September 24, 2012

Hannah's Birth Story

"First babies usually come late."

All first time expectant moms have heard this, and so, we reluctantly tell ourselves to be patient for the arrival of our little one while we pray we won't have to. I am thankful my little one decided not to be the "usual," or that the Lord answered my prayers since learning I would be induced the night of September 6. 

I went into labor on September 2; five days before my due date.

The afternoon of the 2nd I was feeling a bit of cramping. I didn't imagine the time was as near as it was since I had been experiencing some cramping for a few weeks or so. That evening, we had plans to go over to our friend Kevin's apartment for dinner with him and his girlfriend, Grace. We headed over at 5:30 PM. This was not long after noticing the "cramping" was getting more and more uncomfortable.

I dealt silently with the discomfort throughout dinner, causing me to be noticeably quieter than my usual self. By the time we had dessert around 7 PM, I was squeezing Seth's knee, giving him a concerned look and telling him that I might be having contractions. I wasn't sure if I was actually having contractions since I couldn't decipher a definitive start and finish, and I always heard that I will know when I am having contractions. Well, I didn't know.

In case I was in labor, I asked Kevin to grab me a towel should my water break. Although uncomfortable, I wanted to continue hanging out. If this was the real thing, I would be laboring for hours.

It wasn't long before the discomfort intensified and I decided to give one of my mama friends a call to ask about what the start of labor was like for her. Still unsure if this was it after hearing her story, Seth and I took one of her suggestions and stepped outside to see if a short walk would either ease the cramping (false labor) or move things further along (the real thing). During the slow-paced walk, I found myself having to stop occasionally and wait for intense periods of cramping to lessen in order to continue. We decided to head home.

Seth ran back inside to inform our hosts. Since Kevin and Grace were too excited that I may have just gone into labor while hanging out with them, they both came down to give me a proper goodbye and Kevin prayed over our probable labor and delivery to come.

At home, I soon was able to distinguish contractions and passed the time by pacing our condo and jumping in the shower. Seth did his best to time my very irregular contractions. By about midnight, they were getting pretty regular and so I gave my doctor a call. When I told her we were timing about four-and-a-half minutes between contractions, she suggested we head to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital at 1:55 AM. 

In Labor and Delivery, I was immediately given a room and a gown to change into. The nurse hooked me up to a fetal monitor, and as it turned out, my contractions were not as close together as I thought. Not only that, I was only dilated two centimeters. Nonetheless, they kept me there. Whether it was because I seemed to be in real labor or was still technically on the schedule for an induction the following evening, I'm not sure. 

To help give me some rest the remainder of the night, I was given Nubain through an IV. I like Nubain, but obvious to both Seth and me, it made me incredibly loopy.

At 7:30 AM, the doctor came in to check out my progress. Only three centimeters. Since I wasn't progressing much, the doctor ordered I be put on Pitocin. 

Almost immediately after I was given Pitocin, the contractions became brutal. Obvious to the nurse, she suggested I get the epidural. I was willing to stick it out for a little while longer since I knew epidurals can prolong labor, but due to her insistence, I eventually conceded.

At 8:30 AM, I was given one last chance to use the bathroom. When finishing up in the bathroom, I noticed that my water was actually leaking on its own. 

Getting the epidural (at 9:30 AM) was more painless than being stuck with an IV. I had prepared myself to feel the pain of a big needle going into my back (which, in actuality, is the numbing medicine), but I felt nearly nothing. So much for scary epidurals. Piece of cake.

The next three hours or so I laid in painless labor, completely numb from the waist down and drifting in and out of sleep. At one point, Seth addressed our indecision about naming our daughter. In a short conversation, Hannah Rose it would be. Since the day we stopped to rest in the McDonald's on our Babymoon in the city, I couldn't wait to hear Seth affectionately call our daugher Hannah Rose. And I fell even more in love with the name in the weeks before that labor day.

Every so often, the nurse came in to flip me from side to side. This was to put me in some kind of motion to help the baby move down. Dilation status: four centimeters. Seriously? Due to my lack of progress, the doctor mentioned we may have to consider a C-section. She would return in a few hours. My prayers for progress multiplied.

By this time, I was STARVING! The ice chips just weren't cutting it. I begged Seth to give me some food and he finally caved by giving me a bite of his burger, reluctantly, and later a bite of a granola bar. This did not even nearly begin to curb my hunger, but the bites were delightful.

More time passed and the nurse checked my progress: eight centimeters! PTL! Since I was so close to dilation, the nurse began making preparations. Just a little while longer...

Nearing 2:00 PM, the nurse came in to let me know that the doctor was at another hospital. Upon her return, she would check my status. 

Around 2:45 PM, the doctor arrived. She took a look and proclaimed, "Ten centimeters. You have probably been ready for at least the last half hour. Let's get ready."

The nurse and doctor finalized preparations. When ready, they hoisted my lifeless legs onto stirrups, and with no hesitation, explained to me how I was to push. When I contracted (i.e. them telling me I was contracting because I still had zero feeling), I was to take four deep breaths. On the second, third, and fourth, I was to push for a count of ten while clenching my hands behind my knees to pull myself forward and tucking my chin. 

It's was go time.

At the next contraction, I followed their instruction. The only problem was, I couldn't tell whether I was pushing or not. "Pushing" to me meant bearing down as much as I could and scrunching my face. It was then that I realized what I heard and read about women who got epidurals having a hard time knowing how to push. I don't really know how I did it, but when the doctor told me to keep doing what I was doing and it wouldn't be long, I gave it all I had.

After three sets of contractions, the doctor had me to take a break through the fourth to make final delivery preparations and explained to me that when she is half way out, they will suction her and to listen for when to push. She was coming fast! It took just two more contractions and she was out; a total of twenty-three minutes of pushing!

I hadn't cried through the entire labor and delivery until the moment the most perfect, little purple body was laid on my chest. This picture says it all.

Seth cut the cord, and after that I couldn't keep my eyes off my little Hannah Rose while they weighed and cleaned her off. I heard the doctor say something about delivering the placenta and needing a few stitches since I tore a little, but my attention was fixated on my new daughter. Hannah was injected with vitamin K, Seth put on her first diaper, and she was handed back to me skin-to-skin.

She was so alert. I stared at her with tear-filled eyes as she looked all around and made all kinds of expressions with her mouth. I remember thinking I didn't expect her to look like she did (not that I knew what to expect), and that I was in love. Seth took his turn too.

While just Seth and I had time with Hannah, that bite of burger and granola bar I ate decided to resurface. Seth says I deserved it. I didn't argue, and I would do it again.

Seth and I couldn't be more proud to be the parents of our sweet Hannah Rose. The Lord has truly blessed us with this miracle, and I am thankful to have had such a good delivery experience. I wouldn't change a thing.  While I did experience some trying times in my pregnancy, I will not hesitate in doing it all again. Next time (yes, there most definitely will be a next time), I will be able to fully understand and be encouraged to know just how worth any hardship is.  And if my next baby decides to come late, he/she will be worth the wait.

September 17, 2012

Hannah Rose

Hannah Rose Pietrini 
September 3, 2012
7lbs, 6oz

Birth story to come...

September 1, 2012

In a Week's Time

One week. Maybe less. I'm going to have a baby girl in my arms. 

As I write, my little pea is trying to do a handstand. At least that's what it feels like. Head down, facing my left, butt at top center and both legs hanging down left. And moving all around! (I know this because I had an ultrasound today to make sure my fluids are looking good.) I don't know how she still has room to move around. And while I know that babies love their cocoon, I'm always telling Seth that I feel so sorry for our girl all cramped up in the confines of my belly.

Besides having the ultrasound today at the OB, I also tentatively have set  a planned induction beginning the night of the 6th into the 7th. That is if I don't go into labor before then on my own. While I'm not thrilled about the possibility of an induction, I'm thankful it isn't scheduled earlier. And that if there was a day around now that I want our baby girl to be born, it's September 7. Because five years ago Friday, Seth asked me to marry him. 

And it's a bonus that it's my dad's birthday and seven is my favorite number.

It's been a bit of a roller coaster these last few days when I was told at my Tuesday appointment that a recommendation was being submitted to induce me early next week (i.e. Monday), basically because of my "TIA" and need to be on heparin. I didn't really understand the need, and was not happy since I would like to prevent and/or postpone an induction as much as possible to avoid pitocin and increased possibility of a C-section. Plus this recommendation wasn't coming from my normal OB. Thankfully at today's appointment I saw my normal OB. For cases like mine, doctors recommend delivering between 39 and 40 weeks; she's letting me push it to 40.

So September 7; if not sooner. And even though labor is an extremely close reality, I am less fearful than some moments of fear I've had in the last few months. I think it's because I just can't wait for my baby girl to be here, no matter what it takes.

Definition of a Baby:
That which makes the home happier,
love stronger, patience greater,
hands busier, nights longer, days
shorter, purses lighter, clothes
shabbier, the past forgotten,
the future brighter.
-Martin Lawrence 
(Excerpt in Meditations for the Expectant Mother, 
read by my mom when she was expecting me)