Fair warning: This post is verrrry long. I won't be offended if you just skip to the pictures at the end.
As my due date approached, I was getting more and more excited for Baby Pew to come. But for a number of reasons, including a doctor's opinion, I was positive that she would be late. I was prepared to go beyond my March 26th due date, and while anxious to meet our little girl, we had accepted that.
I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for the 24th. Brad suggested that maybe he should go with me. I told him that I would be just fine and that I thought he should go to school while he could and get as much studying in as possible so that when the baby did come, he would be able to be home and present with us. Little did I know...
You should also know that we only own one car. Why not when it is paid off and the law school is literally only a 6 minute walk for Brad? So off I went to my appointment in our little car. I stopped at Seagull Book on the way to pick up a baby book. I was so excited to find one that had an owl on the front since that has been my "theme" for this little one. I stopped at Target to stock up on some cleaning supplies. I had plans to pick up some extra little things at the grocery store when I was done at the doctor.
I checked in a waited my turn. I was hoping that he would tell me that my body was showing some signs of progression. I really didn't want to be induced and was hoping that I would be working towards going into labor on my own. I sat in the waiting room and felt my baby moving inside of me, wondering when she would finally be in my arms. I was called back and they asked me to take my weight and blood pressure. My blood pressure was quite high. So high that they didn't even tell me what it was because they were afraid it would worry me. They said that I was probably just anxious for my appointment and that we would take it again when we were done. I had a good appointment. Baby was doing well, had a good strong heartbeat, and I was calm. So we took my blood pressure again. And it had actually gone up. I didn't even know how that was possible. The doctor informed me of some complications that high blood pressure could bring and sent me over to the hospital for a non-stress test and to monitor my blood pressure.
I called Brad to let him know. I told him that this could mean that we would be having a baby very soon. I told him to go home and throw the last minute things into the hospital bag (things like a toothbrush that you just don't pack ahead of time), just in case, but I was still pretty sure we wouldn't need it. I would keep him updated.
I was checked in to the hospital and taken to a room where I would be monitored. I would have to stay for an hour. The one time I forget to take a book to my doctor's appointment...
My blood pressure began to go down. I was positive that this was all just some fluke. I didn't go down a lot, but I had a whole hour. Things would be fine, I was sure. I told Brad that I was pretty certain I would be sent home... maybe just on bed rest. But at the half hour mark, when all I had been doing was laying down, my blood pressure went back up. Then 15 min later it spiked. It was high. Super high. The nurse told me that she would call my doctor, but that I should probably call Brad and get him down to the hospital.
So I did. We had a friend that had offered to bring him down and she was wonderful, dropping everything she was doing to take him right then. My doctor came in to talk to me. He said that the baby was looking great on the monitor. She had done amazingly well during the test, but I hadn't done so hot. If I didn't have the baby soon, there was a chance that she could take a sudden turn for the worse. And then we could have complications. Better to get her out then when she was still doing well than to wait and have my high blood pressure lead to complications. I absolutely agreed. I would do whatever it took to make sure my baby was safe and healthy when she arrived. Even if that meant a previously unwanted induction.
Brad made it to the hospital very quickly. He got there right as I was moved into a labor and delivery room. We took some time to take it all in. We were really having a baby. It was happening. We had a prayer and got ready for what was to come.
My doctor came in and explained to me that he would like to avoid a heavy dose of pitocin. I was all for that. He suggested a cream that would soften the cervix, and in some women could induce contractions and dilation. We agreed and so began the labor process. This was at 5:20 PM on Tuesday. At the time, I was barely dilated to a 1.
I sent Brad to get some dinner. I knew that if I did have to have the pitocin that I would not be able to eat. And I knew that eventually I would want an epidural and wouldn't be able to eat then either. So off he went to Zuppas to get us some sandwiches and salads.
As soon as Brad left, I felt the effects of the cream, which I was not expecting. It definitely produced the contractions in me. Unfortunately, they were practically constant with little to no break in between each one. They called the doctor to tell him that the contractions were very close and he said that was a good sign that this would help me dilate. Brad got back and we ate, and contractions continued. I did not want an epidural at this point for fear of slowing down or stopping the process. My doctor also suggested that I not receive an epidural at this point. They offered me some other kind of pain medication, but I had never heard of it, so I refused, not wanting to accept something that I had not done any research on. So I contracted for 8 hours without any pain medication. It was a verrrry long 8 hours. There was one hour that was especially bad. I thought I wasn't going to make it. Brad was amazing through this whole process and the best support I could have asked for. He watched the monitor when I wanted him to, telling me when a peak had passed. During the especially difficult hour, I never actually hit a zero. The contraction would just lessen slightly and then peak again. I felt like there was no relief. I kept telling Brad, "If only I could have a few second break between contractions..." He also helped to distract me during the hours that weren't quite as bad. We talked, watched netflix, and Brad read me scriptures. He prayed over me, gave me a priesthood blessing, and helped me remember the beauty of the whole process in God's plan. He told me I was doing well.
Finally at 11:00 they came in to check my cervix. I was dilated to almost a 4. At first, I was a bit discouraged. I was sure that I would have been at least to a 5 with the contractions being as much as they had. But they told me that this was actually great news because the cream doesn't always cause dilation, and the fact that it had done so in me was great. They told me that I could have an epidural at this point if I wanted one. Originally, I had thought that I wanted to make it to a 5 before getting an epidural, but after the crazy contractions I had been experiencing, I agreed to the epidural.
At midnight, the nurses started my IV. I had tested positive for Group B Strep a couple weeks previously and would need antibiotics on top of the saline solution in the IV. Yet again something that I had been hoping to avoid, but that I was absolutely willing to do for my baby's well being.
At 1:20, I received my epidural. After 8 hours of contracting, this was the most amazing thing that could have happened. I vaguely remember telling Brad that next to deciding to marry him, deciding to get an epidural was the best decision I had ever made. Haha. Silly things that women say while in labor. But seriously, it was exactly what I needed. It calmed me down and helped me relax, which is what I wanted. I am amazed at the women who choose unmedicated labor. But I also felt in this moment that the decision is absolutely personal and that there is no shame in whatever way a woman labors and delivers a child. No matter what, it is a miracle.
The nurses suggested that at this point we try to get some sleep. We were in for a long night/next day. I really wanted Brad to sleep to so that he could be totally there for me in the morning. He headed to bed and I tried sleeping myself. The problem was, I still had to be on a blood pressure monitor and it went off every 10 min for the entire time I was in labor. Try to sleep when something is grabbing your arm that frequently. I for one, couldn't do it. But I didn't have a bad night. I definitely rested and enjoyed not feeling the pain of the contractions. I thought about my little girl and how much my life was about to change. I prepared my mind and spirit for delivery.
Around 5:00 they checked me again, and I was only dilated to a 4, so they suggested a low dose of pitocin. They can give you an amount from a 1 to a 40 something, and I only got a 3. I prayed that I wouldn't need much more than that.
At some point in the night, I started running a fever. I don't remember the time. I asked Brad to keep track of the timing of certain things, but forgot to ask him to write this one down. Anyways, the fever got above 100.6 at one point, which is some kind of benchmark for them, so I was put on yet another antibiotic and was told that the baby would need some tests and antibiotics after birth. I was so sad. You should know that I am not a fan of medicine for myself. I don't like how it makes me feel. I avoid it when possible. I'm not anti medicine obviously, and take it when I know it will help, but I just know what my body needs and try to avoid anything that I know will not make a huge difference and will only make me feel worse. But again, I was all game for doing what would be best for the baby.
At 7:50, a nurse was in my room to tell me that my doctor may be coming over to break my water. I really didn't want that, but knew that it could help the process along. Literally as we were discussing this, my water broke all on it's own! So exciting. Semi-side note, this is the strangest feeling ever. Just saying. The nurse said that this was a great sign that things were coming along well. At 9:00 they checked again, and I was only dilated to a 5. I was a bit discouraged and prepared myself for a very long day. They decided to up my pitocin a bit, but only a little.
At this point, I had a bit of a breakdown. I cried as I explained to the nurse that I was willing to do these things that the baby needed, but I just wasn't prepared for how different the whole experience would be from what I had anticipated. She and Brad both let me cry and listened to me express my woes. They both were able to help me see that I was doing all I could for my baby. Brad prayed with me again and I felt a great peace, knowing that all would be well. This maybe wasn't my plan, but I felt that God had (as He always does) a higher plan for me, and I decided to put my trust in that plan.
By 9:15 I was starting to feel some pretty serious pain. I could feel the contractions again, and they were definitely strong. I threw up a few times. My epidural must be wearing off. I hadn't wanted to push the button for more medication, but the pain was getting intense and I decided that I might as well push it. I was told it would take about 15 min to feel the difference. Nothing changed. By 9:30 I was grabbing on the the sides of the bed and sqeezing with all my might to get through each contraction. Brad was by my side and helped me through it all. My nurse suggested that we call the anesthesiologist to discuss my options at this point, but that before doing that we should probably have another quick check on my progress. If I was in that much pain, there was a chance that I was really progressing. At 10:15, they checked me and I was expecting to hear that I was at a 7 or an 8. Imagine my surprise when the nurse said. Oh wow! You are dilated to a 10 and fully effaced! You're all the way there. Woah. After such a long night, I had gone from a 5 to a 10 in only an hour. However, the baby was still quite high and needed to descend a lot. The nurse went to call my doctor. My doctor asked me if I was feeling any urge to push. I told him that I wasn't. He said that if that was the case, he didn't want to make me push. He felt that it wouldn't be good for me and suggested that I get a small dose of medicine and let the baby descend while staying calm and keeping my blood pressure down. (It had gone up as the pain had increased). I agreed, trusting his judgement, and also remembering that I had read that it was best to push when one felt the urge to do so.
The anesthesiologist came and explained that the reason I was feeling so much pain was because an epidural just can't keep up with the rapid dilation of a 5 to 10 in only an hour. He gave me a dose of medicine which began working quite soon and I was feeling good again. Now it was just a waiting game. I was wanting a low dose of the epidural so that I would have an edge on the pain, but still be able to feel the desire to push and be able to know when to do so. I prayed that it would wear off enough in time to feel that urge to push.
Around 11:50, I had feeling in my legs again and I could feel the contractions. I didn't feel the entire brunt of them, but I could tell when they began, had some minor pain at the peak, and could tell when they ended. They again were almost constant. Ten minutes later at noon, I had a sudden urge to push. I didn't know what this would be like, and it is hard to explain, but I just simply wanted to push. I told the nurse and she called the doctor. He said he would be on the way and in the mean time, I could get ready and start pushing. The nurse came in and explained to Brad how he would be helping the process along and they both got in position to help me push. Brad held my hand as the pain of each contraction got more intense as my medicine wore off. We started pushing around 12:25 with the nurse. She and Brad could already see our little girl's head with my first push! The doctor arrived at 12:30 and took his position. He and my nurse were absolutely amazing. They coached me through it while Brad was my loving, amazing, perfect support. Let me just tell you, this pushing hurt like the dickens. I remember telling Brad through my tears that I didn't think I could do it. He kept telling me that I was almost there. I was doing so well. He loved me and knew I could do it. I could see the concern in his eyes for me as the pain intensified with each push. In my mind, I was terrified. I had prepared myself for an hour or more of pushing, and just didn't see how I would get through. I remember saying again that I didn't think I could do it. Brad told me I was so close, but in the moment, I was just so certain that I was going to be there forever and didn't think I could get through the pain much longer. The nurse told me to push hard and I bore down and pushed with my might. I felt like I was dying. She told me I was so close. One more big push. I gave it all I had and the doctor told me that our little girl was practically there. Only one more little push and suddenly all the pain was gone, and our little girl had arrived. With tears in my eyes, I looked at that gorgeous little girl and then over to Brad. "We did it." I said. They had to take her for her APGAR tests (8 and then 9), and I anxiously waited to have her laid on my chest while the doctor delivered the placenta and stitched me up.
Kymri Jo Pew was born at 12:44 PM after only 15 minutes of pushing, weighed 8 lbs 2 oz, and was 20.5 inches long. And absolutely perfect.
(We pronounce her name Kim-ree)
They placed Kymri on my chest and everything else in the world was gone. She was perfect. She was beautiful and amazing and it was as though suddenly life made sense with her on my chest and Brad by my side. We were a family. And everything was right in the world.
Kymri nursed right away and did so well. It's like she knew exactly what she was doing and I didn't have to do a thing but be there for her. I kept staring at her in wonder and awe at the miracle that was birth. Brad and I kept saying how perfect she was and talking to her and telling her how much we loved her. If you don't believe in love at first sight, just have a baby. It is absolutely real.
The next hours and days were spent getting to know each other. We were a family.
God had entrusted us with this special little spirit. There were definitely moments when were were scared. How in the world were we supposed to be parents? How did we know what Kymri would need? What could we do for her when we just didn't know? But for the most part, we were good. We were able to learn together and figure things out (we are still figuring things out and surely will be still figuring things out until she's grown), and we were able to just enjoy being together. I have especially loved watching Brad become a father. He is so amazing with Kymri and let me tell you, that little girl has him wrapped around her finger. He will do anything for her, and I would not want it any other way.
This picture makes my heart melt. Every. Single. Time.
Kymri was healthy from the start. Because of my being strep B positive, having high blood pressure, and the fever, she had to go through a lot of tests, but passed with flying colors. The nurses said she did better than many babies who didn't have all those things working against her. It broke my heart to see her little IV, but she took it like a champ. We had a great experience in the hospital. I already knew I loved my doctor, but the nursing staff at our hospital was absolutely amazing. We couldn't have asked for a better experience.
We took Kymri home two days later after she was cleared and had done so very well.
I feel like there is still so much to tell about this precious, perfect child. More posts are surely to come. But for now, I will leave you with that extremely long story, fully aware that you may have just looked at the pictures and not read a word of it. But the pictures are the best part anyways. The last few days have been magical and I can't even take my eyes (or camera) off of her!
We love Kymri. We feel so very blessed to have her in our home. Even though she didn't arrive when or how we thought she would, God made everything right. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for having a plan and allowing me to be a part of this miracle. I love being a mother. I feel like I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing and where I am supposed to be at.
Welcome to the world little Kymri Jo Pew. We love you.