Annalise's Birth Story

During the last weeks of my pregnancy I was having very regular contractions. There were several days that I was even timing them because they were consistent and painful. I had one day where I felt cramps and couldn't rest because I thought I was going into labor. For several weeks I was dilated to 1-2 centimeters at my weekly checkups and I just thought maybe I would go into labor on my own. At my 36 week checkup we decided to schedule an induction for January 3 so that I could have family in town to watch my kids. My mom and sister booked a flight and we had a plan set. I still hoped I could have a December baby (hello taxes/ deductible) but despite my intentions and the fakeout contractions, Annie was not coming early!

On Tuesday, January 3 I went to the doctor for my 39 week checkup and my doctor did a membrane sweep. Meanwhile, my mom and sister Sarah flew into NYC that morning. I came home and walked up and down the stairs of our apartment building until they came to Bay Ridge.

We spent the day together and that night around 7pm, we kissed the "big kids" and Will, Sarah and I headed to the hospital. I had a scheduled induction.  Sarah wanted to go with us to see where the hospital was and to make sure she could do an Uber by herself later.

 Sarah snapped a few pictures of us downstairs while we waited for our cab. I was filled with nervous energy and Will was just excited. I think he believed we would be having a baby that night, because of the amount of contractions I was having!

Once we were in the hospital things happened pretty quickly. Check-in was really fast and they already had all of my information on file. We were very pleasantly surprised to have a big labor and delivery room (about twice the size of the one we saw on the hospital tour!).

I had the worst luck getting an IV in. It seriously took three different nurses, four attempts and one time that the fluid was going into my arm (not my vein) and my arm was rock solid with excess fluid. It was so painful and I was really frustrated. The nurses were very kind but I was upset that it was not going well for me from the beginning!

I was hooked up to the machines, and at 8pm they checked me and said I was only dilated around 1 centimeter. They inserted Cytotech at 9pm and I was forced to lay flat for four hours.

At 1 am I was dilated to 2 cm and they inserted another Cytotech. I walked around for about 10 minutes before they did this because I thought I was going to go crazy with these torture machines they put on my legs to make sure my legs got circulation while laying flat. They didn't use those in Alabama with Edith and every couple of seconds there would be a pulse on my legs. It was so hard to rest!! I asked for a benadryl to help me sleep because there was no way I could otherwise! I slept for about 2 hours.

At 5:15 I was dilated to 3 cm so they started me on Oxytocin to induce labor officially. I was really excited to get the process going!

At 7:45 I was dilated to a 4 and around that time my sister came back to the hospital (she'd gone home to rest during the night). I begged the nurses to let me walk around because I was so tired of those leg torturers. It was a bit of a hassle to find me a mobile monitor and I was having steady contractions throughout the walking process - but it felt SO good to move around. I didn't want to lay flat!

When I had contractions Sarah and Will would press on my back and it felt so nice! I had to lean against the wall a good bit but walking was a good distraction.

At 10 am my contractions were getting really difficult and I decided to go ahead and get an epidural so I could rest. I hadn't slept well in about 3 nights and I knew I would need energy to push later. The epidural process was a lot more painful this time than with Edith, and since it was a teaching hospital there were more doctors in the room. Will and Sarah had to go in the hallway so I basically bear-hugged a nurse named Julie while they did the epidural. It seemed like they took forever to do it because someone was explaining to someone else "this is where the needle goes..." etc. The whole time I was thinking, THIS IS MY SPINE! I could be PARALYZED!! I had a lot more anxiety about it because I wasn't sure what was going on behind me and they kept telling me to be still. I definitely cried onto the nurse's shoulders.

After I got the epidural I was able to rest though. It was a "walking epidural" which meant that I could still feel the contractions, move my legs, etc., but just didn't have pain. I felt pressure during the contractions but was still able to rest. We watched several episodes of the Office on Will's ipad.

At 11 am my doctor came in and broke my water and said I was between 4-5 cm dilated and 80% effaced.

Every once in a while they would increase the level of oxtyocin that I was receiving.

I sent Will and Sarah out to lunch so I could take a nap (and I took an amazing nap!) and at 1pm the doctor checked me again and I was a solid 5 cm.

At 2:30 I was dilated between 6-7 cm and at some point the baby's heart rate started dropping so I had to be on oxygen.

This was the view from our hospital room:

Around 4 my sister went down to the cafeteria and got me some chicken broth and it was the most delicious thing ever.

She also gave me a much needed foot massage. As I said, my epidural didn't numb me completely so I was able to enjoy this!

At 4:15 we were happy to hear that I was dilated all the way to 10 cm! All day I had been so nervous and anxious about this baby. Really, this entire pregnancy I struggled with fear of having three kids. In this moment I just felt ready to not be pregnant and meet my girl.

My "10 centimenters" face:

Will was ready to do whatever necessary:

We had to wait for the nurses to get the room prepped.

My doctor, Dr. Fridman, was phenomenal. Such a gentle and calm presence and she really guided me on pushing. I only pushed for about 5 minutes (through one contraction!) and Annalise was born at 4:54 pm!

 When I heard her cry it seemed so surreal. She was mine!

My first thought was that she looked JUST like Edith.

Annie latched immediately and nursed great! I was so happy that it was a good beginning for us.

We had about an hour of bonding time while the doctor/nurses cleaned me/ the room up.

Then they were going to take Annalise to the nursery to measure, test and clean her. Will was allowed to go and watch but couldn't take any pictures. Then I was transferred to my shared room down in the mother/baby section of the hospital. The staff told me they would bring the baby back in 3-4 HOURS! I was so upset and demanded they bring her back ASAP. I mean, I JUST had her, I didn't need a break from her and I wanted to be with her! Also, my sister was going to fly back South early in the morning and I wanted her to take a few pictures. She had to leave the hospital by 8pm (visiting hours) and Will had to leave by 10pm (no co-ed visitors in shared rooms after 10, even spouses).

They brought her back within an hour, though, so no freak-out was necessary. Basically anytime anyone came to check on me or ask me anything, I would say "just bring me the baby!" and it worked :).

The first thing they showed me was the red-ish tint of her hair!

I had to make up for the lost hour of kisses. 

They told me she weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce and was 20 inches long.

We attempted to take a newborn-ish photo on the hospital bed since Sarah was about to leave.

 It's safe to say we were smitten with her immediately. So thankful for a healthy and beautiful girl. She stole our hearts right away and we had so much love for her from the start. It was an answer to prayer that my heart was bonded to hers so quickly.

My sister Sarah was such a rockstar and huge help during the whole day. I'm going to be forever grateful that she was there for me on Annalise's birth day and that she gave us the gift of these pictures! If you're in the Hendersonville/ Asheville NC area, check her out for your photo needs!


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