Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Houston's Birth Story

Houston Charles Coghill made his grand entrance to the world on Sunday, May 29th at 4:43 in the afternoon at 9 pounds and 21 1/2 inches.

Houston's birth was not what I was expecting and definitely didn't go as I had planned, but if there is one thing you are told about childbirth is that it very rarely does. Houston came to us exactly when he and I were ready. I was able to labor without pain medication or an epidural, which after have a healthy baby and no csection, was my goal and it was actually a somewhat gentle experience.

To tell the full story I have to go back a couple of weeks.

At 35 weeks my fundal height was measuring 2 weeks ahead of schedule and my doctor sent me for an ultrasound to estimate how big our baby boy was going to be. I had the ultrasound at 36 weeks and they guessed baby to be about 7lbs 10oz.  On average babies gain half a pound per week so our baby boy was on track to be around 9lbs 10oz, which they consider big and the doctor I saw that day (not my doctor because I was in a different office for the ultrasound) recommended an induction at 39 weeks.
The next week I saw my doctor and we discussed the options and she also recommended the induction at 39 weeks because apparently there is a window between 39 and 40 weeks where an induction is safe for baby and does not increase the likelihood of a c-section, but left the decision up to me.  I just felt very uneasy about the idea of an induction and so we decided to just play it by ear and see how things went and then discuss an induction as I got closer to 40 weeks rather than 39. Also my doctor was going to be out of town for the Memorial Day weekend so also I didn't really want to be induced without her. 
At the time I had already been dilated 1cm and was 50-70% effaced (depending on which provider I saw) so I felt pretty confident that baby boy would be making his entrance before 40 weeks and even if he didn't I personally felt capable of giving birth to a 9lb + baby as I'm not that small of a person and he wasn't my first baby.

Flash forward to about 38weeks and 3-4 days I began having some contractions.  Very mild and irregular.  I went to my doctor at 38 weeks and 5 days and was dilated to 3cm and about 70% effaced. *Note I saw our family doctor for this pregnancy but also saw a group of midwives who would be on call as back up in the event that my doctor was out of town (which she was!).  Well at this particular appointment my doctor was there as well as the midwife of the group who was known for her ability to strip membranes (nice talent to have, huh? haha) and so I decided that I'd like her to go ahead and do the strip and see how things progressed from there... again definitely wanting to avoid the medicated induction.  She said I was very thinned out and that the strip had been successful. She guessed that I'd be having the baby within the next 48 hours. I left the appointment both excited and crazy nervous!

Later that day I began having some cramping and spotting and then more contractions.  I went to bed convinced that we'd be having a baby the next day.  The timing was working out perfectly. Lee had just finished up a very busy 2 week rotation in the Peds ER and had the long weekend off before returning to work on Tuesday. As we fell asleep Thursday night Lee said - what do you want to do tomorrow? And I was like uhhh I'm having a baby tomorrow.
Well I slept straight through the night without and discomfort and woke up Friday morning again feeling a little nauseous and having mild contractions.  We did a few last minute tasks, I walked up and down the stairs, and then sat around and waited... sitting on a giant yoga ball. By Friday night I was so bored so we went to Chickfila for dinner and sat and watched Leo play... all while having more very mild and irregular contractions.

Saturday morning I woke up (with contractions) determined that I'd be having a baby that day.  I asked Lee if he wanted to go on a walk and he asked where, so I said - well where is a place that will guarantee I'll go into labor?  As you may know, Florida is pretty flat. There aren't many strenuous walks available, so Lee suggested we go down by the beach and walk over the bridge (that giant boats pass under). It was also about a billion degrees out.  Seemed like the perfect scenario to walk out a baby. haha.

On the way to the beach I mentioned that I wish I had done a tour of the hospital where we'd be giving birth before hand and so Lee made a quick turn (we only live about 5 minutes from the hospital) and said he'd give me a tour :) perk of being married to doctor I guess!
We went in and saw where OB triage was located, went up stairs to the birthing suites, and then up and saw the regular rooms where they moved mom and baby to.  Then since I was feeling good, we headed over to the beach.
We had a really fun morning.  The walk was in fact a bit strenuous.  We walked over the bridge, through downtown, out on the pier to watch the fishermen and birds, had lunch in the little downtown area, and then walked back over the bridge to head home for Leo's nap.

All throughout the morning I had been having small contractions.  On the way back across the bridge they began to pick up and according to Lee's timing they were coming about every 3-5 minutes.  Lee began to get a little more serious about the situation and when we got back to the car he had me call our friends who'd be watching Leo to let them know to be ready for our call!  We got home completely drenched in sweat and all took quick showers, called the sitters to come get Leo, and headed to the hospital around 1:30pm.

We walked into OB triage smiling and relaxed and announced that I was in labor.  I think if they had been able to the nurses would have laughed or rolled their eyes.  I don't think any of them believed me. haha.  They asked me what my pain level was on a scale of 1-10 and I think I answered a 2. However, when they checked me I was dilated 4cm and still about 70% effaced.  The look on the nurse's face was pretty funny she was like wow I definitely wouldn't have guessed that!  Even though I told her on Thursday before having my membranes stripped I was a 3!

They asked me walk around the hospital for about an hour and come back for another check before they determined whether to admit me or not. Well there was no way I was going back home without having a baby.  We walked and we walked and we climbed stairs and I was having contractions the entire time. An hour later I was dilated to 5 and we decided this baby was coming!
We went upstairs and I was given an IV (saline lock - not hooked up, but there just in case) and they told me I could walk around freely, but to come back every 30 minutes to monitor the baby.
They asked me what my plans were for pain meds and asked if I wanted to go ahead and watch the required video and sign the paperwork so I wouldn't have to later when I was in pain and I said no thanks, I want it to be difficult to get if I cave later.

Healthpark Hospital is set up with a huge atrium in the lobby with a grand piano and plants and a cafe and art work.  It's beautiful. The 3 floors above have an open walkway around the atrium. On the 3rd floor we walked the loop around the atrium over and over and over and over.  Every 30 minutes we'd go back to be checked for about a minute and every 2 hours I'd go back to be hooked up to a monitor for a consistent 15-20 minute period.  Every time I'd lay down in bed my contractions would drop off dramatically. I'd watch the monitor and it'd barely have blips on it.  It was the longest day ever.

Our preacher and his wife came over to say hi and we walked some laps with them.  We sat in the rocking chairs looking out the giant windows... and as long as I was moving I'd have contractions, but as soon as I'd stop, so would they.

At one point Lee checked his phone and it said we had walked 8 miles that day. EIGHT! haha!  No wonder I was getting tired! I don't really remember when but we decided to take a break at some point and stayed in our room for the evening.  Around 9pm the midwife came in and  checked me and I was only dilated 5.5.  I sorta think she gave me the extra half just to make me feel like I'd made progress, but it didn't do much for my morale.  I was starting to get a little worried and Lee and my midwife started talking about breaking my water or giving me pitocin.  Two things I definitely waned to avoid for as long as I could. I was also getting nervous because I knew this particular midwife's shift was over at 7am and the new midwife coming on was one that neither Lee or I had ever met.  Not exactly what you want when you're having a baby.  When we asked a nurse about this midwife she said something like - oh she tells it like it is or she's pretty direct - something like that.  I was seriously dreading it.
We decided that we'd try a breast pump for a little bit.  Nipple stimulation causes your body to produce oxytocin and can cause contractions.  I used a breast pump for about an hour on and off and a big fat nothing.
It was now about 11pm and we decided to just call it quits for the day and go to sleep.
In the middle of the night I woke up twice with contractions.  I was for sure they were the real deal, but nope. Those too fizzled out.

In the morning the midwives had a shift change and I met the new midwife (remember my doctor was out of town for the Memorial Day weekend). All my fears about this midwife were quickly erased and I felt very at ease and confident in her ability to deliver my baby.  She came in and checked me again around 8:30am and I was only dilated to a 6.  Six. ugh. We discussed our options and she said that sometimes it's effective to do a second strip and so that's what we did.  It was very uncomfortable (as was the first time!) but I was ready to try anything to get this baby going.

We began our walking ritual again. Around and around and around.
Houston was moving all over in my belly and each time they tried to monitor him he was in a different spot so they were concerned that he was going to be flipped so they had me get on my hands and knees to encourage him to flip over and stay in place. I swayed and rocked on my hands and knees for about 30 minutes. 
I sat on the ball.
I took a bath in the tub with jets.
And nothing was happening.

About 10:45 the midwife came by again and we discussed our options (again!) and we decided at this point I'd like to have them break my water (I mean I didn't really want that... but seriously wanted this baby to come out!).  When she checked me this time I was dilated to 7cm and my water broke with just the push of her fingers!
I had made it to 7cm with almost 0 pain. How does that happen?! Lee and the nurses kept  saying - wow you must have a high pain tolerance... but really I don't think I was in that much "pain" I just felt uncomfortable.

With Leo my water had broken at home in the middle of the night and it was more like a long slow leak...with Houston when she broke it it was an instant gush and felt absolutely disgusting.  For the rest of the morning every time I'd stand up I'd have an huge rush of fluid... yuck yuck yuck.
Lee was making fun of me because I was more upset about the fluid than I was about contractions or the labor.  But really, it's disgusting.

After my water broke I pumped for another hour.  Did more hands and knees. Sat on the ball.

Finally after a little convincing I was ready to accept that I might need pitocin to get things going.
My midwife and the nurses assured me that I only needed a tiny bit. They kept saying - oh you just need a whiff.
At about 2:30 in the afternoon they started me at 2 units or whatever the dosage is... and I swear before it even got into my system I had a couple big contractions back to back. After 30 minutes they upped it to 4 units and then after another 30 minutes they put it up to 6 units and I asked them to not go any higher. Lee told me that women who are induced typically get up to 20 units, just for some perspective. By this time I was definitely having real contractions. I had been laboring in the rocking chair and on the yoga ball but the contractions quickly got very intense and I had to get in bed.  Laying on my back was totally miserable so they brought me something they called a peanut, which was like a rubber ball shaped like a peanut basically, to put between my knees while I laid on my side.

Very soon the contractions were so painful that I couldn't talk anymore and had breathe out with a low hum/groan sound to get through each one. I don't know how long they lasted but they seemed to be never ending.  I had Lee put his hand on my knee and so they weight of his arm could hold my knees together over the peanut.  I think I was focusing all my attention to the weight of his arm because anytime that he moved it was the absolute worst.

After about an hour of crazy contractions I felt the urge to push that they all told me I'd feel. Actually I told Lee - I think I just pushed!! And he hit the call button and the nurse and midwife were in the room within seconds. 
She checked me and said yep you're complete! And she gowned up and they put me in position. 

I was feeling serious anxiety at this point. I had pushed for 2 hours with Leo and I was dreading pushing this baby (who they thought would be considerably bigger than Leo) out. 

However after one push I could tell this baby was going to come out soon! There was a ton of pressure and it definitely hurt, but a much different pain than the contractions so it was almost a welcomed change. 
Later Lee would tell me that there was a second where he was afraid Houston's shoulders were going to get stuck (shoulder dystocia) but they all instructed me to push again quickly and they came through. Then again Houston's chubby belly got stuck! But I was able to push again and he was free. 
Lee was a great coach through the pushing. He's had a lot more OB experience since we had Leo. I don't even know how many babies he's delivered!  He gave me very clear instructions about what to do - taking a deep breath and holding it through the pushing to use the pressure... And not making any noise which I did a couple of times haha and was told to stop. He held my leg and counted down through the pushing for me. I'm so thankful for that guy. 
I pushed through about 3 contractions - probably 6-9 pushes I'd guess, at 4:43pm our Houston was here!!  

They laid him on my chest and I was in disbelief that he was actually finally here! 

This time I think I was more aware of what the midwife was doing after I'd delivered. I felt the umbilical cord against my body (uggh so disgusting) and watched Lee cut it. I definitely felt the delivery of the placenta and this time refused when she offered to let me look at it... I looked with Leo. I'm pretty sure once you've seen one placenta you've seen them all. 
Then got a quick look over from my midwife and she said I had no tearing and everything was fine! I was so anxious about tearing since I'd delivered him so quickly. With Leo my doctor said I didn't tear because the pushing stage took so long and I slowly stretched to accommodate the baby. Apparently this time by body just remembered what to do! 
The nurse brought me a frozen diaper to sit on and it felt amazing! I'd recommend it. 

I got about an hour to snuggle with my brand new babe and nurse him. He knew exactly what to do and latched without a problem - another relief! 

It is seriously such a high to go through this process and then finally have your baby.  You feel like a superhero. And you get this beautiful human being to call all your own. It's so totally worth it, without question. 

After the hour they took Houston to be weighed and measured - 9lbs and 21.5 inches! A full pound and half inch bigger than Leo! 
I then got up and went to the bathroom to get cleaned up a bit and use the bathroom. I was instantly amazed at how easily I could move around. With Leo because I had pushed for so long I was incredibly sore and all of my muscles ached. 
We then got in a wheelchair and they wheeled us to a regular room. Along the way we saw a couple of the nurses from the previous day and they were like yay! Finally!! Haha 

Right away I felt so good. Like I hadn't just given birth. It was weird. I kept waiting for it to hit me, but it never did. I didn't even feel the need to take the Motrin they offered me. With Leo I was very swollen and sore and it took me days before I could easily sit and stand, but with Houston I was in and out of bed, up and out of chairs, walking around no problem.  
Lee said it was because I didn't have to push for as long this time that I bounced back so quickly. Literally. My body stretched and then went right back. I think that the cold ice pack (frozen diaper) really helped too! 
Overall I'm happy with the whole experience, even if things didn't go as I had planned. Even though I had to take the pitocin which I 100% didn't want. It got my baby Houston here quickly and safely - for which I am very greatful. 
The nurses I had at Health Park were great. All of them! They were patient and helpful while I was in labor and very helpful after with Houston! So thankful! 
I was very attached to my OB in Detroit and so I had high expectations out of another dr or midwife and was very disappointed when I found out my dr would be out of town, and then again when things didn't progress and I knew I'd have the midwife I'd never met before I was very nervous... But it worked out exactly as it should have and she was amazing. She reassured me and was confident that she'd be delivering my baby soon and she did!  I'm even considering using her again if I have a 3rd! 

Which is funny... Houston has been the sweetest, most laid back baby that I'm already talking about our 3rd. Lee said I thought newborns were supposed to be good birth control... :) 

I'll blog soon all about Houston meeting his big brother and our first week at home ☺️


eduk8r said...

Such a beautiful, heart warming story. Kelsey so proud of you and Lee, love all of you so much. Beautiful children. 💕

Janet Cooper said...

BEAUTIFUL story told by my beautiful girl. Love you. Love this new Cooper grandie.


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