Friday, November 21, 2014

harper elizabeth -- a birth story

You always hear that every birth story is different but I never truly understood that until having Harper. I kind of expected everything to be very similar to Cooper's birth. I thought I would never go into labor and have to be induced. I thought that her heart beat would drop just like his. I thought I would be forced to get an epidural and it might end in a c-section. I thought I would have a big ole baby (Cooper was 8 pounds 11 ounces). Why did I think any of this? I have no clue!! 

So Sunday October 19th I woke up with contractions about 7 minutes apart. They weren't very intense but pretty regular so we decided to go about our regular Sunday routine and see what happened. We went to church and lunch with my in-laws and then headed home for little man's nap. The whole day the contractions stayed about 7-10 minutes apart. At our 35 week appointment my doctor did an ultrasound to make sure Harper had flipped and was head down. She was able to tell that Harper was already breathing on her own and doing great. At our 36 week appointment I was 2 cm 60% effaced and our doctor told us she didn't think I would make it to my due date. So when I woke up Sunday at 37 weeks with contractions we decided to take a walk around our neighborhood and see what would happen. With Cooper we walked every single day for a month and never went into labor so we didn't really think it would work but we thought what the heck!! 
After a 15 minute walk around our neighborhood the contractions stopped for about an hour so I thought it was just braxton hicks all day and started getting dinner ready. Then the contractions returned and this time they were 3 minutes apart! At this point I kind of started to freak out. Was this it? What do I do? OMG I'm not ready!! Thank goodness I packed the bags yesterday! 
We continued to time them for the next hour and they were at every 2 minutes lasting for a minute so we called the doctor to see what was next. My doctor wasn't on call but the on-call doctor told me to head to the hospital to be monitored. At this point, we still thought it wasn't real labor and we figured they would send me home. So we dropped Cooper off at our sitter and around 7 pm we arrived at the hospital. We decided to call our close family to let them know we were headed to the hospital. We told them not to worry about coming until we knew more but with my mom, grandma, and cousin Hannah (Harper's godmother) that didn't work. They waited about an hour and then they came meet us!!
After being checked in they brought me to a room to be monitored for an hour then a decision would be made. They thought I might be dehydrated so they weren't really taking me seriously and thought they would stop once I got some fluids in me. Well as I suspected, they were wrong! When I got to the hospital I was 3 cm, 60% effaced and an hour later we were 4 cm but still 60% effaced. The nurses decided to admit me and get the all rolling. They were still a little hesitant because I was only 37 weeks and legally they couldn't do anything if labor stalled. So the decision was made to just watch me all night and see what happened. James, Hannah and I tried to keep the contractions steady and walked the halls for a while. It didn't seem to help much besides giving me a distraction from the pain.  labored all night long without making much progress but man oh man were the contractions intense. I was determined to have an epidural-free labor this time and knew from Cooper's birth that breathing was everything. All night long the nurses were worried that if I didn't progress my doctor would send me home the next morning when she got there. All I could think was "How the heck can I go home in this much pain???" Luckily she got there around 9 am and when she checked me I was 5 cm 90% effaced. She gave me the choice of breaking my water, starting pitocin or waiting to see what happened. We decided that breaking my water would probably progress labor quicker and give me more of a chance to have a natural delivery. 
At about 9:15 she broke my water and the contractions picked up very quickly. They became super intense and I almost lost it. At about 10:15 I asked to be checked again because they were so strong and in my mind I needed to know if I was getting closer. I had decided if she told me I was only at 6cm I was getting the epidural. They were so strong and so intense I just couldn't imagine much more. The nurse came in and said "OH wow you are a good 8cm". At that point I knew I could do it. One of my friends told me 8-10 cm was the hardest part so I knew if these were the strongest contractions I could do it (not that I even had the option of an epidural anymore)! Within 10 minutes I started feeling the need to push. I started screaming, needing to push and honestly freaking out. I had no idea what was going on and I was terrified! The nurses came running in and checked me and confirmed that in less than ten minutes I had progressed to a full 10 cm and it was time to get the baby out. Little did I know the baby was right there. It was the strangest feeling in the world when my body was naturally pushing the baby out and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I could hear my nurse telling the other one to call my doctor and get her here asap. Then a man I had never seen before came in because they didn't think my doctor would make it in time and Harper was coming no matter if we were ready or not. This was the only time I felt I lost my cool. I started screaming and freaking out. At one point this nurse was trying to situate my legs in the stir-ups and I snapped at her and was really ugly, which I felt totally guilty about! I also threw out a few f-bombs that I am not the proudest of. Then at the perfect moment my doctor came running in. It felt like a movie! She came in, counted her tools, looked at me and said "Okay, stop screaming, take a deep breath and push." After that I pushed twice and there was her head! The funniest part was hearing the doctor say"Oh here is her head, let's suction.. oh nope, let's just have this baby!" And just like that Harper was here! I was in complete shock and couldn't believe my little girl was here. The doctor asked me if I wanted to do skin to skin and I obviously said YES as I was flinging the hospital gown off of my body! Now that I think about it I probably looked like a complete idiot stripping my clothes off like it was nothing but I didn't get the immediate skin to skin with Cooper and it meant the world to me to have that with her. It was so special. It felt like time stopped and it was just James, Harper and I. We got to just love on her and soak in the moment. 

After that they took her to weigh her and clean her a bit and then gave her to Daddy. Seeing my husband hold our second child I instantly loved him more than ever before. The love he has for his little girl is undeniable and truly breathtaking. After Daddy got some baby snuggles in we decided to try to breastfeed. With Cooper he didn't latch at all until later that evening so I didn't expect much but of course little miss piggy latched immediately and nursed for 30 minutes!! We finally decided to just stop her so she could go to the nursery and get checked out!

Once Harper was in the nursery we found out she had low blood sugar and was breathing a little heavy. They decided to give her an IV with glucose and gave her some more colostrum to see if it would help her blood sugar. They kept her for almost 3 hours (What seemed like the longest 3 hours of my life). I was terrified that something was the matter and was freaking out on the inside. Luckily we had family there to distract me and assure me that everything would be fine! At around 2:00 they brought our sweet girl back and told us everything was fine! I was finally able to breath a little and enjoy our little girl! 

Cooper was able to come the next day to meet his sister. As expected, he wasn't a big fan of her. He was excited to see mama and love on me but once he realized she was with me he tried to push her away!! He didn't want to share! HA! As daddy likes to say "He loves her, just doesn't like her right now!"

Harper Elizabeth Gautreaux
10:48 am
5 pounds 15 ounces
18 3/4 inches long
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