My baby girl is four and a half months old now guys- I’m fully back to work and getting back into what feels like normal life. New normal as everyone always points out to us. Yes- things are different now, but I love it. She is the most amazing thing I have ever seen and I just can’t believe she is real sometimes.
Merrick Belle was born September 6, 2018, at 5.20 am. She weighed 6 pounds 10 ounces and measured 20 inches long.
I labored for a week. Baby girl was stubborn and refused to drop down. Even as my body contracted for a week to push her down- she stayed put.
Early Labor (aka lots of uncomfortable waiting)
It started August 28th (which was a Tuesday and two days before my due date). I started feeling contractions around noon that were irregular and only mildly annoying. Things progressed (sort of) as the doctors told us they would. The contractions slowly grew in intensity but not really
Be warned… this is her birth story. I tried not to get very graphic- but there are just some things that can’t be skirted around well. If this sort of thing bothers you… please don’t click through.
Eventually they (as in the contractions) woke me up early in the morning. Leading my hubby to declare it was time to call the doctor; and the doctor told us to head to the hospital.
So quick explanation here- just in case you are unaware (although maybe your hospital will do it differently). Under normal (non-emergency) circumstances- they don’t admit you right away. They check you out, hook you up to the monitor, and watch to see if you make progress. If you don’t make any progress they mark you as ‘early labor’ and offer you some options.
So they observed me for about two hours- when I still hadn’t made any progress they gave me two options. I could either opt to be admitted and receive Pitocin or head home to
With that disappointing
And waited. And contracted irregularly.
And waited. And contracted irregularly.
I did everything I could think of during those days to help. I took really hot showers, ate spicy food, drank raspberry leaf tea, bounced on my exercise ball, walked around the mall, had sex… everything.
So Little Progress
Friday (August 31st- one day past due) we had our last ‘standard’ checkup appointment. There we discovered I had not made any progress (dilating) so we set up an induction plan.
Saturday night (which would make it September 1st- and two days past due) my contractions ramped up again. After more careful timing of said contractions my hubby and parents insisted we go back the hospital.
I did not agree with my parents or husband. I was insistent (between contractions) that it wasn’t time and that we shouldn’t go to the hospital. Maybe it was mother intuition. Maybe it was just… anxiety. I didn’t think I was going to have the baby that night.
And I was right.
We went in about 11.30 pm. We then left with no baby around 5 am on Sunday (September 2nd- three days past due). I was still barely 1 cm dilated after four days of laboring.
Let me repeat that.
Four days of contractions and only one centimeter dilated.
I had my official last doctor’s appointment that Tuesday (September 4th- five days past due). It was the start of my induction. They hoped to encourage more progress by scraping my membranes.
They hooked me up to a non-stress test first to make sure baby girl was doing okay. She was perfectly fine- strong heartbeat and moving a lot.
So the doctor tried to scrape my membranes- with no success. She informed me that my cervix was too high to scrape. That
I was still only one centimeter dilated.
Five days of contractions and only one centimeter dilated.
By that point, I had mentally settled into the fact that I was going to have to be induced. That helped- just planning I wouldn’t be admitted into the hospital until September 6. Just believing that baby girl was going to hang out until September 7 made it easier.
My emotions were a little raw though- nice way to say I was cranky. (In my defense… I hadn’t been sleeping well… in fact, I hadn’t been able to sit, stand, or just exist comfortably for a while.) Heads would roll if one more person told me that I had created too comfy a space for the baby. Side note- please don’t ever say that to a pregnant woman.
Admitted to the Hospital
The very next day- around 4 am I woke up with a round of really intense contractions. This wasn’t unusual- I was becoming a pro at breathing through contractions.
Anyway- I wake up
We were all a little anxious about going to the hospital over another false start. After an hour or so of this new batch of intense contractions- my hubby and mom took me to the hospital around noon.
Guess what… still only 1cm dilated.
Seven days of contractions and only one centimeter dilated.
I’m thinking they’re going to send me home again since I was still only 1 cm dilated. My doctor though told me she’s going to induce me because I’m only one day from my induction date.
My contractions were too strong and close together though for Pitocin so I had to get a foley bulb to help along the dilation. That caused the contractions to become awful. I have never experienced pain like that before- I remember googling “what does labor feel like” once and feeling so frustrated when people said it was indescribable. Unfortunately, I can only say that same thing.
It is an indescribable pain.
That being said- I didn’t want an epidural quite yet so they gave me Fentanyl (which was a lovely relief and very very trippy). We didn’t want to do many too many rounds of Fentanyl- so only about two hours (I think) an epidural became our next option.
Active Labor (under the influence of an epidural)
I never saw the needle and the anesthesiologist was awesome so receiving the epidural was a piece of cake. However, I did not react well to the dosage they started me on. My heart rate and blood pressure plummeted a few minutes after I was all hooked up and I passed out. I bet if pressed my mother and hubby might tell you it was one of the scarier moments they had witnessed. I don’t remember it all that well.
The reaction to the epidural was only really a little thing in the experience- they did leave an oxygen mask near by just in case (they made me pop in on every once in a while when they weren’t pleased with some stats coming through the monitors).
Once I was on the epidural meds they gave me a birthing peanut and made me switch sides every 30 minutes (I think). It was pretty calm during that period- my aunt and mom went home to sleep while Jacob and I rested with The Office playing on the little hospital television.
Around 8.30pm, the foley bulb came out indicating I had made progress. Finally- 4cm dilated (thank you super awkward and uncomfortable foley bulb)! It had felt like such an accomplishment- it was the first bit of progress in days.
After that they decided to break my water to encourage this progress to keep going. Side note- breaking my water did indicate that there was merconium in the amionic fluid (which meant NICU staff would need to be there for the delivery).
Two hours later I had dilated to 6cm (woohoo) so we called my aunt and mom to come back to the hospital. I then quickly progressed to 9cm and my aunt declared there would be a baby in my arms by
Dilation slowed down though. We waited around for a little bit watching The Office until around 3.00am. The doctor determined I needed to push out the rest of my
Pushing + Delivery
Things get really really fuzzy at this point. I know that I pushed for about two and a half hours. I do remember staring at the clock above the doctor’s head wishing
My husband always laughs about how at one point the doctor left for a moment while I was pushing. She came back fully covered in scrubs and even had on a face shield. He said he felt a little underdressed considering his proximity to the doctor.
I do also remember that I would push and everyone’s face would get all excited for a moment. Until I stopped pushing. The nurses and doctor kept telling me that I was doing a great job. Which my husband said I cracked everyone up by responding by saying ‘I bet you say that to all the girls.’ Supposedly I’m a hoot when I’m trying to give birth to a baby.
It was long. It was incredibly hard. They made Jacob give me the oxygen mask in between pushing (something to do with my oxygen levels… I think). I was covered in sweat and begging
Giving birth is the most relieving feeling in the world.
My NICU Baby
But this is where the story didn’t go exactly according to plan- to what we had envisioned her birth in our minds. I have absolutely no hard feelings or regrets or anything when I think back on it though.
We didn’t get
We didn’t get to marvel over her immediately after she was born.
We don’t have that classic photo with the momma on a bliss high after all that pushing with the baby on her chest.
The story is a beautiful one though regardless of whether it went the way we envisioned. She was here. She was real and she was beautiful.
Baby girl just needed a little help transitioning into the world. I got to touch her right as she came out. I could hear her as the NICU doctor worked around her with a little breathing mask. I got to hold her for just a moment while they stitched me up. They explained to me she needed
I have a few photos and videos… and I thought about sharing them… but it’s our most vulnerable state I think we’ve ever experienced. They’re sacred to us because of that and we’re going to keep them private.
My husband made a difficult decision. He left me to follow our daughter to the NICU while the doctor finished with me. He sent me photo after photo of her from the NICU while the doctor finished with me.
She only stayed in the NICU for about two hours- leaving the NICU with an APGAR score of seven.
As I write up this story and can’t help but marvel over the memories. What a strange and incredible experience- becoming a mother and giving birth. I couldn’t sleep for a little while after she was born- so I just stared at her all swaddled up in my lap. I took her all in- marveling over everything about her in awe. This beautiful little thing that I had carried so intimately and felt move for the past several months.
She made me a mother- giving me something that I had longed for and prayed over for years. My sweet Merrick Belle- my daughter. I couldn’t ask for more.
The journey since her birth has been incredible- hard and blissful and tearful and joyful. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
beautiful photos by baby
the other photos are our personal family photos