Sunday, November 20, 2016

Layla's Birth Story...Finally!

If you haven't read Layla's Pregnancy Story, read about that HERE first. 

Well, I had just about the entire birth story completely type out, and blogger somehow deleted it.  That was back when Layla was still a newborn.  I was so mad, that I haven’t attempted to rewrite it.  My memory is now not nearly as clear as it was then, but I wanted to write what I can remember of her birth story so that I can have it documented.

When I arrived home from my doctor’s appointment, I finished packing up my bags.  Adam came home from work, and together we scarfed down some Wendy’s.  I hugged August and Jude and told them that daddy and I were headed to the hospital to get baby sister out of my belly.  My mom stayed at our house with the boys.    

As I thought about how the induction would go, I was very nervous.  I always carry our children to 40 weeks (and they always have to be kicked out for one reason or another) so I was very nervous about being induced at 38 weeks and 2 days.  I knew this is what needed to happen, so I wasn’t worried that we were making the wrong decision, I was just worried that my body would not respond appropriately.  I worried about the induction not working and having to have a c-section.  Most of all though, I was worried we may have waited too late.

As we arrived at the hospital, Adam prayed for us as we sat in the car.  This was the same hospital that we had Jude, and I remembered us sitting in that parking lot and praying, just 2 years ago.  We gathered up our things and headed in. 

Apparently the doctor’s office did not call the hospital and tell them we were coming.  Registration took a long time, and we were already late.  By the time we reached the nurse’s station, we were an hour late!  I saw my doctor talking with a nurse behind the counter, and I tried to smile at him.  He did not acknowledge me.  I was afraid we would be starting this induction off on the wrong foot!

The nurse walked us back to our room.  She asked me how far along I was, and I told her 38 weeks and 2 days.  She wanted to know why we were taking the baby out so early.

Cholestasis was my answer. 

Just as they like to do, we got right down to business.  I went into the bathroom and changed into the ever so flattering hospital gown. 

When I came out, I met my nurse who would be taking care of me.  She was an older nurse, and she said she actually wasn’t supposed to be working tonight.  She got called in because they were so busy.  I wasn’t thrilled with this news, because I was afraid it would mean that she would be in a bad mood for having to come into work, so I decided I would be as friendly as I could be, so that maybe she wouldn’t hold it against me! Thankfully, she would end up being one of the sweetest and most caring nurses I’ve ever had.

She started off with all of the questions that they ask you.  This part always takes forever.  Just as she was getting started with them, my OB came into the room.  My heart stopped for a minute because I had just gotten there.  I really wasn’t ready to get things going just yet! This was sometime around 7:45 p.m.

“Well, we thought maybe you weren’t gonna make it.  We thought you had gone out to some fancy restaurant or something,” he joked as he walked in.

“I’m sorry we’re late,” I answered.  “Adam had to get off work, and then we had to make it through registration.”

“That’s alright,” he said.  “I’m just gonna be sleeping in my room they’ve got here for me.  But before I can go sleep, we’ve gotta get this baby on her way.”

With that, he started putting his gloves on and asked the nurse for the amnio-hook.

I felt the color drain from my face as I felt the lump in my throat growing larger.

It didn’t hurt when I had my water broken with Jude.  But I wasn’t sure how it was going to go this time.  This time, I was just not mentally prepared.   

Before he inserted the amnio hook, he checked me.  And it HURT.

“How many centimeters did the midwife say you were yesterday?” he asked.

“Three.” I grunted.

“Hmm, that’s generous I think.  You must have closed up a little. I would say maybe 2.5”

Oh great, I thought.

He then inserted the amnio hook.  It hurt.  It hurt BAD.  I think he may have scraped me with that thing. 

After a second or two, water came pouring out.  I looked down.

All I saw was green and brown water with black in it.

It was meconium.

“Alright, it seems that the baby has already had her first bowel movement.  I don’t want you to worry.  When she is born, she may not cry.  We’ll have a team in here, and they’ll probably have to take her as soon as she’s out.  She may have this stuff stuck in her throat or lungs.”

I felt the panic rising up from my chest. 

I looked over at Adam.  I wondered if he remembered me telling him about this.  It’s one of the big risks with Cholestasis, and the cause for a lot of stillborn babies.  Cholestasis causes the baby to be in distress because they have reduced oxygen due to the failing placenta.  When babies in the womb are in distress, they poop.  Since they are “breathing” in the womb, there is a big likelihood of the baby inhaling the poop into their throat and lungs, which can cause the baby to die.

“Alright, let’s just see how it goes with breaking your water, and we’ll go from there.  Call me if you need anything, I’m going to bed!”  And with that, my OB left the room.

I was already soaking the waterproof pads and everything with the nasty water coming out of me.  TMI (as if this entire story is not TMI), it smelled terrible.

After the nurse finished her questions, she came over to set me up with the IV port.  Just like with Jude’s birth, I requested the IV port with no fluids.  I request this because I don’t want to be tied to a pole, and I also don’t want to have to pee every 5 seconds.  I’ve also read that a lot of times when you receive IVs, the baby will be born weighing more than they normally would have because they are carrying more fluid from the IV.  Then, after they are born and lose weight, it looks like they have lost a lot of weight, when normally they wouldn’t have lost that much.  The weight loss is exaggerated because the baby came out weighing more due to the IV fluids.  Then the baby has to be supplemented with formula due to hospital policy.  Long story short, I forgo the fluids.

I warned her that my veins are extra squirty.  You may remember that from both August and Jude’s births.  Whenever they stick me, the blood shoots from my veins like a geyser.

I started sweating like crazy as she cleaned off the area for the port.  I looked away and told Adam not to watch as she began to stick it in.  I can’t stand it when he watches.  It makes me nervous and angry for some reason.

Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt!  Just a little sting. There was no eruption of blood all over the bed and floor.  I was so relieved!

From this point on, things are a little hazy in my memory.  I remember the time was passing faster than I felt it should.  I was afraid the doctor wouldn’t give me enough time to let me do this without intervention, so each contraction was welcomed for me.  At this point, contractions were usually still 5 minutes apart, but sometimes would stretch to 10 minutes apart.  Some of the time was spent sitting in the bed, hooked up to the monitors, and some of the time was spent connected to the wireless monitor, which failed more often than it worked. 

We had one visitor during the evening.  Our pastor’s wife came and brought coffee for Adam.  We really enjoyed her visit, and it helped to pass the time. My contractions were hurting, but not so much that I couldn’t talk, walk, or sit through them.  The constant gush of green and brown fluid was more than uncomfortable. It was a nasty reminder of how scary this situation might be.

I remember things taking a turn around 12:00 a.m.  The contractions got closer, coming every 2-3 minutes.  I could no longer focus on tv or talking, and I needed Adam close.  The nurse came in periodically to check on us, always wanting to help, but I didn’t have anything she could do.  She was very sweet and wanted to be helpful.  Unfortunately, all I could ask was for more pads and towels.  I was a leaky mess!

I spent the next few hours bouncing on the ball, standing up, swaying back and forth, sitting up in the bed, sitting on the toilet.  Lights out, trying to be relaxed.  I even tried sleeping, that was definitely not happening.

At this point, it had been over 4 hours since my water had been broken.  I had requested not to have any dilation checks because I found it to be painful, and it’s known to not really be an indicator of anything, only of progress or lack of progress.  My hope was to make it all the way to delivery with no checks. 

The time between 12:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. was excruciating.  Contractions were continuing every 2 to 3 minutes.  I have no specific memories from this 3 hour period.  I just remember the contractions were unbearable.  I was desperately searching for the feeling of transition.  It had to be close. 

I was so tired, so exhausted.  I honestly had not slept in weeks.  Every night, I would finally fall asleep around 5:00 a.m.  The itching had been so bad that all I could do was distract myself from it.  It was torture to lay in bed and try to sleep.  So every single night, I would sweep the floor and mop the floor.  I don’t know why, I just craved a clean floor, and it kept my hands busy so that I wouldn’t scratch.  The night before my induction, I did not sleep at all. Not at all. So at this point, I had been awake for almost 48 hours.

Finally, around 3:00 a.m., I asked the nurse to check me.  I thought I had to be close.  I had to be at least an 8, if not further.  I decided that if I was not at least a 7, I would get an epidural.  I needed sleep.  I knew once the baby arrived, it would be around the clock feedings, and I would be recovering.  We also didn’t know what kind of treatments she could be getting, so it could be a long few days or weeks coming up.  I decided I needed sleep.

The nurse seemed ready to see where things were.  She had been watching me labor naturally for the last 7 hours.  I didn’t tell her my plans of the epidural, I didn’t want her to be bias in her estimation of how far along I was.  I knew she was supporting me either way, but she really had been an excellent natural labor nurse.  Very hands off, which is how I like it.

Her face told me what I already feared.
“You’re at 5 centimeters,” she said.

“Five?  I’m only at a 5?” I answered.


“I want an epidural.  I need to sleep.  I’ve been going at this for over 7 hours, and I’m exhausted.  I’ve only gained about 2, maybe 3 centimeters in 7 hours.  I need to sleep.”

The nurse and Adam tried to encourage me, but they could see it in my face, I needed to sleep.  The nurse hooked me up to the bag of IV fluids.  I asked her how many bags I would need before I could get the epidural.  I was ready right then.  She said I would only need one bag, and that she would turn it all the way up so I could get the fluids quickly.

Within 20 minutes or so, the anesthetist came into the room.  I recognized her from Jude’s birth. I didn’t have an epidural or any drugs with him, but this was the same lady that I had seen last time. 

After I signed all of the paperwork, I sat in the bed and slumped all the way over so she could insert the epidural. 

This part was horrible.  I still gag and my back gets sweaty when I think about it.

She gave me a numbing shot, which did hurt but it hurt just about as much as any other shot.

Then she started trying to get the epidural in.  I felt it go in, and then I felt a lot of pressure.  Like a lot.  I felt her hammering (yes, hammering!) it into my spine.

At this point, I was slumped over with sweat literally dripping off my face into the floor.  I was completely soaked in sweat.  I continued to feel her jamming it into my spine.

“Ok,” I heard finally, “Go ahead and sit up.”

I sat up.

Adam was shocked to see how sweaty I was.  He didn’t look so great himself.  I later learned that he was getting light headed and trying not to pass out.

“Ok, I need you to slump back over,” I heard the anesthetist say.  “I’m going to have to redo it.”

Oh. My. Word.  WHAT THE HECK?!! %$#@!@@$%@@

Yes, she pulled that whole big needle out and tried again.  I think I started crying, but I can’t remember.  I didn’t know what were tears and what was sweat.  The pressure was horrible.

“You have a very bony spine,” she explained. I’m having trouble getting it past one of your bones.”

I almost fainted.

After some trial, error, and force, she said it was in.

My gown and the bed were completely soaked in sweat.  She gave me a dial and showed me how I could turn up the epidural if I wanted to.  I had never heard of being able to do that.  It must be new since my epidural with August 3 years ago.

She left the room really quickly when she was finished.  I was just glad it was done.  I looked at the clock, and it was around 3:45 at this point.

After the epidural had some time to take effect, the nurse placed the catheter.  I absolutely detest catheters.  I had one with August but with no epidural!  They had to give me one since I was on magnesium sulfate.  They later gave me an epidural at 8 cm, but for the catheter I had no numbing.  It was awful.  Nightmarish.  I was thankful that this time the epidural at least took the edge off of having the catheter placed.

Adam came over and sat next to my bed as the nurse quietly left the room.  Just as I thought I was about to get some rest, my body started shaking.  Convulsing might actually be a better word.  My upper body was shivering, but I wasn’t cold.  It felt like adrenaline.  My lower body and legs were bouncing and squirming all over the bed.  I had no control over my body whatsoever. 

“What is going on?  What is wrong with me?” I asked Adam, panicked.

“I don’t know honey.  Are you cold?  You’re shaking!” he replied.

“No, I’m not cold.  I can’t stop my legs.  They won’t be still!”

Adam called the nurse in.  I was sure it was the epidural.  Some kind of side effect.

We told the nurse what was going on, and she could see my body violently shaking, out of control.  She told us it was the adrenaline and that I needed to try to relax.
I don’t remember much about the order of events or the comings and goings of the nurse.  I just remember I started praying out loud.  Crying and begging God to stop my body from shaking.  I have suffered from Restless Leg Syndrome for as long as I can remember, so I don’t know if it was just acting up on the extreme or what was going on.  Adam thinks it may have been a botched epidural since the nurse was having so much trouble with it.  I continued to cry and pray out loud.

After what seemed like forever of this, the nurse came in with some essential oils and some lotion.  She said she borrowed it from one of the nurses.  It was Peace from doTERRA. Up until this point, I had never tried essential oils.  I honestly did not believe that they work and thought they were just a scented placebo.  My nurse asked me if I would mind if she tried it for my restless legs.  I agreed, desperate to try anything.  My nurse lifted up the bed sheet and began massaging the oil into my legs with the lotion.  The scent of the oil was wonderful.  I felt my body relax a little bit.  I still felt shaky when she was done putting the oils on my skin, but it definitely took the edge off.  I now was having more spread out leg convulsions, rather than continuous. 

I’m not sure of the exact time at this point, I have a distinct memory at 5:40 a.m.  I felt very calm all of a sudden.  My legs stopped shaking.  I felt totally miserable being hooked up to the catheter.  I hate knowing I have one of those things in.  But I felt well enough to snap a picture of Adam sitting in the chair.  I took a picture of myself because I wanted to remember that moment.  I wanted to remind myself that I would look at that picture later, remembering where I had been, and it would all be over.  I wanted a picture of my face in that moment because it was the most desperate I think I’ve ever felt in my life.  My face looked so sad….so desperate.  I took a picture of my hand, taped up with tubes and ports.  5:41.  I wondered how long this would go on.

All of a sudden, I felt her move down.  I felt everything change.  I felt intense pressure.  It came out of nowhere.  And it was like my body new it was coming.  One moment I was shaking.  The next moment calm.  And then this pressure.  It was crazy.  I told Adam that I was starting to feel pressure.  I could still feel the waves of the contractions, the comings and goings, but not the sharp pain that used to accompany them.  But wow, the pressure, it was so intense until finally, I thought she was about to come bursting out of me!  If this sounds anticlimactic, that’s because it was!  It seriously came out of nowhere.


“What?  Are you sure? How can you tell?”


I started blowing out, trying not to push while Adam frantically searched for the remote that calls the nurse.  The remote is obviously attached to the bed, but we couldn’t find it anywhere in the sheets or pillows.

I could tell he didn’t want to do that and that he still wanted to find the remote.

“ADAM GO NOW.”  I was trying really hard to be patient and not get ugly with my sweet husband.  But he seriously did not get how serious I was. 

Finally he ran out the door and down the hallway.  Of course once he was out of earshot, I found the remote.  It had been on top of my pillow, above my head.  I pressed the button to call the nurse.

“Yes?” someone answered.

“I need my nurse!  I’m ready to push!” I answered back.

At this point, I was still trying really hard not to push.  But I was fully prepared to have that baby on my own, alone in that room.  I tried to think of what I would do if the cord was wrapped around her head.

Moments later, Adam and my nurse came running in the room.  She put quickly put some gloves on and lifted up the sheet, sliding her hand in to check me. 

“Yes, you’re complete, and I can already see the head!”

I knew it! 

She started getting the stirrups ready as other nurses started flooding into the room. 

“Where is my doctor?  Can I push?  I need to push!!!!” I tried not to yell.

I wish I could go back and see Adam’s face during all of this.  He later told me that he thought since I had the epidural that I couldn’t feel anything.  It’s true that the epidural takes the edge off of the contractions, but for me, the uncontrollable urge to push was still there.  I think epidurals work differently depending on the patient, the person giving the epidural, and just how the epidural lands.  My epidural with August was totally different than this one.

I started bearing down when I felt the urge, but I still didn’t give it a really good push.  I wanted my doctor to be there!

Minutes passed.  The warmer for the baby was on, the equipment was set up, my legs were positioned, and nurses filled the room.

“Where is the doctor?” I heard them all whispering. 

“He’s not known for getting into a rush,” I heard another say.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he came in.

He casually walked over to the nurse as she “suited him up.”  He slowly (insert eye roll here) walked over to the bed, and said, “Alright, are you ready to push?”

“Yes!” I exclaimed. 

“Alright, give me a push, let’s see where we are.”

I gave the best push I had.  I screamed as I put everything into it.  Adam looked at me, puzzled.  He later asked me why I was screaming.  Once again, had to explain the epidural.  It just wasn’t the same as August’s.  Another reason why we think the reaction to the epidural was due to a botched placement.

“Woah, alright here she comes!”

And with that one push, out came her head.

I honestly can’t remember if the cord was around her neck.  I didn’t hear her cry, but I expected that.  They don’t normally cry with just the head out anyway.

“Alright Amanda, another push!”

With one massive push and a loud scream, I pushed her out.  Our beautiful Layla Abney Hare was born after 2 pushes, at 6:11 a.m. on October 14, 2015.  After 10 hours of active labor, weeks of sleepless nights with crazing itching, and a month of contractions it was over.

Layla is a name that I have loved for years.  I first heard it when I taught in a kindergarten classroom.  Abney is the maiden name of Adam’s mother, who tragically passed away 4 years earlier.

The doctor held her up for me.  I couldn’t believe how small she looked, but not small at the same time.  Being 2 weeks early, she was my smallest baby, but not by much.  She weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces.  August was 8 pounds, Jude was 8 pounds 8 ounces.  She definitely would have passed both of them.  The doctor’s estimation of her being over 9 pounds at 40 weeks would have been correct had she made it that far. 

I watched as they carried her over to the warmer.  She was still silent.  Adam left my side to go see her.

Finally, after some suctioning, I heard a cry.

The most beautiful, resounding, reassuring, desperate cry I’ve ever heard.  I wanted to hold her so badly. 

While Layla was being checked out, the doctor helped me deliver the placenta and checked me for tears.  I thankfully only had one or two small tears, and the doctor only had to do 2 stitches.  The tugging was unpleasant, but I was happy to have my epidural at that point.  Getting stitched up without an epidural is awful, as I learned from Jude’s birth. 

By about 6:25 a.m., the doctor was done and the nurses started clearing out.  I finally got to hold my sweet baby girl.  It was amazing.  She actually smiled, and I know you would never believe it, but we actually captured it in a picture.  It was a beautiful moment.  She seemed so happy to be in my arms and out of my belly. 

Above is a short video clip from shortly after her birth.  Hopefully it will play.

I too could not be happier. 

She latched right on and nursed like a champ from that moment on, praise the Lord!  I had never had a newborn nurse so well like she did.  The lactation consultant even came by and watched saying that Layla knew exactly what she was doing.  

We had several friends and family come visit us.  It was such a blessing to introduce her to them.

Proud big brother Jude!  He was sick, hence the flushed cheeks
And proud biggest brother, August!

Hare, Party of 5!

Our growing family with my mom and dad- Nana and Pa

We left the day after I had her, although looking back, I wish we had stayed longer.  I don’t think I was mentally prepared to leave.  I was still having some anxiety about the cholestasis, and postpartum hormones are not my friend.  But that may be for another post.  Postpartum hormones are horrible. 

As I finish writing this story, Layla is now 13 months old.  It took me this long.  Thank you to those who encouraged me to finish it.  I am relieved to have it documented.  Layla is now a feisty, sassy, loving, snuggly, talkative little girl.  We are over the moon in love with this precious girl.  Blessed is an understatement.  God is GOOD.  Thank you everyone for reading!


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