Friday, July 17, 2015

Lyla: A Birth Story

Let me preface this by explaining the preparation for this birth. It may have been more traumatic than the birth itself. I got to Germany expecting there to be an American hospital with American doctors. But then I found out there is not a hospital on base and I would be delivering at a hospital where people don’t speak the same language as me. In a place that is quite notorious for pretty much sucking at giving epidurals. I heard a lot of epidurals-gone-wrong stories. One too many. SO, even though I was fully planning on getting an epidural with this baby, my plans began to change. I started to get into full on natural birth preparation mode. Slash full on panic mode. I spent a lot of time asking advice from experienced women- my mom, my mother in law, and my sisters in law mostly. The more people I talked to, the more confident I became that my body really IS made to do this! Although there was still a hefty amount of fear mixed in with that building confidence.

Ok. Onward. I started having contractions on the weekend. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Each day I seemed to be having more. I felt like they were painful, but figured they were just Braxton hicks because I could still function totally normally. I texted my mom that I would be suuuuper annoyed if these contractions were completely unproductive!  I felt such an excitement to meet my baby that I didn’t think I should let these small contractions get my hopes up. I remember on monday night, I asked Jeff to start timing them. I felt ridiculous even asking, although they were 5 minutes apart! I still shrugged them off as braxton hicks. 

Fast forward to the next morning. We all got ready in a hurry (read: messy bun and no make up for me, no "cute" hospital pics for !) and headed to the hospital for my last doctor’s appointment. I was one day shy of being 39 weeks, and the previous week I was 2 cm. dilated. I was just hoping I’d be 3 cm or have some sort of sign that my body really was doing some productive things to get this baby here. My doctor checked me, and his eyes widened. He was speaking german to the midwife who was there and I was like “oh hey…wanna tell me why you are looking like a cartoon character with that ridiculous expression?” He made a big circle with his hands and said “6 centimeters. You are staying here.” I started laughing incredulously and repeated the phrase “are you serious?!” like 10 times.

I hopped right off that chair and started to put my pants back on like a frenzied maniac. I kept missing the leg hole…the midwife had to grab my arm and say “slowww down!” I took a deep breath and pulled up my pants like the real adult that I am. Ran out into the waiting room to jeff and said “I’m having a baby today!....Jane, baby sister is coming TODAY!”
“I wanna hold her.”
“I wanna hold her!”
Repeat phrase 10x by the big sister-to-be : )
It made me a little sad when jeff had to leave with her. She really wanted to stay and meet “baby sistuh”.

I kinda just waited around all nonchalantly. As if I wasn’t in labor and ABOUT TO HAVE A BABY!!! After about an hour, they got me into a room and started me on a very low dose of Pitocin. I had the most overwhelming flood of emotions. I was giddy that I was going to be holding my sweet baby. I was giddy that I was no longer going to be pregnant. I was giddy that Jane finally got to meet her sister. I was giddy that I was already 6/10ths of the way there. I was TERRIFIED at what was to come. I knew; and my spirit knew, that I was about to do something really really hard. But really really rewarding.

The trusty contractions started up, and soon after, I put on my enya playlist. I was under some delusion that it would keep me calm. It kinda did, But only for the first 40 minutes of painful, but bearable contractions. They hurt, but they didn’t make me want to scream and swear. I was chatting Jeff’s ear off trying to keep distracted. I also remember envisioning the waves of an ocean come in and out each time my uterus contracted, and it helped. The calm music, the envisioning, the breathing, all of that can only help you up to a certain point. And that point- where all logic, reason, and sanity is lost? They call it: transition.

Those bad boys started. The ones that every woman who has given birth naturally warns you about. Lucky for me, it didn't last too long. I had about 10 excruciatingly painful contractions. 2 of them I felt like I needed to push with every fiber of my being; and when my nurse said I wasn’t allowed to, I wanted to squeeze her head off.

Jeff was trying his darndest to make things better for me. But like I said before, I was past the point of no return.
“Do you want to hold my hand?” - Jeff
“Do you want a pillow behind your back?” - Jeff
“Do you want to lay on your side?” - Jeff
“I DON’T CARE!!!!!”

Etc. etc.

I mostly didn’t care about anything but the pain stopping.

After my water finally broke (at like 9.5 centimeters), I was screaming, loudly. And making some seriously crazy faces that apparently made jeff have to muffle laughter. (He tried to re-enact said faces afterwards and he had me giggling. I’m glad he didn’t laugh though because it would NOT have been ok at the time.) I also started shaking and sweating a lot. At one point, in the VERY SHORT time in between contractions, I remember putting my hands to my mouth and saying “Why are my teeth vibrating?” It was strange. 

FINALLY though, I was allowed to push. This was always the part that scared me the most about childbirth. I've heard it described as the ring of fire and I've never been anxious to willingly sign up for such a sensation. But honestly, the sting of the pushing was relieving the contractions and it almost hurt in a good way. I wasn't even crying or screaming because I knew my baby was RIGHT. THERE and it made it so much easier to deal with the pain. It was empowering. I pushed through three contractions. THREE. And boom, it was over. The pain was over, and was replaced with the most heavenly JOY and relief! I had a baby and I felt it all. I felt like I was an active participant of bringing her here, as opposed to my first birth where I felt more like an active observer. I was so darn proud of myself. I did something I had convinced myself that I wasn't strong enough or brave enough to do. I was elated that they gave my baby right to me and let me hold her for a good 20 minutes before they weighed her or anything. (6 pounds 2 ounces. 18.5 inches long. Perfect in every way.) She was really there, in my arms. I was not expecting her to come early, but it was the best surprise of my life! 

Lyla Kimberly Andersen. I held her and cried. She laid on my skin and calmed down. She was kinda squirmy and fussy after a few minutes though, but then jeff put his hand on her head and her body just relaxed. She loved her mommy. She loved her daddy. And holy cow did we love her! Love is such a pathetic, insufficient word when you are trying to describe the feelings you have for your brand new baby.

Back to reality for a quick second when the doctor said he needed to stitch me up. UGH. But I'm supposed to be done... Well, he checked me and declared that I would not need ANY stitches! I was BEYOND thrilled. All the prayers that were given on my behalf certainly were working their magic in that delivery room.

She nursed a bit, and slept on my chest for about 2 hours. We had some quality staring sessions too where I got to look into her fresh-from-heaven little eyes. I found myself fighting the familiar battle of sleep vs. staring at my sleeping baby. I was so exhausted and wanted to sleep, but I guess the desire to stare at her won out because I never did get any snoozing in. (...still haven't)

I didn't get very many pictures. With Jane, I had my sister take pictures throughout the whole process. This time, Jeff was the only one there besides the doctor and nurse; and he was busy having his hand being squeezed off by yours truly. And afterwards, both of my hands were too occupied to take very many pictures.

I’m writing this about 4 hours after she was born. I want it to be fresh. Plus, they took her away from me so I have no motherly duties at this moment. I hate that. I hope they bring her back soon. 

Next, I will write about the hospital stay. I was going to do it all in one post, but as I'm trying to sort out my thoughts, I'm realizing I have a whole lot to say. Aaaand Jane just went down for a nap, which means I have two hours to try to get Lyla sleep and take a nap myself. ahhh :) That just sounds a lot better than blogging right now. My apologies.


  1. Kerri!!!!! You are amazing!!! I didn't know you did it all natural. Wow I am just so so proud of you! And so happy for you that you got to experience that. I think everyone should. What a beautiful birth story!



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