Please click the image to the left or this link to take you to a few images I was able to capture over the last few days. I didn’t say it in the blog before, but it truly was great to have my parents here for the birth. They traveled a long way to Alaska and down to California, and made it just in time. In addition to feeding Dexter, they were able to provide him with some much needed attention while we were at the hospital.
I think my mom and Annie’s mom got along great, and hopefully my parents will make the trek back out here in October to help with Frances while we attend Annie’s brother’s wedding.
Frances has her first pediatrician visit tomorrow – so wish us luck, but I think we have a pretty healthy happy baby thus far.
So The day began on Tuesday at 6:45am. We reported to the hospital to begin labor inducement. Luckily we had excellent care from the very start. One of Annie’s close friend’s mom was our head nurse. One of the most tenured nurses at the hospital, so we knew we were in good hands.
Annie started the day at 70% effacement, and only 2cm dilation. And that’s how it stayed for most of the day. Every 4 hours she took a pill that was supposed to thin the cervix. Most of the day was pretty boring. We watched TV and played Scrabble. Despite being in labor, Annie still kicked my ass. Evidently English majors and teachers know lots of words. Who knew?
During this whole time Annie was hindered by monitors and IVs, so she had limited mobility, but was able to go for walks and was able to sit on her birthing ball (which was no more than a yoga ball we bought).
Midnight rolled around and a nurse checked her progress. The cervix had thinned a bit, but she still wasn’t dilated more than 2cm. The joke of the day was blaming each other for Frances’s stubbornness. That baby just did NOT want to come out. Our nurse could be heard cackling in the background, mocking our decision to bring in a birth plan. (More on the birth plan later). The doctor checked in by phone and said to stop the oral medication and wait till morning.
Morning came around and we got our 3rd new nursing staff. One of which was our new neighbor from down the street. Small world. At 9am our doctor showed up and wanted Annie to get a prostaglandin gel inserted near the cervix.
The day before Annie was having contractions, but couldn’t really feel them. Once she got the gel she started to feel the contractions a bit, but dilation still was around 2cm. Note the time 9am, because that’s the last time we actually SAW a doctor until delivery. We cant say enough about how great a nursing staff Emanuel Hospital has. They were there 100% when we needed them lending support, information, and their expertise.
Perhaps now is a good time to talk about the birth plan.
A birth plan is essentially a list of things you request the doctor and nurses to follow during labor. It’s mostly an outline so the doctor and staff know the parents wishes. For example, if you want a natural birth, feel free to write it down. But don’t be surprised if the nurses burst out in hysterical laughter once you give it to them. You see, a birth plan is joke. They are worthless. Rip it up and burn it… with haste. Want to know why? Here was ours:
We would like:
1: To delay an IV as long as possible
2: The ability to walk around (intermittent fetal monitoring)
3: No medication (especially Pitocin)
4: No manually breaking of bag of water
5: Strongly against cesarean delivery
Remember those while I get back to the timeline of events. At 1:30pm a nurse came in and told us the doctor recommended Annie be put on Pitocin. The nurse had read our birth plan, and wanted to go over our concerns. They wanted to start the Pitocin at a very low level, and then increase the dosage throughout the day. For those that don’t know, Pitocin is a synthetic version of oxytocin, a natural hormone that stimulates contractions. The one drawback to Pitocin is that it makes contractions longer and stronger. After discussing with a nurse that was a doula for 20 years, we felt comfortable about taking it. So Annie got hooked up, and the contractions started kicking up. At first she didn’t notice a considerable difference, but with each successive increase, she began to get more and more uncomfortable. Our moms showed up to give support around 3pm, and decided to stay. They were convinced this baby was coming soon. Boy, were they wrong.
Annie and I continued to bide our time by taking limited walks, playing games, and watching TV, hoping that the nurse would come check and give us good news. But nothing changed… until 7pm. That’s when Annie’s water broke. We both thought, hallelujah, something happened! But Annie was still only about 2 cm dilated. Far from the desired goal of 10cm. By this time the contractions were pretty intense. Annie was experiencing back pain as well (which was later explained). After 8 hours of Pitocin, Annie asked for an epidural. The look of defeat was on her face, as we had wanted to have a natural birth and she felt she was giving up. After a magical foot massage by me, she felt better, and we both agreed that 8 hours of Pitocin was probably enough for anyone to suffer.
After the epidural was administered, Annie was able to get some well-deserved rest, and a break from feeling the mighty sledgehammer to her nether regions every 2 minutes. And then, suddenly, things began to change quickly.
Around 10pm Annie had dilated to 4cm. After almost 2 days of being at 2cm, it was a welcome change. Annie would have danced on the bed if her legs hadn’t have been dead. I laughed and took a picture of the arm band they stuck on her that said: “Fall Risk”. It’s ironic because that pretty much describes Annie all the time. If only they had an arm band that said “Spill Risk”.
At midnight Annie began to feel pressure and reported it to the nursing staff. A quick check revealed that Annie had dilated from 4cm to 10cm in 2 hours! That’s when we finally thought we were at the end. We pulled our moms in, and told them it could be soon. The nurse wanted to start Annie pushing ASAP. I could see the excitement in our moms eyes, and there really was a buzz in the air. We totally felt it was about to be over.
The moms left and the pushing began. Annie was a trooper. She gave it her all, but after 4 hours of pushing… yes, that’s right, I said 4 hours (albeit a few breaks in between), the nurse finally called it a night and called the doctor at 4:30am.
Let’s step back a moment and review that birth plan again. Number 5 says absolutely no cesarean. So what was the doctor’s suggestion? Yep, you guessed it. Cesarean. If Annie didn’t feel bad enough for getting the epidural, the feeling of disappointment was now even more devastating. The thing we didn’t want the most was now scheduled for 7:30am.
The general feeling was there was just too much at risk to the baby. She just wasn’t coming out on her own. The heart rate didn’t show stress, but it did show she was tired. We all tried to get some sleep, but as you could probably tell, little sleep was had by all. At 7am, the new nursing staff came in to prep us. I was given the scrubs I needed to wear in the operating room, and Annie was prepped to be moved. Finally, yes finally, the doctor arrived. 2 whole days, 48 hours later, and we finally see an actual doctor for only the 4th time.
She took a look at Annie to see where the baby was positioned, and turned to the head nurse and said, “I’m delivering this baby vaginally.” It was music to our ears, but chaos in the delivery room. Carts were wheeled about and instruments lined up. The warmer was flipped on, and the doctor called for the vacuum extractor… The what? Vacuum… extractor? What the hell? What is this, 1947?
We had heard about this method before, but didn’t give it much research because we didn’t think for a million years it would apply to us. You know, what with that well thought out birth plan we had.
A few rounds of pushing by Annie, coupled by the pulling of the doctor, Frances Eliza Akers was born at 7:39am July 22nd. One day after our 3 year wedding anniversary. What an awesome gift!
We spent the rest of the day and night in a recovery room with our new addition to the family. Frances was great, and latched on to breastfeeding right away. She was born 8 lbs 4 ounces, so you knew she already had an appetite.
As I type this, we are finally home and Frances is sleeping next to me after a marathon feeding session with mommy. Although the birth didn’t go entirely by plan, we did avoid the C section, and all the hard work paid off.
Again, we couldn’t have done it without the excellent care of the nursing staff at the hospital. Hospitals get a bad rap a lot of the time, but they respected our wishes and tried to do the best they could to accommodate us. The food was awful, but always on time.
Oh, and why perhaps, do you think the labor was so long and almost unsuccessful? Well, Frances was turned the wrong way. Normal babies come out face down, allowing them to pass under the pubic bone easier. Frances was face up and couldn’t pass. Thankfully all she needed was a little help. Two days later and her head looks normal and she is beautiful.
We couldn’t be any more proud of what we created.
Thanks to all that followed the blog, but we aren’t stopping now. I will continue to post pictures, and anything else exciting that happens. So please, come along with us on this new journey. Massive amounts of pictures to follow…
Annie, Eric, and Frances…(and Dexter too)
Today was the final doctor’s appointment. We went in and found out Annie was dilated 2.5 cm, 70% effacement. I won’t go in to detail to what that means, but in short it means we have reached a time where baby Frances may need a little help coming out.
We are scheduled to go to the hospital at 6:45am tomorrow, and we aren’t leaving without a new baby. The doctor, with his immense expertise explained to us that anything can happen tomorrow. Thanks, Doc. We might need medication, but maybe not. We might need inducing, but maybe not. The baby could come tomorrow, but maybe not. The doctor might need to be fired, but maybe not. That’s a lot of maybes.
So it’s off to bed early for us. It’s ironic that we have to be at the hospital so early, even though Frances is so late. Baby is already interrupting our sleep, and she isn’t even born yet!
We are excited though, albeit a bit nervous. They warned us not to write a birth plan because it never goes to plan. They were definitely right about that.
Wish us success tomorrow. We appreciate all the calls and texts, and we promise to update everyone ASAP.
Went for an appointment today and found out that Frances is taking her sweet time. Apparently she likes where she is, and wants to stay a bit longer. So a day late and a baby short. We’ll update everyone immediately if the status changes, so don’t worry about checking in. We won’t forget to tell anyone. Next appointment is Monday, then it’s inducement.
Annie is ready to pop, and to be honest, we are both ready for baby to arrive already! We are hopefully nearing that home stretch now. Annie’s Dr visits have gone really well, and if everything goes as planned, the next visit will be to the delivery room.
Our bags are packs, and the car seat ready to go. The waiting is almost over.
Nothing much more to say. Wish us luck.