Tuesday, September 13, 2011

her birth story. how i remember it. :)

extremely long, and personal. once you give birth though, nothing is off limits. you've been warned. :)

so my contractions started sunday night. i timed them and they were pretty irregular but between 4-9 minutes apart. with eliza my water broke and we went to the hospital so this was a whole new thing!

james asked me if was going to be able to sleep and i just shrugged my shoulders.

after soaking in the tub and decorating delia i decided to try to sleep.

i slept pretty well and only woke up a couple times from a few painful contractions.

they were still happening monday morning so i called the doc and they said to keep timing them and if they get closer or to the point that i can't talk or walk to come in. otherwise it was probably false labor and they would check me at my appointment on wednesday. we were scheduled to have an in depth ultrasound and get my fluid levels checked. i had gotten real big in just a couple weeks, my stomach was so tight and we thought i might have too much fluid. it's a common occurrence with anencephaly.

i continued to time them, james went to work for a little bit, our parents got word and they all flipped out and started to drive down. i still swore that we weren't going to end up at the hospital and was annoyed that they all came down before we were at the hospital or knew anything more.

they got here and we just sat around timing contractions all day. i used an app on my phone and at one point i was laying on the couch with my phone on my belly. ma thought the app could feel my contractions and said "it KNOWS when you're having a contraction?!" yes, if i push the start and stop button! :)

around 5:00 i told james i think it was time to go to the hospital to get checked out. the contractions were closer between 3-6 minutes (sometimes 2, rarely 7) they still weren't painful though. with eliza, even though my water broke at home, they never got painful until they gave me pitocin. we looked at the guide on the app and judging by the times i was nearing "phase 2" (keep that in mind)

so we get directions to the hospital (had never been there before) and i'm sure we looked like a couple of dummies walking in. i told the lady at the front desk that i thought i was in labor, and apparently we were supposed enter near the birthing center. we had no clue where that was, and she looked at us like "yea, sure you're in labor."

made it to the birthing center and james tells the nurse "dr. google says we're in phase 2 of labor!" (that was one of my favorite parts. i'm sure they get people in like that, but we were still laughing and in good spirits)

when we walked in james said he thought he saw dr. reed. she was the doc we saw the week before at our first appointment since returning from korea. the doctor that we fought to get tricare to let us see. she had told us there are 5 other docs that could be on call when we go to the hospital. since i was 34 weeks i knew i probably wouldn't have enough appointments before she came to meet all the other doctors. i was super bummed, but somehow it worked out and she was the one there that night. (thanks God!)

they got me into a room to see if i actually was in labor. the tech wanted to hook up a heart monitor but i told her we talked to the doc and we weren't going to have that at all during labor. (it'd be too stressful watching her heart rate and knowing that it could stop at any time) she insisted and tried, but delia kept kicking it and swimming around so she gave up. then the dr. reed came in and said it wasn't necessary anyway.

she checked me and i was 4-5cm. so i was staying. even though i felt i was ready to stay. that was hard to hear. the end was beginning.

august 22nd. that was my grandpa's birthday. i thought "what a good present he will get, a great grandbaby to hold up in heaven." that day just felt right. i was at peace. i was tired, uncomfortable, hurting. even though i knew i was going to lose her i was still excited to meet her. to hold her. to see her. to kiss her. there still came a point the the pregnancy that i was ready.

she asked if i had gotten in to my appointment that week. we were having an ultrasound to check positioning and fluids at that visit. i was bummed i didn't make it to wednesday because they were going to give us lots of pics and a cd of it all. we hadn't really gotten the best pics with any of the ultrasounds.

she pulled in a ultrasound machine and we got to see her once again. she was head down and dr. reed couldn't believe how much fluid i had and how much she was just floating around. she gave us a couple of pics, but it was a crappy machine. she said they'd keep the machine outside my room and we could see her anytime we wanted.

by then it was 7:00pm and time for a nurse change. my sister-in-law's cousin was starting her shift. i know her pretty well (for her being my sister-in-law's cousin) and they asked if i would want her to be my nurse. they said she is willing to, if i want her. thought it would be nice to have a friend by my side, so morgan got to be my nurse and she is/was amazing!

got settled into my room (which happened to be right next door to the friends we are renting our garage apartment from. neighbors at home, neighbors at the hospital. they were there for the birth of their baby girl that morning. small town, that's for sure!) and they opened up a room for all of our family to use as a waiting room. they went above and beyond in so many ways. we couldn't have asked for a better hospital/staff. definitely eased a lot of my worries. it was a very relaxed situation. i didn't have to be hooked up to anything but the contraction monitor. the freedom was nice.

so i sat and visited with people (every single family and friend that were there came into our room. i had no time to relax!) while waiting for things to progress. every time the doc checked me i was still sitting at 5cm.

one time she checked i felt a leak and she said "darn it, i broke one bag" (they wanted to keep my water in tact for as long as possible because it would help dilate since her head wouldn't be able to.) i was confused about "one bag" but she said it was basically one layer. my fluids were so high i had many layers to my sac. we guess it's your body's way of keeping your water from prematurely breaking?

she talked about starting me on pitocin, but she knew i didn't want that. someone asked if i'd consider a c-section. it might give us more time with delia, but i didn't want to go through that. we wanted it all to happen naturally. mostly i didn't want to add more pain to recovery than the emotional pain that was about to come.

after getting checked again, and still no progress, doc stripped my membranes. (holy ow!) it was probably after midnight now? i really have no idea of the times.

i got an epidural at some point and it was amazing. i never got to enjoy mine with eliza! her birth happened too fast. (darn pitocin!)

and because i'm sharing everything i will tell you this funny story. james was in the chair sitting next to me and i gasped and said "something just happened!" he got all worried that something was wrong and asked if needed to call the nurse. i said "i think i just farted." yes, it was THAT good of an epidural. :)

probably around 3am doc came back and said she wanted to break my water, it might help move things along. we were confused since she said she wanted to keep it intact, but i didn't argue. i figured anything is better than pitocin and she knows what she is doing. james wasn't in the room, but i so wish he was for what happened next!

she broke my water and there were (at least) 4 large gushes. it was the weirdest thing. she said there were so many layers to my sac. it felt like my water broke over and over. i watched my belly totally deflate. it was so strange. then the doc told morgan "the bed is overflowing!" seriously, there was so. much. fluid.

i was at a 6 before she broke it, and instantly went to a 7.

a few minutes later morgan said "let me know if you start to feel any pressure" she walked out the door and i turned to james and said "yea, i'm feeling it. can you look? something is happening." i didn't really believe it, since they just broke my water. thought it was still going to take awhile. he looked and said he thought she was close. so we called morgan back in. she checked and called the doc in it was time to push! talk about fast.

pushed twice and she slipped right out at 3:21am. they tossed her up on me and we thought she had already passed. she wasn't moving or making any noise. so still. so tiny. so warm and squishy.

pastor was in there and we asked him to baptize her asap. before the cord was cut, before the placenta, first thing. he stood there and james said he was thinking "do it now!"

he came over, baptized her, and all of a sudden she let out a cry. it was the craziest thing! it had been a few minutes and everyone in the room (as far as i know) thought she was born still. the emotion in the room at that moment, for our little girl was overwhelming. it was by far the best moment of my life. i will never forget the feeling when she cried.

she never opened her eyes, but let out a few more gasps/squeaks. it was so hard to see her like that. getting weaker. i wanted her to hold on, but at the same time i knew the inevitable and i didn't want her to suffer. it was okay to let go. to go home.

our family all came in while i held her and got to peek before she was cleaned up. there were so many of them there. the room was filled with love. all for delia.

the death certificate said she was alive for over an hour, but in reality it was probably less than 20min. we are guessing she passed when everyone was there. the staff was great they just let me hold her, and didn't verify it until they were cleaning her up and measuring her. (for the record she was 2lbs 15oz and 14.5in)

james and i got to dress her after she was cleaned and got her ready for everyone to come in and hold her. she was the tiniest thing and felt so fragile. i had to check her out while we dressed her. look over every part of her. study her. see that butt that brought me so much pain in my ribs. squeeze it. kiss her feet. kiss her all over.

everyone came back in and got their chance with her and it was so bittersweet.

we held her all night, passed her around. the next morning we thought once she left the room that they were going to take her away. we were exhausted from being up for over 24 hours that we said our goodbyes. that was the hardest thing ever. i couldn't let her go. i couldn't have done any of this without james. we held each other up.

turns out she was in the nursery all day until the funeral home came. i felt so bad knowing we could be holding her, but we couldn't bare to say goodbye again. that is a big regret. i'd give anything to hold her now.

the nurses took pics, the photographer came back, and we were reassured that she was being held and not forgotten in the nursery. that was my biggest worry. they changed her into different outfits for pics and our friends that went back there said she had her own little space and was taken care of.

we stayed at the hospital until the funeral home took her and then we were discharged that afternoon. i told james later that i wished she could just stay with the nurses. i knew they would take care of her. i didn't want her to be in a funeral home alone. it's not right. none of it is.

it shouldn't be this way...but it is.


Tom and Danielle Lewis said...

Every time I read what you have shared here I try to gather words to say to say how I feel and what is in my heart... every time I just stare at the page with tears running down my face. You are amazing... so strong and have faith like none other. I have shared with my husband your story and we followed her birth and on numerous occasions he and I cried together... To know that her story has never been told by you in a sad way is amazing and makes me smile through the tears as I read. I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way but I feel so close to you after reading all this... you share so much and I... I... just ran out of words again. Sorry... if you need anything from me, anything at all do not hesitate to ask

Denise Zirbel said...

Bittersweet, beautiful and amazing.

Erin said...

This is absolutely beautiful. I loved the detail about all of your water... I had polyhydramanos with Luke (though he was much bigger), and when my water broke, it was like a flood that would not stop! It is pretty funny.
Mostly, I am so thankful you got to hear her sweet voice, just one time before she left you.

Melaina25 said...


Big Papa said...

You can poke fun at Nana & Papa all that you want, and I think I can speak for the other grandparents also. But as soon as we found out that you may be going we knew that our opportunity to hold Delia may be limited and we would not have missed that for the world.

danny and courtney said...

Beautiful and moving story Shel - I'm thankful you share these stories with the world. I know it helps so many people who are going through the same thing. I'm so sorry you didn't get to spend more time with your beautiful baby girl. You are such a brave and strong woman and I oh so admire you. Much love. Courtney

Christina said...

Thank you for sharing your story. So much love to you and her. You are amazing.

Janet Field, Hypnobabies Instructor, Doula, Hypnotherapist said...

"that was hard to hear. the end was beginning."

To me that epitomizes so much in a nutshell. For us on earth the end was beginning - for your sweet Delia it was the next step in the journey she was on with you and your lovely family and God.

Anonymous said...

I am inspired by how you share your story in such a positive way. It reminds me of angie smith's book 'I will carry you' about losing her little girl. Your faith is truly awe-some.


Justin and Johanna said...

Shel thank you so much for sharing delia's birth story. I'm continually impressed by your ability to share your thoughts and feelings through your words and pictures. I admire you and James and your amazing strength more than I can even explain. You are such an amazing mom and I feel blessed to know you. You are loved dearly as is delia!

pinkflipflops said...

((((())))) i am so sorry. you are a very strong woman and i will keep you and your precious girl in my thoughts.

jackie said...

Such a beautiful and heart wrenching story to share. So glad you posted so that we could share in your joy and sorrow. Loved the part about Dr. Google! :) Hugs to you, Shel!

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