Friday, February 27, 2015

Amelia's Birth Story

I am not quite sure why it has taken me so long to get Amelia's birth story written, yet here I am one year to the day later (I totally forgot to actually publish this ON her birthday!), finally telling her story.  This is gonna be a long one, so settle in and here we go!

If you couldn't tell by my last letter to Amelia, I was pretty convinced I would go over my due date and she would never come out and play.  Throughout my pregnancy, I never experienced Braxton Hick's or anything remotely resembling labor (not even during my hospital stay after the car accident when the monitor clearly showed me contracting!) so I wasn't prepared at all for what to expect the pain to feel like.  I clearly remember being OVER the pregnancy and uncomfortable to boot.

Saturday, February 22nd- My sister-in-law, Ashley, and her boys were in town for the week to celebrate her youngest, Noah's, first birthday.  Being under-prepared as always (just during pregnancy, usually I'm on the ball!),  Saturday rolled around and we still hadn't purchased Noah's gift for his party that evening.  Since becoming pregnant, we usually started our weekends off pretty lazy with me sleeping in and Brandon messing around on the computer for a while; this Saturday was no different.  I finally rolled out of bed around 11, still exhausted, and decided to jump in the shower and start the day. After I finished, I threw on my robe and headed to the couch (again, pregnancy exhaustion).

I remember sitting down and feeling some fluid leak on to my robe and I honestly thought I had wet myself a bit.  Totally crazy as I had just gone to the bathroom and hadn't experienced anything like this during the previous 9 months, but hey, the end was near and I probably peed my pants.  I text Ashley around 11:30am asking her if anything like this has happened to her and she assured me that it was completely normal.  After heading to the bathroom again, doing the pregnancy wiggle to empty my bladder completely, I threw on some clean clothes and headed to the basement to see when Brandon wanted to leave for the store.

Once in the basement, I had just sat down when I felt a bit of fluid leak again.  More than a little annoyed with my stupid bladder, I headed back upstairs and decided maybe I should call the doctor to see if this really was normal.  I dialed the on-call nurse line around 12:00pm and she encouraged me to put on a pad, walk around for 2 hours and call her back if I experienced any more leaking.  She explained that this was all normal and to relax.  In the movies, when the pregnant chicks water breaks, there's a gush of fluid everywhere and she knows what it is.  It never crossed my mind that I had a "slow leak" and was in the beginning stages of labor.

I did as the nurse instructed and messed around the house, did a few loads of laundry and started getting antsy that we would be late for Noah's party.  Around 1:30pm, with no more signs fluid leaks, I suggested Brandon and I head in to town to shop for the birthday boy.  It was a quick drive to the store and I still hadn't said anything to the hubs about my pants wetting episodes.  Stepping out of the car, I felt another gush of fluid in my nether regions and fessed up to Brandon about what was happening.  He also assured me that I was probably peeing myself and everything was fine, but I decided to call the nurse line again with these updates.

After a brief conversation, the nurse advised me to come in to be checked for amniotic fluid leakage.  She didn't make it sound like a big deal but it meant we would miss most of Noah's party.  We headed to the birthday party to drop off our gift and on the way, I made Brandon drive through Arby's as I was starving and knew we would miss the food at dinner.  Brandon isn't a huge Arby's fan, so he held out until we got to Louisville and stopped at Subway.

We finally made it to Brandon's parents house for the party around 3:00pm.  I dreaded telling his family that we had to leave because I may or may not be peeing my pants as a grown woman.  Brandon and I were more than a little bummed that we wouldn't get to hang around and play with our nephews, but his sister was completely understanding and hopeful that I was in labor.  Mike, Brandon's dad, convinced us (Okay, convinced Brandon. Let's face it, I was pretty sure this wasn't pee by this point!) that we needed to take this seriously and head home to grab our hospital stuff just in case.  By the time we went home, grabbed our stuff, let the dogs out and made it to the hospital, it was already 5:00pm.

Although he didn't say it, I know Brandon really thought I was peeing my pants because he didn't bring any of our stuff inside with us except his iPad.  The hospital was quiet and we were lead right back into a birthing room.  The nurse explained that we wouldn't get checked in until they were sure I was in active labor and instructed me to put on a gown.  I hadn't felt any more fluid leakage since 2:00pm and was starting to lose hope that it was amniotic fluid and not urine.  As soon as I laid on the bed, another huge gush of fluid (the biggest yet!) came and the nurse knew immediately that my water had in fact broke!  It was a completely validating and I loved telling Brandon, "See!  I didn't wet myself!  Go get our stuff!"

Because I didn't know exactly how long I had been leaking and I was only dilated 3cm, they put me on Petocin and had me start walking the halls.  I am terrified of needles, but I don't remember getting the IV and I didn't pass out from it, which is a huge plus.  Looking back, I was totally under-prepared in the shoe department (mental note for next time!).  Poor Brandon had on uncomfortable dress shoes and I just had slippers.  I still give him grief because he made his discomfort known to everyone (he didn't want to walk with me!) when I was the one about to give birth!

My contractions weren't strong, long or causing me discomfort, so the nurses upped my Petocin pretty frequently.  Being completely naive, I thought they would continue being a piece of cake and didn't know what all the fuss was about.  We walked miles around the hospital, or so it felt like, before the waves of massive pain hit me.  I remember it was almost 10pm when I literally couldn't take it anymore.  I felt like I was being stabbed in the gut, over and over, and I couldn't breathe.  At my last check, I was only at 4cm and couldn't possibly see how I would make it to 10cm.  When the next contraction hit, I crumpled in a ball on the floor (not an exaggeration) and begged for my epidural.  Yup... I was that lady.  Drugs, gimme all the drugs!  Thank you modern medicine!

Brandon found the nurse (I think?) and she called the anesthesiologist.  He finally made it in the room about 11pm... Seriously, the longest hour of my life!  I don't remember much about the procedure other than him insisting I be still every time a contraction hit and wanting to turn around and throat punch him.  He finally got the line placed, except it didn't take...  I could still feel everything!  What the crap?!  In the classes, they never said anything about an epidural NOT taking and I was panicking

Sunday, February 23- Thankfully, after a second attempt, the line was placed correctly and they started my drip.  I don't remember exactly how everything came about, but I could still feel my contractions and move my legs, so they ended up calling the anesthesiologist back shortly after midnight.  Over the course of the next hour, he upped the dosage on my epidural until I couldn't feel the contractions anymore but never fully lost feeling in my legs.  It was explained that I metabolize whatever medications they use faster than average but I didn't pay much attention as the relief from the contractions was like heaven.  By this point, it was after 1:00 am and I was exhausted.  In the back of my mind, I was super excited that Amelia held off and would be born on 2-23, our 6 month wedding anniversary!  Yup, I'm also one of those ladies who got pregnant out of wedlock!

By 2:00 am, I was dilated to 9.5 cm and the nurse explained it would probably be time to push soon.  Apparently there was the smallest piece of my cervix still covering and she couldn't get it to move, so she called in another nurse to assist her.  Did I mention that I had the greatest bunch of nurses ever?!  I seriously cannot imagine how my birthing process would have gone without them.  Kuddo's to those ladies for putting this first time mom at ease!  Anyways, this "miracle" nurse came in was able to get me to a full 10 cm and instructed me to do a practice push on my next contraction.   My first attempt at "pushing" was comical at best (this is also normal? yes?) and the miracle nurse literally had to SHOW me (complete with grunting and red face) how to push correctly.  See what I mean?  I had amazing nurses!

They aren't kidding when they say your body knows when it is time to push.  Everything clicked after that first practice push, and with my next contraction, there was so much pressure down below that I thought Amelia was just going to fall out!  One more push after that and I was instructed to STOP and they had to call my doctor as Amelia's head was right there!  This was at 2:30 am and I think about 5 minutes passed before I told the nurses that I literally could not stop from pushing again.  Both nurses agreed that it was okay to push a little to keep her head in position but not to give it my all.  How do you tell a woman in active labor NOT to push?  Somehow, I managed and my doctor was there by 2:45am.

When I say she came in like a warm summer breeze, I'm not joking.  She was all smiles and light humor and catching up with the nurses on the nights events.  I was literally in shock by her nonchalant demeanor as she put on her gear and it felt like I was watching this all happen from above.  Mid-sentence, she claps her hands and said "it's go time!"  Brandon's response was "Seriously?" And I think she relied "Yup, it's not like in the movies!" while laughing.  Also... I had the best doctor ever!

With the next contraction she told me to push with all I've got as I would get to meet our baby soon!  I pushed and all I remember is my doctor shouting "STOP PUSHING!" as Amelia's arm popped out from below.  Yes... my crazy daughter had to throw us for a loop and try to come out arm first.  As I panicked internally, the doctor managed to do some fancy handwork and got Amelia positioned to come out correctly all in a matter of a minute!  I was told to push again with the next contraction... and Amelia Grace Koch was born at 2:57 am on February 23, 2014.  Her warm, squishy body was placed immediately on my chest and it was wonder, awe, amazement and pure joy all wrapped into one!

I'm not sure how long she had skin-to-skin contact before the nurses took her away to wipe her down and get her measurements.  I think I barked at Brandon to grab the camera because we actually have pictures of this happening!  She weighed 7 lbs 9 oz and was 20 inches long.  I also remember asking if she had 10 fingers and 10 toes because that's what they do in the movies and I thought the doctor would just tell me that.  Amelia was perfect, healthy and very alert.

I'll be honest when I say I had no set birth plan.  I knew I wanted drugs and I knew I wanted my baby, however that would happen was in God's hands.  There isn't a single thing that I would change about how that day played out or how Amelia entered this crazy world.  Looking back a year later, my life really began when hers did!

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