31 October 2012

Elsie Mae: A Birth Story

I went into early labor about a week and a half before Elsie was due. The contractions started in the middle of the night, but I didn't realize they were actually contractions till 5am. I told Chase that "today might be the day!" I quickly jumped in the shower, mind racing about what the day would bring. After showering I got back into bed to try and get some sleep before my contractions got any harder or closer together. At about 1pm we started timing my contractions. They were 5-6 minutes apart but they weren't that painful so I felt silly thinking we had to rush to the hospital. We ate lunch and hung around the house until about 3:30. That's when they started to hurt. The contractions were deep and powerful. So to the hospital we went! Once in triage they checked me, 90% effaced and dilated 1.5. They left me on the monitors about 20 minutes and checked me again. No progress. So they sent me walking...
An hour of walking around the hospital and 20 painful contractions less than 3 minutes apart later, they checked me again and I still hadn't progressed. Knowing how much pain I was already in and with sadness in her eyes the nurse said we needed to go home and to come back when they get more painful. When I heard those words I wanted to cry. I couldn't imagine more pain, it was take your breath away painful. But we went home, ate dinner and Chase put on 30 Rock to try and distract me from the pain. It was worse that I ever thought it could be. I tried to lay down and relax, but holding still while my body tightened and changed was the worse kind of torture. I had to keep moving around. So I paced our room and eventually the whole house. At midnight I decided that we might as well go back to the hospital. The worse they could do was send me home, and either way I would be hurting... Thank heavens I was dilated to a 4. That meant progress and that meant I was staying.
After I got my epidural I was able to relax. I could still feel the contractions but wasn't over come by the pain. So for the next few hours I slept. Nurses came into the room and checked me regularly but I wasn't making any progress. Eventually the doctor came in and broke my water. But I still wasn't progressing, the doctor started pitocin and not an hour later I was a 7. Suddenly a bunch of nurses came in and had me roll to one side, then the other. Then more nurses came in and helped me get onto my hands and knees. Every time I had a contraction, the baby's heart rate would drop and they had to reposition me to find a position that wouldn't put so much stress on the babe. All the nurses were very calm and just kept saying, "oh baby doesn't like those contractions" so I had no idea that it was a big deal. The doctor came in and gave me a shot in my arm to stop the contractions. They then let me flip over onto my back. I knew something was wrong but I didn't know the magnitude of it. After checking me again, the doctor told me that I would need to have a c-section. She was incredibly calm about it and very matter of fact. The baby's little heart couldn't handle the stress of the contractions. I started to cry. This was not part of the plan. My heart ached thinking how much would change. It wouldn't be everything I imagined. I wouldn't get to hold her right away, I would be drugged and not fully aware and involved. But something inside me kept telling me this was what needed to happen, this was the best thing. We asked the nurses to leave so we could have a minute alone. Chase then gave me a blessing. It was short and sweet. He asked that I would be calm and accept what was happening and that everything would go well. Nurses came back in and began rushing around getting everything ready to head to the operating room.
The next hour was a blur. They gave me a medicine though the epidural that made my entire body numb. I couldn't move my body well and even my head felt fuzzy. It was sort of an out of body experience. Next thing I knew they had put a blue tarp up right under my chin and the pressure started. I could feel the doctors working on me. Waiting to hear the cry of my little girl felt like forever! I heard the doctor say, "there she is" and her cries filled the air. I couldn't hold back the tears. They brought her over to me and I reached out and her little hand wrapped around my finger. I was immediately in love. Ohh the perfection! She was taken away too soon to be washed and weighed while the doctors sewed me back up. When I saw them bringing her back to me, she was all wrapped up with a little hat on her head. The couple minutes with her laying on my chest felt like forever. It was her! She was the one that was growing and moving inside me for the past nine months. And now she was here in my arms. Mine forever.
I was sent to recovery while Elsie was in the nursery. Chase was able to be with her the whole time and our family was able to go in one at a time to see her. Not long after we were all in our own little room and I was able to hold my baby girl for the first time. It was the most amazing experience. The love I felt for this little person was overwhelming and consuming. It was surreal and amazing and everything I ever wanted.
My birth did not go according to plan, but having a happy, healthy baby girl made it all worth it. Chase could not have been a better support to me throughout the entire pregnancy, labor and birth. He is already an amazing dad and I cannot believe the love I see in his eyes when he is holding our little girl. Elsie has seriously exceeded our expectations in every way possible. She is more beautiful, more fun, and more amazing than I ever thought an infant could be. She is strong and determined. Already holding up her little head and trying to scoot around and push herself with her tiny but strong legs. She is wonderful and I cannot believe she is ours forever.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Erika, how beautiful. You are a brave, brave mama. I love seeing you with your precious little Elsie. Please please please let us meet her over Christmas! I love how you write. You express yourself beautifully. She is perfect. Loved all the pictures. love her already! :) :) Congratulations a hundred times over from us.

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