The Longest Night

The bruises are starting to fade from my arms. I have never been bruised during labor before. I have also never done the following:

Had an IV

Been in Labor for more than 10 total hours

Used every single towel on the entire Delivery Unit because of the mass amount of amniotic fluid leakage

Had an Epidural

Pushed a baby out in one push

Had a pitocin drip

Been too tired to finish

Needed any help doing anything after the birth

Not been able to hold and nurse my baby right away


Clearly – this was not one of my normal deliveries. And with the past track record of this child during this pregnancy – are we surprised???

So we all know Kendall is a troublemaker from day one. Why would her birth be any different???

I guess you could say things got started Thursday night, but I should back up even a little from there. After my last post about my progress at my midwife appointment last Wednesday, my awesome mom came down to help me with the girls and all the other preparations I was procrastinating on! We worked ourselves into a flurry of activity doing baby laundry, clothes sorting, cleaning, getting baby stuff up out of the basement, etc. 

On Thursday morning I knew I had to get a few things in order for Kidstown (work at church) so Karissa and I went to the office to get stuff squared away there. Got so much done I was so proud of myself, knowing if i could just get a couple more hours in at home I would be all set for this weekend for the volunteers, even if I wasn’t there myself. After getting home, we all decided to go walk around the mall with my sister for a while and see if we couldn’t get things started since stuff was already going on. We stopped off first at the computer store so I could get the new church laptop. This was supposed to be about a ten minute process since I already knew what I wanted. Half an hour later I walked out to the car where my mom had tried to keep the girls happy by letting them watch their movie and feeding them every piece of candy she could find in the car. Awesome. And the car won’t start. Watching the movie had cOMPLETEly drained the battery. I mean just a click click click, no turning over whatsoever. 

Ben was on his way home to get Kealey off the bus so I called my sister to come jump it. Now I am parked facing in and the ONLY way this will work is if Noelle is able to park right next to me. At the time I called her, there was an open spot on either side of me. The second I hung up, someone pulled in to the driver’s side spot, so my mom gets out and stands in the spot next to the passenger side so at least noelle is semi close. I can’t fully describe the craziness of the scene that unfolded over the next 20 minutes or so…

Noelle’s Armada has the battery on the VERY FAR passenger side of the engine block, my Denali has it on the VERY FAR driver’s side of the engine block. I don’t think there are battery cables made that would easily stretch the 20 feet…But Noelle being the AMAZING driver that she is was able to get her car in TOTALLY side by side with mine – i mean, i don’t think you could even blow a breath between our cars when we finally were done. So then we both sit out there going – “positive to negative? red to black? ground it first?” And people coming out of the store are like – “oh crap they’re going to blow up the neighborhood!” cause we were getting SO giggly at ourselves. We finally figured it out and got the car going, then went through the whole thing again figuring out how to take the cables back OFF everything without shocking ourselves. This was really a crazy funny scene to see noelle having to climb in and out of the passenger side of our touching cars four or five times trying to get everything started…good times.

Anyways – after all this, we pull out of the driveway to see a naperville community service officer sitting RIGHT THERE….you know, the ones who help you jump your car for free??? Neat. Walking around the mall was fun but, you know, nothing of importance started happening so we went to the chiropractor and then home. The chiro did a special “get labor started” adjustment which she swears works for everyone she does it to. I wasn’t expecting much but was agreeable to pretty much anything by that point.

We went home to get the girls ready for Awana, eat dinner, and then my mom and I were going to get our nails did. Cause you know, its important to have cute toes for labor. On the way to the nail shop I started feeling contractions that were pretty consistently 7 minutes apart. They weren’t too strong, but definitely felt a little different than the Braxton-Hicks from the past few months. I wasn’t too excited about them just knowing that labor is a stop start process, but by the time we were done with the pedicure I was just feeling really off. Somehow made it back into the church, got the girls, made it home and I just felt – crappy. Ben was asking me all these questions and all I could say was “I dont know, I don’t know” I didn’t know how I felt or what I was feeling or what I wanted to do, but when Ben said we were going in I didn’t argue. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I knew SOMETHING was up – I didn’t think it was labor quite yet, but then again I didn’t want to deliver a baby on the side of the road or anything, so I just did what Ben was directing me to do. We got to the hospital and I think I was in a semi-unconscious state by that point – I just wasn’t all there. The midwife was trying to ask questions to assess where I was and I just still couldn’t articulate my thoughts very well. They wanted to start the IV to get some fluids and anti-nausea meds in me cause at that point it was just this horrific nausea that was topping the list of things that were bothering me. I didn’t want to drink water cause that would make things worse feeling. 

Clearly there was something already going wrong because I instantly started perking up when all the fluids started going in, and I know I would never have been able to hydrate myself enough to get back on top of that dehydration. I instantly went from a 1 to a 3 dilated after getting the fluids, so they admitted me and hooked me up to monitors and we started the process. I guess that was probably around 11 pm sometime. Thus began an all nite ordeal of getting monitored for half an hour, given an hour of freedom, monitored for half hour, up for an hour. Ben caught a few cat naps in between all this activity on the chair in the room, but I hated the monitoring and never really got any sleep in between all the fussing. The next morning when the shift changed, my more regular midwife came in , asked if we wanted to break my water and get everything ready to have the baby. So we did. Fully expecting that she would be here within about 45 minutes at the latest. I remember feeling nervous about it, knowing it was going to cause a LOT of pain, but ready to meet my baby girl. 

She broke my water at about 8:30 and MAN did it just GUSH.

This is a picture from probably a few minutes before the water was broken and looking at it now, i can see where i was ALL FLUID! craziness! I literally used up every towel in my room, and from the utility room next door, where they put the entire unit’s towels throughout this process. It just kept coming! So I thought for sure, ok, once her little swimming pool is fully drained here, she’ll HAVE to come out! We went walking, sat on the birth stool (I can’t even describe it…) used the birth ball – and while I continued to slowly but surely dilate, they never got more painful or more intense. I couldn’t figure out if it was because I wasn’t in active labor or just because for once I was not having back labor…but things were moving forward and by that point there was no going back so we pushed on ahead.

I think it was probably around 1 in the afternoon when we decided to try “n*pple stimulation” with the breast pump to see if we could get them more intense. I was starting to get a little discouraged by this point just because I really thought she would have been here by now, and she was just showing NO signs of wanting to come out anytime soon. I was also just starting to feel the effects of being up all nite in latent labor. The breast pump did start helping them come more intensely, and between my mom, the nurse and eventually even the midwife, I decided to succumb to just a “whiff of pitocin” in the IV to keep up the intensity and speed things along. After about an hour on the drip with no change, I jumped at the opportunity to get the epidural from the midwife.

Now this is where I probably need to explain my thought process. Ben did a GREAT job trying to talk me through why i was getting one, since I have never had one before. I guess at that point I just wanted to feel RELIEF. I wanted to know what it felt like to have a calm birth, not this painful flurry of activity at the end where my mind isn’t even on the same plane as reality. I just wanted to feel that drug induced high for once. So I asked for the epidural. The nurse came in to prep me for the liter of fluid i needed to receive before the epidural could go in and noticed “oh my gosh, your Pit line hasn’t been working its all backed up!” Neat. So the past hour of pitocin is now pooled in my wrist, and she starts massaging that out, resetting the lines, etc. At approximately the exact same time that the epidural man comes in, the hour’s worth of pitocin kicks in all at once. So here I am, bent over a pillow getting my shoulders yanked down by the nurse while a man is sticking a 12 inch needle into my epidural space and being told to not move a muscle. It hurts like a MO FO and my entire right side goes heavy with pressure and pain. They push a “test dose” and the world goes WONKY. Everyone sounded like Mr. Roboto, i could only see in black and white and i felt like my heart was pounding somewhere near my eardrums at a speed equivalent to 892 miles per hour. The nurse tells him to yank it – apparently he had hit a vein. That sucked. But ok, i’ve been through the pain once, what’s one more quick time, right?

so he starts the process all over again with a new kit.

This time the pain comes back and he just goes “CSF” and the nurse says, oh honey, he hit your spinal cord we have to do it again. I was about through the roof with the pain by this point and i just said no, no more. I am done. So up he cleans and the nurse is going to so graciously turn up the pitocin since it hasn’t been working the past hour and again  – i just yelled NO. No more interventions – let’s just let this thing happen. I just wanted to sleep. Actually by that point I knew something was wrong and wouldn’t have minded if they had just said, we’re going to knock you out and just go in and get the baby via C-section. Clearly I was out of my mind because who would CHOOSE that option?

The nurse and midwife were in the room discussing stuff, that is about the last thing I remember. The contractions started coming much more intensely at that point. I think I knew it was about to happen. The midwife checked me when she heard the noises I was making and said, oh she’s almost complete, she’s an 8-9, maybe with a few more contractions she’ll get this cervix out of the way, 10-15 minutes maybe.

I did NOT have 10-15 minutes left in me.

Next contraction I gave a push to see what the response would be, and the midwife was very encouraging, so I figured I could go for it. Took another deep breath in, grabbed the bars on the bed and gave the most ….what word is there to describe that intense pushing of one life out of another?

Anyways, I pushed with everything I had in me – just needing to at least get her head out, to make some kind of progress. My eyes were closed, I thought the midwife was right there. As best as we can piece together – this is what happened in the next, oh, 30 seconds…

The midwife turned around to start getting her gown on and the bed broken down for pushing (you know, where you put your feet in the stirrups and whatnot…gag), and the nurse bent down just then to check my progress for herself. I guess I made some noise or indication that I was pushing harder this time because Noreen (midwife) looked at my face, rushed back to the bed and put her hand out just in time to catch a very slippery Kendall from sliding off the edge of the bed. I pushed her out in one huge massive push. I guess I thought her shoulders would stop her??? Or that the midwife was right there? Or that SOMETHING other than a baby bullet would come flying out in one push would happen! The midwife immediately took her over to the warmer because she was pretty bloody and we had no idea where it was all coming from, nor why she wasn’t responding to birth in the normal way (ie, breathing and crying and kicking). I think Ben and I just sat there and stared for a few seconds like – did that just happen? I was in shock. Then I was scared. Cause they just kept rubbing Kendall and giving her oxygen and calling for NICU consult. I was also I think in a little bit of shock. I kept feeling like something else was happening, you know, down under. But I couldn’t articulate it to the midwife. Who finally came back over to me and started discussing the placenta and stitching. I lost it. Completely and utterly lost it – sobbing crying screaming that i couldn’t do another thing just make it all be over NOW please please please don’t stitch me up just leave me alone. Ben just tucked my head down into his shoulder and told me it was ok that i had done good and i was almost done and i was just so tired….he just let me sob and sob and sob while the midwife did her best to put the least amount of stitches in to keep me from bleeding out. Which we found out later, I essentially almost did. Kendall must have grabbed her cord on her quick descent out, and pulled the placenta with her, because it had abrupted (torn away) from the uterus and I was losing lots of blood really quick. So between the trauma with Kendall happening at one end of the room, and me being close to shock and/or worse at the other end…it was just a nightmare. I remember being really really really freaked out over Kendall, knowing that something was going wrong and that everyone was afraid to say something to me. Finally they got me cleaned up – it looked like a scene from a horror movie. There was blood everywhere, and our not quite so with it nurse decides to invite the whole family in. It was chaos. They brought Kendall over to me for a quick peek before they had to take her down to NICU, so the girls and I got to say hi really quick, and kealey got to hold her for a second. Then she was gone, and Kealey was sobbing and Ben was gone with Kendall and I was sobbing and Kaylen is rolling around the room on the cart they use to hold the instruments and such and I really really really thought ok this is it. I have officially lost my mind. My dad managed to hold it together long enough to pray for us, and then they left too.

And it was just me.

In that big room alone. Hearing everyone else out in the hallway rejoicing over thier new babies with their families. Hearing their babies cry. I couldn’t even reach the covers by myself to at least try to stay warm. And i was just exhausted. I was lower than low at that point.

Then Ben came in and i started crying again. And he gently explained to me that they had admitted Kendall and that she needed a lot of help and that it would be at least a few days until she could even think about leaving the NICU. I knew he was just repeating back to me what the nurses had told him, but I knew it was pretty bad what he was saying. I knew that a SiPap machine was basically a step below a breathing tube/ventilator breathing for her. I knew she was pretty sick. And I knew that I was in so much physical and emotional pain right then that I just wanted to close my eyes and have it all be gone.

They eventually came to wheel me down to the recovery rooms and to see Kendall. We got into the NICU and i saw her there, covered with tubes and wires and just so little, so tiny…and no matter how many times you have seen those things on TV or movies or heard about them from a friend’s sister’s cousin who had a baby in NICU – NOTHING on this earth can prepare you for seeing YOUR BABY like that. I can’t even put into words the depths of despair I felt for her at that moment. I just put my hand on her, tried to make some semblance of a prayer form in my mind, closed my eyes and sobbed. I don’t even know how I still had tears left at that point.

They took me down to my room, dumped me into the bed, drugged me up, and I slept for about 4 hours. Until the pain in my head from that effed up epidural was so bad I was crying out to God to just take me now. Put me out of my misery…Somehow I managed to crawl to the bathroom a few times that nite… i remember that much. My morning nurse came in around 7, took one look at me and immediately called anesthesia to come fix this problem they had created. 

So within 16 hours I had my THIRD epidural. This time they had to patch my own blood back in to try to stop the leaking of the cerebro-spinal fluid they had created the day before. They had to pull blood from three different spots in my arms to try to get enough to transfuse back into my spine, hopefully with the end goal that the pain in my head and neck would go away. It was just one trauma after another. The pressure was relieved once they put the blood patch in – but i was still in a lot of pain. I just wanted to get down to nicu to see my baby but i couldn’t even hold my own head up for all the pain and dizziness it caused.

As soon as they put the patch in I was ordered to lay FLAT on my back for one straight hour. Literally flat on my back, not moving a muscle. I guess when God wants your attention he’s got to take you to the very bottom, and literally lay you flat on your back to get you to look up.

So that’s Kendall’s birth story.

Totally opposite of everything I have ever known or believed about childbirth. And yet, we survived. We pressed on. It seemed like just one huge long horrible nite…and i just wanted it to be over soon.

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