My life, my loves, my inspirations...and my journey to achieve a healthful life.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

...Named Harper Leigh

I have been meaning to write a post about this for some time.  I have always enjoyed hearing and reading about others’ birth stories, especially when I was pregnant.  I’m sure I am not the only one!
So here is the story, about how my beautiful baby girl made her way into the world :)

The birth of my little girl

I knew the day was drawing near.  I had been making significant changes at my weekly OB appointments, so I was anxiously awaiting the time that I actually would start to feel contractions.  I had made it to 3 ½ cm without feeling any type of Braxton Hicks…and I was hoping that was a good indication of how labor would go.

It was Halloween ( October 31st) and I woke up in the middle of the night with some cramping. Nothing too bad, they just felt like period cramps, but that was something I hadn’t felt in about 9 months lol So I knew it meant something.  I figured that it was probably early labor stuff, so I went back to sleep. 
I got up the next day, and wasn't having much cramping, but was definitely feeling what I thought were contractions, but they were very mild, so mild to the point that I had a hard time telling how long they were lasting and so on.  I had originally planned to go into town that day, but I knew that was probably no longer a good idea.  So instead I did some things around the house.  I had been putting off assembling  the “cat tree” we had ordered for the “cat room,” (so many things wrong with that sentence) ...so I decided to put that together.  Imagine me, 9 months pregnant…on the floor…building a freaking cat tree!!  Anyone need any tips on how to speed up labor?  Build a cat tree! LOL  But hey, it needed done, and it was something to pass the time...

My contractions didn’t start getting stronger until that evening.  I had informed Ami, my doula, (birth coach) that things were picking up, but that I was going to bed to try and get some rest.  For anyone that doesn’t know what a doula is, you can visit DONA International's website for more information.  I highly recommend the use of a doula to anyone having a baby, especially a first-time mom.  I knew I wanted to have one from the moment I saw an episode of "A Baby Story" and a woman on there had used one.  I knew I wanted a natural birth, and I wanted an experienced person to be with me, to help me through it. No offense to my husband, but we both knew he wouldn't be the best labor coach ;)

     Anyway, back to the story... So around 3:30 am (Nov 1st) I woke to some pretty intense contractions.  At this point I was no longer comfortable lying in bed.  I was however, comfortable sitting on the toilet, so that is where I spent a good bit of time.  (No judging...when in labor, you do what works!! lol)
     I was keeping in touch with Ami via text, and she had informed me that she was still with another mother, and would try to get to me as soon as she could.  We kept in constant contact and she was giving me tips on what to do to try and ease the pain.
At this point I was having pretty bad back pain.  She told me to try taking a hot shower. 
I've probably never had the water temperature set so high in my life, but it provided great relief.  I still remember how it felt stepping out of the shower though.  The pain immediatley washed back over me.
      I tried to get in different positions, and with the back pain, I tried to stay on all fours the most.  Brady tried rubbing my back and putting a heating pad on it.  I tried taking another hot shower, but this one did not even begin to touch the pain.  I went back to my position on the floor.  Tucker (our dog) was concerned.   At about 6:30 am the pain was getting worse, and my contractions were getting closer together.  I asked Ami if she would be able to come be with me.  Unfortunately, she was still with the other mother. (This other mother was having a very long and hard labor)  She informed me that she had a backup doula on standby, and that she could send her to be with me until she could get there.  Ami had never had to use her backup before, and I was sad to think that she may not make it to be there with me.  We had several meetings leading up to that day, and I was very comfortable with her.  But my nerves were quickly calmed when Ami told me about Tabby and how great she was.  At this point I just wanted someone who could be there to help me!!

We left the house at 8:30.  And it was pretty much the ride from hell lol 
I felt every little movement...seriously, if we ran over a small pebble, I guarantee I felt it.  I just wanted to get to the hospital!!  The ride there seemed to take forever, but eventually we made it.
We arrived at 9:15, and Brady dropped me off at the ER.  When checking in through the ER, they acted surprised to see me, even though I had called into my Dr office ahead...they said they didnt see an induction on the schedule.  I will say that is probably the one time I got bitchy throughout this whole thing...I was like HELLO, because I'm in labor lady!! 
(Does everyone get induced these days, gzzz)
After getting checked in, we were taken up to maternity.  While getting into the elevator, I heard someone behind us asking about the maternity floor...When I looked, I immediately recognized Tabby from the picture Ami had sent me.  I know the nurse thought I was crazy when I introduced myself to my own doula haha But I was so glad to see her :)

After I had got settled in, the nurses said they were going to check me. I detected a hint of doubt coming from her.. I swear, for some reason these people thought I was not in labor! LOL Maybe because I was so collected?  Or maybe because they are used to sending people home, that think they're in labor...Either way, when they checked me, they informed me I was 6 cm dilated and 95% effaced, and said I was ready to have my baby :)

This is where the fun started... :)
I did not want to be confined to bed, and I was NOT comfortable standing, so I used the birthing ball to sit on, and I do think it helped a lot.
 I can still remember the pain of the contractions...the sound of the monitors...
I was very reliant on my breathing techniques on getting through the contractions. It's such a weird feeling, when your body just does things on it's own, without you telling it to!
Tabby used some different techniques to try to help with my back labor, and to help Harper get in the proper position.

At 10:50 am I had progressed to 8 cm and was 100% effaced.
Dr. Santino came in at noon, and checked me, and then broke my water. Then the real test came..
I immediately started having super intense contractions, with pretty much no break in between. I remember my hands started going numb, and that kinda freaked me out. I hadn't gotten any pain meds or anything...but we concluded that I probably just wasn't getting enough oxygen, because I was taking very short breaths. At this point I was considering getting a little something for the pain...Pretty soon after, I started feeling the urge to push, and I was fighting to try not to. (Again, such a crazy feeling when your body takes over, but it really is amazing. In my case, my body knew exactly what to do.) I started getting really nervous though, because I had just been told I was 8 cm, so I didnt think I should have been pushing yet. That was when I decided to let them give me something. I got Demerol IV and immediately got some relief.
I remember being able to actually rest for a short time, while everyone was running around getting things ready. At 12:45 I was fully dilated, and began pushing shortly after.
To me, this was the easy part. I don't know if the pain meds were helping enough to allow me to say that lol But this was the end, and this is what I had been waiting for...acutally getting to meet our sweet baby girl! I think I pushed a total of 5 times..They kept asking me if I wanted to see, once her head was out. My eyes were closed throughout the whole pushing experience, and I was exerting all my energy into it (I was in the ZONE) So I said, no I just want to get this done :)

At 1:06 pm, our baby girl finally arrived!! All I remember is the Dr saying, "Oh, she bit me" LOL
That's my girl ;)  Her cord was short so they couldn't immediately place her on me like I wanted, but they did shortly after.   And daddy cut the cord. The first thing I noticed was her hair color...it wasn't dark like mine, it was more like Brady's :) (I would love to hear this story from Brady's perspective...afterwards you would have thought it was HIM that had the baby..LOL) Anyway, I was so exhausted, but so relieved at how well everything went! As soon as she was out, my body was jumping for joy that it was over, and for joy that I was finally meeting this little person that had been kicking me for the past several months :)

Harper Leigh Clifton   Born 11-1-12  1:06 pm   7lb 6oz  21 inches

I enjoyed spending the following days, bonding and getting to know my daughter :)
Breastfeeding was a challenge, but it really helped having the lactation consultants there to help..
(I will be posting another post about our BF journey....and what a journey it has been!)



Harper will be 4 months on March 1st.  At times, I feel like she has been around so much longer!  I guess maybe because she became a part of our lives, the day we found out we were pregnant. 
I loved being pregnant, I cannot complain about my labor, and everyday I tell myself how lucky I am, to have a happy and healthy baby. (And a baby who likes to sleep!!)
We are truely spoiled with her, and both Brady and I have said that we probably won't be so lucky with our future babies..hehe
I love being a mommy, it makes me feel like I am fufilling my purpose in life. 
I love watching her grow and change, and I try to take a ton of pictures to capture every stage.
There's so much that I am looking foward to doing with her.  And I know, it will give me a chance to be a kid again :)

Well, I think I need to cut this off...I could go on and on about my baby lol
And I'm sure I will have many more stories to post about in the future..

Bye for now!

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