our sweet baby GIRL!
As you may have heard by now, Amelia Rowe Marty was born on Sunday, November 15 at 3:48pm. Mia weighed 6lbs, 15oz and is a shorty at 18.5" long. She is named after my grandmother and sister (my grandma's name is Amelia and my sister's middle name is also Amelia) and Branden's mom and grandpa (Rowe is Branden's mom's maiden name).
Amelia's due date was November 8 and we spent the last week of my pregnancy trying to be patient while we waited for her to arrive. Though anxious to meet our little one, we tried to enjoy our last few days as a twosome. On Friday, November 13, I went for a check-up and was showing little sign of progress towards labor. We were happy to wait and allow the baby to come on his or her own schedule, but modern medicine had other plans. Our midwife told us that our hospital wouldn't allow us to wait past 41 weeks and 6 days, so an induction was scheduled for Friday, November 20. I had long been hoping to avoid an induction, but we were left little choice. We went home and hoped that our little baby girl or boy would decide to arrive before we were forced to induce.
Like so many things in life, even the best laid plans don't always work out as expected. On Saturday morning, November 14, my water broke around 6:30am. We were thrilled and excitedly waited for contractions and labor to begin. We called our doula and told her to be ready to come over. She gave us some ideas to help labor get started and we tried them all (walking, climbing stairs, warm shower, etc). We kept in contact with our doula all morning and early afternoon - when nothing had happened by 2pm, she suggested we start thinking about calling the midwife. Since my water had broken, she knew the hospital would want the baby delivered by 6:30am on Sunday (to avoid infection) and we were running out of time to labor and deliver before our 24 hours were up. Branden and I decided to give it until 4pm before we called. By then, I still wasn't showing any signs of labor, so we called the hospital and they told us we needed to come in as soon as possible.
We showered and got ready, again enjoying our last few moments as a twosome. We headed to the hospital around 5pm and got checked into Triage so the doctor on call could check me out. She confirmed that my water had indeed broken and decided to admit us since it had been nearly eleven hours with no signs of labor.
Once we were checked into our room, the doctor came in to discuss a game plan. She felt it was time to induce labor, so we discussed our options by which to do so. Ultimately, we decided on Pitocin. It would cause heavy, hard contractions, but it was proven safe for the baby and would force my body into labor. We called Donna, our doula, and asked her to come to the hospital for support. Already our birth plan was changing and we wanted a familiar face with us to help guide us through the world of modern medicine.
The doctor started Pitcoin about 7:30pm and it didn't take long for the contractions to begin. Upon admission, I was only dilated to a 1.5-2cm, so we knew that the Pitocin and my body had a lot of work to do before this baby was born. We settled in for a long night.
The next twelve hours are a bit of a blur. I had decided on a natural childbirth, so the doctors and nurses tried to respect that as much as possible. That said, the induction required some medical intervention and we had to be flexible with our birth plan. I had to be monitored continuously, so I couldn't leave my bed or bedside. I was able to stand and squat through the contractions, which helped tremendously. I wished I had the freedom to walk or move more but, again, we were all having to be flexible and make adjustments due to the induction. Unfortunately, as the night wore on, Amelia and I required more and more interventions, eventually forcing me to lie in bed, wearing an oxygen mask and more monitors. Her heart rate kept dropping with each contraction and the lack of amniotic fluid was causing her cord to get pinched (hence the need for me to be on oxygen). These extra interventions, while certainly needed, were making it very difficult for me to deal with the pain of the contractions - I had little relief because I couldn't move around and they were very irregular due to the Pitocin. I would have three contractions without a break and then not have another one for several minutes. The combination of these factors was wearing me down.
Finally, about 3am, when I was only dilated to 4cm and hadn't made any progress in several hours, I decided I would ask for some pain relief. I was disheartened by my lack of progress and exhaustion was setting in. I knew I had many more hours of labor ahead of me and it was difficult to deal with the pain while forced to lie in bed. Branden and Donna persuaded me to wait a little longer and really think the decision through. I appreciated their support and continued to labor naturally. An little over an hour later, I decided that I really did want pain medication and asked them to tell the nurse. The anesthesiologist was in an emergency c-section with another patient, so the nurse offered some mild pain relief while I waited for an epidural. That medication did little for the pain, but it did make me a little loopy, so I labored in a bit of a fog while we waited for the anesthesiologist. Around 7am, we finally got word that the anesthesiologist was on her way and by 7:30am, I had much needed relief. While I was disappointed in my decision, I knew that getting the epidural was the best decision for me at the time. I was having trouble relaxing through the contractions and I think the tension was preventing my body and the baby from progressing.
Of course, the epidural allowed my body to relax and it allowed all three of us (Branden, Donna and myself) a much-needed nap. We all went to sleep and woke up about 9:30am. Branden and Donna took turns staying with me while the other went for fresh air and food. By that time, shift change had taken place and a midwife had come on call. She took over my care from the doctor and came in to introduce herself. I wasn't showing any signs of infection, so she agreed to let us keep laboring, despite having passed the 24-hour mark since my water had broken. We were thankful for her patience and relieved that a c-section wasn't in our future (at least not yet).
Because I had the epidural, the next several hours seemed to crawl by. Though laboring naturally was hard and painful, it did make the time pass quickly and made me feel productive, like I was really working to bring my baby into the world. With the epidural, I didn't do anything but lay in bed and wait. It was hard but my body was progressing and we knew it wouldn't be much longer before our baby was born. My parents arrived at the hospital around 12:30pm, surprised that they still didn't have a grandchild!
About an hour later, Kel, the midwife, came in to check on my progress. She discovered that I was fully dilated and ready to go! While checking though, she discovered the our little one was in a face-up presentation. Since this is pretty uncommon, she grabbed an ultrasound machine and the doctor on-call for a second opinion. Sure enough, the baby was presenting face-up, meaning we would see the baby's face upon delivery, rather than the top or back of the head. Kel said that I could still deliver the baby vaginally, we would just have to be prepared for any complications. She told me to start getting ready to push and began to prepare the room for delivery. I asked the anesthesiologist to turn down the epidural so I could feel the contractions to be able to push with them and an hour later I felt ready to go. With everyone in place, I started to push with each contraction and our sweet baby was born just 15 minutes later with no complications! After 33 hours of waiting, we were so relived that she arrived quickly! Branden quickly checked her over and told me "it's a girl, it's a girl"! She was placed on my belly and we just marveled at this new little person that had arrived.
We had only chosen one name for a girl, so we were happy that Amelia seemed to fit her. She was very very bruised and swollen from delivering face-up but, of course, we thought she was adorable regardless. We enjoyed about 45 minutes of bonding and then Branden went to tell my parents the happy news. They were thrilled and couldn't wait to meet their new granddaughter.
A little over a week has passed since Amelia's arrival and we just fall more and more in love with her each day. She is a sweet, mellow baby and hardly ever cries (no seriously, she really doesn't cry). When she wants or needs something she just gives a little peep, as if to say "Mom? Dad?" and then that's it. Her bruising and swelling have nearly disappeared and she is just beautiful. She is petite and delicate and she seems to look a lot like Branden as a baby. For now, her hair is a medium brown and her eyes are a dark gray-blue, so we'll see if that changes. She lost a bit too much weight after birth and had a little bout of jaundice as a result, but she's doing well now. She's back up to about six and a half pounds and we expect she'll be back up to her birth weight by her two-week check up on Monday.
We want to thank you all for the many warm wishes. We've received so many phone calls, emails and cards and we feel so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends. Please be patient with us as we slowly return calls and emails, but please know that we greatly appreciate the warm welcome you've all given to Amelia. I promise to keep you updated with more photos via the blog, but for now I've got a sweet little girl to feed...
If you have a few minutes, here is a video my dad put together of Amelia's first week. It's about eight minutes long, but it has tons of pictures and some video. If you want to see it in a larger screen, you can watch it here.