Friday, January 15, 2016

lilli jo's birth story

I'll probably cry about five ten times while writing this. Even though it's a very intense story (for me), I can't help but get teary eyed thinking about when our sweet little baby entered the world.

Lilli's birth was absolutely nothing like I expected it to be. Throughout my entire pregnancy, I planned on having a natural birth. I bought essential oils, packed my focal point (a 4D ultrasound picture of Lilli), had calming music on my phone, took a natural child birth class - you name it, I did it.

But how many times in life do things go exactly as planned?

I in no way, shape, or form regret how Lilli's birth happened. Both mine and Lilli's health was touch-and-go and it happened the way it happened because that's exactly how Jesus said it was going to go. I put it all in His hands and He delivered both of us safely in the end. No mother is any less of a mother by the way she births her child. I have friends that have delivered their babies naturally, with an epidural, at home, via cesarean- and what'll you know, they are all great mothers. :)

Anyway, back to the point.

Spoiler alert: This is going to be a tad TMI so you should exit the room now if you are bothered by TMI shenanigans.

I should begin by saying that I first started to swell in my first trimester. It wasn't the normal "man, I have to take my wedding rings off" kind of swelling. It was a "in maternity clothes in my first trimester because I'm already puffy" swelling.

While it started in my feet, it very quickly moved to other parts of my body. By the end of my second trimester, I wasn't able to wear any kind of shoes for longer than an hour, I had to buy a bigger pants size because my calves had swelled so badly, and it was starting to hurt to walk. I expressed concern to my doctor and he said that as long as my blood pressure stayed down and my urine stayed clear, it would be fine.

By 30 weeks, I was extremely uncomfortable. Not because of my belly but because of my swelling. The swelling was in my feet, legs, arms, chest, back, face, and hands. At my 30 week appointment, my doctor told me I had approximately two liters of water in each leg just in my knees down. By 33 weeks, I wasn't able to drive because I couldn't move my ankles, and by 34 I didn't leave the house unless I had to because it hurt to walk.

At the end of my 34th week, I had an appointment with my OB. While we were there, they said they were going to keep a close eye on my swelling, blood pressure, and urine since my swelling wasn't looking so good. My OB was set to go out of town that afternoon and wouldn't be back until the beginning of my 36th week, but that I was to come back to see him on that Monday and I would go every week after that.

We didn't know it then but I wouldn't make it to that point.

I was in the middle of 35th week when I went to the hospital for mild contractions and trickling fluid. They confirmed that my water hadn't broken but my blood pressure was around 145/something (I never ever ever remember the bottom number so please stick with me when I talk about my blood pressure.) They changed my position, told me to do deep breathing, and gave me some water but the lowest it would go was 140/something. I was in "very early labor" from what they said but nothing consistent yet. They sent me home but told me I had to go see the high risk OB the next day and until then I was on strict bed rest. I was allowed to get up and go to the bathroom, but I wasn't allowed to do anything else.

Kyle took me to the high risk OB the next day. By that time, I was uncontrollably shaking, I was nauseous, dizzy, and lightheaded. They took my urine and blood pressure while we were waiting to get an ultrasound and my blood pressure was up to 165/something. The doctor came in and told me I had protein in my urine and obviously my blood pressure was very high. The doctor did my ultrasound to make sure Lilli could breathe on her own and wouldn't need steroids to live outside the womb. She could breathe just fine. 

The doctor looked at Kyleand I and said, "Okay, you are preeclamptic and this baby needs to come out. It's not safe for her in there anymore and it's becoming a danger to you both. We will see you at the hospital tomorrow evening at 7:30."

Can you imagine the look on our faces when he dropped that bomb?

We left, called our family, and tried to wrap our minds around the fact that we were going to have a baby the next day. 

Would she be okay this early? 
Would labor go okay? 
We don't even have a hospital bag packed. 
We are going to be parents- this weekend.

Needless to say I didn't sleep that night.

The next day my parents and Kyle's parents met us at the hospital. The hospital staff took Kyle and I up to our room and our parents to the waiting room. They hooked me up to an IV to give me fluid (like I needed anymore water in my body, haha), gave me antibiotics through another IV, put the belly monitors on, put the blood pressure cuff on me, and put me on an oxygen monitor. My blood pressure was up to about 180/something at this point. I was shaking so badly they had to hold my arm down to put the IV in. They told me I wasn't allowed to get out of bed other than to go to the bathroom and every time I needed to, I had to go with a nurse. At 8 pm they inserted a suppository to get labor going and told me that my contractions would start to get stronger and closer together. 

They did. Very, very quickly.

I started with back labor, but since I wasn't able to move, I just had to sit there and let them come. They checked on me every hour and said they would check my cervix at 12. When they did, I had only effaced a tiny, tiny bit, and I wasn't dilated at all. They gave me another suppository around 12:30 and said that it would hopefully dilate me a bit more. 

I was still having back labor and my blood pressure had gone up to around 185/something, which was causing me to shake so much that my teeth were chattering. They came in again around 2 hours later to check my again, and I was dilated to barely a one, and only a little more effaced. The on call OB came in and said that I should have dilated more by now but that my blood pressure was so high that my body was fighting back and wasn't progressing with labor. He said that they were going to give me pitocin around 4 am but that they were going to give me pain medicine to coax my body into progressing until then. He said he wanted to check me again in an hour. 

A nurse checked me an hour later and I hadn't progressed at all. She sat down on my bed and looked at me and said, "I know you want a natural labor but your body is fighting labor all together. Your blood pressure is getting too high. I would recommend getting an epidural now. It will relax your lower body to help you progress and there will be a significantly less chance of cesarean, which you would end up needing the epidural anyway."

I was devasted. I started crying and K came over to the side of my bed and put it very plainly that I was still a great mom no matter how Lilli came. He said that he thought it was time to get one, too. I started praying and I was immediately met with the answer that it was the right thing to do. So I got one. I look back now and I feel silly for caring about it so much. 

It took them about a half hour to 45 minutes to insert the epidural since my back was so swollen. They gave me the epidural around 3 am and I received pitocin at 4 am. I was dilated to a two around 8 am but my epidural had worn off on the right side of my body. They re-administered the medicine but it would only take for around 2 hours before it would wear off again. I labored like this until around an hour before I started pushing (I'll get to that in a minute.) They broke my water around 9 am, and even though that helped with my progression, I was still dilating very slowly. It was taking me about 2 hours to dilated one centimeter despite the ridiculous amount of pitocin they were giving me. Around 7 pm, I was at 6 cm. They told me I probably wouldn't have Lilli until the next morning, so Kyle went to go get some food with my mom while a friend sat with me.

Kyle and my mom were down in the cafeteria when the nurse came and checked me again around 7 pm. I let her do her thing, and I heard her say "Oh my gosh." I lifted my head up thinking something was wrong,and she said, "No, no, it's okay! You're at a nine and a half! We need to get ready to push."

I started bawling. I went unexpectedly from a 6 to 9.5 in 45 minutes and my husband wasn't in the room! He was eating a sandwich while I was having our baby!

So Kyle's mom ran down to get both my mom and Kyle. Kyle was freaking out when he got to the room and my mom was crying. Everyone left except Kyle and they prepared me to push.

My blood pressure was around 190/something at this point. I was SO nauseous and I kept seeing black spots in my vision. Kyle just kept saying to hold on, that she would be here soon. The nurse got me all set and said it was time to push. 

I began to push. 

And push. And push. Kyle was down there watching, and when she started to crown, he said, "She has hair! I see her hair!" I remember feeling super lightheaded shortly after he said that, and I grabbed onto his arm and thinking that I couldn't breathe. The machine next to me started beeping and everything in the room started spinning. One of the nurses put an oxygen mask on me and made me lay back and take a few breaths. 
As I was breathing, the nurse that was down there said "I can't find a line." I asked what that meant but she just responded with "don't worry, it's okay." I looked up at Kyle and he honestly look terrified. They called in the OB and she came up to the front of the bed and told me that she needed me to push and to push hard. The baby needed to come out, now. 

They called in NICU and told me to push. So I took a huge breath, pulled my body forward, and pushed incredibly hard. I felt L as she "popped" out (I'm being very literal here; she literally popped out because she was so tiny. The doctor had to catch her.). I fell back and took a couple deep breaths from the oxygen mask while Kyle cut the embilical cord. 

It was then that I realized I didn't hear any crying.

I couldn't see much between the nurses and Kyle but I saw her face for one quick second and saw that she was blue. Kyle was over at her bedside as a NICU nurse tried to get her to breath. Even though it was only about 15 seconds, it felt like 15 hours. She finally let out a very loud scream, the best sound I ever heard! They did a quick check while I delivered my placenta and was cleaned up. They rushed her over to me and laid her on my chest and she immediately stopped crying. 

Kyle and I just swooned over her. She had SO much hair, and she was so incredibly tiny. She kept looking up at me and Kyle and I were both crying. He just kept saying that he was so proud of me and so happy to see her. I still remember the exact feeling of having her on my chest for the first time, holding her close, breathing her in and kissing her head. 

Lilli was born at 5 pounds 1 ounce, 19 inches tall. I labored for 25 and a half hours and I pushed for one hour. Lilli's birth was absolutely nothing like I expected. But to me, it was perfect. I delivered a beautiful baby girl with my husband standing right beside me. That, to me, is the greatest blessing.

*This part is for my amazing husband. I never would have been able to get through this without you. You were and are my rock, and not only are you a wonderful husband, but a wonderful father as well. I love you for all of these reasons and more.*

{I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13.}


  1. I literally just reminisced my entire labor. and cried the whole time. Being a mama is an amazing feeling. She's gorgeous!

    1. It is the most amazing feeling! Thank you!