The Vanderhorst Family

The Vanderhorst Family

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hailey's Birth Story

Going into this pregnancy, I was really determined to go naturally, and was really hoping that I could avoid pitocin at all costs. Those of you who've been on pitocin can understand why--the contractions are always super close together (even during early labor), so you don't really get a chance to recover in between contractions when they get more intense. 
However, I wasn't anticipating all the complications that came along with this pregnancy. The many labor scares that we had started to take an emotional toll on me, especially because Grant was always at work when they happened, so I usually had to go to the hospital by myself. That, along with the side effects of the progesterone shots made me very anxious to be done with this pregnancy. 
At first, my plan was to wait 10 days past my due-date to be induced, just to see if things would start naturally. Around 37 weeks though, I hadn't felt Hailey move around for a few hours, so I went to the hospital to see what was going on. She was fine, but after doing an ultrasound, the doctors saw that the chord was wrapped around her neck. She was already head-down, but the doctors thought they knew which direction to turn her to get the cord unwrapped (especially since it was only wrapped once). They determined that they would try to turn her around 360 degrees and see if they could unwrap it. If not, we needed to start thinking about the possibility of doing a C-section, especially since she hadn't moved for a while. They really didn't want to do this, especially since I was 37 weeks and they were wanting me to go to 39 weeks if at all possible. After having 2 grown-men resident doctors pushing with all of their force on my stomach, and with the guidance of my OBGYN looking at the ultrasound while they were pushing her around, they were able to get the cord unwrapped. While relieved, that was also the straw that broke the camel's back. Emotionally, I couldn't handle the scares anymore, and just wanted to be done with this pregnancy and have Hailey here. I asked the doctor's when we could schedule an induction, and they said at 39 weeks, so we set it for that Wednesday. After setting it up, my doctor said that all of her patients that have had progesterone shots have always made it to their due-date, but they have all had to have scheduled c-sections. I was the first of her patients to not have a scheduled c-section, but she said her guess was I'd probably go past my due date, and end up having to be induced anyways. Part of me thought it'd be cool to make history with her and see when my body would go into labor on it's own, but with pitocin sounding like the inevitable, I decided to just go at 39 weeks instead. There were also lots of small reasons why we decided to schedule Hailey's birth: being far from family, setting up childcare for Andrew, Grant's hour-long commute from work, and all the pregnancy scares we had leading up to her birth, we thought it was best for our family to have a not-so-dramatic labor.

On Tuesday night, the 15th, Grant and I went into the hospital. We were going to spend the night there as they put some medicine on my cervix to try to dilate and efface it before we started on pitocin. They also started me on the antibiotics for group B strep. At this point, I was dilated to a 1, 50% effaced, and Hailey was at a -3 (still way up in the birth canal). I was able to sleep most of the night, except for when they gave me the antibiotics for the group B strep. They put it through the IV every 4 hours, and it stung SO bad! To be honest, up until the end of my labor, this was the worst part about labor. I dreaded getting those antibiotics because it hurt my arm SO BAD! I was always so relieved when it would be over. Anywho, sorry for the digression.

Wednesday morning at 8 am they checked me again...and nothing changed! I was a little discouraged, but still confident that I could do this naturally--even with pitocin. My labor with Andrew was really fast because I was on pitocin with him, so I figured that this would be fast as well. 

By Noon, my contractions were still very managable, and I was only dilated to a 2, still 50% effaced, but Hailey was now at a -1, so at least she was moving down the canal. At this point, they decided to rupture my membranes, and this is when the fun really started. By 1 pm, my contractions were active labor contractions and were starting to get uncomfortable. By 3 pm, I was dying. My doctor came in around 3:30 pm and said she wanted to check me. Keep in mind, we didn't get to bed until like 1 am, and being interrupted all the time in the middle of the night made it so we didn't get much sleep. I was so tired and so hungry, and all I wanted to do was take a nap and eat jello. I looked up at Grant and just said "If I'm not dilated to a 5, I'm getting the epidural." After going 7.5 hours on pitocin and feeling like nothing was happening, I was kind of done. My doctor checked me, and I was at a 4, dilated 60%, and Hailey was at a 0 position. I just said "OK, I want the epidural." At about 4:15 pm (45 minutes later), the epidural was placed, and I had dilated to a 5. It was the kind where you could still move your legs, and they said it would take about 15-30 minutes to kick in. 
I knew I could handle that, but the downside was I couldn't get out of bed and be in a position where I could best handle the contractions. At this point, I seriously thought I was going to die. With each contraction, I remember looking up at Grant with tears in my eyes and just asking "Why hasn't the epidural kicked in yet?" I was so frustrated because my epidural with Andrew kicked in immediately, and I was just tired and hungry. What made it even more frustrating was the nurse kept asking me with each contraction what my pain level was on a scale of 1-10. She probably thought I was being super dramatic because I told her that the pain was actually getting worse! She just kept saying "You've handled the contractions this far, you can keep doing it." I kept thinking to myself "How is the pain getting worse?! When is this stupid epidural going to kick in?! I'm telling you, these contractions are bad! I can't do this!" Looking back, I felt kind of like a crazy person. I wasn't trying to be dramatic, but I couldn't lie either and say that the epidural was kicking in because it wasn't! I was starting to get frustrated and lose focus.
They called in the anesthesiologist to see what they could do. With each contraction they asked me if I was still in pain, which I screamed yes! Around 4:50 pm, they finally gave me a huge dose of the epidural medicine, and right after I just looked up at Grant and said "I really feel like I need to push." I could feel the nurse behind me just roll her eyes and she said "We just checked you a half hour ago and you were at a 5." I again said that I needed to push, so they checked me, and with astonishment said "You're dilated to a 10 and Hailey is at a +1." I think everyone then realized why I was in so much pain. I had just gone from a 5 to a 10 in 45 minutes, and with an epidural that takes 15-30 minutes to kick in, no wonder I kept saying the pain was getting worse! I felt much more validated :) Also, my lower back was starting to hurt a ton, so they knew that she was really coming down. I think since things were going so fast that the epidural had a hard time keeping up. So at this point, I was complete and could start pushing. The only problem was, my epidural had kicked in, and since they gave me an extra big dose, my legs felt really heavy. I just laughed to myself, and thought "Well, by the books I got an epidural, but that was the most intense, painful 45 minutes of my life. I don't think want to experience 'natural' childbirth." 
Right after they said she was at a +1, I felt Hailey come barreling down the birth canal. I let out a huge grunt and said "Uh, I really need to push. She's coming." The residents told me to not push yet because my doctor was on her way and they didn't want to catch Hailey. They checked me and said "oh, ya she's at a +3 now." 

We started pushing around 5:15 after my doctor got in the room. We tried for about 10 minutes with me laying on my back, but not much was happening. My doctor came in and felt that Hailey's face was up and to the right, so we needed to try to turn her around to have her face-down. I pushed for a few minutes laying on both my left and right side, and then she was finally face-down. With a few more pushes, Hailey's head started to come out. My doctor said the head was half-way out and said "Do you want to feel her head?" I reached down and felt a little head with a LOT of hair! Grant and I just looked at each other and smiled. A few minutes later (at 6:17 pm), our sweet girl was out! Grant and I just looked at each other, both of us with tears in our eyes, as we heard Hailey start crying. They gave her to me directly, and Grant got to cut the umbilical cord. It was so wonderful to be able to do skin-to-skin with her immediately. 
I need to give props to Grant. You know, I didn't think it was possible to love this man more than the day I married him, but then we had Andrew. And then I thought "ok, no way could I love Grant more than I do now." And then we had Hailey. The longer I'm married to him and the more we go through together, the more my love grows for him. Grant was a huge support and cheerleader during labor, and I know that I wouldn't have been able to get through those last 45 intense minutes without him by my side. He encouraged me, supported me, and was just there for me. While I was in the hospital, he took care of everything at home, and took wonderful care of Andrew. I came home from the hospital on Friday night to a clean apartment (even vacuumed!). And on top of all this, Grant took care of finding us a new car this week because our old car almost died a couple days before Hailey was born, but through many prayers has gotten us through this week. Grant is my rock and my best friend, and I'm so grateful I married him.

The next couple days were really difficult for me because it was just Hailey and I in the hospital, and Grant and Andrew at home. Of course they would come visit, but it was hard to not be together as a family. Now that we are home though things feel so right! We are all adjusting to having another little one around. Andrew always smiles at Hailey, but has also been acting incredibly weird towards me. He doesn't like to be around me much anymore, and prefers Grant. I don't know if it's because Grant has been his sole care-taker the past couple days, or if Andrew is mad that I'm taking care of another kid. He's also sick and teething, so that has something to do with it I'm sure. I know things will get in a good routine in a couple months. I'm so grateful for my dear, sweet little kids.

I've had a couple people ask what I'll do in the future with my labor and deliveries. Knowing that with each pregnancy I'll have to get progesterone shots, I'll most likely have to be induced every labor as well. I told Grant that with the rest, I will just get the epidural the same time they start the pitocin, so that way we'll have PLENTY of time for it to kick in :) And I'll just relax, take a nap, and eat as much jello as I want.


  1. Yay! Good job mama! For me, the cervix softener sped up my contractions and dilatation and I had a similiar situation where the nurses were just checked you! :) Glad Hailey is here safe and that everybody is doing well! She is a cutie!

  2. What a sweet and sacred experience for you and Grant. I loved reading this. So happy for you both!