On Friday February 22, 2013 Miss Ella Grace entered our world. Apparently she needed that extra time inside mommy and she came out looking pink, healthy, and amazing.
I was scheduled to be induced on Friday the 22nd at 9AM. I was hoping to avoid induction, but also could not wait to meet our little girl and just not be pregnant anymore. I was also a week into maternity leave and growing more uncomfortable and restless by the minute. On Thursday the 21st I woke up to some painful contractions. They were few and far between but they felt very different than the other contractions I had been having throughout pregnancy. I really thought nothing of it, as I had had a very contraction heavy pregnancy. I went about my day, going to BJ’s and Carters with my sister in law and her two kids. While we were eating lunch at Moe’s another round of very painful contractions started and I was begining to think this was the real deal. Elizabeth dropped me off at home and I proceeded to lay down, sleeping and waking up to hit my contraction timer every 10 minutes or so. This continued for another 2 hours and eventually they spaced out and stopped all together.
Stephen got home from work around 5:30 that evening and I told him I had been contracting on and off all day, and that this could be the real deal. We ate dinner, packed for the scheduled induction the next day and went to bed super early. The moment I laid down my body started contracting again. Super painful, stop you in your tracks contractions. I told Stephen to get some sleep, and that I thought we would be going to labor and delivery within a few hours. 1 hour of 7-10 minute apart contractions later, right after I was thinking “Wow, these are getting intense. I am going to call the on call doctor once this one subsides” my water broke. Gush. Very dramatic. Just like in the movies. I ran to the bathroom telling a sleepy husband that my water broke and that he needed to call the on call doctor. After a brief conversation they told us to head right to labor and delivery. This was it, we were going to have a baby 🙂
I cannot describe fully the emotions that were going through me on the way to the hospital. I was so happy, scared because I was already in so much pain, and just so excited to meet our little girl. I knew that we were going to the hospital as a family of 2 and would leave as a family of 3. I looked at my husband with an incredible love that I had never felt for him before. We were about to become parents and I knew that there was no one else I wanted at my side at that moment. He was my soul mate, my partner, my best friend, and the person who would get me from point A to point B in this whole process of having a baby.
When we got to the hospital I was admitted right away, and was able to skip triage since my water had already broken. We got settled in our room and I continued to have incredibly painful contractions every 5 minutes for the next hour or so. The on call doctor came in to check my progress and said I was almost completely effaced but only 2 cm dilated I was shocked. These contractions were way too painful to only be at 2 cm! She said that as a result of the leep procedure I had the year before there was quite a bit of scar tissue on my cervix, which was preventing me from dilating further. She said they would go in to clear up the scar tissue so I could dilate further, but that it would be very painful. At that point I decided to get the epidural right away. I was already in so much pain, and thought it was the best bet for me to have a good experience with delivery.
I had an excellent experience with my epidural. The woman who administered it was fantastic, and I literally did not feel a thing. I had complete control of my feet and lower legs throughout labor, but without any pressure or pain.
As soon as the epidural was administered the doctor cleared the scar tissue from my cervix and I almost immediately went from 2 cm to 4-5 cm dilated. At that point I knew the epidural was the right choice. Stephen and I decided to get some sleep at this point and settled in. We slept on and off from 2-5 AM. At some point my contractions had majorly slowed down, as they often do with an epidural and the doctor decided to start pitocin. The piton was administered starting at 3AM.
When I was checked again at 8:30 AM, I was 6 cm and 100% effaced. Things were moving along! Everyone said I would have this baby by lunch time. Famous last words right? 🙂
We slept some more, visited with Stephen’s mom and sister (who sat in the waiting room all night!!!), watched some TV, and just hung out. At 10:30 AM I was checked again and was at 8 cm! I would definitely have this baby by lunch time! I knew from my reading that getting from 8-10 cm happened very quickly most of the time, and I truly believed I would be pushing within the hour.
This is where things got a little hairy. Ella apparently decided that she was already over due and wanted to hang out in mommy’s tummy just a little while longer than expected. 4 hours longer. It took almost 4 hours to get from 8 cm to 10 cm. In the mean time my epidural began to wear off, and I started to feel intense pressure with each contraction. I started to need to breathe through each one, close my eyes, and really go inside myself for the strength to get through. I lived in 5 minute increments for the next few hours. I labored on my back and on my side, but my favorite position was laboring on my hands and knees. I was able to put my head down, breathe, and chant an lovely “ohmmm” through each contraction. Stephen was awesome during this time. Even though I was totally inside my own head I could hear him telling our nurse, Cathy, about how strong he thought I was. How I was the strongest person he knew and he just knew I was going to rock the rest of this delivery. It was amazing to hear the confidence he had in me while I was laboring.
At 2:10 PM I had finally reached the goal of 10 cm and could start pushing. I was excited to use the contractions to my advantage rather than just getting through each one. I started pushing and did not feel like I was doing it right. I was scrunching up my face too much, and it just did not feel right. I pushed for 10 seconds, 3 times per contractions, and each one got a little easier. I envisions my daughter making her way down the birth canal, and could not believe I would get to meet her so soon. Stephen held my left leg back and stayed with me through each contraction. At one point I started to cry, because it just fel like I was getting no where and I was seriously doubting my ability to deliver this baby. The pressure was unreal, the pain was intense, and my strength was diminishing with each push. But Stephen stayed with me the entire time. He assured me I could do this, and that I was doing great. I looked at him with I am sure very desperate eyes, and I just wanted it to be over.
When I had been pushing for about 45 minutes, my doctor said we needed to deliver the baby shortly. I am not sure what happened, or if anything happened, but she suggested either a C section or a vacuum assisted birth. I had been laboring for 17 hours, and did not want to have a C section, so Stephen and I agree to a vacuum assisted birth. The NICU was called in, an episiotomy was cut (ouch), and the vacuum was inserted.
Two contractions, and five pushes later my daughter was born. I felt every inch of her come out of me. Her head, each shoulder, every knee, elbow, and bone in her body passed through me so she could enter the world.
Ella Grace was born at 3:10 PM on February 22, 2013. She was placed immediately on my chest and I burst into tears. She was slimy, and warm, and alert, and amazing. We made eye contact for what felt like hours and I just kept repeating “Hi baby, you are here. Stephen, she is here!” over and over again. I was covering her in my tears, and could not believe that this little creature that I had felt running marathons in my stomach for the past 9 months was finally born.
It took 1 month of trying to conceive, 10 pregnancy tests to convince myself that they were accurate, 4 ultrasounds, countless doctors appointments, 41 weeks, a day of contractions, 1 very dramatic water breaking, 17 hours of labor, and 1 hour of pushing, but some how my little miracle has entered this world. Stephen and I could not be more in love with her. Ella Grace, you are the light of our lives and already I do not remember what life was life without you.