Daphne Anne: My Birth Story
On June 23rd I began noticing some early signs of labor. I was only 34 weeks along, so I decided to call my doctor and find out if there was any concern. I spoke with the doctor's assistant and described the symptoms that I had been having (excessive mucus when using the restroom, frequent and strong Braxton Hicks contractions, loose stool, pink spotting and menstrual-like cramping) she told me that it sounded like I had lost my mucus plug but that it wasn't really a "thing" and that I would be fine. What the heck?! So I tried to take it easy and drink a ton of water as the symptoms continued for a couple days until my next doctor's appointment.
At our appointment I described my symptoms to my doctor and told her that the assistant had told me that it was "nothing" and made me feel like I was one of those overreacting first time moms, but everything in me told me that something was happening. She had a look of concern on her face and told me that she wanted to go ahead and check my cervix, I was already 1 cm dilated (I was so surprised to learn that some women actually walk around dilated for weeks, some at 3 or 4 cm!). Our doctor did a sonogram to make sure that Daphne was okay and to estimate her weight. She determined that Daphne was fine, already head down and low into my pelvis and weighing approximately 4.11 lbs. But she told me to go on moderate bed-rest until 37 weeks to try to slow the signs of labor so that Daphne could have more time to grow (basically no cooking, cleaning, shopping and staying off my feet).
The next few weeks were pretty rough, I was on bed-rest from June 26th till July 17. Carson had to do all the cooking and cleaning, he took such great care of me, but I spent my days super uncomfortable as I was continuing to feel all the same labor symptoms all day long. I was also really worried that Daphne would come to early and might have asthma like I do (I was born around 36 weeks). We prayed that God would keep her growing and safe and that we would just trust His timing for our girl.
This was taken the day we were put on bed rest. Our final Lamaze class was a tour of the labor and delivery floor, which I took in one of these wheelchair contraptions. I would also like to add that my husband proceeded to almost run me into practically every wall at the hospital that night.
I was also anxious because I really wanted my Mom to be here for the birth, Carson was my 'coach' and would be playing the biggest role in helping me with delivery, but it would mean so much to me for her to be there. She had a flight scheduled for July 24th, but a sweet lady in her church paid to have her flight moved up to July 14th! She was so incredibly helpful with meals and cleaning and taking care of both Carson and me, we were so relieved that she was here!
I was taken off bed-rest on July 17th and we (even my doctor!) thought for sure that it would be any day now! I was so uncomfortable. I had been having labor symptoms 24/7 for weeks now. I was walking around about 2-3 cm dilated and 75% effaced, it was no picnic.
Around 38 weeks we decided to start doing everything we could to get this party started. Mom and I began walking around the church or the mall almost every day, I started taking primrose oil and raspberry leaf tea capsules, ate spicy food, I sat on my exercise ball and did pelvic exercises, sat on my knees for hours on end, was adjusted several times at the chiropractor, I even had a massage where she only worked on the pressure points to start true labor. Nothing. And when I say 'nothing' I mean, the same 24/7 labor symptoms I had been experiencing since June 23rd. But no true labor.
At our next OBGYN appointment we began discussing induction. I could not believe it! This girl had sent me into early labor at 34 weeks and here I was discussing measures I never thought I needed to even think about! My doctor was pretty firm that she did not want me to go past 41 weeks and after days of tears and discussions, Carson and I finally decided to schedule an induction for August 13th. But we continued to pray that we would go into labor on our own, I was just really concerned about the risk of c-section associated with inductions. But we also trusted that if we didn't go into true labor on our own, that our doctor knew what she was doing and we trusted her to take care of us.
On the morning of August 7th (our official due date) my OBGYN stripped my membranes (for the 4th time) and my Mom and I went to the church to start walking around. I soon felt very strong and constant back pain that nothing could really distract me from. My contractions were continuing and after sitting in Carson's office for a bit, we decided to call my doctor and ask her what we should do. She suggested that we go home and take Tylenol and a warm bath and track the contractions and if the back pain didn't go away after a couple of hours, we needed to go to labor and delivery.
Well the pain didn't go away, and although I didn't feel like I was in true labor, we went to the hospital anyway. They admitted me and hooked me up to a fetal monitor and a contraction monitor. I was 3 cm dilated, 80% effaced and Daphne was at station -1 and after a couple hours they checked me again and I hadn't progressed at all so they sent us home. It was definitely a bit discouraging.
On August 8th the back pain worsened and my contractions became much stronger. Around 2:00 pm we decided to start tracking them, they were 30-60 seconds long and 5-15 minutes apart. I remembered in my Lamaze class that if you change positions every 30 minutes and the contractions continue, then you're experiencing true labor contractions. So I laid on each side, sat on my exercise ball, sat on my hands and knees, stood in the shower and walked around the neighborhood. The contractions continued and were strong, but I had been experiencing contractions for weeks now and could still walk and talk through these so I wasn't sure if we should go to the hospital. Looking back I cannot believe that I didn't know I was in labor! Maybe I was still discouraged from being sent home the night before.
This was the last picture that I posted before we had Daphne! I was in so much back pain and I'd like to think that my little chihuahua knew it, because he was being so cuddly and sweet to me!
Around 11:00 pm I decided that if the contractions became unbearable, we would go to the hospital, but until then we should all just go to bed. We laid out all the hospital bags just in case and I went to bed with a super-plus pad on, just in case my water broke. Around 1:00 am on August 9th I got up to use the restroom and immediately started experiencing super intense back pain and a constant cramping. I barely made it to the bed and I started to panic. The pain was so strong and so constant that I could barely explain it to Carson! He went ahead and calmly decided we needed to go ahead and go to the hospital. He woke my Mom up and on our way out the door, my water broke.
Carson raced to the hospital and by the time we arrived I was putting into practice all of our Lamaze breathing techniques in order to cope with the pain. Carson was doing a fantastic job helping me focus on my breathing and holding my hand. I had also started shaking pretty badly. We were admitted to labor and delivery, the nurse checked me right away and I was 4 cm and 100% effaced and Daphne was at station 0 (which was probably why I was having so much back pain). Once we were hooked up to the monitors, the nurse suggested that we go ahead and get an epidural if we wanted one because our labor was progressing rather quickly. I was nervous about it at first, but after only 10 minutes of having the epidural I was already starting to experience relief in between contractions. After 20 minutes I wasn't feeling any contractions at all! The nurse checked me again and we were already at 6 cm!
After the epidural had fully kicked in, the nurse dimmed the lights and Carson put on some labor music that he had created for me. He went ahead and slept for a couple hours while my Mom and I rested and excitedly chatted about Daphne's imminent arrival. It was honestly wonderful. After about 4 hours I was dilated to 10 cm and ready to push! It was so surreal! We pushed for about an hour and before we knew it, Daphne had entered our world and was lying on my chest!
These were taken right after Daphne was born. I cannot begin to express how happy I was to be holding my precious daughter.
After some skin-to-skin, they laid her in the bassinet next to me and weighed, measured and cleaned her. I couldn't take my eyes off of her. My baby girl. And I tell you, I couldn't have gone through that labor (as easy as I feel like it was) without my amazing husband as my coach!
I grabbed my Mom's phone and snapped a couple shots of my incredible husband and our new daughter from my vantage point. I love watching him watch her.
Daphne Anne weighed a perfect 7 lbs. 13 oz. and was 19 3/4 in. long. Isn't she perfect?
I feel really blessed to have gone into labor naturally and to have had a relatively easy delivery and recovery. I feel so honored to be Daphne's Mother and I'm so excited to watch Carson be the best Daddy ever!