Friday, December 4, 2009

Ellia's Birth Story

Ellia's birth couldn't have been more perfect. There were so many answers to prayer regarding a variety of issues, and I am filled with gratitude to God for working everything out so wonderfully.

One of the things I was praying about was that she would come after my mom arrived on Nov. 18 to help out, five days before my due date. Obviously, I didn't want to have her before mom got here, as the plan was for mom to watch the older kids while we went to the hospital. Several friends had graciously offered to help out, but I knew it wouldn't be the same as having Nonny in the house with us, ready at any moment to send us off. So I heaved a huge sigh of relief the minute we picked Nonny up from the airport and Ellia was still waiting to come.

Secondly, I didn't want her to come until after the 20th, when some friends were having a baby shower for me. I had asked to have it after my mom got here, so she could meet my friends and be a part of that special time. Friday the 20th was the date chosen for the shower. Since the due date was the 23rd, we were really pushing it close. Add to that, I just had a feeling that Ellia was going to come early. I didn't know how early, but it was this hunch I had. So I was definitely nervous that I would go into labor and the shower would have to be cancelled.

Thankfully, that didn't happen. Here are a few photos of the most wonderful baby shower I've ever was a precious time with very special friends.

The cake, made by the hostess and my dear friend, Ellen

Ellen and me

My mom and me

Group picture - aren't they beautiful ladies?

Another group picture, this time with my mom

Another thing I was concerned about was the drive to the birthing center. The only two ways for us to get there (one direct way, one extremely round-about way) both include a bridge tunnel across part of the Chesapeake Bay. There are certain times of the day, or when random accidents happen, when the tunnels are completely gummed up with traffic and a typically 25 minute drive can easily turn into a two to three hour trip. Not what you want when a baby is coming!

So basically, I decided that Ellia was going to come on the weekend, when at least the rush hour(s) traffic wouldn't be an issue. Yes, my friends laughed at me for being so specific, but I was not going to give up hope. Delivering on the weekend was also important to me because I didn't want to go into labor while Grant was at work. Since he works at a secure facility, he's not allowed to have his cell phone in the building, and he's often not at his desk due to meetings and such, and therefore he's frequently unreachable. He did give me a list of other people in the building I could call if necessary, but that certainly wasn't my first choice. So when Saturday the 21st came and went, I won't deny that I was a bit disappointed.

But Sunday morning I awoke around 4:30 with a contraction and I was very excited - so much so that I had a hard time trying to go back to sleep. I rested for an hour, with contractions coming every 8-10 minutes. Nothing painful, but real nonetheless. I finally got up and decided to shower and finish packing my bag.

I woke Grant at about 6:30 and told him today was the day. He practically bounded out of bed!

We finished all the packing and getting ready and told the kids that we would be having a baby today. They were ecstatic - but we had to remind them that they wouldn't get to see her until the next day when we came home. Corban stated, "Mom, even if it is a girl, I'm still really excited to meet her!"

The morning puttered on, with me questioning whether or not to call the midwife, wondering what I should expect. The contractions gradually got more intense, but not any closer together than 4-5 minutes. I did call the midwife, Tara, at around 10:30. She advised me to just wait at home and call her when I felt ready to come in, so she'd be waiting for me.

Later in the morning, I started experiencing a visual disturbance called an aura, which precedes a semi-migraine. I haven't had one in years - and for obvious reasons was a bit distressed to have such a possiblity while in labor. I went up to bed and rested for about 30 minutes, during which the contractions slowed down and eventually the aura went away. When I got up, the contractions picked up in intensity quite a bit and although they still weren't closer together, I decided it would be best to just head to the hospital. I called Tara to let her know we were coming, Grant finished cooking hot dogs for the kids for lunch, and we headed out.
The traffic was perfect on the way to the hospital, and it took us less than 25 minutes to get there. I only had four contractions in the car. We got checked in a little after 1:00 pm, and I was instructed to get in the lovely gown provided and either sit in a rocker or lie in the bed for 20 minutes with the monitor on - so they could check Ellia's heart rate during contractions. I opted for the chair.

When that was all done, Tara came in and checked my cervix - I was dilated to 4 cm, when she checked me it stretched to 5 cm, and she said she "could" stretch it to 6 cm, it was so loose. I was given the go-ahead to do whatever I wanted, except I couldn't use the tub yet. She didn't want me to get in too soon and slow labor down, plus it was too hot anyways. They started bringing in ice to try to cool it down after a little while.

The bed - where Ellia was delivered

The tub - with me in the background blogging!

Taking a break from typing to concentrate on relaxing through a contraction.

Around 3:30, Tara came and asked if I wanted to be checked. I did - and I was at 7 cm. I got approval to get in the tub. Right after getting in, I had one very strong contraction, then had a break for a few minutes. This photo was taken at 3:35 pm. Little did we know she'd be born 12 minutes later!

I went for 4-5 minutes without having a contraction and was actually concerned that getting in the tub was a bad decision because it was slowing labor, but the break was so nice, I didn't want to get out just yet. Then an incredibly powerful contraction hit that was accompanied by the irresistible urge to push. (One remarkable fact about this labor that I realized afterwards was that the transition phase - that time between usually 7 or 8 cm and fully dilated where you feel out of control, panicky, nauseous, and in general the worst during labor - it didn't happen. Yes, I obviously had the dilation progress, but I never experienced those feelings like I did in my other labors. Everything just happened too fast for that. )

Immediately I gasped to Grant the best I could what was happening, and he rushed to the door to summon Tara and Connie, my nurse. They were knee-deep in paperwork and apparently not expecting me to have progressed so quickly! They rushed in and asked if I wanted to deliver in the water.

I did not. My primary reason was that when you deliver in the water, they have to cut the cord quickly and get you out quickly, so they can assess any issues with bleeding and all that. My real desire was to leave the cord intact until it stopped pulsing, so I figured the standard bed delivery would be best.

As I climbed out of the tub, I had another contraction and began to be afraid I wouldn't MAKE it to the bed! They wrapped me in towels and got me over there somehow, and I firmly instructed Grant to get behind me (sitting so I could lean on him), and since I've delivered in that position before, he knew exactly what I meant and was there instantly. My first push on the bed resulted in my water breaking, which had meconium in it, so Tara hollered for the pediatrician to be called STAT. As she calmly explained to me that I would be able to hold the baby for a minute, but that she would have to be given to the doctor for examination pretty much right away, the pediatrician showed up with a fast it seemed like they were just waiting outside the door.

The contractions pretty much didn't stop at all and I was just pushing for a couple of minutes total, Tara telling me to push gently and breathe the whole time, when Ellia was just born. She had a lusty cry right away, a good indication of no problems, and was handed to me for just a few seconds before they whisked her over to examine her. She had an Apgar score of 9, so obviously there were no issues.

I had no tearing or related issues and felt the best I ever had after a delivery.

The next day - this is Nell, one of the other midwives - she's painting Ellia's feet pink to put her footprints on the wall in the birthing center.

Making her mark!

Ellia's feet are at the top of the second row from the left.

In her carseat, ready for the trip home, 24 hours after delivery.

We are so incredibly blessed to have this precious little girl in our family - and her name, which means "God has answered my prayers", is quite fitting. God really did answer all of our prayers and desires surrounding her birth and I couldn't have planned it better myself!

1 comment:

  1. Your story brought tears to my eyes. We are incredibly blessed to have another healthy granddaughter (and another healthy grandson back home). I am indeed a RICH woman. Your prayers were most definitely answered.


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