Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Elena's Birth Story

Finally…here is Elena’s birth story…be forewarned, it’s a long one…so hunker down, grab a snack…here we go…

We last left our laboring heroine (that’s me ;)) having been induced using Cervidil (which I kept calling Citadel, lol)…what I didn’t realize then but now know, the purpose of Cervidil is to soften & dilate the cervix…

I didn’t sleep much between excitement & needing to use the washroom every hour, literally! I truly thought that actual labour was sure to begin some time during the night & we’d head to the hospital…oh how wrong I was! My instructions when leaving the hospital were that they would call me the following morning to let me know when I was to come back for the next step unless labour started on it’s own…they called around noon & told me to come in for 1:30pm (this was March 3rd). We packed up the car & arrived at the hospital right on time.

I was shown to my labour & delivery room…all the rooms are decorated with different wallpaper boarders, like the dreaded “Tea Cup” room with a boarder of tea cups that gives it a more kitchen feel…I got the “Fairy Baby” room which suited me fine…little did I know I would be staring at those Fairy Babies for the next THIRTY ONE AND A HALF HOURS!!!!!

I got settled in & comfortable…they hooked me up to a monitor to check on Baby…the Dr came in for a check & I was only 2 cm dilated but my cervix was softening. At 3:15, the Cervidril was removed & my IV was put in…at 4pm, Oxytocin was started & slowly increased in ½ hour intervals…I was uncomfortable but not experiencing any pain…I was up & walking around…basically just waiting.

By 6pm, my cervical check showed no change at all…I wasn’t making any progress whatsoever but everyone seemed so sure I’d deliver before midnight…

At 6:30, it was decided to insert a Foley Cervical Catheter…remember when I thought the stretch & sweeps were a medieval form of torture? This ‘little’ procedure was taken from the same manual! Basically, it’s a catheter with a balloon on either end that they insert into my cervix & inflate a balloon with saline at either end…this is to put pressure on my cervix & encourage it to dilate…I was told that when I was 5cm dilated, the Foley would fall out…something to look forward to…

Things got very uncomfortable after that…moving around was uncomfortable, laying down was uncomfortable…at about 8pm, my water broke!! All on it’s own!! I was really happy since at least this could be one thing that was not done with intervention! The contractions started getting progressively more intense after that...

It was at this point I started to consider an Epidural…I hadn’t wanted to have one if I could manage but was open minded if I felt I needed it…& my thoughts on not wanting an epidural had nothing to do with trying to be a hero or winning some sort of medal…for me, it was the fact that once an epidural was administered, I’d be confined to bed plus my fear of having a needle inserted so close to my spine. I was afraid I’d jump & end up paralyzed…by 11:30pm (still March 3rd) I had to seriously evaluate my situation…it was no longer comfortable to be up & walking around…the many trips back & forth to the toilet were painful & uncomfortable & I only felt any kind of relief while sitting on the toilet…so I felt if I wasn’t up moving around, I might as well have some pain relief…I was also reassured that although there is a small chance of paralysis, chances were slim…also, it was very clear by this point that not only wouldn’t I be delivering before midnight, it was going to be quite some time & I’d need some rest…knowing it would take some time to arrange the anesthesiologist to come, I gave them the green light.

While waiting for the anesthesiologist, as luck would have it (read sarcasm here!!!) the Foley “fell out”…the good news was that I was now 5cm dilated…the bad news was it was just sitting inside my vagina…& this was VERY uncomfortable!!! The nurse came in & removed it…it would have been nice if this could have waited until AFTER the epidural since it HURT! Those balloons were the size of a couple of golf balls!! I thought about complaining about how much it hurt…then I realized I was gonna be squeezing something much bigger out so I sucked it up!

The anesthesiologist finally came & by 1:30am (March 4th now) I was in epidural heaven!!! I was feeling so good & even contemplated naming Baby Epidural, that’s how great I felt. The nurses advised that I get some rest & try to sleep…At 2:30am they realized they’d forgotten to put in my catheter & put one in…I then tried to get some sleep but they kept coming in every 20 minutes checking this & adjusting that…what I didn’t know at the time was that Baby’s heartbeat was dipping after each contraction meaning she wasn’t recovering well from them…the Oxytocin was turned off for an hour & they added sugar water to my drip to wake Baby…everything seemed fine after that so the Oxytocin was restarted after the hour.

Just after 7am (March 4th) they came in to check my progress, or lack there of…they continued to increase the Oxytocin & by 10am I was only 6cm dilated but contractions were coming more consistently…at 12:30pm the Drs came in again & I’d made better progress, 8 cm dilated then just stayed there at 8cm…c-section was discussed but we decided to give it another 2-4 hours & see…at 2:30pm there’d been no change…by 4:30pm I was exhausted, physically & emotionally, I was very uncomfortable & feeling a lot of pain despite the epidural…I was done. When the Drs came in at 5pm, I told them as much & said I couldn’t go on…the Dr encouraged me to do just 3 test pushes just to see what happened…I agreed & pushed & she said my pushes were successful & had moved Baby down…she said I was now 9cm dilated & encouraged me to give it another 4 hours…I refused & said I couldn’t make it…she advised just 1 more hour…I agreed to the hour only after she promised that if there wasn’t any change, we’d move to a c-section...no more waiting.

During that hour, things got way more intense…the nurse gave me a super dose of epidural & put in a fresh one so it wouldn’t need to be changed if I started pushing…the Drs came back at 6pm on the dot & lo & behold, I was fully dilated & my contractions were really strong…I was in significant pain & can’t imagine how painful those contractions would have felt without the epidural! It was time to push…

I started pushing at exactly 6:08pm…it was pretty intense…I had a lot of help, my Mom & my Aunt were there, my nurse, a med student who’d been involved with my case since Wednesday, one of my midwives & her student…they were all very encouraging & played their role in keeping me focused & pushing effectively…there was a shift change at 7pm & I got a new nurse & she had a midwife student with her…the nurse change was very inconvenient since we had such a good dynamic going & the new nurse that came in had an attitude & just started doing things like moving the bed or wiping at me without being asked or warning me what she was doing…I snapped at her & told her to just back off so she then sulked in the corner like a petulant child…I didn’t understand how she could be so inconsiderate…I needed a lot of focus & we (my “team”) had such a great rhythm going that she just wasn’t helpful…her student seemed to get it & hung back until she saw a need to be filled then jumped in…I did notice my midwife took the nurse aside & spoke to her & after that she was better…

I really want to describe how intense things got at this point…I mean, the pain was unimaginable, the pressure was beyond my comprehension…but beyond that, I can’t think of the words to describe it…especially at those final moments when Baby was coming out… I had sent my Mom to the sideline because she was just traumatized seeing me in such pain & watching what was going on, the “professionals” took over the coaching…I don’t know how I continued to push…I just closed my eyes & focused on the Dr’s voice as she was telling me how, when & where to push & the midwife student’s voice who was soothingly telling me how great I was doing & how awesome I was…I had no other awareness…I knew about the shift change so knew it was after 7pm…at one point I heard them talking about needing a stool but couldn’t understand what for…turns out they needed to get up on the bed & push down on my pelvis to help Baby out…I also wasn’t aware at the time that the Pediatric Team had been called in as there was some concern for Baby & what condition she’d be in when she came out…but like I said, I was so focused on pushing her out, I was completely oblivious to all of this.

Then, right around 8:52pm (I thought it was 7:30pm…seriously!) out she came…& oh the relief that washed over me…they whisked her right over to the warmer & she was checked & double checked & she started wailing…that a beautiful sound!! She cried & she wailed & I had to wait…they had to check that her shoulders hadn’t been displaced, they had to make sure her airways were clear & that everything else was ok…during this time the Dr told me I had to push out the placenta…my response was, “YOU WANT ME TO PUSH AGAIN?!?!?!?” & they laughed & said it would be easy & it was…

Everyone kept asking if Baby had a name…I told them I had to see her…Finally, they asked if I was ready for some skin to skin & to hold her…I was overcome & speechless & just nodded…she was wailing away but as soon as she was laid on my chest & I put my arms around her, she quieted instantly & looked up at me with her big blue eyes…it was in that instant that she ceased being “Baby” to me & I knew she was Elena, my daughter.


  1. What an amazing story. Even just reading about the chaos and pain... as soon as you described seeing Elena for the fist time all I could think was "what a sweet story"... I had to remind myself that your entire story wasn't necessarily sweet, it was real... but the end made it all worthwhile. Sweet. Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. I just teared up reading the last paragraph--- so so sweet. And it's so incredible you have it written down here for Elena to read one day.

    So happy for you, Tiara! Clearly a job very well done!!!

  3. I teared up reading the last paragraph, too.

    And I'm so impressed you tried to labor through naturally with pitocin. I've already decided to give up my plan to do a natural childbirth if I have to be induced!

  4. Awww. this is such a sweet story especially since I have been following your journey. I'm so happy for you. Enjoy every moment and don't forget us blog sisters...

  5. Beautiful story. I love how she knew you the first time you held her.

  6. 31 and half hours! Wow! What a great story and I also love how there was that instant connection when you held her. Just Great!

  7. I'm so glad that I was able to convey that no matter how intense, scary, painful, etc labour got...it was so worth it in the end. I still can't believe I did it.

    @Shannon - There was no way I would have survived without the epidural, even if labour had have been shorter. It was important for me to feel the intensity of early labour but have no regrets about taking the epidural.

    @SurlyMama - yes, that instant connection was the best moment of my life...I have pictures of her & I in this 1st moment that I just cherish.

    Thank you all for taking the time to read!

  8. Thanks for sharing your story. It sure sounds like you had a rough few days, but how encouraging that you were able to work through it and now have such a prize to show off as a result! Good job, mama!

  9. You sure did do it! You're a rock star mama! My daughter also stopped wailing instantly as soon as I held her. A truly perfect moment.

  10. Thanks for sharing your birth story!


Your comments are greatly appreciated so I've turned off the verification!