Saturday, January 16, 2016

Welcome Bridget Starr

I am thrilled beyond words to announce the arrival of our daughter, Bridget Starr! She was born a week and two days ago and we are so utterly in love with our sweet girl.  It feels as though she has always been a part of our family. The boys adore her and she's already acquired the nickname "Bridgey" from her brother Julian. Our family is now truly complete. 

Here is her birth story:

Date of Birth: January 7, 2016 @ 11:29am
Original Due Date: January 14, 2016
Weeks Pregnant: 39
Baby's Weight: 8 lbs 4 oz
Baby's Length: 20 in

We learned back at my 37 week appointment that my MFM recommended that I deliver Bridget at 39 weeks. He had told us he didn't want me to go past my due date, but the notes he sent to my OB recommended that I be induced at 39 weeks if she wasn't here by then. While this was disappointing to me since I wanted to have a natural birth with no interventions, I also realized that I was lucky to have made it this far with my pregnancy given Bridget's kidney defect. So I tried to make peace with the likelihood of induction, but still hoped I would spontaneously go into labor on my own.

Over Christmas I thought things were starting.  I lost my mucus plug on Christmas Eve and was worried she'd arrive that night and I'd miss Christmas morning. Thankfully she stayed put. I then got the stomach bug the weekend after Christmas and prayed she would sit tight until I was over that awfulness. Again, thankfully she stayed put. Then on New Year's Eve at my 38 week appointment my OB checked my cervix and without warning swept my membranes trying to move things along.  She knew I wanted to avoid pitocin, so I think she figured a membrane sweep was the least invasive intervention that might get things started. I would've liked being consulted before this happened, but it is what it is. This is when the fun false/prodromal labor started. For the next week I had contractions daily, sometimes for hours on end.  And Sunday afternoon, January 3rd I was convinced the real deal had started. 

Sunday, the 3rd, I walked 2 miles in my neighborhood in the morning. Then we took the boys to the Museum of Arts and Sciences here in Macon. As we sat in the planetarium watching a show about the life of a star I noticed I was having consistent contractions. I didn't start timing them for a few hours, convinced it was just more false labor. But as the evening went on, it was clear they were there to stay. Todd and I went for another mile walk and while we were walking the contractions were coming about 2 minutes apart and were quite intense. We got back to the house and I called my doula asking her advise. She suggested we eat dinner, give it an hour and see if they stuck around.  So we ate, put the boys to bed and eventually headed off to L&D around 7:30pm.  Contractions were still coming about 3-4 minutes apart and lasting 60-90 seconds long. Yet they weren't painful. We got assessed at the hospital and I was 3cm and 60% effaced, with contractions registering every 8 minutes.  Of course, on the ride to the hospital I noticed the contractions slowing down, but we went in anyway. The nurse said they wanted to monitor me for an hour and then decide what to do. I made it clear that I did not want to be admitted if I was not in active labor and that sitting in a hospital bed for an hour was not something that I intended to do. So we were allowed to walk the floor for 45 minutes and come back to see if things had progressed. An hour later, nothing had changed. So my midwife agreed that I could go home.  I was embarrassed that we'd even gone in to the hospital, but glad we were not being kept unnecessarily. So off we went home and I was able to go to sleep for the night.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday brought more contractions, but nothing consistent. On Wednesday I made one last ditch effort go get things going on their own. I walked miles around my neighborhood, drank red raspberry tea and applied clary sage EOs to my belly, hips and ankles (something that supposedly can get labor going). But by late Wednesday night I accepted the fact that we were heading for induction the next day. My doula called that night to talk things out. She said the hospital would likely have me arrive at 11pm Thursday night to start the cervadil and then depending on where things stood Friday morning they'd go from there. So I went to bed assuming we'd have all day Thursday to try to get labor going on its own. 

I was jolted awake at 5:30am Thursday morning by a phone call from the hospital telling me to arrive at 7am!  This was surprising since I thought I wasn't going to go in until that evening!  I quickly took a shower, ate some eggs and finished packing our hospital bag. Julian woke up so I was able to get some snuggles in with him and then we woke up Lukas to tell him we were leaving.  The boys were groggy and I was a little sad to leave knowing they wouldn't be getting my full attention once their sister arrived. 

So Thursday morning we arrived at the hospital and checked in. I was sad that I wasn't going to have the birth experience I was hoping for and a little on edge. The nurse checked me and I was 3-4cm and 60%. So not much change since our trip to L&D that Sunday, which was discouraging - I had hoped the prodromal labor contractions were doing something! And thankfully the monitors were picking up contractions, so things were happening. My midwife knew I wanted a natural birth, so rather than starting with pitocin, she agreed to break my water and give me 3 hours to see if things would start on their own. 

My water was broken at 9:15 and things moved FAST! My awesome nurse, Karla, suggested I try nipple stimulation to get things moving as it sends natural pitocin (aka oxytocin) signals to your body. So I got up and walked laps around the room whilst rubbing my nipples. It was surely a sight.  But it worked! Almost immediately contractions started coming regularly and within thirty minutes I went from chatting with Todd to having to concentrate and breathe through each one. 

My doula, Mandy, arrived around 10am. I was still jovial when she arrived and excited that things were progressing. But that didn't last long. I wasn't able to continue standing once the contractions really kicked in. So I sat on the hospital bed with my back straight and my legs criss-crossed and knees pointed down at the suggestion of Mandy. Contractions were intense and quickly were one on top of each other. Mandy and Todd helped me breathe through them, each sitting on either side of me holding my hand. As a contraction would hit I closed my eyes and zoned out for each contraction. The hypnobirthing classes I took during my 1st pregnancy 5 years ago for Lukas definitely helped keep me relaxed. Todd, Mandy and Karla talked about Todd and my love story which kept me entertained in between contractions. Or at least distracted! 

By 11am I had the urge to throw up and felt a lot of pressure around my bum. Apparently these are sure indicators that things are moving along, but it was also the time I absolutely lost it and was convinced I couldn't continue but I was in transition at that point and there was no turning back! Mandy looked at me and said "You can do this. You ARE doing this!" And she said that within 3 hours I'd be holding my baby. She meant this to be encouraging but I looked back and said there was NO way I could do this for 3 more hours!  Thankfully we didn't have to wait that long. 

My whole body began shaking uncontrollably and I was feeling the need to push.  Karla checked my cervix and there was a lip that wasn't moving, so she told me to push once and she helped move part of my cervix back that wasn't moving because of the baby's head. This helped get me to 10cm and suddenly it was time to push. The midwife wasn't there yet, and Karla had another nurse come in the room to be a second set of hands in case she needed to deliver Bridget! Let's just say I was a vocal momma bear during pushing and I feel sorry for anyone that could hear me. Lots of F-bombs and a few "get her OUT!!!!!" yells may have happened. Along with some other choice words. But in only three contractions she was out! Somehow I didn't experience the ring of fire and had no tearing!!! And the sense of relief once Bridget was out was immediate! But holy hell it was intense. 

Bridget was born at 11:29am - under 2 hours from the start of real contractions to finish with no pain meds! It felt great to not be drugged afterwards and I was shocked that I actually did it. And this recovery has been much easier than the first two. We only stayed in the hospital 24 hours and are all happy to be home.  (And as a fun sidenote, my mom was here helping us with the boys when Bridget was born. She was blow drying her hair and suddenly all the power in the house blinked off.  She had to reset the clock in the kitchen and looked at her phone to find out the power outage happened at exactly 11:29am! How cool is that?!)

I'm thrilled our baby girl is here. She is a sweetheart and we are completely wrapped around her finger already. She is peeing great so we don't have to do anything immediately with her kidney. We are scheduled to go to Atlanta for her first round of tests on January 28th, so we'll know more then.  But for now we're just loving on our newest addition!