A Birth Story: Nelle

28.12.13 Ali Moore 1 Comments

You are asleep upstairs with Dada, nestled in your swing in front of the twinkling half-decorated Christmas tree.  
Henry's been in bed for hours.  Franklin is snoring behind me on the guest bed.

I've finally made it down to my computer to write about you, Nelle.  
About the story of how you made our family of three a family of four.

Your dad and I both expected you to come a bit early.  After all, it was my second pregnancy so we had that in our favor, but I had also started dialating early.  At 35 weeks I was dialated to a 2 and 75% efaced.  At 38 weeks I was dialated to a 3, still 75-80% efaced.  My trips to the gym and runs on the treadmill were paying off!  But my blood pressure was also borderline high at week 38 so Dr. Hild asked casually how I felt about induction the following week.

My heart instantly started beating faster.  Induction scared me.

She agreed to another check the following Monday, and we'd discuss things further then.

 I woke up throughout Sunday night and early into Monday morning (December 9th) with stronger Braxton Hicks, but nothing regular, 
nothing painful, nothing that felt like labor had with Henry.

At my appointment, I had dialated to a 4, but my blood pressure was also still up, and unfortunately, there was a trace of protein in my urine so my time was up.  To avoid my health deteriorating towards preclampsia, if you didn't come by Wednesday on your own, Andrew and I would check in to Wesley at 5am on Thursday morning to be induced.  Dr. Hild stripped my membranes to try and start things as naturally on their own as possible, and I left totally discouraged and feeling really overwhelmed by the idea of having to force you out if you weren't ready.  

My Braxton Hicks were stronger throughout the day than they had been previously, but nothing consistent enough to stop and pay attention to.  

I decided it was now or never to finish your room, so while Henry napped, I got two hours to throw together art for your frame gallery wall.  We went to the gym late in the afternoon, and I walked for 45 minutes and noticed several Braxton Hicks one after another as my speed increased.  

That evening though, my Braxton Hicks completely went away.  I was defeated.  I thought surely things would have picked up on their own by this point if they were going to.  Andrew prepped the tub for me, and I soaked for thirty minutes and cried.  I was so ready to meet you, yet not at all.  I was mad at my body for putting me in this situation.  I had still been toying with the idea of a natural labor and thought there was no way 
I could handle it if Pitocin was involved.  

I was in bed by 9:30pm.


At 2am, I woke up having a contraction.  

Not a stronger Braxton Hicks, but a definite contraction.  It wasn't terribly long, but it was strong enough to make me focus on my breath.  I didn't wake up Andrew as I wanted to wait to see when the next one would come.

And it did - soon.

And so did the next one, and the next one, and the intensity built quickly.  So much, that I didn't have to wake him up.  My breathing did.  

He right away wanted to call my parents as they were going to have to drive to Manhattan to come stay with Henry.  I was hesitant as it was 2:30am, and was thinking we could wait awhile instead.  I had planned to labor at home as long as possible and thought I'd have a few hours at least.  
Andrew thought they should know and called anyway.

He got up to shower.  I told him to keep it reasonable this time, as it's been a joke since your brother was born that he purposely showered for as long as possible (30 minutes!) while I was contracting with Henry in order to ensure the birthcare center would actually admit us on our third try.

I started pacing.  I wanted to walk and use gravity on my side to help you come down.  I stopped for a minute and sat on the couch to contract, and Franklin jumped up from his bed and rubbed up against me.  It was awful.  Sitting through the contraction, the irritation of him pushed up against me.

After I let out my last breath of that contraction, I put Franklin outside and resumed to contracting standing up.  Things were happening quickly.  

I just knew.

When we had talked about when to come to the hospital with Dr. Hild, it wasn't about the timing of the contractions since I had contracted so close together so quickly with Henry, but more about the feeling of the contractions.

It was 3am.  And it was time.

Each contraction was more intense, and I could feel you pushing down on my pelvis.

Andrew wrapped up his shower and called our neighbor Anne.  She was two houses down and arrived 10 minutes later.  
She helped me put my shoes on and got us into the car.

About 45 minutes after I woke up with my first contraction, we arrived at the hospital.  Afterwards, your dad would recount how he drove 60mph down Central and ran a few red lights because he could tell things were real and happening fast based on how hard I squeezed his hand with each contraction in the car. 

Because of my high blood pressure, we had to deliver at the hospital instead of the birthcare center.  I could of killed Andrew when he drove past the laboring mother parking spots.  I hadn't noticed they were all full.  He helped me out of the car, and we almost made it to the skywalk entrance, but I just couldn't walk five more steps.  Another contraction.  It was 7 degrees out, but I would have never known.  All I could do was focus on breathing.

Another in the elevator.

Several more as I filled out the admittance paperwork.

Another as we walked back to our room.

 More as I tried to answer questions on my medical history.

More in between the first time they checked me.  I was dilated to a six.

Do I want an epidural?


Andrew looked at me and asked if I was sure.  I was abandoning my plan.  And again, I said yes.  

After feeling you pushing on my pelvis with each contraction, I just didn't think I could handle what was to come.  There was already so much pressure.  I kept contracting and asked how quickly they could administer it.  I wasn't in the system yet.  

Andrew finished my medical history questions as I couldn't keep up as I contracted.  I stood by the bed and leaned and rocked with each contraction, holding Andrew's or a nurse's hand.  Someone rubbed my back.

I got onto the bed and onto my side and contracted and contracted and contracted as I was given my epidural.  My body was shaking.  Andrew kept asking me if I was cold, but it was uncontrollable, and I heard the nurse tell him it was hormone-driven, not the temperature.  About halfway through, I grabbed the rails and had to start vocalizing with each breath.  I felt like I had to push. 

The epidural was in, but I could still feel everything.  Finally, the resident found a break between contractions to check me.  I was a 10 and the baby was low.  I had transitioned through the most severe, intense part of labor in a perfectly still position on the bed. 

I think I laughed.

I contracted maybe two, three more times and asked a bit impatiently if we were waiting on Dr. Hild.  
I could feel my body had been pushing on its own with the last several minutes of contractions.

The nurse looked at me like she didn't really want to answer.

Yes, but we're also waiting to allow a few more contractions to push the baby lower.

Dr. Hild arrived maybe one or two contractions later.  

The lights in the room changed.  She checked me...the baby was right there!  I scooted to the edge of the bed.  Andrew grabbed the camera.  Later he would count off how many people were in the room, but I didn't notice.  She said I could push with the next contraction.

I pushed and the med student counted.  I felt so much pressure.  I felt the ring of fire I had heard about recounted from those that had previously given birth medication-free.  I didn't want to wait for the next contraction to push again.  I was ready for the relief.  I was ready to meet you.

I pushed, and your head came out.

Andrew said, "it looks like a girl!", and I told him there's no way you could tell from a head.

I pushed again, there you were. 

Eight days early, after two and a half hours of labor and pushing through one and a half contractions, my baby I had thought all along was a boy, 
was announced, "it's a girl!" and placed on my chest.

Your dad was right again.


I didn't understand how my heart could grow to love another baby, but it just did.  At 4:33am, it made room for you, just like it had for Henry 18 months earlier.  I fell in love with each finger, each toe, your wispy eye lashes, your dark hair, the way you suck in your sleep, your quiet noises, the way squirm and wiggle and snuggle until you find just the right place on my chest like it's your favorite place in the world, how you've completely melted your father, how you look at me like you've known me all along.


 I have a daughter.

And I love her.  So much.

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