Below is the birth story of welcoming our 7 lb 5 oz 20.5 inch little girl, Eastyn Joy Stiemsma!
I want to start by by saying the average first time mom labors for 12-36 hours and usually find themselves uncomfortable in the pregnancy. For whatever reason, God gave us a story that doesn’t fit within those means. From start to finish, I have loved every minute of my pregnancy. When it came time for Eastyn to meet the world I labored for 7 total hours (including 40 minutes of pushing)! See what I’m saying? Not normal, I feel incredibly blessed for that and have such a deep appreciation for mother’s whose birth stories weren’t as easy.
The weeks leading up…
At my 39 week appointment I still had not experienced any contractions and I was not dilated even the slightest. In fact, my Ob said my cervix was still very high. Which was the same case at my previous appointments. I didn’t show any disappointment, despite feeling it, because I knew it was ridiculous to be feeling sorry when I was still able to carry this growing, healthy baby. The good thing was I continued to measure right on track and actually still felt pretty good. I remember saying “still pretty good, can’t complain” repetitively in these last few weeks whenever people asked me how I was doing. Which, I was so thankful for.
However, I really was trying to encourage this baby to descend. Long walks, lunges, baths, birthing ball, positive thoughts, sex. It was less about being uncomfortable and more about just wanting to meet our daughter!
I had many nights that I would wake up in a sweat and abruptly feel between my legs thinking that my water had broken. Even more hopeful that would happen that way because I was still working full time and really didn’t want it to happen when I was at my desk – even though that would make for an interesting birth story 🙂
Here is my final bump date picture at a whopping 41 weeks:
My due date came and went…
Man, I was finally starting to feel stretched to the brim. Her movement and kicks became painful (especially when they struck a rib) and even made me feel nauseous at times. We went to our last appointment and ultrasound at 40w3d to check on baby, my fluids and the health of the placenta (which all checked out great) and I finally received some exciting news! I was dilated 2 cm with a thinning cervix – baby was making moves!
I felt a sigh of relief come over me when my Ob told me that, but I was still over my due date and needed to have a fall-back plan in place incase things didn’t naturally progress. We gave baby girl an official evacuation notice at 41 weeks. By evacuation, I mean a scheduled induction. I was still working full time but decided to take off the day before (Friday) to mentally prepare for the trip to the hospital Saturday morning. Greg’s and I went to a nice dinner and a play that evening for our last night out as a family of 2.
We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 AM on Saturday December 8th. Once settled in with some monitors on, my Ob came in to break my water. Eastyn had a bowel movement inside (water was tinted) which they did not find too concerning given we were passed the due date. But it did require an extra nurse to be present for her upon delivery. Next, they started an IV drip with fluids and a very low dosage of pitocin.
Within an hour, I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes lasting for around a minute each. They weren’t super painful, it was more of like an “oooo okay I feel that” than a crazy pain! It was like a really intense period cramp that radiated through my lower abdomen and back with an added “tightening” feeling.
Since my body was reacting nicely to the pitocin they decided to up the dosage every so slightly from 2 mL/min to 4mL. After that, contractions really started to intensify. I breathed through them for awhile and then decided to get the epidural.
By 1:00 pm things were situated, epidural in place. Greg said afterwards it was intense and scary to watch so I was glad it was inserted in my back and left to my imagination. I wasn’t feeling much below my belly button, just pressure. You know when you fall asleep on your arm and it’s this weird tingly/hard to move sensation? That is what I was feeling in my bum and legs. I can’t say I loved not having control of my lower half, but it was a huge relief from the pain. Is it weird though that I felt like I was cheating a little bit?
By 2:45 pm I had progressed to 9 cm. Which was awesome and much quicker than most! For those that aren’t quite sure how things go- 10 cm means you are fully dilated and often means: it’s go time. At this time I had uncontrollable shivers, chattering teeth and all. I wasn’t cold but it happens from hormones.
Eastyn’s head has still not come down enough to push. So we gave it a bit more time. My Ob came in at 3:30 pm, checked things again and said, well, you’re ready; do you feel like pushing a little bit and see how it goes?
Greg and I both looked at eachother like whaaaaat? Like pushing as in, we could soon meet our daughter?!
Greg quick texted my mom to get here as fast as she could and the nurse started to prep the room for a delivery. Two other nurses came for Eastyn. Otherwise it was a nurse to my left, coaching me, my Ob down below and Greg to my right. When my mom arrived she positioned herself behind me in the corner.
Despite getting an epidural, I could still feel contractions as they approached, a deep tightening and lots of pressure. Everyone watched the monitor to see them approaching as well and with every contraction the nurse coached me through 3 rounds of 10 second pushes.
I actually watched what I could in a mirror from behind which was seriously the coolest thing. Nothing about the entire process, her birth story was gross or embarrassing, Greg and I both agree it was rather incredible and really beautiful!
During my last few pushes Eastyn’s oxygen levels dropped and they administered oxygen to me, I was starting to feel a bit light headed. Concern filled me and I told myself that’s it- this baby has to come out. That scare gave me the motivation I needed to give the last two pushes all that I had in me.
At 4:10 pm Eastyn was in my arms. Dad cut the umbilical cord and she remained on my chest for the next few hours! She breastfed almost immediately after her tears settled and she was weighed and measured hours later, at 7lbs 5oz, 20.5 inches.
The whole day I feel like I can remember so vividly yet it was also such a blur. Even before being pregnant I’ve imagined becoming a mother more times in my life than anything else, and here she finally was.
In the days following my adrenalin ran high and sleep deprivation soon came out in tears. I just kept reminding myself of the millions of women who have come before me and done this (most given far fewer resources).
The nurses at the hospital were all wonderful, they helped me get through the nights when I wasn’t quite sure what to do.
Lastly, the support of Greg is truly what kept (and still keeps) me together. It’s hard because he can’t really do much other than just be there for me, and every second he is. Praising me along the way for how beautiful our little girl is and how great I am doing.
Now, here we are, Mom and Dad. I still can’t believe it. We did it.
Was it everything we thought it would be?
No, much much more.
Xoxo E & G