Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ella's Birth Story

I'm taking advantage of being snowed in and finally publishing Ella's birth story! 
This is very long and VERY TMI, so get comfortable! 

On Saturday (2/1) morning, I woke up at 5:30 AM with (what I thought was) intense period cramp contractions. I tried to time them, but since they were so constant, it was kind of difficult. I called the doctor and talked to the on-call nurse, who asked me a bazillion questions. Because I had told her I hadn't felt the baby move very often the past few days, they wanted me to come in to the hospital! I showered (had to shave my legs!) and got dressed. We left for the hospital at about 7:45, but Travis and I both knew that we would probably be coming home. Wouldn't you know that as soon as we got checked in to the hospital and put in triage, my contractions stopped and I felt the baby move again?! Honestly. The nurse checked me and I was still only 1 cm dilated and 60-70% effaced. So I still had a ways to go and needed to go home. We had to wait a while though, for the doctor and then the discharge orders, but we finally got home around 11AM. I kind of felt like an idiot for thinking I was really in labor, but the nurses were so sweet and assured me this happens all the time. The contractions continued for the rest of the day, but I was still able to go to Chipotle and Ikea with Kathryn and then went to dinner and a movie for girls’ night. 

Sunday morning, I woke up at 7 am with more intense period cramp contractions. I was determined to get some stuff done that day though, so in between timing them, I tried to clean up the house a little bit and did some laundry. Around 11:30, I went to the bathroom and lost my mucus plug (Sorry!)…and yes, it is as gross as it sounds!! I didn't know how much time I had before I would go into labor (hours? days? weeks?) so I decided I should go to the grocery store to get some stuff to make dinner that night…little did I know we would not be eating it! While at Harris Teeter (around noon), I started feeling these weird gas pains. I got home from HT, put some chili in the crock pot for dinner, and went to get my car washed. While at the car wash, these weird gas pains continued, so I called Dana and she told me these were actually contractions. I started timing them because they had an exact start and stop (unlike the period cramps). Around 3:30 they started getting really intense—where I could barely talk through them and I was leaning over in pain. I started to sit/bounce on our huge exercise ball, which helped somewhat. I called my mom, and then I was on the phone with my bestie Natalie, and during both conversations, they were timing my contractions and I tried my best to talk through each one. The contractions were still anywhere between 3 and 9 minutes apart though…so I decided to vacuum my house! While I was vacuuming (I only got through 2 rooms), I had to stop in each room and sit on the exercise ball during the was quite a spectacle. Finally, around 4:45ish, I couldn't take any more…I could barely talk through the contractions, and I definitely couldn’t stand/walk through them. I was keeled over in pain, screaming through each one. I called the doctor, and they immediately told me to go in. I asked if they thought I’d be sent home this time, and the nurse said, “I don’t think so…you’re having a baby!” We quickly grabbed our hospital bags—that were still sitting by the door from yesterday—and left for the hospital. I couldn't even imagine being able to take a shower like I had the day before…I was in so. much. pain. If they sent me home from the hospital at this point, I was going to die. On the 20 minute ride to the hospital, I had 4-5 more contractions. I can only imagine what the people in the cars next to us were thinking, hahaha. 

We got to the hospital (and it seriously took me forever to even walk through the door because I had to keep stopping when I got a contraction!) and got checked in. I was not even sure I could make it down the hall. By this point, my contractions were out of control, and in between, I was still feeling crampy and terrible. (At least earlier, I had had a break in between contractions.) I got into triage, into a hospital gown and into the hospital bed. The nurse came in to check me for dilation…and I screamed, it hurt SO bad. But…I was 4 cm dilated!! I was getting admitted! The best part was that my doctor was on call that night (at my ob’s office, your doctor doesn't necessarily deliver the baby, but whoever is on call does)! And then they asked me if and when I wanted the epidural…I said “NOW!” Before I could get the epidural though, I had to get fluids in me (via IV) and they had to check my blood. That IV HURT! We got to our labor and delivery room around 6:20, just in time for Travis to watch the Super Bowl on the ridiculously small tv in there. 

I was in pain for almost another hour and a half because the anesthesiologist got called in to do a c-section, so we had to wait even longer for him. Finally, around 7:45 I got the epidural. I HATE needles, so this was really scary to me. I could not hold still. I think this is when I started shaking profusely. The anesthesiologist actually had to do the epidural twice because I couldn't hold still and kept twitching and squirming whenever he or the needle touched my back. I’m pretty sure he hated me, and he actually told me I was the worst epidural patient ever! Ha! The actual epidural really hurt to me (everyone told me it was painless!), but once it was in…oh man, that was amazing! I was having contractions (the nurse would tell me when I was having one) and I didn't even feel them! As soon as the epidural was in, I hadn't even laid back down when I felt this huge gush of water…my water had broken! I also got a catheter at this point, since I could no longer walk to the bathroom. Where was that thing the last month of my pregnancy?! How amazing to not have to go to the bathroom every 5 seconds! The nurse checked me after I got the epidural and I was at 5 cm dilated. We waited around, I texted my friends some updates, and then our parents arrived around 9:00. Everyone told me I should get some rest, but I was so amped up/shaking ridiculously that I couldn't sleep. The whole night really was a huge blur. I don’t even think I’d be able to tell you who won the Super Bowl if I hadn't seen the headlines the next day! It was like I was drunk or something. 

Around 11:00, Dr. Horne came to check me again, and I was at 8 cm dilated, but I was making good progress. I remember falling asleep for a quick hour between 12 and 1. The nurse checked me around 1:45 and I was at a 9.5, and she said I could start pushing if I wanted to, because I was so close to a 10. I think she also “stretched” me out a little bit (ouch!), so I was basically at 10 cm. My epidural didn't feel as strong anymore (even though I kept pushing the button to get more of the meds!) and I could feel this intense pressure and urge to push every time I had a contraction. Every contraction, I had to take a big breath in, hold it and push for 10 seconds…and then do that 3 times. Travis was breathing and holding his breath right along with me, which was super sweet and supportive. I got to “rest” in between contractions, which was only for about a minute or so at this point. I pushed for about 30-45 minutes, and was feeling ok—tired, but nothing too awful (I did run a marathon, remember?!). Then after about 45 minutes, I was informed that baby girl’s head was kind of corkscrewed and stuck under my pubic bone. So, I had to turn on my side and push from there. Awkward. Once we got her unstuck, and her head began to come out, it got REALLY uncomfortable. Travis and my mom were each holding a leg and could tell me they could see part of her head; I was so close! However, pushing with each contraction was getting more and more painful. OMG, it hurt so bad. I thought she was NEVER going to come out. Then, I started getting really dehydrated (I mean, this was kinda the most intense workout I've ever had in my life!) and all of a sudden, I was throwing up in an ice bucket. (Yuck, sorry again!) It was lovely. Also, I’m pretty sure it was the first time I had thrown up from a non-alcohol-related cause in quite a while! My doctor asked me if I wanted to use the vacuum to get her out, but I got scared and said no. Pretty sure it was about 15 minutes later when I was like, “YES, use the vacuum, use ANYTHING to get this baby out of me!” So my doctor got the vacuum (which looks more like a small toilet plunger). I don’t know how much more I had to push once the vacuum was in there, but it still felt like forever…I thought I would just have to push like once more and she’d be out, but no! Finally, after an hour and a half of pushing (that’s a half marathon, people!), at 3:16 AM, her head was out and her body soon followed!! I thought I was going to cry (and I’m about to just sitting here typing this), but in that moment, I was so glad and relieved to have her OUT of me finally (oh, and I was freaking exhausted, too!) that I just couldn't even produce any emotions! Travis got to cut the umbilical cord, and Ella Grace was officially out in the world! The nurses had turned the heat up in the room to get ready for baby’s arrival, and I had gotten SO hot pushing for 90 minutes, that my body temperature had risen. So, when baby was born, she had a fever of 102*! Because of this, they did not give her directly to me, and she went straight to the warmer to get examined and measured. I just wanted to hold my baby! I kept asking Travis, “does she look like an Ella?!” and he told me that she did! He and my mom went to the warmer to take pictures of her right away, while I was laying on the bed in agony waiting to hold my little girl. 

{With Dr. Horne, who delivered her!}

Luckily, her temp went down to normal quickly, her apgar scores were great and she was brought over to me after I delivered the placenta (ewwww) and stitched back up (yes, I tore). I felt like it took them forever to bring my baby girl over to me, but I’m sure it was only like 5-10 minutes. 

She was the sweetest, cutest, most beautiful baby I had ever seen. I couldn't believe this tiny person had just come out of me! We did skin-to-skin for an hour with Travis nearby. It was truly an out-of-body experience, holding my daughter for the first time. 

Actually, the whole thing was an out-of-body experience, but in my opinion, it went so amazingly. I didn't have to be induced, and I didn't have to have a c-section (2 things that I was really afraid were going to happen!). 

{With all of her grandparents!}

After being in the delivery room for a few hours, and sharing the news with family, friends and Facebook, we got to move to our family care room, where we would be staying for the next 2 days. They got a wheelchair for me (since my epidural had not totally worn off), and as we wheeled down the hallway, they played the Brahms Lullaby for Ella, which is something the hospital does when a baby is born. I remember thinking how cool it was that she was the youngest person in the whole hospital, and was the first baby born on February 3! 

Later that day, Auntie Caitlin and Auntie Kaffy came by and we celebrated Ella's "0" BIRTHday!

I can't believe all of this took place a whole 10 days's already gone by so fast! We love our sweet girl more and more every day and are so blessed to have such a beautiful, healthy baby!

And if you're still reading, congrats! Told ya it was super long! :) 


  1. Wow, thanks so much for sharing!! I haven't heard many birth stories in this much detail before, but it gives me chills! It will be so neat for you (and Ella!) to read this in the future!

  2. I'm teary! I love that you documented this because it will be great for you to look back on. And thank you for sharing because I learned things...for one day! SO happy for you three! :)

  3. What a wonderful story! Soo happy for you.

  4. Love this story! I like when people get TMI because it makes us non-preggos prepared for when our time comes. PS random question but how did you like Dr Horne through the whole process? She is my current OB so being nosy :)