Our Five Ring Circus: Coen's Birth Story - The Labor

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Coen's Birth Story - The Labor

Coen's Birth Story - The Labor

It has been 4 1/2 months since Coen was born, and I'm finally sitting down to write his birth story! All five of my labors and deliveries have been eventful - some more than others, and each one so different. This is the first part of the story of how I delivered my HUGE 5th baby naturally.

They say that the pain of childbirth fades over time. I'm not completely convinced. Every time I started to write this birth story, the memories of that day come flooding back, and I cringe. Coen is ABSOLUTELY worth it, but I think if this had been my first delivery, Coen would have been an only child!

The last few weeks of my pregnancy were very difficult. Just like with all of my other pregnancies, I was sick until the day I delivered. This time, I also had horrible heartburn and indigestion that wouldn't ease, and I was so uncomfortable. Braxton Hicks contractions started before 20 weeks again, and kept increasing until I had quite a few labor "scares." My baby bump was bigger than it had ever been before, and although the growth ultrasound predicted an 8 - 8 1/2 lb baby at birth, I felt like I was carrying a giant.

You'll never guess what I was doing when I went into real labor...

The end of my pregnancy just felt different - almost like I was carrying multiples. It felt like his head was going to pop out, yet his bum was under the bottom of my breastbone. And weeks before, when he finally flipped into position on his own, I felt every excruciating movement. I almost had Grant take me to the hospital, but then we realized he was just flipping over into birthing position!

I knew my baby was going to be huge, but nobody was listening to me. Looking back, I'm not quite sure HOW my OB didn't realize just how big Coen was. We planned an induction for 39 weeks, but I was furious when I found out they couldn't get me scheduled until almost 40 weeks. (Thankfully, we didn't have to wait.) As I neared my due date, I desperately tried to find something I loved about my bonus pregnancy. Feeling my sweet baby move, and enjoying the last few weeks of not having to share him with anybody else was pretty much the only things I enjoyed!

At 37 weeks, I started to have periods of active labor, then I would go to bed, wake up fine, and start over. After nearly two weeks of the same routine, it was beginning to feel like the movie Groundhog Day! After a few days of it, I kicked up my daily walking routine a few notches, and started running again, and it still wasn't enough. Finally, on the day before I reached 39 weeks, I went into labor - REAL labor!

March 7th was the last day of my pregnancy, and it started out just like it always did. It was just a typical Thursday. I woke up early with Dylan, and sent him off to school. Then I woke up round two, and drove them to school. I stopped at the local park on my way home, and ran two miles. I was having the same old painful contractions that I had been experiencing for a week, but as I drove home from my run, they felt like they were changing. I noticed that my nose was swelling, too. That always happens just before I deliver.

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Grant had been working from home for the past two weeks, and didn't believe me when I said that it might be the day, since we had been saying that for a long time! I had a lot of stuff scheduled that day, so I decided to get an early start. I was chosen to be a field trip chaperone for Lily's class, and I had to get my clearances completed, and turned in by Monday. I wanted to check that off my to do list, just in case I went into labor over the weekend, and didn't make it home in time to turn them in on Monday. Lily would have been so upset!

So I gathered all of the paperwork, and headed out to get my FBI clearances, and to get fingerprinted. I'm sure you can guess where this is going...

As I sat in the waiting room, I had my contraction timer running. The contractions were coming ever 2 1/2 to 4 minutes. The receptionist asked when I was due, and asked how I was feeling. I told her, "Oh, I think I might be in labor right now." That got me called back for my appointment REALLY fast! So as I was fingerprinted for my FBI clearances, I breathed through contractions. I think they were very relieved to see me leave! 

BUT...I still had a few more stops to make. I had to go to Staples to make a few copies of the forms I needed to turn in, then stop at TJ Maxx for something one of my kids suddenly needed for school the following day. I calmly labored through both stores, and while waiting in line at TJ Maxx. As I drove to my final destination in heavy traffic, I was in quite a bit of pain, and struggling to breathe thorugh the contractions.

As I drove in the stop and go traffic, I called Grant and told him to get ready to go, called my parents to tell them to come over to my house, then called my best friend to tell her I was finally in labor and stuck in traffic. She just laughed, and told me to go to the hospital right now!

I finally reached the administration building in our school district. I handed over all of my clearances to the secretary, and she had to find the superintendent to make sure I had everything I needed. I told her I was in labor, so she talked me through the contractions, and was able to verify that I had submitted everything that was needed in plenty of time. PHEW!

Birth Stories

I drove home in a lot of pain, gathered our hospital bags, and gave my parents final instructions as Grant loaded up the car. We just had to wait a few minutes for Lexie to get home from school, because she planned to come to the hospital with us for the labor and delivery. When she climbed off the bus, we told her it was go time, and she was so excited! My sweet Lily was scared, and started crying a little bit. I assured her everything would be fine, then kissed Dylan, Lily, and Liam goodbye, and we headed into the city.  

By that time, we were stuck in the start of rush hour traffic. The excitement was high and the contractions were strong, but I was still in denial that we were having another baby, and that I was actually in labor!

Dylan, Lexie, Lily, and Liam were delivered at the same hospital, but they stopped delivering babies at the beginning of March, JUST before my due date. I knew ahead of time that I would be delivering at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. It's a very well known hospital, but I didn't know what to expect since it was my first time delivering there. I felt like a completely new mom!

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To be perfectly honest, I wasn't a big fan of how they admit patients to Labor & Delivery. (I did end up LOVING the hospital, though.) In my past experience, I walked into the hospital, and they were able to tell whether they needed to take me to triage or straight to a delivery room just by looking at me. (I only went to triage during my first pregnancy, because he was 5 weeks early! With my other three kids, they just took me straight to delivery.) My friends told me stories of how long they waited to be admitted at this particular hospital, but I didn't think that would be the case since I was in active labor. 

There were about 15 other moms waiting before me, and I was the only one who seemed to be in any pain. I paced uncomfortably, and breathed through contractions as the other women scrolled on their smartphones. I ended up waiting for two hours. Grant was so frustrated, so he asked, and was informed that patients were seen in the order they arrive, but it didn't really make sense!

I finally got called back for an evaluation. They hooked me up to monitor the contractions, and checked me. They eventually determined that I was in labor, and needed to stay because the baby was getting a bit stressed with each contraction. I just had to hang out until a delivery room opened up.
Apparently Thursday night is always very busy in labor and delivery!

While we waited, I forced down a dinner of snack food to get some energy for the delivery. I didn't have much of an appetite, but I hadn't eaten in hours. It didn't help that I still had morning sickness, and the people in the adjacent room were having a pizza party with their family and friends - I kid you not! Lots of laughing, and strong pizza smells. I kept gagging, but began counting down the hours until my morning sickness came to an end. Finally, a nurse came in to put in my IV, and after several blown veins, one finally stayed in. I hate the IV placement MORE than the epidural!

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After two horus of waiting in the waiting room, and two hours of hanging out in a triage room, a labor and delivery room finally opened up. They transferred me to the room, and immediately offered me something to drink. This was new for me, because at my old hospital, I wasn't even allowed ice chips! We settled in, and we were finally able to announce on social media that it was go time!

Birth Story

Although I was feeling pain, I also felt calm, and was able to breathe through the contractions. They were coming at a steady pace, but I was tolerating them fairly well. For the first time ever, I decided to labor naturally for as long as I possibly could. Grant kept urging me to get an epidural, but I was handling it just fine. I had a new OB whom I had never met before, and she was AWESOME! We both immediately loved her, and she made the experience feel so casual and relaxed. She even allowed me to unhook from the IV so I could move around the room and comfortably labor. I felt like I was completely in control, which was a new experience for me! And my sweet Lexie was the BEST labor coach around!

We explained to the OB that we had never been able to hold our babies immediately after they were born, due to complications (preterm, high heart rate, meconium, and Down syndrome), and that Grant has never cut the cord. All we wanted was to have that experience for the first (and last) time! She said that she would do everything in her power to give us the delivery we deserved.

I'm going to be perfectly honest. The events of that evening, and through the early morning of March 8th, are a bit of a blur. I hadn't been sleeping more than a few hours a night for weeks, and I had been up for almost 24 hours. I remember things happening, but I can't really recall the order. I labored calmly, and naturally, until the wee hours of the morning. Grant kept the mood light through the tough contractions, and Lexie cheered me on and took pictures. At some point, the pain got a bit stronger, and they wanted to break my water, so I finally opted for an epidural. (My water has never broken on its own!) And THAT'S when things got exciting!

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What Labor Is Like

Birth Story

The anesthesiologist was in my room within minutes to administer the epidural. I have a love/hate relationship with epidurals. I hate having them put in, because three out of four times, the first needle broke in my back, or bent as they were putting it in, so they have to do it multiple times. They joke that I have a spine of steel! It went very smoothly when I had Liam, so I expected the same thing. Sure enough, the epidural was placed quickly, and for the first time, Grant was actually allowed in the room to hold my hands. (The old hospital had a different policy, and he wasn't allowed in the room during the placement.)

Before they administered the pain medication, the anesthesiologist noticed that my IV wasn't working, so it had to be replaced. Another nurse came in, and stuck me in four - FOUR!!! - different spots without luck, as the needle hung out of my spine, and the contractions hit one after another. The pain from that was way worse than when the needle was placed in my back or when I was contracting, and it just kept happening. I was just so dehydrated from the morning sickness, and was crying from the pain.

As the nurse went to stick me again, my labor and delivery nurse finally told her enough, and took over. She said she saw a good vein inside my elbow, and although it wasn't an ideal location because I wouldn't be able to bend my arm well, it was better than being repeatedly stuck. She did it herself, got the IV placed correctly, and Grant and I both thanked her profusely. She told us she felt horrible watching me go through that, and couldn't take it anymore, so she had to speak up and take over! During the entire process, Lexie was in the bathroom in the room, because she didn't want to see it. Even though she loves medical stuff, that was probably best!

Siblings in the Delivery Room

With the epidural finally in, the pain medication took over, and I was able to relax completely for the first time in weeks. The OB broke my water, and told me I was 6 cm dilated, and that I should get some sleep before it was time to push. I felt so good, and my eyes grew heavy, so Grant took Lexie for a little walk before the excitement began. 

While they were gone, my blood pressure dropped really low, just as it always does. I always know it's about to happen, because it feels like I'm floating. Another anesthesiologist rushed in, gave me medication to get my blood pressure back up, and monitored me for a bit. And just as it always does, I had a reaction to the pain medication, and I got uncontrollable itches.

My blood pressure stabilized for a bit, and the epidural slowed down the contractions a bit. The OB told me now was definitely the time to sleep. Grant and Lexie came back into the room, so we all tried to sleep for a few minutes. Just as I drifted off, my blood pressure dropped again. This time, they gave me medication, and turned off the epidural for a while. As the medication wore off, I began to feel each contraction again, and I felt the baby push down hard with each one.

By that point, it was after 5 AM. My OB checked me again, and said her shift was ending soon, and she was so disappointed she wouldn't be able to deliver our surprise 5th baby. She told us the OB that was replacing her was wonderful, and she trusts her to deliver her own babies. She had already spoken to the new OB, and told her that she had to let me hold my baby before anybody else, and that Grant had to cut the cord. She gave me a hug, and told us we were in great hands! We were bummed that she wouldn't be delivering our baby, but we knew we would be holding him soon no matter what!

We woke Lexie up around 6 AM, and told her we were getting close. Shortly after the new OB arrived, she got called into a c-section. She eventually came in to meet us, and explained that she had spoken to our doctor already, and would give us the delivery we wanted. She checked, and told me I was still about 8 cm, and probably had some more laboring ahead of me. I was in a lot of pain, so she told me she would send in the anesthesiologist to turn my epidural back on, because we were nearing delivery. Grant and Lexie decided to go get coffee to prepare for the delivery.

While they were gone, the pain and the pressure just kept getting stronger, and I called the nurse to tell her I had to push. She didn't think there was any way I could go from 8 cm to fully dilated that quickly, but she called the OB into the room. Sure enough, I was fully dilated, and ready to push!

A Birth Story

Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to get that epidural running again, so for the first time ever, I would get to experience a natural delivery. It wasn't what I wanted, and I was already in enough pain, but there was no turning back. Our baby was coming - NOW - whether we were ready or not! Grant and Lexie were very surprised when they returned to the room! And soon, everyone in the room was going to be very surprised by what came next...

Birth Story

Tune in next Wednesday for the crazy delivery!

Coen's Birth Story - The Labor

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  1. I can't believe you were driving around in labor! I went to Gabbie's kindergarten orientation after my water broke, but I wasn't yet having contractions.

  2. EEK! Don't leave me hanging!! But seriously, you are a rock star laboring for that long and running all those errands through it! That is just insane! Haha.

  3. Woah, that's a long labor. I'm sorry to hear you were in such pain and the epidural wasn't on when actually went into labor. It sounds like Lexie did a great job though, and I love all the photos she captured.


  4. Excited to read about the rest! I've never heard of a hospital that makes a woman in labor sit and wait for that long....wow! Love the pics you got. They'll be great for memories.


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