May 26, 2011

Audrey Alexandra Meitl: The Birth Story

May 16
39 week checkup at the doctor shows no real signs of progressing.  The doctor said, and I quote, "well, your cervix is up by your neck!"  I believe this was a nice way of telling me I wasn't close.  She said I was 1 cm dilated and she guessed that Audrey was 7 to 7.5 pounds.  There is not a scientific method to this assessment; she just feels around on my belly and makes a guess based on her how big the baby feels in there.

May 17
I started having cramping in my lower abdomen for the first time.  Up until this point I had only experienced sporadic tightening in my upper abdomen that I believe was braxton-hicks contractions.

The cramping in my lower belly happened about 3 or 4 times throughout the morning and mid afternoon.  Around 5:00 it started happening more often, and I decided once Matt got home and we got settled down for dinner and a relaxing evening we should probably start timing them.  At this point it just felt like menstrual cramps, more or less.

Around 7pm we began timing them and they were ranging anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes apart, most being 7 minutes apart.  Because I tested positive for group b strep, the doctor wanted me to call and come in to the hospital once the contractions were 5 minutes apart, lasting about 40 seconds, for an hour.

We went to bed at 10pm and the contractions were still about the same.  Mostly 6-7 minutes apart, but every now and then one would be 10 minutes apart.  This went on until 2:30... waking me up each time (not that I was really falling asleep in between).  Still not painful.

May 18
At 2:30am the contractions jumped from 6-7 minutes apart to 2.5-3 minutes apart.  Now it was starting to get a little harder to tolerate.  I definitely found myself groaning mildly in discomfort.  This went on for an hour so we called the hospital at 3:30am (I'm exhasuted by-the-way) and they told us to come on in.

At 4:15am they checked us into the hospital.  The staff told us that they had a large influx of babies that night, that they couldn't believe how many had come in already, and that I was probably number 11.  My mom previously predicted that the ball would get rolling on the 17th due to the full moon, and I've heard from others that more babies are delivered during full moons.  I wonder what truth there is to that.

There were no labor and delivery rooms available at first so we camped out in a smaller recovery room.  I was tired and not managing the pain as well as I might have been able to if I had been well-rested.

At 5:45am the doctor had time to check me... 2cm.  What?!  Gosh.  It's already painful and I'm farrrr from the end.  Shortly after the check I was wheeled to my labor and delivery room.  The bed was much much less comfortable.  "Purely functional," the nurse says.  Great.

At 9:25am I requested that the doctor check my progress again, because the pain was wearing on me in my fatigue.  I felt confident that I had really progressed.  3cm.  Yeesh!  This is ridiculous.  I was hoping for more, because I was ready for pain meds.  I didn't want to get an epidural too early however and slow the progress, risk it wearing off down the road, increase the chance of also needing pitocin, etc, etc.  We all agreed that 3cm was a little too early for that so I committed myself to getting through another 3 hours.

During that 3 hours the contractions continued to get more intense and began hurting in my lower back.  I was so exhausted that I wanted to lay, but that didn't seem to be the best position for me to be in when the contractions came.  I wanted to be sitting on something with a lot of support that would not engage my already sore lower abdomen the way the soft bed or a soft chair would.  Instead of gearing myself up in between contractions, I was so tired that I just hung limply and panted.  I felt so sleep deprived I just wanted to cry and I totally lacked the energy to go on.  At this point I was dreading the next contraction. Was it really approaching noon?  It definitely still felt like 4am.

At 1:00pm they gave me two pain options.  I did not get another check on my progress, because too many checks increases the risk of infection and the assumption was that I was continuing to progress at a fairly slow rate.  I opted for pain meds through my IV.  I believe they were narcotics?  I slept for an hour.  It was great.

At 2:00pm that wore off and the next contraction I felt was terrrrrrrible and I decided I did not want to feel this any more.  I was done.  I asked the nurse if I should get another dose of the narcotics through my IV or if I should get checked to see if I was far enough along for an epidural to make sense.  She said she would ask the doctor.  When she came back she said it was pretty much up to me.  No guidance, and what did I know about making this decision?!  Again, I was really hesitant about an untimely epidural and the one hour break I got from the IV drip was amazing so I said I would take one more of those and then the epidural.  I don't think that makes much sense now, but again, I was in no condition to be making that kind of decision.  As she was beginning the second narcotic drip the doctor walked in and said, "well if you are going to get the epidural anyway you should have gone ahead and gotten it now."  Great!  Why wasn't that the information that was reported back to me?  Too late now.

At 2:30pm the narcotics hadn't done a thing.  I was totally miserable and fed up and basically losing it at this point.  I called to the nurses station and told them I wanted to start getting the epidural ready.  The doctor said she would wait and check my progress after the epidural, that way I wouldn't be in any pain while she was doing it.  At this point, I figured I had to be around 7cm, and I was amazed that the contractions felt like they did.  How did anyone ever get to 10cm??  I remember commenting that these already made me feel like I needed to push!

At 3:30pm I got the epidural.  This entire process was pretty traumatic.  The nurse described the position she wanted me to get in and apparently I misunderstood what she meant so we had a little bit of a time getting me situated.  Meanwhile I'm wailing during contractions and really scared to have to manage them while holding still in an uncomfortable position.  While I was getting situated on the bed and voicing my fears with the nurse (and crying), the anesthesiologist, prepping behind me, let's me know that this is elective for both of us, "you don't have to do this, and neither do I."  He was already being a jerk in everything his said, but this really frustrated me.  I told him that I had done everything he had asked me to do and asked that he please not be a jerk.  The nurse got me situated and was amazing at getting me through my contractions.  The doctor described everything he was doing, step by step, in very medical (and scary) terms.  I remember him talking about a too-small area... and something being too close... and the possibility of hitting something... and needing to move to another area... and all of this really scary stuff while I'm bent over trying to hold still through very powerful contractions.  Yeesh.

I felt one more contraction and that was it.  I could still feel pressure in my bottom during the contractions, but it didn't hurt.  It made me feel like I needed to push still.

At 3:35pm the doctor checked me and I was 9cm!  Woops!  No fricken wonder.  She broke my water then said she would be back in 30 minutes to see if was ready to push.

At 4:25pm she made it back (she was running around delivering a ton of babies that night) and when she checked me she said, "Well, the baby's head is right there, you won't have to push long at all."  Great!!  I think I pushed through about 7 contractions, three serious pushes with each one.  This was a little stressful, because I wanted to do it right, but couldn't tell if I was or not.  I totally thought I was going to pop blood vessels in my face and I know I had to have been purple.

At 5:10pm Audrey Alexandra Meitl was born.  The cord was pretty close to being snug around her neck so they cut it as soon as her head was delivered and whisked her away.  She was a little stunned and had a hard time finding her voice.  After a few minutes I heard her make a sound.  After 10 minutes they brought her to me and I got to hold her.  She had one eye wide open staring at her new world.

Here she is... just 10 minutes old.

6lbs 6.3oz; 19in long.  What an angel.


  1. did you wear your own clothes during labor??

  2. I did... I wore that pink top and brown gauchos that I didn't care much about. I just took my pants off at 9:30 when she checked me and again at 3:30 after the epidural. At that point I just hung out bottomless with the blanket over me :)

  3. did they give you a hard time about it?

  4. no, when i first got there they said, "ok, put on this gown" and i said, "do i have to?" :p we decided i didn't have to write then and no one asked me to again after that. i think i got lucky because they were too stinkin busy to care if i was wearing my gown or not.