Monday, September 15

Lyla May: A Birth Story

Birth. Such a huge event with so many ideas, preconceptions and fears packed into one tiny little word. Everyone has ideas of what it will be like. And everyone has their fears about it. I had plenty that I was afraid of facing. But like most things in life,  it was different than I expected in some ways, met my expectations in some, and was far better in others. And in every way, it was beautiful - in all its cliche-ness. I had heard about how great and beautiful birth is despite being painful, hard and long. But I never could truly understand what that meant until I experienced it for myself.

Wednesday September 3rd
I had a really hard time noticing if I was having Braxton Hicks for this whole pregnancy. People always asked if I was having them and I said "no, well probably, but nothing I notice." Well I finally began to notice them the last week when I would walk. So I increased my daily walk of 3-4 miles to 5 miles in hopes of maybe getting things started. 

So I started my day off like normal by walking 5 miles at the park nearby, and I did feel lots of Braxton Hicks, which I took as a good sign. Late Wednesday in the middle of the night I woke up to go pee, surprise surprise. When I woke up I realized I hurt and for a second I wondered what was going on. Then I finally seemed to grasp, I'm having contractions! They were not that horrible yet and they weren't that close together (about 10 minutes) so I was able to sleep on and off that night, but they got worse as morning got closer.  

Thursday September 4th
When Kelly woke up for work I told him I had been having contractions and he got all excited and asked if he should stay home from work to wait for me to be ready to go to the hospital.  I told him no, and that I didn't think she would come till Saturday (her due date) or Sunday. 
 I had an appointment at my midwives' office at 9:30 that morning. I was still having contractions on and off, and they were hurting more and more each time. At my appointment I learned I was dilated to 3cm and 80% effaced. She said my baby could come any time, but that because this was my first baby it could potentially take up to a week to progress from where I was (though she doubted it would). I was in serious pain in my back from my current contractions so prayed and prayed and prayed that this wasn't going to last a week. She told me my baby felt big, just over 8 pounds. That made me nervous because Lindsey, one of the other midwives I had seen a week or two earlier, told me her guess was that she would be right around 7 1/2 pounds when she was born. So obviously I hoped she was right.
39 weeks 5 days: The day before her birth - had contractions all day

I went home and did NOT go for a walk, because I was in pain already. But I did go to Winco to get random little things to make sure the house was stocked for when I had the baby and had no time or energy to go to the store. Shopping may have been a bad idea, though, as I was having contractions all over that place. So when I got home I sat down on the couch and did basically nothing all day. My contractions were super painful now. I had to get on all fours to deal with the pain. I couldn't be on my back, because thats where all the pain was, and sitting created too much pressure. They were sporadic still, though. Anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour apart. But they. were. awful. I was getting really afraid of having to endure this for days. I was sure I would die if I had to. 

I eventually tried to take a nap, because I was sleep deprived from the night before. During my nap I did not have one single contraction, which was happy and sad at the same time. I wanted things to progress so she could be here, but I also enjoyed the break from the pain. Once I got up they immediately started again and began getting closer together. I finally looked up on the internet why contractions hurt your back so bad and I learned that I was experiencing "back labor" where all the pain of contractions is felt in the back instead of in the stomach. They don't know why it happens for sure (most say that it could be the position of the baby, but they don't really have much proof), but every article says its the worst kind of labor. I readily agreed, but then realized any kind of labor is going to  be the worst, really. So I bore on, and continued to be on the floor on all fours all day until I picked Kelly up from work at 8:30 that night. That was some drive. Contractions decided to come full force while driving on I-215, and that's something I'm not anxious to repeat. 

I figured they would go away once I went to bed, since they disappeared during my nap earlier that day. But laying down was no help this time. There was so much pressure that I had to pee about every 7 seconds, and getting up triggered a contraction. Sitting down on the toilet triggered a contraction. Getting up from the toilet triggered a contraction. Get the idea?

At about 11:30pm they switched from being about 6-8 minutes apart to 2 minutes apart. I had decided I would let them be that way for an hour before we went to the hospital because I didn't want to get there only to have them send me away. But I only got through about 15 minutes of that. Kelly couldn't stand seeing me cry through 90 second contractions, and I couldn't handle the pain. I wanted that epidural, and I wanted it now.

Kelly ran around like crazy gathering things for the hospital. We had bags packed, but needed the random little things thrown in. Once we got in the car they seemed to only get closer. We got to the hospital just after midnight. 

Early Friday Morning, September 5th 
When we got to Labor and Delivery they asked if this was my first baby and I just nodded. I couldn't say anything because I was in the middle of another contraction, so I stood there, clutching two pillows to my chest, bent over at the waist, trying to keep breathing. The lady looked at me like I was being dramatic, and I am sure I was, but I  had never been in this kind of pain before and had no idea how to cope. They must have believed me at least a little bit, as they put me in a birthing suite straight away, instead of in triage. When my nurse Sara checked me she said I was dilated to 4+ cm and she seemed pleasantly surprised. She saw I was in pain and left the room really fast. I didn't think that was a good sign, but when she came she told me she got me admitted (12:12am) and she was going to get me that epidural right away. I could have kissed her!
Sadly, it took 5 attempts to get my IV in, which was weird as no one has ever missed a vein on me. But I guess the veins in my hands were rolling (and now both of them are green from days old bruising). But eventually they got it in, and the anesthesiologist was right behind them. I was nervous about getting a huge needle stuck in my spine but not as nervous as I felt about dealing with this pain for who knows how long. I didn't leave him much time to work because contractions were still so close together, so he did it in phases, in between contractions. Once it kicked in, I felt like celebrating. Kelly relaxed because for the first time in hours, I could carry on a conversation and even smile. This meant Kelly could get some rest, too.
My midwife Lindsey got there as I was getting my epidural. She had an extremely calming effect on both Kelly and I. I could tell he relaxed  as much as I did when she arrived and starting talking me through things. She checked me again, and I was now at 5cm. She said she couldn't tell for sure how soon the baby would come, but that there was a small chance she could arrive by 7am. Thats when her shift ended and I really wanted it to happen fast, mostly so I didn't have to go through a changing of the guard in the morning. They baby was already at a station 0, almost +1, so she went ahead and broke my water then, too.
From 1:00-3:30am I slept, which was a miracle. They left the lights dimmed real low and turned the heat up for me because for some reason I was absolutely freezing. They put three heated blankets on me and I was still shivering the whole time. When I got checked again at 3:30am I was at 8cm. By 4:30am I kind of felt like pushing, but couldn't yet. I tested positive for group B strep so I needed to be on penicillin during labor. I needed to get two IV bags in before she was born and you can only get a bag every 4 hours, so they were just giving me the second bag. So I had to hold off on pushing. Once I got all the penicillin they checked again, and sure enough I was at 10cm. 

And then Lindsey told me the baby was coming and we were going to do a practice push. I was surprised, for some reason. I thought things would  be different at this stage of the game. With no experience with birth, I pictured some bright scene with my legs in stirrups and people shouting orders, but it was strangely intimate. It was dark and warm, with my midwife at the foot of my bed, my nurse Sara on my right, and Kelly on my left. Sara coached me through pushing, and positions, and after the practice she was already crowning. I started pushing at 5:45am and things seemed to be going really well, until all the sudden I was positive I was going to vomit. I had been nauseous on and off since I got to the hospital. Sara kept asking if I wanted the nausea meds but as I had not even vomited one time in this whole pregnancy I kept saying I wouldn't need them. Then all of a sudden I'm having hot flashes and sweating profusely. Lindsey turned down the heat since everyone else was already burning up because of how hot it was, and Sara is holding the barf bag and I am definitely using it. Luckily there wasn't much in me. The last time I had eaten was around 6pm and all I had in the hospital since then was flavored ice chips to chew on (which were surprisingly good...?) but I had plenty of dry heaving to do once I got the ice out. And then I accepted the meds.

And then I was pushing again, and Kelly kept saying "her head is cute, she has a little hair, (we both expected a very bald baby) come on babe, she's so close!" and then she was out, and on my chest, and her cord was pulsating, and she was pooping and peeing on the blanket on top of me in the dim lit birthing suite with my husband, midwife and nurse, and all was well in the world.

My nurse Sara on the left and my midwife Lindsey on the right


She was born September 5th at 6:12am - exactly 6 hours after we were admitted, and weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces. Exactly as Lindsey had predicted a few weeks earlier. She was perfectly healthy and alert, and very strong. And luckily for me, she was born before 7am, so Sara and Lindsey were there for all of it. They were both so supportive, helpful, knowledgeable and kind. They made sure to let me know I was so blessed to have a such a fast labor, and to only have to push for less than 30 minutes; pretty uncommon for a first baby.

And now, just like that, Kelly and I are parents. With new names that will stick with us for the rest of our lives. We will never not be parents from here on out. Our lives were just changed forever. And now we spend our days staring at our daughter, and our nights changing diapers, soothing whimpers, and feeding a hungry belly. Nothing is about us anymore, and we wouldn't have it any other way. 


  1. I love this!! Tears of joy! Congrats! She is perfect & beautiful!! Love you guys!

  2. Your birth story isn't near as frightening or TMI as so many! Perfect. Soo happy for you guys. Love you. Can't wait to see the little bug! Cuteness!


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