Carrots for Michaelmas: Musings of a Catholic Wife, Mother, and Occasional Redhead

Lucy’s Birth Story: Part III
October 27, 2011, 1:45 pm
Filed under: Birth

Catch up on Part I and Part II.

So, we had been at the hospital for two and a half hours. I was having a contraction while standing up and Daniel was holding me up so I could try to relax through it. I looked up at him and (he tells me) my eyes got wide. “SHE’S COMING,” I said. “NOW. RIGHT NOW.” All of the sudden I could feel her head and she was coming out. Pronto. All I could think of at that moment was that I needed to get back to the bed or else she was going to be born on the floor. However, during back-to-back contractions, it’s not easy to move quickly and agilely.

With Daniel’s help I sat back on the bed and felt a gush of fluid. My water had broken and I could feel that Lucy was almost crowning. I laid on my side because I seem to remember that position can slow down the pushing phase and ideally, I wanted my midwife back in the room before my child was born. It was at this point that Daniel looked around and realized that the only three people in the room were me, him, and my mom. “GET ERIN!” I told my mom. “What do you want me to do?” Daniel asked. “Hold my leg up because she’s coming right now!” As soon as I lifted my leg he could see that Lucy was crowning and he prepared to catch her. Although I was not voluntarily pushing at all, my body had taken over and in a matter of seconds I felt her head and shoulders sliding out. Erin had run back into the room and was there in just enough time to catch her as I pushed out the rest of her little body. It was seriously less than one minute! I heard Daniel shout, “She’s here! You did it! She’s here!” and after a second of realizing that the pain was over, Erin placed my precious little girl on my chest.

She was squalling (not shrieking like her big brother did) and was pink and beautiful with a full head of black hair and grey-blue eyes. Erin started cleaning her off and I brought her to my breast to nurse. She didn’t latch immediately but we snuggled and then Daniel got to cut the cord. Then she really latched and nursed for a good 30 minutes. Her APGARs were 9 & 9 and she was 6lbs and 14oz, 19.9 in long.

Since birth she has been calm, precious, and beyond sweet. Having a little boy is amazing but I can tell that having a girl is a whole new world of wonderful. We are so in love with our beautiful daughter, Lucy Elanor. Our hearts are filled with more love now that we have two children to love. And introducing Benjamin to his baby sister was so special. He is so proud of her and sweet with her, although he is having a little trouble adjusting to no longer being an only child, but that’s to be expected. We thank God for a safe delivery and for our healthy girl! She is joy itself! Thank you for your prayers for her health and safety during the past few weeks. I love being her mother and she is loved beyond measure. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Lucy’s Birth Story: Part II
October 26, 2011, 8:55 pm
Filed under: Birth

Click here to read Part I.

Having sent my mom home because “nothing was going to happen,” we decided to go on a walk before going to bed. The walk didn’t do anything to make my contractions more frequent and Daniel encouraged me to try to sleep so I wouldn’t get too exhausted (I had, after all, been up most of the past two nights with contractions.) After settling in bed, my contractions stayed just as erratic as before: 25 minutes, 10 minutes, 18 minutes, etc. However, they started to strengthen significantly. By 12:30am the pain was starting to overwhelm me, but the contractions STILL weren’t regular. Between 12:30 and 1:30 they were:

11 minutes

6 minutes

12 minutes

16 minutes

13 minutes

11 minutes

The contractions were SO STRONG and taking my breath away. I started to get overheated during each one and then so cold afterwards that I was shaking involuntarily. At 1:30 I woke Daniel up and started to cry.

“I don’t think I can do this! They aren’t close enough together so I’m not even in active labor yet but they hurt so bad! If they’re going to get even worse, I don’t think I can do this. I’m so tired! DO SOMETHING!”

Now, my husband is amazing in situations when I’m being hysterical. He calmly asked me what I would like him to do and I decided that I wanted to go to the hospital and either get something to help me sleep for a few hours so I wouldn’t be so tired, or have them speed things up so that I could move into active labor and have a baby.

When we stood up to pack the bags in the car I started having some back-to-back contractions…”We need to leave….NOW,” I said.

Fortunately, the hospital is right up the road and we arrived at around 2:10am. As soon as I stepped out of the car, I started vomiting in the parking lot. “Am I transitioning?” I wondered. “What’s happening?”

We checked in and got set up in triage where the tech set up a monitor on Lucy’s heartbeat and one to measure my contractions. I was right in the middle of a super painful contraction (partly due to having to be in bed and hooked up to monitors) when the tech was trying to get the monitors set up. “I’m in the middle of a contraction,” I told her through gritted teeth. She continued poking and prodding me which is just SO PAINFUL and I snapped. “Get off of me! CAN’T YOU JUST WAIT TIL THIS IS OVER?!!!!” She backed off. Then I felt bad but…REALLY? Don’t mess with a contracting woman!

After being on the monitor for 30 min and wishing I could get off the bed into a labor and delivery room, a nurse came in. “It doesn’t look like you’re contracting at all,” she said. “WHAT?!” I responded as a contraction rushed over me and I disappeared into pain for a good minute and 40 seconds. “Hmmm. This is not hooked up right,” the nurse said. She watched the monitor as I had a couple more contractions and checked me for dilation: 5.5 cm.

“Alright. We’ll get you to a room and we’ve called your midwife.”

We got to the room at about 3:15am. Our nurse Jacqueline was precious and sweet and they tried to get me an IV of penicillin ASAP because I had tested GBS positive. The penicillin STUNG as it went in but, I was distracted enough by the whomping contractions that I didn’t pay much mind to it. My midwife, Erin, arrived at 3:40. I did most of my laboring in a rocking chair hunched over into the contractions or standing and holding onto Daniel. After I’d had my IV and labored a few more minutes, my mom arrived with her bags of doula comfort aids at around 4:20am. Erin checked me and I was at 8.5 cm. They hooked me up to the fetal heartbeat monitor during a contraction to check on Lucy. She was doing great. Erin said, “I have to check on a patient in triage, I’ll be right back.” I decided I wanted to pee between contractions so I stood up to walk a few feet to the bathroom. I had a doozy of a contraction as soon as I stood up and another one as I walked towards the bathroom. I tried to pee really fast because contractions on the toilet hurt SO BAD and as soon as I stood up I had another one. Daniel was holding me up so I could try to relax through the contraction. I looked up at him and (he tells me) my eyes got wide. “SHE’S COMING,” I said.

Stay tuned for Part III!

Lucy’s Birth Story: Part I
October 25, 2011, 5:33 pm
Filed under: Birth

I just knew that Lucy would come early. Big brother Benjamin had arrived at 39 weeks and I there was no doubt in my mind that she would come at least as early. At 37 weeks I started losing my mucus plug, experiencing extreme pelvic pressure and some mild cramping, dilating and effacing, and feeling the Braxton-Hicks become more frequent and intense. “Any day now!” I started to think. I even stopped teaching ballet in South Georgia because I didn’t feel right about making the drive alone in case I started having real labor contractions. At the midwife’s office I perfunctorily made an appointment for the following week thinking, “well, it’s not like I’ll still be pregnant 7 whole days from now!” But…I was pregnant 7 days later. In fact, I was pregnant 14 days later….and I was pregnant 21 days later when my due date came and went. Each night as Daniel and I settled into bed I would try to find a comfortable sleeping position (ha! Yeah right!) and then groan, “I’m going to be pregnant forever!” Well-meaning folk would call and text asking whether we’d had our baby girl yet and I just had to stop answering because it was too frustrating to say “No, we’re still waiting,” for the 10 millionth time.

I had an appointment at the midwife’s office when I was four days overdue. I was 3 cm dilated and 60% effaced so everything looked promising but….still no labor. We had tried all the natural labor inducing techniques I’d heard of except for castor oil so my midwife recommended acupuncture to induce labor since, for many women, an acupuncture treatment will induce labor within 48 hours. Because I was overdue, she also scheduled a non-stress test and a biophysical profile. If both came back showing that Baby Lucy was still happy and safe in the womb, then I could wait another week before being induced at almost 42 weeks. I really wanted another natural birth without having to be induced with Pitocin because I’ve heard that it makes the contractions so painful so I decided to give the acupuncture a shot. I called an acupuncturist, (one of the deacons from our parish) and set up an appointment for the next day. Having never had acupuncture before, I didn’t know what to expect but it was completely painless and from the table I could see pictures of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Perks of having a Catholic acupuncturist! I didn’t start having contractions after my first treatment so Wednesday morning, Deacon Mike gave me another treatment and I started having contractions. They became a little stronger and more regular that evening and I got up around 11:30pm to sit up and do some laundry and watch 30 Rock streaming on Netflix while I timed the contractions. They were consistently 10 minutes apart but not at all strong so I decided to try to sleep at around 3am and slept through more contractions until 7am when Benjamin woke up.

Thursday morning my contractions spaced out and were still very mild but I would still have a strong one occasionally. By evening they started getting more intense, but were still at least 10 minutes apart so I just went to bed and slept in between them. We sent Benjamin so spend the night at Marmee and Grandaddy’s house just in case we needed to rush to the hospital in the middle of the night. But…by Friday morning they had spaced out again, were very erratic and not at all consistent either in strength or frequency. Daniel stayed home from work with me to time contractions and we took some walks. Whenever I stayed on my feet for any length of time, the contractions got stronger and the pelvic pressure became more severe. During my last month of pregnancy I had some sciatica in my legs and this intensified making walking difficult. Early evening I had my mom come over with her “doula bag” so that I could soothe my lower back with the awesome heat packs she made from socks full of rice. That’s where the contractions were really hurting. We sat and talked between contractions and watched a few episodes of Modern Family and although the contractions continued to be strong, they would sometimes space out to almost 30 minutes, so at 8pm I figured nothing was going to happen that evening and sent her home to get some rest….but I was oh so wrong…

To be continued in Part II!

Lucy is HERE!
October 22, 2011, 12:56 pm
Filed under: Misc

Just a note to say that Lucy arrived this morning at 4:49 am, beautiful and healthy. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!


Early Labor?
October 22, 2011, 2:11 am
Filed under: Misc

Just a quick update to say that it appears I’m in early labor. Contractions have been 10+ minutes apart for about 24 hours. I wish they would get closer together but they definitely have strengthened significantly. We’re going to try to get some sleep and if they get to be 5 minutes apart, then we’ll head to the hospital. We’d love your prayers for safety, stamina, and an easy delivery!

Please don’t call or text us for updates. We will let you know when Baby Lucy finally arrives!

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting
October 20, 2011, 8:29 pm
Filed under: Pregnancy

As you may have gathered….we are STILL WAITING for Lucy to decide to come out. We had our biophysical profile this afternoon which was basically just an ultrasound to check on Lucy’s size, the amount of amniotic fluid in the womb, and the overall health of the placenta. Everything looked great. The Dr. just said that she appeared perfectly happy in there and doesn’t appear to be post-mature at all. So, thankfully, they didn’t insist on inducing me today and if I haven’t gone into natural labor before then, I will be induced on Monday morning.

But, we hope that she will arrive tonight or tomorrow! After acupuncture yesterday morning, I started having some good contractions which really picked up around 11pm and stayed 6-10 minutes apart and over a minute long for a few hours. But, by 4am, they started to space out again and I was able to fall asleep until 7am. Today they’ve been coming and going but I hope that they really pick up again this evening so we can meet our girl!

Thanks for your prayers and messages and texts! We will certainly post here and on Facebook when she (finally!) arrives.

Week 41 Pregnancy Update
October 17, 2011, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Pregnancy

You’ve probably gathered that I’m STILL pregnant. I was being very whiny and irritable about it all weekend until I realized how stupid it is to be upset that I’m still carrying a perfectly healthy full-term little girl in a safe and healthy pregnancy. So I’m trying to be nothing but grateful. But I’m still just shocked that I’m overdue. All the cramping and contractions started almost 4 weeks ago and I’ve been expecting to go into labor every day since then.

This morning I had an appointment with my midwife, Kim. She stripped my membranes and hopefully that will kick start labor in the next 24 hours or so. She sent me over to labor and delivery for a non-stress test just because of being almost a week overdue. Lucy seems to be absolutely perfectly happy and fine in there. On Thursday if I haven’t gone into labor yet I will get a biophysical which checks the amniotic fluid levels, etc. to make sure that my body is still giving Lucy everything she needs. If that raises red flags they will induce me right then, if everything looks good then they’ll give me until Monday hoping I go into labor naturally before getting induced. Kim said that if Lucy’s head is low enough on Monday, she will try breaking my bag of waters to start labor before giving me any Pitocin. Hopefully, we can avoid Pitocin altogether!

I have an acupuncture appointment tomorrow to try to induce labor. If stripping the membranes doesn’t do anything then maybe that will! If I haven’t gone into labor by Sunday I might try some castor oil as a last attempt before getting induced Monday morning.

I’m about 3.5 cm dilated and 60% effaced. So at least I’m making a little progress!

Thank you everybody for your prayers for me and Baby Lucy! Benjamin is all better and has settled back into a normal routine at our house. He was so perfect at Mass yesterday and was just angelic all day today. We’ve had some special time together 🙂

Please pray that I will go into labor naturally before Thursday and not even need to mess with the biophysical and for safety for me and for Lucy during delivery! But no matter what happens, God willing we will have a baby in our arms by Monday night at the latest.