August 9th, 2014 was the best day of our lives. We welcomed our beautiful little baby girl into this world and it was truly a miracle.
Throughout my pregnancy and even before I was pregnant I absolutely loved reading birth stories from other mommas and I couldn’t wait to one day write my own! Well, now we have our own little girl’s miraculous birth story to tell. I’m going to be honest…now that I’m at this point I am also kind of unsure which details to include and which ones should probably be left out – sorry in advanced if anything is a little bit too personal, but here it goes…
I was one of those girls who truly enjoyed being pregnant. I felt really great all throughout my pregnancy…until I got to about 40 weeks. By the time I hit the end of 39 weeks, I was just DONE. My mom and sister were here and we were all anxiously awaiting the arrival of Miss Paisley. I was ready to meet my baby and to be completely honest I was just tired of being pregnant. I couldn’t sleep at night, I had to pee at least 50 times a day (slight exaggeration), I had awful Braxton Hicks contractions, Paisley was turned the wrong way and I was having awful back pain. Those last 2 weeks we took a couple of trips to the hospital thinking it was time to have the baby and ended up getting sent home because it was just early labor. August 3rd was my due date. It came and went – still no Paisley. I’ll tell you something – that was extremely disappointing. We thought for sure that our baby would be here by then and having to wait even longer to meet her (and dealing with even more of the late pregnancy symptoms) was not enjoyable. Someone very wisely told me that I should anticipate going to my due date or later because they didn’t want me to be disappointed if our baby wasn’t here by then. That was some great advice and I will definitely use it for my future children and pass it along to other friends who are pregnant and having little ones! When we went to my 40 week appointment, the doctor seemed surprised to see that I hadn’t had the baby yet. “It could be any day now” was a phrase we became all too familiar with. I was very thankful I had my mom and sister here with me – they made waiting bearable and it was so much fun to spend quality time with both of them.
After my due date came and went we decided to start trying all of the “natural ways to induce labor” methods. Gus’ cousin Rachel was staying with us and my mom and sister were in town so we all decided to have fun with it! Rachel, Kassidy, my mom, and I all spent tons of time Googling and researching ideas. We tried everything we could. Friends gave us tons of ideas as far as what worked for them and what we should try. We ended up trying just about everything – bouncing on an exercise ball, swinging on swings at the park, taking a warm bath, lots and lots of walking, eating tons of pineapple, pressure points, labor-inducing cupcakes, raspberry leaf tea, raspberry tablets, and even caster oil! By the time we had tried just about everything I came to the realization that this baby would come when SHE was ready and there wasn’t really anything we could do to speed it up.
On August 6th around midnight, my “Braxton Hicks” contractions started really picking up and they became extremely painful. Gus and I didn’t get any sleep that night. The next day they continued the ENTIRE day but my contractions were about 10-15 minutes apart. They were getting more intense but I knew they weren’t close enough yet to cause progression. After dealing with the pain for over 24 hours, Gus and I decided to go to the hospital around midnight on August 7th. Once again, even though I was overdue and having frequent contractions, we were sent home because I was still in early labor and not in active labor yet. I woke up Friday morning and the doctor called me to tell me that they wanted to schedule us for an induction. I was scheduled to be induced Sunday, August 10th at 6:00 PM. Although I really wanted to go into labor on my own, having an induction date set was such a relief – especially considering the pain I was in and the fact that my contractions had been about 10 minutes apart for so long. I had contractions all day that day as well. As the day went on, they continued getting more intense. Thankfully, I had my mom, Kassidy, Rachel, and Gus to help me breathe through the pain, time the contractions, and help to keep me sane. The contractions became absolutely unbearable at around 1:30 AM on August 9th and we realized they were about 3-5 minutes apart for over an hour. I wasn’t in a rush to head to the hospital because I was so afraid of getting sent home AGAIN. I remember Rachel and my mom telling me I was crazy and that they knew it was time to head to the hospital. Around 3:00 in the morning I decided to give in and head to the hospital and I was really hoping that this time it was the real thing! At that point I remember thinking that if this wasn’t the real deal that I couldn’t possibly imagine how it could be any more painful or intense. These contractions just felt different. My mom, Gus, and I loaded up in the car and drove to the hospital. Well, Gus drove. My mom sat in the back with me for what seemed like the longest car ride of my life. Oh, and he managed to hit every single bump along the way!!
We got to the hospital around 3:30 in the morning on Saturday, August 9th. Gus pulled up to the carport, my mom got a wheelchair, and we went up to the second floor to labor & delivery. I was in so much pain I could hardly function. My poor momma just isn’t very coordinated and couldn’t even push the wheelchair and so she kept running me into walls and it was just a mess. (Looking back, we can laugh about it but at the time I was not a happy camper.) When we got to the floor, the surgical tech who was there the night before when Gus & I were there looked at me and told the other nurse, “She was here last night. This is the real thing – get her a room.” I guess it was my yelling and crying that gave it away. They didn’t even make me fill out the papers OR make me go to triage. They put us directly into the hospital room right across from the nurse’s station. I was so thankful. When the nurse came in to check me I remember thinking to myself that I can’t get my hopes up because this could just be another false alarm. “Well, you’re a generous 3! Well, almost a 4, actually.” I was SO happy. I told the nurse she was my favorite person in the world! She asked me if I planned on getting an epidural. “HECK YES, as soon as possible” I said. She told me that the anesthesia team would quickly become my favorite people instead of her.
I got my epidural around 5 in the morning. I started getting really nervous right before the procedure and I told the nurses how nervous I was. I was scared that it would hurt or that I wouldn’t be able to be still during the process. Looking back, there was nothing to worry about. The anesthesia team was so wonderful and the nurses did an incredible job coaching me. Gus helped me to stay calm and still. Getting an epidural didn’t hurt A BIT! It didn’t take long at all, either. I started having a contraction AND the blood pressure cuff started filling up right as the anesthesiologist was about to start the procedure. I told him it was happening and asked him if he could wait just a little bit but he just said “Okay, you’re going to feel a little sting.” And within a couple of minutes it was done. I didn’t even feel a little sting. The contraction and the blood pressure cuff were actually more painful than the epidural itself! (Sounds ridiculous, I know!) The relief I felt after the epidural is unexplainable. I was having contractions for so long that I kept expecting to feel another one but I didn’t! The nurse anesthetist sat down and looked at the monitor. She said, “Okay, Kayla, you’re at the peak of a pretty intense contraction…do you feel it?” I didn’t feel a thing. Crazy, right? For the first time in over 2 days I was able to get some peaceful sleep. The nurse came in and checked me after my epidural and I was at a 5. My sister and Rachel got to the hospital a little bit later in the morning and then some friends arrived and thanks to the epidural I was able to relax and enjoy time with everyone.
The doctor came in around 9:30 in the morning and broke my water. I was still at a 5, and the doctor said that after they broke my water she knew things would start to speed up. I still wasn’t in any pain or even discomfort. Around 11:30 I started feeling really uncomfortable. I started feeling a lot of pressure and I began to feel my contractions again. I had my own button to control the medication in my epidural and until that point I hadn’t given myself any extra. Once I felt my contractions again and that intense pressure I pressed that button and gave myself all I could. Someone went and told the nurse that I was feeling uncomfortable and feeling pressure and she came right in. One nurse checked me and didn’t tell us anything afterwards. She just said, “Well, you’re doing tremendously well.” Obviously, we wanted to know what that meant exactly. Gus looked at her and said, “So, if you don’t mind me asking what number is that, exactly?” That made me laugh. The nurse said she didn’t want to tell us and get our hopes up and that she wanted another nurse to check me. Another nurse quickly came in and checked me and said, “You’re at a 10! You’re going to have a baby!” I was so happy I just broke into tears. We called our friends and family back in and told them the exciting news. Then, the nurses told everyone except for those that were going to stay for the delivery to head to the waiting room because we were going to start pushing. I couldn’t even believe it. It all went so quickly and up until 11:30 I didn’t even feel uncomfortable! (Thank you, epidural!)
I wanted to have Gus, my mom, and my sister there for Paisley’s delivery. Everyone else left and the nurses came in and began teaching me how to push and we did a couple of “practice pushes.” We really only pushed through 2 or 3 contractions and the next thing I knew, the doctor walked through the door. Now, I’ve seen several deliveries and typically the doctor doesn’t come in the room until RIGHT BEFORE the baby is about to come. I mean, seriously. Sometimes the doctor barely makes it! Part of me thought that I was about to have the baby but nothing was set up yet and the doctor wasn’t scrubbing up so I knew that couldn’t be the case. Dr. Harris sat at the end of my bed and coached me through pushing. She didn’t just stay there for a couple of contractions. That doctor stayed with me for the next hour and a half helping me push! Looking back, I cannot even believe how helpful she was. Come to find out, I was the only laboring patient at the time but still – she did not have to dedicate so much time to me! She was so helpful. I had to push for a while but I didn’t realize how long it was until afterwards. Kassidy was standing on the left side of me up by my head. Gus had one leg and one of my nurses had the other. My mom was texting people updates, videotaping, and taking pictures behind Kassidy. At first, Gus was the person counting me to 10 during each push. However, he would see how hard it was for me and when he got to 5 he would start to speed up! He asked Kassidy to take over and she did an awesome job counting me through the pushes. Everyone was so encouraging. We had a great little team – two nurses, a surgical tech, the doctor, Gus, Kassidy, and my mom. After about an hour and a half of pushing, the doctor started gowning up and they began breaking down the bed and setting up the table for delivery!
There were times during pushing when I felt like completely giving up. It was exhausting. I kept asking them how the baby’s heart rate was and how the baby was doing. Thankfully, throughout the entire labor and delivery, the baby’s heart rate looked perfect. I had to push for about another half hour. Everyone kept encouraging me to keep going and not give up. Then, by the time they were able to see her head, they kept telling me how much blonde hair she had and that she was almost here! Despite my exhaustion, the fact that they could see Paisley’s head made me want to push that much more and get to finally meet our precious little baby girl. At around 2:15, the doctor told me that when the next contraction came and I pushed through it that I would be having a baby! Gus’ face when the doctor said that was adorable. You could tell he was so excited. Knowing I was so close to having the baby, I gave the next round of pushing absolutely everything I had.
The next thing I knew, Paisley Grace was placed on my chest. I can’t begin to describe the amount of love I instantly felt for her. It all seemed to happen so fast but at the same time it felt like time stood still. I really can’t explain it. I looked up at Gus and saw tears streaming down his face as he saw Paisley Grace for the first time. It was a precious moment. I looked at my mom and sister and of course, we all cried. It was really an incredible thing to have my mom and my sister there for Paisley’s birth. I was in awe of this little life I just brought into the world. I just kept staring at my little baby and saying, “You’re beautiful, I love you so much.” (I don’t really remember this – but my mom just so happened to capture the exact moment Paisley was born and placed on my chest on video with her iPhone!) I remember thinking she was SO tiny. I had actually never seen a baby that small in person before. She was only 5 pounds, 12 ounces! She was the most beautiful baby in the world to me and just healthy as could be.
I’m going to spare you the details of what happened afterwards. (Partly because I don’t really remember all of those details and partly because, well, it’s not exactly something I really want to remember.) To sum it up, I had some complications after delivery. I remember holding Paisley and enjoying the “skin to skin” time immediately after delivery. We were supposed to have something called the “Magic Hour,” which is where mommy, daddy, and baby enjoy some bonding time after delivery. However, that didn’t happen. Within a few minutes after delivery, I began to feel very weak and I told the surgical tech that I couldn’t hold the baby anymore. She told me to focus on the baby and not pay attention to anything else that was going on around me. (I could tell at that point that they were concerned about something but I didn’t know what.) I tried to focus on the baby and enjoy that time, but I got to the point that I really couldn’t anymore. I was in so much pain and realized that I was holding Paisley very tightly. I asked someone to take Paisley and the next thing I knew I was completely out of it. My mom had mentioned to me that as soon as the baby was born, everyone’s attention would turn to her and she would be everyone’s main focus. At this point, the exact opposite was true. My blood pressure went down to 60s/30s and my pulse spiked. Doctors came rushing in and told everyone they needed to leave. They thought I would have to get surgery or a blood transfusion but fortunately, I didn’t need either one! Paisley was so tiny because, even though she was overdue, my placenta went bad and she wasn’t getting the nutrients she needed. Thankfully, Paisley Grace was completely healthy and didn’t have any complications whatsoever!!
When I started feeling better we were able to FaceTime with my dad and Paisley Grace got to see her Grandpa! It was precious and something I’ll always remember.
We brought our sweet baby girl home from the hospital early in the afternoon on Monday, August 11th.
Our hearts are so full of love for our precious Paisley Grace and we are very excited to begin this journey together as parents!
Thank you to the very talented Sarah Wilbanks (with Lanters and Feathers Photography) for taking the following beautiful pictures of our family! We are so thankful for these precious pictures!