I know it’s been a little over a month, but I am finally ready to share Lilah Rose’s birth story.
On November 5th I woke up to get Alleigh off to school. While I was going about our normal morning routine I noticed my lower back was really hurting and I kept getting shooting pains down through my tailbone. Dustin was working afternoons that week and so when I went in the bedroom to give him a kiss goodbye I let him know I was having these pains and that I *might* be in the beginning stages of labor, but I wasn’t too sure. I decided to just keep going about my day and see where things went. And so Alleigh and I headed out the door while Kaelyn and Willow stayed home with dad. After dropping Alleigh off at school I headed to my scheduled chiropractor appointment. While waiting for the doctor to come in I amused myself by taking what would turn out to be my very last baby bump picture.
I also let him know about the pains I was having and that they were coming about every 10 minutes or so. After my appointment I headed back home so that I could just hang out and relax on the couch with Kaelyn and Willow. We watched some movies and I napped a bit. Even while relaxing these pains were still coming about every 10 minutes or so and finally they started to tighten my entire belly. At this point I knew something was happening, but my contractions were still about 10 minutes apart. I called my sister and asked if she would be willing to take Alleigh to her last night of swim lessons because I just didn’t think I’d be able to sit on the bleachers. Dustin headed into work and after he left I decided I wanted to sweep the living room, do some laundry, load the dishwasher, and a few other chores. I was hoping all that activity would get my contractions a little bit closer together and eventually they were about 8 minutes apart.
Soon my sister arrived to take Alleigh to swim lessons and my parents came over and brought dinner. After swim lessons my mom and sister gave the girls a bath for me and the entire time I kept having contractions about 8 minutes apart. After we got the girls to bed I told them all to just head home because with my contractions still this far apart I didn’t think anything would be happening that night. And so they headed home and I relaxed on the couch watching some of my favorite shows. Soon the contractions were getting pretty painful and I found myself in all sorts of crazy positions on the couch trying to get the pain to ease up. I was rather frustrated that I was in so much pain yet they were still spaced about 8 minutes apart. There was no way I could go to the hospital with that much time between contractions. And so around 11pm I decided to lie down in bed and try to sleep, but with how bad my contractions were I simply could not sleep. And so I finally texted my hubby.
I admit I kinda laughed a little when I read the hubby’s reply. He’s always so calm and collected and I could literally see him saying this to me. And so I proceeded to call the doctor. Since it was after hours it took about 20-30 minutes to hear back, but when I did get a return phone call I was surprised to find I was actually talking to my doctor and not a nurse. I explained that my contractions were 7-8 minutes apart, but that I had been having them since about 7:30am which meant I had been in labor for about 14 hours so far. I also had lost my mucus plug the day before and I let him know that as well. He thought it would be a good idea to head to the hospital to at least get checked out and see if I had dilated any further from the 1cm I was at during my last appointment.
After I hung up the phone with the doctor I called my dad to see if he could come over since the girls were all sleeping. He said he would be right over and since I had yet to pack my hospital bag I did so while pausing to breathe through the contractions. Once I was completely packed and had everything was lined up on the couch I started pacing around the living room and bracing myself against the wall or fireplace when I would have another contraction. By the time Dustin got home at around 12:10am – now November 6th the contractions were roughly 6 minutes apart. When he walked through the door I told him to get changed and load up the car because we were headed to the hospital. Most likely not what he wanted to hear after just getting home from work, hehe. Once my dad arrived we jumped in the car to head to the hospital. During the half hour drive my contractions continued to get closer together and were now coming every four minutes. Every time the car would hit the slightest bump I wanted to punch something and kept shooting Dustin looks as if there was something he could do about these crappy roads. I also remember telling him that I would be completely ticked off if they checked me and I was still only 1 cm dilated. When we arrived at the hospital at about 1am I had him drop me off so I could walk in while he parked the car.
I was quickly put into a triage room and hooked up to some monitors. It was obvious I was having contractions, but since I didn’t appear to be in much pain and was only 37.5 weeks along the nurses didn’t seem to be in any hurry. After about a half hour I told someone that I wanted to be checked because I was sure I would be getting admitted. The resident doctor came in and let me know that I would need to be pretty far dilated to keep me since I wasn’t yet 38 weeks. When she checked me she seemed pretty shocked to find that I was nearly 6cm dilated and said she was surprised I wasn’t screaming so they could hear me down the hall. I explained that I have a rather high pain tolerance, but yes these were hurting and I’d like to get into a room so I could get out of this small triage room and out of this uncomfortable bed.
Within about 15 minutes I was in my delivery room and bouncing on a ball while answering a million questions and filling out paper work. Everything was going wonderfully and I was doing great managing the pain from the contractions which were coming about every 3 minutes. Soon they came in to check me again and I was now at 7cm dilated. The doctor then decided to break my water because she felt with how close my contractions were and how far dilated I was that I would reach 10cm quickly. However soon after breaking my water the nurses kept mentioning that the baby was being “cranky.” At first I thought they meant she kept moving and not staying where the monitors could record her heart rate, but that turned out to not be the case.
My doctor came in and explained that after every contraction Lilah’s heart rate would drop significantly. He said that if this was happening before or during contractions it wouldn’t be a problem, but after the contractions was a completely different story. And so for about the next hour the nurses tried to put me in different positions to get her heart rate to stay up but nothing was working. Soon my doctor walked into the room and said the words I didn’t want to hear… “I hate to tell you this but,” and I finished his sentence “I need a c-section.” I was so frustrated because up to this point I was doing great managing the pain from my contractions. I hadn’t even given an epidural a single thought. I could do this. But the problem was Lilah could not do this and if I continued I would be putting her life in danger which was simply not an option. Seeing her heart rate dropping on the monitor broke my heart and at 4am we were headed to the operating room while hot tears streamed down my face.
At this point I still didn’t have any pain meds and so when I got into the operating room I received a spinal. I immediately felt like I was going to vomit and as I lay there on my back feeling my body go numb that’s what I began doing. I felt like I was on fire and all I could focus on was trying to throw up while flat on my back. I was miserable.
After what seemed like an eternity, but was actually less than a half hour from the time I was wheeled into the delivery room my doctor announced that my little girl was here and Dustin got to cut the cord. It was 4:34am. I couldn’t hear her. I couldn’t see her. I was freaking out on the inside, but couldn’t communicate that to anyone. I kept asking Dustin if she was ok and he told me that she was fine. That they were checking her out and she was looking all over the place with her eyes wide open. He brought the camera over and that was the first time I got to see my baby girl.
I asked how big she was and learned that my precious bundle of joy was 6 pounds 5 ounces and 18 inches long. My smallest baby by far… and I was secretly over joyed. I’d never had a little baby that could actually wear newborn clothing for more than a week.
At this point I went from burning up to shaking like a leaf. I was so cold. I kept asking for more and more warm blankets. Dustin was holding Lilah and I could barely keep my eyes open. Unfortunately no one took the camera from Dustin so I have no photos of the three of us together in the operating room and no photos of me with my baby girl… this really makes me sad since I have photos of my other three girls immediately after they were born with me. But at the time I was so exhausted that it didn’t cross my mind to ask someone to take these photos. I kept falling asleep while they closed me back up and the next thing I knew I was in the recovery room. I was still shaking so badly that I couldn’t hold Lilah and so Dustin held her. He told me that she kept sticking her tongue out and trying to root into him so I knew she was hungry and I wanted to nurse her so badly. After what seemed like hours my shaking finally subsided and I got to hold my baby for the first time. She latched on and nursed a little before falling asleep and then we were taken to my post partum room.
This was definitely not the birth story I wanted to share. I so badly wanted to have a completely natural birth and to have a successful VBAC. And while I am mourning the loss of the birth I wanted I am also rejoicing at this beautiful life I brought into the world. She was worth every thing and I’d let them cut me open a hundred more times to have her in my arms.
Welcome to the world Lilah Rose Harper!
November 6th 2014 – 4:34AM
6 pounds 5 ounces