January 14, 2011

Cole's birth story

Here's Cole's birth story. It's about as long as anything could possibly be. I added lots of dumb details mainly for myself so I won't forget. I don't think I actually expect anyone to read all of it. I just wanted to put it up in case someone was interested. Because I know when I first got pregnant and all throughout pregnancy I wanted to read anything I could get my hands on. I loved reading other people's birthing stories and I would wonder how mine would be. It's true that they're all so different. Well, here's ours!

I had a hard time falling asleep the night before I went in because I was so worked up! Little Cole kicked so hard inside me for an hour and a half straight. I'm pretty sure my adrenaline was keeping him up too. But I did finally fall asleep. I definitely didn't get enough sleep but what can you do? I woke up early enough the next morning to shave and everything. We were due at the hospital at 8 am.
In the car on the way over to the hospital we were all pretty quiet. It was nerve racking walking into the hospital knowing that I wouldn't be coming out of the place without a baby. But it was especially nerve racking getting out of the elevator and stepping onto the 3rd floor where labor and delivery was. But you kind of just suck it up and go with it. What else can you do? How else will the baby come out? Leading up to everything, I told myself repeatedly "I can do hard things." Because it's definitely hard but it was nice telling myself that I'm capable. And that little phrase seemed to really help me!
We signed in, paid our deposit, and then we were brought to our room. They told me to take everything off, even jewelry. That wasn't a problem since I wasn't wearing any jewelry. My wedding ring wouldn't fit on my finger for the last month of pregnancy anyway. And then I had to put on the hospital gown. The minute I walked out of the bathroom after changing, they laid me down, checked me, took my blood, put my IV in. UGH. If I had known that everything would happen so fast the minute I walked out of the bathroom, I probably would have braced myself or something.
My nurse's name was Brenda and I actually liked her quite a bit. She was 45 and had a 7 month old baby, she told me. She tried forever to have a baby and was finally able to at 45. She was from Canada so she had a slight accent. As she was hooking me up to all the monitors that check the baby's heart beat and my contractions (I was already having them every so often before they even hooked me up to the pitocin), the anesthesiologist/nurse who does the epidurals walked in wanting me to sign paper work and she asked me if I had any questions. I was super nervous about getting the epidural because Steve's home teaching companion's wife had gotten the epidural which made her spinal fluid leak which gave her a headache that she described as 10 times worse than labor. Yikes. I thought for a minute and said "Yeah. Have you ever known anyone to have their spinal fluid leak from getting the epidural?" That's what I was most afraid of! The lady just kind of nodded and said "yes." Great. Steve and my mom thought it was funny that I was bold enough to ask the question because I hadn't realized that she was the one who would actually be giving the epidural. I thought she was just another ordinary nurse. Steve said my question was kind of like saying "Hey, have you ever screwed up?" But the question is fair enough, right?
After all the questions and hooking me up to everything, Brenda tried putting the IV in my left arm. First she gave me a shot to numb it up which HURT and then she shoved a tube up there which also hurt but would have hurt even more without the anesthetic. I guess the vein she tried putting it in wasn't a good one because she had to pull it out again and the tube was bent as she pulled it out. OUCH. I had a bruise there forever afterwards. Brenda left the room to get something and I knew when she came back she would be trying the IV thing all over again and then I just got nervous and scared. I started to tear up and then I started to cry. My mom, who was on the couch, noticed and came to me to help comfort me. Steve was in the bathroom at this point and he accidentally pulled the emergency cord as he flushed (yeah, he really did). So as he walked out of the bathroom all these nurses rushed in. I couldn't believe how many and how fast they came! But then they realized that it was just Steve and called to the other nurses coming in "Oh, it's just a husband..." This lightened my mood and I started to laugh through my tears. Brenda came back in and saw my tears and asked what was wrong. I was just nervous, I said. Steve came and stood by my side as Brenda tried the IV on my other arm. It still hurt but not as badly, probably because I knew what was coming this time. Steve nearly fainted as she put it in. He was holding my hand and then started to pull away because he wanted to go sit down before he fell over. I didn't know this so I held his hand tighter. Luckily Steve never actually fainted throughout the whole ordeal!! :) And half the reason he was light headed with the whole IV thing was because he hadn't eaten anything yet that morning.
After getting the IV, Brenda checked my cervix and she said that I was at a 1 1/2 which didn't make sense since Dr. Herzog had said I was at a 2 the Friday before. Then she put me on the pitocin. The only reason I know is because I said to her "Will you tell me when you hook me up to the pitocin?" I didn't want to be surprised with some sudden killer contractions or anything. And she said "Oh, I already did." I didn't feel any different yet.
starting to relax a little

This is when I started to relax a little. I texted people, talked to Marie on the phone. Every 15 minutes or so, Brenda would come in and bump up the pitocin. I was just waiting for it to start hurting but it never really did. It was so weird. It kind of felt like menstrual cramps but it definitely didn't hurt that bad at all. When the pitocin was set to 12 (and it only goes to 20) Brenda came in and said "Are you sure you can't feel the contractions? You're having them a minute apart! Most women are screaming by now!" I was like, yeah I can feel them but they don't hurt yet. I was just waiting for that excruciating pain they all talk about. I'd had much worse Braxton Hicks contractions throughout my pregnancy. All I could really feel was my tummy tightening up every minute or so. But Brenda decided to get me the epidural at this point anyway because I was planning on getting one all along and I would most likely need it as the pain got worse. I was SO nervous about the epidural! I just imagined myself being startled and jumping when they put the needle in my back and that making my spinal fluid drip. They got me out of bed and told me to empty my bladder. When I came out, the anesthesiologist/nurse was there but it was a different one from before. This one was Asian and had a pretty thick accent. She was all chipper though. Or maybe it just seemed that way since I was so nervous! Steve sat at the side of the bed and held my hand. Brenda was getting stuff ready; I really don't know what she was doing. I had to hug a pillow and arch my back which really helped to relax me. The anesthesiologist/nurse behind me walked me through every sensation that I would feel next. Brenda was in front of me telling me to take deep breaths. Behind me, she scrubbed me clean and I'm pretty sure she numbed me up before she stuck the huge needle in me. Honestly, I don't really remember how it felt as she put the epidural in. I don't remember it really hurting at all. It definitely wasn't anything unbearable. Steve said that every time she told me what sensation I would feel next, the monitor that kept my pulse would suddenly speed up. Beep beep beep beep!
After it was in and everything was done, they laid me down. I could still feel my legs at first and wiggle my toes. It took about a half hour to kick in all the way. I was nervous to move around too much because I just pictured that needle wiggling around. yikes. But Steve and Brenda assured me that it was pretty much plastered to my back and couldn't possibly be wiggled around. Brenda bumped up the pitocin more and I was dilating fast! Brenda thought I would have the baby by 1 pm!
When I was dilated to about a 7, Brenda came in to check on the monitors. I was having very strong contractions but then they would get weak again and she said that this meant that the baby's head was being pushed up against my pelvic bones and that his head was facing the wrong way. She checked inside me and sure enough Cole was facing to the side when he was supposed to be facing the back. She did tell us though that she felt his hair which got us all excited!! Our baby had hair!  As she checked me, my water broke and the mucous plug came out. For the next hour or so, Brenda put me in different positions in the bed to help rotate Cole's head. First on my right side with my left leg in the stir-up. Then the other way around.
In one of those weird postions

When those positions weren't working, she actually laid me on my stomach and dropped the lower half of the bed to give my belly room. Since I was numb at this point, Steve was there to help Brenda lift and move me in all these different positions. Steve was so amazing and supportive and I can't imagine having gone through everything without him by my side. The position with me on my stomach also didn't work to turn Cole in the right postion and that's when Brenda started getting worried. I wouldn't be having this baby by 1 pm after all! She explained that the widest part of the baby's head was trying to fit through the narrowest part of the pelvic opening. Oh boy. I asked her what would happen if his head didn't turn. She said I would have to have a C-section. I did not want a C-section!! So I got all nervous again and started crying again. I just didn't know what I could do differently. My mom and Steve were there to comfort me and tell me all was not lost.
When I was dilated to an 8, somehow things just stopped and I wasn't dilating anymore. Brenda came in, this time with another nurse. I didn't realize what they were doing until they had practically done it but I guess the baby's heart rate had dropped because his head just kept being pushed up against my pelvic bones with every contraction. They turned the pitocin off for a while and then gave me a shot to help the baby's heart rate. They told me that the shot they gave me would likely make me shaky. And they were absolutely right. I started shaking so Brenda brought in some warmed blankets which helped quite a bit. The medicine worked and the baby's heart rate was back to normal so they turned the pitocin back on.
As we waited for me to dilate all the way, I was just dozing in bed and Steve and my mom were talking to each other. Suddenly I felt something different. It was like something clicked off inside me but I couldn't figure out what it was. I didn't say anything because nothing hurt. And then a few minutes later, Brenda came in and was like "Oh my goodness, your epidural is already all out! It was supposed to last for 8 hours!" And it'd only been like 5. Then I realized that yes, I was completely numb. I couldn't even wiggle my toes anymore! Turns out, the anesthesiologist/nurse had set my epidural at 30 when it was only supposed to be set at 10 and so I was getting 3 times the epidural than I needed. We were all a little annoyed but oh well. Brenda didn't put any more epidural in because I definitely didn't need it and it would take hours to wear off completely and I would be pushing before then.
I continued to dilate all the way and then it was time to start pushing! Steve was at my right leg and Brenda was at my left and my mom was on the couch. It was only the four of us in the room at first. When a contraction would start, Steve and Brenda would lift my legs up towards my chest and I would push while holding my breath for 10 long seconds. Pushing is hard! It seemed to last forever! But I have to admit that I thought that it would be harder than it was. I would push through 3 contractions and then I would rest through one. After pushing for about 20 minutes Brenda could tell that the baby's head just wasn't fitting through. I was pushing with all I had but his head was just in the wrong position. She called Dr. Herzog and told him that I needed his help. He finally showed up and also saw that although I was pushing very hard, the head would just not fit through. So, he started with the vacuum. Poor baby's head. But that didn't work at all. Then he got the forceps out which were HUGE! And he tried both the vacuum and forceps together. I was kind of disappointed that we had to use the vacuum and forceps but I didn't want a C-section even more so of course I just went with it. The nurses told us it was good that we had Dr. Herzog and not some other young doctor because back when Dr. Herzog went to medical school they were still trained on how to use the forceps and nowadays they aren't anymore. They'll just send you straight to get a C-section. Steve said that half the nurses who came in were people who wanted to see the forceps in use because they'd never seen it before. I didn't notice this while I was pushing.
It was weird with the forceps. I couldn't really see what was going on because my belly was in the way but I could see Dr. Herzog put those HUGE forceps inside me. I couldn't feel anything but I could feel the pressure and it was a LOT of pressure. I just couldn't even imagine not being numb.
Steve was by my side through the whole thing. He told me I was doing great and would encourage me to keep pushing when he saw me getting tired. He didn't tell me this until it was all over but he could see in the doctor and nurses' eyes that they were all losing hope that I would actually be able to push the baby out. I was pushing so hard but it just wasn't fitting through even after all the doctor was doing! When Steve saw Dr. Herzog lose hope Steve said to him "Let's just try one more time, doctor." And he turned to me and said, "Lauren, you are so close." Steve says that he thinks they didn't have me get a C-section because they could see how hard I was trying and that I wasn't giving up!
Near the end of the pushing, it got rough. Steve was helping me lean forward as I pushed through every contraction. I was pushing so so hard. And then Steve was like "Lauren, I can see the head, keep pushing!" That made me push even harder! It was hard for me to push when I was all leaned forward like that but Steve said it made all the difference. It just made me feel nauseous and I kept saying "I'm gonna be sick, I'm gonna be sick!" No one seemed to hear me though. Probably because I was wearing an oxygen mask. Luckily I didn't throw up. There was absolutely nothing in my stomach anyway. I was crying or tearing up from pushing so hard; it was all so intense!
At about this time, this nurse that I'd never seen before appeared in my face out of no where. She told me who she was and what she was about to do. She was giving me a spinal block which I did not want! I didn't need anymore anesthetic because I still couldn't feel anything from the overdose of epidural and I thought that if I got more it would interfere with the pushing. I shook my head at her all panicked with tears in my eyes and said "No!" but she explained that it would help the doctor get the baby out. What could I do? I was in the middle of pushing anyway. And then she was already hooking it up to my IV. Steve didn't even notice her do this since so much was going on but we think they did it because they thought that I would be getting the C-section.
There were so many people in the room suddenly. Apparently my mom was on the couch crying too because it was all so intense and at one point the doctor even turned to her and asked her if she was alright. And then shortly after getting the spinal block I pushed one last time and suddenly he was out!! I hadn't realized that he was so close to being out!! Cole seemed to cry immediately, even before the umbilical cord was cut but they say that that's not possible so who knows. It was Dr. Herzog who cut the cord, not Steve. I'm not sure why, they didn't even ask Steve if he wanted to but Steve said he was fine with it. I was bawling like a baby at this point. I was so happy that I'd gotten him out and it was amazing hearing his cry. The nurses took him to the table and were cleaning him up and doing whatever they do.
Steve was over at the table with them taking pictures of him. My mom got up from the couch and came to me and we were both crying like crazy! I kept asking if the baby was ok. I wanted to see him!! I couldn't really see him from where I was at. It seemed to take forever before they brought him to me. Dr. Herzog was waiting for the placenta to come out. I was still crying and I remember him looking up at me and asking me if I was alright. I nodded. I just wanted to see my baby. (Later on he told us that my labor was a more difficult one he'd done in a long time). Finally they brought him to me and laid him face down on my chest. He wasn't crying anymore. It was so sweet having him on me because he was all quiet. The only frustrating thing was that I couldn't reposition him to where I could see his face because I didn't have the strength from the spinal block. They had laid him so high up on me, I could just see the top of his head. I was dying to see his face, see what he looked like because I still hadn't at this point! I kept saying that I wanted to see his face but no one seemed to hear me because no one did anything. I was shaking from the medicine they had given me and then I started to worry that I was scaring my baby from shaking so much. I was afraid that he wouldn't know me because we still hadn't been able to look at each other. 
Then they took him from me again. I'm not sure why, I think maybe to give him a shot or something. That's when Brenda sat me up. I think it was so she could take the epidural needle out of me. That's when everything went crazy. I think it was just too much for me to be sitting up and she sat me up too fast. I got all light headed and started to black out and my body got all flimsy. I told the nurse that I couldn't keep my eyes open and that I was really tired. She said, "Oh, it's ok honey.." but I don't think she got it until she laid me down and that's when the uncontrollable shaking started! It was weird because I was still awake, I could hear everything that was going on around me and hear everything but I could not keep my eyes open and I couldn't stop shaking as hard as I tried! Steve and my mom were with the baby so only the nurse knew what was happening with me. My mom eventually noticed what was going on and came to me. "Lauren, are you ok?" I could hear the concern in her voice. I told her I couldn't stop shaking, I couldn't open my eyes! But my mind was completely aware. I heard the nurse tell my mom that I'd had too much medicine and that it was making me shake. I was worried that my baby wouldn't know me since we still hadn't bonded yet. I wanted to stop shaking so I could hold him but the harder I tried to stop, the more I shook. My mom held me down a little to help me stop shaking and the nurse brought in more warmed blankets. Finally Steve came over because he noticed what was happening. I heard him on the phone with Marie. My mom had called my dad and when I stopped shaking a bit, she put me on the phone with him. I could hear the worry in his voice too. I wished I could just stop shaking!
And then finally they brought little Cole back to me and laid him in my arms. I will never forget it! I finally got to look into his face and he looked into mine. He wasn't crying and I stopped shaking completely. I don't know if it was my will power that stopped the shaking because I didn't want to scare the baby or if it was because he soothed me. But we were both calm and it was heaven! He looked so peaceful :) He melted my heart. I could tell that he knew me which relieved me. I could tell that he recognized my voice. It was so sweet. I loved holding him and seeing the baby that had been incubating inside me for the past 9 months! We finally got to meet face to face! 
finally we meet :)

look at Cole's poor battle wound on his face from the forceps :( poor thing.
The first thing I noticed about Cole was that he had Steve's hairline!! I just couldn't believe that a little baby could get the widow's peak hairline! And then I noticed his big hands. He has massive hands for a little baby :) It's very cute. 
Then the nurses suggested that I try nursing. We didn't get it down right away but we tried. Cole did a couple licks which was completely adorable. It was frustrating that I couldn't sit up. It made me super nauseous. It was so frustrating because I couldn't handle my baby very well. Brenda brought me some orange juice and peanut butter crackers which never tasted so good. Half the reason I'd been shaking so much was because I'd had so much medicine and I hadn't had anything to eat. She also brought me some pain killers for when the anesthetic wore off. Good thing, too. It hurts. The lady who had set my epidural too high also came back with some medicine to take my nausea away since I'd been saying that I was feeling sick every time the nurses tried sitting me up. But I really didn't want to take more medicine. Steve noticed this time and said "I think she's had enough medicine..." and I was grateful for that. The food pretty much took the nausea away. 

The rest of the story is my recovery which is a different story altogether. And I am still healing! But having a baby is amazing! It really is! Cole is the cutest, sweetest baby I could have ever gotten! I thank God for him every day. It's funny how going into this I read all of these pregnancy and childbirth books. I read things from all different point of views and I knew going into it that I definitely didn't want the vacuum to be used, I also didn't want the forceps to be used and I absolutely didn't want an episiotomy. But somehow I got all three of those. But what's even more crazy is that although there was quite a bit of medical intervention used in Cole's birth, afterwards I still feel empowered! I feel like I can do anything! I told Steve that I feel like I've arrived, haha. I've always wanted to be a mom. I've been curious about childbirth my whole life but especially these past 9 months and now I've actually done it and I'm alive! I survived! And I'll do it all over again if it means that I get a precious little baby! I think the reason why I still feel empowered even though there was so much intervention (which in all the natural childbirth books, the word "intervention" is a very bad thing..) is because I was so close to getting a C-section but that didn't happen because I pushed him out! And no one else could have done that for me when it comes right down to it. I had the strength to get him out and avoid a C-section. I'm on top of the world! I can do anything! I can do hard things :)
Proud daddy

my sweet baby!


  1. I'm so glad he's here :) And no C-section! You're amazing!! I should write my story down too. I loved reading yours.

  2. Wow, Lu, your story made me cry. I loved every single detail. You are such a beautiful mother! I wish I had gotten all the details down with each of my kids. I definitely wrote about my experiences, but I love how you included so many details. You definitely deserve to be feeling on top of the world. You CAN do hard things! That all sounds like it was really, really hard! But look at that beautiful boy. He is so priceless.

  3. Yes, you can do hard things! Having a baby really is one of the greatest blessings ever.

  4. Is it crazy that I read the whole thing? I love birth stories. Can't get enough.

    I think you SHOULD feel empowered because you DID triumph! You have a gorgeous baby boy to show for all of that hard work. I cried (a couple of times) reading it because I am so inspired reading about people who overcome fears to do something worthwhile--and you did that by a long shot!

  5. Hey lauren, I just wanted to say thank you for writing this. Im just like you where i am addicted to reading other peoples birthing stories, and i cannot tell you enough how amazing yours is! I seriously feel like i lived through you while reading this... i am so happy that you stuck it out and got that baby here! Way to go!

  6. you rock lauren. I have seen stories like yours turn out in very different ways. you are so strong! makes me think that someday, I too will be able to go through the process and have a baby! :)

  7. You rock!! Seriously.. you pulled it together in the midst of chaos! That takes a lot of courage and strength (especially when the "professionals" had almost given up). And now you have a beautiful baby boy - and no incision!

    My story wasn't nearly as stressful, but Justin gave me a priesthood blessing before we left for the hospital. I know it helped me a lot.

  8. Lauren I love LOVED loved this!! I'm so glad, and I know you are too, that you recorded every detail! Birth stories always touch my heart...but especially now that I've had my own experience as well. You are quite the woman to go through all of that! My heart was racing just reading about you getting the pitocin, then the super-powerful epidural, the doctor using the forceps & the vacuum (what a blessing he was so experienced with them!)...those all helped, but it was YOU who did all the hard work to get him hear :) I teared up when you wrote that near the end Steve said, "Lauren you are so close!" and then, "I can see the head! Keep pushing!" :) :) :) :) :) :) And that photo of you two face-to-face is a treasure. I'm so glad everything worked out, even with a few bumps, and that you 2 are happy and healthy! :)

    PS - our nurse (after giving birth) was named Brenda too! We loved her...good name :)