Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Joyous Debut

So, after nearly 36 weeks of pregnancy, Eliza Eden Robbins is here!
After preterm labor scares, Nathan and I are grateful our little daughter waited until a little bit longer to make her joyful arrival. Although she is tiny, weighing in at a whopping 6 pounds 1 ounce and only 18 inches long, we think she is perfect.

My labor began late Thursday night and by Friday evening, I was definitely feeling contractions. Nathan had his first event of the year at the cafe, so Becca and Kyle took me to the hospital, where he later met us. I was wheeled up to labor and delivery (my third trip to a labor room) and hooked up to two machines to monitor the baby's heart beat and my contractions. 45 minutes after arriving, nurse Rachel told me she believed I was not in labor. I was sent home with no pain medicine and given the advice to only come back when contractions were less than five minutes apart. I felt somewhat rebuked by the nurse for coming in with a supposed "false alarm." Nathan and I went home and watched movies with Merrianne and Brandon while the contractions continued somewhat.

I woke up at 6 AM Saturday morning in agony...That really is the best word to describe the feeling. I was rolling back and forth on the bed in pain for hours before Nathan woke up. He began to assemble the nursery as I tried to rest and keep my mind off the pain. 8 hours after waking up, I was still having contractions. By early afternoon, they were coming every 5 minutes or so. Eventually, Nathan and Brandon insisted that we go to the hospital.

As soon as we walked in the doors of labor and delivery, the nurses could tell I was in serious labor. I was immediately taken back to a room while Nathan checked us in. After a quick examination, it was determined that I was 6 cm dilated and in active labor. I told my nurse, Catherine, I had been sent home the night before and that my water had been "leaking" for the last two days. She looked at me in disbelief and said, "Who sent you home?"

I instantly responded with, "Rachel!" (That lady was rude!)

 Catherine explained that testing to see if my water had broken would have taken less than 5 minutes. She was very disappointed that the nurses working the night before had not performed this test. She then told me that after 48 hours of broken water (even though mine was not fully broken), the risk of infection increases dramatically. Translation: The baby was going to come soon.

Thankfully, my support team was on the way to the hospital. Kyle and Becca arrived with a basket of treats less than an hour later. Kyle went home, while Becca stayed to be my "person" and emotional support for the delivery.  I also texted Caitlin, who was due to deliver her son that very day. A few hours later, she was also at the hospital. Contractions continued and my little group of loving individuals did their best to distract me.

A couple of hours later, I was still at 6 cm; my contractions had stalled. To be honest, I hadn't really thought about having an epidural or not having an epidural until a few weeks before delivery. The pregnancy had been so stressful that I really didn't think too far ahead of the current moment and situation (which in hindsight wasn't the smartest thing to do). I just thought I would go as long as I could without an epidural. And at 6 cm, I was still doing fine from a pain perspective. The nurse, Catherine, informed me that they needed to speed up my delivery due to my water being broken for so long. She suggested that the give me pitocin.

Caitlin, who had done a ton more research than me, let me know that pitocin probably wasn't the best choice. I wasn't sure what to do, though, and I felt pressured to speed the delivery along. I had been in labor for over 48 hours and active labor for at least 30 hours. I didn't want to risk anything, so I did what I thought was best at the time.

I received the pitocin, but decided against the epidural. Bad decision. Twenty minutes later, my pain levels were off the charts. I was nearly delirious, as I rocked back and forth on the bed and softly chanted, "Toby, Toby." Toby is my dog, and he was also my happy thought. I learned the hard way that pitocin makes labor completely abnormal. Everything was intensified, and there was no way I could power through the intense contractions without an epidural. Additionally, the baby went into distress slightly, which led to me wearing an oxygen mask.

I got the epidural, and everything was instantly better. I was in my right mind again, and I could actually form clear thoughts. We watched the exciting BYU vs. Oklahoma game and waited for things to progress. Dr. Warner, my amazing doctor, came to check on things and decided to break my water bag (which had been leaking...lots of information, I know) in an effort to speed things along. The nurse told us to expect me to dilate an inch every hour and said Dr. Warner would be asleep in the hospital while things progressed. It was nearly midnight when the doctor left, so we expected to see him again around 4 in the morning.

We continued to wait. My friend Michelle stopped by and kept me laughing with her jokes and smiles. Becca continued to act as a calming presence, and Caitlin helped me focus on my breathing during contractions. Nathan was so excited and couldn't stop smiling as he held my hand. 4 AM couldn't come soon enough!

Eliza decided 4 AM was too far away as well. Around 12:20, I felt like I needed to push. Nathan, with some encouragement from Caitlin, decided to check on the baby's status.

And he could tell the baby was crowning. Yeah. 6 cm to 10 cm in less than an hour!

Michelle ran out into the hallway and said, "She needs to push! We need a doctor!' The nurses immediately ran in the room and told me, "Don't push, don't push!"

To the "don't push" comments, I responded with: "I can't help it! I need to push!" The urge was that strong.

By the time Dr. Warner ran into the room, I was a +2. He barely had time to put on his gloves before I began pushing.  Two pushes later, I heard her cry.

I was surrounded by love as I gave birth, holding the hand of my husband as Becca calmed me down and Michelle stroked my hair. Caitlin stood at my feet and acted as a calming presence as I could see the joy, excitement, and love on her face. It was an amazing spiritual experience.

I was enwrapped in love; it is a feeling I have kept with me all week somehow. As soon as she was born, Nathan and I hugged and cried and Becca soon was included in this circle of love as we cried together.

Nathan was beaming. Seriously- he was SO happy. Dr. Warner and him became buddies, I think, after Nathan was coerced into cutting the umbilical cord. Dr. Warner would not accept "no" for an answer, so Nathan eventually gave in and took the scissors. Gross. I feel so blessed that such a nice, caring man was my doctor. I felt completely safe and at ease with him as my doctor.
Eliza was sadly wheeled off to the NICU, but not before I had the opportunity to briefly hold her. Overwhelmed is the word that comes to mind when they first placed her in my arms. I was overwhelmed with love and with so many emotions I don't even remember anything but crying with happiness.
I am so blessed that I was able to share such a beautiful, sacred experience with loving friends. Already, I feel closer to them with this incredible bond we now share. Interestingly enough, Caitlin was IN labor as she attended Eliza's birth. Following our little girl's arrival, Mrs. Carroll drove herself over to the American Fork hospital where she later gave birth to little Atticus. We just know Eliza and Atticus knew each other in the pre-existence. We're excited for them to be friends.
And it looks like Nathan is in love....again :)

1 comment:

  1. This was the best day. Made me cry all over again. THREE YEARS LATER.


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