On Thursday, June 16th I had my 38 week doctor appointment. We had another growth ultrasound because Clara had been measuring big at her 36 week growth ultrasound, and my doctor wanted to see how much she had grown in two weeks so we could talk about possibly inducing early. The ultrasound techs predicted Clara was about 8 pounds 15 ounces I was super shocked since I still had two weeks to go, and because that was measuring so much bigger than Alex or I had been at birth. I weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and Alex weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces. When we met with Dr. Mills, she told us that if we decided to go full term, the baby might be over 10 pounds, and by that point they begin to worry about safe vaginal delivery. She then gave us the option of early induction as soon as 39 weeks. She did an excellent job of giving us all the facts but not pushing us in one direction or the other. I really love my doctor for this reason. She has excellent bedside manner, always gave us as much time as we wanted with her, is very conservative about taking precautions, and she never pushes or forces a decision. I had already decided I wanted to be induced as early as possible to give myself the best chance at a vaginal delivery. I knew there was a chance I'd inherit my mother's anatomy and require a c-section. My mother's pelvis wasn't large enough to deliver babies-she couldn't even deliver my 4 pound, 15 ounce sister. I had discussed my family history with my doctor, and she said there was really no way to tell until you try. Knowing this could be me, I wanted the baby to be as small as possible to give myself the best chance at a vaginal delivery.
We told Dr. Mills we wanted to go the induction route, and she told us we could be scheduled for Thursday the 23rd or Friday the 24th. Dr. Mills leaves the office early on Thursdays, so we opted for the 24th to increase the chances of having Dr. Mills be able to deliver Clara. If I needed a c-section I wanted someone I had hand-picked to do the surgery. We were given instructions to call the nurse later to get the induction scheduled.
I was also told at my appointment that they had found high levels of protein in my urine. This had happened once before in my pregnancy, but both times my blood pressure was completely normal and I had no other symptoms of preeclampsia (besides the constant swelling I'd had since 18 weeks). Dr. Mills wanted to be on the safe side, and ordered a 24 hour urine test. She said depending on the results I might be induced earlier than 39 weeks for medical necessity. They gave me all the gear and instructions and told me to start the test Friday morning.
Friday, June 17th, I stayed pretty close to home because of the test. I did make it to Hobby Lobby and bought a few things for the nursery I had been wanting. I was super lucky because they were having amazing deals that day and so I got quite the steal on the things I purchased. I was also on the phone a lot with Dr. Mills' nurse. They were having trouble scheduling me with the hospital for the 24th. Apparently she pulled some strings and got me scheduled for the date we wanted. She sounded like she had been pretty stressed about it, so Alex and I were super grateful for all the work she put in to get us the date we wanted.
That evening, Alex and I had our traditional homemade pizza and movie night. We'd been making our way through the Star Wars movies and watched Episode V. The movie finished a little before 10:30 p.m., and Alex decided he wanted to watch some of the extra features on the BluRay. I agreed, and asked Alex to massage my feet and ankles while we watched. I was lying on the couch, and just as Alex started I felt like I was leaking something. I figured I must have finally started to have bladder control issues so I hopped up off the couch and felt gushing. I remember thinking, "Not on the rug!" and ran across the room to the hardwood floor. I looked at Alex with eyes like a deer in the headlights and said, "I think my water is breaking," and ran into the bathroom. The water just gushed out into the toilet. Alex and I were both in shock. Just a few hours earlier we had been stressed about our induction date and now it looked like we were in labor!
I was super surprised that my water broke with no other signs I was in labor. Everyone told me not to expect it to be like the movies where their water just randomly breaks, but that is exactly what happened to me! We called the on-call nurse and she told us to go ahead and go to the hospital. I was not as on the ball as I had wanted to be about getting ready for baby (I did think I had a few weeks left though) and we were not packed for the hospital. Alex had actually pulled out the suitcase and had started packing for himself that night. We spent the next hour getting packed. It took us so long because I kept having to run to the bathroom. I also started to have contractions and needed to work my way through those. We finally left the house a little after 11:30 p.m. and headed for the hospital.
We made it to the hospital in about 15 minutes and went upstairs to labor and delivery. We talked to the woman at the front desk and had quite the interesting conversation with her. She asked why we were there. Seriously? There's a giant pregnant woman standing in front of you having a contraction and you're asking why we're there? I said, "I'm in labor." She asked how we knew and we told her that my water had broken. She asked how much and Alex said, "About a quart." She gave him the strangest look, and we explained that I'd been doing a 24 hour urine test and we actually knew about how much fluid there was. I told her I was also having contractions. After we filled out some paperwork one of the nurses finally rescued us from the registrar, and we got settled into Room 8 of labor and delivery.
I got changed into my gown and we took our final baby bump picture. My nurse, Brooke, came in and introduced herself. I told her I was strep B positive and needed an IV port for antibiotics and that I wanted an epidural. I also asked which doctor was on call. I was a little disappointed that I had gone into labor at night and on the weekend. I knew that Dr. Mills was not scheduled to be on call on the weekend or in the evening for the next week. But part of the reason I picked my doctor was because I was really impressed with all the other doctors in her group at Renaissance Women's Group. I had seen some of them for a few of my pre-natal appointments and felt completely comfortable with all of them. So when Brooke told me that no one was on-call from Dr. Mills' group that night I was a little nervous. It wasn't that I didn't trust the on-call doctor, just that I hadn't hand-picked her and didn't know anything about her. I wanted to be sure there was a really good surgeon on-call if I needed a c-section. I was determined to make sure Clara didn't come until the shift change and prayed that someone from Renaissance would be on call during the day.
Brooke checked to see how I was progressing, and I was pleased to hear I was dilated to a 3. Brooke then left and came back with another nurse and everything they needed to get my IV port started. The new nurse found a vein in my left wrist and drew the blood they needed from me. She tried to get me all set up with the port, but it was pretty painful so she took the needle out and decided to try again. She tried a vein on my left forearm and that hurt even worse. In fact I think my vein blew from the second attempt. Brooke took over and tried a vein on my right wrist, but she decided it wasn't good. She said she'd try one more place before getting someone else. Brooke finally got the port in on my left hand. I didn't realize my veins were so bad! Brooke got me all hooked up to my fluids and started me on the antibiotics for the strep B. The antibiotics were horribly painful. The fluids went right through the blown vein in my arm and I was in a lot of pain. In fact I was preferring the pain of the contractions I was having to the antibiotics. Brooke slowed down the flow of the antibiotics and diluted them as much as she could, but I was still in agony. I about cried when I found out I had to get the antibiotics every 4 hours.
After I got my port in it was time for the epidural. I was pleasantly surprised I was getting it so soon into my labor. I thought that I would have to wait a while longer before I could get it. My contractions were increasing in frequency and intensity, but I actually thought they were pretty manageable. The breathing techniques we had learned at our childbirth class were working great. I found a position that I really liked to work through the contractions-standing up, leaning forward against the bedside table while I rocked back and forth. Alex was a great coach and very helpful and supportive during my contractions.
Another fear I had about having a baby on the weekend was who would be on-call to give me the epidural. I got a little worried when the person who walked in announced they were a nurse anesthetist. I quickly calmed myself down though and just tried to let myself trust this person, because I didn't really have a choice. She actually ended up being really nice and doing a great job with my epidural, at least she did eventually. Plus there was an actual anesthesiologist in the room observing the entire time. While she was working (I actually have no idea what she was doing since I couldn't see), she kept asking me if I could feel anything. I kept saying, "on the left". She asked me what felt like a million times, and I kept giving the exact same answer. I tried not to be worried, and assumed the anesthesiologist would have stepped in if something was wrong. Eventually though she got the right spot. The epidural was great and I immediately began to feel the pain subsiding. I was a little worried about the epidural working so well that I couldn't feel anything, but my epidural ended up being exactly what I wanted. I was so grateful that I could still feel my feet and toes. For some reason it really put my mind at ease to be able to feel them. I hated touching my hips though. It was so weird to feel my fingers touching skin but not be able to feel it in my hips.
By this point we had been at the hospital for a couple of hours. The nurse checked me again and I was dilated to a 4. They decided to give me pitocin to help labor progress, and I was very grateful I had my epidural before getting the pitocin. For the next few hours we just hung out waiting for my labor to progress. We tried to rest and get some sleep, but we weren't very successful since Brooke came to check on me and the monitors so often.
At 6:30 a.m. was the shift change for the nurses. My new nurse was Brittany and I instantly liked her. I was so happy and lucky that I had such great labor and delivery nurses. They checked me again at the shift change and were surprised to announce I was dilated to an 8-9! I was very happy that my labor was progressing so quickly (it meant fewer doses of the antibiotics), but it was also a little nerve wracking, because it meant things were going to start happening!
At 8:00 a.m. was the shift change for the doctors, and I met my new doctor, Dr. Gutierrez. I was instantly relieved because I recognized her as being a part of Renaissance Women's Group. She made me feel super comfortable immediately and I knew I would be in good hands. Dr. Gutierrez checked me and announced I was at a 10 and ready to start pushing. She gave me some tips for pushing and then turned things over to Brittany.
I'm not sure why, but I didn't actually start pushing until about 9:00 a.m. I pushed for about an hour, and completely wore myself out. When I got my epidural they showed me a button I could push to give myself more of the "juice". I had been quite comfortable and hadn't ever pushed the button. I was also hesitant to push it because I was afraid of not feeling enough during contractions and being able to push effectively. After an hour of pushing though, Brittany suggested I push the epidural button and that we take a break. I was so relieved and immediately agreed. I had a good cry (I was feeling very emotional and nervous, hadn't slept all night, hadn't had anything to eat in hours, and it was time for another dose of the dreaded antibiotics). Once I calmed down and the pain subsided a little (thank you epidural button), I announced I was ready to try pushing again. The break was so good for me and I did super awesome the second round. I was mentally rejuvenated and ready to get the baby out of me! It also helped that I turned on my labor music. At our childbirth class, one of the things that we were told to do was have a song we practiced our breathing techniques to. The song I chose was "Come Thou Fount" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from the April 2016 General Conference, specifically. I've always loved that song and the arrangement by Mack Wilberg, but something about it being sung at that conference really resonated with me. We pulled the song up on YouTube, and it eventually started cycling through a bunch of MoTab songs. It worked really well for me. I then pushed hard for over two hours and was complimented by the doctor and several nurses for my pushing skills.
At one point it was time for Brittany to go on her lunch break. She was hesitant to leave me because she knew the nurse that would be covering for her and thought she wasn't a good fit for me. Alex and I convinced her to go, and I had an open mind about the pushing position the new nurse wanted me to try. I was super grateful when Brittany came back though-she was right about the other nurse not being a good fit for me. Eventually during one of Dr. Gutierrez's checks she told me that I had two choices. She told me we were at the point where we wanted to start talking about a c-section. We could either go ahead and prep for it, or I could push for another 30-45 minutes. I asked Dr. Gutierrez if she thought I'd be successful with another 30-45 minutes of pushing. She said, "Honestly, no. With the way you've been pushing for the past few hours, I think this will end with a c-section." I was really disappointed, but I was not in the mood to push anymore if the baby wouldn't come out anyway. We asked everyone to leave so Alex and I could discuss together. We decided to go ahead with the c-section. We told the doctor we wanted the c-section and they began to get me prepped for surgery.
We text our families to let them know what was going on, and then lots of people started coming in and out of our room getting everything prepped for the c-section. The anesthesiologist came in again to get me more numb and ready for the surgery. I asked Brittany to talk me through what would happen, and I asked specifically about eating and showering after delivery. At this point I broke down crying again, and it turned into the ugly hysterical sobbing cry. I was feeling nervous about the surgery, but also sad, and was mourning the loss of a lot of things I wouldn't get to do by having a c-section. I knew I wouldn't get to hold my baby immediately after delivery and I wouldn't get to do skin-to-skin right away. In fact, it might take an hour to even get to hold her. I knew that Alex wouldn't get to cut the cord, which he had been so excited about. I wouldn't get to eat for 12 hours, and I wouldn't get to shower for 12 hours. All the things I wasn't going to get to do really got me down. I remember the anesthesiologist asking if I was crying because I was nervous. I was nervous, but that wasn't the reason for my tears.
Finally they were ready for me. They brought Alex some scrubs to change into, told him they'd come get him in a minute, and then wheeled me into the operating room. They transferred me from the labor bed to the operating table, and continued to prep for surgery. I mostly remember the room being really bright. I was still trying to get my crying under control, and because of that and the bright lights it was super hard to keep my eyes open. They put a sheet up by my head and had my lay with my arms outstretched. I noticed the baby station off to my left, and was disappointed that it was really hard for me to turn me head and see it. I realized I wasn't going to be able to see what was happening with the baby very easily and that made me sad and emotional again.
I started hearing people talk about "getting started" and Alex still hadn't showed up yet. I kept asking when my husband would be brought in. They told me not to worry and that he would be there soon, but I was a little worried they would start without him. Alex was finally brought into the room, all smiles and ready with the camera. He sat next to my head on the left, the anesthesiologist sat on my right, and they got started.
The c-section itself was a little strange. I could feel pressure and lots of shaking, and after what seemed like forever they announced that Clara was born! They brought her over to me for a quick look, and then took her to the baby station. Alex went with her while I got stitched up. I was glad that Alex got to be there while they cleaned Clara up, and he did a great job at keeping me updated about what they were doing. I was trying to crane my neck to the left to see what was happening, but when I did it would plug my left ear, and everyone above me was being so loud that I couldn't hear Alex very well with only my right ear. It was frustrating to not really be able to see or hear, but I just accepted it and enjoyed what I could.
Clara's birth stats: 8 pounds, 9 ounces, 21 inches long, head circumference 14, at 2:05 p.m.
Clara cried a little bit, but not very loud or for very long. The nurses got her measured, cleaned up, and swaddled with a cute little beanie on her head. Alex asked if he could take her over to me, and I'm so glad he did. I think the nurses were prepared to just head to the nursery. Alex sat next to me and I got to touch Clara's cute, chubby cheeks. It was hard to really touch her with my IV port and blood pressure monitor on my finger. They stayed for quite a while and it was really wonderful to get to see my baby. It was then that we officially decided her name would be Clara LaRee Hutchings.
Eventually Alex left with Clara to go to the nursery. While in the nursery Clara got her Hepatitis B vaccine, vitamin K, and the eye antibiotic. The nurses gave Clara a bath and checked her reflexes. They taught Alex about diapers and how to swaddle. They also noticed a decent sized bruise on the top of Clara's head. We learned Clara had been presenting in the asynclitic position (head sideways) due to my pelvis being too small (I did inherit my mother's anatomy) and the bruise was from all the pushing.
After I was finally done being stitched up I was taken to the recovery room with Brittany. They told me that I would get to see Alex and Clara in about a half hour of arriving. It felt like it took much longer. I was anxiously awaiting their arrival, and I was so tired and had a hard time keeping myself awake. While I was waiting I got a delivery from Alex's parents-they had sent flowers and a balloon for me and Clara. It cheered me up and helped with the wait. Eventually my little family arrived! I finally got to hold my baby and it was such a great feeling. We had our first pictures as a family, and then one of the nurses from the nursery helped me get Clara breastfeeding. She said Clara was a natural which made me feel really good, and then we waited out the rest of the two hours in recovery.
While we were in the recovery room we tried to update our parents about the birth, and realized that we had no reception. Alex had tried sending texts from both of our phones and they just wouldn't send. I felt bad because I knew our moms were probably getting worried-it had been hours since we told them we were going in for the c-section.
After the two hours were up they wheeled us down to postpartum and we were finally able to call our families and tell them the happy news about our Clara LaRee.
Clara's birth wasn't what I had expected, but I was okay with everything because I had only gone into the birth process with wishes, not expectations. I just wanted a healthy baby and that is what I got. We sure love our sweet Clara LaRee!