Jul 7, 2016

Cora Juliette's Birth Story

Last fall Evie came home with a drawing from school of our family- Mom, Dad, three girls, and what Evie termed "our pet" (we don't have a pet). What it looked like was a baby which was timely because I had recently had a positive (and very surprising) pregnancy test. However, we hadn't told the girls the news yet and I couldn't help but feel that the irony of this picture was just a little too "in your face" to appreciate at the time.
Fast forward several months to my 38 week appointment where I was very much pregnant but scarcely progressed ("barely a fingertip" per the OB) toward labor. Tim and I had decided that it would be best for his work schedule if we scheduled an induction at 41 weeks *just in case* I hadn't delivered by then (surely I would), so I set that up after my appointment, however it ended up being scheduled for the day before since the OB on call wasn't doing any inductions that day. I didn't think anything of the date at the time but when I told Tim he was amused by the date- 6/16/16.

I know each pregnancy/labor/ delivery can be vastly different but I couldn't help hoping this pregnancy would follow the pattern of my others- I was twelve days late with Evie, seven days late with Audrey, and four days late with Heidi...so logically this baby would come < 4 days late. Right? Right.

Well at my 40 week appointment I was ONE measly cm dilated- so disheartening- but I still hoped that (like the previous two pregnancies) once labor started it would progress quickly! In the days that followed I made it a point to keep on my feet and walk as much as possible. When the 13th arrived I was sure I had St. Anthony's ear and that he would intercede for me to go into labor...but the day moved along with nothing but some Braxton Hicks. There's nothing quite so discouraging as staring down another day past your due date. The next couple of days I was in get-this-baby-out nownownow mode- I took Heidi for a walk in the mornings and logged a mile on the treadmill at night. And if Tim was weirded out by all the acupressure I was doing on those supposed labor stimulating points, he didn't let on.

By the morning of the 15th there was still nary a sign of a contraction and I was a tear factory because that's what hormones do best. I was facing another day of waddling around the house getting meals, cleaning up, and doing mom-duties when I felt like I should be doing something else...like having a baby! (And let's be honest- not having to lift a finger!) Another day of fielding text messages of "where's that baby?". And you know you're having a rough day when you put your maternity jeans on backwards and don't even notice until your husband points it out...
Full term bump: stain magnet and crumb catcher
I'd had an induction with Evie and the experience was perfectly fine but this being the fourth time around I felt like my body should go into labor on it's own. Well, by the end of the day I was resigned to the fact that this baby would be induced, and I texted my mom to finalize the plans to watch the kids for the next day.

So, the morning of the 16th found us heading over to the hospital. This is a random/funny happening that Cora can claim for the day of her birth: On our way out of the neighborhood we passed a field where two horses are kept and we were surprised to see them out on the road. A lady was with them and we stopped and asked if she needed help. She said she found them in her yard that morning and thought she'd be okay getting them back through the gate on her own. I guess they were just eager to meet little miss. ;)

We arrived in L&D around 0740 and got settled in our room. Everything was a bit slow to get started since the floor was relatively busy but (silver lining) I had such a great nurse who was truly a God-send (and who happened to have four boys- ha!). The OB on call for my practice came by to check me after a little wait and I was (drumroll...)
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
still one cm dilated. ONE!!!! And my cervix was still very posterior and to the left which was why- as another OB had put it- "it feels like I'm reaching for your tonsils". As I was grappling with the fact that I'm a lousy dilator my OB told me that worst case scenario I'd have to have Cervidil administered and stay overnight for an induction the next day if I didn't make progress today. *Cue all the stressful feels*

Like I mentioned previously, the floor was busy so I don't think the Pitocin got started until around 1000. Tim and I passed the time to discussing names, since we hadn't decided on anything for a boy or girl, interspersed with some golf, baseball, and soccer watching on t.v.

And starting a book about delicious recipes whist munching on ice chips
The timeline details are all a bit fuzzy for me but as I can remember my nurse turned off the Pitocin after increasing the dose a couple of times since I started to contract on my own. After a bit the contractions were starting to feel a little painful. This time I had no intention of putting off an epidural- with Evie's birth I waited as long as possible for one to see if I could go sans pain meds (on Pitocin, post water break- #ouch), so I asked Tim if he could get me some ice chips and touch base with my nurse about the epidural.

She came back to check my progress and thankfully I was 2.5 cm dilated and my cervix was much more favorable which was good news all around- I was progressing and my doctor gave the a-okay to go ahead with an epidural. 

Around 1200 the anesthesiologist arrived and worked his magic; I could still move my legs a fair amount- it was great! (Everyone was raving throughout the day about how great his epidurals were that day.) More time passed and my doctor came and broke my water. I remember her saying there wasn't much of a gush so a good amount must be behind the baby. 

Tim and I settled on either Cora (for the Sacred Heart) Genevieve or Cora Juliette for a girl but still didn't have a boy's name picked out. 

At the next check I was 4 cm...I rested a bit...somewhere in there my nurse turned the Pitocin back on since my contractions were slowing down. She also mentioned that if I started feeling any pressure "down there" to let her know...after a bit I told Tim my breathing started feeling labored...another nurse came and checked my blood pressure. It was on the low side so she helped me reposition and that plus drinking some juice made a noticeable difference. At the next check (a little before 3pm?) I was 6 cm and my nurse asked me again if I felt any pressure- nada. 

At this point I figured we had at least a few more hours before the baby came so I finally convinced Tim to go get something to eat. While he was gone there was a nice quiet stretch when no one came into the room...and that's when I started to feel pressure. It was only when the contractions came so I didn't think much of it because I couldn't remember whether the pressure felt continuous or intermittent when it was go-time with my other deliveries. I started nervously watching the clock trying to figure out how long Tim had been gone and telling myself it was probably still a while before the baby was coming. Then I started to feel trickling "down there". OMG. I already had a catheter in so what on earth was that?! Please dear heaven do not let it be incontinence! (Sorry, TMI, but the fear is real.) I recalled right then what my OB had said about the water being behind the baby so I went to reach for the call button stat, however it had fallen off the side of the bed! I panicked for a quick second because monitor straps + epidural numbness + IV in hand = might as well be restraints. By the grace of God I somehow was able to grasp the cord between the mattress and railing and fished the call light out of the abyss to notify the desk about the pressure. I was just considering calling Tim on my phone when my nurse came in and told me he was out in the hall talking to A (a Doula we know from church whose birth class we took before Evie arrived). 

My nurse donned her gloves, went to check and announced the baby's head was there!

(It's funny how that announcement sets off a flurry of activity.) I was told to keep my legs together and resist pushing (getting difficult! Yep, very difficult!!). Nurses scurried around getting things set up, my doctor came in and gowned up...after a few minutes everything was ready and I was told to push. It's all a bit fuzzy but I remember I could feel pain during the pushing and after about five pushes the baby was out and crying! I waited for someone to tell me boy or girl but after what seemed like minutes (most likely just seconds) no one said a thing, so I turned to the right and asked Tim, "What is it?". With a look of amusement and amazement he looked at me and said, "It's a GIRL.".

Sweet Cora Juliette was born at 1553, 8lbs 14oz, 21 1/2 in. (By the looks of her no one in the room thought she would be over eight pounds!)

During pregnancy I've never felt emotionally bonded to our babies but meeting them for the first time is a whole different experience- it truly feels like, "Oh, it's you!".

.......

This was a sweet moment I'm glad I caught on film- Cora was screaming (my gracious, she has a shrill scream!) but once Tim started putting his hand on her head and talking to her she started calming down.

One of the hardest parts of our hospital stay was that Cora's blood sugar needed to be checked before every feeding for the first 12 (ended up being a bit more) hours because of my gestational diabetes. Until my milk comes in breastfeeding is usually off to a rocky start anyways, so adding the checks before I could nurse into the mix was a bit of a challenge!

Title: When four ages four and under come together in one hospital room.


Our pastor was covering the hospital while we were there so it was great to get a visit and Communion from him (while the other three girls were visiting too- bless him). 
And I might not get many of Cora's other firsts recorded but we know that's when she got her first blessing. :)



4 comments:

  1. She is darling! And we have four girls (and a new baby boy) and our oldest is Cora.

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  2. Lovely pictures!
    Sorry she made you wait till eviction day but glad she made her entrance with only a bit of fuss. Hope all is going well with her and her sisters!

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  3. Oh, beautiful! I love a good birth story. It really is funny how all the sudden the room starts buzzing when the baby's head is right there... Congratulations once again!!!

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  4. Oh wow, Lisa! What a birth story!!! I love Evie's drawing of the family and their 'pet'. The girls will LOVE looking back on that picture and hearing the story. I'm so glad you had a good nurse . . . And I can't imagine feeling the pressure, wondering where everyone is, and not being able to reach the call light- gahh those things are so cumbersome and it really is terrible when you can't get to it, ESPECIALLY at a time like that. Anyway, Cora is such a little beauty and, and holy moly it must have been crazy those moments immediately after she was born not knowing boy or girl! And checking her blood sugar before each feeding??!! I just can't even imagine. It's hard (for me anyway) just to coordinate feeding, throwing in bs checks would be so rough. Anyway, love the pics!! Your family is so beautiful and your girls are so lucky to have each other!!!

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