Monday, March 21, 2005

Caroline's Birth Story

We were very lucky to have completed our final childbirth class the night before Caroline was born! We woke up around 4:30 am on March 21, which was a Monday. I was having contractions that were ten or more minutes apart, so I got in the bathtub to relax. We had learned that false labor contractions will slow down if you get in a warm bath... since mine continued, we were pretty sure this was the real thing. We called our doula, Annette, and then we called both sets of grandparents-to-be. We promised to let them know when to come to the hospital. Chris and I ate some breakfast and started to work on a Snoopy puzzle to pass the time. We finished the border and had peanut butter toast for our lunch.
After eating, I was starting to feel pretty serious about labor. I couldn't concentrate on the puzzle anymore because the contractions had become more intense. They were already pretty intense to begin with, but now I had to lay down. I was lying on the floor and Chris was talking me through the discomfort and holding a heating pad against my back. He rected the Hail Mary over and over to help me get through the contractions.
Once the contractions were about five minutes apart, Annette made the trip to our house. She arrived around 5:00 pm, after 12 hours of labor. Annette helped us out a lot - the best thing she did for me was to have me sit on the birthing ball starting around 6:00 or so. I really think that helped open my pelvis and move the baby into position to be born. Annette also got me to eat some of a popcicle and some ice chips, but my appetite was very small.
Sometime around 8:30 or 9:00, I suddenly felt the urge to push! Whoops - we had almost waited too long! So off we went to Floyd Medical Center. We parked in the parking deck across the street from the hospital. Then we had to walk across the bridge that goes across the road (picture a Habitrail tube for humans) - I had to stop three times, fighting the urge to push. Annette later confessed that she thought the baby might have been born before we made it to the maternity ward! Chris pushed me in a wheelchair to the check-in and then the elevators. We skipped being checked at the triage room and went staright to the delivery room, where a nurse checked me to find what I was already sure of - I was 100% effaced and dilated to a 10, and the baby was at station +1... I was ready to push, and Caroline was ready to come into the world!
Annette was on one side and Chris on the other, helping me by holding my legs as I sat semi-upright. When the baby was crowning, Dr. Mitchell, the on-call OB, let Chris "catch" the baby. She came out with her hand up against her face, which is probably what contributed to my 2nd degree tear. Chris lifted her out and on to my belly. She was absolutely beautiful!
Caroline nursed right away, but not very much. The nurses then made sure that she was breathing well (she wasn't at first), gave you a hat, and made your footprints right there in the room, and then she came right back to me to nurse and cuddle more. After an hour or so, she went with her daddy to get weighed, measured, and get eye drops. That took about 15 minutes and then she was back with me, and we all went to the postpartum room. Caroline stayed there with us until we left on Wednesday, never leaving my sight. Her grandparents and uncles visited on Tuesday morning.
It was an uneventful, unmedicated birth, going as planned. The only surprise was when I briefly blacked out awhile after delivery - I had some blood clots after the placenta was delivered, and lost a good amount of blood there, and I hadn't eaten enough... so that's what did me in. I hope to have a little more energy next time (I'll force myself to eat more!).
Welcome to the world, Caroline!
8 lbs., 6 oz.
19 1/4 inches
Born at 11:02 pm