April 1, 2011

Jude Michael's Birth Story...

I read many many birth stories to prepare for Jude's birth.  I always found such encouragement reading stories of other women who had natural birth's.  When I first decided I wanted a natural, drug-free birth, I had some anxiety over all of the "what if's".  What if it didn't go my way?  What if I spent all this time and effort, only to realize I "couldn't do it"?  Jordan and I spent hours preparing for labor and birth.  We took hypnobirthing classes, practiced relaxation, and praying for our pregnancy, our son, our doctor, our nurses, and our peace of mind.  I came to the understanding that God has a plan for this birth.  He has written out all of the days of our son's life - including his birth day.  And I found peace in knowing that even if the birth didn't go MY way... it was in God's plan and I could find great joy in knowing that our son was going to come into this world exactly as God planned.  So - with that in mind... get ready to read 80 hours worth of labor (just kidding... kind of... I am writing this more for me to remember and keep track of what happened... and I will give everyone a gold star who actually reads this whole thing :-).

I had been having night contractions for a few weeks.  Wednesday night (March 23) they were different.  They were timeable, and more intense.  I was up for a couple of hours and emailed my doula to tell her what I was experiencing.  Unfortunately - during the day on Thursday, they subsided and I didn't have the intense contractions all day.  I felt very different though.  Kind of off all day.  I told Jordan I thought our baby was going to be born before the end of the week.  He agreed - just seeing how weird/odd I was feeling... and the fact that I had stopped smiling - he said. :-)

Thursday night started the marathon labor experience.  I was having intense, timeable contractions starting at 11pm.  They were anywhere from 5-6 to 12 mins apart, but mostly in the 6-8 minute range.  After experiencing this all night, I made the decision to call Karlye (our doula) at 4am and tell her that I thought he was on his way.  We continued to stay home and I tried to sleep between contractions - which was near impossible at this point.  Contractions stayed regular throughout the day, but still hung around the 7-8 minutes apart range, which I knew would not warrant me going to the hospital yet.  I was getting more and more uncomfortable and was just waiting for the contractions to get to be 3-5 mins apart so we could get this show on the road.

Not much changed Friday night.  I was up all night with contractions, still in the same time range.  I was beginning to think this was just ridiculous.  Saturday I was exhausted and frustrated.  I was just in tears over how annoying this "early labor" stage was for me.  Luckily, Jordan was home all day Saturday so we labored on the exercise ball, which felt great at times, but Jude had dropped so low that it was often uncomfortable as well.  Finding a position to stay in that was comfortable was near impossible.  It sounds odd, but I found that laboring on the toilet was one of the most relieving places.  Jordan helped me relax.  We listened to calming music and he rubbed my back while I breathed through the contractions.  I felt that I was handling the actual contractions well.  They were most definitely not overwhelming and totally manageable.  My biggest frustration was my exhaustion - being that I hadn't slept well in two nights at this point.  I called the on-call doctor on Saturday night to tell him what I had been going through the past two days to see if he wanted me to go in to get checked.  My dilation hadn't been checked since I was 36 weeks and I thought he might want the baby to be monitored too.  He told me it sounded like early labor (when contractions are still greater than 5 mins apart) and to wait until they were regularly 3-5 mins for an hour before I go in.  I knew this already... and was partially hoping he'd just tell me to go in, but we tried to get some sleep instead.

At 1am on Sunday morning/Saturday night I decided to finally go in.  Contractions were around 5 mins apart and I had just had enough.  The contractions slowed down once we got to the hospital, which was annoying, but we stayed to get checked anyway.  I was 3-4cm dilated, 90% effaced, and at a 0 station.  I thought for SURE they would keep me.  But after an hour I was still 3-4 dilated, so they sent me home.  I was annoyed then, but now I am so glad it saved me 12 more hours in the hospital.  They gave me an ambien to try to sleep but all it did was make me totally delirious.  It didn't help with sleep at all because the contractions were too strong.  By this point I was super annoyed that it was taking so long. 

12 hours later at 1:30pm on Sunday, my contractions were closer to 3-5 mins apart and getting significantly more intense.  I decided to go and get checked again.  This time I was 5cm dilated, 100% effaced, and still at a 0 station.  YES - we were in!!  Since I still had a good 10 hours left of the day, I was CERTAIN my boy was going to be born on his due date, which I thought was super fun. :-)  Baby had other plans.

{Last belly shot - on my due date at 40 weeks pregnant}

{Breathing through some contractions}

The next 18 hours are just a blur.  I labored in the hot tub, which was amazing until my contractions got even more intense, and in any position I could feel comfortable.  Jordan and Karyle took turns being by my side and making sure I stayed hydrated and comfortable.  They spoke encouraging words and just let me know that I was not alone at all in what I was experiencing.  This labor was definitely a team effort.

I continued to dilate slowly.  3 hours after I was admitted I was dilated to 6 and it took the next 12 hours to get me to 9.5.  Somewhere along the way, my water had a slow leak.  We made the decision to artificially break my water so that labor would hopefully progress.  Contractions got a lot more intense when they did this.  They always say sitting on your back is the worst position to labor in, but it was one of the only ones that was comfortable.  That, and the toilet.  Haha.  If I was standing or in any other position, I needed strong counter-pressure on my back to manage the intensity.  Jordan and Karlye were great at this.  We were all half-sleeping between contractions the best we could.  We were so exhausted, I don't think this was hard to do.  It quickly became clear that I was not going to have my due date baby.  Sunday came and went and I was still laboring and slowly progressing.
The GREAT news in all of this is that the baby was doing great.  They had monitors on me now and then and he always handled the contractions wonderfully.  This was a huge relief, because I was getting concerned how baby Jude was tolerating such a long labor.  He is a trooper for sure.

Early Monday morning they checked me to find I was 9.5cm dilated.  Unfortunately - after staying at 9.5 for a couple of hours, it was clear something needed to change.  The nurse told me that she felt the babies head, but it wasn't straight on.  It was more like he was cock-eyed and his head was stuck to his shoulder.  It was the front left corner of his head instead of the top, that was engaged.  Not good news.  By this time I was completely exhausted.  I had the feeling that I couldn't do it anymore.  I'd been at this for days.  I hadn't had any pain medication whatsoever, and I had visions of epidurals dancing in my head, although I knew I truly didn't want it, and that at this point it would only slow things down more.  

We tried a few positions to potentially try to rotate the baby.  Unfortunately these positions were excruciating at this point.  I do think that they would have been manageable, had I not been in labor for over 3 days and wasn't so completely fatigued.  I was beginning to wonder what the heck we were going to do.

The doctor eventually came in and checked me as well, and confirmed with an ultrasound the unfavorable position of the baby.  He had been concerned with how exhausted my body was at this point and knew that I nor my body couldn't handle much more.  However, this time, when he checked my cervix it was still dilated to 9.5, but he said it was now swelling.  I was only open to 6.  

I don't know if I was more frustrated or relieved.  I knew that something needed to happen, and I didn't know what the answer was.  I was surprised when he said c-section, but I knew right away that it was the way we needed to go.  Especially when he told me my cervix was swelling instead of dilating.  I agreed to it right away.  Contractions were one on top of the other at this point, without much break.  I was most concerned with being able to keep myself still in order to get a spinal to prepare for the c-section.  It ended up being much easier than I thought.

I have to say - that the nurse I had during all of this was PHENOMENAL.  She was SO encouraging and Jordan told me later on that she had told him she was praying for us, that we would be able to have the birth we wanted.  I don't think she had seen a natural labor before and she just kept encouraging me telling me how strong and amazing I was.  I really truly think God picked her out just for us.  She was with us for her entire shift and she stayed a little late even to see our baby be born.

SO - all of that to say... I was wisked off to the OR.  At 7:23 on Monday, March 28, 2011 my life completely changed and the sweetest boy in the world was born.  Jude Michael Griffis.  He is so very precious and has just been pure pure joy.  I am so very blessed.


  1. I knew most of that but I read it all anyway. (Could I be related?;-) I'm so proud of you, honey. You did everything possibly imaginable to bring Jude into this world in the very best way. And someday we'll all remind him (when he needs it:-) that his mommy went to the ends of the earth to show her love for him in ways he'll never imagine. I know God had His hand on you and was sustaining you for those very, VERY long 80 hours. (I'm not sure I ever quit praying during that time.) He is faithful and good. So proud of you, Linny...and love you, Jordan and baby Jude so much.:-)

    BTW, I have the best son-in-law!!

  2. So happy for you! I'm sorry you didn't have the birth you planned, but thankful things went well the way GOD planned. Here's to a speedy recovery! :)

  3. lindsay! i had been looking forward to this post. thanks for sharing your birth story. you did a GREAT job. 80 hours of laboring with courage and faith and perseverence... and the humility and wisdom to know when to say "when." :)
    congrats on the arrival of jude. he's gorgeous!

  4. Congratulations on the arrival of your beautiful boy. While it wasn't perhaps the birth experience you were hoping for, you were well prepared to keep you both healthy. Great job, momma! You are amazing!

  5. You are inspirational! Loved reading this - thanks for sharing!

    Oh...and let me tell you that despite that hideous hospital gown and enduring so much pain for 3 straight days, you look beautiful!

  6. You are amazing, lady! 80 HOURS!?! Wow. That is something to be very proud of.

  7. WOW. You are a stellar woman. Seriously. I don't know why I am just now reading this, lol, but thanks for sharing! :)