I have been debating the best way to write this. Am I completely and utterly candid?? Providing all the good, bad and ugly details? Do I lie and make it sound like the most glamorous birth in the history of births (um..ya right). I will do my best to leave out the gory stuff (unless it’s funny of course). And if you don’t feel like reading all the annoying details, then just skip to the bottom and view the video. Don’t worry…it’s not a LIVE video (I’m not that crazy). Just all the images with some beautiful music created by, you guessed it, Hannah of Slice Studios (she does all my pics..duh). OK, so here it goes…. Just to give you a little perspective…I had an amazing pregnancy. I really did. But at the end, I was like get-this-babe-OUT! I was anxious to see our little bear and more importantly worried for my husbands safety. I would give him the look (you know the one). The one that says, I will kill…I mean hurt you. 🙂 It was just best if she came out on time (or maybe a few days before)?
At my 37 week appointment (geez pregnancy lasts forever doesn’t it), my doctor made the “check” and I was making progress!!! YES!!! Dilated 2 cm and 50% effaced. It was the week of July 4th and he said I could go any-time. On the actual 4th of July, I was feeling very, very exhausted by the end of the day. As we watched fireworks, I seriously thought to myself “tonight could be the night”. Then, I was almost hit by a firework (thanks to my husband..even though we were the only two sober party goers). Don’t worry…all was well and the firework hit a house instead. On the way home that night, I could feel the achiness in my lower back and wasn’t keeping track but the contractions seemed close together. When we got home, I told Rhett to get everything together. I showered (of course I was on day 3 hair) and then took Tylenol and laid down. Before I knew it, it was the next morning. Arrrggggg…. Little did I know, it would be another 3 weeks before little miss sassy pants would join us in the real world.
There really isn’t much else to report between week 37 and 40. I walked a lot (it still counts when your husband pulls you right?), ate jalapeños (even though I hate them), which all resulted in nada. I continued to progress and by week 39 I was dilated almost 3 cm and 100% effaced. My doctor suggested we schedule an induction just in case but he practically promised I would go before then anyway. We scheduled the induction for Wednesday, July 16th, two days after D-Day. You want to know what happened after that? We made it to Wednesday the 16th, of course, with no baby. We were told to check-in at 6 am to start fluids and then our doc would arrive to break my water and start the Pitocin. I was told to avoid eating and drinking anything but water past midnight the night before. Um…yeah right. I did some of my own research and knowing how my body reacts to medicines on an empty stomach, I ate peanut butter toast that morning. Ha! I showed them!! I always digress to food…you will see this happen again later in the story. The only good thing about planning her arrival was I scheduled a blowout the night before…at Lark Blow Dry Studio here in Omaha of course.
Ok, so we checked in…did I mention I slept like crap the night before? Well I did. I have never ever had a major surgery, never broke a bone, I haven’t even had my tonsils taken out. Well, I did have my wisdom teeth removed..does that count? Well, let’s just say I was nervous. Luckily, when we checked in, we were taken straight to the delivery room and introduced to our nurse. Meeting the nurse is a BIG deal. I have heard horror stories about terrible nurses making a labor hell! But luckily, our nurse was just as sweet as she could be. She was very young but I could tell we were going to get a long very well. We went through my “ideal” birth…I didn’t have a formalized birth plan. I just knew I had two goals: no c-section and no tearing! OMG! I still hate that word.
After the doctor arrived and broke my water (I won’t go into details…lots of fluid…lots) and then we started the pitocin. All was fine and dandy…we were laughing about funny birthing stories then O-M-G! The real deal contractions. So that’s what they really feel like?! My nurse wanted me to dilate to 6 cm before we asked for the epidural. Oh yes, I had no desire to try this o-natural. Kudos to you ladies that made it through. I mean, we all get the same reward so whatever we have to do to get there…more power to ya! I walked around, got annoyed by my husband (sorry Rhett, I know you were only trying to help).
After the fourth and fifth walks around the floor, I was done. My nurse informed me that there were quite a bit of c-sections coming up so if I wanted an epidural, now was the time or I may have to wait a few hours. UM…NOW. PLEASE. I bet the anesthesiologist is one of the most love professed doctors in all the land. I mean, I don’t remember his name at the moment, but I would have named my first born after him. Ok, maybe not but talk about 3 minutes of amazing, life-altering medicine. It took a good 30 minutes to set in, but then it was back to cutting up with the nurse. She suggested we relax for a bit so we started to watch, This Is 40. Cut to the sene where Sadie gets an ear infection and all of a sudden I was on my hands and knees wearing an oxygen mask. Little missy’s heart rate dropped to 70 bpm (good was anywhere around 130). The charge nurse came in and they decided to attach the heart monitor to her head. Don’t worry, I was still on my hands and knees (as you can see, very flattering for pictures) but I have lost all sense of modesty at this point. Once her heart rate got back to a safe range, things started to progress very quickly. It was about 1 pm and I went from 5 cm to 7 cm in a matter of 20 min (reasonable progress is 1 cm an hour). We called our photographer,Hannah, and told her she better get her booty to the hospital.
In the meantime, our nurse told us she could feel the head and that she had a lot of hair. I expected it to be dark for some reason. I had a niece born with black hair which was unusual since my brother and sister-in-law were both very blonde. The nurse predicted she weighed around 8 lbs or so. Let’s hope 8 lbs and no more!
There were a couple more gymnastics of hands and knees routines..one time I stayed there for a good 40 minutes. Man, she was really making me work for this. By 3:30 pm I was dilated to 8 cm. The contractions were getting hard to measure so just like the heart beat, they decided to monitor them from the inside (normally, they monitor contractions with a belt-like contraption that is on the outside of the belly). Since my doctor was in the OB office for the day, the on-call doctor came in and pronounced that I was ready to go…call the doctor ASAP! What? That was fast! Ok, it really wasn’t but waiting for months and the moment is finally here…it’s just exciting and terrifying all at once.
My doctor arrived and had me do a few practice pushes before he gowned-up. I heard this is to see what kind of pusher you are. He left in a hurry to get suited up. Yes! I am an awesome pusher. Just kidding. So this was at 4ish pm. At this point, I had let the epidural wear off a bit so I could feel the pressure of the contractions. Otherwise, I would have gotten annoyed with someone telling me when to push every 30 seconds. I pushed for approximately 2.5 hours. Looking back, it didn’t feel that long. I don’t really remember feeling all that tired (again, I am sure my memory eliminated all the terrifying memories). I pushed and pushed and pushed. I remember my doctor got a phone call asking whether I would need a surgery room for a c-section. I watched him very carefully…thankfully he said no. Actually, I think his exact words were, “this baby is coming out in here.” Fist pound doc…let’s do this!
When you are pushing for a long time, this is what it’s like….pussssshhhh (very intense 10 seconds of pushing your brains out). Then nothing. Quiet. Calm. Sometimes awkward silence. Two things to be aware of….if the tv is on, make sure a terrible show like Cops doesn’t start playing. I knew this was a possibility so the tv was off and remained off the entire time. Playlist. Must have. I thought I wanted a relaxing playlist…wrongo bongo again. Pushing is intense. Match your music accordingly. Also, don’t put any song on there you wouldn’t want to have a baby to…just a little FYI. I delivered little miss to Forever Young by Jay-Z. Not my first pick but could have been worse. Oh, and always have an end goal. It helps with pushing. Since I only ate like 20 popsicles all day, I wanted some real food. I told my doctor my prize was a pizza, a rice crispy bar and a diet coke. Amen.Visualize and repeat.
Back to the baby story…I pushed a few more times and he said that little miss sassy pants just needs some help making the last jaunt of her journey. He asked if he could proceed with a vacuum. A vacuum? Like a Dyson or Bissel? I kid. A vacuum sounded way better than forceps so I told him I was in. Then we put our hands in the middle and said “Break!” Just kidding…that didn’t happen. Things got really serious then, some more visitors came into the room and stood at the end of the bed (I know they were nurses but geez…why don’t we just bring in the whole floor while we’re at it). They used this crazy light wand to increase the light in a certain area (I won’t get specific but just think about it). The plastic came off the table full of knives and stuff (this was a big milestone for me). I couldn’t tell you what was going through my mind at this moment. It went so incredibly fast. I just remember pushing, pushing, pushing and then people saying “Look up! Look up!” I looked down and there was this very long body on my belly. Her cheeks were chubby and her nose was swollen. She had 10 fingers, 10 toes and the cutest little whimper of a cry. She had dark blonde hair. She was absolutely perfect!!
Estella Ryan Stubbendeck
7/16/14 at 6:16 pm 7 lbs 5 oz 20.5″ long
Ok, I don’t want to ruin this moment. This was such an amazing experience and I am so glad we had it documented by Hannah. I will let you judge for yourself….here it is: Our Video Birth Story (disclaimer: for those of you new to the birthing process, this is a PG/PG-13 version).
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