Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Isla's Birth Story From Dad

 The First Chapter in Isla Rae’s Life…


Cassie worked the week before Isla was born. Here she is after work on the Friday before Isla was born…ready for a wild weekend. Little did we know it would be one of the wildest weekends we have ever experienced…
She felt pretty good all week and even that Friday before labor. We were both extremely anxious, but had several false alarms that week and the week before so we were cautiously optimistic. The Braxton Hicks contractions would hit her like clockwork every day around 3pm. They caused quiet the stir in the office because everyone would always think “it’s time!”   
At this point, it was nearly a week past the due date and they had already scheduled the induction for June 7th at 7:15am. As you can imagine, this distressed us as our primary birth plan was to have Isla naturally, with no pain medicines or epidural.

On Saturday, the day labor began; we got up earlier than normal…around 7am. We had breakfast and coffee and decided to run errands to Target, Home Depot and TJ Maxx (We didn’t have time for Bed, Bath & Beyond).
It was like we were both suddenly motivated to get things done. We dug up dead plants (still lacking the green thumb) and returned them to Home Depot, planted hydrangea bulbs we had purchased from Lowe’s (which is ironic because Cassie’s mother also planted flowers the day she was born) and bought new plants from Home Depot… thinking we would be able to plant them that afternoon (little did we know).

We decided today would be the day we would try everything to induce labor naturally. Cassie drank red raspberry tea that morning, after running errands we ate a spicy (free) lunch at Quaker Steal & Lube. We came home and met Bobby’s family and took a 2 mile walk on the green way by our house. After that she was exhausted…but still feeling like nothing was happening, soooo….she bit the bullet, and drank two tablespoons of castor oil. We even tried other unconventional labor starters… well, I guess with everything combined it worked because labor started around 7pm Saturday, June 2nd.

Hours 1 - 7: We started out at home and labored from 7pm to 2am in the morning. We spent the first few hours trying to keep our minds occupied and not think about the contractions. Cassie immediately went into nesting mode and started sweeping the floors downstairs.  After that we decided to go for a walk up and down our street. Cassie soon realized she'd like to get her last meal in as we knew she likely wouldn't be allowed to eat once she progressed further into labor. She went with her goto... a large thin crust pizza hut pizza - cut into squares, never slices. She savored them as if she knew she wouldn't for another day.

Hours 8 - 21: Cassie's contractions were coming in stronger at 2-3 minutes apart and lasting from 60-90 seconds in length. We referred to our birthing book and were excited when we read that early labor contractions of less than 5 minutes apart lasting at least a minute generally meant the labor would be quick and normally around 8-12 hours. That information combined with Cassie's more intense contractions led to our decision that it was time to go to the hospital.

We loved  the idea that Isla could be coming in the next few hours, but didn't want to see her come while we were still at the house. We arrived at the hospital and were excited to get checked in and get this baby out. The staff was very courteous up front, requiring no paper work or any other prerequisites to getting Cassie checked in. At this point it was around 3am Sunday morning. We were thinking "6-3-12, that's an easy birthday to remember. Each number is divisible by 3." Little did we know what was in store for us - well, for Cassie that is.  We should've known things were going the entire experience was going to go against our plans once we found out who was on call that night; it was the one midwife that Cassie was not a fan of. She was generally cold and removed from emotion during prior checkups. When she entered the room, she quickly acknowledged us and told us that it was time for an internal exam to confirm that Cassie was dilated and indeed in labor. I guess having contractions for 7+ hours straight every few minutes wasn't good enough. After a little push back, Cassie and I agreed to move forward with the exam. With all signs pointing to a quick labor, we expected the doctor to pop up and tell us we're at 6+ centimeters with only a few hours to go. Oh how we were wrong. Instead it was a devastatigly long and painful exam in which she wasn't able to reach Cassie's cervix and therefore concluded that she must not be dilated at all. Thud! Our hearts hit the floor. Talk about your emotional roller coaster. We were so excited and ready to roll. Then this woman tells us we're not even close. Unfriendly midwife - 1, Cassie & Joel's Spirits - 0.

We soon learned baby Isla was posterior after the second nurse felt pitty on us and asked if she could try again. She pulled Cassie's cervix towards the front and determined that she was 3-4 centimeters dilated, we were admitted to the hospital and began laboring in the same room we gave birth to baby Isla in. We tried everything...birthing ball, whirlpool tub, walking the halls, pacing the floor in our room and even slow dancing. Every 4 hours or so, the midwife (a new one now) would check to see how Cassie was dilating...but each time to our disappointment we received the same answer, 3-4cm. They broke her water on Sunday morning to try to speed things along around 11am. It sped up the contractions, but not the dilation.

Hours 22 - 31: After 21 hours of laboring naturally and not progressing, the midwife and delivery nurse felt it was time to use an epidural and the highest dosage of pitocin to get things going, otherwise we were headed for a c-section since her water had been broken that morning and we could not labor more than 18 hours after that due to the high risks involved. At this point, it was late Sunday night and Cassie needed to progress quickly. We had them check one more time to see if there had been any progression, but we were still holding strong at only 4cm....maybe 5cm with some stretching. Cassie began to progress after she received the epidural and an abnormally high dose of pitocin. Cassie had some scar tissue from previous surgeries holding her dilation back. Once the midwife was able to break through that she dilated about 1cm every 2-4 hours. Luckily, baby Isla responded well to the pitocin so things were looking up. At this point, we had both been up since 7am on Saturday. Since Cassie was more comfortable and things were moving along better, I tried to get some sleep. Cassie tried too, but she had too much adrenaline for her to sleep.

Hours 32 - 36: We learned she was 10cm dilated! I think both Cassie and the delivery nurse CeCe cried with joy. It was time to push. We were thinking things would go quicker now and we would be able to meet Isla within an hour, two at the most. We were wrong again. The midwife decided it was best to dial the epidural back at this point so Cassie could make her body work with the contractions....well our original plan was to go all natural so we agreed. Cassie said she felt everything.... for four hours she pushed with only 30 seconds to a minute breaks in between pushes. She was amazing. I know I could have never had the strength she did to go that long without medication through contractions and then continue to push 4 hours with no epidural.

Hour 36: With tears of joy we met our Isla Rae Bradbury at 6:50am on Monday, June 4th 2012 and became the proudest parents you could ever imagine. I cut the cord and watched them place our sweet baby on her exhausted, but overjoyed mother. Isla weighted 8lbs and 3ozs and was 20 inches long. Our little miracle was wonderfully created by God and we are so thankful for this blessing.

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