03 January 2019

Riley's Birth Story



If birth stories aren't your thing, this is one post that you may want to skip over. I know that I loved reading about other people's experiences the closer it got to my due date and it's something that I want to document and always remember. So. Grab a glass of wine with me {because I can do that now!}, sit back, and read all about how Riley made her grand debut into the world.

The morning of Riley's official due date, I woke up way too early for my liking (like I had for the majority of my pregnancy.) It was 4:45am and something felt a bit uncomfortable. I wasn't positive that it was a contraction, but I started keeping track of them anyway. The feeling came and went for the next hour before I decided to get up out of bed. On my way to the bathroom to start getting ready for the day, I let Patrick know that I might be having contractions.

I showered, got ready, ate breakfast, and headed off to work. I kept track of my contractions throughout the day but they weren't being consistent at all. They would be as close together as 7 minutes and as far apart as an hour. It wasn't anything to get excited about but I decided to stay late at work to get as much done before I left just in case this turned into labor.

At home, Patrick and I got busy making sure everything was ready in case we decided to go to the hospital that night. We finished washing all of the laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, put the trash and recycling out by the curb, and double checked our hospital bags. The contractions started getting more consistent, stronger, and closer together. My OB had cautioned me that as soon as contractions were 5-7 minutes apart, I would need to head to the hospital. I was GSB+ and needed to have 2 rounds of antibiotics by IV prior to delivery, so getting to the hospital early was crucial. At 10pm, we decided it was time to get into the car and go!

We checked into triage and I got hooked up to the monitors. Sure enough, what I had been feeling all day was actually contractions. But when they checked me, I was only 1cm dilated and the doctor on call that night sent us on a walk around the Labor & Delivery Wing for an hour to see if we could get things moving. We walked nearly two miles up and down the hallway, but it didn't do any good. I didn't progress at all, so they sent us home with instructions to come back at 10am for my 40 week appointment and get checked again then.

We got home around 2am and I spent all night trying to get some kind of sleep. My contractions were coming on a more consistent basis and were getting more and more uncomfortable. I rode out most of them, but some of them got an "owwie owwie owwie" from me throughout the duration of it. This went on or hours until it was finally time to wake up for the day. We decided that we needed to let our family know what was going on at this point. Patrick called his dad to let him know that he wouldn't be coming into work that day and then he made the call to my mom.

Rewinding for a minute: for the last month leading up to Riley's birth, every time I called or texted my mom, she thought it was the call. It got old pretty quick so we devised a new plan. She set a special ring tone for Patrick and he had instructions to only call if it was time to head to the hospital.

Patrick put her on speaker phone and y'all, we cracked up listening to answer the phone in a total wide awake panic. We let her know about the day before and going to the hospital, and that we'd check in with her and my dad again after my 40 week appointment.

The ride to the hospital was absolutely miserable. Our neighborhood doesn't have the smoothest roads and they're full of bumps, pot holes, random wannabe speed bumps, and more. A contraction hit right as we started driving through the neighborhood and I felt every single bump in the road. Luckily, we hit the smooth interstate and sped along to the hospital.

When my OB walked into the room, the first thing she said to me is that it looked like we were going to need to set that induction date after all. She had been predicting the entire time that I'd go past my due date and that we'd pick an induction date at my 40 week appointment. I almost cried when she said that because I was so ready to have this baby! I told her about our evening in triage and asked that she pretty please check me. She skipped past measuring the heartbeat and measuring my belly, and went straight to see how far dilated I was. She very excitedly informed me that I was nearly 5cm dilated and that I had a one way ticket to labor and delivery! Finally!

They wheeled me across the hospital and got us settled into our delivery room. My first request? Get me that epidural. I had essentially been awake since 4:45am the previous morning... about 30 hours at this point. If you know me, you know that I can't stay up late much less pull an all nighter. My OB suggested getting the epidural immediately so that I could try and get some rest in before it was go time. They got an IV hooked up to me {one of the things that I feared the most about having a baby... needles are the worst, especially ones that stay in}, got me on fluids, and got the antibiotic I needed in me. Then came the epidural, another thing that terrified me about the whole process.

It wasn't bad at all, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. There was a bit of weird feeling pressure but other than that? Just a lot of relief within like two minutes. We watched monstrous contractions roll across the computer monitor and I was so relieved to not be feeling them. I was comfortable for the first time in what felt like forever.

The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out with Patrick, our nurses, and our parents. I snuck in a nap at some point and woke up feeling so much more refreshed. I met the doctor on call that day who'd likely be delivering Riley assuming it was time to push before midnight. Around 5:30, he let me know that I was 8cm dilated and that I'd likely be at 10cm within an hour or so. We let our parents know and they decided to go hang out in the waiting room to let us both get some more rest before it was time to push.

... and this is where things started to get very real and very painful, very fast. I started feeling my contractions again in my left hip. The nurses readjusted things and gave me more of something through the epidural. It wasn't really helping though. I was feeling each and every contraction as they came rolling through. We all assumed it was sweet girl's head pressing down on my hip and we wouldn't be able to do anything about it. The nurse checked me again at this point (around 8:30pm) and announced that I had finally made it to 10cm and it might be time to start pushing. One quick call to the doctor confirmed it: it was time to push!

The nurse warned me that first time deliveries can take 2-3 hours of pushing. It was good to have that warning because y'all, baby girl did not want to come out. One thing I didn't do while pregnant was look up anything about the whole giving birth process. The one video we watched in our Centering Session was bad enough, and I hardly watched that. My whole birth plan was to just go into delivery and do what the nurses and doctor's told me. Pushing was so incredibly different than I thought it would be! The first hour of pushing wasn't awful. I'd feel the contraction building, they'd tell me to take a deep breath, and then we'd do 3 rounds of 10 seconds of pushing. 

The second hour though? Not enjoyable.

The nurses did keep me entertained with commentary about her hair. They were joking around about how much she had and how she was coming out with a ponytail. It didn't completely distract me though from what was going on.

I remember laying there thinking that man, if this is birth with an epidural, I sure am glad that I wasn't giving birth without one! Patrick told me afterwards that it looked like between each contraction that I was taking quick naps. I'd push, push, push, and then lay back with my eyes shut until it was time to push again. I don't know. I don't really remember much of this part other than willing this baby to get the heck out. Finally, the room got crowded with a bunch of people and the doctor showed up. Baby girl was so ready to come out at this point and I was ready to have her out. The minutes (hours??) waiting for the doctor to get ready were the longest of my entire life.

A few pushes later and out popped baby girl at 10:29pm! Nearly 42 hours from the first contraction, 27 hours from the beginning of early labor, and after 2 hours of pushing, she was finally, finally, finally here. That feeling as soon as you're done pushing and baby has arrived? Hands down the greatest feeling in the entire world. The nurses whisked her away because there was some meconium and all I heard was "Whoa! Look at that hair! What a chunk! Let's weigh her!!"

Riley clocked in at a whopping 9lbs 2oz and 22 inches long. She came out with her hand in a fist by her face (thanks for that one, sweet girl). Her eyes were wide open and looking around, she had cheeks for days, and she was the snuggliest little thing that I had ever held in my entire life.

But, she was finally here and it was time to celebrate her arrival!




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