Sunday, March 02, 2008

Hazel's Story

drumroll please...
(be careful... this is LONG)
Hazel’s Story

It had been a week since Funny Dr. Man had told me I’d “have the baby in the next few days.” As many of you know from reading the blog – I was getting more & more excited to meet our baby, and more & more weary of people asking “any baby yet?” and “where’s the baby?” As if I had something to do with the timing of our little one’s arrival. (And for the record, we tried pretty much everything that’s supposed to “jump start” labor – except the castor oil. The side effects of that one were enough to keep me away…)

The morning of Friday the 15th, I woke up feeling completely normal, which was disappointing, given that I’d felt a lot of downward pressure the night before, and was hoping those would amount to something. It seemed like just another day – Mark went to work, I got up & showered. It was a little after 8:00am and I was just sitting down to the computer to figure out a new & unique way to announce to my bloggie world that there was still no Little B when my contractions started.

I’d had contractions off and on all week long – never intense or regular, but enough to be noticed. This one was different. It was tighter and much more crampy-feeling than the others. I made a mental note of the time, then kept putzing around – although I (happily) delayed writing the blog post for the day.

By 9:00am I’d had 5 regular contractions – and I decided it was time to call Mark. His office is only about 7 miles away, so there was no big rush – but I figured it was fair to warn him that he may be on his way to becoming a daddy. (Plus Funny Dr. Man had warned against waiting around the house too long once the contractions began to be regular). Mark had had a big conference the day before (we were happy no baby decided to come while he was 2.5 hours away!), so he was still unloading all the conference materials from his car when I called.

K: Hey – I think you made need to come home sometime today… I’ve had 5 contractions in the last 45 minutes. I think things may be getting started.
M: Ok – I’m still unloading the car. I’ll finish up here, and give you a call back to see how you’re doing. Is that okay?
K: Sure.

(ten minutes later)
K: (answering the phone in the middle of a contraction) Come home.
M: I’m on my way.
K: Okay.

Three words… that was all I could get out at the time, laying face down on our bed. (It’s funny that at that point, I thought the contractions took some focus to get through…)

Mark got home, we gathered our bags, put the car seat in the car, and headed out the door. On the way, I asked Mark to call my doctor’s office to cancel my appointment for that morning, and let them know that we’d be going to the hospital to have a baby instead. He asked who was on call – and Cool Dr. Lady (my favorite!) turned out to be the one on for the whole weekend. I was thrilled, and Mark was thrilled for me. We got to the hospital a bit after 10:00am, and were checked into a triage room by 10:30.

Our nurse Aimee was the first person to get us settled in – she hooked me up to the monitors and let me know a doctor would be in to check my progress soon. A few minutes and a quick exam later revealed that I was 100% effaced and 7cm dilated. The doctor was pretty surprised – he said that I “looked like I was in labor, but I was handling things so well that he figured I was only at 3 or 4 cm.” I took that as a compliment, and was happy to hear that he thought I was in excellent position to deliver this baby naturally.

We’d taken a natural childbirth class through the local birth center in preparation for our little one’s arrival, but still opted to have the baby at the hospital (first time jitters). I knew that I didn’t want drugs, I didn’t want to have an IV, and I didn’t want to be hooked up to fetal monitors more than was absolutely necessary. I wanted freedom to move, walk, and basically do what I needed to do to get through labor. The hospital staff was really accommodating – they placed a hep lock in my arm (in case I needed an IV quickly) and told me they’d take the monitors off as soon as the baby settled into a heart rhythm they were comfortable with. (They wanted to see her heartbeat peak with each contraction, and in the beginning, it would dip just a tiny bit). I was moved to a labor & delivery room… and the game was truly on.

After about an hour, baby’s heartbeat evened out and they took me off the monitor (which was great – I’d been pacing a 5ft diameter circle, and was happy to have more mobility). It seemed that each time they checked me, I was making good progress – 7.5 cm (11:30), 8cm (12:30), 9cm (1:30)… and Mark was great. For the most part, he left me to be “in the zone” but was ready to do anything I needed. By 2:00 I was almost completely dilated, except for a little lip on the right side. My doctor was called in to the hospital, and once she checked me out, she decided it would be a good idea to break my water and move things along. (I tell you what – that warm gush is a weird feeling…) The contractions had been pretty intense for awhile – I felt nauseous and dizzy when they came, but they were manageable as long as I was upright and focused. Of course, breaking the water ramped things up another notch, and I spent the last hour before pushing lying on my right side on the bed (the nurse said it may help with getting the last bit of cervix out of the way). I pulled a page out of the Bradley method book, and focused all my energy on relaxing every part of my body so that the contractions could be totally effective. I breathed slowly, kept my eyes closed, and didn’t say a word. Mark kept a cool washcloth on my neck and forehead, and ran his fingers through my hair. It was incredible to feel his silent, strong support.

By a little after 3:00 I was ready to push – and a whole crew piled into the room (Cool Dr. Lady, Nurse Aimee, Nursing Student Bridget, OB Resident Gal, and Med Student Gal) to get things rolling. I’d met them all throughout the day – and my absolute only complaint was that the 2 students were a little intrusive in their desire to be helpful. Other than that – the staff was fabulous. Absolutely fabulous.

Initially, pushing was tiring and a little embarrassing (hanging out with your legs in the air and your rear end on display to a room full of people) – and it was a funny mix of Feeling Good to be Doing Something Other Than Surviving Contractions and Oh My This Hurts a Lot. However – once the baby’s head was getting closer to crowning – the embarrassment factor totally disappeared, and my whole mind was consumed with pushing her out. The minutes and pushes while she was crowning were more intense than anything I’d experienced before. But the feeling I got the moment her head was out was absolutely incredible. Relief. Awe. Accomplishment. The rest of her (not so) little body was a piece of cake, and suddenly there was a warm, wet little person laying on my chest. Her cry was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard. (I might not quite say that now, after 2 weeks *smile*).

Hazel joined us at 3:53pm on February 15, 2008. She weighed 9 pounds 1 ounce and was 23 inches long. God was so faithful to us – His strength got me through delivery naturally, and I was able to bring our daughter into the world with no medication or intervention (other than breaking my water). He kept us both healthy and safe – and He continues to do so.

The past two weeks have been full – full of people loving on her and on us, full of joy, full of moments where I think “Am I really this blessed?”, full of growth, full of frustrations, triumphs, tears, and victories. My head and my heart are still reeling, and my emotions still overcome me from time to time. And though Life With My Husband AND My Daughter is incredibly different from Life With My Husband – it’s a good different. We are so blessed.

5 thoughts:

Chris said...

That was an intense and awesome story. I was pretty much on the edge of my seat as it progressed. Hazel's so beautiful!

Kaycee said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to share this! I am so glad that everything went well overall for you!! Sorry for being one of the bloggie pestering people - but I did know you didn't have any control over it, I just wanted to know if there was a 'chance' you were at the hospital each day. When you went suspiciously absent for a few days I was guessing it was time. Thanks for humoring us with the daily posts before then!

Keep enjoying your precious baby girl. :)

Dana said...

yay Katie!!! i am so excited to meet hazel tonight. and your story was written so well that i barely cringed, and you know how big a deal that is for me:) thanks for the much anticipated details, i am so happy for you!!!

Ashleigh said...

:sniff: Why is it I always tear up at birth stories? :) This is just beautiful... you are AMAZING. I don't think I could have done it, Katie. Good job, girlie! You're inspiring. :D

Mark and Courtney said...

So happy you were able to do a natural birth! Thanks for sharing! :)