I wanted to write this story out before I forget the little details… so here is the story of how Hallie Jane Sudan entered the world.
Hallie wasn’t due to arrive until September 3rd…labor day weekend. But the day after I hit the 35 week mark in my pregnancy I thought I experienced what might have been my water breaking. It scared me and my usual tendency is to brush these little worries off, but this time I felt it was better safe than sorry to call my dr’s office…at 5:30 in the morning. Sorry to the on call doc! The dr urged me to come to L & D at Baylor to get checked out. Much to our surprise, when they checked me, I was 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced. Did I mention that Hallie’s due date wasn’t for another 5 weeks? They ran a test to determine if my water had broken and they found that it had not. But it appeared that I might be headed in the direction of having this baby earlier than anticipated. They monitored my contractions on the computer and I was having them, but I couldn’t feel them. They sent us home and it wasn’t until later on that day that I began to feel some minor cramping and contractions. They were nothing to write home about, but I began to wonder if this baby was truly going to make an early appearance? It is not completely uncommon to remain at 3 cm dilated for a while in pregnancy. Anyways, when evening came along I felt that the contractions were getting closer and this scared me. I was not ready to have the baby and felt somewhat unprepared physically and mentally. Plus I wanted little Hallie to be safe. Once again, just to be on the safe side we went back to labor and delivery because I knew that if I were going to have our little girl, I wanted to do it right since she would be considered late pre term and I didn’t want to risk anything. I was still at 3 cm dilation, but was almost completely effaced. They gave me some shots in my arm to try to stop the contractions and then sent me home again. The contractions did stop temporarily until the next day.
I had a dr’s appointment the next day where they didn’t check me because they didn’t want to stir anything up, so they basically sent me home saying call if the contractions got to 5 minutes apart for at least one hour. Okie dokie…. I thought. At this point, there isn’t really anything they do to prevent labor. If she had been several weeks earlier than perhaps more intervention would have taken place. So I didn’t go to work because I knew I needed to rest and see if the contractions would go away. So all throughout Monday and Tuesday I rested at home trying to do as little as possible, which was hard considering we weren’t ready for her arrival at all! Thankfully my parents were in town over the weekend and went on Sunday to buy the basics that I needed if she were going to come early. Thanks mom and dad!
So the contractions continued. I tracked them on a handy dandy app on my phone called the “Contraction Master” and I didn’t really see this alleged pattern they speak of, the 5-1-1 pattern. There would be times when I would have several contractions 7 minutes apart and then they would stop for a good 20-25 minutes. I was so confused… so I just kept hanging out laboring at home. It wasn’t until Wednesday morning when I was trying to take a nap that I passed a blood clot, which caused me to call the doctor to see what I should do. I was trying to call and get through to a live person when the doctors office was calling me with test results from Monday. Awesome, so I clicked over and told them the situation. They told me to come in. May I remind you, Jason is working and in Lewisville. So I call him and let him know I was going in and that I would keep him updated. My dear friend, Heather, had just texted me so I called her when I was driving to Dr. Crochet’s office to let her know the deal. She is an L & D nurse and also pregnant and she was due 11 days before me, so we have shared many a pregnancy question/experience with one another through out the last 9 months. She said she wanted to meet me at the office since she was just around the corner at her chiropractor’s office. I said she didn’t have to, but that she could if she wanted. Shoot, I am so glad she did! As I was driving the contractions were getting stronger and I was thinking to myself…it’s probably not the best idea to be driving right now, but I didn’t have any other option to get there quickly. So I get to Dr. Crochet’s office and as I am in the waiting room I am consistently having contractions that are pretty close together. They were becoming more painful and I was finding it hard to breath and talk during them, so I did my best not to be awkward during that 10-minute wait in the waiting room to be seen by the dr. I get in the room with Dr. Crochet (and Heather) and she checked me and informed me that my water had been prematurely broken and I had been leaking. She also said that I was 6 cm dilated and I needed to head to L & D pronto! At that moment the rest of my water broke and I realized that sweet Hallie was coming TODAY. Holy moly. This was happening…and Jason was in Lewisville. Did I mention that?
Now my goal for labor was to try to tackle this all natural. No epidural. I had “prepared” by reading books and I also had hired a doula for support during the labor process. From Sunday to the “delivery day” (Wednesday) I had been having contractions off and on, so I hadn’t really realized that I had done so much laboring at home and didn’t realize how much progress I was making. So when I found out I was 6 cm dilated, I realized all those restless nights had not been pointless! Heather called my doula and she was helping with another patient’s labor and was not going to be able to help me during my labor, so she told me I would be getting one of her back ups. But really Heather was more of a doula since she was there the whole time. She gave Jas and I some different ideas to try to cope with the contractions and reminded me to take long deep breaths, which really helped.
Once we go to L & D they had to give me antibiotics since my water bag had torn and an infection was possible since we weren’t sure how long my water bag had been broken. But I continued to labor at L & D and the contractions were definitely much stronger once my water fully broke. I just remember trying my hardest to relax during each contraction and practicing deep breathing really did help. Jason got to L & D about 30 minutes after I got there and was such a great support. He held my hand and let me squeeze as hard as I could during each contraction. He told me believed in me. He was simply present and engaged…just like I needed him to be. For a while I was just laying on the bed enduring each contraction and waiting for the next to come. I knew I wouldn’t last if I just continued to lie there, especially if I was going to be laboring for hours and hours. So I had to do something different. I tried to walk around the room in between contractions and stood up and had my arms around Jas during each contraction, which for me was the best position to labor in (I hated the bouncy ball). This was so much better than laying on the bed. I think gravity did it’s magic and that helped Hallie to come even faster because once I got up off the bed and labored standing up, it seemed like it was no time until we began pushing. I probably labored for about 1 ½ hours in L & D before I was 10 cm and ready to push. Oh yea, the back up doula did arrive at some point towards the end of my contractions in what seemed like during the transition phase (which is the worst part, so I guess that was good timing). She helped relieving some pressure off of my hips during the contractions and also helped with breastfeeding afterwards. But I think next time I will go without the doula if I have the potential to have another quick labor like this one.
OK, so now it’s push time. My doctor arrived and was really helpful during this whole process. I started pushing at 2:09 pm and pushed through several contractions. Dr. Crochet gave great direction and I pushed with all my might and energy. I was much noisier during this part than I thought I would be, but I also don’t think I have ever put so much energy into one thing in my whole life. At 2:19pm, after one last push, we heard the sweet, loud cry of our baby girl, 5 pounds, 13 ounces of pure joy. They put her on my chest and I just remember seeing her open eyes and feeling her warm slippery skin on mine. And then she peed everywhere! But I couldn’t believe she was here…and in my arms. I didn’t cry, but was just overwhelmed with energy and disbelief that all of this had just happened. Just that morning I had spoken with my boss at work about how I really wanted to return to work the next week if I wasn’t contracting anymore. And then, here I was with our firstborn in my arms. And praise God she was healthy! I looked up at Jason and he had tears in his eyes and it was such a sweet moment! I hope these memories stay fresh in my mind as long as possible and I hope writing all of this out helps me to remember as well. They took Hallie away to check her out and made sure she was doing well (they had the NICU team there in case she needed it) and she was just a pure champ—Thank you Lord! She had great APGAR scores and I was able to get her back to breastfeed and bond some more with her. I also dominated some chik-fil-a nuggets, fries, and coke shortly afterwards.
I am so thankful for this birth experience. I am thankful that Hallie was healthy even though she was a month early. I am thankful that she did not get an infection despite my water breaking early. I’m thankful Jason made it in time! I’m thankful this all occurred during the day and I was able to have my dr (not an on-call doc) deliver Hallie. I am thankful family and friends came to visit us. I am thankful I was able, by God’s grace, to deliver her naturally and feel fully present during the whole process. Overall, during the active labor phase, I feel that my body really told me what to do. I learned that I have to pay attention to it and let it lead it will do what it was made to do. When it was time to push it felt natural like that was the next step that should have taken place. Having said all that, I am grateful for an uncomplicated birth, which made all of that easier and possible.
Also, my tips to pregnant women getting ready for labor…you might not know if your water has broken. People kept telling me “Oh, you’ll definitely know because it will be a huge gush of water.” But that didn’t happen for me until the dr actually broke my water. And then secondly, you might not have contractions every 5 minutes apart for 1 hour. Just saying…If I had waited til I got to that point, who knows where Hallie might have been born? At home in the bathtub or in the back seat of our car?
So there you have it…that is how Hallie Jane Sudan entered the world. She is a little fire cracker and a fighter and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for her. It is my prayer that she will be a lover of Him, a women fears Him, and one who brings joy and light to those around her. We love you, sweet Hal!