Friday, February 07, 2014

Jessica Marie's Birth Story

It all began about 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday January 28. I started having contractions and sent a text to Michael to tell him about it. He asked if he needed to come home early, and I told him no, because they weren't very close together or consistent and I was lying down in bed to relax/try to get some rest before things really progressed. Michael got home about 5:30 p.m. and by that time things were changing. I decided to take a bath for relaxation purposes and because I wanted to wash my hair and feel clean during the long haul. The whole time I was listening to my Hypnobirthing relaxation tracks and using my surge breathing techniques. Eventually, the contractions started to increase in intensity and were about 2-3 minutes apart, which lasted for over an hour. It was at this point that we decided to go to the hospital, because my OB said one contractions reached that frequency and consistency, we should come straight in to Labor & Delivery.

We got to L&D at about 9 p.m. and they hooked me up to the fetal heartbeat and contraction monitors. The contractions had slowed to about 4 minutes apart (something we knew was a possibility because of the adrenaline rush usually associated with actually going to L&D). Traci, our amazing nurse, spoke to our OB (Dr. Hebert) who was on-call that night, and we were encouraged to walk around the floor and try to get my body to speed things back up. We took a few laps around the floor, but I was having trouble concentrating on my surge breathing and so we went back to the triage room so I could do some more labor on the birthing ball. I have to say, sitting on the ball and rotating my hips in a "hula" motion, or back and forth, while listening to my Hypnobirthing tracks was one of the best ways for me to zone out during contractions. After awhile, the nurse checked me again and I was still sitting at 4 cm and 90% change from when we came in. We were given the option to stay for 1 more hour and see if things changed or to go home and labor there. I really didn't want to go home as I was hoping things would progress and felt like going home would sort of "defeat" me, so we stayed one more hour and did the birthing ball and walking thing. 1 hour passed, and again, nothing had changed, so they sent us home. I was bummed, needless to say. The nurses were so nice and encouraged us to not feel bad and one even said very encouragingly, "see you in a few hours"! 

It was about 1 a.m. at this point and we went home for me to labor throughout the night. Michael was able to get a little sleep, but I stayed awake most of the night as my contractions had slowed down to 8-9 minutes apart. I remember looking at the clock each time one hit and thinking, "here it comes, just breathe through it and then it'll be over and you can sleep for a few minutes". Which is exactly what I did for about 7 hours. I was really tired at this point, so it was fairly easy to fall asleep in between each contraction. Michael was so good at making sure my Hypnobirthing CDs kept playing throughout the night and he kept coaching me on my breathing, rubbing my back if I needed it, getting me more water, etc. As it came closer to morning time and light started to peek through the window, I moved once again to my birthing ball, because lying down was just not working for me anymore. I was able to zone out a bit more through each contraction, thanks to this method. The contractions started to get closer and closer together (2-3 minutes apart) and I was really having to concentrate on my breathing through them. They stayed at this frequency for a couple hours, then we decided it was time to go back into L&D. 

We arrived back at L&D at around 1 p.m. and were sent to the same triage room as before, and once again hooked up to the monitors. As always, baby girl's heartbeat was strong and perfect. The nurse checked me and I had only dilated to 5 cm over the night, but the contractions were close enough together and being dilated so far warranted us being admitted. Yay! I was so happy! They wheeled me to a labor and delivery room and from there on Michael and I were basically left to our own devices, with periodic nurse visits to check on my status. I kept laboring and using my breathing techniques, and a few hours passed. My OB came to see how I was doing and after some time, I still had not dilated past 5 cm, she and the nurses said they could feel my very rounded and full bag of waters right behind my cervix, which they said was keeping me from dilating more as it just did not want to seem to break on its own. Our doctor offered to rupture my membranes to help things along. Michael and I talked about it for a few minutes and decided we would like the doctor to do it as it was really getting up there in my laboring time and I was ready for this baby to come!

As soon as Dr. Hebert ruptured my membranes I dilated to 6+ cm. That bit of progress was such a high for me and made our decision to do it so validating. Labor continued for a few more hours and sadly, I didn't dilate past the 6+ cm point. I was really getting tired and antsy at this point, and focusing on relaxing through contractions was becoming more and more difficult. Michael and I talked about the option of some sort of medication to help me through and the nurse and doctor said our two options were Fentanyl in an IV or epidural. Dr. Hebert talked to us thoroughly about each, knowing our birth plan and how I had always wanted to do this unmedicated. She didn't push me, but instead presented the options, and when I said I wanted to try the Fentanyl, she said, "Okay...but you know what the next step will be if you choose to go this route" (meaning epidural). Michael and I both acknowledged and agreed and then the nurse hooked me up to some IV fluids and gave me some Fentanyl. At first she only gave me half a dose, knowing how small I am and again trying to stick to my overall plan to do this unmedicated as possible. The half dose helped some, but I eventually requested the rest and I definitely felt some relief. Enough so much that I was able to relax and nap for about 10 minutes. Sweet relief!

I decided I wanted to get into the jacuzzi tub for a while to try and relax some more, so the nurse checked my cervix one more time and I was still only dilated to 6+ cm. She and Dr. Hebert started talking to us about needing some pitocin as it had been so long that I had stalled at this measurement and it might be a good thing to give my body the extra help to progress further. Michael and I acknowledged this, then Michael and the nurse helped me into the tub and brought in the portable monitors. I labored in there for about an hour and the contractions just kept getting harder and harder to relax through. I felt immense pressure with each one and really had the desire to bear down, but I knew it wasn't time because my body wasn't ready yet. Eventually, I decided I was done with the jacuzzi and as Michael was helping me to get out of the tub, I was hit with another contraction. This one literally took me down to my knees on the floor of the bathroom. I just leaned into Michael and cried through it. I told him, "I can't do this anymore...I need some help". He quickly asked what I needed and I told him I wanted the epidural. I had always said that if I needed to get pitocin that I wanted to have an epidural and as I had already been laboring for 29 hours, I knew I couldn't do the pitocin stretch without an epidural. I had hit a wall and reached my limit. Michael told the nurse that I wanted the epidural and she quickly called the anesthesiologist to come and administer it to me.

Michael and the nurse helped me back into the bed and hooked me up to the monitors again, as Michael rubbed my hair and helped me breathe through a few more contractions until the anesthesiologist got to our room. The nurse said she would wait to administer the pitocin until I had some relief from the epidural. When the doctor got to our room (which was surprisingly quickly...I was thinking he would have taken longer as we had not originally requested the epidural as part of our birth plan), I was audibly moaning through each breath. I was helped to turn to lay on my side near the edge of the bed and Michael helped me to pull my legs up and put my chin down for the epidural to be administered. I remember a slight twinge as the anesthesiologist inserted the local anesthetic before the epidural medicine. Seriously, there was barely any pain with that compared to what I had been feeling with labor and contractions. Within about 10 minutes, I had great relief. Just what I needed. The anesthesiologist called back to our room to see how I was doing and the nurse told him I was, "alert, talkative, and making eye contact". I told him, "thank you!" over the call.

It was at this time, now that I was feeling better, that Michael went and got me some ice chips with the yummy sno-cone syrup so I could replenish some of my energy, as I'd only had water through most of labor. Michael also talked about how he hadn't eaten in hours and so the nurse and I both told him to go and get something to eat. We still had a meal voucher for the hospital cafeteria given to us by our doctor's office a couple months back, so that's where Michael headed as he was assured by the doctor and nurse that even with the pitocin now administered, it'd be a couple hours at least before I would be ready to push, so he had time to go and nourish himself. Michael kissed me and off he went, as I lay in bed and relaxed. Dr. Hebert came in to check me while Michael was gone and I had already dilated to 8+ cm, 9 cm when I was contracting. She said that baby girl's head was really low and that everything was progressing so well with the pitocin. It was during this check that she also noticed that Jessica was face up, so she had the nurse turn me on my left side (practically on my belly) and put my right leg up in a support to help her turn (I forget what the actual medical term for this position is called).

Michael came back in from eating a burger, fries, and strawberry milk at the cafeteria, looking much better and more satisfied. I chewed on some more ice chips and Dr. Hebert came in to check me one more time before she was going home for the day. She wasn't the doctor on-call that night, but told us she had talked thoroughly to Dr. Parrett (the doctor who was on-call) about me and that we were in good hands. She also complimented me on how well I had done during the labor process saying, "I'm so proud of basically used up all your resources on laboring so long, that you had no more to give at the end." Dr. Hebert made sure that I felt good about sticking to my birthing plan and not needing an epidural until the end. She also said she was bummed that she wouldn't get to be the one to see our baby first. She said that she would come and visit me the next morning once I was in recovery and to meet our baby girl! Dr. Parrett checked me after about an hour (2 hours into epidural and pitocin) and I was dilated to 10 cm and at a 2 station. So, we were ready to go and the doctor said because she was basically as low as she could get, that I wouldn't have to rest and descend and should be able to just push her right out after a pretty short time. The nurse asked me how I was feeling and if I could feel pressure with each contraction and I could, which she said was good, because they never want the epidural so strong that I can't tell when I'm contracting. They prefer to have me give the cues of when to push instead of just telling me based off the contraction monitor (love this).

So, Dr. Parrett got "suited up" and our nurse Traci (who we had the night previous when we first went to L&D) was able to be there with us again through the last part of labor and pushing. It was so awesome to see her at the start and finish! She held my right leg and Michael held my left and I pushed with each contraction. I was once again praised on my breathing techniques, which Michael and I both attributed to all my vocal training and focus on correct breath support. I remember saying, "Cindy Dewey (my college voice teacher) would be so proud!" I had the mirror in the room so I could see everything, and I was so excited to be able to watch the progress as her little head made its way further along and closer to being out. It was so validating to finally see the top of her head and Dr. Parrett commented on how much hair she had. All in all, I only pushed for an hour, then Jessica was born!!!

She came out crying pretty well and they placed her directly on my chest and I remember feeling tears stream down my face as I looked at her and held her close to me. She was so perfect and beautiful. And she pinked right up very quickly. Dr. Parrett delivered the placenta which felt oh so fun as she pressed on my stomach to get everything out (not). But, it didn't matter, because our baby girl was in my arms. Dr. Parrett also kept with our birth plan and made sure the cord stopped pulsating before clamping and cutting. We spent the next hour with her snuggling to my chest and nursing, which she did with ease from the start. She came out basically smacking her lips and wanted to munch on her little fingers, looking for some food. Traci (our nurse) said she was nursing like a champ! Michael was up by our heads the entire time and we just talked to her and kissed her, and loved on her. I remember telling him, "we created her...I can't believe we created her!"

They eventually took her to get all her measurements done and she weighed in at 7 lbs. 4 oz. and was 19 inches in length. And she also got perfect scores on her Apgar test. They swaddled her up and handed her to Michael and then he started speaking to her in French. It was so cute. During this time, they had covered me in lots of warm blankets and gave me lots of juice and crackers because I was shaking. Seriously, I guess I didn't even think or realize how out of whack my body would be with all the laboring and not eating for over an entire day. I'm sure my blood sugar was really low. I didn't feel cold, but I was shaking like crazy! I downed like 3 cups of apple juice and took a few bites of graham crackers and Lorna Doone cookies and felt much better after about 10 minutes. Soon, it was time to be moved up to a recovery room, and so the nurse checked to see how much the epidural had worn off. She was impressed that I could move my feet and lift both of my legs really high. Honestly, I think my speedy recovery was attributed to doing the birth as naturally as possible and for as long as possible. I was only hooked up to the epidural for about 3 hours and had no swelling whatsoever.

Jessica was placed into my arms again and then we were wheeled into a recovery room upstairs, with Michael by our side. My mother met us there and was able to hold our new adorable baby Jessica. Eventually, she was hungry again and so I nursed her once more. I think I will forever remember that nursing experience because it was so sweet. Jessica was bundled up, but had her little hands free, and with her right hand, she just stroked my breast back and forth the entire feeding. It was such a sweet and dear bonding moment for the both of us.

We spent the rest of the night just snuggling on our darling girl and feeding her when she needed it. I loved having her room in with us and hearing her little sounds. I was in such a state of euphoria that I didn't even feel tired the entire time we were in the hospital. Also, my recovery was so great that the nurses agreed we were "good to go" when we requested to go home after 24 hours instead of 48. By the next morning, we were just anxious to get home with our little girl and have her all to ourselves, so waiting until that evening seemed like forever. Luckily, our awesome nurse made it happen about 1 hour before the 24 hour mark. I almost forgot, Dr. Hebert came in to visit the next morning and see how we were doing. When she saw Jessica, she said, "she is not just cute, like all babies are cute...she is beautiful". She told me what an amazing job I did, hugged me, and said that she would see me in 6 weeks at our follow-up appointment. She also made sure to tell me that I call if I need anything, saying, "It's okay to feel overwhelmed, but if it gets to where you feel out of control, CALL". I just love her and am so glad she is my Ob-Gyn. What a blessing she has been throughout everything.

Jessica was also visited by the pediatrician we chose, based upon a recommendation from Dr. Hebert. Dr. Mitzi Conover is at Mountain View Pediatrics, located at Alta View Hospital just a few minutes from our house. I had not met her until that morning, but LOVED her from the beginning. She was so cute and sweet with Jessica and very personable and informative with us. We actually ran into her a few days later while at the hospital for some bilirubin testing and she remembered us instantly and told us to call if we needed anything. Once again, I love every single doctor and person we have associated with through Intermountain. We have been so blessed.

And that basically concludes the birth story, as we made it home that evening around 8 p.m. and have enjoyed having our sweet Jessica with us ever since. She is such a sweet spirit and truly the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on. It's amazing how much love we feel for her and we've only had her out of my womb and with us in the flesh for 1 1/2 weeks. Everyone is right, being a parent is amazing and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I already feel like time is flying by too quickly and wish that I could just freeze the clock. Guess I have become that parent, the one who doesn't want her babies to grow up. I can definitely see wanting to have many more children just so I can stretch out this period of our lives as long as possible.

To answer the question that many have asked, or are curious about. After birthing naturally (for the most part) and for as long as you did, would you do it again? Yes. As first labors usually take longer than subsequent pregnancies, and seeing how I was able to relax and breathe through the contractions for 29 hours, I could totally do another labor that was shorter. I have to sing Hypnobirthing's praises and mostly definitely plan on using its techniques again. I think for the next baby, if labor is shorter, that I will be able to do it completely naturally. That being said, I was not at all disappointed with how things turned out with this Michael and I were flexible the entire time. We really appreciated how every person was supportive of our birth plan and let us make informed decisions regarding the birth, without pushing us any particular way. It was an amazing experience and I couldn't have done it without Michael's constant support by my side, coaching me and helping me stay positive and breathe on throughout the labor process. He made Jessica's birth the special experience that it was. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.


  1. I'm so glad you had a great experience. I love reading birth stories, and now in retrospect, wish that I had written mine down, especially the first. Congratulations and love to all of you.

    1. Thank you Bobbie! It was a wonderful experience. I appreciate all your support!

  2. Hooray! I just love birthing stories. Yours is totally not normal, though! Laboring for sooo long… wow. Good for you, girl. It sounds like Michael was the perfect birthing coach :). I'm so glad that all of the nurses and doctors were supportive and that baby Jessica had no trouble eating. All I can say is keep soaking up that amazing new-mother feeling! I know what you mean about wanting lots of babies so you can stretch out this period a little longer. I totally can't wait to see my new baby girl, and this is my THIRD time! It may seem like an especially euphoric experience because it's your first, but I don't think the magic fades with subsequent children. Anyway, Jessica is so lucky to be in your family! Can't wait to see her grow!

    1. Oh Emily! It was a long labor, but totally worth it! And you are right, Michael was amazing. I'm so proud of him for being the best labor companion ever. I love him more for it. I am definitely soaking everything up as much as I is definitely turning out to be the hardest thing I've ever done, but I love it. Can't wait to meet your third little girl!

  3. Beautiful story! The birth of a baby is always such a miracle. Congratulations Rebecca! She is perfect.

    1. Thank you Shantel! I definitely do feel the miracle of it all, now that I've had my own little perfect girl :)

  4. So I'm reading this for the first time....probably because I'm starting to think about labor and delivery since it's coming up here for me....but it was a nice surprise to see that Dr. Parrett was the doctor that delivered Jessica. She's my OBGYN and I really like her! I'm glad you had a good experience at Intermountain. We'll have to talk more when we come to dinner.

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