Monday, September 2, 2013

Dani Kalifornia: A birth story

Just real quick, before I get into this.  A few facts about my past pregnancies, labors and deliveries.

1.  The longest I've ever been pregnant was thirty seven weeks and one day.
2.  Each time I've been in actual labor, I've walked into my midwife's office a tad uncomfortable and dilated to five.
3.  As soon a I entered the hospital I was given fluid and an epidural and then my water was broke and my labor progressed normally...meaning, I dilated a centimeter per hour for the next four hours, pushed a couple of times and out popped a baby.  Badda Bing!  Badda Boom!  Baby.

Dominick's labor and birth was more difficult because of an issue with high blood pressure and my epidural didn't work toward the very end...and I hemorrhaged after his birth, but looking back, it was nothing compared Dani's birth.

So, here it goes, the story of Dani.

At my forty week appointment with Dr. M,  I discussed my fears of having an incredibly large baby, because, seriously guys, I was incredibly large myself...And Diamond was born at thirty seven weeks and she weighed a little over seven pounds, so I was thinking that Dani was just going to be humongous!

Case and point, here's me at forty one weeks...Yikes!  It's not a very flattering photo, but seriously, who is when they've been pregnant for ten months and a week?!

Dr. M and I decided it would be best to wait one more week before inducing.  I was healthy, baby was healthy, why not?  He left it totally up to me.  He said "Kimberly, if you want to be induced Thursday then show up at the hospital at 6 a.m. and we'll do this and if you don't want to do this then show up at my office Thursday morning at 8 a.m. and we'll go from there.  At this point, I was still unsure.

Steven and I took the week and prayed a lot about the whole induction thing and when Wednesday rolled around, we were sure that it's what we wanted to do.  It was obvious that she wasn't willing to come on her own.  Wednesday evening, the day before our scheduled induction, we drove the two and a half hour drive back to Mena.  We went to the hospital to check out the birthing center and fill out the necessary paper work.  While we were at the hospital they told us that we really should be there at 5:45 instead of 6:00.  That put us leaving for the hospital at about 20 after five.  I kind of rolled my eyes and thought to myself "You'll be lucky if I'm here at 6!".  After that, we went to our friend's house, got the kiddos settled in bed and went to bed ourselves.  Did I mention that I was having contractions at this point?  They were teeny but coming at a steady pace. 

That night, I slept about as well as a newborn.  I tossed and turned and woke up a lot.  I just couldn't get comfortable and I had a nice little back ache going on.  Looking back, I'm pretty sure that I was in the early stages of labor when we arrived at the hospital Thursday morning.  I awoke for good at about four but for some reason I just wasn't motivated.  I was ill and snappy and my poor kids were scrambling around trying to be very quiet so they didn't wake anyone up but also trying to do the task asked of them, quickly trying their best to avoid getting "bitten" by me.  After I showered, I just sat around for a while.  I'm not really sure why.  I guess I was just trying to calm myself down and prepare my mind for what was about to happen.  I remember praying for Dani to be delivered safe, for Dr. M to know what he was doing, and for me not to have to have a c-section because of Dani's size...I never prayed for a painless delivery...wish I would've.

I guess my friend H saw what was going on with me and she took charge of the kiddos.  She fed them and made sure their teeth were brushed and they had their stuff ready to go.  Steven loaded up the car and I just ...hung out.  We left K and H's house at 5:45 and headed to the hospital.  I texted Steven's mom and told her that I would be texting her all day and updating her on what was going on and how the labor was progressing.  On the way to the hospital I passed the time by timing contractions.  They were still tiny and mild but coming every five to seven minutes.  We arrived at the hospital at about five after six.  We had to check in through the emergency room to get our paperwork and then head back to the labor and delivery floor.  I held Diamond's hand while we walked back there and worried about how she would handle not being the "baby" anymore.  The closer we got to the LDR floor the tighter her little hand squeezed in mine.  I watched her eyes looking around taking everything in and I wondered what her five year old self was thinking.  *tears*  Gah!  I'm such a sap trying to write this!

Even though we were roughly 25 minutes late when we walked through the doors of the labor and delivery unit, the nurses were all smiley and super sweet.  They knew exactly who I was and led me to my room.  The nurse handed me a gown and white bag to put my clothes in.  I hadn't ever been so excited to put a hospital gown on in my life!  I slipped off my Harding t-shirt, the biggest t-shirt I owned {actually the biggest t-shirt Steven owned} and smiled as I folded it and slipped it and the rest of my clothes into the bag.  I held up my gown and kind of snickered to myself because it was huge!  "Finally!"  I thought "Something that I will feel small in!"  After I put it on,  I couldn't help but snicker again because my huge gown didn't close all the way in the back!  "Nothing can break my spirit!"  I thought "I'm about to meet my daughter!  This day is going to be epic!"

Okay, here's where the fun part starts.  Around 6:30ish the nurse comes in and attempts to start an I.V.  Right off the bat she blows my vein.  She apologizes and tries again and blows another vein.  I'm still cheery and happy and I don't complain b/c It's not her fault that I have deceitful veins.  Another nurse comes in and guess what?  Yep, the same thing happens.  She  decides not to give it another try and sends in some one else.  Fortunately, the fourth time was the charm and I was really relieved.  Having a "needle" that resembles a PVC pipe more than a needle repeatedly shoved into my veins just isn't my cup of tea.  "You're such a happy and forgiving patient, I kind of wish my shift wasn't over." the nurse commented.  Yeah, I'm betting she was glad she left after she heard what happened just a little while later.

Dr. M showed up a little before seven, smile on his face, coffee in hand and cheery.  He gave the kids an armload of cookies and snacks and began to discuss the process of induction with me.  He checked me and I was dilated to three and a half, the same as I had been for two weeks.  There was no change.  He then broke my water and told me that he was going to go ahead and change into his scrubs because I went from 3 1/2 to 4 as soon as he broke my water.  That was about five after seven.

Breaking my water was just what I needed to jump start my labor.  Contractions picked up a steady pace of every five minutes or so and I was comfortable for the fifty minutes or so.  Around 10 till eight, I started to feel some pain with the contractions but it wasn't anything unbearable.  It was just uncomfortable.  The contractions started coming a little more quickly and about that time the nurse {nurse Leah}came in to check me.  She said I was about 5 1/2 and asked me if I wanted to go ahead and get my epidural.  I was all for that.  I wanted a pain free labor and delivery and if I didn't have to feel any pain what-so-ever then I was all for that. 

Somewhere in between the above paragraph and the one below, our neighbor showed up to pick up the kiddos.  Can I just say that I'm glad he wasn't late??

Leah left the room to call anesthesia .  As soon as she left the room, I had a pretty strong contraction.  It wasn't just a little bit uncomfortable, it freakin' hurt!  Leah was right back with a bag of fluid that I had to have before I could have the epidural.  She said "Good news, epidural guy is on the way!".  He actually arrived just a few minutes later.  I had another contraction between the time she told me and when he actually came in the room.  That contraction put me on my hands and knees and it was quickly followed by another that had me politely begging Leah to turn the Pitocin off.  She told me that it was on the lowest dose possible and even if she did turn it off that it wouldn't slow my contractions or ease the pain.  These contractions were now very strong and coming back to back, one right after another. 

I tried to leave.  Literally.  I told Leah that I just couldn't do this and that I needed to go home.  That poor girl, I wonder if she woke up that morning and knew what was in store for her??  I knew that I was being irrational but I also knew that this much pain wasn't normal and labor pain usually gets worse, not better.  I don' know what I was thinking.  Maybe if I just got up and walked out of the LDR room I would magically be back in that Harding t-shirt and those big black shorts and my water would be unbroken and I would feel miserably pregnant, but not in pain, again.

Epidural guy walked in during the middle of a contraction and he had to wait for it to be over in order for me to be able to sit on the side of the bed. 

I think this is where the screaming started.  I sat on the side of the bed but quickly came up off my bottom because of the intensity of another contraction.  Leah made me look her in the eyes and strongly urged me to let her check me, but I insisted and promised I would just as soon as epidural guy did his thing.  I finally managed to sit on the side of the bed, holding on to Steven tighter than I've ever held on to anyone.  Another contraction.  It had me grasping on the rail and Steven, gritting my teeth and of course, screaming and begging for help.  I actually bit Steven, twice.  I was in serious panic mode.  The pain wouldn't slow long enough for me to get a firm grasp on what was going on.  I actually thought maybe I was dreaming.  It was weird.

Epidural guy told me that I had to be still and not move if I wanted the epidural.  I couldn't.  The pain was so intense, I could not be still and definitely could not sit anywhere.  I felt as if my pelvic bone were shattering and the pieces were stabbing me in places of my body that I didn't know existed.  I yelled that I needed to push not knowing if I really did or not.  It just seemed like it might be the thing to end this pain.  I felt like I needed to have a bowel movement and apologized to Leah stating {through a firmly clenched jaw} that 'I was about to krap all over the place!' {I didn't}. Apparently, Dani was crowning.

Crowning.  Webster's dictionary has many definitions for the word 'crown'.  Let me list a few of them real quick:  a reward of victory or mark of honor, the top most part of the head or skull, a wreath, band or circular ornament for the head {good one!}, the summit of a mountain...the list goes on and on!  I have my own definition of crowning that good ole Webster failed to list and that is: 'Crowning:  Take a hefty, gold and jeweled up crown and try to insert it into the vagina by using a sledge hammer or foot.  Make sure you have the pointy end facing the vagina and kick or hammer repeatedly until you've successfully jammed that thing in there, then jerk it out as quickly as you can.  That is my definition of crowning and if Mr. Webster knew anything about the word crowning, he would pay me lots of money to add that to the top of his list, cuz that, my friends is the truth!

  This whole having a baby without pain meds was completely new to me.  I had no idea what was going on.  I looked at Leah, begging for help and she looked at me with sympathetic eyes and said the most horrible thing I had ever heard "Kimberly, it's too late for an epidural.".  I begged and pleaded with him to just do it!  I promised, in between screams and cries, that I would be still if he would just do it!  He couldn't.  I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of helplessness I felt as he left the room.

When he left, instinct kicked in and I knew what I had to do.  Sitting on the side of the bed still holding on to Steven, I pushed.  After I pushed, Leah talked me in to letting her check me.  I semi sat back on the bed and let her.  She pulled my gown up and confirmed what she already knew, Dani's head was clearly visible.  I had another contraction which resulted in more screaming, begging, and pleading.  I looked at Steven and he was as pale as a sheet and shaking furiously.  We were both terrified and somehow that was comforting to me.  I'm pretty sure Leah told me not to push.  I pushed anyway.

Dr. M scurried in the room.  In one sense, he looked like superman swooping in in his sea green scrubs and in another sense he looked like the green goblin {I know, I know, spider man - super man, whatever.  This is my story.}  He was going to deliver my baby and make this pain go away, but him being there confirmed that epidural guy was not coming back {I don't know why I still had hope, but obviously I did.}.  I felt....defeated.

The first thing Dr. M said to me {as he was walking in the room} was "you need to breathe!"  Yeah, dude I was actually trying that but the whole screaming whilst gritting my teeth trying to stop screaming was getting in the way of the whole breathing thing.  Dr. M pulled up a stool to the side of my bed to assess the situation.  There was no time to take my bed apart and pull out the stirrups or to turn the fancy bright lights on.  He looked up at me and the second thing he said to me after I had already taken it upon myself to finish pushing her head out was that I needed to wait to push again so he could get her shoulders out -- yet another order that I took upon myself not to obey entirely.  There was a baby hanging halfway out of my vagina.  No thanks, I really prefer not to wait to expel that.  I'm pretty sure that I did all this pushing with my eyes closed because I have absolutely no recollection of the sight of her actually being born.  I gave a final push and opened my eyes to see a very shaken looking Dr. M and a very in awe Steven.

And then I looked down on the hospital bed at my daughter.  In the mix of a lot of blood and guts lay my very perfectly pink - squealing like a tiny pig - daughter, all bright eyed and just as shocked as I was that she had entered this world so quickly.  That moment.  That moment is forever ingrained into my mind.  What a beautiful sight she was!  What a sheer blessing!

Baby nurse swooped her up and away she went for measurements and check ups and whatever else it is they do with newbies.  Steven grabbed the camera and shoved the battery in it and rushed to be with Dani, per my request.

Dr. M and I hung out and did the whole after birth thing.  Poor guy came at me with the umbilical needle and I reared my foot back and demanded to know what he was going to with that!  I wouldn't really kick my o.b., would I???  Everything gets blurry after this.  I remember a lot of blood and words like "hemorrhaging" and "lets get this bleeding under control".  I felt week and dizzy and my vision was really sort of spotty...but that's not really worth going in to, or important.

Somewhere along the way, someone handed my daughter to me.  No words for this.  Here's a picture instead. (:

Okay, so Dr. M left and Leah took back over.  She had to check up on me every few minutes and what I mean by that is that she had to try her best to scrape the inside of my uterus out with her hand through my belly button. There was so much blood.  I remember asking myself how could a human body bleed so much and still be conscious?  That was the second time I asked myself about consciousness in the hour. Hm.  Every time she did that {which was often} there was so much blood and pain.  It was overwhelming.  After a couple of doses of some sort of white pill and an hour or two later, the bleeding was under control.  Oh, and she also gave me some pain medicine.  When the pain medicine kicked in, she became my new super man. ;)

One more note, and then I'll wrap this thing up. I'm not exactly sure when it started, but shortly after Dani was born, I started shaking and couldn't stop.  I actually got Steven to go and ask the nurse if it was normal and how to make it stop.  Apparently, it is normal, but I hemorrhaged after Dom was born and don't remember shaking like that, but maybe I lost more blood with Dani.  After two solid hours of shaking uncontrollably, it finally stopped.  Almost, anyway.  Every time poor Leah would walk thru the door, it would start again.  I'm sure a lot of it had to do with loosing so much blood, but I also think a lot of it had to do with the trauma I had and I was obviously associating it with poor Leah.  She really was an awesome nurse.  I had planned to be an awesome patient...but I didn't plan for the circumstances to be as the were so...well, you know.

So, there It is!  The story of our Dani girl! 


We'll talk about the PPD in another post.












  1. Kimberly,
    I can sympathize with you. I had some of the same experiences.
    You were able to write them in a very entertaining way. Thank you. I enjoyed.
    I am glad that you are able to tell about it. I am sure it makes you feel better.
    My offer is still open to help you at any time. 501-951-1749.

    Nancy Carper

  2. Thanks, Nancy! I will certainly take you up on your offer, soon! Love you! xoxo

    1. Lol,..... Hey, give me that shot that might paralyze YOU from the waist DOWN! :p