Vivienne's Birth Story

It was a Tuesday morning, and I woke up with some fairly uncomfortable and intense contractions around 4 am.  I'm a pretty deep sleeper, so for them to wake me up they had to be somewhat painful.  But I had been having contractions since I was about 20 weeks along in my pregnancy, and these were just a little bit more intense, if at all, than some I had already experienced the weeks prior.  I had already downloaded a "contractions timer app" on my phone, so I laid in bed to try to track them.  They were so far apart though, that I dozed off in between and had a hard time determining if some were contractions or if they were the baby moving around in her tight quarters.  After a little while, I gave up trying to time them, and just decided to rest.  I figured, if this was the real thing, I needed all the rest and sleep I could get.  From what I could tell, they were about 20 or so minutes apart, so I wasn't super worried.  They could easily discontinue and surely they needed to be closer together before I made any plans for having the baby that day.

I sent Brett to work, and told him I'd call down immediately if I felt I needed him home.  I just didn't want to keep him home if the baby wasn't coming, because it was a busy time for him at work--the end of his quarter and during "crunch time".  Around 9 or so that morning, the contractions were getting closer, maybe around 8 or 9 minutes apart, and quite painful.  While helping Landon with breakfast and doing some things around the house, I was going back and forth in my mind during the contractions (that lasted anywhere from 30 seconds to one minute), thinking, "I need Brett here now, these hurt pretty bad.  I don't know if I can take care of Landon, I'm in pain".  And then the contraction would end and I would think, "Oh, that wasn't too bad, if they keep coming like this in 30 minutes from now, then I'll have him come home".  And this is how I went on for a while.  Finally I decided to text him and tell him I think he should head back to us, that this might be the real deal.  He called me just a few minutes later to tell me he was in the car and coming my way, and I had a nice intense contraction while trying to have a conversation with him.  

That was my last contraction for a while. He came home, and I hadn't had another one since we were on the phone.  They went from only being 8ish minutes apart, back to 20 or 30 minutes apart.  "Oh great," I thought, "I had him come all the way home from work for a false alarm".  We decided to go on a walk to see if a little activity would help them come a little bit more regularly.  So we loaded Landon in the stroller and walked all the way to the Mesa Temple and back.  I had only two or three contractions the whole time.  So we came in, made lunch, and put Landon down for a nap.  Brett and I just decided to go lay in bed and relax for a little bit.  We didn't nap, just kind of talked and rested.  

After about an hour or so of resting, I had two contractions that were five minutes apart.  Now we were getting somewhere!  "If they keep consistently coming," I said to Brett, "then we can get ready to go.  Let's just see if they come for a while".  Well, right after that, I had 3 close together--only about a minute apart.  Brett looked at me and said, "We need to go right now."  I told him, "No, what if they just spread out again, I want to make sure they are consistent.  I don't want to get ready and leave, and then have them send me home!"  He just firmly said back, "No, we really should go right now."  I glanced at the clock, it was 2 pm.  I told him to go ahead and call my mom, I knew she got off work at 2:30, so I didn't feel bad having her leave just a little early.  My mom said she would be there in 15 minutes.  Thankfully Brett was decisive and insisted we leave, because the contractions kept coming.  Nearly on top of each other. Brett loaded our stuff in the car, and called the midwife to tell her we were leaving for the hospital.  My mom got to our house, so Landon could finish his nap and we headed towards the hospital.  

Car rides while in labor aren't usually very comfortable.  Fortunately, I was able to zone out enough and cope much better than I expected, while cooped up in a car having contractions every minute.  We arrived to the hospital at 2:35, and Brett dropped me off at the ER entrance, while he parked.  At this hospital, you enter through the ER and get taken up to the third floor, where Labor and Delivery is.  They began asking me for my information, like name, birthdate, doctor, etc.  The nurse could tell I was in pain and decided she had enough information.  She asked a volunteer to get a wheelchair and take me upstairs.  "Can I please walk up there?", I asked.  "Oh no," the volunteer said, "we would get into a lot of trouble if we let you walk, you have to ride in the wheelchair".  Well that's the last time I ever agree to that!  Every door jam and turn we took while I sat in that wheelchair just added to my discomfort.  The volunteer happily chatted away with us as we went upstairs, I was annoyed.  I needed her to be quiet so I could focus on keeping myself together.  This is no time for small talk, I'm trying not to let out a cry or make a scene.  

We got up to triage.  Bad news...no clean triage station.  It was totally empty, but apparently a bunch of women had just breezed in and out of there without time to get another station clean before I came.  So they sent me and Brett into the bathroom to get my gown on while they prepped a station so I could be checked and admitted.  All of a sudden, while attempting to "gown up", I knew it.  The baby was being born.  The baby was coming.  Right then!  No time for formal admittance and checking and all those things, I was having a baby!  I yelled out, "I think I'm going to have the baby!" and my midwife and a nurse came scurrying in and said, "Yes, I think you are, let's get you in a room".  Well, they had trouble finding a clean labor room just like a triage station, because a ton of women just came in and had babies!  So I sat in the hall in a wheelchair, with some nurses and my midwife somewhat frantically looking for a sterile and private environment for me to give birth.  I thought I might have the baby in the hallway, because my body was giving birth whether I liked it or not.  Thankfully it didn't take long to hear a nurse yell out, "Room 18 is clean and available!" and so we scurried around the corner and into room 18. 

Although I planned on giving birth without an epidural, and inside I knew I was far past that point, I remember asking a nurse "Can I have an epidural?", to which she replied, "No, honey, you don't have time, you are having the baby right now".  But I just figured I would rather ask just in case, because at this point, I was in a lot of pain without much relief.  Contractions are exhausting, and when you don't have a break in between them, epidurals start sounding mighty fine.   

I am thankful I was working with a certified nurse midwife, because she was much more open to laboring/birthing in different positions, rather than requiring me to do the standard medical procedural positions.  Because, if someone had told me that I had to lay flat on my back in that hospital bed, there is not a chance I would have been willing or able to do that.  It would have hurt too badly, I would have stayed in the wheelchair.  Instead, the midwife and nurses followed my lead, and I climbed up onto the slightly inclined hospital bed, knelt down on it, and buried my face into the top of it.  That is where I stayed.  My body needed to be like that.

The rest is just a blur.  I had moments of feeling "out of body", like I was looking at myself above and thinking, "Is this really me going through this?  Are those moans coming from me?  Am I really having a baby right now?"  I remember Brett patting and rubbing my back, telling me I was doing well, that I was having her and I was doing it!  

It's a strange sensation, but once in labor, you can feel a contraction coming on before it actually hits hard.  Like a wave starting to roll in.  It doesn't hurt yet, but you know it's coming and you know it will be powerful.  I remember in one of those moments, praying out loud "Oh God, please help me, I don't know if I can do this".  A kind, soft spoken nurse whispered to me, "Oh sweetie, He is helping you, He is".  I loved that.  It made all the world to be in a room full of people that were supporting me and letting my body just do it's thing.  They weren't moving me, they weren't telling me when or how to push, they were just encouraging me, and tending to me.  Brett was giving me sips of cold water through a straw.  I felt my energy fading quickly, but I knew she was almost here.  

Brett caught her as she was born, at exactly 3 pm, on February 18.  She was screaming.  I started to breastfeed her.  She latched on well and nursed for around 45 minutes.  After feeding, she kept screaming.  This little one had a more difficult time adjusting to life outside the womb.  I think she was starving and scared.  She was born so fast that she had little bruises all over her face from going through the birth canal so quickly.  I am sure it was a baffling and terrifying experience for a brand new baby.  No one was giving her a "pep talk" while she was being born, and I had a whole team of people doing that for me.  She probably didn't realize that the contractions were a "pain with a purpose", like I knew.  All she felt was the intensity of being squeezed over and over for a while.  

After having two babies, I've realized my body is really good at birthing babies, quickly and efficiently, but struggles with the recovery immediately afterwards.  I'm a bleeder.  After trying 2 or 3 less-aggressive approaches to stop the bleeding and two shots of pitocin in my legs, they finally decided to hook me up to an IV and give me a line of pitocin.  Even then, I still wasn't in great shape, but the nurse finally let me move to post partum.  I knew I would be fine, my body just takes longer to snap back.  

But even after all that, I couldn't believe how good I felt!  I kept telling Brett, "I can't believe I just had a baby, I feel too good to have just had a baby!".  Of course, I still dealt with all the not-so-glamorous post partum changes a body deals with, but my recovery overall was incredible.  By two weeks after giving birth, my midwife cleared me for gentle exercise to ease me into regular activity.  At 6 weeks post partum, I felt totally normal, aside from the fact that I was still really squishy, have some pounds left to lose, and my hips are still wider than normal.  I credit my amazing recovery to the fact that I gave birth unmedicated, because I was able to let my body do it's thing, and I was able to know exactly when and how to push effectively.  Your body just does it, it's miraculous.  

That is how our sweetheart, Vivienne came into our lives.  She has remained a feisty one.  But oh do we love her.  And you should see how Landon just adores her and dotes over her.  He runs over to her while she is in the swing and gives her an extra push, he peeks over into the bassinet when she naps, he snuggles her, he kisses her, and exclaims "uh oh!" when the pacifier is out of her mouth, even if she isn't fussing.  At 6 weeks old we realized she had a pretty bad double ear infection, which might have contributed to her fussiness.  But even with all the crying and cluster feeding, and all the messes and emotions that having two children brings, it's hard to remember how life was before she was here with us.  She belongs to us, and we are so glad!  She is a wiggle worm, a restless sleeper, an adorable smiler, and she is ours! 

I am so excited to continue to see her sassy little personality emerge, listen to her squawks, and look at those gummy grins.  We are all pretty smitten!

1 comment:

  1. She is so precious- and what an amazing story! So happy for you!