It's birthday week for little Anniston so I thought her birth story would only be fitting!
Many of you may not be interested in birth stories, but a fellow mom once told me that there is a small mom audience out there that loves this stuff and I couldn't agree more! I personally LOVE reading birth stories! Is that weird? I joke with my OB that I should have gone into that field because I think birth is amazing and got slightly obsessed with it for a short time. Don't judge.
But as I'm sitting here trying to type out Anniston's birth story I am feeling ALL the feels and am having a hard time getting it out. I have a glass of wine on one side of the table and pint of Ben & Jerry's on the other because I will need them to get through this. The tears are just too close to the surface! Thankfully I wrote out the details days after coming home from the hospital last year so I wouldn't forget, but looking back at it all gets me so emotional! I have NEVER been a cryer, but now I can just think of Anniston or look at her and I'm done for! This girl owns me! So to the few out there interested in birth stories like me, here we go!
A little background knowledge. I struggled with high blood pressure throughout my pregnancy and had to have it checked every week starting at 16 weeks. A pregnancy is 40 weeks so if you do the math I spent a LOT of time at the doctor. Anniston's due date was January 18th and before I became a full time mom I was a full time kindergarten teacher! I had a sweet, but very active class and after realizing that teaching was not helping my blood pressure situation, my doctor had me go out on leave in November instead of waiting until my due date.
Staying home definitely helped my blood pressure, but it was still elevated and my doctor continued to monitor me closely the remainder of my pregnancy. (*Side note- my OB and his wife come to our church and I am pretty obsessed with them. They are the most fun couple and my doctor is my personal hero. Just ask Miles.)
On Monday January 9, 2017 we went in for my weekly appointment. We were fully aware that my doctor could plan to induce me at any moment due to my blood pressure, but I just KNEW he was going to wait until I hit 40 weeks and go from there so I went into that appointment very casually. I was 38 weeks 5 days. They did an ultrasound to see how our precious girl was measuring and then my doctor examined me. I'll never forget what he said after silently examining me: "Okay, Courtney. Get dressed and you guys come into my office and we'll talk about your future." What does that even mean? If I wasn't already sweating, I definitely was now. My doctor explained that Anniston was as high as she could be (basically in no hurry to come on out) and I was not dilated, BUT due to my blood pressure, he wanted to get her here safely the second I hit 39 weeks. He wanted me to come in two days later for my induction. I knew the time to have our girl would be here soon, but I couldn't believe it was officially here! We were both shocked (Miles a little more so than me), but we trusted our OB completely and were excited to finally meet our girl!
On Wednesday, January 11th we checked into the hospital at 5:00pm. My doctor explained it would be low key that night and he just wanted us there so he could insert a "foley bulb" to help get me dilated before we got started with the "fun" stuff in the morning. Thankfully this didn't hurt, but was just a little uncomfortable in the process. Miles and I settled in for a fun night in the hospital and tried our best to get some rest before all the craziness got started in the morning!
Well, that didn't work. I did not sleep a WINK that entire night. We were in a labor and delivery room so the beds in there are AWFUL. Not only was I uncomfortable, but I kept complaining about the bed causing me horrible back pain. Little did I know that was just the beginning of what would later be called back labor and I was starting to experience contractions.
After a sleepless night, our doctor came in at 4:00am to start me on pitocin to induce contractions. I was actually excited for him to come in so we could get this party started after not being able to sleep all night. They removed the foley bulb as they got the pitocin started and I was dilated to 4cm! I was so excited to hear progress and to get everything going!
I experienced some consistent, but mild contractions all morning as they upped my pitocin. It was now that we officially figured out I was having back labor as ALL of my contraction pain was in my back. My contractions were not as intense as they should have been so my doctor broke my water at 10:30am to move things along. This was the craziest feeling ever and did exactly what my doctor hoped. My contractions got extremely intense extremely fast.
Now this whole time I had gone into labor holding my plans loosely. I did not want to get an epidural, but I also wasn't completely against it. We hit 1:30pm and my contractions were at an all time high and I only had about a minute between each one. I tried to stand up to relieve some of the pain and this is when my legs gave out and thankfully Miles was there to catch me. My doctor came in to examine me and I was only at 4.5 cm and Anniston was still as high as could be. I had been contracting since 4 am, had only gone a half centimeter, and she was no where closer to coming down. I was discouraged and I could not handle the back pain any longer. I asked for an epidural and Miles kissed me in thanks because he could not stand to see me in that pain any longer.
Well, he had to wait a little longer because the epidural did not work right away. For the next hour I was still in the worst pain of my life and our WONDERFUL nurse was doing everything she could to help figure out why it wasn't working. I was in tears that I had caved to get the epidural and now it wasn't even working. The clock struck 3:00pm and at that point the epidural finally started to work. Apparently everyone reacts differently so you never really know. Although most of the pain left me for a couple of hours, I could still feel the contractions and move my legs. At the time I would have loved for the pain to disappear instantly, but I was thankful for the feeling and movement during labor and after!
After resting for a little while my doctor came in and checked me at 5:30pm. I was dilated to 8cm! I was so scared of getting the epidural because I didn't want it to slow my labor down, but in my case it sped it up because my body was finally able to relax and do what it was supposed to do! Isn't it crazy how God moves once we let go of control? Anniston still hadn't dropped as much as we would have liked, but my doctor said it would just be a few more hours and he hoped we would have a baby before midnight!
My doctor had my nurses move me into a position on my side to try and get Anniston to turn face down (she was currently face up and that is what was causing my back labor!). It was at that moment that all of a sudden all of the pain came back and it was like I had never got an epidural. I had one hand gripping the hospital bed bar and the other gripping Miles and it was all I could do to not scream out in pain. My nurse did not know why I was in so much pain again so at 6:15pm she examined me to see what was going on and casually announced, "Oh, she's crowning!". Just 45 minutes after my last exam! Our nurse started moving all of this stuff around the room, paged our doctor, and told me I could start pushing! At first I refused because I said I did not want to push without my doctor in the room... HA. She just smiled and said it would still take a few minutes of pushing and we had plenty of time for my doctor to come in. Sure enough, he walked right in and we got serious about pushing!
I pushed for about 15 minutes and it was at this point I was glad I could feel the contractions and the pain because I felt like it helped my body know what to do. I was always worried I wouldn't know how to push correctly, but your body takes over and you simply just do it!
And then in one last push she was here and I felt the sweetest relief! I couldn't see her or hear her so I tried to lean up and see what was going on because I could tell my doctor was working. Turns our her cord was wrapped around her neck two times, but our FABULOUS doctor (have I mentioned yet that he's the best?) worked so quickly and calmly to snip her cord to get it off of her in only a matter of seconds!
There was a pediatrician in the room and later she told us how amazing it was that Anniston didn't "drop" right until I delivered. When she was high up in my belly she was able to move freely with the cord around her loosely. Had she dropped into position before delivery time her cord would have no place to go, but tighten around her neck. She said I would have probably been rushed into an emergency C-section had this happened. All during the day I was SO annoyed she hadn't dropped yet, but thank GOD His plans our better than ours! The sweetest reminder that He is ALWAYS in control and is working all things for His good!
The minute they cut the cord she pinked up, let out the most beautiful cry, and they placed her on my chest. I LOST IT. I'm not talking a pretty, sweet, one glistening tear cry. I'm talking about SOBBING, UGLY crying. I could not even handle it. This little girl. The one I had known, loved, and prayed for for 9 months was here in my arms. She was perfect and she was ours.
It was the longest, hardest, most tiring day of my life, but I would do it all again. She was and is the greatest gift the Lord could ever place in our care and I will never stop praising Him.
Anniston Kate Fidell. January 12, 2017. 6lb 10oz. 20in long.
Mom's to be, I have only one bit of advice for you. Hold your hands open and your plans loosely. Let the God of the Universe pave your path (and your little one's!) and trust in His plan always.