Thursday, February 12, 2015

Mara's birth story

We're so happy to welcome our sweet daughter to our family! Little Mara Grace has been with us for almost four weeks now - unbelievable.

I have rather prompt children, I guess! Both my son and my daughter were born on their due dates, an experience that I'm told is rather rare.

One day old!
On Friday the 16th, I had my 40 week obgyn appointment. My due date was Saturday, January 17th, and my doctor said she would sweep my membranes to try to get things moving. It was painless for me, which was great! I had a few contractions after that and throughout the evening, but they were inconsistent. My mom had come into town, as she had planned, and we had a nice time together. It was good for her to follow Joshua's regular schedule with me, as she would be caring for him when we left for the hospital.

I awoke at about 5:30 the following morning to real contractions. Time-able. Had to breathe through them. I woke Brad and had him pass me his phone so I could download and use a contraction timer app. As I breathed through the pain, the first words that came to mind were these from Isaiah 41:10: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Over and over. I focused on those words of truth and felt peace settle over me through the pain. God is my strength. He is my help. He holds me. Do not fear.

I timed for about an hour before I realized that the contractions were already between three and five minutes apart - time to get to the hospital! 

Meanwhile, Joshie and Nana had already gotten up and started breakfast. The smell of coffee was familiar and comforting, reminding me of my childhood. I don't drink coffee, but it was calming. So good to have my mom here.

I dressed myself between contractions and got downstairs to the armchair to wait for the on-call doctor to return my call and to tell me to come to the hospital. I waited and breathed and centered myself on the scripture. Joshua looked over at me from the breakfast table and wondered if Mommy was okay. Mommy's belly hurts, I said. But everything is okay. The baby will come out today, and the doctor will help. Mommy and Daddy will go to the doctor, and baby sister will come out.

The ride to the hospital was a mere 20 minutes, but felt so long with contractions every three minutes or so. And oh, was it cold! But it was a clear, sunny day, with passable roads. Just what I had prayed for. And I remained peaceful.

The triage experience was less than fun. They require a urine sample as soon as I set foot in the door. That was difficult to manage during my frequent contractions! Then the belly monitors were put on me for a fetal non-stress test and to time my contractions. As I waited for that, they also tried to insert an IV. And failed. It took three attempts and two different locations and two different nurses to get my IV started! So frustrating. It became difficult to focus and center myself with the bright lights, people talking to me through contractions, and the extra pain from the needle pricks. And I was already at 4.5cm dilated - all on my own, with no drugs. I felt proud of that, but was already beginning to feel less than strong. It was probably about 45 minutes there in triage before we were taken to a birthing/recovery room and I was given a steroid to take the edge off my pain.

Since things were seeming to progress quickly, my epidural was started by about 8:30am. Instant relief. The anesthesiologist who gave the epidural was calming, confident, and quick. I felt so much better and slept a bit. I was able to read a book and text and laugh - and didn't feel a single contraction - until the insertion point got bumped and started to come out. I ended up needing a second epidural.

My water did not break for hours and hours; the baby was sitting so high, and hadn't descended into my pelvis to cause the water to break. The doctors didn't want to rupture it for me, as it could've caused the umbilical cord to get stuck in the birth canal and cause a dangerous situation for the baby. So we waited. And waited. The nurses were wonderful about helping me.

I was fully dilated by early afternoon, but was not allowed to push because of the baby's position. I was getting frustrated and tired, and felt emotional. I asked to sit upright, and had my feet lowered. A couple hours later, my water finally broke on its own, and things began to move quickly.

By 8pm, it was time. Nurses brought in the delivery items, spread out instruments on the tables, and laid out smocks for the doctor and nurse practitioner. The baby's isolette was brought in, as was the scale and other items to clean her up when she was born.

At 8:15pm, I began to push. Not more than eight pushes and four contractions later, little Mara Grace was born at 8:31pm! The cord was around her neck, so it had to be cut early. I'm glad for the doctor's quick attention to her and to keeping me safe, too. I didn't tear at all, and didn't have to have any stitches this time. So thankful.

Mara was whisked to the table and dried vigorously, and then she began to cry. What a strong cry! She was adamant about wanting to nurse. She weighed in at 7lbs, 12oz, and was 20.5" long. As soon as she was ready, I started to nurse her. And she nursed for an hour and a half! Poor Daddy didn't get to hold her for that long. He made many phone calls, though, and was elated when he finally got to hold his little princess.


-stephanie- said...

I'm crying! A beautiful experience. Love from your auntie, Mara Grace!

Kristen [Teamfuest] said...

Thank you for sharing this! What a wonderful story (and amazing verse). I'm so happy for you guys. Welcome to the world Mara! :)

Tiffany said...

Totally cried tears of joy for your family as I read this! Can't wait to meet your sweet girl!!