Violet's Birth Story

With a little over a week under my belt as a new mom, I can definitely say it is already the best experience of my life. I love my little girl more than words can say, and all of the pain, fatigue, hormones, and discomfort melt away when I look at her perfect little face.

As a first time mom, I had no idea what to expect when it came to labor and delivery, despite all that I've heard and read. I had an extra week to think about it and got more nervous by the day. As of my due date on Monday, May 5th I was only one centimeter dilated and it wasn't looking good. I had an appointment on the following Monday (May 10th) to see the doctor and talk about induction. I absolutely did not want to be induced as I had heard horror stories, but with little progress and no contractions to speak of (not even Braxton Hicks), I was trying to reconcile myself with the idea.

On the day of my appointment I woke up at 2:30 in the morning from a dream that I had been in a car accident. I was feeling a lot of pain and discomfort (which explained the dream), and I couldn't fall back asleep, so I decided to try laying on the sofa downstairs. That had helped in the past when I couldn't sleep at night, but this time was different. The pain I was feeling was in my back and insides, almost like gas/indigestion. The pain would come and go, but I didn't feel much in my belly, so I couldn't decide if these were contractions or not.

Finally around 4:00 AM the pain was occurring more frequently, so I decided to wake up the hubster. He started timing my pain, and the contractions (which is what they were) were anywhere from 2-5 minutes apart and lasted for anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes. At 4:30 we decided to get ready to go to the hospital. My bag was mostly packed, but I wanted to shower as I knew it could be a long time before I had another one if this was really it. We also had to feed the cats, call the doctor, and get a couple of things together before we headed out. We left the house around 4:45. I'm so glad we left when we did so that I wasn't more uncomfortable on the drive there.

We arrived at the hospital around five o'clock in the morning and found our way up to labor and delivery. We filled out a little paperwork and were ushered into the pre-labor room for me to be checked. I was sure I had dilated further from all of the contractions. No dice - I was still one centimeter. I was pretty bummed, but they had me go and lay down on a bed to be monitored and see what happened. While I was being monitored, the woman next to me was sent home because she was 'not in active labor'. She was in a lot of pain, so this really scared me. I was so afraid that I would be sent home and with the kind of pain I was feeling at this point, I did NOT want that to happen. Luckily when they checked me again I had dilated to two centimeters, so they let me stay.

At this point the pain was pretty bad, so I continued to breathe and tried walking the halls while they prepared the delivery room for me. It helped to walk, but I felt kind of exposed and uncomfortable in the hallway, so we returned to the pre-labor room. I paced the room, sat on the toilet, kneeled, rocked, swayed, and laid on the bed. The pain continued to get worse and worse. It was still all in my back, nothing in my belly.

I had decided to go into this experience with an open mind as far as pain medication was concerned. I preferred not to get an epidural, as I knew the possible side effects (spinal headaches, bigger risk of tearing, being confined to a bed), but I didn't rule it out as I had no idea what kind of pain to expect. I have to say to all of you women who go natural - you are amazing. The kind of pain I felt was like nothing in my experience, and before I was taken to the delivery room, I asked for an epidural. I honestly have to say this was (for me) the best decision I made, although I wasn't positive at the time.

By the time I made it to the labor and delivery room around 8AM, I knew that I had made the right decision. I was dilated to five centimeters at this point and the back labor was excruciating. I was breathing, punching the counter, cursing, chanting, and yelling. Nothing I did seemed to give me any relief - breathing, walking, swaying, laying, crouching, sitting - nothing worked. I told Kevin that we were adopting our next child. Both sets of parents arrived by 8:30, and by 8:45 I had kicked them out of the room. I couldn't stand to have people in the room looking so comfortable and relaxed while I was in so much pain.

Even though I had requested the epidural around 7:30 AM, I didn't receive it until 10:10. They had to get a bag of IV fluids into me, and the anesthesiologist was tied up giving an epidural for a C-section. The wait was the longest of my life. By the time he arrived, the pain was absolutely unbearable. Sitting still for the epidural was the hardest thing I've ever done. Kevin and the nurse had to hold me down, and I tried so hard to focus on breathing. I was holding one of each of their hands, and I swear that I nearly broke them. I was incredibly rude to the anesthesiologist, but within 30 minutes of the epidural, he was my absolute favorite person in the world! The grandparents-to-be were allowed back in the room, and I put on a little make up. All of the following photos are post-epidural. There is absolutely NO way I would have allowed photos beforehand! I probably would have ripped the camera out of my dad's hands and thrown it across the room.

With the epidural calming my more demonic side, the hubster felt safe enough to play around with the medical equipment:

I could still feel the contractions, but it was more of a dull ache than any sort of real pain. The difference was wonderful and amazing. Even if I had made it through labor without the epidural, I don't think I would have had any energy left for pushing. By 12:47 PM I was almost fully dilated and ninety percent effaced. Best internal ever - I couldn't feel a thing!

By one o'clock I was feeling more pressure and had started shaking from adrenalin and the epidural. We started to Skype my sister, who was still in Australia. At 3:15, my midwife finally decided to break my water, which definitely sped things back up. I felt more discomfort (but still no real pain) and a lot more pressure. I started to feel really warm, so my family took turns fanning me with a folder and giving me cool washcloths. All I wanted was a HUGE vat of ice water, but of course they would only give me ice. The hubster pretended to be an oscillating fan, but at this point I didn't find it very funny. I was getting really nervous about pushing and was still shaking a lot.

At 4:20 PM, I finally started the process of pushing. My midwife really scared me when she warned me that the pushing process could take anywhere from one to four hours. I couldn't imagine pushing for four hours, so I told her we'd shoot for one. At this point I decided to send my dad and in-laws out of the room until I figured out what pushing was like. I really had no idea what to expect and it seemed like the room was crowded.

I tried to completely relax myself and conserve my energy as much as possible. Kevin stood on one side while my mom stood on the other, and I held one of each of their hands. (This time it was a lighter hand-holding, no bone breaking going on!) My mom held my oxygen mask on for me. The sound of the oxygen wooshing through the mask was really calming. The hubster fed me ice in between pushes.

The epidural was at a perfect strength - strong enough that I couldn't feel any pain, but I could still feel the contractions so that I knew when to push. The only thing about the process that hurt was my face. I felt like it was going to explode from the pressure of pushing! My midwife said that the baby was almost there, so I decided to let the rest of the grandparents back into the room with the requirement that they be silent and stand behind me.

A few more pushes, and my midwife asked me to stop. She said that the next push would bring the baby. She instructed me to push very slowly, and suddenly, Violet flew out! I had thought that I would cry, but I just started laughing! I was so happy and it was all so amazing. I love Kevin's reaction:

Violet Kathlene was born at 5:41 PM weighing 7 pounds, 4.1 ounces. I found out that she had aspirated some meconium (first baby poo), which really surprised my midwife, as my water had been clear when she broke it. A nurse from triage flew in and started cleaning the baby and sucking out the meconium while Violet was laid on my chest.

A few seconds later she was whisked off to the other side of the room where a tube was put in - for breathing or feeding or both, I'm not sure? I didn't quite understand everything that was going on. I knew about meconium aspiration, as it had happened to my nephew, but it just hadn't really sunk in. I was on a high from seeing my baby and hearing her cry for the first time.

Everything happened so fast after that. The hubster got to hold his little girl for a few minutes before she was whisked away to the NICU. Kevin went with her and I was left in labor and delivery without my baby girl. It was surreal to see her for a couple of minutes and then have her taken from me, but I knew that they were taking good care of her.

 My midwife focused on me. The placenta came out easily and quickly. I had a second degree tear and also had a couple of small tears internally. She stitched these up (again no pain - thank you epidural!) as I filled out my menu for dinner. I finally got to rip off the monitor (it was getting really uncomfortable) and had my catheter removed, but had to continue to get my blood pressure and temperature taken for a little while. Dinner came, I ate, and was finally wheeled to my recovery room. I had the choice of Ibuprofen or Vicodin for the pain. I chose the Ibuprofen hands down - I didn't want to be out of it when I went to see my baby.

After more poking and prodding, I finally was wheeled down to the NICU to see my baby girl. She was hooked up to wires that monitored her heart rate, breathing, and oxygen levels. She had an oxygen tube in her nose and a feeding tube down her throat. A large IV was strapped to her arm. It was so hard to see her like this, but I knew that it was for the best and she was still the most beautiful baby I've ever seen.

After five days in the NICU, Violet steadily improved and we got to take her home with us on Friday, May 14th. It was amazing to take our wireless, tubeless, beautiful baby girl out of the hospital and home to the H-Haus.

My recovery has gone smoothly. I have slowly weaned myself off of the Ibuprofen and feel more like myself each day. Violet is doing amazingly well. She will have no permanent damage from the meconium aspiration and is breathing just fine. The first couple of nights were rough, but she is sleeping better now and we have settled into a bit of a routine. I sleep when she sleeps, I shower when she sleeps, I eat when she sleeps. And she sleeps a LOT. We'll see what happens in a week or two when the newborn sleepiness wears off. For now, we are very happy and my favorite part of the day is cuddling with her. Breastfeeding is also going pretty well - I will write another post about that later.

As far as adoption is concerned - it's a great thing, but I think I'll have another one. Just like everyone says, despite the pain and everything you go through, it is SO worth it when you have your baby in your arms. Thanks for all of the well wishes, prayers, and congratulations, and please forgive me if my posts become less regular!


  1. Thank you for sharing your story! I love how well your pictures capture the momemnt! Congratulations!

  2. i love reading birth stories! hopefully it will prepare me a little more when i have a baby. thanks for sharing! beautiful story.

  3. Even though I just had one it's still so exciting to read about other experiences!!
    It's SO easy to forget the pain. I KNEW that it hurt bad but I couldn't remember how bad until I was actually going through it again. Which is how I convinced myself each time that I didn't want another epidural!

    I almost missed the epidural with Henry. They made it in just enough time because the induction worked much better than they had expected. They had to turn it down after a while because my face went numb and I just wanted to sleep (that's what happens to animals when they are put down!!) so I went into a numb, sleepy panic attack and demanded they turn it down. Then it started hurting bad again but I couldn't do anything about it! Getting the epidural was bad for me too. I had to hum- really hard and loud humming which must have looked hilarious to them. It was amazing how well that worked though!!

    It's so good to hear positive experiences, even when there are a few painful and angry moments! I never wanted an epidural with any of them but someone asked me if I'd rather be in screaming pain (which doesn't happen to everyone) and not remember anything or if I'd rather enjoy and remember the story to tell. With Zachary my epidural didn't work and I honestly remember almost nothing of his birth, except that it was dark, painful and negativity surrounded me :(

  4. Beautiful story, beautiufully written. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I am due in September and read your post carefully as I am very nervous too as a first time mama! What an encouraging story, scary parts and all. Thanks, for sharing!

  6. What a great story. I was their for my cousins birth 4 months ago and it was the most amazing event of my life.

  7. I love hearing a beautiful birth story! As someone who had an all natural birth, I definitely think that you have to make the right decision for you, and it makes me so happy to hear a story where you made a choice and stuck by it. Good for you!

    Congratulations on your beautiful Violet. She is so precious!

  8. Wow, congratulations! Thank you so much for posting your story. Your daughter is beautiful. :)

  9. Thanks so much for sharing! She is precious, and her birth story is beautiful (as are the photos!).


  10. eeek i got all teary looking at the photos!!

  11. beautiful baby and beautiful story! congrats, mama! xx, shari

  12. Once again congratulations! Thanks for sharing your birth story - I'm due to give birth any day now and it is always interesting to read other peoples experiences.

  13. Many congratulations! Reading your story brought back so many memories from mine. Enjoy these early days as they're gone before you know it!!

  14. wow, thank you for your story. i am 37 weeks along and very nervous. congrats, by the way!

  15. Ok, crying over here:) Thanks so much for sharing, Lauren! And congratulations again. Just so hard to believe that I'm going to be going through this whole thing in 3 1/2 months!!!!

  16. Thanks for sharing Lauren - love the story and was particularly amused when your husband pretended to be a fan - men! Congratulations to you both :)

  17. Congratulations again! Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

  18. Awww! I enjoyed reading your story so much:) You and your husband are adorable, and sweet little Violet is just precious!

  19. I first noticed your daughter was named Violet from seeing your posts on Spearmint Baby, but then started to notice how old she was, so I did a little investigating. After reading your birth story I realize your little girl's birthday is 5/10/10, well I also have a Violet and she was born on 5/11/11. I thought that was pretty cool.

  20. When We Became Three - wow that is pretty cool! Congratulations - isn't motherhood wonderful?!



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