Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Holland's Birth Story {Part Two}

Miss Holland's birth story was pretty long. I spent a few hours over the past couple of days getting it all written out to go into her baby book. I wrote it in letter form to Holland and that's how I am going to post it on here as well. It just makes things a bit easier on me. Anyway, since it is written to Holland there are some things you might need to know to make sense of who people are and such. "Dad", "your dad", "Daddy", etc. refer to Race, "Mimo" is the name my mother has chosen instead of Grandma, "Grandpa" refers to my dad, and "Aunt Helena" is my sister Helena. I hope it's not too confusing!

I want to post this on my blog and share my experience with others but I would appreciate it if people were kind in their comments. I know that people are often very opinionated about things surrounding birth and I love to hear people's opinions as long as they are not rude. So thank you in advance for being kind!

I mentioned above that this is a pretty long story so I am going to split it up into a couple of different parts. Here is part two! {Read part one here!}

Continuing on...

Tuesday, August 14th I woke up at 3:47 am to my first real contraction. Dad was still awake playing video games and I explained to him that this felt like a real contraction. I then sent him to bed so he could get some sleep before we headed into the hospital. I walked around the house while breathing through contractions and measured them on an app on my phone. They were anywhere from two to seven minutes apart {averaging about three minutes apart} and they were lasting anywhere from thirty seconds to just over one minute. I put everything we had packed for the hospital lined up by the door and I gathered up some final things. I wrote you a quick note in your journal to tell you how excited I was to finally meet you. I then woke up my parents to let them know that things were finally starting! I continued to focus on breathing through my contractions and I continued to time them on my phone. Just before 8 am we got things loaded up in the car to head to the hospital. Your dad also gave me a beautiful blessing just before we headed out. 

We got to the hospital just after 8 and got signed in. We headed up to Triage where I changed into a hospital gown and was put on the monitors. You were doing great through the contractions and I was dilated to 3 cm and 90% effaced. This was progress from the last time I had been checked {the Friday of the non-stress test} and I was only dilated to 1.5 cm and 70% effaced. I was admitted to the hospital and had my first round of antibiotics for Group B Strep. After finishing up the antibiotics and getting off the monitors I was able to walk around while they got my room ready. I walked the halls stopping to hold onto the handrails and focus on my breathing when contractions came. Once they got my room ready we headed in there and it was nice to have some space to ourselves. As the day progressed my contractions got closer together and they were lasting longer. Mimo and Dad helped me through the contractions by putting pressure on my lower back, tickling my feet and legs, holding my hands, and helping me change positions. I tried lying on my side, sitting on the laboring ball, showering, using the laboring tub, and a few other things to help manage the pain. I felt like I was handling the contractions well but nothing seemed to be happening.

Your dad and I in Triage
My IV for Group B Strep
The printout from the monitor

Around 5:30pm I finally broke down and asked the nurses to check me to see if I had progressed at all. They checked and I was now 3.5 cm dilated and 100% effaced. I was so discouraged. There was barely any change and I was to the point where I was having almost no break between contractions and they were much longer. But, I continued on. I kept switching from the bed to the shower to the tub to the laboring ball and continued to manage the pain. I don’t feel like I ever reached a ten on the pain scale but I was physically and mentally exhausted. After four more hours of this we asked them to check me again because the contractions were even more intense. This time there was good news! I was 7.5 cm dilated! This helped boost up my spirits and I was able to continue on.

Breathing through contractions and timing them on my phone with Dad by my side.

Dad reading and putting pressure on my back while Mimo tickled my feet and legs.
One of my wonderful nurses {Jamie} checking up on you.
{She actually came back the next day to check up on us and came to the c-section with us even though I was no longer one of her patients!}

Mimo kept track of my contractions throughout the day.

During the next few hours of contractions Dad and Grandpa gave me a blessing while I was in the laboring tub. I do not remember much of what was said but I am so grateful for the priesthood and the comfort it brings. I am also grateful I was able to have two worthy priesthood holders with me through my entire labor. After approximately four more hours of intense contractions {since the last time I had been checked} I asked to be checked and again, there was disappointment. I was still at 7.5 cm dilated. {The nurse did say you were at a +1 station which means your head was starting to move down but later they said you were back at a 0 station so I don’t know if there were just different interpretations or if you really did move back up.} Mentally this is about where I broke. Things were not progressing and I was exhausted. I had not slept in hours and I had not eaten anything in quite a while either. {I did sneak in half of a PB&J sandwich while I was in labor earlier in the day even though you’re not supposed to eat at the hospital.} At this point I asked to try some kind of a pain killer that would help me sleep so I could reboot. They gave me an opioid that {we are pretty sure} is called fentanyl. I don’t remember it helping much but it may have given me a little bit of a mental break through a couple of contractions. I don’t remember being able to sleep at all though which is what I really felt I needed.

At some point after the fentanyl I remember using the bathroom and seeing meconium in the toilet. I knew that this was possibly a sign of you being in distress so we let the nurses know. I think they monitored you a little bit more but you still seemed to be doing fine through the contractions.

Around 2:30am I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I was so ready to meet you and I could not see when that would happen. There seemed to be no end in sight. I was physically and mentally finished. All I wanted at this point were two things: to sleep and to have you in my arms. I finally asked for an epidural. This was the hardest thing for me to ask for. You can ask your dad. I did not want to say the words. I just kept saying that I was so tired and that I couldn’t do it anymore. It was so hard to ask for because I did not want to feel like I was a failure in my desire to have a natural childbirth. Your daddy and Mimo made sure that I knew I was not a failure. I got the epidural around 3am. Getting the epidural was no fun. I didn’t feel any pain {from the epidural}, but bending over a pillow with a huge belly while you are having contractions is not enjoyable. Dad stayed with me and held my hand while they gave me the epidural. The anesthesiologist finished quickly and afterwards I was able to relax for the first time in hours. {Almost 24 hours exactly since my first contraction.} The nurse made sure to do all that she could to keep labor going despite the epidural {which can sometimes slow things down}. She had me put a peanut ball between my legs to help you move down and she had me put an icepack on my back in hopes that you would turn your dear sweet face around since you were sunny side up {or posterior--which was also the cause of extra intense back labor}.  Once I was all situated I slept for the next two and a half to three hours.

Around 6:15am I was checked again and I had progressed to 9.5 cm dilated. Three hours later at 9:15am I was checked and I was FINALLY 10cm dilated and was told that you were at a 0 station. At 9:22am I began to push. I pushed for the next two and a half{ish} hours but I wasn’t able to feel much and I was having a hard time pushing correctly. At some point they turned the epidural off in hopes that I would start feeling things again and be able to push more effectively. I also tried a couple of different pushing techniques but nothing was really happening. 

Your dad and I just before pushing.

Around 11:30am my CNM, Tiffany {the one I trusted more out of the two I had} came in and had me push a couple of times and then explained to me that I probably needed to think about having a c-section. She explained that your position {posterior}, the presence of meconium, and a few other things were cause for concern and reasons that I might want to consider having a c-section. It was not an emergency yet but at some point it could turn into an emergency. As she explained this I was not nearly as upset as I thought I would be. I think at this point I knew that things were just not going to go the way I had desired and I was just so ready to meet you, my sweet {stubborn!} little girl. We had the nurse and Tiffany leave the room so we could talk about what we wanted to do. Tiffany had told us that we could try some different pushing techniques and other things before resorting to the c-section as she really knew that this was NOT what I wanted. After talking we decided to just go with the c-section as I was not feeling like things were going to change and progress. This decision was much easier to make than I had thought it would be and I started getting excited knowing that I was finally going to meet you! We let the nurse and Tiffany back into the room and let them know our decision. Tiffany then called Dr. Kells to have him come to the hospital to do the surgery. She let me know that he was the best one to do the surgery as he does all that he can to make sure women can go back to vaginal births after their c-sections. It was encouraging to hear all of this. At this point I had not even thought about the possibility of never being able to have a baby naturally if things went badly so it was nice to hear that I had an extra cautious doctor. The anesthesiologist came in and gave me a different medicine in my epidural to prepare me for the c-section and then Dr. Kells came in and talked to me. He let me know that I could try pushing some more if I wanted and he said he could try the forceps but there would probably be a lot of tearing. Dr. Kells also knew that a natural childbirth is what I had desired and he did not want to take that away from me so he wanted to make sure that a c-section was a decision I was okay with and was not feeling forced into. I really did feel okay about the decision. I know that there were other things I could have tried but your dad and I were so ready to meet you, our sweet little Holland girl.

Just before heading into the c-section with our wonderful nurse Angie. 
{The epidural made me feel really cold. That's why I'm completely covered up.}

At 12:01pm they rolled me out of my room and into the operating room. You were born at 12:16pm. Being behind a curtain when I heard your first cries was not the way I had imagined things happening but it was still the most wonderful experience of my life. My baby girl was finally here! They brought you around the curtain and showed you to Dad and I. Let me tell you little lady, you had the LONGEST conehead I have ever seen! But don’t worry, we were still so in love with and happy to meet you! Oh, and your conehead did go away! After they initially showed you to us they took you a little ways away to clean you up a bit more and they had Daddy cut your cord. They brought you back over and we got our first family picture together. You were just perfect! You and Daddy then left for you to get your first bath and have you weighed and show you off to Mimo, Grandpa, Aunt Helena, Uncle Knowlton, Aunt Jasmine, and cousin Edmond {Egg} who were waiting at the nursery. I stayed in the operating room where they quickly and carefully stitched and glued me back up. It was only 20-30 minutes before I was wheeled into the recovery area and you and Daddy met me there where I was able to nurse you for the first time. You latched right on and I was overjoyed to have my baby girl in my arms! I got to hold you close and admire your beautiful, perfect little body. And that’s what I’ve been doing every day since then!

Our very first meeting.

Our first family picture!

I want you to know that I am so grateful to your dad, Mimo, Grandpa and your Aunt Helena. They stayed with me through all of this {although Aunt Helena did go home to get some sleep at some point} and helped keep me motivated. Your wonderful daddy helped me through my contractions all day and night, he let me know that I could do this, he supported me when I decided to get an epidural and made sure I knew I was not a failure. He stayed with me while I got the epidural, held my legs while I pushed, and was with me when I had the c-section. He was by my side the entire time we were at the hospital. Mimo helped me get through every single contraction, she constantly tickled my legs and feet and was by my side the entire time. She also held my legs while I pushed and coached me through the entire laboring experience.  Grandpa was there the whole time and helped us communicate with the doctors and nurses as well as helped us be calm and think of what to do before making decisions. Aunt Helena was a constant support and also helped hold my legs while pushing. They all let me know while I was going through this that I was not a failure and they continue to remind me that I am not a failure when I have days that I feel otherwise. I am so grateful for my “laboring team” and I could not have done any of this without them.

Finally, I want to end this by saying that I am learning to be grateful for every single part of my experience. I do not regret laboring for 24 hours before having an epidural, I do not regret having an epidural, and I do not regret ending up with a c-section. It is so hard to be grateful for this experience because it is not at all what I wanted or imagined. In fact, it is pretty much exactly what I did not want. There have been days where I have mourned the loss of the birthing experience I desired but as I said before, I do not regret the decisions I made and I am so incredibly happy to be a mother to you, my sweet, beautiful, little girl. I pray that as the years go on I will learn more and more from the experiences I had in bringing you into the world and I pray that I will recognize the reasons things happened the way  they did. I hope that I can have more empathy and understanding when I come across others who have similar experiences and I hope that this experience can help you and other future daughters or daughters-in-law that I have as you all bring children into the world.

August 15th, 2012, 12:16pm was the most wonderful moment of my life and I look forward to many more wonderful moments with you as my daughter. I love you Holland girl.

Love always,


  1. I LOVE that first picture of you and Race. How precious. What an amazing story- you are such a trooper! It sounds like you had great doctors and nurses who were really supportive of your decisions. So glad Holland is FINALLY here!
    p.s. my epidural totally gave me the shakes. I didn't feel super cold, but I couldn't stop shivering!

  2. I absolutely loved reading your story about how cute Holland girl came into this world. As I said yesterday you are a true inspiration Emma and totally not a failure in any way or form and as I said when it comes to me having children, you're story, courage and strength will remain an example in my mind! :) I've said it a ton ,but congrats on your beautiful girl, she is adorable!

  3. i loved reading your birth story and i don't think you were a failure in any shape of form--more like a really strong woman :)

    and your first family photo, so cute!

  4. i love this whole story, i don't even know where to begin commenting. i also plan to do natural births when i have a baby (and a baby daddy, let's not skip that step) but i really liked that you were willing to be flexible when it came down to it...i would be that way too :)

  5. Aww Emma...I loved reading this whole thing so much. You have such a beautiful way of writing and it just makes me feel all tenderhearted and misty-eyed. Thanks for sharing this with all of us :)

  6. This is beautiful..I tear up so much with birth stories. Hahaha. She is such a beautiful baby. I'm so excited and happy for you!!! I wish I knew you had a blog sooner!! darn :P

  7. What a beautiful story! I know you have an amazing family - but this just proves it once again.
    I hate to tell you this - but things not going the way you plan or imagine is only the beginning of raising children. Not that things are bad - they just always seem to be different than how you thought they would be.
    That sweet little angel came into this world exactly the way she was supposed to. Failure? Please! NOBODY who labors for THAT long can be considered a failure. You are an amazing woman Emma and will be an amazing mother. You are inspiring to others and will be a terrific example to your daughter. You will teach her planning, determination, reliance on the Lord, the importance of family, and flexibility (among other things).
    Thank you for sharing this with me! I love your story :)

  8. Emma! I agree with the first comment--every picture of you and Race, you guys just have amazing looks of love on your faces!
    And you gotta do what you gotta do to get your baby out and keep you and her safe! There is nothing wrong with that--thank goodness we have the technology to do that too! Hopefully someday you can have the experience you envision, but for now, what a blessing you both are safe and happily together :)

  9. What a precious arrival, and she made sure you guys wouldn't forget it! I am blown away by your strength and grace through the whole experience, as well as your beautiful way of writing it out. Someday your little girl will be so grateful to have this story as a reminder of what an amazing and loving family she has!

  10. Oh my goodness Emma! You wrote my birth story with my Emma! Except I was in the hospital for 5 days before we finally did the c-section and I never dilated more than 5 I think. And I was begging them to STOP checking me because I was so worn out from it (if you know what I mean!). And yes! Emma had the longest conehead ever!! Unfortunately, I did get an infection from going so long with my water broken. But I totally understand about the decision for a c-section being easier than you thought it would be. I really just wanted the whole thing done and I was so exhausted. I felt like I was never going to get to see her and that was all I wanted at that point. When they said 'we have to do an emergency c-section' I said 'get to it'. You are a champ girl! Getting an epidural is not a failure. You BIRTHED A CHILD! You are a hero. Be proud of yourself! You got a beautiful baby girl out of all that! Yipee!!

  11. This is an amazing story. I love that you shared it the way you wrote it to your daughter. That makes it even more precious. Thanks for sharing your birth story with us. Also that first picture of you two is so amazing.

  12. this made me cry! You have so much faith!!!! I haven't quite accepted the fact that there's a good chance I'll have a c section. The part where you said she went to have her first bath while you got stiched up made me cry!!! I think I would be selfish and not let my baby out of my sight until I at least got to hold her! I think that's the hardest part of a c section. But you're a good example to me of accepting what comes :)and either way, you get a precious baby!

  13. I love these images that your mom captured. And enjoyed reading all the details of your story. Thanks for sharing :)

  14. I love that you kept such good records of things that happened during labor and delivery! The birth-day of our son is a bit run together for me, but I have the gist of it;)

    Our babies are here, and that's all that matters! The photos are amazing... Such raw emotions! Ah little Holland is blessed to have you and Race as parents:)

    Good for you for being such a trooper through it all!