Short Version: Kellen Ann Chess was born on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 (1 day before her EDD) after about 14 hours of labor and 1.5 hrs of pushing at 5:39 p.m. She weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces and was 20 inches long. I consider my goal of natural delivery a success.
So John and I decided last Thursday in our 39th week, that we were going to hire a doula to be present for my labor and delivery. I was concerned about laboring naturally and wanted it to be as positive and as easy of an experience as possible. I had been emailing a local doula, Janene, for a few months. She was out of our price range, so she was looking for a doula-in-training for us or for a doula who charged a little less. She was unable to find anyone for us and offered her services at a discounted rate. I felt bad like we would be taking advantage–it’s not that we couldn’t afford her fee, but it was just something we were not wanting to pay a ton for. So we talked and ended up offering her a little more than what she was discounting her fee down to, and we set up a time to meet on Friday evening. She came to our house and was great. We hit it off with her right away. She wasn’t preaching about natural birth, but wanted to know what type of labor and delivery I wanted and she said she would do her best to make it that way. We revised my birth plan (apparently I was too wordy in my original and the nurses probably wouldn’t read it) and she said she wanted to see me Sunday for a massage (she also is a massage therapist). She knew about pressure points and just wanted to see what kind of condition my body was in. The massage was great–she worked on the pressure points on the hand and ankles and told me to try a couple yoga poses to open up and stretch out my hips more. I went home that night, bounced on my labor ball, continued pushing the pressure point on my hand, and even ran up and down the stairs 5 or 6 times.
Monday morning I went to the restroom, and saw mucus and a teeny bit of red. I was soo excited thinking I was losing my mucus plug. But I also told myself it wasn’t that much and even if it was, it doesn’t guarantee that I would go into labor anytime soon. Continued doing the things I had done the night before. The cats and Daisy would not leave me alone all day. Went to the restroom again later and there was actually a good amount of blood and a ton more mucus. I was pretty sure I had lost the majority, if not all of, my plug. I was having more menstrual type cramps like I had for the last few weeks, but they were stronger. I still didn’t know if they were contractions or not. I told John I might go into labor that night but that it was pretty much just wishful thinking. Later that night before we went to bed, I was pretty sure the cramps were contractions because they were coming in waves, but were really far apart, so I tried not to think too much about it.
Around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning I woke up to more intense cramps. I was able to ignore them and not think much of it but then I had about 4-5 of them by 1:30 a.m. so I decided to get up and time them. I let John sleep. I got up and bounced on my ball, walked around, swayed my hips while bent over the back of the couch or counter. They were starting to get more painful but will completely bearable and were about 5-7 minutes apart. I woke John up around 5:15 and asked him to help me through the contractions–just talking to me or rubbing my back or face. It was really helpful. I text Janene around 5:30 to tell her I was in labor. She said to try taking a hot shower and then lay down on my left side and try to relax/sleep, since this was my first labor she reminded me it could take quite a while. The shower felt awesome, but when I tried to relax and lay down, it was not happening. I ate some toast around 7 a.m. I worked through the contractions until 8 a.m. and decided to call Dr. B. He said he had wanted to know when I was in labor, even if I thought it would be a while until we left for the hospital. He wasn’t in until 9 a.m. so his nurse told me he would want to see me and to come in at 9 a.m. John and I decided to get the car packed up and everything ready just in case he sent us to the hospital, but I honestly thought we would be coming back home. When he checked me, I was at 4-5 cm and 100% effaced with a lot of bloody show, so he said it was time to go to the hospital. He said at that point I should expect to dilate 1 cm/hour so he figured it would still be 6-8 hrs. We text Janene and our close family and friends that we were headed to the hospital. We arrived around 9:30.
It starts to be somewhat of a blur at that point. Janene arrived around 9:45 with my birth plan so the staff would know I didn’t want any medications offered. Contractions were 3-4 minutes apart at this point and I was handling them very well. I didn’t want an IV, but it was hospital policy for me to have the Hep Lock in place so they could start an IV if needed. I got into a gown and just started laboring more. They had me get on the monitor for a while–said they needed to see about 20 min of Kellen’s heart rate. She was sleeping so they weren’t seeing the decelerations they wanted so I was going to have to be on it longer. Janene slipped me a honey stick when the nurse left the room to give her some sugar to wake her up so I could get off the monitors. It worked great and I was off of them within a few minutes. Janene was a great help–massaging me and reminding me to change positions and drink. I sat on the ball a lot and at around 10:45 I got in the tub for about an hour. At one point the contractions were getting really bad–back labor was horrible! Dr. B came to check me around 1:15–I was at 8 cm and he told me he would break my water. I didn’t really want him to because I knew the contractions would get worse and I said so, but I also knew it would help get her here sooner, so I didn’t tell him no. I tried switching positions at this point to try to find more comfort, but I was getting tired and nothing really seemed to help. Janene had me lay on my left side and put a ball between my legs to keep my pelvis open. I remember Janene reminding me to go to the bathroom shortly after and I didn’t want to move from where I was, but got up and got on the toilet. The contractions were really bad at that point and coming right after another and I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. I asked for some pain meds and pretty much the nurse, Janene, and John all ignored me! I asked again, and John reminded me that I would probably ask during transition and that it meant I was really close. I had to ask probably 4-5 times before they got Dr. B to talk to me about it. I was still on the toilet at this point and didn’t realize that it had been about an hour and a half since he broke my water. He told me he thought the intrathecal was a good choice because it would help me relax some and maybe help me get to 10. The anesthesiologist could not get there fast enough! I knew that I was really close to complete and that the intrathecal would probably get me all the way through the rest of the delivery since it lasted only about 2 hours. It was placed around 1:45 p.m. and it kicked in pretty quickly and took away the pain of my contractions. I could still feel a little pressure when I had one, but no pain. And I actually really liked it. I was worried that it was going to make me numb, but it didn’t. I could still feel and move my legs. The biggest down side was it made me a little itchy, but nothing I couldn’t handle. My sisters, Lea and Lindsey arrived about 10 minutes after I got the intrathecal and were surprised at how relaxed I seemed. I told them if they were there about a half hour before, they would of thought I was possessed 🙂 I was actually able to talk and drink some water and relax a little. It was nice.
When Dr. B checked me again, he said I was 9 1/2 but for some reason the rest of the 1/2 was just one side of my cervix. He said he wanted to give me Pitocin. Janene saw the look on my face and saw that I was about to say no, but she assured me that it was probably best to get it since it was taking so long at that point. I asked for the smallest amount and to work up from there if needed. They had me lay on my left side because that was the side of the cervix that wasn’t dilating. The Pit was started around 3:10 and did a pretty good job. I was feeling pressure more often, but nothing crazy and nothing where I felt the urge to push. I kept frantically looking at the clock because I knew my pain free time was limited. I started feeling the contractions again right at about 2 hours after getting the intrathecal and they were just as horrible as I remembered. Dr. B checked me again, and I was complete at 3:40, but she was still at about 0 station and needed to come down more so he said that was why I wasn’t feeling the urge to push. So I labored longer on my side and it sucked. I had to have an IV to get the intrathecal so I couldn’t really move around too much, but at that point I don’t think I could have if I wanted to–I was in so much pain and exhausted. He came back at 4:15 and she still was a little high, but he said he was going to let me push to see what happened. I didn’t want to push–I didn’t have the urge and the idea seemed crazy to me. I read so many natural birth stories and they all said it felt so good to push and was such a relief. I had no feelings like that. The first few pushes didn’t change my mind either. I felt immense pain in my hips every time I pushed a for a few moments after I was done pushing. It felt like they were going to explode! I was basically falling asleep in between contractions and dreading when they came back. I wanted to try a different position to push since it hurt so bad so Janene suggested being on my hands and knees–no go, hurt even worse. So then we tried on my side and that was horrible also so I went back to my back. Kellen’s heart rate started dropping when I pushed. They didn’t tell me this, but I heard it on the monitor and they made me move to my left side. They wanted me to push on my side and I tried a couple times and literally felt like I was dying! I refused to push on my side even though they all told me I need to push through the contractions. They were all effing crazy–there was no way. I’m pretty sure I threw a fit and refused to bend my legs. So they let me push on my back but I had to be on oxygen in between contractions. At one point I heard Dr. B say after I pushed that it would only be a couple more contractions and she would be here. I really wish that my hips didn’t hurt so much when I pushed because I think I would’ve been able to get her out sooner but I could feel myself at the end of a pushing segment not push as hard because it was hurting so bad. I started to feel some burning when I pushed so I knew we were close. Dr. B had me bring my hand down and he had me feel her head–suuuper weird and at that point I really didn’t want to do it, but he kinda made me 🙂 I wasn’t afraid to make noise during labor. I started moaning with the contractions shortly after we got to the hospital. I got a little louder with the pushing stage, but when I felt that burning “ring of fire” when she was crowning, I was literally screaming (well, I thought I was, but everyone assured me that I wasn’t really bad at all–that I didn’t scream really and the noise I made was somewhat quiet. I guess there was a lady in the room next to us dropping F bombs.) Between that and my hips, I just needed it to be over. It gave me motivation to push even harder with the next contraction because I just wanted her out. I think I got her head out at the end of the next contraction, but it still hurt bad and I wanted her shoulders out, so I kept pushing and when her body came out, it was the biggest relief feeling I have ever had in my entire life. She came out blue and they put her on my chest. This is where we noticed that her umbilical cord was wrapped around her shoulder and body like a Ms. America sash. She didn’t cry and they kept drying her off and shaking her around and she still wouldn’t cry, so they took her to the back room, which worried me because they knew I wanted uninterrupted skin-to-skin right after and that’s actually how the hospital does it anyway. I kept asking if she was okay and everyone told me she was. I kept listening for a cry and finally heard it. Everybody kind of cheered when they heard it. Dr. B was working on getting my placenta delivered and that was painful! It sucked not having Kellen on my chest to kind of distract me from what he was doing. John was back in the room with Kellen and I heard them go to give her to him to bring to me and he said no! :p I heard everyone laugh and then John came out holding her–I guess he was a little scared of holding her. It was so beautiful to see him with her. He was teary eyed and handed her to me. They had her wrapped up in a blanket and I kept saying I wanted skin-to-skin, so they unwrapped her and put her on my chest and put the blankets on top of her. It was the first time I saw her face and she was gorgeous. She wasn’t crying and just laid on me and looked around. They gave her a 4 for her first Apgar–only because she wouldn’t cry. John said she was looking around and squirming the whole time, just wouldn’t cry. She got a 9 on her 2nd Apgar. Dr. B was working on repairing me. I had 3 small tears–2 were 1st degree and one was 2nd degree. He said it was taking a while because they were kind of all over the place–some internal and some more external. He also had to repair some blood vessels that wouldn’t stop bleeding. He was down there for like an hour and I remember at one point saying, “Please tell me you are almost done Dr. B!” People kinda chuckled and he said he almost was. My legs hurt from having them up in the stirrups still. I also told him that he should hurry because with how much time he was spending down there, my husband was going to start to worry that I would never be the same 🙂 I tried nursing her, but she wasn’t really doing well with latching. I think her tongue kept getting in the way. We tried later in the Mom and Baby room we got and it went well. Even with the intrathecal, I consider my delivery natural–I was in transition for about 3 hours with no meds and pushed with no meds. That’s a long time for transition–a lot longer than most women who get no meds at all–so I’m claiming natural! 🙂
I kept asking to get my IV out, but they said I needed to keep it in for a little longer. They took some of my vitals and I was told I was running a fever so they brought me some Tylenol and Norco for the pain. My dad came in around that point. They weighed her and she was 7 lbs, 6 0z, and 20″ long. They gave her a bath, and it was only the 2nd time I heard her cry since she was born. John and my dad held her and the nurses helped me up so I could go to the bathroom and shower. I was pretty shaky and when in the shower, I felt like I was going to pass out so they had me sit down on the shower stool and they helped me get dressed. It’s very weird to have someone help you shower and dress–including putting those sweet mesh panties and a pad on me. We went to Mom and Baby after that. The pediatrician wanted to test some of Kellen’s blood since I had a fever even though her vitals were looking perfect. They came back with a slightly elevated white blood count so they ordered another test for the morning to check them again. Those came back even a little higher and our Pedi was concerned with an infection so she had to go to the NICU for 6 hours to get an IV of antibiotics and be monitored. It was horrible–I hated her being there. She had to get 2 more rounds after that one every 12 hours, so we ended up having to stay 3 nights. On Thursday, Kellen was screaming a lot and was very frustrated while I was trying to breastfeed her. We soon discovered that I didn’t have any colostrum left and my milk hadn’t come in yet. I tried pumping numerous times that day to try to help get my milk to come in, but I wasn’t having any luck. I was very upset by the end of the day. They ended up having us give her donor breast milk starting Thursday night and all through Friday. My milk finally started coming in Saturday, but it wasn’t a lot. Sunday was much better. She was down 8% with her weight when we left the hospital and we have had 2 weight checks this week and she is still down about 6% so we are going to see a Lactation Consultant today and hopefully she can give us some good tips.
She doesn’t sleep well at night at all. And she doesn’t like her bassinet. I set up shop in the overstuffed chair in our room and have the Boppy on me. She pretty much eats every 30min-1hr so I feed her and then we both pass out, repeat. I’m pretty tired and I’m looking forward to when she sleeps more at night and less during the day so John and I can get some sleep and so I can actually sleep in my bed. But she is all completely worth it. I am so in love with her and she is so beautiful! We couldn’t be happier 🙂