Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Aden's Birth Story

... and she loved a little boy very, very much - even more than she loved herself.  -- From "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein

Monday, November 18, 2013
5 days past due date

Monday, November 18 started as an ordinary day. I woke up feeling completely normal - well, as normal as one feels at 40 weeks, 5 days pregnant - with no labor contractions or discomfort. At my doctor's appointment the Friday prior, it was determined I'd be admitted to the hospital for cervical ripening at 6:00pm Monday if labor didn't progress on its own beforehand. I'd received a Bishop score of "6" and ripening was needed before induction could even take place. After my appointment Friday, I left the doctor's office feeling fairly disappointed my body had done little to progress labor on it own. By Monday, however, I'd come to terms with being induced. 

9:00am - 4:00pm
Typically, I have a weekly babysitter scheduled on Monday mornings and use the time to run errands, go to appointments, buy groceries, etc without Tory in tow. Since Andi had already started his paternity leave from work, we decided to keep the babysitter and enjoy one last morning together - just the two of us. We ran a few errands around town and went out for lunch at Bacio. Later that afternoon, we came home and completed a few last minute tasks before leaving for the hospital. I unsuccessfully fought Tory to take a nap and packed last-minute toiletries in my hospital suitcase. Andi's mom, Janie, arrived around 4:30pm to stay with Tory for the night. Still no signs of labor, Andi and I snapped a quick picture and left for the hospital to start the induction process. 

With rush-hour traffic, it took nearly an hour to arrive at the hospital. I was a nervous wreck the entire drive. Andi and I made small talk on the way, intermixed with comments of reassurance, promising each other everything would turn out okay. God had a plan; we just needed to trust in Him. 

We arrived at the hospital, parked our car and rode the elevator up to 3rd floor. Despite having pre-registered for check-in, we were still required to complete some entrance paperwork before a nurse ushered us back to Labor and Delivery. There was a bit of initial confusion as the hospital staff thought I was my OB doctor who's also 9 months pregnant and scheduled to deliver at the same hospital next month. Here for a scheduled induction! No c-section for me, please!

Our initial Labor and Delivery nurse, Emily, settled us into a birthing room. I changed into a hospital gown and Andi unpacked some of our belongings. The nurse hooked me up to the monitor and performed a cervical check to determine my progress. My cervix was now dilated 3.5cm and earned a Bishop score of "7." On the monitor, I could see very mild contractions registering and I felt a tightening sensation across my stomach, but nothing painful. The nurse said I was likely in the early stages of labor already and questioned why I was brought in for cervical ripening given this was my second child birth and already so close to required Bishop score of "8" for induction. By this point, my nerves had settled down immensely. Surely they wouldn't send us home now after I'd already been admitted to the hospital and settled into L and D? Ready or not, Andi and I were hours away from meeting our son.

The doctor on duty reviewed my chart and agreed with the nurse -- no cervical ripening was needed. Usually, the hospital doesn't like to start inductions until morning, but Dr. H thought it seemed silly to send us home. (I agreed!) He ordered the start of Pitocin and said labor should move quickly since this was my second time giving birth. It was only a matter of determining if Aden would be born yet that evening (Monday, November 18) or early morning November 19. The doctor and nurse were making friendly guesses and the doctor seemed to think Aden might make his entrance before Midnight. Surely not, Andi and I thought. We both anticipated his arrival by 8:00am the next morning, given the entire induction process took about 12 hours start to finish when Tory was born.

A new Labor and Delivery nurse, Kristin, came on duty. Kristin would remain our primary nurse for the rest of our time in L and D ... or until 7:00am, whichever came first.

After IV prep and fluids, the Pitocin drip was administered. Contractions began to intensify almost immediately, but weren't unbearable. I made it clear to Kristin, our Labor and Delivery nurse, I intended to have an epidural for pain relief and asked how long it would take for anesthesiology to arrive. It's not that I wasn't able to handle any labor pains, but I wanted to enjoy Aden's birth as much as possible. The hospital floor was fairly quiet that evening Kristin said, so an epidural would be a 20-40 minutes wait once I called for it.  

Andi, RN Kristin and I patiently waited for the Pitocin to do its job. My pain level was about a "4" at this point; meaning, I felt the contractions, but they were tolerable. In conversation, the nurse mentioned the baby's umbilical cord might be wrapped around his neck given the way his heart rate was elevated. Um, what?! It's no big deal, the nurse said, and happens in quite a few births. While nice, Andi and I both thought RN Kristin was quite the chatty nurse. She made several comments throughout our stay in Labor and Delivery which were not at all comforting to a lady in the process of giving birth.

As contractions continued, Andi and I decided to try to get some rest. I was a little nervous laboring into the evening as we're usually fast asleep by 9:00pm most nights. Obviously, adrenaline would carry us through the birth and post-care, but I knew Andi and I would both hit a brick wall at some point. I called my mom and sister to update them on our progress. As I settled in, I rolled to my left side to become more comfortable. RN Kristin said the baby was much happier on my left side as evident by the return to a normal heart rate rhythm on the monitor. I found this interesting as all along in this pregnancy, I was most comfortable laying on my left side. It must have had something to do with the cord positioning inside the womb.

As I lay in bed, half talking with Andi / half reading a book, my water broke! I felt a huge baby kick and pain all at the same time. I wasn't sure if it was my water breaking at first as my water had to be broken by the doctor with Tory's birth, but the nurse confirmed it. As soon as my water broke, contractions started to heavily occur. I felt three painful contractions in a row which kicked my pain rating up to a "6." RN Kristin checked my cervix and said it was thinned and I was dilated to "4." Andi could see the pain on my face and encouraged me to ask for the epidural now before I became too uncomfortable. RN Kristin agreed, I might as well get it now and be comfortable. 

The anesthesiologist administered the epidural. I still felt a small amount of pain for about 20 minutes afterwards. The anesthesiologist said the medication was doing its job and had me move in a series of positions to centralize the drugs to the pain source. Overall, I immediately felt much better than I had just a few minutes beforehand.

The anesthesiologist stayed by my side to ensure the epidural worked correctly. I continued to breathe through contractions every few minutes. They were coming quickly now and I felt every one, but the pain was tolerable, thanks to the epidural, and mostly concentrated in my lower pelvic area.

Thirty minutes later, my epidural was in full effect and I felt wonderful. Andi and I made small-talk with our nurse, Kristin, and somehow landed on the topic of her internship experience as a Labor and Delivery nurse in Uganda. The stories she told made us realize just how fortunate we were to deliver our baby boy in a quality hospital with skilled doctors and nurses. Her stories kept our minds occupied and soon I was dilated to "6." RN Kristin began prepping the room for delivery. Everything was so low key in the room. You'd think Andi and I would have sensed Aden's near arrival, but with the atmosphere around us so peaceful, we really thought we had a few hours ahead until any action began. 

RN Kristin advised us to get some rest while we could, so Andi and I settled in once again by reading our e-books and relaxing in the darkened room. The monitor showed development which RN Kristin said was a good sign. It meant Baby Aden's head was compressing during a contraction and he was making progress coming down the birthing canal. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dr. H stopped into the room to check my progress. He assessed my cervix at an "8" and said baby's head was very low. All of a sudden, I was famished. I hadn't eaten dinner before we left for the hospital and denied any food there because I didn't want an upset stomach as I labored. I started to dream about my first meal after delivery.

Suddenly, I felt lots of pressure to push. Dr. H casually said "let's have a baby" as he readied his tools for delivery. RN Kristin was still at her desk outside the hospital room. Andi and I glanced at each other with a smile as if to non-verbally say to one another, "Okay, here we go! Let's settle in for a few hours of pushing." The doctor pulled my caterer and, seemingly annoyed, called the nurse on the call button saying, "Um, we're having a baby in here." RN Kristin rushed right in a moment later. Dr. H sat on the bed and gave me a quick refresher on how to push. I pushed three times.

With the fourth push, Aden was born. I briefly saw the doctor unwrap the umbilical cord around Aden's belly. As the nurse wiped him off, Aden cried out and then stopped as he was laid on my belly. His skin had a purplish color and concerned, I asked immediately if he was alright. Dr. H said he was perfectly fine. (His Apgar score was 9/9, losing a point only for color). Andi and I were both so surprised how quickly it all happened. We both looked at one another, then at Aden in overwhelming disbelief. 

I held Aden against my chest as the placenta was delivered and I was stitched up. I still felt the effects of the epidural, so it wasn't painful. Andi looked at me anxiously and I asked if he'd like to hold Aden before I brought him up to nurse. The room was so peaceful as the doctor and nurse cleaned up around us. It seemed like we were the only three people in the world. Andi handed Aden back to me and I began to nurse him. I felt a bit rusty and asked RN Kristin if I was holding him correctly as Aden was struggling to latch. She half-glanced my direction and said everything looked fine. Aden was coughing and gagging on mucus and saliva he'd swallowed on his way out of the birthing canal. The doctor tossed me a blue bulb sucker to clear out his mouth. I tried to suction Aden's mouth for relief. Aden struggled to latch on with more coughing, sputtering and suctioning.

A bit later, RN Kristin weighed and measured our baby boy. Aden was 7 pounds, 11 ounces and 21 1/2 inches long at birth. Aden's weight was exactly what I expected it to be. All along, my OB and the delivering doctor estimated him to be around 7 pounds. I was surprised by Aden's height, however. Neither Andi or I are very tall people and he's 2 1/2 inches longer than Tory at birth. Aden wanted to be bundled up right away and cried as the nurse undressed him for measurements. 

As we waited for the post-partum unit to call with a room ready for us to be transferred to, I was suddenly overcome with exhaustion. I could hardly keep my eyes open. Also, my epidural was starting to wear off and while I wasn't in any pain yet, I was practically itching my skin off (a side effect of the medicine). I was still hooked up to the blood pressure machine so I could be checked every 15 minutes and the constrictive band around my arm was driving me crazy.

Thirty minutes later, we were finally transferred upstairs to our post-partum room. I probably could have walked, but I opted for a wheelchair ride upstairs because I was so sleepy. Once in our new room, Andi and I were introduced to our the overnight nurse, Cary. She was so sweet and comforting. RN Cary got us settled and then said she'd take Aden to the nursery for a bath and a check-up so Andi and I could get some sleep. I was surprised (and grateful!) to hear she'd keep Aden for the next three hours until his next feeding. She reassured me without me even asking that she'd bring him back if he needed me and she'd be sure he didn't get a bottle or pacifier since I'm breastfeeding. As tired as I felt, I was also starving, so RN Cary brought Andi and I buttered toast to get a little food in our stomachs.

By the time Aden left our room and Andi and I got settled in, it was 3:30am in the morning. I was seriously exhausted. I laid my head on the pillow and fell right to sleep. Andi curled up on the couch next to me and tried to sleep himself.

I woke up to the sound of RN Cary's voice telling me it was time for Aden's feeding. I felt like a million bucks having scored three uninterrupted hours of sleep. Andi, unfortunately, didn't look so refreshed and said he wasn't able to fall asleep at all. I gazed at Aden in my arms and still felt so surprised he was here. My baby boy! It all felt like a dream. I nursed Aden for a second time and was in awe of how much he looked like Tory. From my memory, they looked almost identical at birth. He definitely has (Andi's mom) Janie's chin, as does Tory. Perhaps my mom's nose and Andi's eyes/forehead? Aden nursed better the second time, but was still coughing up lots of mucus and saliva. RN Cary said it would probably be 24 hours or so before Aden was able to rid himself of all the extra fluids he took in while being delivered.

A new shift change of nurses came into the room. We were introduced to RN Melissa and the room was filled with some commotion as Aden and I's vitals were checked and staff changed positions. Both Andi and I were still so tired and desperately wanted to catch a few more winks of sleep. The hospital floor was noisier now with the daytime shift arriving. Our hospital breakfast order also arrived - scrambled eggs, hash browns and cereal - our first meal since delivering and we were both so hungry. It wasn't exactly the meal of my dreams, but I didn't care. Andi's sister, Lindsay, sent us a text message saying she'd like to stop by to see Aden before going to work. 

Lindsay and her boyfriend, Kyle, arrived to our room. Aden's first visitors! They brought us delicious croissants from Lucia's and visited with us for an hour or so.

During Aden's third time nursing, he finally caught onto latching. The coughing and spitting saliva seemed better.  

After Aunt Lindsay and Kyle left, Andi and I decided to get some rest before the grandparents and Big Sister Tory came to visit later in the day. Just as we closed our eyes, Aden began to cry so Andi rocked him in the rocking chair while I slept. It was a nice chance for Daddy to get some one-on-one time with our baby boy, though I'm sure Andi was beyond tired. 

I woke up about 45 minutes later to nurse Aden. Melissa, the RN on shift, checked my breast feeding progress and determines it successful. I was surprised at how little attention the nursing staff paid to my breastfeeding technique this time around. In one way, it was nice how "hands-off" the hospital staff was unless we specifically asked for something. I felt a bit rusty breastfeeding because it'd been over a year since I'd done it, but it quickly came back to me. Aden seemed to get the hang of things with every session. 

Andi left to grab lunch at a nearby restaurant, buy parking tickets for us and our family to use and buy treats for our hospital staff. We had such excellent care during our stay, we wanted to do something nice to show our appreciation. Cookies from The Salty Tart were just the thing. While Andi was gone, Aden and I spent our first one-on-one moments together. I continued to be amazed at my son as I held him in my arms.


... and so, our life with Aden Andrew began. Later in the day, Grandma Janie and Grandpa Jim brought Tory to the hospital to meet her baby brother for the first time. My parents, Nana Candy and Papa Al, also arrived from Nebraska later in the day. 

We continue to marvel at this miracle before us. Aden has been such a sweet baby from the minute he arrived into the world, and we couldn't feel more blessed to have him as our son.

Aden Andrew
November 19, 2013
7 lbs. 11oz. -- 21 1/2 inches long


  1. The whole story just seems so relaxing and perfect (minus the lack of sleep part). And he is just so perfect too. Love love love the pictures...great job Andi. ;)

  2. Such a beautiful story - I'm so glad you guys had a good experience, you deserve it after all that waiting! Baby Aden is perfect and I'm glad you are all adjusting well to being a family of four!!

  3. How wonderful. Congratulations.

  4. Sounds like it turned out to be a great experience. Congrats again.

  5. I loved reading baby Aden's story! Sounds like a great experience. I can't wait to meet him : )

  6. This is the calmest birth story I have ever read! I don't feel like any of my deliveries were this…enjoyable? Love all the pictures of Aden…he is such a little doll! Congrats again :)

  7. LOL @MamaTully - yes this did sound like a very pleasant experience overall!! Neither of my births were particularly enjoyable but weren't bad - but this story does make me kind of want to try having a baby with an epidural, sounds relaxing! Too bad I'd have to have another child to do that :)

    Congrats on your beautiful boy!

  8. Sounds like a lovely birth! I love your new profile picture, too:)

  9. Thank you for sharing this story Heather!! It made me tear up:). Aden is going to be tallll :). My parents were 5'8 and 5'7 and I was 21.5 inches (ended up being taller than them too at 5'10)!!!