Yesterday Charlotte turned 4 weeks old. I feel like the last 4 weeks have absolutely flown by and I can't believe that I used to live without her in my life. (I started writing this two weeks ago. Tomorrow (1/24/13) she'll actually be 6 weeks) She has brought such a wonderful spirit to our home and I can't imagine it not being here before her! Things aren't super crazy around here, but I do feel like things have changed a lot and I'm still trying to get the hang of things. For example, this past week I needed to go to Costco. I wanted to get there at 10 am, when it opened, because it's Costco. And crazy. I started getting ready around 9 am, because it usually takes me about 30 minutes. Well, 4+ hours later, we were finally ready to leave.
But because things have slowed down a little bit, I thought I would finally post Charlotte's birth story. I feel like it was such an amazing experience and I don't want to forget any of it. I'm scared I've already forgotten things.
I was due December 9, which was a Sunday. The Monday before (Dec. 3) I had woken up and felt awful. I was having regular contractions (which wasn't a huge deal because I had them from 4 months on up) and cramp-y like pain. It was so uncomfortable and I felt awful. I was having a hard time even standing up and I thought for sure I was in labor. I even told Cody I thought we'd be having the baby that day. I texted my doula to tell her what was going on, but I told her I had a Dr. appointment that morning, so I'd tell her how I felt afterwards and what my Dr. had said.
By the time I got to the appointment, I felt fine. All my pain had gone away and my contractions went from about 3 minutes apart to 10-15 minutes apart. I didn't even tell my Dr about what had been happening that morning because I didn't want him to tell me to go to the hospital and be stuck there (aka end up getting induced and not able to leave).
That pain never came back, and the rest of the week went on. My mom came into town on Saturday, the 8th, and my due date came and went. I was trying desperately to finish things up before Charlotte was born. I was in the middle of finals week and Charlotte's nursery was still mostly just the guest room. My mom helped me a ton, entertaining the girls so I could finish school and making a ton of stuff for the baby's room (changing pad covers, crib sheets, etc.). That Wednesday was 12/12/12, and I really thought it would be cool to have her that day. My brother, Noah, even called me around noon that day and said, "Have her at 12:12 on 12/12/12! You have time left, just start pushing now!"
I started getting worried that I wasn't going to have the baby before my mom would go home. She could extend her stay a few days (she was supposed to leave on Sunday morning the 16) until the 18th, but that was as long as she could stay. That night, I prayed that if everything was ok with the baby, and she didn't need to be in there any longer, if she could be born very soon because I really didn't want to have the baby after my mom was gone. I needed her to be here while I was in the hospital and after we came home for a few days.
I really felt like I would go into labor the next day, the 13. When I was getting ready for bed I kept thinking things like, maybe I should just sleep with my contacts in because I will be putting them in soon to go to the hospital, and, don't forget to charge your phone cause I'll definitely need it tomorrow, etc.
A little before 3 am I woke up. I was just barely waking up to go to the bathroom when all of a sudden I realized my water had broken. I woke up Cody and told him what had happened and all the excitement (or lack of) began! After we changed some stuff around, I called my doula and let her know what had happened, and we all went back to sleep. We woke up around 7 am and I took a shower and we all were just hanging out. My mom was worried because my water had broken so long ago and still, nothing was happening. I called my doctor, but had to leave a message with an answering service since his office still wasn't open. I really didn't want to go to the hospital until I absolutely had to, but was starting to get worried, too, that something would be wrong with the baby if I waited. I knew I had 24 hours from the time my water broke until you HAD to have the baby, so I was just hoping something would happen on it's own before that.
After talking to my doula and Cody about it some more, we decided I probably should go in to the hospital and see what was going on. I knew they wouldn't let me leave, since my water had broken, so I was just really hoping my body would get started on it's own. On the way there, I kept thinking about what I was in for that day and all the divine help I would need. We got to the hospital around 10 am (I still had to pack a hospital bag...Yep, I was 4 days late and still hadn't packed a bag) and the nurse that first checked me out was so not nice. You could tell she'd been there a long time and she was not friendly or pleasant. She even squirted the lubricant that goes on your belly for the montiors on my face. She didn't mean to, but she did. And she didn't apologize. Sick.
They told me that they had to check out my amniotic fluid to make sure my water had broken. I told them it had, for sure, but of course they still had to have it to send to be tested to be sure it was amniotic fluid and I hadn't been peeing my pants all morning long. But by that time, no more fluid would come out. I was walking all around the room - doing lunges, climbing up onto the bed and couch, getting onto my hands and knees, but nothing. Eventually they had to do it the hard way and about 30 minutes after that the nurse (a different, nicer one) came back to tell me that, congratulations, your water broke! I replied with, "Yeah, I know. I've been saying that this whole time."
They admitted me and put my in the tiniest, more awful room in the hospital. I'm not joking. Even the nurses were apologizing for my room and saying they usually never put anyone in that room, it's mostly just for extra supplies, but they had run out of room. Awesome. I was already in a pretty bad mood anyway because I was just mad that I had to be there and didn't want to deal with all the mean people (my one mean nurse that I had had for about 10 minutes). I was just in a bad mood and it was making everything seem worse than it was. We met with my nurse, Monica, (I think?) and she was really super nice. She was really understanding of my birth plan and knew that I wanted to have the baby naturally. She never once even suggested pain meds when I was in labor and mostly just stayed out of the way. There were a couple times, however, when she would tell me things that I didn't agree with and during those times I was really happy to have my doula there. For example, when I said I wanted to delay the cord cutting, she said, "That's fine. However, you won't be able to hold your baby right away then, because the baby has to stay lower than the placenta so the blood from the baby doesn't flow back into the placenta." What?! How does that even make sense? Moving on.
After awhile, my doctor came in and basically yelled at me. He knew that I wanted a natural birth and didn't want to be induced, but nothing was happening. I wasn't really having any contractions and he wanted to make himself pretty clear that "Just because you have a plan doesn't mean you get to do things your way. Sometimes other things happen and you just have to deal with it." Thanks, Doc. He told me that I had to be induced 12 hours after my water broke, no matter what. When I told him I had read that you could go 24 hours after your water breaks before needing help, he told me that by 18 hours you will have an infection that, at 24 hours, will be seriously dangerous for you and the baby. He and the nurse went on to tell me that in the "olden days of medicine" they had to deliver everyone within 24 hours if their water broke - even if they were only 25 weeks pregnant. But now, they can keep those people in the hospital for weeks on end and try to get them to 40 weeks.
How does that make sense? So I asked my doctor why I was only allowed to go 12 hours when others were allowed to go weeks. He had just checked me to see how dilated I was, (a 2) and said, "We would never check someone if their water had broken that much earlier. So now you really have to deliver today because I checked you."
Again, thanks. Obviously that's how the bacteria gets introduced inside of you - when you are checked. So they made it not possible for me to just wait and let my body do my thing.
OK, so I know I sound super bitter and angry about this whole thing. I'm not. No, all that part was really, super lame. I wasn't happy with my doctor and the way he handled things. But I was 4 days overdue, I didn't want to be in the hospital for weeks, and I really didn't want to end up with a c-section. So even though I was thinking my doctor was being pretty unprofessional, I wasn't going to fire him on the spot.
My body would start having contractions and they'd get stronger and stronger for about 20 minutes, and then they'd go away. This happened pretty much all day. We all just hung out and I ate the yummiest turkey sandwich ever. I know you're not supposed to eat anything when you're in labor. I didn't care. I was hungry and I felt a little bit like sticking it to my doctor. :)
The doctor called my nurse throughout the day and asked her if she had started the pitocin drip yet. She waited a really long time, which he didn't like, but I was grateful for. In the end, I know I waited as long as I possibly could. After 15 hours (8 pm), they started me on one drop of pit every 10 minutes. After about an hour of that not doing anything, they moved it up to two drops every 10 minutes. That's all it took!
Luckily my body responded to the very low dose and just sort of ran with it. My contractions started and I tried to find the most comfortable way to deal with them. It seemed like I would find a comfortable spot for one, decide to stay there, and then the next one it was awful and didn't help at all. So then I would start my search for a new comfortable spot all over again. I tried the birthing ball, leaning against Cody, sitting on the edge of the bed, and more. After a while I laid down on my right side and stayed that way the rest of the time. I had Cody push on my hips because every time I would try to relax them it felt like they were going to break in half and I'd have to pull them in - which wouldn't relax me. The pain went from relatively easy and not so painful, to real painful, to seriously? how is this happening in my body right now? However, I was able to relax through it and let my body do it's thing. I still was making a lot of noise (not screaming, but just making a lot of super weird, low sounds that kinda scare me now and I'm a little embarrassed about) and I wasn't doing the best at communicating because I didn't want to talk at all. I told Cody his hand was hurting me, so he stopped pushing hard, but with the wrong hand. So then I was like - no, move your hand. So he took that hand off completely and I was like-no! move your hand! ...He was confused. I was confusing. I told my doula I was so hot and wanted a wet washcloth on my neck, so she got one. Then I started a contraction and just started semi-screaming, "Take it off! take it off!" Haha I was worried I'd be embarrassed to say what I really wanted/needed, but obviously that wasn't the case.
In between all my contractions, I would actually fall asleep. It was kind of nice, but awful at the same time because I would be expecting my next contraction and just waiting for it to come. After about an hour and a half a new nurse came in, one definitely not as nice as Monica, and said she needed to check me. I soooooo did not want to be checked and told her that. She said, "Ok, then I'll just wait for your next contraction to do it." (In a super rude, condescending, sarcastic way) I wanted to yell at her and tell her she was a bitch. Because she was. Who says that to a pregnant woman in the middle of labor?! (I know, I know. I just said the b word. But she was.)
She checked me and I was at an 8. I was pretty excited, but I think Cody was even more excited. He kept saying things like, "Good job! You're almost done! You're at an 8!!" I could tell he was already proud of me and I felt like now he was like - wow, she can actually do this! (Maybe he thought that all along? But I just really felt aware of it then) I was more excited just to listen to him than to actual think about almost being done. A few times I would say, "I don't think I can do this! I don't think I can do this!" and my doula would tell me, "You are doing it! You are doing it right now. Don't think about the next contraction, just think about this one right now. You're doing it right now." I liked hearing reminders that I was actually doing it. My body was made for this! I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing!
Probably about 10 minutes later, I started bearing down and pushing a little bit. I didn't really have the urge to push/feel a lot of pressure; my body was completely doing it all on it's own and I was just letting it. I didn't really have a choice, actually. Kendall told my nurse that I was bearing down and they checked me again. They said I needed to wait because I still had a little lip that needed to go away, but then later they said they just needed me to wait because my doctor was in the middle of a c-section. Maybe it was a little of both? They kept yelling at me to not push, and I kept yelling that I wasn't trying to. A few contractions later, still laying on my side, I felt a ton of pressure and knew that she was coming now! I was trying to hold my leg up myself and push her out and it did not feel good! Cody told me later that he was holding up my leg (along with a nurse) and he was trying to tell me to just relax it on him, but I had no idea he was even touching me then. Her head was about half way out when my doctor finally made it into the room and had me roll onto my back. Cody said that he was still wearing bloody scrubs from the c-section. Awesome.
During the actual pushing I was full on screaming. Now, I am so so so embarrassed. Even then, my subconscious was thinking, "Seriously, Stacey? Hold it together. You're embarrassing yourself." Next time, I think I will do whatever it takes to just calm myself. I think I was just so Amazon-woman-in-the-moment-I-will-kill-you-get-this-baby-out that that's just what happened. Also, it felt good to look at my doctor and just scream.
For a second, I thought, "Oh, that's what people say when they say 'ring of fire.'" But I also didn't really feel like I felt it. However, I must've, at least for a second, because I really remember thinking that and feeling a little something like that. Her head came out, and then I thought that the rest of her was supposed to just slip out, but the shoulders were just as tough as the head. Finally she was out all the way and the doctor went to clamp the cord right away and I yelled at him again. :)
After a few minutes she was on me and I was so amazed (yet still shouting - not screaming anymore, but shouting- because my doctor was yanking my placenta out. Not joking. I think he needed to get back to the c-section. It was super painful and I was so mad at him). Also, a nurse came up and yanked my top off which I thought was really weird. I understand skin to skin is important, but I don't need to be full on naked in front of everyone. Thanks. When I had the baby I just covered back up, no thanks to wants-me-to-be-naked-nurse.
Eventually everything settled down and I was just literally amazed. I was amazed at my brand new, perfect, beautiful baby, who looked exactly like Preslie as a baby; I was amazed at myself, that my body could handle actually giving birth and that I had actually done it, all by myself, even on pitocin.
I started thinking about a long time ago when I had had a conversation with Catheryn and Steve. They were talking about natural birth and I was saying, "Why would you want that?" She kept talking about how Heavenly Father made your body to have babies and of course you can do it because you were made to do it. Suddenly I just was so overwhelmed with the Spirit and I just knew that she was there. I kept thinking that she had helped me through that process so much and this brand new baby had just come from being with her, and having a relationship with her, and of course Catheryn would want us to be safe, be together and be happy. I was so happy and crying, looking at this little baby who maybe has a better memory now of her Aunt than I do as my sister. I also thought, "I don't really feel Steve's spirit here..maybe because I just had a baby and he would never, ever want to be here with me in this moment." :)
She was born at 10:56 pm, less than two hours after the pit drip started. She was awake for a long time afterwards and so was I! After I had Chloe and Preslie I was just so exhausted I wanted someone to take the baby right away and go to sleep. This time, I didn't want anyone to take her. I just wanted to hold her and be with her and love her and I was wide awake. Even after they moved me into my other room and Cody had gone to bed and Charlee had fallen asleep, I was still on a birth high! I made myself go to sleep since by then it was about 1 am. Also, this time I didn't throw up at all! I was so happy. With my two other births I threw up multiple times and I'm sure it's because of the meds I was on. I feel like this birth was so much more amazing all the way around (besides all the human complications during the process) and I was so, so happy. I can not imagine ever having a medicated birth ever again.
Having Charlotte here has been so amazing. She will be six weeks old tomorrow and not a day goes by that I don't fall more in love with her. I really feel that I feel this way because my hormones have been allowed to do their own thing, to do what they were made to do. I've had ups and downs and highs and lows for sure, but I've never felt sad that she is here, or hard feelings towards her that are sometimes common for new moms. The next time around, I will do a few things differently, but overall, I am so, so happy with this birth experience and that she's here and healthy and that we're all loving her so much!