidural and it was about 10:00 AM. Actually, getting the epidural went so much better than my first time, I hardly felt a thing. Shortly after the epidural, I went hypotensive, which is the most common side effect. They pushed a full bag of fluids through me in just a couple minutes and I snapped out of it. About an hour later, things started to get even more interesting. I started feeling the contractions on the left side of my body again. First, it was just a little pressure but within 20 minutes I was feeling everything on that side. We got the anesthesiologist back in our room to inspect and there wasn't anything wrong with the placement of the epidural. It was just not distributing evenly for some reason. He gave me a concentrated dose through the bolus of my IV rather than through the drip and that did the trick!...for a little while. Ten minutes later, I was vomiting. Somewhere in between pukes, I got checked, and I was only at a 3. The rest of the day consisted of the same thing over and over again. The epidural would fade from my left side, I would feel everything, I would get a dose through my bolus, I would throw up, I would get checked, and I only dilated one centimeter each time I was checked, which was happening 1-2 hours apart because I was moving so slowly. At 6 p.m., I was barely dilated to a 6, so I sent my husband home to tuck our toddler into bed and to get himself some food.
"Umm babe, you better get back here really fast!"There was a shift change, so my new nurse came in at about 6:30 p.m. to go through everything and check me so she knew where she was starting. Much to my surprise, I was at a 7. I quickly texted my husband to tell him things were finally moving along well. The nurse turned off my pitocin completely to see if my body would just take over. She started getting all the tables and stuff for the delivery prepped, and I was just sitting there thinking it was still going to take forever to get to a 10. Wrongo! She checked me again at 7:00 p.m., and I was at an 8.5. At this point I am texting and calling my husband but he isn't answering me (I later found out he had accidentally left his phone downstairs while he bathed and put Penny to bed.) My nurse kept saying, "he is on his way back, right?" He got back to our room at 8:00 p.m., and I started pushing at 8:23 p.m.. How's that for a close one?!
"Somebody hand me a vacuum."Remember when I talked about how baby girl was measuring really big but I wasn't so sure I was completely convinced of her being as big as the doctors said? Ha. Ha. Ha. After a few pushes, I could tell that everyone was getting perplexed. Brock (my husband) kept telling me I was doing a really good job, but that I needed to push harder, or give it every ounce of strength I had. At this point, I couldn't feel a dang thing from my ribs down because of all the extra bolus doses of epidural I had been given, so I literally had no clue what was going on downstairs. One more push and my doctor asked for a vacuum. It looked a lot less scary than I imagined it would. Basically, it is just a canister with a tube attached that has a large suction cup on the end. The doctor uses the handle on the canister to manually pressurize the vacuum, and then pulls on a handle attached to the back of the suction cup while you are pushing. He looked at me and told me I was doing an amazing job, but that she was so big she was stuck. She was basically stuck crowning, and wasn't budging at all when I pushed. They got it on her head and with my next contraction, I pushed with everything I had. My doctor was pulling so hard he was shaking and she didn't budge, but the suction cup slipped off her head. He got it back on her head and with the next contraction got her head through! ( I was later told that if the vacuum pops off three times, you are sent to emergency c-section.) As he worked to get her shoulders through his hands kept slipping off of her and he kept saying "man, this is a big baby." Two more contractions and give-it-all-i-got pushes later, and she was here! She was born at 8:34 PM, I started pushing at 8:23 PM. Talk about a stressful ten minutes! My doctor said that if she was smaller, she would have been out with one or two pushes because she was right there ready to come on out!
So you might be thinking, "Well geez, this all went wrong. The epidural didn't work perfectly, they had to use the vacuum, using Pitocin is dumb, etc. etc." My take on it is this, every birth and every baby is going to be so different. If I had waited and gone into labor on my own, June would have likely been so big that I would have ended up having a c-section, and I did not want that outcome. Yes, I wish my epidural wouldn't have been weird, but it didn't cause any long-term issues and I didn't have to feel any of the contractions through transition and actual birth so I am not completely let down by it. The vacuum left a mark on her head for a few days, but she wasn't disfigured and she is perfectly healthy! Remember to give yourself grace for the things you cannot control and be so grateful that there is modern medicine techniques to get baby and mom through the labor and delivery process safely!
Written by: Alyssa Liston