And Then There Were Four: Our Birth Story

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December 6th, 2015 will probably be my favorite day forever, but the story of our birth begins quite a few days earlier. Thursday December 3rd Nick and I went on our last pre-baby date night. We went to The Mockingjay Part 2. After the movie, I started to feel pretty sick to my stomach and just not like myself. I decided I needed to eat and go to bed, I figured I’d feel better in the morning.

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Last bump picture 36 weeks 3 days

Friday, I woke up with really swollen hands. So swollen that my knuckles were sore.  Such an odd feeling.  My whole body didn’t feel normal. We had our weekly appointment with Dr. Davis that afternoon so I figured I would tell him about my new symptoms then. Nick and I both had a feeling this appointment would be different so he had me drop him off at work. He also had me bring the hospital bag and both the cat seats. Somewhere deep down we knew things were going to get underway very soon.

At the appointment, my blood pressure was quite a bit higher than normal. They didn’t tell me quite how high, but judging by the reaction, it was really high. Dr. Davis had me go to the hospital to be monitored. He thought maybe once we sat there bored for a while that my blood pressure would go down. No such luck.

On the way to the hospital, the fact that I was probably going to be induced started to set in. I got uncharacteristically quiet and nervous. Was I ready to go through all this? I still thought I had another week to prepare for this. I thought I had another week of carrying my sweet babies inside. Safe.

When the triage nurse hooked me up to the monitor, my first blood pressure read 188/109.  We were in triage for about an hour before they took us to the room where we would stay until we delivered. They wouldn’t let me eat anything which I later figured out was because if they couldn’t get my blood pressure down they would have c-sectioned me that night. Thank goodness that wasn’t the outcome.

Friday night, between the babies moving off the monitors and my nurse coming in to check machines, I probably got about 2 hours of broken sleep.  Saturday, my parents showed up in the early afternoon.  It was so nice to have them there with us.

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I was given stuff to “ripen” my cervix in hopes that I would go into labor, but all that stuff did was make me feel really sore.  Saturday was such a long day.  Nick and I were both exhausted and unsure what the timeline for this whole event was going to be.  We watched some movies, chatted with our awesome nurse, Jamie, and tried to get sleep when we could.

Sunday morning I was starting to feel VERY defeated.  I felt like I was never going to go into labor and I was going to be stuck in the hospital forever.  I’m not sure if Jamie noticed how defeated I was, or if they just decided it was time, but at 9 am they broke my water and started me on pitocin. Finally, it was happening!

My contractions started and I quickly realized that this was no joke.  Holy cow those things hurt.  Being stuck in the bed made it very difficult to cope with the pain.  Nick and I were watching Sunday football, the Carolina game to be exact, and between each contraction I would check the score.  It was such a special experience to labor with Nick by my side.  It was just the two of us.  He was wonderful.

As my contractions got to be more intense, the lack of sleep Friday and Saturday caught up with me.  I was doing my best to breathe through contractions and in between I was drifting to sleep.  I didn’t have the energy to talk or keep my eyes open in between contractions.

Around noon, I was reaching a point where I didn’t think I would be able to handle much more pain.  Knowing I was going to need an epidural at some point before delivery because baby boy was still breach, I knew I was reaching that point soon.  Jamie came in to check on us and told me I could get an epidural any time, but me being me I wanted to go as long as possible.  It wasn’t 4 more contractions and Nick called Jamie and told her it was epidural time.

Getting the epidural was incredibly scary, but thankfully I had Nick holding my legs and Jamie holding my head encouraging me.  The epidural brought so much relief.  Oddly, it numbed the left side of my body more than the right, and I had sections of my belly that never quite got the relief, but I was able to cope now.

When I got the epidural I was 3 cm.  When they checked me around 3 pm I was still only 3 cm.  I was so bummed but at least I hadn’t been in near the pain I had been before.  After they checked me I think they may have increased my pitocin.  Thankfully both the babies were holding up perfectly, little champs!

At 5:15 pm they checked me again and I was 6 cm.  We were so excited I was making progress!  I was hoping to deliver the babies before 7 pm because that was when Jamie’s shift was over, but that was quickly approaching.

At about 6 pm I was starting to feel pressure that felt like I might be having the babies soon.  Jamie came in to check on us and I told her, “it feels like her head is in my vagina.”  She checked me and was shocked to find that I was 9 cm.  She told me that if I started to feel the urge to push that I needed to call her immediately.

5 minutes later we were calling her.  She came in and told me not to push.  Not pushing during contractions was incredibly difficult.  Dr. Davis was not on call, but he’s way awesome and was going to come in to deliver our babies anyhow.  Unfortunately, I was needing to push right when he was having a dinner party.

Jamie was rushing to get Nick dressed for the operating room and the doctor that was going to be delivering our babies came in.  She didn’t want me to have unrealistic expectations so she warned me that I had about a 50% chance of having a vaginal delivery and then a C-section to get our breach boy out, but I was willing to risk it.

When we got to the operating room, the urge to push subsided quite a bit and I was having a really hard time feeling my contractions.  I think the change of environment made my body nervous or something.  I started pushing around 6:40 pm.  As each contraction came, I would push as hard as I could, then chat with Nick, the nurses and the doctor between.  I completely lost track of time while we were in there.  The only reason I knew I had been pushing a while was because I started to get really tired.

I went from chatting with everyone in between contractions, to closing my eyes and praying for strength, and taking little minute or two naps.  I was getting so tired and I didn’t know how much longer I could push.  While baby girl was dropping lower and lower, baby boy decided he could take up all the extra real estate.  He swam up under my ribs which was proving to be more painful than the actual pushing.  I was 95% sure I was going to break a rib.  Pushing one baby out while there was still another baby really high in my belly was a very interesting feeling.  I can’t imagine only having one in there!

I was feeling my contractions way better at this point and I was getting the hang of pushing.  We had a mirror so that I could see baby girl’s head, which was covered with dark hair.  She was almost here, but I couldn’t seem to get her out.  The doctor suggested an episiotomy so that she could come out easier.  I was fully against that idea so I knew I needed to get her out on my next contraction.

When the contraction started, I somehow had a second wind and pushed harder than ever, through the feeling that I was going to rip apart, through the exhaustion. At 8:40 pm, Stella Dawn Frazier was born.

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Nick and I were both overwhelmed with love for this little baby.  She was so perfect and she had the best smell I have ever smelled.  I just kept hugging her and kissing her.  Her little cry was so strong and absolutely perfect.  I will never forget that feeling of finally meeting my little girl.

Nick went with Stella over to where the nurses were checking her vitals.  I pushed for long enough with Stella that Dr. Davis’ dinner party was over so he decided to come up to deliver our baby boy.  Dr. Davis showed up just in time to see Stella born, then he stepped in.  They gave me an ultrasound to see what position baby boy was in.  I was not surprised at all when they told me he was head down.  He had swam up and dropped head down when Stella came out, but he also decided to put his arm above his head.

Dr. Davis told the nurse to press my epidural button because he was going to have to move baby boy around.  Dr. Davis had explained how he would do a breech extraction and it was a very involved process, but he hadn’t told me how he would manipulate him around, which ended up being just as involved and probably the most painful part of the birth.

I won’t go into detail about how Dr. Davis got baby boy’s arm to his side, but never being one to pass on an inappropriate joke, I turned to the nurse who was trying to keep me as still as possible while I was in some incredible pain and said, “Well, I’ve never been fisted before.” Everyone in the room was completely shocked and laughed.  I have a feeling that was the first time those words were said in that operating room.

After probably 20 minutes, it was time to me to start pushing again.  Nick and Stella were skin to skin sitting next to me.  Between contractions I would look at Nick and Stella and fall in love all over again.

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Pushing this time around was a little easier because I understood what it should feel like, but it still was exhausting.  I reached my wall again and began to close my eyes in between contractions instead of chatting with Nick, Dr. Davis, and the nurses.  I knew I was so close to being done pushing, but I didn’t know how I was going to have the strength to push him out.  Everyone in the room could see how exhausted I was so everyone was being very encouraging and great.

After an hour of pushing, at 10:11 pm I reached down and pulled Grayson Lee Frazier onto my chest.

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I didn’t think it would be possible to love Grayson as much as I loved Stella, but somehow my heart grew and felt more love than I ever knew existed.

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There are no words to describe how much I love our new life.  I have never been so exhausted, but I have also never been so incredibly, over the moon happy in my life.

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