Miss A’s birth story

Well, after my final, Rachel-like week of pregnancy (see OMG I am soo Rachel), Miss Ainsley Grace Charles decided to make her entrance into the world. Here is the long-awaited story of her birth, which took place on Wednesday, October 9th, one week and one day past her due date…

The days (and weeks) leading up to Ainsley’s birth were long. I was getting bigger and more uncomfortable by the minute so we became really limited in what we could do. Short stints out to eat or to the store were the highlights of our days, while the other 23 hours were spent sitting on the couch or sleeping.

My parents came to town September 30th, thinking she would show up sometime around October 1st when she was due. As each day passed, we made our predictions as to when we might meet her, only to revise them repeatedly when she didn’t show up.

Finally, on October 8th, I woke up with contractions. They were pretty far apart so there wasn’t much to do yet except wait. The entire day passed and the contractions remained more than five minutes apart (which was when the doctor said to call). I was scheduled to get induced the following day because she was already over a week late and we went to bed that night thinking we would just get up and go to the hospital at 9:00am as planned.

At 3:30am I woke up with strong contractions. Like the real ones where you can’t think straight and have to force yourself to even breathe. This was it. I took a shower, we woke up the fam and took off for the hospital. Turns out, I was five centimeters at that point. They moved us to a delivery room and started me on Pitocin to further things along.

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World’s fakest smile. When we first arrived at the hospital.

The anesthesiologist came to give me my epidural fairly quickly (yes, I did decide to get an epidural and I can’t lie, I am so glad I did). Jake told me there were multiple moments where I would just sigh and say “I feel like I’m at the spa.” Quite different than what I was saying earlier in the morning!

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Quick pic with my sister-in-law. Feeling goooood now.

As the, now painless, contractions continued I started noticing the tense faces of my family members. I felt great and didn’t know what was going on. The nurse came in suddenly and lowered my Pitocin levels as well as asked me to wear an oxygen mask. Apparently Ainsley’s heart rate dropped drastically after every contraction so they wanted to slow things down a bit and make sure she was getting enough oxygen. This continued for a while and when the doctor stopped by around 11:00am, her heart rate had regulated, my water had broken and I was fully dilated. Things were moving at a pretty steady pace now.

It was all totally different than I expected once the pushing began. Delivery is portrayed as this dramatic event on TV with tons of people around and lots of screaming and expletives being thrown out by the mom… It was actually pretty low key at first. My doctor even left for an hour while I was pushing which just left one nurse, three family members and me.

As they say though… it was the calm before the storm…

My mom, Jake and his sister all assisted with the pushing, coaching me and holding my legs. As with earlier in the morning, I started to notice some looks of concern as things progressed. Pushing got harder and harder as it went on because it became more difficult to breathe. On top of that, the nurse had me wear the oxygen mask again between pushes because Ainsley’s heart rate started dropping again. I could tell pretty quickly there was a tense vibe in the room. There wasn’t much time in between contractions to ask any questions, plus I had an oxygen mask on my face, so I tried my best to keep my calm demeanor and go with the flow. But something seemed off and I could tell my family was stressed.

Our nurse suddenly got a call from one of the other nurses who was watching the monitor from outside the room. I could only hear one side of the conversation but the gist seemed to be that Ainsley’s heart rate was continuing to drop rapidly between contractions. The other nurse was advising ours to call the doctor asap. She finally agreed (why she resisted at first I’ll never know). We continued on and the doctor showed up a short while later.

After a few more pushes, and increased looks of concern, the doctor finally told us we needed to get Ainsley out as soon as possible. We didn’t know this at the time but the cord was wrapped around her neck and she was having trouble breathing. It was like the situation went from zero to 100 in a minute and the doctor quickly got dressed in her head to toe scrubs, face mask, the works. The NICU nurses showed up in case anything went wrong. Suddenly the room was full of activity. Our doctor explained the risk factors of using a vacuum to suction our baby girl out and asked if we were okay moving forward that way. We didn’t feel we had much of a choice but to go with it because the situation suddenly seemed so dire.

To say I had an episiotomy would be an understatement. Without getting too graphic, I’ll just call it an episiotomy on steroids, which the doctor did in order to prepare my body to get the baby out as fast as possible. I pushed. She pulled. I pushed again. She pulled again. Out came Ainsley.

The crowd of nurses grabbed her, cut the cord and rushed her off to get checked out. She didn’t cry at first. Jake was able to watch what they were doing but I didn’t know what was going on for what felt like hours. Finally we heard her cry and we all lost it. I was exhausted and overwhelmed with fear from the delivery process and relief that she was alive. The nurses said she checked out well and seemed perfectly healthy.

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Getting all spiffed up to meet us.

Holding her daddy's hand.

Holding her daddy’s hand.

Man, I thought pregnancy was hard. Delivering this child was the most emotional experience of my life. (Mind you, this was before experiencing the flood of emotions that come with the postpartum days).

Holding Ainsley for the first time.

Holding my daughter for the first time.

 

Jake holding his baby girl.

Jake holding his baby girl.

Now I totally understand why there is a holiday celebrating mothers. There should be 365 of them! Our bodies, minds, hearts, tear ducts… every single part of us goes through the wringer before, during and after childbirth. We are strong and amazing people, ladies!

Since this post is so long I will share more details about the first few weeks later. But for now… welcome to the world our little miracle baby! We love you.

Perfection.

Perfection.

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