January 21, 2017

Molly's birth story

With a due date of February 7, I always suspected Molly would be a January baby. Parker was, after all, eight days early, relatively unusual for a first pregnancy. Babies, of course, don't follow any rules, though, and no one can ever predict what's going to happen. Pretty much the only guarantee is that eventually, somehow that baby is going to exit your womb. In my mind I figured that she would probably be two weeks early, never imagining that she'd be so eager to join the outside world she'd try for a full 36 days early.

This is a birth story. It's long and involved. Go grab a coffee, grab a snack, and maybe grab a quick nap beforehand if you're feeling drowsy. I make no apologies.

I wrote about those first few days already so I'm not going to spend too much time rehashing them, but my water broke early, possibly January 1st but definitely January 2nd. When presented with our options, my doctor recommended being induced on the 2nd at 34 weeks and 6 days.

I was fairly flexible with my birth plan, the goal always being to have a baby and bring it home, and this time I knew with absolute certainty I wanted an epidural. I never thought much about the bringing baby home part of the plan because it always just seemed like such a given. With a normal pregnancy and normal ultrasounds and prenatal appointments it never even crossed my mind that leaving my baby at the hospital was an option. Standards vary, but in Regina if your baby is born before 36 weeks they go to the NICU. I'm still a little unclear on if there's wiggle room to take them home earlier if they're doing well, but the NICU certainly did not fit into our birth plan. 

We opted for 48 hours of IV antibiotics in hospital, then five days of oral ones at home if labour didn't start naturally. When we went into the hospital January 2nd I had minor irregular cramping that seemed like it might be a prelude to labour, but it went away. I spent the next two days in a hospital bed, trying to catch up on sleep and watching Jane the Virgin. I had a visit from the NICU doctor while I was there to talk about what we could expect when Molly was born. The big worries were her breathing and eating. Babies that early don't necessarily have the sucking reflex figured out yet, let alone superstar lungs.

I had an ultrasound on my second day in the hospital and the tech informed me that baby still looked like a girl (I asked, since she was looking around) and that she estimated her weight at 7 lbs 3 oz. Considering Parker was 6 lbs 10 oz at 10 days early, I was shocked. Naturally, I knew that there's room for error in that number (usually half a pound) but I couldn't believe the baby I expected to be tiny was actually a relative giant five weeks before her due date. The tech even asked if I had gestational diabetes because of my baby heifer. Part of me wanted to be induced at that very moment just to make sure she didn't turn into a 10 lb turkey. Sorry, lady bits.

When I was done my antibiotics and getting ready to be discharged my doctor popped in to chat. He told me that the steroid shot I'd been given to mature Molly's lungs was a little controversial and, he thought, unnecessary. The obstetrician hadn't told me that the shot was definitely needed before 34 weeks, but that it might not be necessary for a baby at 34 weeks and 6 days. She also hadn't told me that the shot could have the side affect of helping the baby gain a lot of weight for a week or so, particularly if I had a lot of sugar. My favourite part of the hospital food I'd been getting was the juice they gave me four or five times a day. The food was so abysmal that I was taking full advantage of all the wonderful orange juice they were giving me. If I had to stay in the hospital, I could at least treat myself to an abundance of juice. I had visions of myself giving birth to a 10 lb juice baby, being ripped clean in half during delivery, and her not fitting any of her newborn clothes.

The doctor and I decided on Monday as my induction date, a week after my water officially broke, since it wasn't quite 36 weeks, but was the last day of my antibiotics. He warned me that there was a slight possibility my membranes could fix themselves and, in that case, we could actually make it to 39 weeks. I prayed that wouldn't be the case. I'd gotten used to the idea of a 36 week baby and laying off the sugar for a week. (I made it three days at home before I got back on the chocolate train. I'm weak and was leaking. Hold the judgement.) Do you remember the story of the 14 lb baby that was born a few years ago? I saw Molly and I following in his footsteps and becoming the next headline on the news, possibly entering the Guinness Book of World Records.

When I was discharged Wednesday afternoon (January 4th) I was thrilled. It's hard to sleep in the hospital, especially when your antibiotics need to be changed every few hours and your ruptured membranes like to do their ruptured thing while you're in your deepest sleep. With Parker I thought 36 hours of broken water was horrendous, but a week is a whole other adventure. Remember, amniotic fluid regenerates itself so your broken water just keeps going like you're constantly wetting yourself, no matter how empty you keep your bladder. Glamorous.

On the way home from the hospital, Karl and I went to Costco. I was a little worried that all the walking would start labour (as most people go into labour within 12-24 hours of their water breaking), but I am now convinced that if left to its own devices my body would never actually go into labour and would just leak amniotic fluid until toddlers eventually crawled out of my womb and demanded peanut butter and jam sandwiches. My body just isn't interested in the whole giving birth ordeal and I can't say I blame it. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Costco did not cause me to go into labour (surprise, surprise), and the only painful part about it was how much money we managed to spend. 

We went home, where my dad was watching Parker and they were having a grand old time. I planned to never leave the house again, then Karl talked me into a trip to the grocery store that night. Apparently there's a part of me that can't say no to the control that comes with buying the week's groceries and scoping out good deals. While at the store I felt an all too familiar gush as I bent to pick up some almond milk from a lower shelf. Thankfully I was wearing a long winter coat and we were at the end of our list, so my laughing husband, wet pants, and I finished up our shopping with as much dignity as I could muster. I vowed not to leave the house again and, short of one five minute trip to the drug store for what I like to affectionately think of as "lady diapers," I became a shut in until it was time to go back to the hospital.

While I really wanted to make it to my induction date, I knew everything would be okay if I could just get a couple hours at home before having my baby. I needed to mentally wrap my head around it all, even just have a chance to pack my own hospital bag and put some baby clothes in there. Karl did an okay job, but he didn't understand which swaddle blanket I wanted or how many headbands to bring. I also just needed the chance to go home and wrap my head around it all. Molly's room wasn't done, the laundry room was a mess of boxes of kids clothes, and our darn Christmas decorations were still up. Had she come on January 2nd, the tree would probably still be up today.

As it was, I had five days to hang pictures on her walls, sort through what felt like hundreds of boxes of kid clothes, do some baking, reading, and sleeping. I was tired, but got everything done that I needed to.

Two days before I was due to be induced I started cramping again. Karl and I went to the hospital but they sent us home after an hour and the cramping went away. It had been a pretty intense day of doing laundry and hanging pictures so I opted to take it even easier from then on. I finished Molly's room and it went from a space that I really didn't like, with its mixed and matched furniture, to a room I'm genuinely envious of. It's amazing what the random art I've had laying around the house and a crocheted triceratops head can do for a space, never mind my mental state.

We got the call early Monday afternoon to come in for our induction. There's something so nice about walking into Labour and Delivery and being greeted by your smiling nurses, then calmly brought back to your room where, yes, finally, you know that baby is going to come out. There's not as much uncertainty, no tears, no labour pains, just friendliness and anticipation.

In the delivery room the white board had a tick mark next to the NICU section. When I asked about it, they informed me that the NICU people would be present for her birth because she still wasn't quite 36 weeks. While it wasn't what I wanted, I was glad that there were measures in place to help our little girl should she need it.

Being induced with Molly was very different from my experience with Parker. With Parker it took hours for anything to happen, and when it did it was like someone had poured kerosene on my insides and lit them on fire. With Molly, they started the drugs at 3:30 and I had minor cramping registering on the monitors within the hour. We started taking bets as to what time we thought she'd be born. Our nurses thought it would be just before midnight, and they didn't think we'd still be there when they got back in the morning. They were lovely, but we were okay with not having to see them again. Operation Get The Baby Out was in motion.

I listened to an audiobook and played Tetris on my phone to pass the time while we waited for things to get going. Because my membranes were ruptured no one was in a hurry to check how dilated I was due to our dear friend "infection risk." My doctor visited at 8 o'clock after delivering a 10 lb baby in the room next to us (that poor mother) and checked me. Three c.m. dilated. Before leaving, he instructed the nurses to call him if I seemed at all ready to go, even if they thought it was a false alarm. My baby, he said, was going to fly out of me when the time came. I have super children.

An hour or two later my cramping started getting more uncomfortable. It was still manageable and I could talk through it, but I decided to ask for my epidural. The magical epidural window is, ideally, 2-4 c.m. so I knew I was eligible. I didn't necessarily need it at that point, but I remembered what could happen without it and I wasn't ready to start practicing any heroics. Parker wasn't born so long ago that I've forgotten the excruciating pain that came along with his induction or how quickly it came on. Besides, who wants to be in pain if they don't have to?

When I got my epidural with Parker it felt like it took less than two minutes from start to finish. This time I must have been more in touch with reality because it took significantly longer. Last time my back was stiff for several weeks where the needle went in, but this time I don't even have a bruise. Once the epidural got going everything was set right in the world. They joked that we could name the baby Molly after a variation of the anaesthesiologist's last name. Karl and I laughed awkwardly.

After my epidural came one of my favourite parts of the birthing experience: the relaxing, comfortably numb part. It was ruined at 11 o'clock when I had to admit to the nurse that I probably needed a catheter since my epidural was doing such a good job. I was still only three or four c.m. After that, I couldn't get quite as comfortable. Ironically, I constantly felt like I needed to pee. The catheter was not everything I'd dreamed it would be.

From there on out I managed to relax for a little while if I let my mind wander and Karl even took a little nap. I couldn't feel anything, but the nurses assured me that my contractions/cramping were still happening regularly and we just needed them to get stronger. Have I told you how much I love my epidural?

Around 1:30 the nurse recommended that I try laying on my side since I'd been on my back the whole time. She said that sometimes babies can flip or turn when you're on your back for an extended period of time and it looked like maybe mine had done that. She didn't have to tell me twice. I rolled onto my side, but the darn catheter kept getting more uncomfortable. After a few minutes, I told the nurse it just wasn't working for me and she said I could go back onto my back.

At this point I was getting really uncomfortable. I wanted nothing more than to rip my catheter out and throw it across the room. I called Karl over to hold my hand and the nurses decided to check my progress. Lo and behold, I was 10 c.m. and baby's head was right there. I'm a little unclear as to the timeline on this, but I think it was around 1:55 when they called my doctor to come in.

Eight minutes later, at 2:03 a.m. he came in, gowned up, and they took the bed apart. It was go time.

Labour with Molly was very different than with Parker. With him I felt a lot of pressure like I needed to poop, but with her I was really uncomfortable on the front. I didn't feel the pressure come in waves like I did with him, I just felt so uncomfortable, even with the epidural. It was bearable but not something I'd want to do long term, and more intense than when I'd gotten the epidural a few hours earlier.

At 2:08 a.m. as I put my aching legs in the stirrups, my doctor told me that without the epidural Molly would have been born already because my urge to push would have been too strong. It felt like they were telling me to push even as they still took the bed apart. It was hard to wrap my head around being able to push without the urge to do so. I wasn't sure how much effort I could muster through the pain (more than discomfort, but akin to really bad period cramps), so I tried to push while talking to them through it. The next thing I knew they were telling me not to push so hard because that was baby's head. I let up on my push to the point that it felt like I almost wasn't doing anything at all and my body was just running the show.

And then her head was out. And it was another gentle push and the rest of her came out, crying with those perfectly strong and capable lungs at 2:13 a.m.

I took eight days of stalling, two pushes, five minutes, one fabulous epidural, and zero tearing (praise the Lord!) to bring Molly Faye Morton into the world. She was a perfect 20.5" long and 6 lbs 6 oz light. It all happened so fast that it took my brain a couple hours to fully comprehend that I had, in fact, given birth again and my little girl washere. I don't even think my doctor was up for an hour before it was all done and he told us he was going home and back to bed.

When they first held her up, one of the nurses told us we had the little boy we were expecting. "I mean girl!" Well that would have been a funny story.

Before heading to Mother and Baby we told the nurse to let the anaesthesiologist know that we had, in fact named our baby Molly. Hopefully it made her night.

We made it to 36 weeks and 133 minutes before our little nugget was born. She was right on the edge of being jaundiced but my doctor let us go home the next day as long as we promised to keep an eye on it and bring her in the next day if she wasn't improving. We were so glad to head home, and after four full days in the hospital in just over a week I was getting much too used to the menu. I also got the delightful experience of being a teaching experience for six nursing residents while we waited to be discharged, but that's another story for another day. Going home was wonderful and Molly did everything she could to kick the jaundice, including surpassing her birth weight within a week.

She is quite probably the mellowest baby in all of history. We all love her dearly and can't wait to see who she grows up to be.


  1. Man. All the emotions. I really should quit reading birth stories about now. They make me too nervous! But I just can't quit!

    I swear I was starting to feel some contractions while reading this. And I was right along with you when you were pushing. And I felt all the joy of holding that newest born baby. Ugh. 9+ more weeks. Because unlike you, my pregnancies take way too long.

  2. You are trooper my friend!! She is such a precious little nugget!

  3. Both of mine were born at Regina General. First one was "teaching" experience with resident doctor that did not go so well. Second one was born so fast I did not really care who delivered her, just as long as someone caught her. She too was born about a month early. Your daughter is beautiful!! Enjoy your amazing family.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Well, I'd prefer not to have this kid a month early but I sure would prefer a super fast labor and delivery like that! Crossing my fingers... ;)

    Molly is too cute!!!

  6. Go Molly, go! You are such a trooper and I am so proud of you after everything it took to get her here. She is just perfect, and I love you both!

  7. Good job! She is perfect and how awesome that you didn't have to push very long! (Also, I was 10lb 5oz and my mom did not have an epidural. Ouch!)

  8. You did amazing and what a precious little girl you have! Her name just kills me, SO CUTE 💕

  9. She's adorable, her name is perfect, and you are a rockstar! Way to go Anna! I'm impressed you were so calm during those 8 days before being induced. My nerves would have been a wreck!

  10. Oh my gosh, what a story!! She is absolutely adorable! And I LOVE her name!

  11. Congratulations, and I love the expression on her face in the first picture. It's like she's challenging us all: "I WILL COME OUT WHEN I WANT TO, OKAY??" And never apologize for a long birth story. That's the only kind there is.

  12. That is wild that you had your membranes ruptured for so long! Good for your doc for coming in so quick. Can you believe that when I was induced the doctor made me wait AN HOUR after I was ready to push? I love her name (and that's so funny that the anesthesiologist called it!). Congratulations, and thanks for sharing! I love reading birth stories!


 photo comments_zps824b3be6.jpg