Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Epiphany #100--The Ups and Downs of Childbirth

She's here, and I'm finally returning to my blog. I've missed you all, and I need to take the time to catch back up with all your adventures. In time, my friends.

Let me begin with this: I am old. Having a baby at forty is hard. Even harder than at 37. I'm tired, tired, tired all the time, and it's taking my body a while to recover from this adventure. But, with my hardworking mother here by my side, I'm taking it one day at a time.

She's here!
Eve Diana Denton
October 23, 2009
8:28 am
6 lb. 9 oz.
20 inches
(I think they measured wrong--she's way smaller than that)

Brad posted pictures on Friday, but I'm here to fill in the rest of the story.

Warning: A few graphic details may follow. Proceed at your own risk.

When I went to the doctor on Thursday, my blood pressure was elevated and I had ketones and protein in my urine. Doctor determined that there was no more benefit to keeping me pregnant longer, so he stripped my membranes and sent me to the hospital. He's stripped me before, but this time was excruciating (you'll see why later).

We got to the hospital just before 3 and they admitted me at 4. Around 5:30, Doctor came, prepared to break my water. At this point, I was only experiencing a few very minor pains, so I knew I was still at a four. He reached up, and then a look of surprise crossed his face. "I can't feel the baby anywhere." Maybe that's why it was so painful in the office! They wheeled in ultrasound, and to everyone's surprise, she had turned transverse. First surprise of the night. With the aid of ultrasound, he turned her head down, then ordered me to walk for the next few hours to keep her that way. Ugh.

We walked and walked, not quite like pioneer children, but as many laps around the hospital as we could with me in a chic hospital gown and my silky robe. He checked again around 8:30, and I was still a four with few measurable contractions. Round two of the hospital. He returned around 9:45, ready to break my water. Nope. She was still high and floating, so the plan changed. He would go to bed (hard for him, huh?), and the nurse would start me on a very low level of pitocin to see where that would lead. Second surprise of the night.

Around 10:45 the nurse started pitocin, and this still produced very low levels of contractions. But, from 10:45 pm to 5:30 am I progressed to a 7, using virtually no breathing and actually catnapping for an hour. Third surprise. And a welcome one at that.

At 5:30, Doctor came bursting into the room, bleary-eyed and confused, wondering what was going on. He checked me, and on contraction the baby's head was engaged enough to break my water without risking the cord coming out first. So that's what he tried. But he couldn't get it to break. In fact, Baby came out with a few large scrapes and bruises across the top of her head from the amnio hook. Finally it broke, and I was on my way. I had some real labor now, breathing and using focus skills hidden away since 2007. But it still wasn't too bad, and I made it through the next hour pretty uneventfully.

At 6:30, I felt the need to poop, so I thought, "Great, it's time to push." The world's greatest LD nurse had just come on duty, and she said it must be time, too. Doctor checked me and he said I was a 9 1/2--"Let's call it," and it was time to push. They broke down the bed, everyone gowned and gloved up, and I was up in the stirrups.

Fourth surprise--or as I like to call it, the beginning of agony. Now things got really hard. I started to have extremely awful back labor, which I've had before, but I've usually been able to work through. The doctor waited for a few more contractions, asked if I felt the desire to push, and I said no. A concerned look crossed his face, and he checked me again. "You're not complete; you're only an 8." That right there took all the wind out of me. He sat there watching me through the next few contractions as the pain in my back got worse and worse. Then, in a quiet voice, he said, "Jennifer, I think this baby is posterior." The fifth surprise, and the worst of them all. Tucker was a posterior (sunny-side up) baby, and he had to be delivered with forceps. This news did not make me happy. AT ALL.

Sixth surprise was having Linda as my LD nurse. She was truly an angel from heaven through the next two hours. She was encouraging without being sugary. Helpful minus the bossy. And she knew every trick in the book to get that baby to turn. We tried rocking on my hands and knees. We tried the birthing ball. We tried using the different levels of the bed. We even tried lunges and squats. Admittedly, I was not the world's most cooperative patient by this time. I was thoroughly exhausted, and every time I would get into a new position and the pain would be alleviated for a moment, I would crash. Then a new wave would hit, and I "couldn't do it." Around 7:30, Linda began discussing with Brad the possibility of medication. I think she thought we were morally opposed to the idea or something. Brad thinks that she just wanted to see me succeed through the natural process (he says I'd done so well up to that point--I like to think it's true, but the last two hours negated all that good focusing and breathing). Either way, after getting Brad's assent, she grabbed me under the chin and said, "Jennifer, you are not a failure. You have been magnificent (funny word, huh? That's why I remember.). It's been three years since I've seen anyone stall at an 8. It just doesn't happen. Medication will help you relax, and that's what we should do."
By this point I was yelling "Just take the baby out. I don't care how." Not my proudest moment, to be sure. So, around 7:30 I got a shot of stadol in my IV. I didn't know anything about it, but that stuff is AWFUL. The rest of the delivery seems surreal, like I experienced it outside my body. But once I received the shot, I was able to relax enough to let the anesthesiologist insert the epidural.

All of this was good in the end, because (graphic alert) I watched the doctor reach up and turn Baby, and I KNOW I couldn't have done that without the meds. Three sets of pushes, a quick flick of the cord off her neck, and she was here!

Evie has been a sweet baby so far. She rarely if ever cries or fusses. She and I are still arm wrestling over when is the best time to sleep, but she is only four days old.
She is easily my best eater, and tonight she took 3 ounces of breastmilk from the bottle, even though she's so tiny. Don't think that will last if she keeps eating like that!
With Grandma T just as we left the hospital.

Here's the whole gang right when we came home on Sunday. There is a gaping hole in the top right corner. And we miss Heidi so much right now. She calls frequently, wanting updates and pictures. Thanksgiving can't come fast enough for all of us.

It's so amazing to me that, no matter how many children you have or how well-choreographed you think you have things, childbirth is always an unexpected, uncharted adventure. And it also amazes me that, no matter how many children you have, your heart always expands to include just one more.

And I will look at the guesses and see who won the delivery guessing game. Just for the books, I predicted October 26th, because then Brad wouldn't have to worry about the baby until after Ward Conference. I was wrong. What else is new!


  1. WOW! W-O-W! What a story. I'm sooooo sorry that things were so difficult. You ARE a rock star for making it through all that. I'm so happy for you, and she's absolutely beautiful!! I can't wait to hold her myself.

  2. She is such a beautiful baby. I am also sorry that you had to go through all of that, but she is so worth it!

  3. Hooray! That is a magnificent story and a great word. :) We are so excited for you all. I wish you naps. And time to sit and stare in between them:)

  4. Boy, that sounds like an especially hard one. Especially the posterior part! But thank heavens both of you are fine and she's home now. (I love her name, by the way. Eve Denton sounds great.)

    You certainly earn your children, don't you? Between the early worries and getting stitched and having to have the baby turned (ouch!), you have definitely paid your dues.

    And it looks like Eve was worth every bit of it.

    Congratulations to all of you. I couldn't be happier for the whole Denton family.


  5. Oh, I'm so glad I'm not pregnant. My only natural delivery was my 9 pound 13 ounce POSTERIOR Natalie.

    What a trooper. I hope now you can forget all that and just enjoy your beautiful new baby. I wish I lived close and could come over and cuddle her.

    Now go and take a nap.

  6. Wow Jenny. One would think that by delivery #7 it would be super easy. Funny how baby deliveries are never predictable. I thought my last one surely would be quick and easy but I was wrong. However, mine was quite a bit easier than yours. You're amazing! And I love her name!! That was on the top of my list for Claire but Devon vetoed it. Adorable name for an adorable baby!

  7. She is so sweet! She is sure out of the Denton mold. Thanks for letting us come and love on her yesterday!

  8. What a sweet photo of Eve, and I love the one with the kids. Micah and Lily were so excited on Sunday in Primary, I'm not sure how they managed to keep all the excitement and energy locked down, but they did a great job. So happy she is home, hope you are getting some rest while your mom is here.

  9. Eve is absolutely beautiful! I love that picture with Lily holding her...everyone looks so happy! I'm kinda thinkin' maybe I'll never have children after reading this. Adoption is good, right? Just kidding Jenny! Have a great day and enjoy your mom being in town!

  10. Ok, so that leaves me a little apprehensive about my journey into the labor room in the next few weeks! Eve is beautiful though and I can't wait for her to meet our little girl and hopefully they'll be best pals like John and Micah!