I wanted to take the time to write Cora Beth’s birth story. I know as time passes the details will start to slip from my mind (especially since I was foggy from magnesium). My sweet girl entered into the world in a way I really couldn’t have imaged that she would and to be honest most of the prayers I prayed for her birth went unanswered. However, at the end of the day I had a healthy baby girl and for that I’m so grateful!
On November 21, 2016 I had a midwife appointment at 1:40 in the afternoon, I was 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant. My mom took off work to go with me and we ate brunch and went to do a little shopping beforehand. I had been so swollen for the last couple of weeks, it started in just my ankles and feet but was spreading to my calves and it was miserable! I had had a weird feeling that something was off and was worried about my swelling being so severe that it could be preeclampsia but I kept pushing it out of my mind thinking I was overreacting. Sure enough, when the nurse took my blood pressure at my appointment it was high which led to the urine test for protein which came back positive. It was a bit of shock when the midwife told me they were sending me to Vanderbilt to have more testing done at triage and that I needed to expect the possibility of having her since I was past 37 weeks. I honestly thought they would run a few tests and send me home on bed rest. They monitored my blood pressure, took another urine sample and drew blood. The blood test is what would determine if I actually had preeclampsia or not. However, while we were waiting on the results my midwife went ahead and made the call that I wasn’t leaving the hospital without having a baby because my blood pressure kept reading around the 150/160’s. I was floored! Thankfully I had already left my job and had been at home for the past 3 weeks preparing for her arrival, including already having her car seat installed and our bags mostly packed! It turns out it was the right call to make, the protein level in my blood had to be .3 to be considered preeclampsia and mine was 6.3! The midwife then went to talk to the team of OBs on call to see how long we could safely delay my induction to give Garrett as much time as possible to get home.
I got moved out of triage and into a room and as it turned out I had been contracting and not even feeling it. The contractions were actually too frequent for them to give me Pitocin. Because of my blood pressure they started me on magnesium which would also help to slow down the contractions. I hope I never have to be on magnesium again. It makes you feel drugged and sleepy which was great for before her arrival not so great for after. Being on magnesium requires a catheter which was not fun to get and honestly bothered me more than anything else. At 8:00pm the midwife came in and put a pill on my cervix to help it soften and open, I was already at 2 centimeters and 80% effaced but we needed it to be further along before starting Pitocin. After 4 hours they would recheck. At 11:30pm anesthesiology came in for my epidural. I originally wanted to try without one but because of my preeclampsia my midwife strongly encouraged it. Your blood pressure rises when you’re in pain and seeing as we were trying to keep mine down it just made sense for me to get one. After the epidural came the recheck for my cervix this time I was at 3.5 centimeters and 95% effaced, we went ahead with another pill. The next 4 hours were uneventful my mom and I just tried to get some sleep. However, I was hooked up with an IV, blood pressure cuff, pulse reader, catheter, epidural, 2 fetal monitors, and an oxygen mask so getting comfortable was a bit of a challenge. At 4:00am the midwife started Pitocin, I was told by more than one midwife and nurse that it would probably be at least 24 hours before she would be born especially since the magnesium and Pitocin work against each other. Meanwhile Garrett was trying to get on the first flight he possibly could to get home, we were hoping for him to get on the 9:00am flight but he ended up having to take the 2:00pm. My checks were to continue every 4 hours but once my contractions picked up I felt a gush of water (which I assumed was my water breaking but no one ever actually confirmed with me). My epidural wasn’t taking as well on my left side so the nurses had me lay on that side even though I protested that I was more comfortable on my right! But Cora Beth’s heart rate was also dropping and laying on my left side helped to bring it back up.
All of sudden around 7:00am I felt like I was peeing (but knew that I wasn’t because of the catheter) and I had a strong urge as if I needed to push for a bowel movement. Like strong urge! The nurses told me it was just pressure from the baby’s head as she was moving down. They put a towel between my legs to help with the urinating sensation. The urge continued on and I asked them to get the midwife to recheck me. Somehow I was able to drift in and out of sleep while we waited on the midwife. Up to this point my mom was the only one who stayed at the hospital considering we were told it would be Tuesday night before she would come. A little before 9:00am my best friend came in and a couple minutes later the midwife finally came in for a check. When they pulled back my blankets my bloody show was on the towel that was tucked between my legs and when she went to check she immediately felt Cora Beth’s head! And just like that it was time to push! We quickly got Garrett on FaceTime (thank goodness he didn’t get on the 9:00am flight!) and Alli held the phone for him to see. It was so sweet how he cheered me on over the phone! After a push or two we could see the top of her head! The nurses asked if I wanted the mirror and I surprised myself by saying yes! After pushing for a bit my midwife needed her to come out soon and ended up making just a small cut (not a full episiotomy, thank goodness) and as soon as the cut was made Cora Beth was born on the next push at 9:36am after 36 minutes of pushing! My epidural was just strong enough to take away the pain but I still felt her enter the world! She weighed 6lbs 4oz and was 18.5 inches long. They immediately put her on my belly and started rubbing her to get her to cry. When she did it was obviously she had some fluid in her lungs so they tried to suction some of it out while she was on me. My mom got to cut the cord since Garrett wasn’t there. Because of my preeclampsia and the magnesium I was on I started hemorrhaging and was losing a lot of blood. It felt like buckets being poured out. They asked to take Cora Beth to continue to try and clean out her lungs and to get my bleeding to stop. Before I knew it there was an OB in the room assisting my midwife, I was getting another IV put in, someone was putting a shot in my leg and anesthesiology was back in the room. They finally got my bleeding under control and my mom went with them to take Cora Beth to the nursery where they could properly get the rest of the fluid out.
Around 11:00am she came back from the nursery and we were able to continue skin to skin. Her birth happened so fast and was quite eventful! But I was (and still am) completely smitten with my daughter. I’ve always wanted to be a mom and everything just felt right after she was born, everything just fell into place. I so wish that Garrett had been there in person for her birth (he got to meet her around midnight) and that there wouldn’t have been so much medical intervention but she was here and we were both healthy. The Lord gave me a peace throughout the whole process, I never once was worried that either of us would not be okay. My plan looked a lot different than His but He was faithful, He’s always faithful.
All photos are by Monroe Imagery. We originally had planned for our photographer to be there for the birth but because she came so quickly after they started the Pitocin she didn’t make it in time. So, she came that night to document Garrett meeting Cora Beth for the first time!
Until next time,