Tuesday, November 1, 2011

remembering the day Ezra was born

One year ago today my little Ezra made his entrance into the world. It took me this long to write his birth story, but I have lots of pictures to help me remember it all thanks to our good friend Karissa who agreed to come along for the ride when I went into labor so she could document the process. Check out her post about Ezra's birth here... you can watch a ten to eleven minute video of these pictures plus many, many more. My memory is hazy, for sure, but I don't mind if not every detail is accurate. This is how I remember those forty-eight hours, and even though many of them were difficult I wouldn't trade them for anything because they gave us Ezra.

It was Saturday, October 30th and Matt was shooting his last wedding of the season. I had just gotten into bed to read for a little while before going to sleep and waiting for Matt to come home, but when I sat down I felt an odd sensation that told me either a. I peed my pants, or b. my water broke. I hurried back downstairs and sat on the toilet and within a few minutes I was fairly certain that my water had indeed broken so I texted our friend John (who was shooting with Matt at the wedding) telling him I thought my water had broken and that he should tell Matt. For those of you wondering why I didn't just text Matt it's because he doesn't text. Anyway, within a few minutes Matt called and I told him to take his time finishing up the wedding because I hadn't felt any contractions yet and was doing fine. Next I called one of my midwives and she explained that I should keep them posted, and that I should come in basically when I couldn't handle the contractions anymore, as I was planning on giving birth in the Alternative Birthing Center at Women & Infants. I hung up and went back to bed to wait for Matt, and he was home within an hour. I was having some contractions and they were decent but still not unbearable. Periodically we checked in with the midwives and they asked us to come in to get checked out after twelve hours of labor, so that brought us to about 10:30 on Sunday morning. It was very disappointing to learn that I was only one centimeter dilated, but after hearing our options (stay and be induced or go home and wait a little while longer) we decided to head back home. Unfortunately my labor slowed down a lot so I tried a number of things to get things moving - a hot shower, a brisk walk around the neighborhood, and a few other things, too. Things weren't picking back up but we knew that we were expected to check back in at the hospital at the twenty-four hour mark. Around 11 pm we headed back to Women & Infants and I was still only at one centimeter. Our new options were stay and be induced or go home against medical advice. After much deliberation, prayer, and some tears (mine), we opted to stay and be induced. That meant I wouldn't have a chance at the natural birth I had been hoping for.


Thankfully, Karissa's sister-in-law Natalie offered to come along as our doula. By the time they arrived it was ten past twelve in the wee hours of the morning and Matt and I were settled into our room. The nurse took my vitals and started my IV, and by 1:30 a.m. there was Pitocin coursing through my veins.

I was able to have a telemetry unit to monitor the contractions, so Matt, Karissa, Natalie, and Nicole (one of the midwives from my practice), and I walked the halls, stopping every now and then so I could lean against Matt and breathe through a contraction.

Eventually we walked back to the room for another dilation check. It was 4:00 a.m., almost thirty hours after my labor had begun, and I was still only one centimeter, although I was 100% effaced. Unfortunately, the Pitocin didn't seem to agree with Ezra (who was still unnamed at this point, and probably still being referred to as 'Raf' by Matt) because I had a rager of a contraction - four minutes long, it double-peaked and never seemed to stop - and his heart rate decelerated for about four minutes. They backed off on the Pitocin and once things were more calm I had some jello, a highlight of this early morning labor. I continued to have contractions with the help of the Pitocin and around 7:00 a.m. Nicole wanted to check me again - one centimeter! This was getting discouraging. To top it off Ezra's heart rate decelerated again. He really didn't like anyone invading his space, I guess. As the next hour passed by we discussed getting an epidural, yet another intervention that I wanted to avoid at almost any cost. We agreed that I would have a chance to take a shower to see if that moved things along and if not then I would get the epidural after the shift change at 8:00 a.m. No dice. The shower did nothing for my labor and I couldn't even enjoy it because I had to have all the wires that were sticking out of me covered in tape and plastic. Sigh.

{Chloe & Nicole}

So 8:00 finally came and we got a new nurse, Jessica, and a new midwife, Chloe. We talked about how things didn't seem to be going our way and they were very encouraging and cheered me up a lot.


The anesthesiologist took a little while to get there, and as we waited I had more contractions, of course, but they were milder as the Pitocin had been toned down some to avoid another deceleration. Although I hadn't planned on it or even really thought about it, once I got the epidural I was able to sleep and did for about two hours. 

When I woke up it was strange to know I was having contractions but not be able to feel them. The Pitocin was cranked up to try to get my cervix to dilate but to no avail, and at 12:15 Ezra's heart rate decelerated for nine to ten minutes. A flurry of nurses and medical personnel streamed into the room and they helped me into a number of positions to try to stop the deceleration. Matt was being helped into scrubs and a nurse was explaining the process of preparing me for a C-section. Thankfully, Ezra's heart was finally back to beating at a normal rate and the Pitocin was turned completely off. At this point I actually wanted to have a C-section. I felt like I couldn't endure any more deceleration scares and that I would rather have a C-section now, when things were calm, than in a few hours when Ezra was likely to have another deceleration and then it would be an emergency scenario. However, the Dr. Dambek, the doctor on call, thought that we should try the Pitocin one more time and that it shouldn't be pushed so that my body could really relax with the epidural. At about 3:00 my contractions were finally regular and in another hour and half my contractions were getting stronger. Chloe held off on checking my cervix for dilation, so while we waited Karissa's husband Stan brought a pizza for everyone to eat, except me, of course. I was getting by on sips of water. 

A little over three hours later at 6:20 Chloe decided it was time for a dilation check and she told us I had finally made some progress and was dilated to three centimeters. Woo hoo! 


It was time for another shift change so as Jess prepared to leave she promised us that she handpicked the nurse who would replace her, and we welcomed Gloria. Ezra had another slight deceleration just after Jess left, so they backed off on the Pitocin once more just to be safe. He rebounded and I started to feel the contractions more, which clearly meant they were getting stronger since I could feel their increased intensity despite the epidural. 

A half hour later the Pitocin was ratcheted up a few notches and I enjoyed some delicious chicken broth as we waited for the drugs to kick in. No, I am not being facetious - that chicken broth tasted like the most delicious liquid ever to cross my lips. Remember, I had been subsisting on only water and the odd bite of jello for about twenty-two hours at this point. It's barbaric when you think about it. In another half hour at about 8:30 p.m. Chloe decided that she would check me again. We were shocked to hear that I was dilated to eight or nine centimeters and that she could feel his head! My first thought was that Chloe was joking but I quickly realized that would be a terrible joke and that she wouldn't do that. Now things were getting exciting. My contractions were off the chart but we waited for about another hour for that last centimeter. There was meconium in the amniotic fluid so we knew I had to start pushing soon to get Ezra out. 

My first push was at 9:35 and everyone quickly realized that Ezra's head seemed to be preventing any real progress from being made. 

I consented to another intervention that I had wanted to avoid - an episiotomy. As soon as Chloe made the cut I pushed once more and Ezra was out. Completely out, not just his head but his entire body.

It was a strange sensation to feel him exit my body and then to see him on the bed once my belly disappeared.

Since there was meconium in the amniotic fluid I knew Ezra would be taken to be suctioned to have his airways cleared right away.

Matt stayed with him the whole time.

After watching the team work for a little while Matt turned back to me and said, "I think he's Ezra." And so he was.

Soon Matt brought Ezra over to me so I could meet the little being that grew inside of me for nine months.

We were in love immediately.

Happy Birthday, sweet Ezra. We're so glad you're ours.


  1. happy birthday Ezra! teared up reading his birth story and watching the video. thank you for sharing. i hope you & matt had a wonderful time celebrating today!

  2. Thanks for sharing! You are a trooper. And you sound like someone who would really enjoy a home birth the next time around, where it's not considered AMA to have a long labor. ;) Been fun watching Ezra grow by following your blog!

  3. that is an amazing, riveting story. you are a strong woman.

  4. Such a wonderful birth story. I never tire of reading them. Thank you for sharing :)


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