It has taken me a few days to write this birth story because the whole day seemed to be a contradiction of turns and twists. I'm not sure many of them make sense to me, so making them sensible to you may be another story for sure.
For my last 3-4 pregnancies, delivery has mostly brought an end to an extremely stressful period. Between pregnancy losses, house fires, job loss, moving, and several family deaths, getting to the end of pregnancy with my health and sanity in tact was an insurmountable task. I remember telling Tim after each that I really hoped God had plans for at least one more baby for us, because I couldn't imagine remembering those experiences as my *last* one.
This pregnancy was different from the beginning. I was healthier than I had ever been going into pregnancy, both mentally and physically. Throughout pregnancy, I had no preterm labor or other health scares for me or baby. In our day to day life, there were no major upheavals. In some ways, I even wondered if I couldn't put aside the end of pregnancy precautions that we have taken since Kenna died and just wait to see what unfolded on its own accord.
As we began to approach the end of pregnancy, however, we did decide to carry on with a more medically centered birth. For those who have been reading for a long time know, in addition to Kenna's stillbirth, Logan was quite nearly stillborn after his own cord was literally squeezing the life from him. If not for the monitoring I received then, we may not have known he was in trouble until it was too late. As it was, his bruises faded and he is now quite the boisterous little man!!
Following Kenna's death, both Logan and Kylee were delivered right around 36 weeks. Kylee spontaneously and Logan induced because of his test results. I also had significant pre term labor with Logan, and even though I hadn't had anything of the sort with Lucie, I still approached 36 weeks at close to 3 cm dilated. My doctor felt that 37 weeks was the best time to deliver (if I hadn't already) because he felt the risk of repeat stillbirth outweighed the potential risks of prematurity.
After some forceful discussion about NFP, calendars, and dates my induction was scheduled for August 23rd. By my charts, I was 37 weeks to the day but by traditional due date calculations I was 36w3d. My OB was dramatically opposed to adjusting my due date, even though my early u/s agreed with my charts, but eventually he agreed. A gift from my Kenna to be sure, since I think the main reason he agreed is that she died on Saturday, August 25th exactly 5 years ago and he saw the wisdom in terms of my own mental health in not waiting until that date had already passed. For my own curiosity, I did inquire of the pediatricians later and they completely concurred that despite her small size Lucie clearly met the criteria of a term baby.
Things started out well on the 23rd. As my cervix was favorable and I was more pregnant than I had been in almost 7 years, it only took a small amount of encouragement to get things moving. Things were progressing normally for me, but even early in labor Lucie started have decels with contractions. They started out as only early decels and only one every few contractions, but eventually became large dramatic variable decels with every single contraction. We did a lot of position changes and other things to hopefully take pressure off of her cord (the assumption being the cord was being squeezed during contractions), but eventually things were so severe that they actually forcefully stopped my labor to see if she could recover. At this point, they actually brought Tim scrubs so that he could join us even in the event of a quick cesarean.
The time leading up to this was definitely the low point of labor for me. As we started to see the possibility of another c section I asked for an epidural. Not having had one when I needed a c section with Kylee was one of the factors that led to Tim not being able to join us in the OR, there simply wasn't time. Unfortunately the resident who placed the epidural initially really messed up something and it provided no relief and then I had to go through the whole thing again, all while in tears because I was so out of it between labor, Lucie, and everything else. The second resident gratefully did an excellent job, which is good since eventually it did need to be used for my surgery.
I really thought they were going to go ahead and do the surgery that night (around 8:00 PM), but as my contractions stopped so did her scary heart rate dips. After a couple hours break, they decided to give things a try again. Almost immediately the dips began again, but I think there was some hope that since I was getting close if we could just get to delivery everything would be ok. Unfortunately I think my body was so confused about what it was supposed to do at this point it just stopped doing much of anything and around 4:00 they decided it was time.
I can honestly say that at this point, I think the primary emotion for both Tim and I was relief. We had been listening to Lucie's heart rate drop (at times lower than mine) for almost 24 hours and it was taking its toll on both of us to be sure. I wasn't nearly as nervous as I had been with Kylee, who's c section was so sudden and happened faster than I could process what was going on. This time I was mentally prepared and since I already had an IV and epidural, physically preparing me happened fairly easily.
Surgery was quick and Lucia Marie Adelaide was born at 4:36 AM weighing 5 lbs 9 ounces and 19 inches. I know that Tim and I were both shocked at how skinny she was because we had presumed she would at least be 6 pounds, and probably closer to 6.5, as she did have almost 2 extra weeks of growing over the last two! I even thought there might be an outside chance she would hit 7. (This is where Tim would interrupt to tell you that every time I think that I am going to have a bigger... or at least average sized...baby and every time he laughs and says maybe and then we have another tiny one.) Size not withstanding, she had better Apgars (8 & 9) and transitioned more easily than Kylee and Logan did. She has also been much more alert than they were, as they both slept solid until a week or two after their due date.
Her cord was loosely around her neck, but what they think is more likely to have been causing her trouble is that it was tightly wrapped around her stomach. We knew she was very active and continuing to change positions frequently even as recently as a week or two ago. She would spend a day or two head down, then a day or two breech, and then another day or two transverse at some odd angle. She was even a bit of the running joke in the NST clinic because they never knew where to find her and once she made things even harder by turning while they were monitoring. I had even asked if there was a way to determine the location of her cord better on ultrasound, but everyone seemed to think there was no reason to look because it would have been hit or miss to see anything.
When I went to recovery, Tim went with Lucie to the well baby nursery so the pediatrician could double check everything was fine. She passed every test they threw at her with flying colors and Tim said it wasn't long before the pediatricians left her alone altogether. She was a little cool and my rockstar husband actually made the nurse go get permission from her supervisor to bring her to me even though her temp was .3 lower than their guideline for going into a warmer. He told them she was going to get warm a whole lot faster nursing and snuggling with me than all by herself in a bright room under a warmer surrounded by crying babies. I'm glad he stuck to his guns, because within an hour of her birth we were nursing in recovery and she didn't have any trouble with temperature again.
From the start she has been a good nurser and now that my milk is in, she has been really content in general. We stayed in the hospital for only 2 days, because I just really wanted to be home. While I enjoy having someone else deliver my meals and clean up after things, I prefer to be with my family. Tim and my mom were taking turns hanging out with me and watching the other kids, but there were still long periods of being alone in the hospital. For the first day it was nice, but after that the quiet stated to drive me a little crazy!
Everything is going well as we all adjust to our newest little member. The kids have a rotation set up to watch for open eyes and then they all run to report to one another so everyone can see. Logan has been really fun with his exclamations of "Hers so cute" and "Mine hold now". They are all just as in love as I am to be sure!
Now for the pictures I am sure that everyone has actually been waiting for :)