We are happy to share the news that our sweet daughter, Chase Christine Johnson was born on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 (her due date). She was 7 pounds, 15 ounces, and 20 inches long.
Monday, June 10th I was able to work from home this day. It was nice to have the opportunity to keep my feet up being 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant. Rob and I had our 40 week appointment that morning. I was expecting to hear some news on my progress especially since I spent most of the weekend cramping off and on. One of those stints lasted 4.5 hours, so I felt good that something had to be going on down there. Turns out I was wrong. The doctor said I hadn’t had any progress. I was still a finger tip dilated if that, my cervix was still posterior (meaning the baby’s head wasn’t yet pressed up on my cervix), and the baby was at a -3 station (which the baby is way back, you want to get to zero and then +1 and +2). I was nervous about what all we need to be prepared to discuss if we made it to the 41 week appointment and were still in the same spot. The doctor said we would then get an ultrasound, do a non-stress test, and start talking options and dates. My doctor is not pro-induction, so that would only be happening if it was medically necessary.
Needless to say I pouted. I know it was a selfish feeling, Baby J is doing great and that’s all that matters, but it just felt like meeting her was still so far away. Rob and I had lunch and I sulked that all of the cramping over the weekend appears to have done nothing to help Baby J get here sooner. False labor is so annoying.
At the end of my workday I decided I needed to go for a walk. While it may not get the baby here any quicker since she wasn’t yet engaged, I needed to walk off some stress (since I can’t run it off these days). I texted Rob and said that I was planning to walk on the treadmill until he got home from work and then I would want to walk with him through the neighborhood. I put on my running shorts and sat on a bench to tie my running shoes. I made my way to the bathroom and felt a hitch, that’s the only way I know how to describe it. Kind of like if you have a joint in your hip or knee that catches funny. It doesn’t hurt, but it has a feeling of catching. That’s how this felt, except in my vagina. I took one more step and my running shorts filled with water and it ran down my legs. My water had just broke. It was clear, which we learned from our baby classes is a good sign that there are no issues. Since I was just told that the baby wasn’t close to ready, I was immediately concerned for her and wondering if bending to tie my shoes had somehow broke my water. I called Rob first and everyone in the meeting he was in began cheering in the background. Rob made his way home and I called the doctor’s office. They assured me that I didn’t do anything to break my water, it just happens sometimes. Rob got home and we were already packed for the hospital so it was easy to get out the door.
My contractions started in the car, but they were mild so we were able to enjoy some Dave Matthews Band and Jason Mraz on the way. We were check into our room by 4pm. They checked me and I hadn’t yet made progress. We needed the head to press against the cervix so that they umbilical cord couldn’t be there first and potentially cause a threatening prolapse. I was instructed to stay in bed for about an hour and continue to contract. My hospital allows clear fluids so I was given a cherry popsicle and jello for dinner.
When I was checked again I was 2.5 cm dialated and the baby’s head appeared to be on the cervix. They wanted me to try different postions and movements to get the baby down from the -3 position. First, they had me in the yoga position called child’s pose with a stack of pillows for about an hour.
Then I was allowed to walk for an hour. The contractions were getting more intense. When walking and a contraction would come on I would stop and grab the railing, focus on the ground, and breathe. Between contractions I was still able to relax and joke around, but I knew things were about to get more intense and it wouldn’t be that way much longer.
Next I was put on a balance ball. Walking and the balance ball were my favorite methods of dealing with the natural portion of my labor process. The ball was quite comfortable because it provided support and counter pressure on my pelvis. We had seen birthing position options in our baby classes, but we hadn’t planned on doing yoga or the balance ball. It ended up being nice incorporating them into the process.
During a contraction I was able to focus on the ground, breathe, and roll slightly back and forth. The contractions were getting very intense. The rests between were shorter and some of the contractions would peak for as long as 2-3 minutes.
After that I was back in the bed and was checked. It was 12:30pm and I was 4.5 cm. The contractions were becoming unbearable. While they were becoming more intense they felt 100 times worse in bed than on the ball. After the contractions I was getting full body shakes in my legs, arms, and face. They said that it was hormones and completely normal. Also, my hips were killing me. I needed the epidural. It was after 1am when the anesthesiologist arrived. Other than the actual delivery this was the hardest thing I’ve had to do, to focus and be still amid painful contractions. It took all of my focus to remain perfectly still. After it was in place I fell into a deep sleep. I snored so loud like a lumbar jack sawing logs and Rob didn’t get any sleep because he was keeping an eye on the monitors.
At 5:15am they checked me and I was 6.5 cm. Rob was finally able to rest lightly. They flipped me from one side to the other since I was completely numb below the belly button and by 7am I was 7 cm. I got to have apple juice for breakfast.
Some of the nurses were trying to tell me that because of my marathons and running background that I could manage natural childbirth. I’m have to respectfully disagree. Maybe that’s true for some women, but they are completely different in my book. No matter how painful a marathon can be, I can adjust my pace or even walk if needed to manage. There is no negotiating the pain level of a contraction. I can’t adjust the intensity. So my hats off to those women who deliver naturally.
While I was getting an epidural, I was not okay with IV pain killers because most of them can pass through the placenta and affect the baby.
I had joked with the nurses that I would only consider a natural child-birth if the was a trophy or medal at the end. Our nurse said that even with an epidural, giving birth is medal worthy so they made me a finish tape and a medal signed by the nurses. Isn’t that so awesome?!
It was a beautiful day for Chase to be born.
So if you were wondering, we picked out the name Chase before we even started trying to have a baby. We decided that if we had a boy it would be Chase Robert and if it was a girl, Chase Christine. We decided on the name Chase because it represents to of our favorite sports, running and flying. Running just because of the term “chase” and in flying when you are a flight of two, they refer to the second plane as flying “chase” (as shown here we are flying chase with our friend Jack).
At 9am my cervix hadn’t made progress, I was still at 7cm. Since my water broke at after 3pm the previous day, we needed to get the baby out within 24 hours to due to risk of infection. At this point the nurse was talking with my doctor’s office about potentially on boarding pitocin to keep my labor moving forward. I would rather not have to, but would if it was what was best for the baby. Luckily by 11am I was at 9cm and we didn’t have to introduce pitocin. It was really going to happen! They started setting up the room for delivery and I was allowed a popsicle for lunch, gotta carb up!
Monitor of baby and the contractions
Just before noon I was 10 cm and we started the practice pushing to see how much progress the head would make. It was a challenge to push when I couldn’t really feel anything. I did notice the pain in my hips and pelvis. It was a pressure that felt like I had a serious running injury or something. After 40 minutes pushing, we had made head decent progress. The nurses then had me “drift” for an hour. Which meant just resting and letting the contractions help her continue her decent. They said that it would be better for me and the baby to just let things marinade if you will. It would be less stress on both of us. I took an hour nap and Rob looked up pushing techniques on his phone. When I woke up we started trying again at 2:30pm. Rob coached me on some tips he read that said instead of just focusing on pushing through my bottom (or pelvic floor), to concentrate on making a really good crunch more in my transverse abs in my upper rib area. I gave it a try and it made a world of difference. The nurses were like “oh my goodness” and on the second set, they said “stop”! The baby was past the pelvic bone and we were ready for the doctor. We waited about 15 minutes for my doctor to arrive and it was funny hanging out with my legs up chatting about random things with the nurse and techs.
Our doctor is amazing. It was so great to have him there. He immediately put some sort of mineral oil on me and we started pushing. He was very impressed with my pushing ability and it really didn’t take much to move the baby into place. The cool part was my doctor was determined to not have me tear. So he actually had me not push through a few contractions, added more mineral oil, and let things naturally stretch on their own. It totally worked! He was so patient and careful with the delivery.
Baby J was born at 3:11pm, exactly 24 hours from when my water broke the day before and on her due date no less! She came out arms and legs wide open and whaling. The doctor and nurses said she was so pink! They didn’t have to even wipe her down or get her to breathe, she was already at it. They put her up on my chest and Rob and I completely melted. It was the most amazing blessing from God and I felt that love wrap around the three of us. We had made our family.
We are so overjoyed for this little girl. She is more than we could have ever dreamed for.
Our doctor supports delayed cord clamping, which means letting the placenta pulse out the last bit of nutrient rich blood before Rob cut the umbilical cord. Our hospital supports skin-to-skin, which means if the baby is healthy they leave them right on the mother’s skin and don’t do any sort of weighing, shots, or eye treatments for the first two hours. Instead they let the family bond and start breast-feeding if the mother plans to try. I was planning to breastfeed and Chase took to it immediately. She nursed for 15 minutes three different times during that first two hours.
The baby never leaves the room unless there is a medical reason. So all of the weighing and standard treatments were done in our room. Chase weighed in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces and was 20 inches long.
After her treatments she got her first sponge bath and hair washing. She love the hair washing part.
All swaddled up.
Me with my motherhood club finisher’s medal and the best prize of all, our precious daughter.
Our hospital has a photographer that comes and does photo shoots that the parents can purchase. I came prepared with outfits for Chase. Here are some of photos from her shoot (1 day old).
Rob got me the most beautiful push present. A 1 carat pink sapphire surrounded in diamonds from Tiffany’s, called Soleste. We had talked almost 10 years ago about a pink sapphire as a future ring for me, but then I completely forgot about it. Rob didn’t and felt this was the perfect time for something pink to represent our baby girl coming into the world. Rob did some special ordering to get this ring. Tiffany’s is very selective in their standards for diamonds and other precious stones, so it takes some time to get it arranged, but it is totally worth it! I love it!!
Finally we were able to go home and we were so excited for Chase to see her first home that she will grow up in and meet her big sister Coco. Daddy getting Chase ready for her first ride.
In upcoming posts I will share with you how things are going with Chase, my recovery, and products that been a big help to us. Thanks for reading and sharing in our joy!