My Birth Experience: Isla James

I feel like I need to preface this post… AK was a big baby (over 9 pounds!). I am a petite girl (4′ 11″). Once it was clear that Isla James was either average or large, we knew there was a risk of complications if I went past my due date. For this reason, once we hit 38 weeks, everyone was ready for her arrival.

Wednesday, August 24th

The last two doctors visits have been eventful! I continue to progress and am now at 3cm dilated and 75% effaced. Let’s just say I am feeling a bit uncomfortable and ready to get this show on the road.

This visit, my wonderful midwife, Kim, does a membrane sweep. Not the most pleasant procedure, but it was quick and over before I knew it. Now, to go home and wait.

I start feeling some light contractions off and on about 3 hours later. Nothing major.

Around 8pm, they pick up and I’m laying in bed saying “this is it!” for about 1 hour. They’re about 5 minutes apart and happening regularly. Then, all of a sudden, it’s over. No more contractions. I’m able to fall asleep feeling a little disappointed.

Thursday, August 25th

Still feeling off. I’m very uncomfortable and pretty much crying every hour at this point. Where is all this excess emotion coming from? I walk the dogs and hope that something happens, not sure how much more I can take.

AK convinces me to get dressed up and do my hair so we can take some photos (I’m so big at this point, these will serve as perfect “Before and After” shots).

I call the doctor and the nurse recommends I come in tomorrow for a check up if the baby doesn’t come tonight.

Friday, August 26th

No baby last night. The office has me scheduled for a 2:45pm checkup.

2:30 – We arrive at doctor’s office. I ask AK, “if they want to induce, should we?” He says, “wait.. is that a possibility?” hmm.. we probably should have talked about this more. 

2:45 – I’m hooked up to the monitor and watching baby’s heartbeat. Nurse does some standard tests but finds that my blood pressure is very elevated. We’re at 39 weeks and have been trying to keep this baby in since 27 weeks. It’s to be expected that my body may be going through some stress.

Hooked up to the monitors

Hooked up to the monitors

3:00 – Midwife: “You wanna have your baby?! It seems like both you and baby are ready.” I’m now explaining to AK that he needs to get the baby bag… It’s go time!

{We call my mom in Tulsa. She catches the first plane to Denver!}

3:30 – We head up to Labor and Delivery! AK runs home to take care of a few last minute things and grab the delivery bag. My mom is on her way, catching a 5pm flight. We tell her there’s no rush!

4:15 – I’m all set up in a room and I ask the nurse to wait on anything until AK gets back (I’m terrified!). She does a few routine tests and labs, hooks me up to the monitor, gets an IV going (I learn my blood type is O+). Honestly, I was so scared and she wasn’t the most reassuring. I think she was ready to leave – it was Friday at 4:15… I was relieved when the next nurse checked in around 7pm.

4:45 – AK rushes back. Nurse starts Pitocin. Pain level: 3-4 (I’m uncomfortable but not in much pain)

Starting Pitocin

Starting Pitocin

5:15 – The attachment that allows me to get up and move while still being monitored isn’t working. The nurse keeps trying new batteries and such without any luck. I’m starting to feel a little “different” but nothing major. Still at a 4 on the pain scale (maybe a 5, but I didn’t know what 10 felt like yet so I didn’t want to complain).

Our Midwife comes to say hello! Just try to relax and get some sleep tonight. Our goal is to have her in the morning. I don’t expect anything before then. Try not to stress. I’ll check in with you in a few hours! Best thing she said: “It’s not about how good you do”.

5:30 – My mom calls from the airport. We reassure her that the midwife expects it to be a long night with delivery in the morning.

5:45 – Still searching for the monitor batteries. A nice IT tech came to help (poor guy). I’m starting to feel the need to use the bathroom frequently. Is that normal? Now I know… He’s working on the monitor and I’m trying to be patient.

6:00 – Nurse seems to have abandoned me and the monitor. I need to use the bathroom so badly I just unplug from the monitor and go about my business. AK has to help me. I’m starting to get contractions. I just don’t know that they’re contractions, I keep thinking it’s gas pain.

Contractions pick up

Contractions pick up

6:30 – VERY uncomfortable. Contractions are getting stronger and I feel the need to walk around. Where is the nurse? I’d say I was at a 7 on the pain scale. Is everything ok? This seems fast. Oh wait, the monitor isn’t working. Little did I know, I’m in full blown active labor and the nurse has no idea.

7:00 – Laying on bathroom floor. Pain through the roof. New nurse checks in! FINALLY! She’s amazing. Helps me up, gets me hooked up the monitor and asks a million questions. This helps get my mind off the pain as she times my contractions. They are 2 minutes apart and really progressing. She rushes out of the room to get the midwife and anesthesiologist (I’m begging for some relief).

She helps me onto the bed and into a comfortable position (I don’t even know what I looked like). AK is using a cool cloth on my neck and pressing his palms into my hips during contractions. It actually helps at first! Then, I don’t want to be touched. He’s such a champ. I can tell he’s nervous – it’s all happening so fast. Too fast!

The poor IT tech is still trying to fix the monitor… He’s basically a part of this delivery now so might as well hang around. He keeps giving AK sympathetic looks and it was obvious that he wanted to be anywhere but there.

7:30 – Midwife arrives. I’m now fully dilated 10 cm. Wait, what?! “Well, that’s why you’re hurting so badly sweetie! You’ve transitioned!” I’m given the option of waiting for the anesthesiologist, but before I could say yes, I had the sudden urge to push. It was too overwhelming and we starting pushing right away.

Guys, these beds at this birthing center were insane. The nurses had this thing flipped around and turned into a completely different look faster than you could say “transformer”.

8:00 – Lots of new people in the room, legs in position, pushing… Nurses get nervous and midwife calls in the OBGYN on call. The umbilical cord is wrapped around my sweet baby’s neck. AK is nervous at this point but I hardly notice. They did have to do an episiotomy, but we were able to get her out safely without any other facilitation.

I just remember thinking about how many people were in the room and hoping that the poor IT tech made it out before the show.

8:10pm –  Isla James Kimmell is here and beautiful (7lbs. 5 oz. and 20″)! She doesn’t cry right away, but she’s breathing and seems content to lay on my chest. My mom calls from the Denver Airport at 8:45. We FaceTime her back and she’s completely shocked to see her granddaughter in my arms. She met us at the hospital shortly after 🙂

* My sweet husband, AK, took notes throughout the evening. I’m so glad he did this and highly encourage any expectant Mommas to do the same. His final notes were: 

8:10 – Baby. No epidural. Britt is a champ.