My daughter's birth didn't go quite as planned (risked out of the birth center due to fetal arrhythmia, and I ended up getting an epidural), but, all things considered, it went well, and I'm thrilled to introduce my healthy little girl. I haven't uploaded the snapshots my friend took during labor and delivery and immediately after, but I wanted to share these photos that my friend took at 6 days old--this was my friend's first newborn session (and she's not a professional--just does this as a hobby!!). I love what she captured of Ella. :)
On Saturday, May 7, 2011, we went to UCSD Medical Center Labor & Delivery for a 10:00 a.m. appointment to have a fetal non-stress test due to the detection of arrhythmia three days prior. We had discussed the possibility of induction by artificial rupture of membranes (AROM)--also known as breaking the water.
The results of the non-stress test were great. She was still definitely showing the arrhythmia, but she was doing well in spite of it. My blood pressure was a little high, but not alarmingly so. Lab work confirmed that my liver function was still good. The midwife on call, Linda, said that she would have no problem doing AROM with me since my cervix was dilated to 3 cm (as it had been for 2.5 weeks) and this was my third baby.
Just before 12 noon we were officially admitted and moved to a labor and delivery room. Because I was positive for Group B Strep (which is normal flora in an adult body but can be harmful to a newborn), they wanted me to have two doses of IV antibiotics before breaking my water. I got the first dose right around 12 noon and the second dose at about 4:00 p.m. I was having a lot of contractions, but nothing really strong or consistent.
At about 4:20 p.m., Linda checked my cervix--which had miraculously progressed to 4 cm on its own!--and then broke my water. I spent a lot of time on an exercise ball after that since my ability to walk around was very limited. Because of the arrhythmia, I needed to have continuous fetal monitoring (which is also why I had to deliver in Labor & Delivery rather than in the Birth Center), which meant I had to wear the lovely elastic belts that become really obnoxious after a while.
My contractions became stronger and more frequent, but still not really intense or regular. Around 7:00 p.m., Linda checked my cervix again and I was 5 cm--so some progress, which was good since we were hoping to avoid Pitocin.
After that, things really started to pick up quickly and it became somewhat of a blur. My friend, Aubrey, came to visit, and it seems like when she showed up, I was doing okay at first but within minutes of her getting there, the contractions got really intense. (Just to clarify--this had nothing to do with Aubrey’s visit!) When they checked me again around 8:30 p.m., I was 7 cm, and wasn’t doing the best job of tolerating the contractions. I was feeling discouraged that I had another 3 cm to go, and Brandon can probably tell you I shared some choice words.
I don’t remember exactly when it was, but I decided to ask for an epidural. Technically I demanded and begged for an epidural, and that anesthesiologist couldn’t get there fast enough! The midwife assured me that I was in transition and that it was almost over, but I really felt like I could maybe make it TO the pushing, but didn’t feel like I had the energy for the pushing itself. I had really wanted to deliver without any pain intervention, so this was a little disappointing to me at first, but I know in the scheme of things, this isn’t important, so I’m not going to beat myself up over it.
Around 9:20 p.m., the anesthesiologist gave me the epidural and I felt MUCH better. Almost immediately, I started feeling pain and pressure in my bottom, so the midwife checked me and said that I was not only completely dilated, but that Ella was at a +2 station--in other words, just a few centimeters from crowning. I still felt a lot of the pain while pushing, but I know it was only a fraction of the pain I would have felt without the epidural. After just about 20 minutes or so of pushing, Ella made her way into the world, calmly and quietly without any crying (Ella I mean... I was neither calm nor quiet and I was definitely crying!). Her time of birth was 10:02 p.m. on Saturday, May 7--just 12 hours after arriving at the hospital for a non-stress test and less than 6 hours after the AROM. I was able to reach down and “catch” her and bring her to my chest to snuggle for a while before they took her to weigh her. We waited for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating, and then Brandon cut it. She weighed in at 8 pounds 2 ounces and measured 21 inches in length. She has a generous amount of dark brown hair and her eyes look to be brown, but it’s hard to tell for sure. She’s absolutely beautiful!
The pediatrician came in to assess her and do an EKG and said that he didn’t detect any arrhythmia--wonderful news!!
A few of my favorite photos from 6 days old: