Where do I begin? Seriously. Because Eloise's birth story is a little bit of a saga. I'm recording this for posterity's sake, so it's going to be a long one.
It all began when I was 36 1/2 weeks. I went to my regular OB appt. and my Dr. told me that my baby was vortex (head down position). I gasped b/c I had been told with my bicornuate uterus that my babies would always be breech and I would always have to have c-sections. I asked my Dr. if she would consider delivering me VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) since I had had two previous c-sections. Her answer was an unwavering "No, it's too dangerous." I cried the whole way home. Why would this baby be head down? I just couldn't believe that this wasn't meant to be in some way.
I got on the computer as soon as I got home and did some research and found that the ACOG (American Congress of OB/GYN's) had recently changed their stance on VBACs. It used to be that you could only have a VBAC after ONE c-section, but now they were saying that it was okay after TWO c-sections. I was elated and I really felt like it was meant to be that I try for a VBAC. I did some research on Utah Dr.'s that might deliver my baby, but with no luck. I thought to call my neighbor, Jennifer, a nurse midwife, to see if she knew of anyone. She basically said that it just wasn't done in Utah. I was a little heartbroken, but couldn't completely give up hope yet.
Two days later, Jennifer came over and told me she had been thinking about me and decided to contact one of her old employers at Utah's newest and largest hospital to see if she would at least consider me for a VBAC. And, she said she would! I was SOOO excited. She even helped me get an appt. with a perinatologist a few days later. It was a little miracle. So, I switched OB's and hospitals at 37 weeks plus one day. Keep in mind that Oliver was born at 38 weeks and Amelia was born at 38 1/2 weeks. I knew I was taking a risk, but it felt like something I HAD to at least try for.
38 weeks came and went, and then 39 weeks and I still wasn't dilated AT ALL. I started to get worried. Was my body really capable of going in to labor on its own? That was the question that occupied just about my every thought for 3 weeks. If I didn't go in to labor on my own, I would have to have another c-section as they don't do pitocin (labor-inducing drug) on VBACs. Every day I would think, "Today is the day, I just know it." Then, I would wake up the next morning and say the same thing. It was a VERY, VERY long and emotional waiting game. I literally felt like my life was on hold for 3 weeks. I was stressing myself out like crazy (which didn't help the dilating process at all). I don't know how women who deliver vaginally do this with every birth. The "not knowing" part killed me. Suffice it to say that I learned some serious patience and also to let go of some control in my life.
To add to all this stress, we had met our deductible with our insurance company and it was to start all over again on Jan 1st. We were also getting all new insurance with Christian's new employer. So, I was really anxious to have this baby before the new year. My official due date was Jan. 3rd but since I had delivered my other babies early, I thought that I wouldn't have an issue with delivering before the new year. On Dec. 29th, as I went to bed, my low back started hurting. I started timing my contractions and they were coming in at 10 min. apart and then all of the sudden, at 3 min. apart. I knew I had to get to the hospital fast considering my high risk situation. Christian called my visiting teacher and she came and stayed with my kids until Christian's Mom took over. We rushed to the hospital. I was 39 1/2 weeks so I knew this was the real thing, even though I wasn't dilated at my OB appt. the previous day. They monitored me and baby from about 1 am until 4am and I was having strong contractions every 2-3 minutes. BUT, I just wasn't dilating. I was exhausted, but I couldn't sleep for the pain. The last time they checked me I was still at a 0, but 95% effaced. They gave me some morphine and let me sleep and when I woke up, the contractions were all but gone. So, they sent us packing. I can't tell you how disheartening it is to go to the hospital, thinking you're going to have a baby and then to be sent home. Ugh. So, back to the waiting game.
New Years came and went. On my official due date, Jan. 3rd, I decided to call our new insurance company and make sure that I was covered with my Dr. and at the hospital I was planning to deliver at. The representative I talked to told me I wasn't covered at that particular hospital. I had a panic attack. After all this waiting, emotional investment, stress, and hard work, was I really just out of luck? I called the hospital and begged them to make an exception for me. To make a long story short, it turns out the rep. I talked to was mistaken and that I was in fact covered at the hospital I planned on delivering at. That was a long, emotional couple of hours, but I was so glad that we got it all figured out. When I went in for my OB appt. later that same day, I had high hopes. But, once again, I was not dilated AT ALL. That was Tuesday. On Wednesday, I felt like I grew 5 inches in my belly and I was so exhausted all day. Even my Dad said I looked bigger. I went to bed Wednesday night, expecting it to be just another regular night. I wasn't feeling anything unusual. At around 4am, I felt a small gush of water (sorry if that's too much info) but was kind of out of it, so I didn't realize what was happening. I woke up again about 30 minutes later, this time feeling very wet. I woke Christian up and told him my water had broken. We got dressed and rushed out of the house, leaving my kids with my parents who had arrived 4 days earlier. My contractions started as soon as I sat down in the car. They were about 4-5 minutes apart and incredibly painful. The hospital was about 25 minutes away and it seemed like an eternity before we got there. I was soaking wet at this point, gushing water with every contraction. I ran in to the labor and delivery unit, checked in, and this is where the story gets interesting. They hooked me right up and our nurse came in and checked to see if I was dilated. She looked up at me and exclaimed, "You're fully dilated, I can feel the anterior lip!" I might have let out a little scream at that point. How does one go from a 0 to a 10 in one day??!! She called for the anesthesiologist and he was rushed in and gave me what was probably the fastest epidural of his career. Oh, and in the mean time, this same nurse attempted to put the IV in (which, in my opinion, is the worst part of giving birth). After two very painful failed attempts, she called in another nurse to do it. This second nurse got it in right away, no problem. After the epidural the first nurse asked the second nurse to double check to see if I was really at a 10. I'll never forget the look on her face when she looked up and said, "You're not even at a 1, I just made you a 1. You're going to be here all day." Wow. Christian left the room for a few minutes and the next thing I knew, the first nurse was being asked to leave the room. She had clearly shown us that she did not belong in the labor and delivery unit, or maybe in a hospital at all.
Not 15 minutes later, alarms started going off and the OB came in (whom I was meeting for the first time) and stood at the end of my bed. She looked up at me and without the slightest bit of hesitation or trepidation said, "We're going to do a c-section now" and then walked out. I didn't know what was going on, but I just started bawling. Everything I had hoped for for the last 3+ weeks was all for nothing and there was NOTHING I could do about it. Apparently, the cord was wrapped around the baby's neck and her heart rate was dipping with every contraction. They said they couldn't let me labor all day like this, especially considering I was only at a 1. They wheeled me in to the OR, suited Christian up, and started the surgery. It all happened so fast and I knew I had to be strong, because after all, I was having a baby!
Christian was by my side the entire time, comforting me and giving me little updates. He watched the whole c-section. As soon as she came out and I heard that first scream, I was overcome once again with emotion. There is nothing like that noise. I immediately felt so much love for her. Everyone in the OR was saying, "She's so cute!" They took her and washed her up, checked her, and then brought her over to me. She was so cute. I can't tell you how much I loved her from the very first moment I looked at her precious little face. I felt like the happiest, luckiest person in the world. I had a healthy, beautiful baby girl. The next few hours and days were a blur, but some of the happiest of my life. When I have a baby, I really feel like I am the luckiest person in the whole world to have been given such a gift from Heavenly Father. That He trusts me with one of His precious children is such an incredible and humbling blessing.
So, we're officially a family of 5. Eloise Rebecca was born on Jan. 5th (40 weeks plus 2 days) at 7:43 am. She weighed in at 7 lbs, 12 oz. and was 20 1/2 inches long. She is the most beautiful little baby. I am totally and completely in love.
Oliver and Amelia meeting Eloise for the first time. Amelia was beside herself with happiness. Oliver took a second to warm up, but is now totally in love and will just stare at her for minutes on end while she sleeps.
Grandma has, once again earned herself a "Grandma of the Year Award" for taking care of me and the kids this past week. She's hung in there like a champ.