Monday, April 16, 2012

Nicholas Birth Story

Hello friends!! I hope you are all doing well! I really appreciate all of the sweet comments you left me regarding Nicholas' arrival. It meant so much to me to read them the next morning from my hospital bed. It's such a special feeling knowing you were all praying for us. Before I forget all of the details leading up to the big day, here is the story on how our sweet Nicholas arrived into the world!
It was Sunday, March 18th, the day before our sweet Nicholas arrived. All in all, a pretty uneventful Sunday for me as far as labor signs went. I was measuring 2 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced as of my doctor's appointment earlier that week. I did have some mild cramping and contractions through out the day, but nothing happened that would cause me to feel like things were finally getting started.

I was feeling pretty tired and unmotivated most of the day, however, did my best trying to keep up with the housework and an active Toddler. I just felt huge and anxious all day wondering when our little man would arrive. I went into labor with Jillian two days before my due date so I had a feeling things would start happening with Nicholas very soon. Earlier that afternoon, we decided to take a family trip to Target to stock up on a few last minute baby items. I had a feeling it was probably the last Target trip for awhile!!! After arriving home, I decided to take Jillian outside for a short walk around our cul-de-sac while Jeff worked outside in the yard. It has been an extremely mild Winter and Spring for us with temps in the 80's the week of Nicholas arrival. I thought it would be nice to take a walk with Jillian although all she wanted to do was run in every direction that was away from me. Needless to say, our walk came to an end rather quickly!! I am sure I was quite the sight chasing a Toddler around our neighborhood 40 weeks pregnant so I decided to spend the remainder of the day inside. I was pooped trying to keep up with her!! Jeff was so helpful and took over the responsibility of chasing Jillian around outside the rest of the day while I tried to relax inside.
Late that Sunday evening, I sat on the couch with Jeff and wrote out a few thank you notes to the neighbors who had hosted a diaper shower for me. I was also debating how I was going to handle work the next day. I no longer had to go into the office, however, knew I had to at least log on and review a few items for my manager if there was no baby. Not a decision I thought I would be making, I really had thought labor was eminent that weekend. After watching an episode of "Big Bang Theory," we decided to go to bed early knowing our days of getting a good nights sleep were numbered.
Around 2am, I got up to use the bathroom which was pretty routine for me at this stage in my pregnancy. I crawled back into bed and started thinking about work and all of the things I needed to accomplish the next day. Jeff's Mom was coming over in the morning to help watch Jillian so I could get a few things accomplished. As I laid in bed, I felt a few more weird cramps and then a sharp one took me by surprise. I felt a weird wet feeling on my legs so I got out of bed and headed back to the bathroom. More weird wetness occurred but nothing dripping as if my water had broke. After an inspection, I discovered I was bleeding ever so slightly with some strange clear fluid. I was really unsure if this was the start of my bloody show, or water breaking, or what the heck was going on. I really expected more of a gush if my water had broken. I crawled back into bed and grabbed my iPhone off my nightstand. I Googled "signs of your water breaking" and read up on what I should do next. The article recommended laying down for 30 minutes to see if your water would collect when you stood up. I did what the article instructed and waited. Then the coolest thing happen. I felt N shimmy down in my belly like all of a sudden he was "free." His movements started to feel so much more distinct then they had in recent weeks. I got out of bed again to see what would happen and only the slightest bit of liquid seemed to trickle out. Still not enough to make me confidently think my water had broke. It just felt gooey more than anything. I decided then not to drive myself any crazier and decided to wake up Jeff. He and I had joked about me waking him up in the middle of the night before we went to bed and now I was actually doing just that. Jeff pretty much reacted the way you would think most husbands would react in this situation and bolted out of bed. I kept telling him how unsure I was about what I was experiencing and really hoped that it wasn't just me wanting it to happen more than what was actually happening!! I was constantly "checking things out " and trying to find clues to make me feel a little more confident about a broken water. Finally I decided just to call the doctor on call and see what they thought I should do. I was so excited to find out when they put me through to the doctor that it was actually my own doctor!! I am not sure if I have mentioned this yet during this pregnancy but I LOVE my doctor. Due to difficulties that I had experienced giving birth to Jillian, we had decided to shop around new doctors with this pregnancy and I couldn't have been happier with our choice.
I explained to my doctor what was going on and he told me to head to the hospital. It sounded to him like the real deal but I would need to be tested for sure if my water had indeed broken. We called Jeff's Mom to come over to watch Jillian, took a shower and then started gathering up everything we needed for the hospital. As we were about to head out the door, I was talking to Jeff's Mom and felt a major trickle down my leg. I ran to the bathroom to confirm that my water had very much broken!!
Here we are at 3am, right before we left for the hospital:

We were admitted to the hospital's Triage unit around 4am where they did a test to confirm that my water had broken, and then we waited for what felt like forever for a birthing room. My doctor checked me when I initially arrived and was measuring 3 centimeters and 50% effaced. They decided to put me on Pitocin since I still wasn't having any intense contractions yet and my doctor wanted to speed things along since I had a broken bag of waters.
The first thing the nurses explained to us when we arrived was how under staffed they were and how the amount of women who had checked themselves into the hospital that night to have a baby was absolute craziness. You would think it would have been a full moon that night. They told us Mom's were literally battling it out for labor and delivery rooms and that they were prioritizing everyone by how far along you were. I actually spent 8 hours of my labor in the Triage room, they were that busy. To be honest, that whole situation really aggravated me. I probably would have given birth to Nicholas a few hours earlier if it weren't for the staffing issues. I was stuck in a teeny tiny uncomfortable Triage bed while Jeff had no "man couch" to relax on. My butt kept falling asleep from the uncomfortable position they had me in and I couldn't even try to sleep if I wanted to. To make matters worse, they decided to TURN OFF my Pitocin drip just in case I started progressing too far since they didn't have enough nurses to handle all the laboring Mom's. So we just sat in Triage waiting for an Labor and Delivery room to open up.
I was so bored and not in any significant pain yet so I decided to pass the time by putting on my make-up.  I was also extremely hungry.  I never did end up eating that day.  I tried to sneak a Nutri-grain bar until the nurse came into the room and almost busted me!  Ha!


Finally after an eight hour wait, we were moved into a much more spacious Labor and Delivery room. I was now measuring 4 centimeters dilated and was 80% effaced. My Pitocin was turned back on and the contractions were coming pretty regularly. I decided it was time for my epidural, why sit there in pain? By the time the anestisiologist arrived, I was so happy I ordered it when I did. I was in a lot of pain and really needed some relief!

With my epidural working its magic, I decided to finally take my first nap of the day. Our Labor and Delivery room also had a decent "man couch" so Jeff also decided to take a nap. It was so nice to be able to have some quiet time before having to push. Half way through my nap, I started to feel my contractions again and they were slowly getting worse.

After our naps, our families had arrived and came into our room to hang out with us. They had waited to come to the hospital until then since there was no room for extra guests in the Triage room. This was the first time I was able to visit with Jillian too and I was so thrilled to see her and be able to spend time with her. She sat on the bed with me a lot but didn't seem too bothered about me laying in a hospital bed. I honestly had no idea how she was going to react and was proud of her for being so good.

As I sat and visited with our families, I could still feel my contractions becoming more and more painful. To a point where I had to start breathing through them again. Eventually I asked my family to leave because I didn't want them to see me in so much pain. I called for Jackie, my nurse, to find out what was going on with my epidural. She checked me out and decided perhaps I needed another dose of drugs. She called the anesthesiologist to come back to give me a "topping off". After two doses, nothing seemed to be working and I started to panic and got a little hysterical. I was freaking out from the pain and kept asking for someone to help me. No one seemed to know why my epidural had stopped working. My contractions were ridiculously strong with one right after the other. I mostly just remember holding Jeff's hand and trying to breathe through them, although there were definitely times that I lost focus and just sobbed through them instead. And then there were a few that I just lost all control whatsoever and ended up crying and screaming hysterically through. It was far worse than any pain I had ever experienced.

After begging and pleading with my nurse that she needed to help me, she called the anesthesiologist again to help me for the third time. He inspected my back this time and mentioned that part of the epidural may have shifted and the medicine they had administered was no longer hitting the right nerves. So through the intense pain, I had to sit still for him to remove my epidural and put in a new one. Trying to sit still and not move during such immense pain as he put in a new epidural was horrible. Finally after 15 minutes, it slowly started to work and my contractions from hell slowly improved and faded away. The relief I felt from the pain was so strong, I cried for a few minutes as I slowly started to feel normal again.

It was now 7pm and I had been in labor for 17 hours. Jackie called the doctor to check my progression. After the horrible contractions I had experienced, hopefully some progression had to have come of it. Thankfully I had progressed and was 8 centimeters and fully effaced. Nicholas's head was in a +1 position and was continuing to descend. It was almost time for me to meet my son.

When the time finally came for me to push, I was ready! I felt like a horrible pusher with Jillian's birth and was determined to do a great job with Nicholas. My nurse had checked me and confirmed I was 10 centimeters and the head was "right there!". She ran off to get the doctor, however, returned with a woman we had never before. Again because of the under staffing issues, my doctor was tied up with emergency back to back c-sections and wasn't available to deliver Nicholas. No doctor was available. Jackie introduced the woman to us as a midwife and that she could deliver the baby. Jeff and I just looked at each other. Neither of us wanted to be rude, however, we were both thinking the same thing. No way! Now we had a huge decision to make: wait an hour with Nicholas just sitting there in the birth canal for our doctor to become available or have the midwife deliver me now. To make matters worse, they had discovered that Nicholas heart rate was dropping with every contraction I was having. They guessed there was an issue with the umbilical cord--that it was either pinched or twisted. After asking a million times if there would be harm to the baby by waiting, we opted to wait for the doctor. Jeff was really starting to grow more aggravated and impatient as we sat and waited for the doctor. He left the room and headed out to the nurses station to get a status on the doctor. You could tell immediately when he came back into the room he was really fired up then. He had found out our doctor had a third c-section to do! We were really upset by that point. Jeff paced the room a bit and then runs off again. He comes back with my nurse and says the doctor is on his way. I found out later that he pretty much started making ultimatums and became "that Dad" by yelling at a few nurses. I honestly can not say I blame him, we were both worried about the well being of our son and were growing more and more concerned with each passing minute that he was just sitting in the birth canal.

A few minutes later our doctor comes into the room and was ready to go!! Apparently Jeff's "arm twisting" had paid off. Several other residents came into the room a few moments later to assist the doctor. A few minutes later I was pushing. I felt so much more alert and energetic than I had when I was pushing Jillian out. I was determined to get him out as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and he just wasn't coming out. The good news is that he was slowly progressing with each push but at a snail's pace. You could see his head which obviously contained large amounts of beautiful dark hair. I had tried so hard!!! To this day, I still feel like a lousy pusher. Nicholas heart rate was continuing to drop with each push and everyone in the room was concerned and watching the monitor closely. After a few more unsuccessful pushes, the doctor suggested using a vacuum to pull him out. I became nervous at the thought of using a vacuum again to deliver our baby. The word vacuum alone brings back bad memories from Jillian's birth. I honestly can say though that I trusted this doctor and knew he would only do what was right for Nicholas. His heart rate kept dropping and needed to come out soon.

I watched as my doctor unwrapped the vacuum device and placed it on his head. I leaned as forward as I could and gave it my all with this last push. Next thing I remember was the doctor pulling Nicholas's head out by the vacuum. He was half way out when my doctor says "Here is the reason the heart rate was dropping.". With Nicholas's head right in front of me, he unwound the umbilical cord from his neck TWICE! After Nicholas was free, he pulled his whole body out and rested him on top of me. I clearly remember the thoughts going on inside my head as I processed that moment. The first thing I thought of was how much he looked like Jillian. He had the same full head of dark hair that she did. It was like all my love for Jillian became refocused on this little baby boy. A second chance to remember all those little details of Jillian as a`newborn that had faded over time. It was such an amazing feeling. I often wondered how I could love another baby as much as I loved Jillian and my question was answered the moment I saw him.

Nicholas Alan was born right on his due date at Forty weeks. After 19 hours of labor our precious boy had finally arrived! Nicholas was born at 8:50pm on Monday, March 19, 2012, weighing in at 7lbs 10oz and measuring 20 1/2 inches. He is simply perfect!

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.
Psalm 127:3


  1. Wow, what a story! So glad everything turned out well and now y'all have such a handsome new addition to your family! I can't believe the hair, so adorable! Wishing y'all the best (and we MUST catch up soon!).


  2. Great story, Karen! It reminded me so much of Quinlin's birth in regards to feeling everything and the epi not working. Boo. So glad he's here and safe!

  3. It certainly didn't sound fun but the end result is amazing!!! He's so beautiful!

  4. Anonymous5:09 PM

    Aw, you had to go through so much but look at your reward - he's wonderful! Congratulations to you all!

  5. What matters is the ending, right :) Bless ya friend!!!
    What a precious angel! And you go girl....get that make-up on!!
    So glad to see that things are going great- I've missed ya!

  6. Anonymous8:09 PM

    Wow you are a trooper! Good thing the end result is so cute!

  7. Oh my gosh Karen, that just made sit on the edge of my seat!! I remember those feelings all too well except that I ended up with a csection for E after she was face back (then C was obviously a csection after that). Crazy to think back. I don't know your story about Jillian's delivery but so glad that everything worked out well with Nicolas. He is such a beautiful baby.

  8. I love birth stories- thanks for sharing! Congrats again, he looks so Precious!!

  9. Wow!! What a labor story! I'm glad you and your perfect little man is ok....but wow oh wow you went through a lot! You're such a trooper!

  10. I'm just now getting around to reading this...what a great story, Karen! The part about loving a second baby gave me chills. I can totally relate :) Baby Nicholas is so cute! Congrats again!

  11. What a story! I was frustrated for you just reading this. I got frustrated over having to wait for a room and dropped the f bomb to the front desk, as in "This is effing ridiculous." And immediately, I got a room. Its amazing sometimes what losing your cool can do. Good for your husband! I am a new follower! I was also an accountant up until my second was born.


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