From the moment I met Jessica online we clicked. I believe we decided we were Soul Sisters. She wanted to have a vaginal delivery at the hospital she was an ER nurse in. I loved her go with the flow attitude of bringing her daughter into the world. It would come in handy during her delivery. I attended another clients birth on Valentine's Day. It was beautiful and peaceful and quick! (more on that HERE) As soon as I was packing my bag to excuse myself from my Love day birth Jessica texted me to let me know that she was going to head to the hospital because she didn't feel right. - What great timing I thought! -
Let's me allow Jessica to tell you all her Birth Story...
"My delivery story starts on Valentine's Day. I had been hoping for a delivery today because it's my grandmother's birthday & they share a middle name. My husband & I went for a 2.5 mile walk on the beach, collecting shells & enjoying the Florida life. My back was hurting but I thought it was the uneven sand. I had put a call into my OB because I noticed spotting that morning but didn't think too much of it since I had a cervical check the day prior.
After our walk, we decided to eat lunch at the beach & I had some cramping. I associated it with wearing yoga pants that were not meant for a maternity belly & that they were cutting into my abdomen when I sat down. The doctor's office called and confirmed what I thought, that I shouldn't worry about the spotting unless it increased or was in my underwear. My husband & I continued home so he could get ready for work & I used the bathroom. Sure enough my spotting had increased and I remembered I was cramping after having back pain. I decided to go into L&D for a check but sent my husband to work since I shrugged everything off.
Once in L&D triage the nurse checked my cervix & said she'd check again in 2 hours for changes. She popped in my IV like a boss, with zero pain (I'm a little judgy of IV starts since I'm an ER nurse). I just chilled out & made my friends in the ER come visit to keep me company when they could. THE 2 hour check came around & there was no dilation but there was effacement! I was shocked that I wouldn't be leaving the hospital without a baby. I called my husband's duty desk & calmly let them know they needed to contact my husband & tell him to land his helicopter & come to the hospital. I told them it wasn't imminent but that part of the message didn't relay. The poor woman on the radio had my husband convinced that I was about to start pushing. He had his aircraft powered down before it landed on deck & ran a mile to his truck in his flight gear.
After he got to the hospital I was told I would be started on pitocin so we slow danced to one of our wedding songs & had some last moments of being only husband & wife. Once started on pitocin & it was gradually increased to it's max dose given without an internal fetal montor & my contractions were strong, frequent, keeping me up, & kicking my butt. I held out for the 10 hours without an epidural. I was checked for progress at 0600 & got the news I made little progress. No worries, I was given options & it was decided to put me on cervidil after my contractions stopped to try and soften my cervix more.
Laying in the bed is not my idea of fun but I'd do anything to hold my baby in my arms. I kept the cervidil in until 2230 when it fell out after I was allowed to get up (oops). I was told to shower & walk around because pitocin was coming again & that would mean another long stretch of laying in the bed, not moving. I walked laps & danced to try to make Savannah come down. Nothing. No change but I was told my cervix was favorable to pitocin to do better.
Strapped up, hooked up, & in the bed. I was determined to avoid the epidural. I labored & contracted from 2345 until 0600 when I was checked & told again that I made little to no progress. I was devastated. My doctor gave me the news that I may have to get a c section & I started to bawl. How could this be happening? I worked out, stayed healthy, & thought my body was able to handle this! I was told my water would be broken & the contractions would feel tenfold so I caved & agreed to the epidural, still refusing narcotics.
Here comes the epidural. I was clinging to my husband, my support system, my best friend as the first part of my plan fell apart. But holy cow I should have done that sooner! I felt awesome. I did have them turn it down from the dose assigned for my height & weight because I couldn't handle the restless leg feeling I was having. I enjoyed sitting & having company with friends, laughing, and dancing (from the waist up) while in bed. The pitocin was cranked & I didn't care. I slept through the night & it was glorious!
Here comes mid-day & my water was broken after it was realized that it never broke on its own (Savannah had tricked everyone at an earlier check). I was given a glimmer of hope that I wouldn't have to have a c section after all because of that. My photographer came just in case. She was a HUGE supporter & advocate of staying strong, not giving in to feeling weak or just going with the c section. I never knew her role would be as a friend & not just a photographer!
An hour after my water was broken, I was checked & told I was 5cm (holy cow I couldn't believe that I FINALLY made progress). I told everyone to leave & do what they needed since the nurse said it'd still be a few hours most likely. Fifteen minutes later I was feeling my contractions & my left leg wasn't feeling numb anymore. I got scared that my epidural was messing up & had my husband call the nurse in (did I mention she used to be a Saintsation & I'm a Saints fanatic?). She said I could have a bonus & stayed with me, talking to me & saying I could always go back up to the original dose. We decided to do that & wait 15 minutes.
I was really panicking because my left leg was still not being covered by the epidural and the contractions were stronger. I called her back in after the 15 minutes and she paused, something told her to recheck me instead of just turning me on my side to help with the effectiveness of the epidural. She looked up at me and said "You're complete." Um, okay. I know zero about pregnancy or babies so I asked "What does that mean?". She gave me a huge smile & told me it means I was ready to rock & roll. I was elated! Then I panicked again. I looked at my husband & told him to call my photographer, mom, & one of my best friends.
Once everyone showed back up (record time) it was time to push to get Savannah down & ready for arrival.
My nurse was an awesome coach, my husband was my rock, my mom was in tears, & my photographer was cheering me on. I asked how long pushing usually happens for first time moms & was told t could go as long as 4 hours. After a few rounds of pushing I was told not to laugh, cough, sneeze, or do anything. Savannah was coming much faster than expected. The nurse leader was even kicked out because she was making me laugh too much. Everyone was in my corner rooting me on!
A few minutes later my doctor comes barreling in. I didn't know the nurse leader called & had him pulled out of a patient's room in his office down the road, was in the parking lot flagging him down, that he had run over the doctor's parking sign, & that they were running up to the room to get there (I guess that working out helped keep my abs labor ready). After my doctor bolted into the room he quickly got suited up quickly & almost fell off his stool getting into position. I laughed (oops, I was told not to do that). One round of pushing later & there's a slimy, gross, beautiful baby girl on my belly. My husband & I got to see her come out with the aided a mirror L&D wheeled in for us. It was awesome!
When Savannah was on my belly, I couldn't believe she was ours. I kept asking if she was really mine, if I really made her, & if they were sure I got to keep her. I couldn't believe something so beautiful was ours to keep! I was ugly crying & just couldn't process all the love that flooded my body. We had a baby! After almost 49 hours, we had a baby! Savannah Grace graced us with her arrival at 1650, tipping the scales at 6lbs 11.5oz & measures at 20.5in long. I saw that black hair (even down her back thanks to my genes) & those blue eyes from her daddy, knowing that I would love her more than anything I have ever loved before (and probably lock her in a basement once she told me she had her first crush on someone).
Those 49 hours didn't matter. The pain was erased. My fears were never important. I had the greatest gift I could have been blessed with & told my husband she counted as the best Valentine's Day gift ever, even though she arrived 2 days the date. She is perfect & worth everything thrown at me. I would do it all over to have her in my arms.
A huge thank you goes out to my friends that visited us, keeping us company in our 49 hours of labor, the AMAZING nurses that took care of me & kept my spirits up with their support, the best OB in the world who had faith in me, my mom who showed up at the hospital before it was time to push (not telling me she was there because she had a feeling she needed to come early), my photographer who took on more than just the role she was hired to be, & most of all my husband who didn't leave my side & even massaged my fat elephant feet when they were hurting so badly (even though they felt like a squishy water balloon). I wouldn't trade my story for an easy labor any day."
Wishing you all so many blessings! Thank you for letting me document Savannah's enteranace into the world!!!