Stephens Family

Stephens Family

Friday, June 28, 2013

Ellie's Birth Story


After going back and forth several times, my OB, Mike and I felt that bringing baby Ellie into the world via induction was the best course of action to take considering:

1. How far dilated I was: 3-4cm and 80% effaced along with the fact that I was heavily colonized with GBS (a bacteria found in 30-50% of adults -- harmless to the adult but can be fatal to infants who contract it during delivery).  Usually being GBS positive is no big deal -- you just get penicillin during labor and you're worry free.  Well, some people, including me, don't fight off GBS as well as the normal adult and it becomes "heavily" colonized which increases the chances of the baby becoming infected during delivery.  I tried to not let this worry me and trust that I would receive the penicillin once I went into labor and all would be well.  BUT, after I had my "bloody show" I knew I was dilating more and more and began to worry that the bacteria could travel into my uterus before labor began (I had read testimonials of this when I first researched heavily colonized GBS).  So I met with my doctor on 6.19 and she told Mike and I that although rare she couldn't promise me this wouldn't happen.  So, we all decided that we would induce the following day!  

I felt nervous thinking about my induction experience with Eli.  I felt guilty for evicting Ellie before she decided to come on her own.  Yet, I felt empowered knowing I was making this decision not because I was uncomfortable and ready to be done with pregnancy (trust me I was!) but because I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if something were to happen to her in my womb when I could have prevented it. Most of all, I felt so excited knowing that I would meet my daughter probably within the next 24-36 hours!!!

That night I took Eli to Baskin Robins and we had our last date before Ellie.  We let him stay up until 9:30 and I sang him to sleep with tears.  Once Eli was in bed, Mike and I made our final preparations for the hospital and went to bed ourselves.  It was at least 11:30 before I fell asleep and I woke up at 3:30 -- of course, Mike was snoring all night long!  I was too excited to go back to sleep and got into the shower around 4:30. My mom arrived at 5:30 and we headed to the hospital!

Ellie's Birth Story

Mike and I didn't talk much on our way to the hospital.  I commented on how light it was outside and we talked a little bit about how we hoped for a good nurse.  I think we were both a little nervous!  You never know what could happen with an induction and all we had to compare it to was Eli's which was fairly traumatic for both of us.  When we arrived at the hospital it was already a little hot and humid but the sunrise and sky were so beautiful.  This really put me in the right place -- thinking that God was already blessing the day with His beauty!

We checked into the maternity ward  at 6 am and were shown to our room.  We unpacked and a nurse came in to ask questions and get set up for the induction.  We knew she was not our nurse because shift change was at 7 -- which was when we met our nurse, Tammy.  She was very nice and outgoing and upbeat!  Exactly what we had hoped for!  At 7:06 she hooked me up to the pitocin drip.  She started me on a very low dose as to mimic natural labor as much as possible.  At 8:00 I still couldn't feel any contractions.  Around 8, my OB, Dr. Finkle, came to check in with me and break my water; stating that it would help quicken the labor and I could have Ellie by lunch time!  This was incredibly uncomfortable and, after several tries, she could not get the membranes to break!  All that pain for nothing!  The plan was for Dr. Finkle to come back during her lunch break and try again.

I requested a birthing ball because I couldn't get up and walk around due to the fact that I was on pitocin and they needed to constantly monitor baby's heartbeat.  I also knew that I would be bedridden once I got my epidural.  And, trust me, I was going to get an epidural NO MATTER WHAT!  For the next hour or so the contractions were so mild that I was able to comfortably watch the Golden Girls (btw, I LOVE the fact that I can include the Golden Girls in my daughter's birth story!!!) while Mike played around on his computer.  At 10:00 my contractions start to get mildly painful -- like a 3-4 on a  scale of 10.  So, we called in Tammy and she contacted the Anesthesiologist to come in for a quick consult -- his name was Constantine, he was VERY informative.  We shared our concerns about the epidural and our previous experience with wrong placement and ineffective pain management.  He advised that because my water hadn't broken to wait and see how my cervix would progress with the pitocin.  So he left and I continued to bounce on the ball while the contractions continued to get worse and worse.  I got up to go the the bathroom and noticed I was leaking mucus and fluid -- I was pretty sure my water had broken (it later was confirmed that it had).  Once I had to moan through my contractions we knew it was time to get him back in -- I'd compare these contractions to a pain very similar to my hydronephrosis pain from 6 weeks ago (except for that pain was constant).  It was about 11:00 when Constantine arrived and he went straight to work.  He talked us through the each step of the process.  First he sterilized my back and then I had to stay very still while he inserted the catheter in my back.  This was hard when I was contracting but Mike and my nurse helped me breath through them.  Once the catheter was placed he did a trial dose  of the meds and all was well -- no metallic taste in my mouth or ringing in my ears like last time!  He then hooked up the "real" goodness.  He said I would feel between 5-6 more contractions and he was right and they were painful like contractions should be!  But then, the glorious medicine started to melt my pain away and I was incredibly thankful; it was heavenly.  The pain was gone but I could still feel and move my legs; it was a perfect epidural!  Constantine stayed in the room for a few more minutes to make sure everything was working well and we thanked him tremendously before he left.

At noon Tammy checked my cervix and called me a 5-6.  I was excited!  The pitocin was doing its job!  Shortly after Dr. Finkle came to check my progress and she called me a 5.  My excitement diminished a little because -- according to her estimate -- I had only progressed 1-2 cm in 5 hours.  I was thinking this could be a looooooooooong induction!  However, she felt that things were going really well and that I would have Ellie by 3pm!  How exciting!  This was also the time that I started to shake, itch and feel nauseated.  I remembered this exact feeling with Eli's birth.  Tammy got me a -- for lack of better words -- "barf bag" just in case I were to throw up.  Once these subsided (the itching really never did, only got worse) Mike and I were able to talk, watch a movie and relax!

I started to feel some pressure during contractions around 1:30ish.  I called Tammy and she check my cervix; she said I was a NINE!  Holy moly it was almost go time!  I started to get really nervous and we all talked strategy.  Tammy knew that I had pushed for nearly 3 hours with Eli -- which was somewhat traumatic for me.  Recovery was terrible.  She knew I wanted to avoid this at all costs.  She did not think I would push for that long by any means but was okay with waiting as long as possible to push.  She said she would be back in 10 minutes to check me again!

The nerves really hit me and Mike could tell.  We prayed and I called my mom to tell her to head to the hospital.  I was hoping she would get there in time to witness the birth.  The pressure from the contractions was so intense.  Tammy came back and I was at 10! I was still reluctant to start pushing and asked if we could wait -- she had me do a couple of practice pushes and said I was moving baby really well.  We talked it out and she said she would let me wait 10 more minutes to start pushing (she thought that if I had started pushing right then and there it would take about 30 minutes).  I took the 10 minutes and squeezed Mike's hand HARD when I was contracting.  At this point it was hard not to push.

We knew we were now in the "there is no turning back and this baby is coming out SOON" zone so Mike turned off the TV and turned on the Spotify channel Casting Crowns.  Tammy came back and told me baby was one inch away from the opening of my vagina.  We decided to push and I got naked.  That is how I pushed with Eli and I was feeling hot anyways.  We pushed through two contractions -- a total of 6 pushes -- and she said,  "Okay next push and baby is coming so I am going to page Dr. Finkle and the other delivery specialist to assist."  I knew Dr. Finkle was at least 5 minutes away and I knew it was going to be killer not to push.  I must have had 3 contractions before she arrived and one while she was in the room getting prepped for delivery.  It took all I had not to push.

The next contraction Dr. Finkle was ready to assist with and I pushed three times.  Still no baby.  I thought Tammy said next push?!?!  The next contraction it got real.  Yep, ring of fire all over again.  When her head was crowning I felt more than pressure, I felt the worst type of pain a woman ever feels -- ya know, the one where your lady parts are being ripped open?  Even though I knew it was almost over I felt like I could stop pushing and just wanted her to come out already!!!  Dr. Finkle had to stop me and tell me to re-group.  I could hear Mike's voice start to change from encouragement to excitement -- I knew he could see her head. Finally, I heard that joyous "One more push" and I pushed with all my might!  I felt her come out and right away the Dr. Finkle let me pull Ellie up to my chest.  Pure. Relief. Pure. Joy.

The love I felt for my daughter while she lay on my chest  was so overwhelming -- I've never felt so complete in my life.  I noticed that when she was born the song Love Song by Third Day was playing.  Seriously, there couldn't have been a better song to be heard as we welcomed Ellie into the world.


I've heard it said that a man would climb a mountain
Just to be with the one he loves.
How many times has he broken that promise
It has never been done.
I've never climbed the highest mountain,
But I walked the hill of Calvary.

Just to be with you, I will do anything
There's no price I would not pay no
Just to be with you, I would give everything
I would give my life away.

I've heard it said that a man would swim the ocean
Just to be with the one he loves
All of those dreams are an empty motion.
It can never be done.
I've never swam the deepest ocean,
But I walked upon the raging sea.

Just to be with you, I will do anything
There's no price I would not pay no
Just to be with you, I would give everything
I would give my life away.

I know that you don't understand
the fullness of My love.
How I died upon the cross for your sins.
And I know that you don't realize
how much that I give you
But I promise, I would do it all again.

Just to be with you, I've done everything
There's no price I did not pay no
Just to be with you, I gave everything
Yes, I gave my life away.
Just to be with you.

The precious moments after birth will forever be embedded in my mind.  Holding my gorgeous daughter covered in the milky white vernix.  Listening to her softly, sweetly cry.  Seeing my husband with the look of pure joy on his face.  Watching her get weighed and measured.  Putting her to my breast and her latching on so perfectly sucking away at the colostrum my body had prepared for her.  It was miraculous.  She is my miracle.  She is my daughter.  

My mom arrived 4 minutes after she was born.  She was sad to have missed the birth but thrilled that both Ellie and I were healthy!  I loved seeing the look of delight on my mom's face as she met her 2nd granddaughter for the 1st time.  In our family there is a precious bond between grandmother's and granddaughters and I know that Ellie and my mom and Mike's mom will share this too!

Meanwhile, on the postpartum end of things Dr. Finkle was sewing me up and stated that I had a second degree tear.  I thought, okay, I can handle that... I think.  Well, turns out I could handle it and did very well.  This birth was a completely different experience than my last.  I only pushed for maybe a total of 5 minutes!  What a difference!!  Because the time spent pushing was so short, I had barely any swelling.  The doctors and especially nurses at St. Luke's East took wonderful care of us during our hospital stay.  Mike and I were able to get lots of rest while tending to Ellie.  We didn't have any visitors except for immediate family and I wouldn't have it any other way.  Rest is so important for new parents!!  We went home exactly 48 hours after she was born.  That was a week ago and things couldn't be going any smoother than they are!  We are so in love with our little girl!!!

After what seemed to be the longest pregnancy, starting with total exhaustion in the first trimester to finding out about the tennis ball sized SCH (blood clot) at 14 weeks which increased the chances of late term miscarriage by up to 30% to a painful bout of hydronephrosis in the third trimester, we received the most amazing prize:

Ellie Angell Stephens was born on 6.20.13 
at 2:41pm 
weighing 8lbs 1oz 
and measuring 20 1/4 inches long.  

She is perfect.  May ALL the honor, praise, and glory be given to Our Lord Jesus Christ!!!

Here is a link to the video slide show Mike made of the day she was born.  It is amazing!!!

Thanks again for all of your prayers and thoughts during these last nine months.  I can assure you that they didn't go unnoticed and that we are forever thankful for them.  Ellie was worth it all!!!



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