Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Birth Story: Grace Elizabeth Rice

It has been almost nine days since my baby girl was born, and I still am at a loss for words. I am still so enraptured in her every smile, movement...every thing. 

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Look at those cheekies!

She's so cute it's hard for me to concentrate on anything else.

She's such a blessing in my life and I can't explain the kind of love I feel for her. If I think about it too much, I literally can't breathe. My love sort of just...gets caught. I don't have words and I never thought I could love ANYONE as much as I love this tiny little human that Daniel and I created. 

I have been so caught in between no sleep and complete bliss. I am exhausted but so happy. 

Because I have been stuck in this spot I have been struggling to get Grace's birth story written up... 

However, the laundry is started, the room is clean and Gracie is with Grandpa Dan so now that I have a moment...

Saturday night (the 26th) , Daniel and I went on our last date as non-parents. We went to dinner at Five Guys and then to see Men in Black III. In the middle of the movie, I started getting contractions. They were uncomfortable but they weren't necessarily painful. Since I had been having contractions for the past two days, and had been in the hospital on Thursday night with 3-4 minute apart contractions, I wasn't really paying close attention. I am not a fan of false alarms.

Well, the movie got out, and I went to stand up and a wave of pain went through me. It was like lightning. Then it went away. Then I'd walk, then it'd come back. It felt different and it was painful but not what I figured labor felt like. I told Daniel what was going on (as if he couldn't see it), and we started timing contractions on the way home.

They were 3 minutes apart when we got to the house. We waited for them to be regular at 2-3 minutes apart before we called the hospital to ask if we should go in. We waited another hour, and when they didn't change, we went in. We got there at about 1:30 am.

We both kind of felt that this wasn't it, and that I'd be sent home. So, I was prepared for that news. When I got hooked up to the machines, and they confirmed my contractions, they checked me, and I was only dilated to a 1. We waited an hour, still, barely a one. However, my contractions were still 2 minutes apart. I had already been through the walk to get it started hoopla. I wasn't going to do it again. I was sure I was going home. So while my nurse went to call my doctor, I unhooked myself from all the machines and got dressed. Then, low and behold the nurse comes in and tells me they are keeping me until 7 am (at this time it was around 5 am in the morning of the 27th) which is when my doctor would be in. 

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We waited, and I wanted to know what the plan of action was. Was I being admitted, was I going to have Gracie that day? What was going on? I had the impression they were going to come in to break my water, and honestly, I welcomed it. I had been so frustrated with this labor. 

I had been having contractions for three days, and they were close together, so I never knew if I was supposed to go in or not. It was constantly weighing on my mind and I knew that if I went home, I wouldn't be giving birth until my water broke, because  my contractions were always too close with no results. This is all to say, I hoped that my doctor was going to help me out SOMEHOW. I knew that the 27th made me 39 weeks exactly. That meant I could have my water broke early without it being a life threatening situation. So we waited...

The doctor came in (who I LOVE by the way) and told me he was going to break my water and get this ball rolling. I was only dilated to a 1, but he wasn't worried about that. He knew my water would have to break for things to get movin.  My contractions were too close together to send me home, and it was better to just get Gracie here. 

At 8 am, he broke my water. About 10 minutes later, the contractions got stronger and I started really feeling them but it wasn't painful so much as reallllly uncomfortable.

They checked me for progress and I had only progressed 1.5, but I had effaced to 70%. That wasn't enough progress, so, the first round of Pitocin started. 

I won't lie, I had a mini meltdown. I wasn't prepared for how badly the pitocin was going to make me feel. It took the contractions and multiplied them by a gillion. I kept telling Daniel I couldn't do it, and that I was dying. I was freaking out. Then my amazing nurse Bonnie came in and told me to calm down and helped me start a breathing regime. Once I had that down, I was good. I felt I could conquer this birth with no epidural. 

Daniel was great. He put up with my melt-downs, he was there to hold my hand every step of the way and he was amazing. Best labor partner ever.

 I knew I could do it...that was until I wasn't progressed far enough and they upped my pitocin...again. 

That was pain I couldn't even breathe through. I couldn't focus on anything, and as I was only dilated to a 3, but 90% effaced, I knew I had a long way to go. I kept imagining Gracie's head coming out, and how that would feel un-medicated. That image was enough: I got the epidural.
And I am not ashamed one bit. I was able to breathe. I was able to think. I was able to be excited about my baby coming into the world instead of being scared I was going to die getting her here. 
Some women can do it natural, and while I couldn't, I don't feel like any less of a mom, or any less of a person because I got the drugs. 

However, the epidural did not last. I had to get another shot, and by the time I gave birth, I could feel about 60-70% of everything anyway. The only thing that was completely numb was my knee, which as you know is instrumental in giving birth (:/).

After I got the epidural, I still progressed slowly. They kept telling me that I had to efface all the way first, before I would dilate, as was common in first time moms. So, when 100% effacement came and went, and I didn't budge. They upped pitocin to the most they could without having my contractions being TOO close together. 

We had been in labor for a long time, and honestly I don't remember what time they came in, I am thinking around 5pm...but the nurse came in to talk to me about a c-section. I was VEHEMENTLY against a c-section. I did NOT want one unless 100% necessary. But I let the nurse know that Grace was #1 priority and if it looked like she was going to need help, to give it to her asap and get her out. While we talked about that, we also talked about an internal contraction monitor (one that would NOT attach to Gracie, it would just go in there next to her.). My contractions were so close, but not creating any change, so they needed to be monitored for intensity so that we could go from there. 

Once that was in, they were able to control more of my labor. Still, my labor progressed slowly. My doctor came in and let me know we weren't giving up on a natural delivery (no c-section), and that as long as Gracie was responding well to contractions and I was doing ok, we'd be fine. That was such a huge sigh of relief. I did NOT want that c-section. 

Around 8pm or so (I am really fuzzy on times. You can imagine...) I was dilated to a 4. We were elated! The last time I had been checked I was ALMOST a 3. Then the next time they checked me after that I was a 7. Progress was made FAST and we knew this baby was going to make her way into the world soon!

We talked about if she would be born on the 27th (like her daddy predicted.) or if she'd be born on the 28th. My doctor and I both thought the 28th. We were right! 

I dilated to a 9 around 11, and but midnight I was a 10. She was definitely going to be a May 28th baby!  

Everyone cleared the room (my parents, Daniel's parents and Shiann) as it was time to get Gracie to descend  I pushed for an hour until Gracie was in primo position and then my dr came in. Dr. Crouch told the family about 30 minutes and we'd have a baby. 10 minutes later, 24 + hours after I entered the hospital, at 1:42 am on Monday May 28th 2012, Grace Elizabeth Rice was born. 

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It was really amazing! Daniel was in the action the whole time and saw her come into the world. It was awesome to see him so enraptured in watching his little girl make her entrance. At one point my doctor told me to look at my baby and I am like "I can't!" and he said "Yes you can!!" and Daniel looked so excited. My doctor pulled up my hospital gown and he was right, I could see her.  He had her shoulders up, out. I could see her head and her beautiful face, and that's when I started bawling.

They had told us to be ready to wipe her off kind of rough so that we'd make her cry. Well, when they put her on my stomach, I started bawling. Sobbing. I couldn't do it, so my nurse did my part while Daniel did his. I just kept crying and telling Gracie how beautiful she was. Because of the internal monitor, she had a small indention on her forehead (that went away) and when she came out, the indent filled with blood and to me, it looked like she had a HUGE gash on her head. I freaked out and kept asking "WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER HEAD?' My doctor smiled and everyone smiled and said she was fine and she was perfect. But then I couldn't hear her crying and was freaking over that. It wasn't until she was wailed and was placed in my arms was I convinced she was okay.

She weighed 7 pounds 2 ounces and was 19 inches long. Perfect.

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May 28th, 2012 will always be my most precious memory, the most beautiful and most poignant moment in my life. I can never really express to anyone how amazing it feels to bring your child into the world and watch them grow outside of you. This tiny person who has literally been apart of you for 9 months, 3 weeks--is outside now and more than you could have ever imagined or hoped for. The love I immediately felt for her, the love I immediately saw within Daniel for his little girl, is something I will never forget or take for granted.

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I am so grateful to God for this amazing blessing in my life. I am so grateful for Daniel who changed my life from the moment I met him and has loved me from the beginning. He puts up with my crazy hormones and loves me in spite of them. MANY thanks go to him for loving me unconditionally and being forgiving when I am being crazy. I am so grateful for the man he is. He sacrifices for his family and he loves us with all of his soul. It's amazing to watch Gracie and Daniel. She's got him wrapped around her little finger, and that's exactly how he likes it. He's an amazing father and it's a beautiful thing to watch. 

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I am grateful for this little girl, who has changed the way I love. Who has changed my priorities and who has changed everything about me all for the better. She makes me wanted to be better, to strive to be someone she can be proud of. I love her more than anything and I can never put in words what she means to me because no words have been created to express it. 

She's my daughter.  

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  1. Damn, Tanika, that just made me cry. Actual tears streamed down my face. I'm so happy for you and your family. She's finally here! Where she belongs. And May 28th is a beautiful date! It just sounds good.

    Enjoy it all, mama bear :) Congratulations :)


  2. So excited for you. That is exactly what I did when they handed me Miles. I bawled and bawled.

  3. Awww. Beautiful. :) Good job momma! Grace is super lucky to be your daughter.

  4. I have my kids weeks early and always say i think ill try it natural this time. but as soon as they put that patosin in im like hook me up now. lol. you did a great job. she is so cute. she has your cute nose.:-) cant wait to meet her. keep taken care of your Rices. :) you know all Rice girls are cute. you and baby fit right in.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this. Makes me look forward to it even more :)


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