Aiming for progress, not perfection.

"...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

lylah ruth: she's here!

I'll start from the beginning.

Thursday, June 23, evening: Four days before my due date, Landon and I decided to go out on a date. I'd gone to the doctor that morning, was dilated to a 2 and 50 percent effaced for the second week in a row. The doctor commented that the baby was big and guessed she was at least 8.5 pounds. After much deliberation, I decided I would not schedule an induction and was very at peace with the decision once I finally made it. Landon and I went to eat at McAllister's and to a movie after that. The movie theater is across the shopping center from the restaurant so Landon suggested we walk. Walking sounded good. After the movie, we decided to go to HEB. I'd been needing to stock up on groceries for when the baby decided to make her appearance, and doing so with Landon's help sounded perfect. We walked around HEB for around an hour and came home about 11. We paid the babysitter and were both fairly awake so we stayed up talking for quite awhile. We just had our sprinkler system fixed and it was the first evening it was set to run. We stood out in the front yard for a long time, enjoying the night air, watching the sprinklers and chatting. We finally went to bed around 2 a.m.

Friday, June 24, 8 a.m: I slept great, and woke up to a sort of dripping feeling that I hadn't felt before. I wasn't sure at first, but after a couple of clothing changes, I determined that my water had broken sometime in the night. I started moving around for the day, and larger gushes of water started coming when I changed positions. I was having very, very mild contractions every 15 minutes or so. I texted Evelyn and Pam, my doulas, to tell them that I thought my water had broken. I told them it was clear, that I was having super spaced out contractions, and that I didn't want to go to the hospital yet. They confirmed that it was OK to wait a little while, but to keep a close eye on it. My sister-in-law, Kylah, and I had already planned to take the kids to the pool for the morning, and they were so excited so I continued with the plan. (I didn't tell that part to the doulas!) We took lunch, and I stayed on the side while the rest of the crew splashed about in the water.

around 1 p.m.: I decided to call the doctor's office to let them know my water had broken. My contractions weren't getting closer together, and I knew I couldn't go a real long time with broken water without giving birth. As expected, they asked me to go to labor and delivery. So we packed up the pool party and headed home. I got the kids down for a nap, got our friend Krislenn settled to watch the kids, and took a shower. Contractions remained 12-15 minutes apart but started getting a bit stronger. As I was getting dressed after my shower, I cried thinking about how Lylah would soon be on the outside of me instead of inside. I had been longing for this day, but it was still bittersweet. We headed to the hospital.

Boldheaded to the hospital: 39 weeks, 4 days

around 3:30 p.m.: We arrived at labor and delivery, and I was taken into the evaluation room. They hooked me up to the monitors, asked me the usual questions, and did a test to be sure it was amniotic fluid that I was leaking. I was still dilated to a 2, 80 percent effaced and my cervix was posterior (still facing the back). My doulas arrived, and we talked happily until the results returned. It was definitely amniotic fluid. Contractions were still spaced out and fairly mild. By this time, it was obvious that my regular o.b. would not be delivering me since it was Friday afternoon, and she was not on call. I was slightly disappointed, but OK with Dr. Sutliff. All they do is come in and catch the baby anyway, right? We moved to a labor and delivery room.
around 4:30 p.m.: Instead of getting closer together, my contractions started getting further apart. While I was in the bathroom, one of the nurses spoke to Evelyn about how the doctor was not happy with my contractions slowing since my water had been broken for at least eight and a half hours at this point. The nurse knew I wanted my birth to be unmedicated and natural, but asked Evelyn if she thought I'd be willing to accept the very lowest drip of pitocin to try to speed up contractions. I was very impressed that she'd asked my opinion, and I understood that the risk of infection to the baby and I was increasing the longer my water was broken. I decided to accept the pitocin.

4:30 p.m. to around 7:30 p.m.: The pitocin worked. It sped up my contractions, and I was definitely on my way to giving birth. At first, my doulas and Landon sat across the room from me, talking and laughing until I would have a contraction. As soon as they saw me close my eyes and start to breathe, they would quiet. As contractions intensified, I started to hum through them. I focused on relaxing my muscles as much as possible and listened to the scripture lullabies Landon set up to play on my laptop. At one point, the doulas offered to help me through contractions by pushing on both my hips and a pressure point in my back. It helped. In between contractions, I tried to relax as much as possible, to get as close to sleep as possible. I can remember several times, opening my eyes after contractions to see Landon watching me. His hands were up around his face, and I could tell he was praying for me. One particularly vivid memory I have is opening my eyes after a difficult contraction to meet his, like his face was the only thing in the room. He nodded silent encouragement. It helped a lot.

around 8 p.m.:
Things were starting to hurt. I asked to get checked because I was starting to feel pressure. They hadn't checked me since I arrived because they try to avoid it once your water is broken. I was a 6. I started to lose focus and after a couple more contractions asked to be checked again because the pressure was increasing. The nurse checked me again. She said I was a 7. At this point, I was in serious pain and lost hope that I could do it without medication. The pressure was overwhelming, and I literally started screaming for an epidural. The nurses said OK and ushered my visitors out of the room to wait on the anesthesiologist. I shouted for her to hurry, asked where she was, and cried out to Jesus over and over. I was literally writhing in pain and Evelyn had to hold me on the bed. Looking back, I know I was in transition and was ready to push before anyone -- me included -- realized it.

8:10 p.m.:
The anesthesiologist arrived, and I was still writhing in pain. With each contraction I was hit with an overwhelming, unbelievable urge to push. The nurse tried to tell me I had to sit up and back on the bed -- sit still -- in order to get the epidural. I leaned over on her and was basically climbing her. Finally, I threw myself back diagonally on the bed and said, "She's coming oooouuut!" as I gave into the urge. I could hear the nurses start scurrying as they told each other, "OK! The head is out! Her head is out!" Then Evelyn got in my ear and said, "Sarah! You have to focus! You are gonna push the baby out now! Push her shoulders out! Push!" They had me pull my legs back and being able to focus on pushing was so much better than thinking I was going to have to keep waiting for an epidural. Evelyn's stern direction was very helpful.

8:21 p.m.: I pushed a couple times, her shoulders came out with a great gush, and the rest of her slipped afterward. The relief was immediate. I have never felt so wonderful. The first thing I said was, "I'm SO glad she's out!" My mind and eyes were clear again. Then I wanted to know how big she was and why I couldn't hear her crying. The nurses told me she was big and beautiful, and she was just fine. Seconds later I heard her perfect cry. At 8:21 p.m. on Friday, June 24, my second daughter -- beautiful, perfect and healthy -- arrived into the world.

8 pounds*14 ounces*21 inches*perfect

A.L. (after Lylah):
She was totally perfect. Is totally perfect. A big girl with thick, dark hair and long fingers and toes. She latched on right away and nursed for a long time. I didn't tear at all. Ellie and Grayson came up about an hour after she was born and were smitten from the start.

"Finally, Baby Lylah is here!"

Now: I am still replaying the scenes of Lylah's birth over and over in my head. I imagine I will be for a long time. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever done. I am still working through some thoughts on the whole thing, which I'm sure I will articulate in coming days. Or not. All I know is 1.) I got the most amazing gift for my effort and 2.) doctors aren't even needed for catching. Dr. Sutliff missed the whole thing.

My sweetest Lylah,

I can't even begin, my love. You have already marked me for life. You'd think I'd understand it by now, but the overwhelming, incomprehensible love I feel for you, my baby, is unbelievable. I cannot wait to watch you grow; to see if your hair stays dark. I can't wait to watch you with your siblings and with your daddy. I can't wait to see the calling on your life -- that people have already heard from the Lord on -- come to fruition. You, my sweet third child, have shown me I can be strong with help from God. I can't wait to teach you about Him. I love you with every fiber of my being. It really, truly hurts. Welcome to the world.




just trying to live better said...

so beautiful.

marme said...

i'm reading and typing through my tears...

mari said...

I kept re-reading the sentence about you "climbing up the nurse and throwing yourself diagonally back on the bed" and trying to picture it. :)

It sounds like it was just perfect. I'm so glad she's here and everyone is healthy!

seph said...

@mari -- ha! it was not one of my most graceful moments... poor nurse.

Aimee Nicole said...

Wow... I teared up many times reading this. What a beautiful story!! Thank you for sharing this with us.

Amy said...

What a precious story! Sounds absolutely perfect! She is did an amazing job! Thank you for you.

ree said...

Miss Lylah looks just like her mommy!
SO happy for you all! :)

kj said...

it is an incredible story and i am so proud of you. what a huge accomplishment! i love you and lylah ruth so much!

Wendy said...

Impressed! So happy for you! Glad it went so well.

Sara_Smiles said...

This was utterly beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing, Sarah! Congrats, again!

Madelyn said...

Wow! What a beautiful miracle! Congratulations to your perfect new addition! SO happy for you!