A Daughter’s Birth Story {With Videos}

My pregnancy with you was an amazing and trying time. In the first few months I was tired and nauseous which is to be expected. After those first weeks I started feeling better but still very tired. I had so much to look forward to with you in my belly.

The first kicks, hiccups, punches and rolls. They all happened and were a constant reminder of how amazing it was that I got to be a part of this miracle. Pregnancy and birth is the one time in a woman’s life where she gets to assist God in a miracle. It’s pretty spectacular.

Around 20 weeks I started feeling light headed and was having chest palpitations. I went to see the doctor who sent me to see several other doctors. My blood count was down to 7 so I had to have a blood transfusion at 25 weeks pregnant. After that I felt SO much better! I could enjoy the rest of my pregnancy.

Your little brother was so excited that he was going to have a sister. He would rub my belly everyday and give you kisses. He also had a little doll that he fed and took care of to practice being a big brother. It was so sweet!

maternity 36 weeks

I worked up until the shift before my due date. I started having contractions every night at work so Daddy worked my last shift so that I could rest. A week before my due date labor started….

It all started on the night of November 18th, 2011. I felt hugely pregnant and wanted to take your brother to the zoo to see the Christmas lights before you arrived. We decided that Friday night may be the last chance before your big arrival so we piled into the car and headed to the zoo. We had a great time looking at all of the lights, drinking hot chocolate and walking around.

When we were walking out of the manatee building I must have been waddling, as sometimes happens in pregnancy, because the woman behind me asked her husband, “What’s wrong with that girl?” I guess from the back I did not look pregnant. What was wrong with me is that I had a fully grown baby inside of me about to drop out!

After we were done looking at all of the lights we piled back into the car and headed home. We got your brother to bed and did a little cleaning around the house before we settled in for the night.

Around 1:00 am Daddy and I headed to bed. Around 4:00 am I started dreaming about obstructive sleep apnea. (Which was not all that unusual because mommy spends a lot of time scoring sleep studies) I kept seeing a squiggly line that would go flat for about 1 minute and then pick back up. Around 4:30 am I woke up to go to the bathroom and realized that I was having contractions! I had been dreaming about obstructive sleep apnea when I was having contractions! When the line was squiggly was when I had a break and when it went flat was during the contraction.

After using the restroom I decided to try to go back to sleep and see if the contractions would stop. They did not stop and were getting worse. I was beginning to think that this was it. You see I had been having bouts of contractions for about two weeks before this but they always fizzled out.

These contractions woke me from my sleep, kept coming and were getting stronger and stronger.

Since I was really beginning to think that this was it I woke up Daddy and told him I thought maybe I was in labor. At that time I was working from home (mommy was working two part time jobs during your pregnancy, one as an RPSGT in a sleep lab and another scoring sleep studies at home) and I had a little bit of work that I needed to finish.

I told Daddy that I was going to go into my office downstairs and try to finish up my work just in case I was really in labor. All I had left to do was write a report for the doctor.

I sat down and started writing the report, which was not unlike the other hundreds of reports I had written for her, and I could not for the life of me concentrate on what I needed to write in that report. When that happened I shut down the computer and got into the bath.

In the bath I took a candle, some relaxation music and a towel. I turned the lights off, turned on my ocean waves music and put the towel over my belly to keep my belly warm. The contractions kept coming so I called grandma to have her get ready to come over and take care of your brother when he woke up. She got up, showered and headed over.

After I got off the phone with her I started timing my contractions and they were between 5 and 6 minutes apart lasting 1 to 2 minutes. At 7:oo am I called my doula Catie and told her what was going on. I checked my cervix before I called her and I was about 4 cm dilated at that time and bleeding just a little bit. She said that she thought I was for sure in labor.

Catie told me to call her when I wanted her help. I wanted to labor at home as long as I could stand it before heading in to the hospital. A little after 8:00 am my labor was getting pretty intense. I checked my cervix again and was about 5-6 cm dilated and I could feel your bag of waters bulging. I decided I needed to head to the hospital.

Before we could go to the hospital I had to install your brothers car seat into Grandma’s car. So there I was almost in transition installing a car seat! After helping me with that Daddy decided that he needed to set up the DVR to record the football game he was going to miss.

Finally we got into the car and headed to the hospital. On the way there I called my OB because it was her day off and she gave me her cell phone number to call her at home when it was time. She said “Here’s the thing. I have tickets to the football game at 3:30 today.” I said don’t worry I think the baby will be here before then. She said “Ok well I’ll get ready and call the hospital in a half hour to check on you.”

The drive there was horrible but the traffic was not to bad. Going through transition in the back seat of a car was terrible. I had about 7 or 8 contractions in the car before finally making it to the hospital.

I had a contraction in the parking lot right when we got there and then jumped out of the car and practically ran into the hospital to try to get to labor and delivery before I had another one. I got to the elevator, the elevator doors opened and I practically ran over the poor man trying to get out of the elevator.

When I got up to the second floor Catie (my doula) was sitting in the lobby and just smiled at me and said “you look SO low!” I smiled at her and I think she thought I may not be in labor because I looked so happy. Then a contraction hit. She said “That was a strong one.”

I had to try and fill paperwork out but mostly I just could nod my head agreeing with everything Daddy told them about me. I got to the hospital at 9:10 am and they took me back to triage by 9:15 am.

I had to get in the bed long enough for them to run a strip to check your heartbeat and check my dilation. You looked good and I was dilated 7 cm and 100% effaced. I was quickly moved to room 11. Our doctor called and said she would be there in a half an hour.

Slow Dancing
While I was in transition I got to move freely. They used a doppler to check your heartbeat every so often. I felt the best slow dancing with daddy. When it got to be too much I tried the birth ball, and then finally I got to get into the labor tub. Around 10:00 am our doctor arrived and pulled up a rocking chair and sat next to the tub just talking to everyone. She was so supportive for a doctor. Daddy held my hand and stroked my hair and Catie poured warm water over my belly. I was very thirsty after every contraction. Daddy gave me a sip of water when each contraction ended.
Support from Dad
At 10:43 am I asked to be checked because I was starting to feel pushy. The doctor checked me while I was still in the tub and I was 9.5 cm 100% effaced and 0 station. At that time my contractions started to space out a little bit. It was great because I could rest. I was always told you will know when you are in transition because you will not be able to think clearly between contractions. That was not the case at all for me. When a contraction would start I would breathe heavy. When it would peak I would be screaming (only in transition) and then I could just relax. In between the contractions I could laugh and jump right back into conversation.

“This next one is going to be much stronger.” Catie warned. “When you get a long break like that it’s your body’s way of saving your energy to deal with the next contraction.” The next contraction hit and sure enough it was the strongest and longest one yet. By the end of it my body was pushing without me being able to control it.

Laboring in the tub
“She’s pushing” Catie yelled. “No I’m not” I yelled. “Get out of the water” shouted my doctor. “NO” I said. First of all I was not pushing, my body was and second there was no way I could get my pregnant self out of that tub during that contraction. As soon as it ended I jumped up and out of the tub. While I had the option to deliver anywhere but in the water, I wanted to be on the bed. I ran over and jumped up on the bed. It was show time.

AT 10:53 am I was completely dilated and ready to push. I had the head of the bed all the way up with two pillows behind me. I was sitting at a 90 degrees. The next contraction came and I began pushing. I pushed when I wanted and how long I wanted. Pushing was such a relief. It took the edge off of the contractions for sure.

I pushed a couple of times and your head was starting to crown. I told Catie and the doctor that it was burning and they used mineral oil to help stretch everything out and a warm cloth against my skin to keep me from tearing. Another push and my water broke.  I felt a pop and then a huge gush of clear fluid. Catie later told me that it was so cool.

She could see your hair floating around in the waters. It’s called being born in the caul and it means you are going to be very special! I reached down and could feel my baby girls head! A few more pushes and your head was out and then a final push and I delivered my baby girl. You were placed directly on my chest and you were perfect!

Annabelle Grace arrived at 11:24 am! Daddy and I got a real good look at you. You were perfect! Your Apgar scores were 8 and 9. We did skin to skin for awhile.  Daddy told Catie that he was surprised. When you came out you looked right at him! I think that is when you became wrapped around his little finger.

Daddy and I asked that your cord clamping be delayed. When it stopped pulsating Daddy cut it. Then I nursed you and you nursed like a champ for about an hour. After that they took you to be weighed. 7 lbs 11 oz and 19.5 inches long.

When you came out you had your hand next to your face and that tore me just a little. One stitch and I was as good as new.

After my doctor stitched me up I started hemorrhaging. I lost over 800 mL of blood quite quickly and got really pale. I was given 600 mg of cytotec and a bag of pitocin that I was on until 8:00 pm that night. This did get the bleeding under control. While they were working on getting my bleeding under control daddy held you skin to skin.

Once I stopped bleeding, about 30 mins after I started, Daddy gave you back and we did more skin to skin. This whole time they were taking my temperature, and they said I had a fever. I knew that my temperature was going up because I was holding you. Which ever side of my chest you were on got really warm.

Mothers are amazing being able to feed and regulate their babies right at the moment of birth. Once they moved me to my postpartum room you got a bath and they took my temperature again when I was not holding you and it was normal. After your bath I held you and again my temperature went up. I thought that was so amazing how my body changed its temperature to keep you warm!

We stayed in the hospital for 48 hours of which time you did not sleep at all. You were seriously awake most of the time. Then we headed home to start our life as a family of 4. Once we got home you only woke up every 3 hours to eat for the first three weeks or so.

My milk came in around 36 hours after you were born so you were a happy baby right from the start. As soon as your tummy was full you went right back to sleep. Once you hit three weeks old you started to be awake more and more. You are 11 weeks old as I write this and you are up most of the day and sleep between 6 and 11 hour stretches at night.

You love being held and loved on. You get upset when Daddy and I put you down so you are held or worn most of the time. You like to be warm, with a dry diaper and a full tummy.

You would only sleep on a pillow called a newborn lounger or in the crook of my arm until you were 6 weeks old. If you drink expressed milk out of a bottle it has to be exactly body temperature or else you gag. You are for sure our little princess but we would have you no other way!  We LOVE you sweet baby girl!!!

Maternity Photo credit to Stephanie Barnes Photography

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