Elizabeth’s Birth Story

Elizabeth’s Birth Story

Mama: Michelle W.

Type of Birth: Vaginal

Birth Location: Hospital

Primary Care: Obstetrician

Image by Michelle Smith of MCS Photography

My husband B, and I arrived at the hospital at 6:00 p.m. on December 4th, four days after my due date. My obstetrician was on-call that evening and she wanted us to come in to be induced while she was working. We were taken back to a birthing room where I was checked in and hooked up to a contraction monitor, as well as a heart rate monitor for baby E. I was given a hand IV port since I have small veins, and also had blood drawn for the cord blood banking that we decided to do. This whole time I was having contractions, but had to lie in the bed.

As soon as they were done with checking me in I asked to get out of bed. I stood up in time for a painful contraction that literally brought me to my knees. I became so frustrated during the subsequent contractions that I ripped off the straps holding the monitors on to my stomach. My very sweet nurse was not thrilled with that move, and sternly told me that the baby monitor had to stay on, no matter what. As the nurse was re-attaching the monitors, my doctor came in to check me. I was still at one centimeter, although she has trouble reaching my cervix because Elizabeth was sitting at a +3.  I was very upset and disappointed as I had been having moderate to intense contractions since 11:00 a.m. and hadn’t made any progress at all. After an unsuccessful attempt to break my water, our doctor suggested getting an epidural, as it would hopefully allow my body to relax and thus progress. I was briefly disappointed because I had wanted to labor naturally for a little longer, but I was very done with being pregnant and just wanted to meet our daughter. 

Our nurse hooked up a saline bag to my IV port and at 7:30 p.m. the anesthesiologist came in. He quickly explained what he would be doing and as soon as I signed the consent form he was ready to get started. I honestly didn’t feel a thing, and he was very, very fast. It was actually a great experience. Once he was done I had one more contraction before medicine started to spread.

Not long after the epidural, my blood pressure bottomed out. I didn’t realize it was happening at all; suddenly I had an oxygen mask on my face and I felt really far away and calm. Thankfully Elizabeth’s heart rate stayed within normal range. After 15 minutes I was able to remove the oxygen mask, though they did keep the blood pressure cuff on my arm for the rest of my labor as well as a few hours post-partum.

For a few hours post epidural I was able to shift my weight from one hip to the other, which must be done to prevent the medicine from pooling on just one side. Once I fully numbed up, I had to get help from B or the nurse to move my lower half.

At 8:20 my doctor came back in and broke my water. There was a slight amount of pressure and I felt a pop. My excitement for progression quickly turned into fear because there was meconium in the water. My OB explained that we would have to have a few NICU nurses in the room in case Elizabeth inhaled it on her way out, but not to let myself worry.

Once things calmed down, I texted my girlfriends and sister-in-law to let them know that this was (finally) happening, while B called our brothers. After that our parents came in from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. We had my parents come in first, then B’s, and then both sets at once so we could say goodnight for a few hours. After 13 hours of contractions, I still wasn’t dilating, so I was given three miliunits of Pitocin at midnight (women are commonly given up to 20 so three was a very small dose). After that I dozed on and off for almost an hour while B tried to sleep on the fold out chair next to me.

After receiving the epidural, my contractions had been very irregular/non-existent till 1:30 a.m., and then they started to pick up. Around 1:45 a.m. I noticed that I started to feel some back labor and at 1:55 a.m. I was at nine centimeters! I was so thrilled that I made that much progress in just two hours!

I think I must have fallen back asleep because I don’t remember anything happening besides frequent checks, until 3:50 a.m. At that time we did a few practice pushes and I was fully dilated. At 4:30 a.m. our parents came in and we all prayed as a family before shooing everyone out for some alone time before becoming a family of three.

I started pushing just after 5:00 a.m., and at 5:57 a.m. Elizabeth Rylie entered the world! 

B was so amazing though everything. He helped physically support me while I pushed, and having his arms around me and hearing his voice tell me I was doing a good job through each push made all the difference.  His emotional support was unsurpassable, too. I know how exhausted/excited/scared he must have been, but he never showed anything other than excitement and happiness.

Elizabeth came out very quietly, looked around, gave a few loud cries and after a few minutes had turned a beautiful rosy color. She ended up getting an eight and then a nine on her Apgar, which thrilled me because I was worried about all the drugs making her drowsy (which is totally normal and common with induced babies). She didn’t latch right away, but after about 20 minutes of nuzzling she was ready to eat!

 B and I both feel so blessed to have had such a positive labor and delivery experience… even though Elizabeth took her sweet time to come to us.

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