This is Livy's birth story..."Our Journey with Olivia"
This may end up a bit long, so please bear with me. It may not be as exact as I?d like, as I?m writing my birth story while my darling daughter sleeps at 7wks and 3 days. Also, the birth was long and complicated, much like my pregnancy, so some details are fuzzy. My birth did not go as I?d hoped or planned and it?s taken me awhile to get to the point where I felt it was time to put it on paper. Thanks for reading?.
It?s hard to say when my birth story really starts. My pregnancy was wrought with issues and complications and the birth followed suit. After having been on modified bed rest since week 14 and stricter bed rest following preterm contractions, I was told not to expect to carry Livy past 35/36 weeks. That was my goal. I held on to that time frame like it was set in stone. We had moved 1 ? hours away into Wisconsin towards the end of the pregnancy, which meant having to drive all the way to Duluth for my weekly appointments. 35 weeks came and went, the doctor telling me at the appointment on Thursday that if I made it to Monday, Livy?s lungs would be developed and I?d be good to deliver. Monday came with a great sigh of relief. I continued on with surprising my doctors at my weekly appointments, they said they couldn?t believe I was still pregnant. It seems Livy had decided she like being inside after all! We kept running into the problem of me measuring small. By week 37, growth had come to a standstill. With me only measuring at 32 weeks, this was worrisome.
At my 38th week appointment the doctor was very concerned that I was still measuring at 32 weeks and scheduled me for an ultrasound. The ultrasound tech was not the best at hiding what he saw, and I could see that something was wrong. After pressing him as to what the problem was, he told me fluid was low but the doctor would talk to me about what she?d want to do. We want back to the waiting room. It was the longest ? hour of my life. I was so nervous. We were brought back in and told that Livy was small, but not too small, however?my fluid was very low and we needed to go to labor and delivery. We called my Mother and our doula Sara. They both told us they were on their way. Troy and I got something to eat and checked in. I was hooked up to monitors and seen by a doctor. I still wasn?t dilated at all, but was having some contractions. They determined that my fluid wasn?t leaking, so my bag was intact, just low. Livy was doing well on the monitors and the doctor said she?d like to add some gel to my cervix to get it moving. They did the procedure and said I?d have a second one later on in the night/early morning.
3 am came, on hour after the time when I was supposed to have my second round. I called the nurses desk. The charge nurse came in and told me that they?d become very busy and didn?t have enough staff to continue inducing me. She hooked me back up to the monitors to check Livy on more time. Immediately she told me to lay flat on my back, then to roll to the left, then to the right. She then pressed the red button on the bed, calling for more help and an IV team. At this point I started to panic. The nurse told the others coming in that Livy?s heart rate had tanked and it wasn?t coming back up. This was the first I understood what was wrong. I immediately started to pray and ask Livy to be strong and help Mama out. In that second, her heartbeat came back. It was my time in yoga and with my doula that had taught me to talk to my daughter and ask her for what I needed. It proved true at this time of need!
I was prepped for an emergency c-section in case her heart rate dropped like that again. The doctor came in and examined me. Still not dilated, but now Livy was doing wonderfully on the monitors. She told me we should rest, but that I?d have to stay hooked up to the monitors constantly. In the morning we?d discuss our next step. The next morning I had another biophysical prophile to check the fluid levels. They had gone up! They were still low, but not as dangerous. I talked with the doctor and she said that she wasn?t feeling like my cervix would respond to another round of treatments. Livy had been doing very well since her blip and they were going to send me home but I had to have another bio the next day as well as a non-stress test on Livy. It was decided that I could do those tests at the hospital close to our new home.
We went in the next morning for our tests. The fluid had again dropped and during the non-stress test Livy?s heart rate tanked again. The doctor checked me?I was still having contractions, but my darn cervix was still solid. She called and consulted with the doctors in Duluth. I was told that I needed to go back to Duluth, that they would have to induce me again. We packed our bags, called my Mom and Sara and headed up again. As we checked in, the nurse got me prepped and told me the doctor would come in and see me and would be breaking my water to get labor started. When she left, I talked the situation over with Troy, Mom and Sara. We discussed the reality of the situation, that I may be looking at a c-section. I came to terms that whatever needed to be done would be fine. I just needed to know that Livy was ok. The doctor came in and looked at the tape of Livy?s heartbeat. He said it was the best he?d seen all week. After examining me, he said I wasn?t at all dilated and he couldn?t induce me and I was going to go home and come back Monday after the weekend.
He walked out and we all just looked at each other. What?! I was going home again without a baby?! But, we made the long trip home and waited for our appointment on Monday. At that appointment, my cervix still was not doing anything, I was having contractions and Livy was doing great on the monitors. My fluid was low, but not dangerously at that point. I was sent home and told that I could come back in week, but to head in if Livy?s movement slowed. The doctor massaged my cervix in hopes of getting things going and sent me on my way. Again, we left Duluth with an empty car seat and still packed hospital bags.
That Wednesday, the contractions had become regular and painful. I hid it from everyone, because I was in such a bad mental state at that point. I felt I?d never have my baby in my arms. The only time I couldn?t hide it was when I went out to lunch with Troy and my Mom. I remember my Mom commenting on it and I told her I was just uncomfortable. I don?t know how I got through that meal. That evening the contractions became more intense. I tried to sleep, but every contraction would have me rolling. I couldn?t lay still. I needed my low moaning learned through yoga to get me through the night, occasionally having to roll off the bed and do hula hips on all fours. Somehow, Troy managed to sleep through all this! I didn?t wake him because I was afraid if I said anything, I?d curse myself. And, he needed his rest. It has been a long couple of weeks! By 5am, I?d moved out to the living room to try and get some rest sitting in the recliner. It was difficult. I kept feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom and would have to push. Now I was wondering if maybe it could really be it. My Mom called, saying she?d gotten a flat tire on the way to work. Could Troy and I get her car and take it in for her? I told her sure, no problem. I woke Troy up to tell him about the car. I also told him I was feeling funny. He brushed it off and went back to sleep.
I woke him up 15 minutes later. I felt we needed to go get the car right away. So he got dressed and we hopped in the car. He noticed right away how strong the contractions were. He started timing them and I was very surprised when he told me they were over a minute long and only 5-6 minutes apart. I had thought they were 15 minutes apart! He asked if we should go to the hospital and I insisted on getting the car. I called my Mom once we?d brought the car in and told her what was going on. She said not to worry about the car and pay attention to labor! My next call was to Sara. She cautioned me that lots of first-time Moms start and then stall. I think she was worried I?d have another disappointment. We talked and decided that I needed to take a warm bath and time contractions to see if things slowed down. That I?d wait a bit before heading to Duluth.
Troy got me a nice bath going and I found it helped the contractions quite a bit. They had become very painful at this point. I stayed in the bath for a little over an hour and they didn?t slow at all. They stayed very steady and were getting stronger. I was using my low moaning and hula hips in the bath?Troy was getting nervous. He asked if we could please head to Duluth, that he?d rent a hotel room with a nice Jacuzzi in the room and we could continue there, closer to the hospital. He got the car packed, made a bed for me in the back seat, and we drove to Duluth. My contractions stayed strong the whole time and as we crossed the high bridge, I felt a gushing. Troy got us checked in and I wobbled into the elevator. Then I felt another gush. We rushed to the room thinking my water had broken. We called Sara and she said it sounded like my bag of water. We called the hospital to let them know we?d be coming in and ordered some quick dinner. That was the best chicken fried rice I?d ever eaten I was so excited! Then we went in. They told me to lay flat for ? hour then they?d check to make sure it was my water. They tested and were surprised to find that it wasn?t testing as amniotic fluid. They were so surprised that they test twice more. Sara said that there is occasionally a second little bubble of your sac that can break. It was the only explanation we got. During this time, my contractions had slowed to 7 minutes apart. I wasn?t dilated at all, so they sent me home. I cried on my way out.
Troy, my Mom and I went back to the hotel and by the time we hit the elevators, my contractions had come back with a vengeance. Sara had gone home, but Troy called to let her know they were back and stronger than ever. She said to call when we needed her. I labored in the hotel for a few more hours. It was getting increasingly unbearable. I couldn?t feel the contractions in my belly at all. It was just searing back pain. I tried the Jacuzzi, walking, crawling, hula hips, everything. I wasn?t getting any relief. It gets really blurry here, but one of my only impressions was seeing Troy and my Mom?s faces during a contraction and after. It had been a particularly bad one and I could see the worry on their faces. This is when I had a feeling birth wasn?t going to go as planned. It takes a lot to worry my Mom. After talking with my Mom and Troy later, I learned that during the contractions my breathing was sounding off and I was trying to crawl but couldn?t move my legs. This was a trigger to the fact that something was wrong. Troy and my Mom went in the other room to talk in between a contraction. They came back and asked me to consider going to the hospital. I told them no, that they didn?t like me at the hospital and would just send me home without my baby. Completely irrational, but I wasn?t in a normal state of mind at that point. They convinced me to go, my Mom promising it would be ok.
We got in the car and called Sara on the way. Labor and delivery was booked! We got up there and got the last room at the end of the hall. Sara showed up sometime soon after. It is all really a blur, I just know that it hurt and I was more confused than I?d ever been. Nothing was helping?it didn?t make sense to me. I?d planned my breathing, low moaning, hula hips. I felt like a failure. Every contraction, the monitors were going off and everyone was telling me I had to breathe. I was concentrating on breathing harder than I ever had before. What do you mean breath? I am! My pulse was going up and oxygen levels down with every contraction. There was a little relief between contractions, but not much. Everyone was doing all they could to help, rubbing my back, ice, heat, holding my legs down. I was also throwing up constantly.
The charge nurse came in to see how far I was dilated. I figured I had to be a 5 at this point. She checked, looked me in the eyes and said, ?Honey, I?m sorry but you aren?t dilated at all.? I broke down. I remember everyone else in the room looking shocked. Completely shocked. My contractions were very strong and very regular (3 min) on the monitors. By this time I was throwing up even harder. I oddly enough remember there being a moment where everyone was worried about getting more bags for me to throw up in. It struck me as oddly amusing and annoying at the same time. Everyone had a discussion, not that I remember. It was decided that I needed some relief. I was given Dilated. It helped a little, but only lasted for about 15 min before it wore off.
We were now discussing an epidural. I tried to fight the idea, I wanted to go natural. But Troy leaned over and told me that I?d done enough, it was time. I remember looking at him and crying that I was sorry. He said there was nothing to be sorry for, that he was proud of me and what I was doing for our daughter. I agreed to the epidural. The nurse told me she?d talk to the anestheoligist and see if he?d give me one. We had a couple of problems. I wasn?t dilated at all and you are supposed to be at least a 3. And with my back problems, he may not be comfortable or able to give me on. I prayed that he would and asked the nurse to do what she could. Sara leaned down and told me I needed to listen. That when he came in, I needed to find a place to go to. That I needed to show him I was in control and could hold still. That he would walk out if I was moving and out of control because there was no way he could give me one in that situation. I remember thinking it would be impossible. That I had lost my place. But Sara was loving and firm at the same time. This was simply something I had to do.
They continued to check me for dilation while we waited. I never dilated at all. It took 3 hours before he could start. I had to have fluids and he needed to read my MRI. The charge nurse (Candace, my love!) told everyone to leave the room. I was still upset about not dilating and having to have the epidural and fighting it. She took my hands in the quiet of the room and told me that these were my choices. I could keep fighting without the epidural and do to my pulse and oxygen levels; I?d be looking at an emergency c-section very soon. Or I could get the epidural now, get some rest, let everyone else get some rest and we could have a normal c-section in the morning. I knew that Troy wanted to be there, so I thanked her and told her we should get on with it. She stood in front of me, held me and I held her. Remembering what Sara said, I only let myself cry very quietly. You could have heard a pin drop in that room. Candace was wonderful, hugging me and talking to me like she was my own mother. During the contractions, I would squeeze and pinch her I?m sure. But she never flinched, never stopped her quiet comfort. The anesthesiologist talked me through the whole thing, telling me how he was going in above my back injury, telling me about his kids and family.
It was done and they got me lying in bed. He adjusted the levels and waited with me until I felt some relief in my back. I remember looking at the two of them and shouting, I can feel my contractions, this is soooo cool! They laughed and told me it was the first time they?d had anyone say that. Due to my back pain, I hadn?t felt the awesomeness of my belly contracting, trying to move Livy into my arms. It was wonderful. For the first time in days, I felt like everything would be ok. Everyone came back in and I know I was smiling. I was at peace with what was happening. Everyone would get a couple hours of rest and in the morning we?d go in for a c-section. I?d soon be holding my Livy Love.
We got settled for bed, sent my Mom and Sara to the family room with blankets and pillows. Candace asked if she could check my cervix on last time, just for the heck of it. I said ?sure, do whatever you need to?! She checked, checked again, and then just sat there. I said, ?um, hey, what are you doing down there?!? She told me to hold on she needed to check again, then looked at me and smiled. She said, ?Looks like you might be having this baby on your own after all. Honey, you?ve dilated to a 5!?. At 2am I wasn?t dilated at all. Here I was at 3am and dilated to a 5. We decided not to tell Sara and Mom, to let them sleep. We?d tell them in the morning. Candace checked me again at 6:30am. I was at an 8! Troy went to get Mom and Sara. They came in with big smiles on their faces. We were all laughing. What a miracle. Candace explained that it was just about shift change, so she didn?t want to move forward just yet. That she would have the next nurse and doctor take over for me. Sara requested a certain nurse and she came in. The doctor broke my water at 8am and said she?d be back in a few hours to check on me, that it usually takes first-time moms at least 3 hours of good pushing. The nurse Wendy explained how to push. We got me all set up and got ready for a practice push.
I learned you push 3 times per contraction. The second push of the first practice contraction, Wendy exclaimed, ?I see the head!?. I sat up and yelled, ?You?ve got to be kidding me.? She told me to quit talking and push. I finished that contraction and she told me to wait and not push till she got back. She came back with the doctor, who was in full scrubs. She told me to show the doctor what I could do. So, again I pushed. The doctor said she guessed she?d delay her c-section since I was about to deliver. The next push and they told me she had a head full of hair, I started crying now?I didn?t believe it. They let me reach down and feel her head. A couple more pushes and at 8:17am, I heard that blessed cry.
My daughter had made her entrance to this world. I pulled her close and asked Sara if I could feed her. It was instinctive. She said I needed to wait until I?d delivered the placenta. It was a blur of tears and emotion, looking into Livy?s eyes, Troy?s eyes, Mom?s eyes and Sara eyes. Then I nursed her. She latched right on. She was strong. Perfect. Amazing.
They took from my arms to weigh her. I couldn?t take my eyes off her. 6lbs 2oz of absolute perfection. 19 ? inches of complete love. She was tiny, but scored a 9 on both Apgar tests. With all the complications and worries throughout the pregnancy and delivery?she came through it wonderfully. It was hard, scary, painful and difficult. It was more than worth it. I got more than I could ever have imagined.
This was not the birth I?d planned. However, I?ve learned over the last year that there are things we don?t have control over. Often times, we need to let go and let ourselves go along with the path we?ve been given. My path with this was bumpy and tough, but I?ve come out of it a stronger person, stronger mother. I love my daughter perhaps all the more for it. I was blessed with so much support and love that it humbled me, from my husband and family, to my doula, to the friends I made in yoga, to the nurses at the hospital.
My child is my miracle. My wonderful, perfect miracle. I love her more every day. I am amazed by her more every day. I didn?t know this feeling was possible and I thank the heavens for her with every breath I take. She is my Livy Love.