A Rainbow baby is born: My daughter’s birth story
Personally, I love the significance of calling a baby born after the loss of another a rainbow baby; after every storm, a beautiful rainbow arrives, full of light and promise.
My daughter’s birth, much like my pregnancy with her, was anything but usual. In some ways, I feel a bit cheated because I definitely over-prepared by taking online birthing classes and reading up on every aspect of giving birth, and I spent a lot of time on my birthing plan as well. But of course like most things in life, that plan went flying right out the window!
If you’ve read some of my other posts (like my struggle with miscarriage and infertility), you know about the problems I had in conceiving my daughter, and the not-so-pleasant symptoms that I suffered during my pregnancy with her. Now, let me tell you about the crazy roller coaster that was her birth…
I’d been having Braxton Hicks contractions off and on for a couple of weeks prior to my due date. My doctor had monitored these during my appointments and told me everything was perfectly normal and not to come in to the hospital until they were 2-3 minutes apart for at least an hour. She said I could try to get things rolling a little faster by getting some more exercise, and that it would aide me in my delivery as well. So, my husband and I walked for an hour or two around the neighborhood every night when we’d get home from work, trying to help move things along. I was super rolley-polley pregnant and anxious to meet my girl! But, my baby had decided to take her sweet time.
Then, on a Tuesday night just a little over a week before my due date, I started having regular contractions. We timed them in anticipation: 7 minutes apart, 6 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes apart. Come on baby! But once they hit the 2 minute mark, they started getting erratic and would jump back up to 6 minutes, then 20 minutes, then 43 minutes and so on. Then of course, they’d start getting closer, and it would start all over again. After going on like this for a solid 24 hours, I was getting a little exhausted and somewhat annoyed, I just wanted to know for sure if I was in labor! I remember praying Wednesday, “please God, please just let my water break during my doctor’s appointment tomorrow so I will know for sure the baby is coming”. I wanted it to happen in the doctor’s office because I was scared that my water would break in someplace public where I would be embarrassed. And boy, was I right to worry about that one!
If you are pregnant, you may also want to read my post about my pregnancy!
God answers prayers
The next morning, I went to my doctor’s appointment and met with the ultrasound tech. I remember laying on the table while she was checking the baby out, and she said “oh, you’ve certainly got a healthy amount of amniotic fluid in there”. And literally the next minute, I sat up on the table and a large part of that fluid came rushing out! My water had broken! The OB GYN came to check on me to make sure that was indeed what was happening, and I continued to leak all over the table. I am so thankful this happened at the doctor’s office like I’d prayed for, because I was a HUGE mess! The doctor told me to go ahead and get over to the hospital since I’d been having contractions for two days straight. My baby was coming!
Thankfully, I’d packed a few towels in my car just in case my water broke somewhere away from home. My pants were completely soaked and more fluid was coming out with each step I took. I called my husband on the way in to the hospital next door and he raced over to be with me. He laughed at me when he saw me walking funny because I was still leaking, and I laughed along with him. We were both nervous with excitement! When we got inside, the labor and delivery ward was full and so they put me in the Triage unit temporarily while they got a room for me. The triage nurses looked me over and gave me a giant pad to help with the fluid, which was STILL coming out! I would have had to go to the bathroom to use the pad they’d given me, but I was too embarrassed to go because I felt like I was going to leave a trail behind me walking down the hall. So I just sat there, soaking the sheet on the bed.
Finally, I was moved over to my own room in the birthing unit and it had it’s own bathroom, for which I was super grateful. I got to change out of my gross, wet pants and into a hospital gown. The nurse came in to check me and said I was not progressing super fast, so she told me it would be awhile yet. I called my mom, and she and my grandma said they’d be there in a few hours. I was remarkably calm and I couldn’t stop smiling because my rainbow baby was finally on her way!
A LONG wait
After being in the hospital for most of that day, I started getting a really bad headache. The nurses gave me Tylenol every few hours but it wasn’t making a difference for me. The doctors checked on me and the baby for the next several hours and my baby was fine, but I was not progressing normally. According to the doctor, my cervix was soft and ready, but I was not dilating even though my baby’s head was pushing on the birth canal. I was glad for the company of my mom, grandma and my husband to help keep me distracted, because that news was a little distressing to me. We watched movies and talked to pass the time, but the long wait and the pain of my throbbing head were getting to me, and I was getting very tired.
It started getting close to the 24 hour mark since my water had broken and the doctor decided that I needed to be induced. They added the medicine to my IV and it wasn’t long before I started having pretty heavy contractions. My mom found it hard to watch whenever I was in pain, but, I handled it like a trooper! I paced back and forth around my bed in between contractions, and during the contractions I closed my eyes and swayed back and forth while leaning over the bed and breathing deep like I’d learned about in my birthing classes. My husband massaged my lower back for me because that was where I carried most of the pain. It was intense, but bearable for the moment. My mom and grandma decided to go home at that point because they had been with us for a long time. It looked like I was on my way to be delivering soon, and they knew I only wanted my husband there for that.
A little while later, my husband noticed that my arm was swelling up abnormally right near where my IV was located, and we had to call in the doctor right away. It turned out that the IV had blown out my vein, and they would have to relocate it. It took four different nurses and three blood techs poking me a total of 14 times before they were able to hit their mark with another usable vein, this time in the back of my left hand. They told me at that point that I would need to relocate it again after the baby was born, but I knew already that I wasn’t about to let that happen again.
Another 12 hours passed after being induced. At that point, I’d been in the hospital for more than 36 hours. My contractions had backed off again, but I was able to sleep only sparingly as people were constantly in and out of my room checking on me and the baby. My phone also kept going off as I was getting texts and Facebook messages from family, friends and coworkers, excited to hear the happy news of our little one’s arrival. But, we still did not have our baby yet.
My nurses had changed over several times, and I was stuck with a super pushy and overbearing nurse that I did not like. I was reaching a breaking point from physical and emotional exhaustion. At one point, this nurse upset me so much by manhandling me during an exam that I yelled at her and my husband had to kick her out of my room.
Fortunately, my OB GYN had started her shift as the labor and delivery doctor in the hospital, and I was glad to have a familiar face there for me. She was concerned because it had been so long since my water had broken, as this increases the risk of infection for the baby. I still was not dilated enough, and the doctor talked to me about using a balloon to inflate and open my cervix. I was horrified at the thought and did NOT want that to happen, but at that point my head was still pounding and I was so exhausted that I would have gone along with just about anything.
Instead, they decided to give me an epidural and put me on a stronger drug, Pitocin, hoping that it would move things along. I was TERRIFIED of getting the epidural. I had read up on these while I was pregnant and had thought that I didn’t want one because there are so many things that can go wrong from them. The anesthesiologist was kind to me, and told my husband to hold my hands and for me to keep perfectly still while he was putting the giant needle in my back. But my husband was nervously shaking his leg the whole time and it vibrated against the bed and made me move, I could have KILLED HIM! Thankfully, the doctor was skilled and the IV went in ok anyways, and afterwards I let out a huge sigh of relief. That was a big hurdle for me!
An Urgent Situation
After being on the Pitocin for a short time, my doctor came in to tell me that I may no longer have a choice about delivering vaginally because the baby appeared to be stuck in the birth canal, and part of my cervix was not opening up to let her out. After hearing that my baby was still doing ok for the moment, I was secretly relieved to hear this news; I was beyond exhausted after having been awake for the majority of the past 48 hours and I did not know how on earth I would manage the energy to push a baby out of my body. The doctor said we would wait a little bit longer before making a decision.
Not long after, the decision was made for me. I had spiked a fever and my blood pressure went up. The nurse immediately removed the Pitocin drip, and the doctor told me that I was now at risk and my epidural would be removed and I’d be taken in for an emergency c-section. I was in shock, as everything had been moving at a snails pace up until this point, but now it seemed that I would have my baby in a matter of a few minutes!
Once the anesthesia was turned off, I slowly became aware of my lower body again. They wheeled me in to the operating room and my husband had to put on a gown and mask. Because it had been so long since my epidural was put in, a different anesthesiologist came in to give me the localized medicine for the surgery. I told him my concerns about having a local anesthetic because I’d had it before and burned through it very quickly. He was a little too flippant when he told me not to worry about it, but I was scared and I did not trust him. He gave me some anti-nausea medicine which immediately caused me to turn over on the bed and throw up, directly into my own hair! EWWWW! This did not earn him any points from me.
The curtain went up over my belly to block my view, and surgery was started. My husband stood next to me and held my hand. He had trained as an EMT and had seen a lot of gruesome things before, but when he saw my doctor spread my abdomen apart and reach inside, he couldn’t handle it and had to sit down. Suddenly, I started having more sensation than I wanted to while the surgery was ongoing. I squeezed my husband’s hand and told him I was starting to feel it. He told my doctor, and she said that they couldn’t give me more medicine until the baby was out. The sensations progressed quickly to the point where I was in pain, and I began to panic and yelled out several times. “Ow! OW! OWWWWW!” The doctor worked quickly and got my baby out, but I was in intense pain then and they had to knock me out. I had just enough time to hear my baby cry, and to ask my husband if she looked ok. “She’s beautiful! She’s perfect!” he said, and he held her up to my face so I could see her. There she was, at last! My little baby girl!!! And I was unconscious after that.
My baby was born at 2:35 am on Saturday morning, about 41 hours after I had first arrived at the hospital, and 73 hours since I had started labor.
I woke up back in my room not long afterwards, when the obnoxious nurse put my baby on my chest and told me it was time to feed her. I was super groggy, and my comfy, adjustable labor bed had been replaced with a horrible air mattress that was sagging and slipping down on the frame. I remember struggling to hold my baby because I was not fully awake yet, and because my operation had rendered me unable to move properly. I couldn’t believe this woman was handing me this fragile little newborn while I was in that state! Thank God my husband was there to help me!
Not long after that, the nurses changed shift again, and I was back with my original nurse who had been there when I checked in. I loved her, and she and another nurse who was working at the time were both really great in helping me learn how to get my baby to latch properly and get the whole breastfeeding thing down. It was awkward at first, but that, more than anything, really solidified in my mind that YES! I was finally a mommy!!! I was over the moon in love with my precious little girl and spent many hours over the next couple days rocking her in the hospital chair.
I was in the hospital for 2.5 more days after my baby was born. My body was healing rapidly, and I was able to get up and move about my room within a few hours. I did not quite feel stable enough to step into the tub and take a shower until the next day, however, so I had to sit in my room with the puke from before my operation still in my hair. Yuck!
I did not feel like eating at all after my surgery, but after I nixed two meals in a row, my nurses and my husband started insisting that I eat something. So, I ordered a few things off the hospital menu, and when it arrived, I realized that I was actually quite ravenous! I ended up eating just about everything they brought me, and didn’t save much for my poor husband to share. Hospital food has never tasted so good!
I was not able to sleep hardly at all during my entire stay at the hospital, which was a total of 5 days. The constant interruptions of nurses and doctors and staff and blood techs and visitors were brutal for me, and I ended up having to put a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door and turning a few visitors away.
Besides being tired, I was restless being stuck in the hospital for so long, so when it came time for check-out, I was so ready! My husband was at work that day, so my mom came with the car seat and drove us all home. It still all felt so surreal! I couldn’t believe that AT LAST I had a precious little baby of my very own, and I was getting to bring her home with me! I was so excited for the journey ahead of us! Becoming a mom is without a doubt the biggest blessing I’ve ever experienced, even if the road to getting there was a little bumpy. So worth it!
If you’re struggling to get pregnant, read my post about miscarriage and infertility!
The thing to remember during your own labor and delivery is that, even though it may not go as planned and things may get a little bumpy, having a healthy baby at the end of it all is the most important part!
Feel like sharing your own birthing experience? Leave me a comment below, or shoot me an email at: email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you!