Today I am so excited that my real life friend, Katie, is here to share her daughter Natalie's birth story. Katie and I are friends from high school and today is Natalie's FIRST BIRTHDAY - could there be a more perfect day to share the day this sweet little girl was born?
Hey everyone! My name is Katie, and I (gasp!) don’t actually have a blog. BUT, I do love reading blogs and have been reading Mama & Mou ever since getting pregnant with my baby girl. Ok, I read it before that too- but I’ve also known Kristin since middle school. I was so excited to get the chance to share my daughter’s birth story because I actually have never written it, but I have been meaning to do it for the last 12 months now, I guess its better late than never!
My sweet little girl, Natalie Alice, was due to enter this world on August 20th, but at each doctor’s appointment from 37 weeks on, I was told that I would have her early. I saw three different doctors in that time and each of them said “no way’ was I making it to the next appointment! However, the due day came and went…and the doctor finally let me schedule an induction if I hit 41 weeks, joking that it was just a formality, because I definitely wouldn’t be needing an induction! Well, guess what? Turns out I did it. It was just about the weirdest thing going to bed the night before I was induced, knowing what the next day would bring and also having NO clue what it would be like. For some reason, I was incredibly worried about what the right thing to eat for breakfast would be. I debated this for way too long, and finally settled on oatmeal and peanut butter for the win! My husband, Mark, and I got to the hospital at about 7am and got settled into our labor and delivery room. The nurse started an IV and hooked up some bags of fluid. The overnight doctor was still there, so she came in and broke my water at about 8:30. It didn’t hurt at all, which was great because I was expecting the worst! She said to me “Well, there’s no leaving without your baby now!” Don’t worry lady, wasn’t planning on it!
The nurse then started to give me Pitocin through the IV and it wasn’t too long before I started to have some contractions. I decided that we should walk around while the pain was still manageable, so we strolled up and down the hallway. After about an hour I decided to try sitting on the yoga ball. The contractions started to really heat up at this point but I had barely made any progress. After more walking and more bouncing on the ball, the contractions were getting to be really painful, so I was sure I had to be moving a long in the process. I remember being blown away by how each contraction was really a "full body experience" rather than a terrible cramp. I was still only at about 3cm by 1pm, so the nurse suggested getting an epidural so she could turn the Pitocin up to the maximum dose. I had planned on getting an epidural all along, so it was an easy decision to make when the time came. The anesthesiologist was apparently having a busy day, but he was in our room and getting the epidural going by 2:45. Side note, he was a super attractive young doctor and the hospital should probably ban him from the premises because it is not cool to have to a super attractive young doctor see your pregnant backside. I have a medical device implanted in my lower back and there was some concern about whether it would interfere with the epidural. Unfortunately, something about it did interfere and the epidural only worked on one side of my body. The anesthesiologist suggested that I lay on my side to help the medication “spread out evenly,” which did help, but I was never completely numb. I tried to relax and get some rest, as I knew I wouldn't be getting much that night, but I really couldn't settled down at all. I was laying on my side for the next 2 hours while the Pitocin was at the maximum dosage, but then I started to be able to feel everything again and had the nurse come back to check things out. I was sure she would tell me that we still had a long time to go, in fact, I had just texted my family and friends and told them we were in for a long night!
Instead she told me that I was ready to push! Umm, excuse me? Say what? I was wanting more meds before this happened! I am grateful that the epidural lasted long enough to get me to a 10, but I was definitely not thrilled that the main event would be au natural. Who really has time to care about this though when a baby is about to exit your body? My doctor was still across the street where her practice is, but they paged her to come over and got me started with some “practice” pushing. A second nurse came in, the doctor got there, and they set Mark up holding one of my legs, even though I could easily move them on my own.
I was completely blown away at how hard it was to hold my breath while pushing and counting. To be honest, I had a few moments of “no, sorry, I cannot do this.” I was almost instantly fatigued from the pushing, which was pretty surprising to me since I worked out up until 41 weeks and was actually in excellent shape. It just felt to me that the baby was completely stuck and that I was making zero progress despite using 110% of my strength. After 45 minutes, the doctor told me that the baby’s heart rate was dropping and she was not getting enough oxygen. She said she would give me one more good push while she used the vacuum, but that she would be performing an emergency c-section if the baby didn’t come out. Something in me just said no way would I stop pushing and I just knew that I had to get her out on the next push. I have no idea how I made that happen, but one more push (and completely disregarding the counting nurse next to me) and Natalie was here!! As soon as everyone saw here, they all said..and I quote “Oh! THAT’S why this was so hard!” Turns out she was sunny-side up AND had her umbilical cord wrapped around her, literally pulling her back in after each push. She came into this world frantically swinging her arms and kicking her legs, like she was finally free! One of the nurses said she had never seen a baby move that wildly so soon after birth. I thought maybe I should be worried about it, like maybe those couple of diet cokes I drank in the last 10 months actually were full of the caffeinated poison I read about on the Internet. But then I had a warm little baby on my chest and her eyes were wide open and she had this tiny perfect cry. She didn’t let out that loud cry you think about, she was really very mature about the whole thing. The nurses helped me to breastfeed her for the first time and she latched on perfectly, causing my very first words to her to be “Oh! You’re so smart!” And she still is, she’s the smartest little baby. She entered this world at 5:28 pm on August 27th, 2014. She was 7 lbs 3 oz and 20 inches long.
I was able to get out of bed right after having her since the epidural was long gone. It was nice to let Mark hold her while I got cleaned up and ready to move into the room where we spent the next 2 nights. I can’t even describe that first night having a brand new baby sleeping next to you. If you’ve been through it then you already know what type of magic it is, but it is pretty surreal and well…magical. The days in the hospital are now a total blur, but I know there were lots of visitors, lots of poking and prodding, a little bit on jaundice, and a few terrifying moments in the shower. We survived it though! Mark and I really had no idea what we were doing and probably still don’t, but she is now the happiest and sweetest (and smartest!) 1 year old.
So there you have it, nothing too wild or crazy, but with the most perfect ending! Thanks for reading!
Happy FIRST Birthday Natalie! And thanks for sharing your story Katie!
If you are interested in sharing your birth story, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org