Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ingrid Cate's Birth Story

A year ago today I headed to the doctor for my 40 week appointment. I wasn't really "feeling" like I would be going into labor on my due date. Plus, a week earlier I was only dialated one centimeter. So my hopes weren't up too high for any major progress. I went into my appointment and my nurse asked what I wanted to do if I hadn't progressed any. I had made it clear that I didn't want to be induced unless I was two weeks over my due date, so I reiterated that information to her. She laughed and said, "Yeah, yeah. WE KNOW." haha. She suggested I have my cervix stretched to try to help me progress a little. I mulled it over while waiting on Dr. C. He came in and checked me and I was still at a 1. So I talked with him about this stretching business. He recommended that I do it. So Nurse E came back in and said I might want to try one of the breathing techniques that we had worked on in class....I'm thinking--oh great! It definitely was uncomfortable. Even a little painful. But I took it like a champ and set out to walk with mom. Since it was July 6th and very hot, we walked indoors at our local mall. We walked for about 90 minutes or so--probably around 3 miles. Towards the end of our walk, I started having menstrual type cramps. Dr. C had said I would have some cramping and spotting from the stretching, so I didn't think too much about them. When I got home, around 2:00, I was still having cramps and they were getting pretty strong. I thought about laying down and resting, but decided I had too much to do. (Later, I would definitely regret that decision!) I went upstairs to my craft studio to work on a sign to display for Ingrid in the hospital.

For the life of me, I can't figure out how in the world I was able to stay up there and work all afternoon and evening. It was over 100 degrees upstairs and this summer I can barely go up there for a second to get some supplies. But I was determined to make a few last minute things for my baby girl. I kept noticing the cramping getting stronger and it was never going away. I kept busy to keep my mind off it. Derek came home from work and I told him all about the appointment and the walking and the cramping, etc. He suggested I rest a little bit. Of course, I said I didn't need to rest, just needed to work! Later on, he went to play basketball and I moved on from working on the sign to a little dress I had started for Ingrid earlier in the week. I was still working when he got back. During this time, the cramping had grown into what felt like contractions. I had never had a contraction, so of course I wasn't sure if they were real. I texted Mary Beth around 6 and described what was going on and asked her what she thought. She said definitely sounded like contractions to her. I had already been timing them at this point and they were about 10 minutes apart. Derek had gotten overheated playing ball so I didn't want to tell him about the contractions until he felt better. I finally came downstairs and rested on the couch for a bit. This was around 10:30. We were watching animal planet and a tiger was giving birth. How fitting! I told Derek I thought I was having contractions. He shot up off the couch and asked if I was for real! I didn't want to go to the hospital until the contractions were really close together. One of my fears was to go to the hospital and get sent back home. That happens to so many first time moms! I definitely only wanted to check in if I was going to stay. Around 11:30 my contractions were 3 minutes apart so I texted my mom to tell her we were going to head to the hospital. I was just sitting on the couch not wanting to go. This was it. The moment I had been waiting for 9 months. And now I was scared. Scared of the unknown. Scared that I couldn't take the pain. Scared that my body would give out. Scared that Ingrid wouldn't be okay. I took a deep breath and said a prayer. I felt a rush of peace and exhilaration. God designed my body to do this. He was cheering for me. I could do it! We took my 40 week photo before heading to the hospital. Derek thought I was crazy, I know. Since it was around midnight when we arrived, we had to check in through the emergency room. Derek had already filled out all our paperwork at one of our childbirth classes so it was easy breezy. I was too nervous to go in, so Derek checked in and then came outside to tell me we were on go. We headed up to my room and the nurse said she would check me to see how far I was dilated. I was trying to expect a low number so I didn't get my hopes up. But it didn't work. When she said I was just almost at a two, I felt a little deflated. Especially when she said I might have to go back home. She asked how far apart my contractions were and how long they were lasting. I told her 2 minutes apart and lasting for 1 minute. She seemed surprised I was having contractions that close together and for that long since I wasn't even quite a 2. She decided to hook me up to the contraction tape to see for herself. She said my contractions were very strong quite early in the game and I better just stay put. I was glad she said that, because I was beginning to think I was a big baby. I thought the contractions felt pretty strong and it felt good to get a little reassurance. My mom arrived shortly after, around 12:45, full of excitement and positive energy, as usual! Derek's mom and brother came a little while later. My room was so nice and I thought I might watch a little television. I laugh thinking about that now. My contractions strengthened and lengthened rapidly. Soon I was only having 20-30 seconds to rest in between contractions. Derek was right by my side. Breathing with me. Breathing is the only way I made it. And having Derek tell me when to breathe and how long to breathe. He was the best coach in the world. The nursing staff couldn't believe it. They all told him he needed to be a doula. Later, Nurse E told us that Dr. C got teary-eyed talking about my delivery to the staff because he was so impressed with Derek's love and dedication to helping me deliver our baby.

I was very determined not to have an epidural. I never once let the thought cross my mind. Ever. I wanted to deliver my baby naturally. I wanted to feel the way God intended child birth to be. I wanted to be able to walk around and move through my contractions and pain. I wanted to be active after my precious girl was born. With that said, I have nothing against epidurals. And if there were a time that I might need one for medical reasons for my safety or for the baby's, I would take it without an argument. I just chose natural for me. Around daylight, I was feeling pretty tired. I couldn't rest because the contractions were so intense. It was a pain like nothing else. I can't even describe it. It's like a ripping and tearing that takes place deep within and you can feel throughout your whole body. I knew before hand that it would be the most painful experience of my life, but I didn't realize the magnitude of the pain. Even as I'm typing this I can't fully remember the intensity of it. Dr. C came in around 7 to check on me. He said the cramping I had been feeling the day before was just early labor. He checked me and I was at a 3. Slowly, but surely I guess. He encouraged me to walk and walk and walk. Derek walked with me around and around those halls so many times. When a contraction would hit, I would lean on him or the wall and breathe it out. Time seemed to stand still. Each hour took days and days. I tried every position in bed to try to get more comfortable, but comfort was a thing of the past. Derek stayed right by my side, making me drink sips of water, breathing in and out, applying chapstick to my chronic dry lips, taking the pain of each contraction with me. He would read scripture that I had picked out and written in a journal. He played my favorite songs he had put together in a labor playlist. He was my rock. I couldn't have made it without him.

At this point, I had not concept of time. I forced myself not to look at the clock that was on the wall directly across from me. I didn't want to know that I had a contraction that lasted for 2 minutes and another one follow directly behind. I didn't want to know that at 1:00 I was only dilated to a 4 and my water still hadn't broken. I tried to get a little relief from the awful pain in my back by seeking refuge in the shower. Ingrid had turned at one point and the back labor began. The shower helped for a little while, but then I got too tired and needed to lay back down.

I kept thinking to myself--why did I not take a nap yesterday? My water finally broke and the pain intensified. For the first time, I thought I couldn't do it. I thought I might not make it. My body felt like it was shutting down. I didn't know how I could make it through another contraction. And did I still have to push? Derek and the nurses convinced me to take a small dose of Nubain so my body could have a little time to rest in between contractions. I agreed, fearing I would end up in the OR having a c-section if my body gave out. The Nubain was awful because as soon as a contraction was over I would pass out for a few seconds and then wake up to another contractions so I felt like all the contractions were back to back to back. Even though I hated being on the Nubain, the nurses said at least my body got a little rest even if I didn't feel like it! It wore off quickly and I was back to me. I got checked again and I was at a 6! I felt a little hope. Maybe the end would be near and I would actually get to meet my baby girl. The next few hours felt like months and finally I was dilated to an 8. Dr. C came in and told me to push while he stretched to try to dilate me the rest of the way so I could start pushing. This was very painful and I was so tired. It worked though and I got to start pushing around 6:00. This was very difficult and the most painful part of all. I tried every method they had. The birthing bar, towel pull, stand and squat, leg pull, you name it--we tried it. Nothing was happening. I pushed for about an hour and still nothing. I was so tired I couldn't speak. I didn't say a word. I would just nod or shake my head when they asked me which method I wanted to try now. Finally around 8 they saw her head. Finally! I was about to meet my baby. I would have started crying but I knew I didn't need to waste the energy. I pushed with every ounce of energy I had. I was making noises I didn't even know were coming from me. Like some kind of animal. The last thirty minutes were the most excruciating. I expected to feel some relief when her head came out but I didn't. Next were her shoulders and that hurt just as bad. I think it was because I had torn. Finally, Ingrid was here! But she wasn't crying. I was so exhausted I squeaked out "Is she okay." Dr. C was working calming and quickly. Derek's face looked concerned. Dr. C said she had a bowel movement upon delivery and he was just plugging her nose and mouth. He was also unwrapping her cord which was triple wrapped around her neck. As soon as he got her "untangled" the nurses whisked her over to the heat lamp and started cleaning her up and trying to get her to cry. I wanted to see her so desperately. With a new found strength I told Derek to go see her and take a picture for me. He didn't want to leave my side since I still was trying to deliver the placenta and get stitched up. But he did. And it was love at first sight! I could see the love in his eyes and I started crying.

The nurses brought Ingrid to me and my heart stopped. Here was my beautiful baby.

God had blessed me with this precious gift. I had worked hard for her. The hardest 30.5 hours I could ever imagine. At 8:28 pm, on July 7th, our family of three began. Father, mother, and child. It was the greatest moment of my life. One I will never forget.


  1. Well if this isn't the most beautiful tribute ever written. Read it three times. You and Derek were such an inspirational team. I am still so proud of you and your strength. Thanks for writing this out. It was exhausting just to read, lol. You have always been my best friend, but now more than ever. What a great mom you are and how blessed we are to have Ingrid in our family.

  2. Amazing. You've got so much strength. I knew you were going to do it like that no matter what. I never doubted it. I'm sure derek can do it again. :)

  3. You are a perfect team for sure and he will be just as good of coach on round two.Every nurse talked about how wonderful you did together.Hope you get more rest before hand this round,but with a room full of first graders and Ingrid Cate I somehow doubt that will happen.Ingrid is one lucky little girl to you for her mommy!That was a beautiful story of her birth.So glad I was there.

  4. Wow!

    Wonderfully written.

    Thanks for sharing your blessings with us :)

  5. Aww, I'm crying. Very impressed and loved every detail of the story. :)

  6. WOW!!! Beautifully written, brought tears to my eyes. Kudos to you girl! Definitely A LOT stronger than I. It made me hurt just reading this!!