Little Ms. Harper Rose decided to make her debut 8 days early.
Introducing Harper Rose
Born Thursday, July 24th 2014 at 4:39pm
7 pound 4.4 ounces, 20.5 inches long
It's been over a week and I still can't believe she is here. I am so in love with this little baby.
I've been asked how my labor went - here is run down of how Harper came into this world......
July 23, 2014 - I was pretty uncomfortable throughout the night and morning. I had worked the last two days in a row. I got up and went to the gym as I usually do on my days off. I ran a little over a mile and completed an hour of cardio. Later that afternoon, I had my weekly OB appointment. I was told my cervix had changed quite a bit from last week - I was now 3cm dilated, 70% effaced and my bag of water was bulging. I was told I could go into labor any time now - tonight or a week from now.
So what did I do? I left the office and went straight to get a manicure and pedicure, of course! After all, I couldn't go into labor without pretty nails! I ran a few errands after that and didn't get home until after 6pm. I was getting more and more uncomfortable as the night went on. I tried to play it off. I was only having tons of pressure and pelvic pain - no real pain in my stomach so this couldn't be labor. Throughout the night, I was up every hour peeing - and having intense pain every time I emptied my bladder.
July 24, 2014 - I got up when Phil got up for work around 6:30am. I told him I wasn't sure what I was feeling but to just go into work and I'd be in touch. Even though I was exhausted, I couldn't fall back asleep. Instead I got up, did laundry, baked brownies, showered, did my hair and makeup. I tried so hard to keep myself occupied. However, the pain and pressure was only increasing and becoming more frequent. I would grab the counter and cry as the pain increased and then went away. "Holy shit - am I in labor??" After speaking to a few friends and fellow labor and delivery nurses (and my doctor), I decided I needed to head to the hospital to get checked out. I got to triage around 10:30am, my Mom and Phil met me there (today also happened to be my Mom's birthday). The nurse checked me - I was now 4cm and my bag of water was still bulging. I was admitted to labor and delivery.
I got to the labor and delivery unit at 12:00pm. It was so nice to have friends and colleagues take care of me. I can't say enough about how well I was taken care of the entire time. Phil and my Mom were by my side, along with my friend Jennifer (who took on the roll of labor and delivery photographer). I decided to start with a walking epidural, meaning I could still get up and out of bed, but it wouldn't take away all of the pain. All of my discomfort was always in my pelvis (and by pelvis I mean vagina) and more pressure than anything else. Following the placement of the epidural the doctor came in to check me and break my water. I wanted to start with that before anything else. I was still 4cm but at about 1:20pm my water was broken. There was light meconium in the fluid, which meant Harper already had her first bowel movement. It was light so I wasn't too concerned. Plus her fetal tracing always looked great so I knew she was tolerating labor well so far.
I got back up after that and sat on the birthing ball for awhile. The pain didn't kick in right away. However, within an hour, the pressure and pain in my pelvis was unbearable. I decided to convert my walking epidural to a full epidural. Right after doing that, at around 3:00pm, I was checked again and I was now 6cm! My wonderful nurse had me lay side to side with a peanut ball between my legs. Let me tell you, this peanut ball is amazing! I use it daily with my patients at work and it truly does some magical stuff during labor.
Despite having my full epidural and changing positions frequently, the pain wasn't getting any better - and the pressure was only getting worse....much worse. At 3:35pm I was rechecked and now I was 9-10cm! I couldn't believe how fast things were going. I was given extra medicine in my epidural to help with the pain. I guess it helped somewhat, but I tell ya, the pressure is unlike anything I could have imagined.
I did my first practice push shortly after being checked. After two pushes, I felt very lightheaded. I believe it was a combination of the epidural bolus of medicine, me not breathing appropriately during pushing and then I vagaled down - and wouldn't ya know it, I passed out. As described by Phil, my eyes rolled back and I was out cold for about a minute. I woke up to ammonia in my face. Luckily Harper did well during my blackout. After resting for a bit I went back to pushing around 4:10pm.
The pushing phase is a bit of a blur to me. I remember the pain and pressure disappearing when I got to push. I remember feeling like I was doing it all wrong. At one point, I got a mirror to see her head as I pushed. It was so amazing. It didn't feel like I pushed very long before I heard my nurse call everyone for delivery because I was close to delivering. Once set up, and a few pushes later I was told "One more push and she'll be here". I didn't believe them when I heard that. Then all of the sudden I pushed and her head was out. I was coached how to push after that and before you knew it, Harper was here! Ten finger, ten toes, and two strong lungs screaming to make her presence known.
Because of the meconium stained fluid she was brought over to the warmer to get checked out by the NICU team. I was more than okay with this, as I'd rather be safe than sorry. It wasn't long before they brought her over to me and put her on my chest, skin to skin. It was the most amazing moment I've ever experienced in my entire life. I was able to nurse her for the first time shortly after birth. She did so well. The rest of our hospital stay was pretty uneventful.
I couldn't (and still can't) believe how fast things went. I'm a first time Mom. I know how long first time moms labor for and ultimately push for. As a nurse I've pushed with first time moms for more than four hours. I've seen women labor for hours if not days with their first child. I couldn't be more grateful or feel more blessed to have had such a fast and safe delivery. I truly attribute it to the fact that I was so active and still running up until the day before I delivered. I was also using evening primrose oil to help soften and efface the cervix. When I got to the hospital I was already 80% effaced, or thinned out. Such an accomplishment for any laboring women, especially a fist timer.
My labor and delivery experience has definitely given me a new appreciation for the women I take care of in labor, and for all women in general. What an amazing thing the female body can do - nourish and grown a tiny baby over 9 months and then have the strength to deliver that child. Nothing short of a miracle. I truly couldn't have gotten through it without the support of the nurses who took care of me and all the staff involved in helping bring Harper into the world safely. I am forever grateful for each and every one of you.
The last 8 days have flown by. Harper is such a sweet baby. She is still nursing like a champ and I am making milk like it's going out of business (hellooooo engorgement). Nursing her is one of my favorite things to do, the bonding time is indescribable. One of her favorite things to do is curl up on my chest and sleep - and there isn't a single thing in the entire world I'd rather do than this. She loves to be held, and I'm able to get chores done around the house with her curled up in the Baby K'Tan. Harper is a very happy baby and pretty mellow. She really only cries when she's hungry. As for me, I feel pretty good. I sure do miss my baby bump and being pregnant so much. (Already looking forward to being pregnant again.) I've been able to shower everyday since she was born - even flat iron my hair and put on makeup! I'm itching to get a workout in but I know it's best to fully recover before doing any of that. We've taken walks in the neighborhood, which Harper loves. I'm also already down 30 pounds as of today and I can see my ankles again! Goodbye swelling! Phil is very helpful throughout the day and night. He is a wonderful father and I couldn't ask for a better husband or daughter. God is so good. The struggle to get here was hard, but THIS is the baby that is supposed to in my arms today. Every set back and disappointment had it's purpose.
Harper was more than worth the wait.
Harper was more than worth the wait.