Friday, July 20, 2012

Layla's Birth Story

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." ~Elizabeth Stone

Born: May 6th 2011
6lbs 12 oz.
19 in.

I was asked recently to post Layla's birth story and I'm glad the reader reminded me, because I've been meaning to get around to it. As I sit here almost 25 weeks pregnant, I can't help but feel a lump in my throat remembering all we went through to have her and how for a brief moment, I thought I lost her.

Where to even begin. I suppose I should start from the beginning--though I have mentioned snippets here and there about conceiving her. H and I weren't in a hurry to add another child after Serena, but when we were ready we didn't know there was going to be difficulties. It took us almost 2 yrs to have her, and here's the crazy part, When I found out I was pregnant with her, it was the exact same day I found out the year before when I got pregnant (the one I miscarried). I could not believe it. How amazing was that. Because of that, I would remind myself that it was meant to be whenever I had doubts that the baby was doing fine in my uterus.  

For the most part, I was pretty calm throughout the pregnancy and it was pretty uneventful except for contractions I started having at 27 weeks that landed me a day in the hospital. I had a doppler during that pregnancy so if I was feeling anxious, I would whip it out and that "womp..womp..womp" sound of the heartbeat would always make me feel better. 

Around 37 weeks, I had a growth ultrasound and it was noted that my amniotic fluid was a bit low but nothing to be alarmed about. At 39 weeks, that's when everything changed. I went in for my one of my weekly appointments and my OB was out that day so a nurse practitioner saw me. It turns out I was only 1cm dilated. I had been like that for weeks now. As much as I loved being pregnant, I was also pretty uncomfortable, I asked her if she could do a membrane sweep to get things moving, and she said sure if that's what I wanted. Hellooooo!!! She could of warned me about how painful it was. Seriously! It hurt so bad-comparable to labor even. I will never ever do this again. After that I went in for an ultrasound and we got to see Layla again. Only this time the tech didn't really talk about anything. H and I stepped outside and waited for the nurse to come back and talk to us. I remember she came over with the chart and said "get your things, and head up to the third floor, you're having a baby today."

Woah. I was not prepared for that. As much as I wanted Layla to come out, I didn't know this was the day. I started crying. I was just so nervous. It was discovered that my fluid levels were way too low so I was to be induced. H and I headed upstairs and I could see the nervous excitement in his eyes as I shivered from anxiousness. We filled out some paperwork, were ushered to my room and H started letting our friends and family know the news. After getting settled into bed I was informed that I would be getting cervidal (softens the cervix) around 7pm and pitocin in the morning. It was about 1:00 pm at this point. (Serena was in school while all this was happening and my mom picked her up later). So I was expected to just pretty much lay in bed forever. Boooring..... However, I started getting several close contractions in the afternoon so the doctor said let's hold off on the cervidal and see if you go into spontaneous labor. Around 9pm my contractions started to get pretty intense. I had to breathe through a lot of them. They started getting more painful around 10:30 pm and I had one particular one that lasted a while followed by a Pop! My water had broken. More painful contractions followed and the nurse came in and asked if I wanted an epidural. 

During the pregnancy I wanted to deliver with no pain medication because I had an epidural with Serena and had not urge to push-which made the process difficult. However by 11:00 pm I caved and took the epidural. That was my first mistake. I got it too early. Once it settled in--I felt pretty great, I still felt a lot of pressure when they hit but it was painless. The nurse also offered me something to sleep but I declined. Mistake number two. I should of taken the darn sleeping pill because I didn't sleep a wink the whole night! Shortly after I got the epidural my legs started to go numb and I figured it was normal. At about 2:30 am I asked the nurse about the numb legs and she said she didn't know. Okkkk...

At about 4:30 am the anesthesiologist came in and said "woops, you're legs aren't supposed to be that numb." Uh ya think. So he stopped the epidural for 20 minutes and then restarted it at a lower dose. By 7:00 am, I started feeling really bad contractions. My legs were still a bit numb but I could feel everything else. At 9:00 am they started me on pitocin because I was taking forever to dilate. I started having bad back labor at noon and by 12:30 pm I was transitioning which was even more painful because of the intense pressure. All of a sudden I started getting the urge to bear down only the nurse wasn't in the room just H. I was breathlessly telling him to get the nurse. GET HER NOW! I was trying hard not too push. She came in taking her sweet time and at 1:00 pm I was able to start pushing with her holding one leg, and H holding the other. H was so supportive. I really didn't think I was going to be able to push her out but I did with the help of a vacuum. I also had an episiotomy but luckily I didn't feel that but I tell you, that ring of fire when the baby crowns is like nothing I've ever felt before. 

You know those stories you read how the mother cries tears of joy when their baby is born and they've never been so in love? I didn't exactly get to feel that right away. Don't forget I had literally no sleep, I had basically labored and birth naturally. I was so out of it--I couldn't even see straight. I remember when Layla came out she was grey. "Why was she grey?" "Babies are supposed to be pink and gooey, not grey and gooey". The doctor placed her on my chest for literally 2 seconds. Just a touch and moved her to the incubator. Layla wasn't breathing. The nurses started working on her and all I could do was lay there helplessly as the OB stitched me up. It was under a minute but so many thoughts ran through my head..

"Please God, don't let us have gone through all of this and not be able to hold her warm body in my arms, not get a chance to see her chest rise and fall with each breath and nestle her in my arms. Please God".

I think H was holding his breath until we heard her first cry. I can only imagine how scared he was and I saw tears in his eyes when he saw she was going to be ok. She was perfectly fine after that and so alert. I think she had spent too long in the birth canal. I'm not sure exactly what happened but I was traumatized after that. I laid in the hospital bed thinking I'm never going to do this again. Ever. Once they placed her in my arms I felt such relief but still I was so out of it. I was delirious from no sleep and shaken from what just happened. Not exactly the birth experience I had in mind but in the end I got a healthy baby and that's all that mattered. 

As I grow near to doing this again, there are definitely things I plan on doing differently. I've also done things different this pregnancy-like exercise. I didn't when I was pregnant with Layla (hardly any walking even) and I really think that was one contributing factor to a long and difficult labor. I'm not sure what I plan on doing as far as pain medication because I know how things can change. I guess we'll see.


  1. Thank you so much for your story! I am absolutely terrified of going through the labor and delivery so much that I've seriously considered an elective c-section. I just can't handle pain very well! When you started to feel everything once he lowered your epi dosage, did they give you the option of upping the dosage?

    1. Nope. I asked and they wouldn't give me anything else. I went through a couple different nurses as I was there so long, so there were shift changes and my actual labor and delivery nurse wasn't that sympathetic or helpful. This time around I will be voicing my opinion more.

      For all you know, your experience may not be that bad and you might have a great epidural. My first one with Serena worked great and I only labored about 4 hrs with her. You'll get through it. I wouldn't go for the elective c-section. It's major surgery and you'll have a scar. My best friend had to have a c-section 2 yrs ago (not by choice) and she had a bad experience. Her wound got infected and they had to open her up again. She almost had to have a hysterectomy.

    2. I will have to remember to be assertive. Thanks for the info on the c-section. For some reason my dr didn't really go over all of those risks with me.