Tanner's Birth Story
I decided to write this all out before the details faded from my memory. For those that care to read, (personally, I love hearing others' birth stories!), here is the story of how Tanner came earthside:
Todd and I left the house before sunrise for a scheduled induction at StoneSprings Hospital on October 29, 2019. It was weird yet exciting having everything planned out and knowing we’d meet our baby that day. The midwives scheduled an induction because my blood work early in the pregnancy showed low PAPP-A levels and it was recommended not to go past my due date as the placenta could deteriorate prematurely.
We got to the hospital at 7:30am. We were taken to our room for labor & delivery and I changed into a gown while Todd tried to get comfy on the not so comfy couch next to the hospital bed. It was a big room with a giant tub and battery operated candles. There were 2 nurses. One was clearly training because the other one was showing her what to do. The nurse in training attempted to put my IV in (or draw blood or something, I was afraid to look) and my poor arm is still bruised 2 weeks later. After multiple failed jabs at my arm, the other nurse took over and it went in smoothly. Sigh of relief from me, but not the greatest start.
I was 4cm dilated and 80% effaced when we got there. The midwife on call was Margie Brandquist and she was absolutely wonderful. I saw her for appointments since I was pregnant with Justin and was thrilled she would be delivering Tanner (Juli delivered Justin and was WONDERFUL, but she moved). Margie was happy to see that I was already making progress and contracting some. She said I just needed a little boost and hopefully we’d have a baby by dinnertime. At 8:30am the nurse started Pitocin and we waited. And waited. And waited. I made the announcement letterboard, and the nurses joked with us because I put a number 7 for the weight. Then everyone made their weight guess. I guessed 7lbs 13oz (the same as Justin) and Margie was the highest guess at 8lbs.
Hours passed and they bumped the Pitocin every 30 minutes. I could feel the contractions getting stronger but they weren’t terrible. I knew I wanted an epidural but was very unsure of when to ask for it. My previous labor stalled after I got it so I wanted to hold off to avoid that. I also had a TERRIBLE experience with the epidural the first time and told the nurses what happened. I’ll share here too since it is relevant:
2017: I was curled up for the epidural, Juli (my midwife) holding one hand and Todd holding the other, and the anesthesiologist said, “this is the worst part, it feels like a bee sting.” I braced myself and literally felt nothing. He must have timed it with a contraction. “The worst part is over. You’ll just feel some pressure.” Well, by then I had let my guard down and the shock of the intense pressure caused me to arch my back and the needle fell out. He had to do it again. Then, after delivering Justin, I had a severe headache. The nurse asked me to lie back and see if it went away. I reclined the hospital bed and it didn’t so they ruled out the epidural headache. It wasn’t until we got home and I laid completely flat in my bed that the headache suddenly went away and I realized it was from leaking spinal fluid so we went to the ER. I had to get a blood patch and a THIRD epidural needle to seal the leak. My headache stopped almost immediately but my back was sore for months from the needles.
SO, that being said, I wanted the epidural but I was dreading it. When contractions were coming on pretty strong Margie checked me again. 5cm 90% effaced. I went ahead and asked for the epidural. At that point, I was so nervous about getting it that I just wanted to get it over with. While we were waiting for the anesthesiologist, my blood pressure started rising. I also had a headache that was progressively getting worse. The nurses kept checking my blood pressure and it kept going up while my headache worsened. They took blood and urine samples to test for pregnancy induced hypertension. Then I started crying. The bright lights, the loud beeping from the machines, all the stuff I was hooked up to…I realized I was having an anxiety attack anticipating this dang epidural. The anesthesiologist got there when I was wiping my eyes with a tissue and the nurse kindly told him my fears. He was incredibly sweet and calmly talked me through everything. Though he used the same “the worst part is over” line but this time I knew better. I cried during the pressure. I hated every second of it. But then it was over and I was able to take a big sigh of relief as not only my anxiety went away but the pain lessened too. I honestly don’t even remember contractions during that part because was so worked up about the epidural.
Then we waited again. This anesthesiologist did a great job. I could move around the hospital bed the entire time. I felt good. I was able to be calm. My blood pressure lowered. My headache went away. Margie checked me a little later and my water had broken and I didn’t even realize it. Then things got fun. I started to feel the pressure of the contractions coming on strong and frequently. I told Margie, “uhm, his head is in my butt.” She checked and said, “ok then! Give me 5 minutes, let me get my water bowl and washcloth.” To which my husband said, “what is that for?” And Margie and I both responded, “Warm compress!”
She came back in with 4 nurses. They were all quickly moving around the room and I was wincing from the intense pressure. Margie saw and said, “Let’s go! She’s making the ‘I’m gonna have a baby’ face!” They all gathered around. She checked and said his head was right there. Push time. She trusted me when to push and I was able to feel when. I pushed with contractions, maybe eight times, and this guy came out easily at 3:18pm. I was surrounded by nurses, my midwife Margie, and Todd all cheering me on. I am not sure if it was because he was a second baby, all the core work I did or the red raspberry leaf tea I drank (maybe all 3) but it was so smooth! He did come out with his hand next to his head but that only did minor damage.
They placed him on my chest and he was gray and not moving or crying. Todd and I both paused, nervous. My heart sunk. Margie picked him up and rubbed him down and he let out the sweetest cry I ever heard! After doing some skin to skin they took his measurements. Eight pounds eleven ounces! My jaw dropped. “WHAAT???” Everyone in the room was shocked.
It felt SO good to have that baby out. I could breathe again. No wonder, he was huge for me! I could feel my organs saying, “thank you!” as they made their way back to their rightful positions. I felt SO good afterward, I did a little dance in the hall on the way to the postpartum room because I was pretty darn proud of myself for getting that baby out. I ran into Margie in the hall too. We high fived and hugged. I think midwives/doctors who deliver your babies always hold a special place in your heart.
This birth experience was wonderful (aside from the epidural freak out). Tanner is such a good baby too. I am thoroughly enjoying these postpartum days and soaking in all the newborn snuggles!