Wednesday, June 27, 2012

All the Gory Details: A Birth Story.

{This is long and graphic. But I want to document it for myself. And so we will have plenty of embarrassing things to show anyone Meredith decides to date in the distant, distant future. Feel free to skip the words and just enjoy the pictures:)}

Having children and the labor process itself is a revealing, messy, and amazing thing. The entire pregnancy with Meredith was, although easier physically, was very emotional, and I was dreading going into labor. I think Otto's delivery made me a little nervous about doing it again. I knew it would be a completely worthwhile endeavor, but I still wasn't looking forward to it at all.
Completely worth the whole crazy experience.
On Monday night we went to bed at a semi decent hour, 10:30, after Abbey gave me a foot rub that hit all of the labor triggering pressure points. (She is claiming that that was what finally did the trick and sent me into labor;)) About 2:30 I woke up to contractions that I couldn't sleep through so I got up, walked through a few, then drank a few glasses of water. Movement only intensified their strength, which confirmed that this was the real deal and Meri was on her way. I tried getting back into bed hoping to get a little more sleep but was too uncomfortable to rest. I downloaded a contraction timing app and wiggled my toes against the sheets to distraction myself from the pain. About 5:00am laying down wasn't a good idea anymore and I took a long, hot shower before drying my hair. (I did this last time waste of time) In my hormonally charged brain I thought it would stay styled for all the pictures during and after birth--ha! Contractions were 5-10 minutes apart.
After showering I started to get a little discouraged about only being at the beginning of what was most likely going to be a very long process. Chris was still sleeping at this point, despite me grumpily banging around the room.  I went outside and, while sitting on the back porch, texted my sister and friend Jenny, something to the effect, 'Oh my goodness, I'm dying!'. Jenny, who's baby was four weeks at the time and up at all hours, immediately texted back with encouragement that made me cry. And I kept crying for most of the day. I'm a crier under normal conditions, and labor hormones made it about seventy bajillion times worse.
I also sent a text to Chris, who immediately woke up and went into coach mode. Because contractions were slowing, and adding to my insecurity (This is going to last forever, I don't want to do this. In the future we will just buy our babies at the store! I'm very rational while in labor. Very.) he suggested going for a walk. And so we walked, and walked, and then walked some more. I believe the final count was 4.5 miles, 37 roly polys, and a sunburned nose. The loop around our neighborhood is a mile long, after the first lap we stopped to pick up Otto. Then another lap, before driving to Chickfila for breakfast (delicious, but laboring in the car is awful.) Every time I stopped moving the contractions would space to 8-10 minutes apart so Chris continued to drag support me around the neighborhood. About 1:00 we left for the hospital, contractions were 1-1 1/2 minutes apart and very intense.
Chris, sweet amazing man that he is, was a complete meanie and insisted on parking the car (in the parking garage, which takes you over quite a few horrible speed bumps) and making me walk in! Up a hill! I almost died, and he's lucky to be alive himself. He even laughed at the time saying I would never let him live it down, you better believe it buddy, that was cruel and unusual punishment for sure. Sarah met us at the hospital (to take these wonderful pictures!); she and Chris were fantastic supporters and dealt with my train wreck of emotions very well. I was only dilated to 5cm, which brought on another round of tears. During Otto's labor 5cm is where everything stopped for several hours, and I was sure that was going to happen again.
Contractions were right on top of one another (very different from labor with Otto), and so intense I felt like throwing up. I was about ready to throw in the towel at that point, but my supporters kept saying just one more, try just one more. After two hours of me not being able to hold it together and crying my eyes out, I was done and asked for an epidural. Chris and Sarah both offered other alternatives (walking, other labor positions, massage, jelly beans (Sarah really knows how to speak Lydia;)) but I wasn't having it. I look Chris right in the eye and said, 'I am not my mother, I do not want to do this. Call the anesthesiologist.' and then returned to crying. I was such a cry baby. The pain stinks yes, but it's the emotional roller coaster that gets you. Or me at least. (Hour 14, 7cm, same dilation when I got an epidural with Otto. If babies were born at 7cm I might be able to do it naturally. Might.) (And for the record, my Mom can have a baby in under six hours then walk it off. She's that good.)
After the epidural, freezing, but feeling much better.
After the epidural things were much more relaxed. I attempted to fix my hair (never let your hair stylist cut bangs when you are nine months pregnant), put on make-up, and even stopped crying.
Vain, much?
The nurse anesthetist was a little bit snobby and the epidural wasn't as good as the one with Otto but it definitely worked. About thirty minutes after it was administered it wore off a little and I was able to start moving my legs.
Waiting on his girl!
Two hours later we were at 9 cm and I asked my OB to break my water. Everyone rested for a bit, and Chris was able to eat something before I started to feel a change in the contractions and downward pressure.
The nurse (I can't even remember her name, how sad is that?) assured me that she was still too high and we would be pushing for awhile, but I was ready to try. (-2 station, fully dilated) After one push she called my OB, and after the second she told me to relax through the next few contractions. (Umm, what? Lets do this already!)
{Here's were I over share and show a very awkward picture. But, I'm assuming most of you know how babies get here, and if you don't, well you do now. Look at the nurse's face...I think she was truly concerned Meredith was just going to walk out on her own!}
 My obstetrician, thankfully, was fine with me continuing and after the next set of pushing we could see her head. With the fourth push she came flying out!  Four pushes, easy peasy!
Her cord was, although longer than Otto's, pretty short. Dr. Wagner was able to set her on my stomach but she was facing away from me. Chris cut the cord and then we were able to turn her over. Beautiful girl with lots of hair!
Covered in vernix! Maybe that helped her be so speedy?
We were all a little shocked at how quickly it all happened. Chris told me later that he was sure we had at least another thirty minutes of pushing left and he wasn't prepared for her to come out that quickly. :)

8 pounds, 3 ounces and 19 3/4 inches long. Born at 7.26pm May 1st 2012 after seventeen hours of labor.
Meredith Mae
Percussion to help clear her lungs.
Her apgar scores were an 8 and 9 but she was having difficultly keeping her airways clear. It didn't really phase me at the time (hello crazy hormone land) but having the NICU called STAT shaved about twenty year off of Chris's life. They deep suctioned her respiratory system and stomach before she was able to breathe more easily. We were very thankful that she didn't have to be taken to the NICU for further treatment/observation. Our best guess at what happen was she startled and inhaled fluid and blood when my water was broken that she wasn't able to clear when she passed through the birth canal. Makes me very grateful we choose to deliver in a hospital where action could be taken immediately.
Quit banging on my back people!
So glad that there were skilled, calm nurses there to assist and reassure.

After she was suctioned, the NICU nurse (who's daughter's name is Meredith!) suggested kangeroo care to help Meri relax and catch her breath. It was very effective and after about twenty minutes she was doing a great job breathing, much to our relief. 
My Dad happened to be in Dallas for business and made it to the hospital right before she arrived. Lisa also made it with near perfect timing.
Chris and his girl:)
Mommy and Meredith!
 Beautiful baby.

All bundled up for her first night.

Physically I recovered much faster this time. (Seriously, I recommend not getting stitches--because that's an avoidable thing, ha!--you bounce back so much faster.) But emotionally I was a little bit off. Most likely from lack of sleep and feeling the mommy guilt over having to divide my time between my two favorite little people. All in all? I'd totally do it again and exactly the same way. End result reached the goal: a healthy, amazing little girl.


  1. Love it! So glad you shared!! And Sarah did a great job with pictures. I had a long labor with Kane (30 hours), so I'm hoping this baby is a little faster too.

  2. Love this Lydia thanks for sharing! I must say it makes me not look forward to that part! Lol. But I want the end result! :)