Monday, August 13, 2012

Caroline's Birth Story

Caroline Grace was born on Friday, July 20th at 2:30 PM weighing 7 lbs, 13 oz and measuring 20.5 inches. The last three weeks have been a whirlwind, but I am finally starting to get the hang of everything and am ready to share C's birth story. So let's jump right in!

I went to see my OB at 39 and a half weeks (Tuesday) and was dilated to almost 3cm. I had been very slowly dilating for about two weeks and was getting more and more anxious about labor and delivery. At that appointment my blood pressure was high, which we knew was anxiety related and not preeclampsia. Given my history of pregnancy loss and the high blood pressure, my doctor suggested inducing. After talking with AJ, we planned to induce Thursday night or Friday morning. (Thursday night if I wasn't dilated to 4 and Friday morning if I dilated on my own) I went back to the doc on Thursday afternoon to get checked and was at a 4, so we planned to go in Friday morning at 7. My doctor told us to go out, have a nice dinner, and enjoy our last night sans baby. We did just that. 

At 3:30 in the morning I started having contractions, but they were anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes apart. By the time we got to the hospital at 7 for the induction, they still weren't any closer together or stronger, so my doc came in at 8:30 and broke my water and started me on pitocin. The contractions got strong fast, but I was still only up to 5cm. 9:30 - 11:00 were really challenging. Caroline was super low in my pelvis so I couldn't sit, use the birthing ball, or get comfortable....even between contractions. I finally decided I would go for the epidural because it appeared that I was "fighting" labor. I could not relax and would just tense when I had contractions, which is probably why I wasn't dilating further. I got the epidural shortly after 11 and the rest was a BREEZE. I dilated to 7cm in less than an hour (during which I napped) and then was fully dilated and ready to push at 2:10. I pushed for 20 minutes (!!!) and she was born at 2:30 PM. 

Pushing was very calm and way less stressful then I imagined. It is definitely hard work, but with the epidural it is doable. My nurse (who is one of my good friends) and my doctor were so even-keeled and didn't make it a hyped up or crazy thing. In fact, AJ and my doctor were watching the British Open between pushes! I only had superficial tears from pushing and felt pretty much back to normal by one week postpartum. 

Even though I was in early labor for a few days and active labor for a few hours without the epidural, it really was not bad and the end was so peaceful that I would not change it for anything. I was kind of anti-epidural going in, but I really could not handle the contractions and needed the numbness to let myself relax. 

So that's our birth story! 

It's funny because I was most anxious about laboring and delivering, but that is what ended up being the easy part. Breast feeding and taking care of a baby were the truly difficult things for me. I was a hormonal mess when we came home from the hospital. I cried about everything and felt so overwhelmed and unprepared. I couldn't eat or sleep, felt nauseous, and was just lost in my head. I definitely had a bad case of the Baby Blues. I don't want to scare any of you pregnant ladies out there, but just know if these things do happen to you, they are normal! The drop in hormones really do make you crazy. I finally feel like myself again, but it took 2-3 weeks to get here. I also called my doctor a few days after delivery and got a prescription for Zofran to help the nausea. I still struggled to eat and didn't have an appetite for about two weeks, but am now back to my normal, hungry self. Once I started feeling like myself again, I was better able to take care of Caroline and wasn't totally overwhelmed every time she cried. As for breast feeding... I'll have to write another post about this. Maybe once I feel like I have a handle on it. We are still a work in progress.