On September 2, 2013, at 3:18 a.m., Andrew and I welcomed our daughter, Ellen Ray Solomonson into the world! It was quite a Labor Day!
Just a bit of a warning….if you do not care for birth stories, please exit your window now 🙂
Friday, at my 39 week appointment, my progression was checked, along with all the normal vitals they take at each appointment. I was 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced! I’ll take it! The previous week I was barely dilated and 25% effaced, so to see some progression was definitely exciting. Saturday night, I had been having some Braxton Hicks contractions that felt a bit stronger than normal, but kind of shrugged it off once they subsided.
All the fun started Sunday morning, the 1st. Madam, Andrew, and I woke up, and with no baby yet in sight, Drew went out to get us all some Dunkin Donuts! Glazed, iced, and pumpkin spice! Not even 10 minutes after he left, I was lying on the couch and heard (and felt) a big POP! Almost like a balloon. For not ever having gone through this whole process, I had a good idea in my mind of what had just happened. And sure enough, at 9:00 that morning, my water broke!
By 9:30, we were headed to the hospital, which was almost 30 minutes away. And for anyone that knows Atlanta, you know traffic is normally a nightmare, so we really did get lucky! (And you bet I was scarfing down those donuts in the car, not knowing when the next time it would be that I would have a meal!) Once we got there, we got all checked in, were shown to our room where (little did we know) we would be for the next 17 hours. Oy!
At 11:30 that morning, we finally got settled. The nurses came in to explain all of the paperwork we had to sign, hooked me up to all the monitors (contraction monitor & baby heart rate monitor), and gave me my IV (or 3 in my case because my veins kept blowing…..aaaaannnddd the nurse who was doing it was clearly in training……oops).
12:30 came around, and the midwife finally came in to check to see where we were and make a decision as how to proceed from here! 4 cm and 90% effaced! Not too shabby! On the downside, it did turn out that I had traces of meconium when my water broke…basically meaning baby girl had a bowel movement prior to my water breaking. She assured me that it was not a big deal and they would just need to have some of the NICU nurses in the room during the delivery for extra precaution. We also discussed the fact that baby was still a bit high and would need to get her down a little further before we could really speed up the process.
Due to me STRONGLY wanting a vaginal delivery and my fear of pitocin (oxytocin), she decided to let me labor on my own for a good 2 hours and then start me on a low dosage of pitocin to speed up my contractions. Because my water had broken, I basically had a 24 hour window to deliver. In the meantime, I was able to labor on a birthing ball to try to get baby to drop a bit further.
2:30 came around and I was finally started on pitocin. Just a low dosage which would be upped every hour.
Still feeling pretty good, Drew and I were able to complete my fantasy draft in the room for the Terrific Lady League. Got some pretty good players actually…..RG3 as my main quarter back, Eli Manning as my backup. Could be worse, considering.
An hour later, at 3:30, they then upped my pitocin, which suddenly turned things around quicker than I thought.
Contractions started coming full force for the next hour and half. Pain that I can’t even put into words…literally. I was making noises I didn’t even know I could make, let alone all of the curse words in the book. Originally when the nurses had first checked me in, I told them I wanted an epidural, so I guess I just assumed that they would know when to give it to me. Boy was I wrong. Madam and Andrew kept asking if I wanted them to ask for the epidural…to which I “calmly” responded, “No thank you, I told them I wanted one, so they will come when it’s time.” Ha! Andrew finally made the executive decision to get the nurses, who I guess were surprised at how quickly I had progressed. I mean, one minute I am doing my fantasy draft and the next I am writhing in excruciating pain.
It wasn’t but 10 minutes later, at 5:30, that I finally got an epidural. You know, you hear all of these horror stories of epidurals….not to mention, just the sound of anything being shot into your spine doesn’t sound like something you would ever want. But let me tell you, it was the best thing that happened up to that point! I was absolutely terrified, but it was so well done. The doctor talked me through the whole thing, step by step. Almost painless. A bee sting. It was so great, I just wanted to kiss him on the mouth!
A couple hours had passed when the midwife came in to check my progress. 9 1/2 cm and fully effaced! YES! We made it! 7:15 p.m. and I was fully convinced that we would have a baby by the end of the night! The midwife told me baby was still pretty high up, so she was going to let me keep laboring, upping the pitocin once again, to try to get her down a bit further before starting to push.
From here took a lot of patience. 10:15 rolls around and we are ready for our first push. Because I had an epidural, it was a bit difficult to feel what I was doing, but I was assured that I was pushing correctly. First push down and baby’s heart rate drops. Uh oh. Midwife was a bit hesitant to keep going, so she decided another 30 minutes of laboring and we would try again. 10:45…second push….heart rate drops again. At this point she is pretty set on doing a c-section, as she thinks the baby’s cord is somehow in an awkward position. Before making anything final, she decided to have the doctor come in a take a look.
The doctor checks me, says I have plenty of room….but baby just needs to get further down. Because I had done so well laboring on my own up to this point, she lets me labor for another 30 minutes, and then we would try again. 11:15 p.m., 3rd push, no change. The doctor recommends another 45 minutes of laboring before making a final decision.
We’ve finally hit midnight! Doctor comes in to check and sure enough, I am low enough to begin with full pushing! YAY! The next two hours were a lot of stop and go….waiting for each contraction to push, baby’s heart rate dropping ever so often, switching positions left and right to make sure baby stayed happy. 2:15 a.m…..2 hours of pushing down and baby still has not made it past my pelvic bone. So disappointing. To come all this way and have to go through the ONE thing I didn’t want. But I knew I wanted to do whatever was best for baby to arrive healthy. Because the doctor and midwife knew how much I wanted to have her naturally, they gave me one last try.
Success! I don’t know what I did or thought, but somehow I made it happen. We ALL made it happen. We finally got past it! Andrew was behind me at this point, pushing me forward, because I physically had no more strength to lift my body. I could hear in my doctor’s and midwife’s voice how much they wanted this for me. Counting down each push. The team of delivery nurses all came in with their gear, setting up the baby’s station, getting their gowns on. It was finally happening! At this point, every emotion was running through my body. Excitement, exhaustion, happiness, fear. All I could do was scream and cry through every push.
Finally at 3:18 a.m., Ellen Ray came out! Beautiful, healthy, perfect. I couldn’t believe it. People always talk about how you forget everything once you meet your child for the first time. All the pain forgotten and how it was all worth it.
She was finally here! All 7 pounds 3 ounces of her! I didn’t think I could love anything so much!
She is absolutely perfect.