Friday, February 24, 2017

Welcoming Ezra

*I went through and edited this post (checked grammar, spelling, etc), but then it didn't save and I don't want to go back and do it again. Sorry, y'all*

Kyle and I had a great Valentine's Day. It wasn't fancy. We weren't 
sure when Ezra would join us, so of course neither of us had planned to do anything too elaborate. When I woke up in the morning it felt like any other. I had some contraction pains throughout the day and my stomach was feeling very heavy, but I had had these feeling many times before. I wouldn't allow myself to believe it meant anything just yet. 

After basketball practice Kyle and I went to have a slice of deep dish pizza from The Nines. We took one last "bump" picture and enjoyed a fun date at a new restaurant. Kyle knows I like trying new places, so it was his Valentine's surprise for me. If you live in or near Ithaca, we definitely recommend The Nines--yummy. He also came home in the middle of the day with a rose <3 Kyle loves red velvet cheesecake. I don't own a cake pan, so making one of those wasn't possible, but I made some homemade red velvet "cheesecake" cupcakes as a surprise instead. I had made a little bed on the floor of our living room and planned to watch "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" as an homage to our first date (movie in the park.) We ended up not having access to the movie like I had assumed we would, so we watched Inception instead. As the movie went along, I started to feel contractions a little more regularly. I thought maybe it could be the real deal, but again, didn't want to get my hopes up. It was around 9:00 that I started to really pay attention to the contraction pains. 

After the movie ended, we headed to bed. I noticed that I was bleeding. Bleeding in conjunction with the more consistent contraction pains meant: labor. I told Kyle I thought I what I was feeling was real labor this time. I wanted to head to bed right away to assure I got some sleep before contractions got too painful and I wasn't able to sleep anymore. It was about 11:30 pm. At 2:00 am I woke up to move to the recliner to sleep (something I have been doing for the past few weeks--sleeping while pregnant was uncomfortable.) Initially I felt pretty sad because I realized I hadn't been woken up by contractions and thought that, once again, what I thought for sure was labor was another false alarm. However, around 4:00 am I woke up again, but this time to a contraction and said a little prayer of gratitude that it wasn't just my imagination the night before. I had two "undeniable" contractions right around 4. By that I just mean, there was no denying that they were for sure contractions and not some other type of pregnancy pain. I laid and tried to rest for the next hour, but that was hard since every contraction brought a greater sense of it finally being time!

At 5:30 am I woke up Kyle and told him I was in labor and asked if we could go and walk around Walmart. It was the only store I could think of that would be open that early. He started to get ready to head to the hospital and I disappointed him when I said it wasn't quite time for that yet, but I just wanted to walk around and really get things going. We got to Walmart at 6:00 am and started to weave up and down the aisles. Kyle started to time my contractions with an app on his phone so we could keep track of how long they were and how far apart. When we first got there I would tell him when my contractions were coming, but could still walk through them. At about 6:15 I realized that I needed some food. In my excitement, I had left the house without eating. We headed to a nearby McDonalds (breakfast of champions). I ate a sausage biscuit. Little did I know, this would be my main sustenance for the next 24 hours. At 6:30 we headed back to Walmart. As we got further through the store, however, it got more difficult to walk during contractions. I would stop and lean against shelves or squat down to the floor during each one. Luckily, there aren't very many people in Walmart at 6:00 am. We actually had a lot of fun walking through every aisle of the store. There are a lot of conversations you would never have with your spouse unless you do something like that. For example, Kyle is disgusted by the word and sight of "mealworms." ha. It was a fun labor date. 

At 8:00 am we headed back home. My contractions were getting stronger and closer together. When we got home I ate a cutie orange. I started having a hard time talking during contractions, but they were still manageable. I just knelt in my living room with my upper body leaned on/draped over our exercise ball during each contraction. Sometimes I would roll side to side. That was what felt best. At 9:00 am it started to snow pretty hard. Since we had to drive an hour down to Syracuse this made us a little nervous and so we decided we should probably head out soon. I took a shower, which was stellar. Labor and showers were made for each other. I got ready slowly allowing the time to breathe through each contractions. At this point they were about 7 minutes apart, lasting for around 40 seconds. We headed out just before 10: 00 am for Syracuse. 

The car ride was surprisingly not terrible. I was really worried about being in labor in the car. That seemed extremely uncomfortable. Well, labor isn't comfortable, but it really wasn't too bad to labor in the car. It snowed during our drive, but the roads were clear. Blessings all around. My contractions in the car got to be about 6 minutes apart lasting a minute at a time. Kyle had made a couple peanut and apple butter sandwiches , one of which I ate a half of. 

We drove to the local Home Goods store, because my contractions weren't 5 minutes apart yet. We walked around a Bed, Bath and Beyond and sat in the massage chairs. I couldn't hide my contractions, which made all the workers look at me with concerned faces, but I didn't care. Once I was back up on my feet, walking through stores,  my contractions got to be 5 minutes apart, but were shorter again--around 40 seconds. We started to walk around Home Goods, but my contractions were too noticeable and I was drawing too much attention to myself. We went to the car and I ate an applesauce pouch. With that, my future food fate was set. It was my final real food besides like two Lorna Doone cookies and a couple bites of potato from Kyle's dinner that I snuck later that night. 

We sat in the car for a bit just trying to figure out what to do next. I called my OB and told them that my contractions weren't quite where they were supposed to be at and my pain was still manageable to get there opinion on what to do. They told me to head to the hospital. I would've held off longer, but I really didn't know where else to go since we were an hour from home and being in public made everyone uncomfortable.

We arrived at the hospital a few minutes before 1:00 pm and were checked into triage to see where I was at. They had me change into a hospital gown, asked me questions about my contractions and pain, took my vitals, etc. A resident came in to do my check and said that I was dilated to a 5/6, 100% effaced. Yahoo! One of my biggest concerns was driving all the way to Syracuse and getting to the hospital only to have them say "Sorry, you are only at a one..." or "You actually haven't started dilating yet." Kyle cheered when they told us where I was at. We were both relieved. They moved us to labor and delivery. After a bit, my OB came in to check me and said I was at a 5 1/2, 80% effaced. So, the resident in triage had over-stated a bit. But, that was fine. It was go time. I was half way there. 

I labored in the shower for a while, sat on the exercise ball and rested my upper body on the bed, laid in bed, walked around the labor and delivery floor and chilled in the jacuzzi tub as different ways to labor. All proved to be wonderful and effective. I had my second check around 6:00 pm (I'm kinda guessing here because at this point time started to all melt together). I was 9 cm dilated, hoorah. To me, that meant delivery was eminent. Only a little more labor to go. 

I was having a harder time now. I still felt like I could handle the contractions, but I was starting to feel real tired and real hungry. I got some Nubain to try and take some edge off so I could rest a bit without getting an epidural. It helped. It didn't make contractions hurt less necessarily, but my body felt a lot more relaxed. Kyle said I got a little silly and extra chatty. Two hours later, I hadn't progressed. The Nubain only lasted a short time--so, back to the shower I went (for the third time for those keeping count). I stood in the shower again and labored for about a half an hour. I would hold onto the hold bar and squat down to the ground when contractions came. This was part of labor when I felt the most in control. In retrospect, I should've stayed in there for longer. As I stood in the shower I remember saying a little prayer thanking Heavenly Father that my labor had been relatively easy. I imagine that He sent a few extra angels then since He knew what the next few hours would hold, while I didn't. 

Another check, no progress. Contractions were painful. But, most of all, I was so tired and out of energy. I had been in labor for 24 hours at this point. Who knew getting from 9 cm to birth would prove to be the most difficult? I asked if an epidural was still an option even though I was progressed to the point I was. They said yes and the anesthesiologist showed up relatively quickly. This is when the shakes set in. About 15 minutes before the epidural I started to shake uncontrollably. They said it happens just because of the mixture of hormones your body is experiencing. It made me worried since, ya know, I was about to have a needle stuck in my spine and shaking didn't seem to be the best thing to throw in the mix. I got the epidural and noticed pretty quickly that it something was off. My right leg slowly lost feeling, but nothing was happening on my left side. As contractions came I kept saying "I don't think this is working on my left side...." and they told me it might just take longer. Well, it never did kick in. During contractions, I couldn't feel the pain any longer in my back on my right side and in my tailbone, but my left side and hip were still in the game. It was very odd. But, I figured that the pain management on at least half my body was worth it. 

Besides the relief in my back, which I was very grateful for since that is where contraction pain was worst, I don't think the epidural had the effect I was expecting. I kinda thought that once I had the epidural, my pain would be gone and I would just be able to finish things up no problem. Sigh. This was not the case. Pushing was still extremely painful and so overwhelmingly exhausting. The nurses and Drs kept saying that the epidural would take my pain away, but I would still feel a lot of "pressure." Pressure. Guys. Let me tell you EXTREME "pressure" is the exact same thing as extreme pain. 

About an hour after the epidural went in, I started pushing. I was going on 27 hours of labor. I was shaking so much it seemed like I was seizing. At this point I closed my eyes and didn't really open them again until the baby was born. There were a total of 6 doctors and nurses going in and out of the room. One nurse wasn't very nice. I hadn't seen her before. I just remember opening my eyes for a half second during a push and thinking "wait, who the heck are you and why are you yelling at me and hurting me."  *She was not gentle* Two of the doctor's were residents. One of them it seemed like it must've been her first day--she was very wide-eyed at the process. Bless her heart. One Dr. was my OB (Paolucci), one was another on call OB, since when the baby started coming my OB wasn't available. Both ended up being there for the delivery. Then there was my nurse who had been with us almost the whole least the hard part. And of course, trusty, steady, Kyle. Kyle was stationed at my left side/leg. My nurse at the right. They would hold my legs through each round of pushing and say things like "That's good! Keep going! Good job!" Once the baby's head was visible Kyle said "I see him! You're so close. He has hair!" I wasn't "so close" quite yet...still an hour and half to go, but Kyle's words were most encouraging of all. During the pregnancy, when talking about labor, we thought Kyle would just hang out up by my head and hold my hand. But, when push came to shove (ha...) Kyle was an ACTIVE participant. He watched the entire process and was so encouraging. I couldn't have done it without him. 

I asked for the squat bar to be added to the bed and started to push that way. It was a complicated since one of my legs was numb, and took extra effort because I had to stand, hold myself up and then lay back down through each contraction, but it felt significantly more effective than pushing lying on my back. This was the only time during labor that I got angry with Kyle. With each contraction I would put my hand in the air so he could help pull me up to the bar. If I put my hand in the air and he didn't react within 3 seconds (I mean that) I would angrily say "KYYYLEEE!!!!" Sorry, Kyle. Hm, now that I'm thinking about it, the Drs also had me push lying on my side for a while...I forgot about that. 

Pushing was painful. Very painful. My contractions weren't coming quick enough and were short lived. This wasn't a good combo when you are trying to encourage your body to birth a child. Plus, the shaking. Oh the shaking. I would have two contractions about a minute apart and then not have one for five minutes. They would last for 30 or 40 second. That meant I could only push once to twice for each contraction. Apparently, the Drs weren't pleased with this. They started running Pitocin to regulate and lengthen my contractions. An epidural and Pitocin, there went my natural labor! But, at that point, getting the baby out was 1. All I wanted and 2. the highest priority for everyone. I would've ran naked down the street if that's what they told me would work. Of course the Pitocin did the trick and my contractions picked up quickly and started to lengthen. Soon Drs were coming in (remember my eyes had been closed for the past three hours so this is just by sound memory that I'm trying to recall what happened) and things got noisy. 

They took the squat bar away and shortened the bed so that they could deliver Ezra. I don't remember exactly how many contractions (each contractions was about 3-4 pushes) it took once he started to to crown. But, to my best recollection, it was three contractions and 5-7 pushes to deliver his head. This after the three hours of pushing to get him to that point, of course. Those last 10 minutes were intense. I could feel his head. I knew it was almost over. I knew he was almost here. The OB came in he said "Oh it looks like this push will deliver him!" It wasn't, but him saying that made me feel like it was really close. At this point I wished my contractions would come closer together. The minute between each one was too long. I could feel his head crowning/emerging (is there a better, less gross, word for that?) and I was trying so hard, but at the end of each contraction and set of pushes I would fall back and wait--all I could do was wait for the next contraction. Kyle said that with each of the final pushes the Dr was holding whatever portion of the baby's head with his fingers so Ezra didn't regress back in between pushes. Those minutes between those last few contractions were some of the very longest minutes of my life. Finding the energy to get the job done was so hard. I gave everything I had and it felt like it wasn't going to be enough. The final push that got him out I remember thinking "I'm not stopping until this is DONE." His head was delivered and they told me to push one more time, I knew he was finally here. I bore down the best I could and then they were pulling my gown off and placing a baby on my tummy. Kyle cut the umbilical cord. It was 2:58 am on February 16, 2017. 

I looked down at this little person. I can't remember if I pulled him up or if a nurse pulled him up onto my chest. He didn't cry. He gurgled some liquid left in his lungs and the let out one little whimper-cry. That was it. Then he just laid on my chest and blinked, looked all around and stared at my face. I stared back. He was magical and entrancing.

All the nurses and Drs congratulated me as they filtered out of the room. My OB asked one of the nurses to grab the other OB to consult with her on a tear. Apparently, instead of a tear, somehow the tear created like a tunnel? That is how they described it. It took both of them to repair it, just because it was so strange and in a weird spot. I was in a bit of a daze as they explained this, but he was born with his hand up by his face and the umbilical chord wrapped around him (but not in a dangerous, suffocating way...I honestly don't remember exactly what they said about it). They said those two things contributed to the difficulty of delivery.

They didn't take him off me for about an hour. Fast forward a couple hours and we were placed into our maternity room. It was about 5 am and still dark out. I held him against me. The world felt so calm and quiet. Time stood still. I started to sing to him and then, overcome with love for this new little being, began to cry. He just looked at me. It was perfect. The day was long. Labor was hard. But, man, I loved that little baby. 


  1. Alivia, I love this! ❤️❤️❤️ Congrats to you and Kyle!!!

  2. I'm glad you wrote all this. You are AMAZING! Seriously, can you believe what you were able to do?!! Congratulations!

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  4. What a beautiful story!! What a sweet, lucky little baby to have you as his mama. Thank you for sharing this--I know how hard it is to sift through hazy labor memories and write them down into cohesive paragraphs. Well done! I love you guys so much--congratulations again! I can't wait to see him in person!!