Sunday, August 31, 2008

Annika's Birth Story

At the request of my mom, I'm posting Annika's birth story. I guess it's fitting, since we'll be celebrating her first birthday next Saturday.

Annika was due on August 28, 2007. Mom flew out to Virginia on August 21…..we had her come a week early because Marissa had been born six days early and we were just sure that Annika would follow suit. I was so relieved when Mom arrived and I wasn’t in labor yet, and I was sure it would happen any day. I had been 2 cm dilated at my previous 2 appointments and was having Braxton Hicks frequently.

Two weeks later, the situation hadn’t changed at all, except that now Mom only had a week left with us and Dad and my inlaws were arriving in two days. Still 2 cm dilated, still no true labor and in fact, despite having my membranes stripped twice, I was having fewer contractions than ever. We decided to induce. I was so nervous and anxious about it….but so ready to not be pregnant anymore!

September 6, 2007. I was up at 3:45 to shower and get ready….we had to be at the hospital by 5:00 am. It took an hour to get the initial blood work run, paperwork filled out, and all the normal stuff done. I finally got the pitocin and my antibiotics for GBS running in the IV at 6:15. The nurses were very accommodating about finding the very unused telemetry unit and trying to figure out how to work it. Turns out hardly anyone requests it and they just never pull it out. I was probably the last one to use it with my labor with Marissa! Anyways, it finally started working and I was free to roam around, towing the IV with me. Our main nurse for the day was Martha. Very nice lady.

So at about 9:15, Dr. Hill showed up and checked me, saying I was still only 2.5 cm dilated and 50% effaced. Argh! No progress. He broke my water, which wasn’t particularly pleasant. He figured things would hop right along. So I puttered around the room more.

There were two nursing students (both 30-40 something moms) on the unit that morning, and since I was the only patient who had agreed to let students observe the birth, they hovered around my room, popping in and out at regular intervals. It was sort of nice for a distraction, but eventually I got tired of trying to smile and have a conversation with them while I was focusing on labor. They really wanted me to deliver before their shift was up around 2:00. Believe me, I was more anxious for delivery than they were!

Around noon, I was really focusing hard on relaxing during the contractions and was ready to get checked. Only 4 cm. WHAT? I thought surely we were further along than that. After Martha suggested that Dr. Hill come back and re-break my water and possibly increase the Pitocen, I began to panic. I didn’t think I could handle these intense contractions for a whole lot longer. Grant and I decided to go for the epidural, so Martha called for the anesthesiologist. We waited and waited.

I eventually shifted from my semi-lying position to my left side (Bradley position) and felt the contractions intensify further. I was leaking a lot more, I guess Annika’s head had been blocking the water from coming out when I was upright.

By the time the anesthesiologist arrived, around 1:00, I was dilated to 5 cm and was entering transition. I had to sit on the edge of the bed and hold completely still while he did his work, and that was the hardest part of the whole thing. I was in such pain in that position and I KNEW I couldn’t move a centimeter. I had already heard that he was unable to give an epidural to another patient that morning because she wouldn’t hold still enough.

Everything was in by around 1:30. I was feeling significantly better, but still in some pain. My midwife, Lois, arrived and checked me….oh, I was already almost fully dilated. They immediately began to prep the room for delivery. Before I knew it, I was feeling the urge to push. What? The epidural hadn’t even kicked in completely and here I was about to deliver. Go figure.

Lois was telling me not to push yet (I’m still not sure why) and Martha whispered in my ear, “If you feel like pushing, you just go ahead and push!!”. So I did. I really couldn’t help it anyways. Annika was born in just about 3 pushes. 1:55 pm. If I had known I would go from 5 cm to delivery in less than an hour, I never would have gotten that epidural! Well, the nursing students got to witness their first delivery and were in tears. They said it was one of the happiest days of their lives. It was for me too!

Annika was perfect. Tons of dark hair and dark blue eyes. One of the nurses commented that she had never seen a newborn with such long eyelashes. She nursed beautifully from the get-go. After I got a stitch or two, and basic clean-up was finished, we were left alone to bond with her for over an hour. It was so precious. Then they took her to be measured and have first shots, etc. while I was doing final clean-up. She was 8 lb, 13 oz, and measured at 19.5 in. long, but we knew they were off, which was confirmed a week later at a check-up when she was 21.5 in long.

Then I got to go see the first bath (hospital regulations prevented Grant from getting to bathe her...they changed something because just 22 months ago, he got to give Marissa her first bath) and we got settled into our room. We were so glad everything was over, so relieved that it went so smoothly and we had our gorgeous baby girl. God is so good to us.

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