Cora Jane is 11 days old so I figure it’s high time I documented her arrival into this world.
In my last post before giving birth, I mentioned 3 important factors to Cora’s story-
- They thought she was a big baby. According to ultrasound measurements, she was clocking in at about 8 lbs. 6oz.
- It was discovered that she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice.
- We had a C-Section scheduled for Wednesday April 10th at 8:15 a.m.
We had a plan and I was comfortable with it.
And then everything changed.
Early Saturday morning (April 6), around 1:30 a.m., I awoke with a weird feeling in my stomach. I couldn’t tell if I had to throw up, poop or was having a contraction. I figured the bathroom was the best place to be so I went in and sat on the toilet. 20 minutes later I came out, after a bout of diarrhea and throwing up twice. I officially had a stomach bug. I would spend the next 4 hours alternating ends from which fluids exited my body. I tried to drink water in between but could keep nothing down. Finally at 5 a.m. I realized I was probably dehydrated and told CJ to take me in to the ER. I was more worried about the baby than myself. We called my parents to come over and stay with Isabella until we got back.
They checked us in to a triage room in the hospital since it didn’t look like I was going in to labor. I was so dehydrated that it took 2 nurses 3 tries to get the IV into my arm. My veins kept collapsing on them. We were there for 5 hours as they pumped me up with 3 liters of IV fluid and some medicine to help the nausea and diarrhea. They were monitoring the baby the whole time and she was never once in danger, thank God.
I was scared though. I didn’t know what was going to happen. Plus they told me that if I was still sick on Wednesday, they would have to postpone the C-Section! No way! I wanted this baby out!
I finally made it home around 2 p.m. and went straight up to nap. Slept for 3 hours, came down long enough to have some soup and then went back up to bed. I finally started to feel normal the next morning.
But that feeling wouldn’t last long.
After dinner on Sunday, I started to feel a bit queasy again. Great, I thought. This bug is rearing it’s ugly head. The nurses had said if I had any more vomiting or diarrhea, I would have to come back to the hospital. I really didn’t want that so I went to bed praying I would feel better in the morning.
At 12:50 a.m. on Monday, I awoke with a start. I had felt a distinct kick from the baby causing a contraction that was more intense than any I had before. I lay there for a minute waiting for it to go away, assuming it was another Braxton/Hicks. When it continued, I thought I should get up and go to the bathroom. As soon as I stood up, I felt a trickle run down my leg. My first thought was, “Oh great, now I’m peeing my pants!” Then I realized it could be something else – my water breaking. It wasn’t a big gush though so I was still unsure. I sat on the toilet until the contraction ended – which was about 10 minutes. I then texted CJ, who was downstairs watching TV.
He came running up and said, “You think?”
I told him what happened and we decided to sit and wait to see if any more contractions came. 15 minutes later came another, much shorter one. No fluid leakage. Than 10 minutes later another contraction. This time it came with a gush. I stood up and a pool started to form at my feet. I pointed to it and said, “See! Now do you believe me!” CJ’s eyes were huge and he said, “Ok so what do we do? Call an ambulance? Call your parents?”
He called my parents while I changed clothes (which I would have to do 2 more times as water kept coming out with every contraction. I finally got smart and put on a pad). Once again we headed to the hospital!
When we got there and to a room, things started moving fast. They had to try 4 times to get the IV in my arm as I was still a bit dehydrated from not having any food or drink since dinner on Sunday (due to the nausea). You can see from the bruises on my hands and arms all the different places they poked me over the course of both visits!
The contractions started coming faster and harder. Because I was trying for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarian), I was required to have an epidural, just in case they needed to whisk me off to surgery at some point. The nurse told me I could get it at any time but I held off. Not sure why. I guess I was trying to prove to myself that I could manage through the pain better this time than I did with Isabella. I think I did too. I stayed relaxed and just breathed through each one. I am actually quite proud of myself. But there definitely came a point when enough was enough.
They gave me the epidural but it was different than I remembered. With Isabella, they gave me enough to basically put my whole lower body to sleep. I couldn’t feel or move anything. This time, they only gave me enough to take the edge off the pain but I could still feel the pressure. So while it was some relief, it wasn’t what I had been expecting.
The pressure was almost as bad as the contractions had been. I told the nurse I wanted to push but they told me to wait and let the baby come down on its own first. After waiting for half an hour, it was time.
My doctor (Dr. S) came in and we pushed a few times. She could feel the baby’s head and it was turned slightly. She reached inside and straightened it but with every push, it would turn again. We were left with a few choices:
- Keep going the way we were and see if we could straighten and get her out on our own. The risk here was that it could take a while and with her size and the umbilical cord around her neck, it could get dicey.
- Give up the idea of a VBAC and go right in to surgery. No real risk here other than those that come with any surgery. Plus a much longer recovery time.
- Use forceps. My doc admitted that she was not comfortable using the forceps herself but we could get one of the older doctors to do it. This was the option she recommended and I trust her immensely so we found the doc we needed (Dr. R) and had him take a look. He was confident he could get her out, using a combination of his pulling/straightening with the forceps while I pushed, in one shot. So, we went for it.
Once that decision was made, it was a flurry of activity. The nurses pulled out a cart and started setting up instruments and blankets and getting ready for the baby. The 2 doctors washed and gowned up. It was all done so fast and all I could do was lay there, watch and wait.
When everything was ready, Dr. R grabbed the forceps and got them into position.
I’m not gonna lie. When I saw how big they were I got nervous. What if he crushed the baby’s little head? What if he twisted the wrong way and broke her neck? But there was no time for me to panic. I had to trust in the doctors’ experience and knowledge and just do my part. When he was ready, he told me to push as hard as I could. So I did.
The next thing I know, there was a little baby sliding out of me, everyone started cheering and Dr. S said, “It’s a girl!”
I started laughing and crying at the same time. All the emotions of the weekend came out at once. I was relieved, excited, surprised, tired, and just plain overwhelmed.
Dr. S immediately handed her to me to hold, all bloody and covered in goo! She was so beautiful! They asked if we had a name and we laughed and said no! We were so certain it was a boy that we focused on boy names. It wouldn’t be until later that evening that we would decide on Cora. Isabella came up with the middle name – Jane.
CJ cut the cord and then the nurse whisked Cora away to be cleaned up and measured.
Meanwhile, Dr. S. had to stitch me up. The use of the forceps had caused tearing in 3 different places. Doc told me it wasn’t that bad but boy was she down there sewing me up for a long time. CJ joked that she must be making a quilt or something!
Finally she finished and we were allowed to hold the baby again.
Not the most flattering picture of me but hey, childbirth ain’t pretty. Yes, I was that tired. And hungry. I hadn’t had any food since 5pm Sunday and it was now around 9 a.m. Monday morning – and I had just done something equivalent to lifting a MACK truck! I was starving! I ordered food and they also gave me an IV to make sure I was plenty hydrated before transporting me up to my room.
We were in the hospital for 3 days and 2 nights. We learned some things from having Isabella and took full advantage of the facilities this time around. I know they recommend having baby stay in the room with you the whole time but come on, mama needed her rest. So we had them take her to the nursery during our nap times and overnight. I had trouble sleeping the first night because of the pain so the second night they gave me a sleeping pill, which helped. All the nurses that we had were amazing and awesome. While the doctors are the “experts”, it’s the nurses that truly run the hospital and take care of the patients. I was actually a bit sad to leave and go back to reality – a new reality.
So, there you have it. That’s how Cora came in to the world. I got the chance to have a vaginal birth and though it was hard, it was worth it. The feeling of having a baby come out from inside of you, by your own power, is one like no other. There were a few scary moments but I completely trusted my doctors and nurses the whole time and knew we would both be ok.
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