Sierra’s birth story

Filed under: delivery/labor,doctor — by Lauren on December 16th, 2008 @ 11:18 pm

On the morning of Friday, December 5th, 2008, I woke up at 5:40 am when Anya decided she was done being asleep.  I went to the bathroom and discovered that I was wet through my underwear to my pants.  It wasn’t a huge amount, but way more than the slow fluid leaks I had been experiencing since Monday.  I was not experiencing any contractions.  I told Lex that there was a chance my water had broken while I was sleeping but I wasn’t sure.  I did not want to call the doctor at that time since I thought I’d be told to go to the hospital and I wasn’t going to head over there at 6 am for a possible false alarm.  Around 7 am I called and spoke to the midwife, who said as long as I didn’t have another gush of fluid or regular contractions I could wait to be seen in the office, but I should call and move my afternoon appointment up to the first one that morning – 11 am.  We called my mom and asked her to take Anya to her transition class and gave our doula a heads up that today might be the day.

The doctor confirmed my water had broken, but I was barely dilated and still not contracting.  She said we could go home and get our things but we should be at the hospital by 1 pm.  We had lunch and spent a little time with Anya before heading over.  Once there, we were quickly settled into our room and met the first of the four nurses who would work with us while I was in labor.  Still very few contractions to speak of at this point.  The doctor came in to see me and encouraged me to eat and drink lightly.  He also felt that I could expect not to deliver until the following day.

The afternoon was frustrating and kind of boring.  My contractions would pick up and then slow down, sometimes stopping altogether.  Lex and I walked the halls, bought a ridiculously expensive deck of Disney Princess playing cards (and had to look up more two player card games to play on his Blackberry when we ran out of the ones we knew), watched a little TV, tried to doze…  Still no consistent progress, though the contractions I was having were getting uncomfortable.  It had been many hours since my water broke (some time between 2:30 and 5 am).  The doctor felt we needed to take some action and wanted to start me on a low dose of Pitocin.  We did so at 12:30 am.  By then, our doula was on her way.

The contractions kicked in pretty soon after the Pitocin, but I was still able to rest in the bed through them.  Suddenly I felt a sharp, painful pop and I started to lose insane amounts of amniotic fluid.  That continued on and off for much of the rest of labor.  At one point I was sitting in a rocking chair on a chux pad, and it was flowing over every side of the seat.  The contractions got very intense and I was experiencing very strong pelvic pressure.  Lex and our doula did a great job supporting me through each contraction.

Around 6:30 am, I started to fall apart.  I had been more or less awake for more than 24 hours and the contractions were more than I could bear.  The doctor examined me and found I was still only 1 cm dilated (in my hysteria I thought he said 3 cm, which was devastating enough to me that no one had the heart to correct me).  I told Lex I couldn’t take it anymore, and the doctor agreed we needed to consider pain management.  He gave me several options, but recommended an epidural, and because I knew that he wanted to keep this birth as natural as possible, I trusted that he was giving me good advice.  We consented at 7:10 am, and then had to wait until I had enough IV fluids for the anesthesiologist to be able to give me the epidural.  Lex and our doula had to leave the room and I somehow managed to sit still enough between contractions for everything to get set up.  By 8:50 am the epidural had been working well enough that Lex, our doula, and I all managed to sleep a little, and I was dilated to 5 cm!

By 9:40 I was up to 7 cm and the baby was already at 0 station.  This was great news – Anya never got past -3 station.  I was pretty drowsy but could not stop shaking and having my teeth chatter, though I wasn’t cold.  This was most likely a reaction to the IV fluids, the Pitocin, and/or being in the transition stage of labor (which I blissfully couldn’t feel!).  The monitor showed that the contractions were extremely close together.  At 10:35 I was 9 cm and the baby was at +1 station.  The doctor felt I’d be ready to start pushing soon.  The epidural was turned down (it was turned off altogether during pushing). I was given an oxygen mask to use in between contractions, and Lex had ice chips ready to keep my mouth from getting too dry. At noon we started, and 34 minutes later we welcomed Sierra Claire into the world! After 31 to 33 1/2 hours from the time my water broke, we had our VBAC, and it was amazing. No joke – as soon as she was out the “We Did It” song from Dora the Explorer began playing in my head. Thanks, Anya!

Sierra was placed immediately on my chest and Lex cut the cord. She had Apgar scores of 9 and 9. The nurses took her to clean her up and suction her a little more while the doctor repaired the third degree tear I sustained from delivering Sierra’s shoulders. There was some concern because she had a little tachycardia and a slightly elevated temperature, but the pediatrician eventually cleared her and she was back in my arms. She was awake but drowsy. It took about an hour before she successfully latched on to nurse, and we spent most of that time gazing in awe at her. We’ve been enjoying every second with Sierra since she was born, and are so thankful to have her in our lives.

5 Responses to “Sierra’s birth story”

  1. Grammy Says:

    You may someday get a Pulitzer Prize or other award for the most detailed, intensive, and wonderful recording of your children’s lives which must exceed any one else’s. Keep it coming!

  2. "Just Aunt Sharyn" Says:

    Love the blogs.

    We’ve been cooking so much lately that reading your blogs gives me a break. Today the phone rang off the hook…everyone looking for gift certificates for the holidays. The economy might stink, but everyone still eats and loves to give food presents.

    We might get to see you after Christmas…depends on how everyone feels. We’ll call it at the last minute.

    Love you guys!

  3. Erica Says:

    Okay LOL I will admit that I had the same song in my head after giving birth! You did it HORAY!

  4. Sumaya Says:

    Awesome birth story ! Sierra is so beautiful !

  5. Lauren Says:

    Grammy – Happy to oblige! If I could capture every moment of their lives, I would. I don’t want to forget anything!

    Sharyn – We hope we’ll get to see you too!

    Erica – Sitting here laughing! I’m glad it’s not just me. Too many moments of my life involve Dora references these days.

    Sumaya – Thanks!