Saturday, July 7, 2012

Kaylee's Birth Story

This will be long, but Kaylee's birth was the most amazing day of my life and I don't want to leave out any details. I want to burn every single minute of the day into my memory because I never want to forget the day I met my daughter. It was honestly the most beautiful experience I have ever been through and even 3 weeks out my husband and I talk about some aspect of her birth at least once a day. Everyone is so fearful of childbirth, of the pain, of the unknown. I never felt that fear which I believe made the experience much more enjoyable. I think having CF has taught me that we are much stronger than we give ourselves credit for and somehow no matter how challenging something may seem we always pull through. Besides everyone came to the world this way so it must be doable, right?

The night of the 11th (Monday) I went to prenatal yoga as I do every Monday. I was having some Braxton hicks throughout the week and was told the past Wednesday I was 1-2cm and 70% effaced. I was beyond excited to meet my little girl and since we were only a few days away from her due date I decided to go all out and try to get this baby into the world. After yoga I went for my usual 30 minute walk and then was inspired to weed the garden which required me to squat for quite some time. After all that activity I felt nothing! Not even a Braxton hick so I came to terms that my baby was not ready to come into the world yet. Boy, was I wrong! 

Around 2:00am I started waking to a few contractions here and there. They were strong enough to wake me up, but not painful. By 5:30am they seemed to become more regular, but still not very painful and I was able to sleep through them. At this point I started to wonder if this was the beginning of real labor. By 8:00am I couldn't sleep very well anymore and decided to get up and eat and drink to make sure I wasn't in false labor. After eating I went back to bed to rest and save energy, but sleep didn't last long and I soon needed to breath through some contractions and started using the yoga positions that are meant to open the pelvis and allow the baby to descend. If this was real labor I wanted to help baby along as much as I could. I used this time to talk to my baby. I told her not to be scared about the changes happening and that she would soon be in my arms. It allowed me to remember the purpose of my labor and focus on the exciting part of labor rather than the upcoming pain. I closed my eyes when I felt a contraction and used the pain to visualize how my body was working to bring my baby into the world. I also tried to focus on where I felt the pain and pictured that part of my body in orange. I wanted to acknowledge the pain and allow myself to visualize the purpose of my pain.

Before long the contractions got harder and were about 8 minutes apart. As the contractions got harder I found the only way for me to be comfortable was to grab the base of my belly and walk! I was starting to get excited and my husband was beyond excited singing little songs and talking about meeting the baby. Around 10am my contractions had completely stopped! We were both so disappointed that we were in fact, not getting closer to meeting baby. Again, I was so very wrong in thinking that we would have to wait much longer to meet baby.

I had an NST at 11:00am and they were picking up contractions on the monitor. They told me if they become stronger and closer together to call labor and delivery. I was glad I was contracting still, but they were painless and I wasn't really expecting to have the baby anytime that day. We went home and I was more than a little disappointed.

It Might Be Time

By 2:30pm my contractions had not returned and I told my husband he should go to his scheduled dentist appointment as nothing was happening. I told him, jokingly, I would call if my water broke. By 3:00pm I regretted telling him to go! My contractions came back out of nowhere. I decided to distract myself (believing it was false labor again) and watched The Bachelorette on Hulu while hydrating and bouncing on my labor ball. Every time a contraction came I had to pause (their  voices drove me crazy while contracting) and pace around the room. I started to feel like I was pausing nonstop so I started timing my contractions. My contractions were only 5 minutes apart. I tried calling my husband, but no answer. By 4:30 they were 4 minutes apart. I started calling his phone nonstop and he finally answered (in the denstist chair- of course the day I go into labor they are running super behind). I told him that I thought he should come home, but I wasn't really sure that the contractions wouldn't stop again.  The dentist was about 30 minutes away and so my husband said he was coming leaving immediately. Part of me worried that I wasn't really in labor and the contractions would stop again. I didn't want him to miss his appointment because of false labor. The contractions were hard and painful, but I imagined the pain to be so much worse so I felt very confused. I got in the shower to shave my legs and because I read the shower can be soothing when in labor. By the time my husband got home my contractions were only 2 minutes apart and I was so relieved when he walked through the door because I realized at 2 minutes apart this was the real deal.

We decided to eat before we went to the hospital because neither of us had eaten in a while and we weren't sure when we would be able to eat again. I got the last minute items for the hospital bag and he cooked. After I packed everything up I went into the kitchen to find him chopping vegetables. In my head I was thinking, "What the hell are you doing? My contractions are 2 minutes apart and your chopping vegetables?" Instead I used my filter and simply said, "You don't need to make anything fancy." Which he replied, “Oh I am only making eggs.” I felt like saying so scramble the dumb egg and lets go. We ate out “fancy” eggs and black beans. I needed to stop every 1 1/2- 2 minutes to labor, but we made it through the meal and packed the car. My contractions slowed on the drive (which was fine since it torture to be stuck in a seat while laboring and I was really self conscious that other drivers would see me wriggling around in pain) and I kept saying the whole 25 minutes there, “I hope they don’t send us home. Please be at a 4…”

At The Hospital

The labor and delivery was crowded and we had to wait in the hall because nobody was available to check me to see if I could stay. The nurse kept calling back on the phone saying it looked like I was in active labor and they really needed to check me. They finally called us back where I was monitored and asked a million questions. Again, sitting was awful. To me nothing felt worse than sitting or laying in labor the only relief I got was when I was moving so this and the car ride were the worst parts! The midwife came in and checked me. She smiled and said, "You are a tough girl, you are just about 7cm." I was beyond excited we weren't going home! I also realized that labor wasn't that bad (hell I wasn't even sure I was in real labor) and I only had 3cm left to go. I realized at that point a med free birth was pretty realistic. 

 I was put in a room with a laboring tub (which was more like a pool) and got right in. I loved the tub! I was able to have the baby's heart rate monitored while I was in the tub and only had to get out for a few moments because I chose to have a saline lock (when they place an IV in case of emergency, but don't access it) which they covered with a glove and let me get back in the tub. I asked the nurse about a hundred times if my baby was okay. I am sure she thought I was crazy, but both my husband and I had our cords wrapped around our necks when we were born so I was so worried that our daughter would have the same issue. Our nurse kept reassuring me that our baby was doing just fine.

Soon I hit transition labor. Transition labor was significantly harder than active labor! I went from feeling in control of my contractions to a little frantic with this new degree of pain. Everytime a contraction started I would try standing, sitting, squatting  but nothing brought relief. My husband tried some of the distraction techniques we learned in our classes, but they were the last thing I wanted. At one point I told my nurse I wasn't sure how to cope with these new contractions. My nurse was awesome and assured me I was in transitional and that baby would be here very soon. She then gave me some tips on dealing with the pain. Nobody ever mentioned any pain medication which I appreciated. I kept telling my husband that I really needed a break from labor so I could nap because I was exhausted! 

Around 10:30ish I told the nurse I felt so much pressure I was worried I would go to the bathroom in the tub. My nurse had me get out of the tub (you can't birth in the tub at my hospital) and she checked me since she said feeling that kind of pressure usually meant baby was getting close. She said my water was still in tact and bulging so she couldn't tell how far along I was without popping my bag and that it was better not to pop a bag that is intact, but she guessed I was about a 9-9.5cms. I  looked at the clock and was trying to decide if the baby would come on the 12th or the 13th. I really wanted to have her before midnight since 6/12/12 sounded way cooler than 6/13/12. I asked the nurse if she thought I could have the baby before midnight and she told me it was very likely. Since I couldn't be in the tub I started laboring over the back of the bed, but my nurse was afraid I would fatigue since I had been standing or squatting the whole time so she put on the squat bar and told me to use it during contractions and sit back and rest in between contractions.  I ended up standing on the bed during contractions hanging onto the bar (completely naked cause I never got dressed after the tub!) and laying down between them and my husband was massaging my legs. I don't think that was what she had in mind, but she went with it! At this point I was ready for labor to be over. I was so close and yet I knew I wasn't at 10cm yet. I knew the nurse couldn't tell me how much longer it would take, but I needed some reassurance. I told her I was nervous to push. She reassured me that I would do fine and even told me most people find pushing a relief. Although this eased my fears, again I wanted a timeline. I wanted an endpoint. I knew she couldn't give this to me so I instead asked if she thought pushing would take hours. I was looking for answers I knew she couldn't give. She told me that she really didn't think it would take that long. Oddly enough this satisfied my need to know when it would all be done and I went back to focusing on the task at hand.

Around 10:45 the midwife came in and the amount of pressure I felt was insane. I told her I thought I needed to push so she looked at me and said, "Go for it!" Nobody told me when or how long to push. The atmosphere was very calm and my midwife kept telling me to listen to my body and that's what I did. Pushing felt so much better! I was squatting and pushing when suddenly I felt a pop and my water broke! Things went really fast after that. I sat back in the bed (which was all the way up like a chair rather than a bed) and the midwife said she could see hair. All of the sudden my husband exclaimed he saw hair too which got me excited because if he could see hair then baby must be close. When I asked about baby's hair color they offered a mirror. AMAZING! I saw my baby emerge with every push. It was a great way to know when I was pushing correctly because I saw the results! Soon Kaylee's head popped out and I was saying how beautiful she was and my husband was crying. It was the coolest experience to see my baby's little face the second it came into this world. It was surreal to see her in between two worlds, that of the womb and out of the womb. She was on her way to becoming independent of me and yet for those last few second her body was protected by mine and my II was still providing her oxygen and life. After another push the midwife told me to reach down and I was able to help pull my baby out of her safe place in the womb to the next safest place, my arms. It was the most beautiful experience! I was alternating between kissing Kaylee, saying how beautiful my sweet little girl was, and saying how cool delivery was. 

Almost 4 weeks later my husband and I still talk about how amazing it was to watch her come into the world. I would hate to have missed witnessing that! We did delayed cord cutting and my husband who was worried that cutting the cord would gross him out, was a proud papa taking those scissors and cutting her cord! I did get a 2nd degree tear, but luckily there was so much pressure down there that I didn't feel the tearing. The midwife stitched me up after I delivered the placenta, but honestly I was so busy kissing my baby that I didn't really feel anything that was happening.

I was able to have 2 hours uninterrupted skin to skin time with my baby with the exception of weighing her (they need to weigh before breastfeeding) and I was able to breastfeed within 1/2 hour and she latched right on! Everything else was done after the two hour snuggle time. She never left our sight and we never even set her in the bassinet. She was held skin to skin the entire first night (which turned into the entire first month since I couldn't put her down and now she sleeps on my chest every night)! The whole labor and delivery experience was so much less medical than I thought. The nurses were available, but really stayed out of the way unless we needed them. I told my husband I feel like I had a home birth at the hospital! There were no interventions and the fact that they wouldn't even break my water was amazing to me. We were able to leave 24 hours after arriving. They told us we could stay one more night, but who can rest in a hospital so we opted out after our required 24 hours. They really let my body do what it needed to do and didn't intervene at all. I am still in awe at what a woman's body can do. My husband was pretty in awe too!

CF and Delivery

Luckily CF didn't really effect my delivery although when I was 9.5 cm laboring (naked) over the back of the bed a poor respiratory therapist came in to do my treatments! I turned around when she came in and said, "Can we please do them after the baby is born!?" The poor girl ran out of the room as fast as humanly possible!!

Also, when pushing one of the nurses asked me to take one deep breath between pushes, but my midwife quickly interjected by saying I was to do whatever my body needed in order to get oxygen into my lungs. Honestly, I have no idea how I was breathing since i was focused on pushing, but I think I was panting a little between pushes. Regardless she was born and I didn't pass out so it must have been okay!

As for recovery- I had a 2nd degree tear as stated above which was sore for the first 2 weeks. I did find it quite uncomfortable to cough which was a little frustrating. I was given numbing spray and used it religiously before treatments, but by the end of the 2nd week the pain was pretty much gone.


  1. This was such a beautiful story. It sounds like the hospital you delivered at was amazing! I was really impressed that the midwife jumped in to tell you to do what you need to do in order to get that o2. It sounds like you had a great team supporting you. Congratulations again to you and your newly expanded family!

    1. Thank you! We are really enjoying being a little family of 3. And yes, my hospital and midwife were pretty amazing!

  2. WOW! What a beautiful and inspiring birth story. That is exactly how I want mine to go!!! ;) I am curious - did you just deliver with a midwife, not a high risk OB/GYN? Was anyone worried about that?

    Also, it really is amazing how little they interfered! Did you have a birth plan or something? Had you talked before with your midwife/doctor/team about not wanting your water broken, etc.?

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. Like I said on Facebook, I really am inclined toward doing a natural birth, and it's encouraging to know that it worked so well for you!!! I also have never heard of anyone's water not breaking until transition - WOW!

  3. Good questions! I saw a high risk and a midwife throughout the whole pregnancy. My high risk felt that my delivery would not be compromised by my CF (vs a bleeding disorder or something that may effect baby which could turn into an emergency really quickly) so he wrote in my paperwork that I wanted a midwife birth and actually encouraged me to get a midwife rather than an OB. I was worried prior to labor that CF may be a problem, but even my CF docs felt that pregnancy was the tricky part and that delivery wouldn't be an issue. They also have an OB on site so if it turned into a serious situation they would switch me to the OB, but my high risk was actually at a different location.

    Abut my hospital, there are 2 hospitals in my city that I could go to (same hospital just different locations) was old and on the South side (not a good part of town) and the other was brand spankin new and on the North side (a very nice side of town), but I had heard through people in my yoga class that the old hospital is very into natural births (birthing tubs, lowest c-section rates around, and all nurses are highly trained in breastfeeding) while the newer hospital was much more into interventions. I decided I wanted to be at a hospital that had my birthing philosophy rather than a nice facility. The only scary part is the South hospital didn't have a NICU and the North did, but since I was so close to my due date and monitored so closely (NST 2x/week) nobody had any concerns for her health.

    As far as the birth plan, I left it at home! When I arrived all I told the midwife was I wanted natural, but wasn't against an epi if I thought things got too tough. She wrote it in my chart and that was it. I think I also had an amazing nurse who was really encouraging in my natural birth choice.

    I did not want them to break my water, but I never discussed it with them since I forgot the birth plan. I should mention that the hospital I went to had a midwifery team so there were 5 midwives and you didn't know who would be on call that day AND because I went to the high risk OB every other appointment I had very few appointments with the midwife team. Nobody wanted my water to break even though I never told them of that request. In fact, my nurse wouldn't check me after the one attempt when she realized the water was bulging (neither did my midwife).

    I didn't know this until my prenatal yoga instruction mentioned it, but babies can actually be born in their amniotic sac. It is called being born in the caul, but it is pretty rare especially at a hospital since docs seem to love breaking a woman's water to speed things up. You can actually find photos online of babies born in the caul which I think it pretty cool!

    Okay, if you made it through this long reply, I applaud you!

  4. Congradulations! I love this birth story! I am so sick of hearing about induced labors and c-sections, when they are truly not nessesary! Beautiful story, there is no other feeling in the world like seeing and holding your baby for the first time!

    1. Induction was something I was trying to avoid at all cost and luckily my health was good enough that I could let me body and baby come when they were ready. You are so right about holding your baby for the first time. The love you feel for them instantly is so immense that it is almost frightening!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful birth story. Sounds like you had an amazing team supporting you. I totally laughed at the standing on bed naked bit. I did something similar. It's funny how any form of modesty goes totally out the window!!
    Cindy my water only broke when I started pushing!

    1. A few days later I was thinking back and felt slight embarrassment over all my nudity, but by then it was much to late!!