Abby is turning 1 on Sunday. I can't even believe it. This week I have been pretty nostalgic, remembering the days leading up to her birth. I thought I should share her birth story on here. This is the abridged version, but still pretty lengthy with a lot of details. Sorry! If you don't care to read the whole thing, you can just look at the pictures of her as a tiny newborn.
On Friday (April 23, 3 days after my due date) I was told I was dilated to a 3+ and 90% effaced. I was stripped yet again and the doctor said he would be very surprised if something didn’t happen over the weekend. That day I continued to have contractions that would come and go. They would get a tad more intense as I took walks, but then would decrease in intensity once I stopped. That evening Daddy and I went out for Indian food, you know, because spicy food induces labor… right? Daddy used a contraction timer app on his phone to time my contractions throughout the evening. They were basically around 5 minutes apart, lasting about a minute, and never stopped.
During the night, I was able to sleep, but my contractions did wake me up a couple different times. When I woke up in the morning the contractions were still coming and I spent most of the morning laboring with my exercise ball and trying to relax. I was pretty confident that this was it even though things still weren’t too painful or intense. I took a bath and ate popsicles and the contractions continued (previously during the week, baths would slow my contractions). I talked to Grandma Bishop and Aunt Annie on the phone who both advised me to not wait too long to go to the hospital. They both had relatively short labors and each had experiences where they almost didn’t make it to the hospital. It was a nice, sunny day out and I walked around the lawn at our apartment complex with Daddy, timing the steady contractions.
Around 3:00 pm Daddy and I gathered up our packed bags and decided it was time to go to the hospital. We figured the worst that could happen was that they would send me home. I still felt pretty calm and didn’t have much pain at all. We walked into the Labor & Delivery floor and it was completely quiet, hardly anyone was there.
The nurse finally checked me around 3:45 and said I was at a 3. I couldn’t believe it. Contractions all day and I hadn’t made any progress? She hooked me up to monitor my contractions. They were consistently 3-4 minutes apart and lasting more than a minute. They were still relatively easy, although I did start using my breathing exercises more. After an hour the nurse checked me again and said that I made a little progress, but not a ton. She said she would call my doctor and see what he said.
Probably a half hour later, the nurse returned and said that given I was four days past my due date, the doctor wanted to start me on pitocin to help my labor progress. They got it started and I responded pretty quickly. My contractions started getting more frequent and more intense. I was still feeling pretty calm and in control. They bumped up my dose but decided to take it back down since my contractions were so frequent. After an hour (probably between 6:00 and 6:30), the nurse checked me again and said I was dilated to a four. She was optimistic that things were going to start rolling and told us to expect about a cm per hour. She said, “You’ll probably have this baby early tomorrow morning if not late tonight.”
Shortly after being checked, it hit. My contractions suddenly became very intense and didn’t seem to stop. I was having trouble trying to breathe and relax the way I wanted to. I thought, “If this is what a 4 feels like, there’s no way I’m going to make it.” It hurt. A lot.
The doctor came shortly after to check on me and break my water and I was pretty out of it. To my surprise, he said I was at a 7, maybe 8. He broke my water and you did not handle it well. Your heart rate dropped way down. The doctor had me change positions, breathe oxygen, and replaced some fluid to see if that would help make you more buoyant and take pressure off of your cord.
The doctor asked me if I was opposed to having an epidural because he was concerned if things didn’t improve he would want to do a cesarean-section. All the while I was incredibly shaky and unable to relax.
Nothing seemed to improve your heart rate and the doctor felt it was best to get you out as soon as possible. They told Daddy to sign a bunch of things and put on clothes appropriate for surgery. They took me into the anesthesiologist and he decided to put me all the way under instead of taking the time to give me an epidural or spinal. Since I wouldn’t be awake for the delivery, they told your dad to wait in the recovery room.
You were born at 7:39 pm. From the time they got me into the delivery room to the time you were born was less than 10 minutes, although your dad said it felt like an eternity. You weighed 6lbs and 7.8 oz and 19 inches long. The doctor said that your cord wasn’t around your neck. He wasn’t sure what had happened but thought that maybe your shoulder clamped down on your cord when my water broke. You bounced back pretty quickly but spent about an hour in the NICU to ensure you were okay. Daddy was able to see you and make sure you were okay while I recovered from the anesthesia.
They moved me down to the recovery room at around 9:30 pm and I was finally able to meet you. I couldn’t believe how beautiful you were and that you were inside me just hours before. Your head was perfectly round. You had the cutest nose. Your coloring was beautiful; you hardly even looked like a newborn. You had dainty hands and fingers and long, skinny feet. Your legs were skinny and wrinkly. You had the cutest furrowed brow. You were perfect.
Although we hadn’t planned your birth to go this way, we were so happy that you made it to us and that you were healthy. When your Daddy went home to get a few things he noticed a plaque in the hospital honoring the doctor who delivered you. It talked about how he was known for keeping a cool head during difficult births and delivering them successfully. We felt especially blessed because he was not the doctor that they said was on call when we arrived at the hospital.
On Sunday morning we decided to name you Abigail Mae Pratt. We were so proud to be your parents and couldn’t wait to see you grow in our family.