Friday, March 16, 2012

Harry's Birth Story (LONG!!)

So here we are, four months postpartum and I never posted my birth story. To me, it was such a personal experience that I wasn't sure if I wanted to share it. I had it completely written except for one or two paragraphs by the time Harry was a month and a half old. It was about two pages long. I thought I saved it. In fact, I'm still fairly positive I did. However, I can't find it anywhere on my computer. I've spent a lot of time searching for it. I'm afraid it's gone. I'm devastated. I was really proud of how it turned out.

Fortunately I still have the notes that Ant kept while we were in the hospital. I decided I will share Harry's story on my blog so I don't risk losing it again. So here's version 2.0 of how my amazing son entered the world.

On Sunday, November 6, 2011 I took my blood pressure and it was crazy high.

After that reading I called my OB's on-call service and spoke with one of the doctors, who told me just to wait it out until my appointment the next morning. That night I kept saying 11-7-11 over and over, I was sure that would be Harry's birthday.

The next morning as Ant and I were getting ready for our 36 week appointment I got our hospital bags ready. They were mostly packed, but I got some last minute items together just in case we'd have to run back home to get them. In hindsight we probably should have brought them with us, but our doctor's office and hospital are just 10 minutes from our house.

As we walked to the doctor's that morning Ant commented that I was "waddling more than usual." I don't remember what my blood pressure was at the appointment, but it was bad enough as to where both doctors who were working came in and talked with us. After they talked to each other it was decided we needed to get Harry out that day. Even though I had an inkling they would say that, it was still a shock to hear that my baby was going to be a preemie.

Since I was still four weeks out from my due date my doctor told me I'd probably have to have a c-section because the stress of inducing me without being dilated at all would be too much for me and the baby. But, she thought she'd check me just in case. Much to everyone's surprise, I was already five centimeters dilated! That my friends, is active labor. No wonder I was waddling more that morning! The doctor stripped my membranes, which really kick started my contractions.

I have a really high pain tolerance and just thought the contractions I had been having were Braxton Hicks, not real ones! I asked the doctor if we could go home to get our bags and she said Ant could, but I was making my third, and final trip to labor & delivery.

So at 11:00am one of the nurses walked us down and we immediately got put in a labor room. Everyone down there was very impressed that I was five centimeters already. I was immediately hooked up to an IV and my blood was drawn. No one has ever had troubles giving me an IV before, but the nurse blew a vein in my right arm (my preferred IV arm since I'm left handed) and left me with a bruise the size of a DVD.

Around noon my doctor came in started me on a magnesium sulfate drip. The mag was to prevent me from having a seizure since they weren't sure if I had pre-e or not. It made me a little sleepy, but I didn't experience most of the nasty side effects I was warned about.

Because I had to be on the mag sulfate, I wouldn't be allowed to leave my bed for 24 hours after giving birth. So, I had to have a catheter put in. Ouch! One of the nurses started prepping me for it when my doctor asked if I was planning on getting an epidural.

I had always planned on getting an epidural, but at that point I really didn't need one. I was working through the contractions with no problems and one of the nurses even asked me if I knew I was having a contraction when a rather large one showed up on the monitor. I told her it was no big deal.

Inserting the catheter was a different story. I opted to get the epidural just so I wouldn't feel the catheter go in. BIG MISTAKE. HUGE. My epidural didn't work for the first few hours. It actually made my pain 100 times worse! My legs and abdomen were numb but I felt the catheter go in, and holy moly was that painful! And every contraction from there on out was excruciatingly painful in my cervix area. I could no longer talk through them like nothing was wrong. The contractions I experienced after getting my epidural were the most painful moments of my life, no question.

The anesthesiologist had to come back twice to fix my epidural. He ended up giving me enough medication for a c-section! I was finally pain free by 3:30p.m.

Backing up a little... by 1:00p.m. my contractions were four minutes apart and my doctor broke my water at 2:15p.m. Soon after my contractions sped up to three and a half minutes apart and I was started on pitocin around 2:30p.m.

The last picture of me pregnant!

Even though I was progressing at a good rate, I was put on pitocin to take the stress off my body and the baby. I think it's just protocol at my hospital to put all mag sulfate patients on pitocin, since the anti-seizure meds can slow the whole process down.

Around 4:15p.m. I had to be put on oxygen because baby's heart rate dropped during each contraction. And at 5:30p.m. a new doctor, whom I'd never met, came in to check my progress. I was sad my doctor was no longer on call and would not be delivering my baby, but this new doctor was really nice and I trusted him right away. He checked me and I was eight centimeters and 90% effaced.

At 6:30p.m. my pitocin was increased and my contractions were coming every three minutes. Sometime around 7:30p.m. my nurse, Chrissy, turned off my epidural. QUE FREAK OUT! I'd read enough birth stories to know that turning off the epidural meant that pushing was the next step. No way was I ready to do that! I think I might have started crying a little at that point and I was definitely having a minor panic attack. I hadn't planned on feeling the birth of my son and I was scared that I was going to.

Around 7:45p.m. I started doing some practice pushes as my room was prepped for delivery. Since I was delivering pre-term with pre-eclamptic/PIH symptoms, there was a large NICU team ready and waiting for Harry's arrival. The doctor arrived not long after and it was officially go-time! My memory's a  little hazy at this point, and Ant didn't write anything down since he was coaching me, but let's see what I can remember.

My epidural didn't completely wear off so all I felt was some mild pressure during the contractions to alert me when to push. My contractions were right on top of each other so I didn't have much time to rest in between them. When he started to crown Ant looked down and told me he had a full head of hair!

During one of my short breaks in between contractions Harry slid out. Yep! Little bugger caught everyone off guard and the doctor didn't catch him, he just landed on the bed. Harry was 5 pounds 11 ounces, 19 inches long and he was born at 8:12p.m., less than a half hour after I started pushing.

As soon as he was born I started sobbing and was so out of it I thought it took the doctor five minutes to lay him on my chest, but Ant told me they did it right away. I only had him in my arms for a minute or so before Ant cut the cord and he was evaluated by the NICU team.

15 minutes after he was born, I delivered my placenta and then the doctor stitched me up. Even with Harry being so small I managed to get a second degree tear. A medical student assisted with my delivery and got a very hands on lesson on stitches! 

My family came to the hospital about an hour after he was born but weren't allowed to stay long since the nurses were still taking care of Harry. Just after they left he was given his first bottle and bath.

We were finally able to spend some time as a family of three around 10:30p.m. A half hour later Harry was taken to the nursery because I wasn't allowed to be alone with the baby while on the mag sulfate and Ant wanted go home to sleep. I know. I was livid that he left.

So there I was all alone in my hospital room just hours after giving birth. Not something I'd ever wish on anybody, I felt so empty. A little after 2:00a.m. I begged the nurse to bring me my baby. I had called Ant at that point and he had agreed to come back to the hospital. Since I didn't react to the mag sulfate like most patients the nurse agreed to bring Harry. We had about 20 minutes of snuggle time before Ant returned. Probably the best 20 minutes ever.

Our first picture together

Even though Ant was there, Harry wasn't allowed to spend the night with us because they needed to monitor him closely in the nursery.

So, that's basically it! The story of how Harry was born. After all these months and just a crappy list of notes I'm surprised how much I remembered!

He was transferred to the NICU the morning after he was born and immediately had to get an IV put in his arm to help regulate his blood sugars.

I wasn't allowed to see him again until 9:00p.m. that night because I was tied to the bed with a mag drip. Such a loooong, lonely day without my baby!

With Harry staying in the NICU he was not allowed to stay with us in the postpartum room, something I had a really hard time with. I knew it was for the best, but I just wanted to be like one of the "normal moms" and have him with is.

Because I was on the mag drip our insurance approved an extra night's stay at the hospital, which we gladly accepted. We were discharged on Thursday afternoon and Harry moved in with us Sunday evening, when he was six days old.

And now here we are, four months later.

4 months, 1 week and 1 day old

If you read this whole thing, thank you! I know it was long, but I wanted to write the story for myself so I can always remember it.


ETA: I found the first birth story I wrote right after I finished this one. Typical, right? It was saved in a temporary folder, weird. I didn't leave anything out in the version you just read so I'm going to leave it as is.


  1. Great birth story!! You always think you'll have one of those "typical" birth stories like you see on tv, but there is always something that makes yours extra special.

    Thanks for sharing hun :)

  2. He's gorgeous and I loved your story! Thank you for sharing! :)


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