Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Alice Violet {Birth Story}

It is hard to believe almost a month has gone by since our little girl was born. I have had plenty of time to write about our new lives, but I have been cuddling with her as much as possible during this sweet and fleeting phase.

And here she is: 

Alice Violet Wirth
Born February 24th, 2016
7 lbs 8 oz

And she is absolutely perfect.

Jeff took some time off work on my due date (February 23rd) to take care of some last minute errands. He had the snow tires removed, got our brakes fixed, went grocery shopping, and took my phone to Batteries Plus to get the screen (that they broke) fixed. He stopped by my work to pick up my phone and grab a quick cup of coffee with me, and I snapped a picture of myself in the bathroom mirror to document the bump on my due date. This was the last I saw of my phone. Unfortunately, Batteries Plus ended up simply breaking my phone, and I lost all my pictures and videos from the last year. I spiraled into a hormonal frenzy, and I just knew that I would go into labor that night. When I was leaving work I felt the baby drop, and I had a hard time walking to my car with all the pressure on my pelvis.

That night I woke up at about 3:30am with intense contractions. I grabbed Jeff's phone and started playing Angry Birds to see if the contractions would go away, as they usually do. Turns out Angry Birds is a little stressful, so I put down the phone and checked my iPad to see if iCloud had backed up my most recent photos. It did, so I put my 40 week bump from my bathroom shot the day before on Instagram, then started timing contractions.

I had been contracting every night for about a week. Those contractions were semi-regular, lasting about 1 minute, and they averaged around 5-6 minutes apart. They were strong enough to take my breath away, but not nearly as strong as the ones I was feeling now. After 30 minutes of regular 30 second contractions every 3 minutes, I got out of bed and hopped in the shower. Jeff timed the contractions for me and called the hospital when I started bleeding after about 5 minutes in the shower.

I called my dad to come watch Everett. While we waited for him to arrive I got dressed, cleaned the house a little (I was such a wreck from the phone debacle that we left the house in a mess when we went to bed), packed a few miscellaneous items, finished filling out my hospital admit forms, found free hypnobirthing mp3's on Jeff's phone so they were ready to go, and had a quick snack (Jeff made himself eggs, hashbrowns, and sausage). After my dad arrived, we hopped in the car and had a relaxing drive across town to the hospital (compared to the last time when I was screaming at every pothole we hit).

I was anxious to get into a hospital suite so I could labor in the tub, but the nurses insisted on monitoring me in triage for 30 minutes before officially checking me in. They hooked me up to contraction and fetal heart rate monitors, insisting I labor flat on my back during that time so they could make sure the baby was okay. After being on the monitor - and my back - for 45 minutes they finally came back. In that time I had progressed from 4 cm to 5.5 cm. They hinted that I wasn't really in labor, and mentioned me possibly going home, to which I responded that I was 100% certain I was in labor. They left me in the little room for another 45 minutes, and I made the most of my time there by listening to the hypnobirthing tracks, walking around, using the bathroom, reading a book. My mom finally intervened and made the nurses check me in.

I was escorted into a GIANT labor and delivery room at Holy Family Hospital, and a new nurse was assigned to me. She was required to hook me up to the monitors again, and my heart sank a little. I knew from experience that this labor would go from 0 to 60, and I at least wanted a chance to deliver standing or kneeling, not glued on my back like I was with Everett. Of course, I was open minded about the way things would turn out, but I didn't want the hospital's procedures to derail my plans again. I asked if I could sit up, stand up, lay on my side while being monitored. Anything but on my back! Her response was, "Of course! I hate it how many women labor flat on their backs." An angel was sent to me! After a few minutes I could feel the contractions becoming stronger, and I asked if I could get in the tub. My awesome nurse agreed that those 15 minutes on the monitor had been enough. She showed Jeff how to fill up the tub, and I was in!

I cannot tell you how wonderful that water felt. It was the perfect warmth, and I felt every muscle in my body relax - including my uterus. I turned on another hypnobirthing track.

Then I was banshee screaming. I have NO idea what I was yelling, but my inner voice was saying, "You need to settle down. People can hear you." I was having one contraction on top of the next, and I could slowly feel a human head coming down the birthing canal. A flurry of nurses ran into the room and told me to get out of the tub and back into the bed.


"It's okay. Just wait for the contraction to stop and we will get you out."


"Okay, let me just check you...AAAAND SHE'S CROWNING! WHERE'S THE DOCTOR? PREPARE FOR DELIVERY!" Aside to the other nurses, "I don't think the doctor is going to get here in time. We might have to do it."

The nurses drained the tub quickly, stood me up, and had me shift my body slightly to the side so they could catch her. There were people crowded in the bathroom and I could see Jeff with a shocked expression on his face stuck on the other side of a barrier of health professionals. At the last minute I heard, "Emily, it's Dr. Fine. I'm going to deliver your baby now. Give me one push."

And she was out. The umbilical cord was wrapped pretty tightly around her neck so they had to rush her off, but before they did I got to see her screaming face. She looked exactly like Everett. Only covered in goop.

Below me was a mess of blood, water, and meconium, and dangling between my legs was an umbilical cord with a pair of scissors attached to the end. The doctor asked me to climb out of the tub to deliver the placenta, and I stood there awkwardly watching the scissors tick-tock between my thighs. "Ummmm."

Being in the tub for delivery was against the official rules, but it was nice because I could rinse all the "stuff" off my legs, and all the birthing grossness just washed down the drain. No cleanup required! And because I wasn't pushing the baby out, but instead contracting her downward naturally, I had very little birth trauma and was able to (awkwardly holding up my umbilical cord and the scissors with a towel) climb out of the tub and back to the bed with very little discomfort. 

Everett came to visit us in the hospital a few hours later and it was love at first sight. Being a big brother has been an adjustment for him, but he is such a good big brother. I am so proud of him.

His observations were that she was soft and fuzzy.

It took us over 24 hours to agree on her name. Jeff was set on Alice Mae, but I was set on Violet Mae. Obviously we compromised by dropping Mae and combining the two. 

Overall, our experience with the hospital birth this time around was 100% better than with Everett. Our angel nurse was incredibly supportive and knowledgeable when it came to breastfeeding, and the hospital has adopted new practices that are better for the baby - such as delaying the baby's first bath, and letting the baby nurse/cuddle rather than introducing a pacifier during the invasive hearing and PKU tests. AND my stomach only got kneaded ONCE! (They did it every 15 minutes with Everett.) My nurse found the practice completely unnecessary, so she didn't do it. They still use pitocin to deliver the placenta, but apparently that can't be helped. Fortunately, I know better from my last experience and questioned everything the nurses did, so was only offered a few drips of pitocin.

Having birthed on my back with Everett, I highly recommend standing to anyone interested in having an easy, natural delivery. My recovery was much faster this time, and I did not destroy my muscles by pushing, as gravity helped the baby naturally move downward. What does this mean? I actually have bladder control this time around and am not peeing my pants every 30 minutes! Also, hypnobirthing. I credit my speedy deliveries to the relaxation techniques taught by this method. 

For those wondering, here is what it looks like to be in natural labor using hypnobirthing techniques:

Here is what labor looks like on pitocin without an epidural:

I could barely think straight because I was in so much pain. And that was a small dose.

I came to find out later that the nurses only officially checked me into the hospital because of my insistence. Apparently the doctor was just going to induce me around 8:00 or 9:00. They did not think I was in labor because I was so calm through my contractions, but this is because labor is much easier if you breathe deeply (thanks yoga!) and relax.

And once the drugs wore off we were in hog heaven. 

And now we are home soaking up all the sweet baby snuggles.

Because her birth was so fast and furious, she did have some bruising, as well as a popped blood vessel in her eye. That has healed now, and she is officially flawless. 

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