Ava's birth story involves a birth center, a transfer to the hospital, one of the hardest working women I've ever met, her incredibly supportive husband, and an utterly adorable baby girl. I was thrilled to be a part of their birth experience.
Ava’s Birth Story
(as best I can remember)
On Wednesday, December 19, I started having contractions while walking Walter. I used a contraction timer and realized they were very close together. I called Adam and told him I thought I was in labor. I had had an appointment at Inanna that morning and she had attempted to strip my membranes and had told me to use the breast pump and walk to try and get labor going. It had worked! (Or so we thought). I had a follow-up at Inanna to do bloodwork later, so when I got there, Jean checked me and said that I had dilated from a 2 to a 3 and she thought I was in labor! She told me to call my family and have them start heading our way because I was going to have a baby that night. She also had an ultrasound scheduled for me because she thought I had a big baby. I called my family and they started coming down. Adam and I went to have the ultrasound done, but by the time the ultrasound was over, the contractions had started slowing. Afterwards, we kept pumping and got packed because Jean wanted to see us again that evening. When I went back in, Jean checked me and said I had not dilated any more and she didn’t’ think I was in labor after all. She gave me a double Nubain injection and sent me home to sleep with instructions to come back in the morning. The Nubain knocked me out in minutes. I could feel the pressure of the contractions all night and then they stopped some time in the middle of the night. The Nubain made me sick and I threw up, which wasn’t fun. The next morning I went back and saw Betty. The contractions had stopped. Betty said she wanted to take that day for my body to relax. She told me not to pump or try to start labor. I was really disappointed. I was also stressed because my family had already come down. We spent the rest of the day with my family. The next morning, I came back to Inanna and Jean stripped my membranes and told me to start pumping and walking. Mom, Kristen, and Kelsey were at the house and so I pumped and took Walter on a long walk with Kristen and Kelsey. That did it!
I was supposed to go back that afternoon so Jean could check me – I was definitely in labor this time! Mom went with me again to this appointment and met Jean. Jean told me to continue with the pumping and to come back for good in the late afternoon around 3:30 to Inanna to stay. I had dilated to a 4! I came back to the house and continued pumping as the contractions got a little more uncomfortable. I called Heidi and Adam and told them it was for real this time. Mom drove me back to Inanna at 3:30 and Heidi and Adam met us there. Mom went back to the hotel with Dad, Kristen, and Kelsey. I spent the next few hours walking around Inanna, talking with Heidi, and having Adam massage my back with a rolling pin. After several hours, Jean checked me and said I was still at a 4 or 5 and the baby had actually moved back up, which was very discouraging. She told me she thought the baby might be too big to fit through my pelvic bone, and that’s why she had moved back up. She also thought her position might be wrong now. We decided it would be best for Jean to break my water to get things going. She broke my water around what I think was 7:30 – and we found meconium, and lots of it. That’s when we got a little more concerned. Jean, Heidi, Adam and I decided it would be best to transport to Denton Regional. I was so scared and so devastated. The contractions started almost instantly after Jean broke my water. I have never been so miserable. It was horrible and constant pain. It was very difficult to stay positive right then. Jean made some phone calls and within 15 minutes we were following her on our way to the hospital. I was in a lot of pain and the car ride was awful. I was also so scared because of the meconium. I was so afraid the baby had aspirated it. I also felt like a total failure – not the best time. Adam had called my family and they were meeting us at the hospital.
We got to the hospital around 8? Or a little after. I was in pretty intense pain. The contractions were intense and close together – I was very irritable. Adam and Heidi were such a relief. We walked in and I saw my parents and sisters waiting in the waiting room – I was too miserable to really talk to them. We checked in and I remember crouching at that main desk because I hurt so bad. We made it into the LDR room, and my clothes were off and I was in the hospital gown and then in bed. They hooked 10000000 wires up to me and gave me a million bracelets. I remember one in my hand for the pitocin, one in my arm for something. I had blood drawn from my left arm and a catheter and 2 monitoring devices attached inside me for Ava – 3 wires coming out from inside me. I remember begging for the epidural. I hurt so bad. Once I got the epidural an hour or so later it was such a relief. I could relax, I wasn’t as crabby, and I could notice things around me for the first time. The pitocin was turned up and I can only imagine what that would feel like without the epidural. I was mildly uncomfortable as the pitocin increased and I would increase the epidural every now and then. I was so past our original birth plan and in so much pain that I didn’t mind the epidural at that point – they were constantly monitoring Ava and her heart beat was good and strong. Cheryl was my LDR nurse – she was loud and chatty, but she knew everything. It was nice to have her monitoring me because I knew I could trust her. She had been on shift for something like 23 hours when I got there, so I know she was tired, but she got me through that labor. I don’t remember much of that night except that I felt a little better and was able to talk to Adam and Heidi. We sent Heidi home around 1:15 am because we knew it would be awhile until I was ready to push and she had been up all night the night before at another birth. She reluctantly left and Adam and I settled in for the night. Sometime early in the morning (4? 5?) Holly Groom CNMW showed up to check me – she increased the pitocin and I got uncomfortable. The epidural was not quite covering it then. I was so afraid of the pain I had experienced the night before and remember asking for more epidural and shaking because I did not want that pain again. I am hazy on the rest, but I remember Holly coming in and checking me and telling me it was time to push. It all seemed very quick. They turned off my epidural so I would be able to feel to push. I wasn’t a huge fan of that. The rest I don’t want to recall in detail – I pushed for somewhere in between 3 ½ and 4 hours – it was the most hopeless feeling. I have never been so tired. I threw up, I was shaky, and I was so terrified that my baby wasn’t coming out. I gave it everything I had, and then some. She had to have her head molded under my pelvic bone for most of the time I pushed. I was more discouraged then than I ever have been. I would have killed for some water, and I really remember craving Diet Coke. All I could have was ice chips. Adam was the best help – he gave me ice chips and helped me. I love him so much. It seems like a blur, but all of a sudden Holly and everyone were moving quickly and calling for the nursery and other people (due to the meconium) and I was pushing harder than ever – they held up a mirror so I could see her head and she seemed so far up still! I remember asking during that time of pushing if they could just pull her out, if she would really fit, and if I could just have a C-section. Before I knew it, her head was right there, and I pushed it out – it hurt. When her head came out I knew I didn’t have anything left to give, but I loved my baby so much and I wanted her out and safe and I gave the very last I had with that push and just pushed her the rest of the way out. Oh she felt so long coming out. I remember feeling nothing but relief that I was done and she was out. She finally came out at 9:54 am. I just layed there and called on the Lord. Adam went with Ava for her check-up on the other side of the room. She hadn’t aspirated any of the meconium! So great. Ava was 9 pounds, 6 ounces, and 22 inches long (with her head molded the way it was). Her head measured at 14 centimeters. All I remember thinking was “Is she okay?” and that I was so so so so tired. I had to lay there for something like an hour and 15 minutes while Jean and Holly stitched me up. I ripped a lot in multiple directions. I also had a giant hemorrhage. They had to give me epidural doses to numb me while they stitched me. They also couldn’t get the placenta out so Jean had to (painfully) push my stomach around to get it out. I never felt that delivery. I had Adam and Heidi bring back our families so they could meet Ava. I don’t really remember meeting her the first time – I knew her head was shaped crazily after the delivery. Adam brought me a diet coke while they stitched me up. I gulped it and he brought me another- I love that man.
Jean kept telling me how proud she was of me because of the giant baby I had just delivered and how hard it had been. That felt good. I remember they took Ava to the nursery for a few hours to check her up while Adam and I rested in the LDR room for awhile. The first trip to the bathroom was an experience – so much blood. Oy. We ate lunch from Luigi’s and then I passed out. Kristen and Kelsey had come back to the LDR room I think. I was just so tired. Adam went home to sleep and take care of Walter. He came back that evening. Later that afternoon they moved me to the maternity ward, room 220. I met the nursery nurse and my own nurse, but I don’t remember them and didn’t see them again. Pretty soon after I got into that room, Susan came to visit. Then Will, and my parents and sisters. Then Don and Nate. Adam came back later with stuff for the hospital stay. My sisters had to go home that day. So did Susan and Will. Don and Nate came back the next day with Kim. Adam stayed with me at the hospital. My parents stayed until that night and then went back to the hotel. I got to hold my Ava and have her back – it was wonderful. I love her so so much.