Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Birth Story

Etta Ruth Davis
Born on June 19th, 2013 at 4:55 am at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach
Weight:  8 pounds 11 ounces
Height:  19 inches
Doctor:  Jeff Illeck, MD
Nurse:  Denise
Etta's birth story begins a few days before she was actually delivered. Tuesday, June 11th, Dr. Illeck stripped my membranes.  I was praying this would work, as I was getting super uncomfortable in the pregnancy.  Hard to sleep, to walk, to sit down and stand up.  It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would, and by Wednesday morning, I lost my mucous plug.  Everything I read said that it was most common to go into labor withing 48 hours of losing the plug, so I was ready! 

On Thursday, June 13th, I began having contractions around 10:30pm.  Since Warren was working early the next day, I called my other resident husband - Lisa Ward.  Lisa and I walked around the neighborhood while she timed my contractions - about 5 mins apart.  I kept telling her they were uncomfortable, but not excruciating.  She spent the night on our couch just in case since Warren had to leave early.
The next day I felt much better, but began contracting again late in the evening, Warren did his best to make me feel comfortable, and again we walked the neighborhood.  This was the same story on Saturday night.  By Sunday night (Father's Day), I was having contractions earlier in the day - starting by 4pm, about 5 mins apart.  The difference now was the excruciating nerve pain I felt in the front part of my hips and legs.  So much pain, that I could not walk, sit, stand or get comfortable.  By this time I was crying, so Warren gathered all our hospital bags and we headed to the hospital. 
Hoag is in my opinion, the nicest hospital in OC - ocean view rooms, state of the art equipment and physicians trained at top universities.  Although they did not have valet parking at 9pm on Sunday Warren dropped me off in front with the bags, parked the car, ran to meet up with me and we both made our way to the 5th floor.  We checked into the unit and I told the nurse of my nerve pain.  We were escorted to an ocean view room by the nurse and she hooked the baby up to be monitored and track my contractions.  I was only dilated to a 2.  I sat on a birthing ball, they continuously checked my blood pressure and 2 hours later the nurse checked me again to see if I had progressed in my dilation.  Still a 2.  I was so disappointed - we were turned away.
I was able to get some sleep that night with the help of a Unisom.  Warren had the whole week off (lucky vacation scheduled), and I was feeling much better that we actually went to the beach and read while enjoying the ocean (and getting a little bit more sun).  We stayed at the beach until about 4, and I started feeling the pain again - it took 45 mins to walk home...which was only 3 blocks.  By 6pm the excruciating pain was back, but I didnt want to be the pregnant girl who cried labor wolf, so I stuck it out at home with a bouncing on a birthing ball and our good friend Andy Richardson came over to assist Warren in giving me a priesthood blessing.  I made it through the night.
The next morning, Warren came with me to my appointment with Dr. Illeck.  I was still a 2.  He stripped my membranes again...and this time, it hurt.  I was still having contractions about every 15 mins with the nerve pain and it was difficult to walk.  After leaving the office the contractions intensified - stripping the membranes was working!  We got home in time for me to eat some food, then the pain became intolerable again.  At one point, I was laying on the couch, shaking, crying and yelling from the pain.  By this time, contractions were 4 mins apart.  Warren had seen enough.  He told me he was taking me in.
He loaded up the car and helped me to my seat.  Warren drove down 14th street to make a left on PCH.  In the process of this unprotected left-hand turn, we were almost two cars.  Nervous father-to-be?  Later we were told by some friends in our ward that they witnessed the whole scary episode.  The Lord was definitely with us in this moment.

We arrived to the hospital minutes later, this time valet was there.  They pulled up a wheel chair and Warren grabbed ALL of our stuff - we were there to stay this time!  He wheeled me up to the 5th floor, as I was yelling, whim-icing and crying in pain.  It was the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced. 
We were guided to the unit to be monitored, and Warren saw Brother Braithwaite, a member of our ward who also happened to be the OB on call.  He dropped his name to the nurse as they put me in a room and got the monitor hooked up.  Still a 2.  The nurse called Dr. Illeck to tell him of my pain, Brother Braithwaite came in to say hello - and with that....I was admitted.  Finally!!  We were going to have a baby!
I had been told that the IV was painful, but I did really notice because the contractions and nerve pain were taking up most of my attention.  They put me back in the wheel chair and wheeled me across the hall.  The anesthesiologist, Dr. Perry arrived shortly after to give me my epidural.  Heaven.  He had me sit sideways on the bed, with my legs dangling off.  It was a beautiful view of the harbor and ocean, not a cloud in the sky.  It felt a little cold and weird on my back, but I didnt care.  It started working within minutes.  It was amazing!  I dont know how (or why) anyone would do it any other way.
After I was not in pain, is when Warren started to get just giddy.  I could tell he was soooo excited in the anticipation of his little girl.  He got out his camera and new lens and started snapping pictures.  I loved seeing the excitement in his eyes.  As his mother would say, "his eyes dance."

We loved our nurse, Denise.  She hooked baby up to the monitor once again for us to watch the contractions and checked me for dilation.  She also helped Warren flip me every couple hours to make sure the epidural was being evenly distributed.  Dr. Braithwaite came into break my water and I didnt feel a thing.  After two hours I was checked again - still a 2.  So, Denise started me on pitocin. 
After that, things progressed much faster.  Lisa stopped by to bring Warren Cafe Rio for dinner and I drank a lot of ice water.  Later into the night Warren was able to get a couple hours of sleep in between me waking him up to hold the water cup for me or to page Denise to flip me.  He brought speakers to hook up my phone and played Nick Drake station on Pandora.  He also sprayed some of my Chakra #5 spray in the room, which has lavender - a natural calming agent.  I was still pretty anxious though - anticipating the actual delivery.  I didnt sleep at all through labor.
By the time I was dilated to a 7.5, I could feel pressure during the contractions and in my rectum.  Still not an urge to push, but I could feel her coming down.  By 3:45am, Denise said I was ready to push.  She got the room set up and told me she would call Dr. Illeck when she thought I was about 20 mins out from delivering.  I asked her the average length of pushing for first time moms and she said 1-3 hours.  I had an even longer night ahead, or so I thought.  She got me into position, coached me how to breath, where to hold my legs, etc.  Warren stood to my left and held my hand.  We waited until the next contraction, I tucked my chin to my chest, pulled at my legs and pushed....for about 2 seconds when Denise said stop!  Warren said he could already see her head.  Denise called Dr. Illeck right then. 

I waited for about 15 minutes with my legs in the stirrups, resisting the urge to push through contractions, waiting for Dr. Illeck to arrive to the hospital.  He came in around 4:30am and asked how long I had been pushing, to which Denise responded I hadnt.  He gave her a "then why did you call me look", and she said, "just wait until you see it."  They got some final things ready, we waited for the next contraction and I started to push.  Three pushes with three breaths per contraction.  During the second contraction I started to tear, so Dr. Illeck performed an episiotme.  I dont know how hard I was gripping Warren's hand, he didnt say much, but was watching the birth intently.  Denise and the baby's nurse were the ones vocally cheering me on.  On the last push of the third contraction, she was out!
The nurses kind of wiped her down as they were putting her on my chest.  My first thought was, "I cant believe that just happened.  I cant believe I just did that."  And then I thought, "omg, she is mine!  And she is HUGE!  This is crazy."  Warren cut the cord and I only gave one small push to birth the placenta.  I think they do that while she is on your chest to distract you.

In that one moment, our lives have changed forever.  We are now forever parents.  She was absolutely beautiful.  And she even smelled good.  The baby nurse took her over to be weighed, measured and cleaned.  I told Warren to go with her.  He said she looked perfect.  Dr. Illeck was stitching me up while the nurse announced 8 pounds 11 ounces, 19 inches - a healthy baby girl.  They brought her back over to me for some skin to skin time, and this is when I shed a tear or two.  Warren had a perma-grin.
She layed on my chest for a while, then Denise brought me the infamous "Hoag Spritzer", cranberry juice mixed with lemon-lime soda.  Nothing had ever tasted so good.  I really wanted Warren to bond with her, so I asked him to take her in exchange for a granola bar.  For the next two hours I had my eyes closed, but couldnt sleep.  I could hear Warren talking and singing to our baby girl.
At about 7am, the nurse came in to wake us up and bring us breakfast - french toast, cereal and a banana.  We split it.  I was then transferred to a wheel chair, handed my baby girl, and sent up to the mommy baby unit.  Here is where the real recovery began.  The epidural wore off, but I still couldnt walk and had to use the funniest contraption to be wheeled to the bathroom.
Warren and I didnt sleep much (at all) the next two days.  We were so excited that she was finally here.  It was in the mother baby unit where we finalized her name - Etta Ruth Davis.
The rest of our hospital stay seems forever ago.  We had countless visitors of friends and family come to see is.  Beautiful flowers delivered.  Met with Dr. Illeck and our new pediatrician, and were DC'd on Friday morning.  Our first day home Brad and Ruth came to visit.  By Saturday morning, John and Shelly were here to help and Shelly stayed the entire week; making meals, cleaning and helping with the night shifts.  Etta is such a good baby.  She eats well, she sleeps a lot (hopefully more at night soon), and I could stare at her funny faces all day.
To sum up my feelings overall in this whole experience would be impossible.  It's crazy to think we created this beautiful person.  And crazy that we were able to name a human.  And we are responsible for her.  I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but had a hard time picturing myself doing it.  But it has come a lot more naturally than I thought.  Just in the past week, I find myself being able to recognize her cry, her patterns....if she is hungry.  I love when she falls asleep on my chest and I love how it seems that she looks right at me and says thank you.  I love watching Warren with her.  I love her.  And I love our little growing family.