Sunday, April 26, 2015

the labor & delivery of lillian lott

Friday, April 10th, at around 2 a.m. I started experiencing contractions. Whether they were Braxton Hicks contractions or true labor ones... I still don't know. All I know is that they were more painful than anything I had previously experienced. 

When they first started happening, I was excited because I thought I was going into labor. However, my excitement soon turned to frustration as I started timing them. Most of them were 5 minutes apart. But then randomly they would be 10 minutes apart. Or 7. Or 6.  Sometimes 15. I already knew that one of the biggest differences between Braxton Hicks contractions and the real ones is that the real ones become increasingly intense and closer together.  My contractions were irregular so I figured I wasn't really in labor and I tried to sleep through the pain.

After two unsuccessful hours of trying to sleep and experiencing irregular contractions, I finally woke up Ammon. I can't express just how helpful that man is. He was there to talk to, he helped make me a sandwich (I could only eat half of it) and he let me squeeze his hand during each contraction. I used this time to practice my breathing that I had learned during our birthing class. At this point, I was also desperately researching "Braxton Hicks contractions vs. real contractions" on my phone. It seemed that almost every single website said the same thing:

False labor: contractions are irregular and don't get closer together
True labor: contractions come at regular intervals and last about 20-70 seconds. As time goes on, they get closer together and stronger.

You might be in labor if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: 
Regular tightening in your lower back or abdomen
Vaginal bleeding
Flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. 

I was so confused! I had every symptom of real labor contractions except for the part where the contractions get closer together and increasingly painful. 

Around 5 a.m. is when the flu-like symptoms became much more severe. I was really cold, I had body aches, and I felt so nauseous. I figured these symptoms were just part of pregnancy. Around this time is when Ammon's mom, who was staying with us, woke up. She helped by showing Ammon where to press on my lower back during the contractions. And it was nice having someone to talk to who has had a lot of experience with having kids. 

It was around 7 a.m. when I threw up my sandwich. I imagine that every woman has a deciding factor that gets them out the door and on their way to the hospital. This was mine. I remember hearing Ammon's mom's voice as I wearily stared at my vomit, "Time to go to the hospital." I did not object. I felt miserable. If this wasn't true labor, then this must be some kind of cruel joke. 

As Ammon finished packing a few things, I slowly slipped on my fuzzy, red robe with white polka-dots and walked out the door holding our bright green Halloween candy bowl just in case I needed to throw up again. Luckily, during our 15 minute drive to Mountain View Hospital, I did not throw up again. When we got there, we checked in at the E.R. While Ammon answered some questions, I stood and leaned against a chair, trying my hardest not to throw up. They asked me a couple questions too. It was very difficult finding enough energy to answer them. After what seemed like hours, we were done with questions. They offered me a wheelchair, but for some reason, I did not want to sit down. I declined. They asked if I was sure, reminding me that I had quite the distance to walk. I declined again. On our way to the Labor & Delivery floor, I stopped to throw up again in the outdoor garbage can. I think I missed a few times, but I'll admit, I did not care one bit. 

After slowly going up an elevator and down a few halls, we finally got to the Labor & Delivery desk. The next few hours are a blur. I just remember that the nurses weren't very nice or very informative. Looking back, I think it's because I was in such bad shape that they were scrambling to keep baby and me alive that they didn't take the time to explain things to us. At one point, Ammon's mom told the nurse that I had thrown up multiple times. The nurse just said, "That happens a lot." True! But at least tell us that you're working on getting me some fluids so we don't think I'm going to die of dehydration! 

Anyway. It turns out that I had a temperature of 103. And my poor baby was experiencing tachycardia. Her heart-rate was at 200 bmp when it should be around 150. So the nurses were scrambling to get an IV in me so they could get me some fluids and antibiotics. I didn't know any of this until much later. I just knew that I felt miserable. When it came time for the IV, I was so dehydrated that they couldn't get it in my hand. So after what seemed like a million different tries from 3 different nurses, they finally got it in the crook of my elbow, which is such an awkward spot for an IV, but at least they were done poking me. Although, I didn't really care that they kept missing. I could hardly feel the needle. When the rest of your body is shutting down, you don't really notice that sort of thing. 

After they got the IV in me, I dozed in and out of consciousness for the next few hours. It didn't help that I was still contracting throughout all this. And that I was only 2 cm dilated!! In my head I was thinking, "All this pain and I'm only 2 cm dilated!" Little did I know that I had a long way to go before reaching 10 cm. 

Another thing that made all this difficult was that my mom wasn't there. She had to do a couple things first before she could get there. However, we both decided that it was probably a good thing she didn't get there until later because she would have been really worried for me. Poor Ammon and his mom were very worried for me.

I don't know what time it was when my angel arrived, but I will never forget her. The minute she was at my bedside, she introduced herself, she explained everything that she was doing and what was happening to me, and she was just so happy and nice. I remember looking at her dozily and saying, "Are you my nurse, Stephanie? Because I like you." She laughed and confirmed that she was my nurse. I was so relieved. Shortly after meeting Stephanie, another lady came in and introduced herself. She told me that she was a student studying to be an anesthesiologist and that she had a few questions for me. In that moment, the heavens opened, and I'm pretty sure I heard angels singing Hallelujah all around me. I was going to be getting my epidural!! I answered her questions, she told me the risks of an epidural, I signed some papers, and then Dr. Nielsen arrived. I told him I was so happy to see him! He was an AMAZING anesthesiologist. He was quick (let's be honest... that's the most important quality of an anesthesiologist), informative, and friendly. I thought the epidural was going to hurt but it didn't hurt at all! In fact, the hardest part about getting it was when he sprayed this really cold stuff on my back. 

Oh my stars did things get better after the epidural kicked in! The nurse was surprised that my doctor had given it to me so early (my water hadn't broken and I think I was still only 2 cm dilated) but she reassured me that he knew what he was doing. I am so glad he gave it to me did when he did.  I no longer had to feel those contractions and I didn't feel nauseous anymore. I could drink liquids again! So I did. And lots of it. My liquid of choice? Cranberry juice. Every single time. It was one of the best things about my labor. 

I finally got to see my mom after I got the epidural. It was so good seeing her. She helped put my hair in a pony tail and she snapped some great photos.

This one is my favorite. :)

I don't know what I would have done without this man of mine!

My mom. :)

The room


Baby's heartbeat and my contractions. I would often look at the screen and say, "I'm glad I'm not feeling those contractions."

The next few hours were spent chatting, sleeping, getting my temperature and my dilation checked, getting a catheter, and getting my water broken. Getting a catheter and getting my water broken were interesting experiences. I'm so glad I couldn't feel either one of those. During Ammon's first semester in the nursing program, he would practice the steps of catheter insertion with me for his final. (Just the steps, not the actual procedure. Thank goodness!) During this time, I would often think to myself, "I hope I never have to get one of these!" Most patients are not numb when they receive a catheter. I am so glad I was. As for getting my water broken? I don't know what that feels like without anesthetics, but it can't be pleasant because the tool they used to break my water looked very ominous.

Another memorable experience is when my husband gave me a priesthood blessing. Stephanie helped us by finding another Melchizedek priesthood holder in the hospital. I forgot his name, but I am so grateful to him for being a worthy priesthood holder and taking the time to come in my room and assist Ammon in giving me a blessing. Ammon's blessing was perfect and I know that it had a hand in mine and baby's safety. 

At one point they tried giving me Pitosin because I wasn't dilating very quickly. This increased baby's heart-rate again so they stopped it. Without the Pitosin, I was still dilating at a somewhat good pace-about 1 cm per hour. That is, until I got to 6 cm. Then I just plateaued.  

Finally, at around 10:30 p.m. I was dilated enough for them to start prepping the room. Seeing them get the room ready made me feel really excited and terrified at the same time.

Then my epidural wore off. I went back to feeling each contraction, throwing up, and feeling miserable. Luckily, Ammon was right there, pressing on my hips, each time I contracted.This did wonders for me. Ammon's mom and my mom were there to help with everything else. I had a new nurse, Suzanne, who knew just how to guide my breathing. I can't think of a better team of people to help me with delivering my baby.

Eventually, the anesthesiologist came back to give me another dose. I was so happy to see him. But then, as he was leaving, he said the worst thing ever! I don't remember exactly what he said, but it was something along the lines of it not taking effect until baby was already born. What! No!! I signed up for an epidural for a reason! I continued to lay there, enduring each contraction, just praying that the epidural would take effect. When I was 10 cm dilated, they asked if I was ready to push. I said I wasn't. The epidural was only slightly working on half my body-the half that I was laying on. So then everyone helped turn me over. Then, after laying on that side for a few minutes, they asked me again if I was ready to start pushing. I said I was.

Pushing is nuts. Nobody ever explained to me what pushing was like. I don't know if everyone is told to push the same way, but this is what I was told to do:

1. When you feel a contraction coming, breathe in through your nose
2. Let it out.
3. Take another cleansing breath but this time hold it in as everyone counts to 10. While everyone is counting to 10, lean forward, grab your knees and push. Imagine the baby coming down and out.
4. Repeat 2 more times with no breaks in between.
5. Lay back down and breathe normal until the next contraction. (A.k.a try and catch your breath)

So I did this. And continued to do this for an hour and a half. When I first started pushing, I wasn't very good at it. One time, when Suzanne told me to breath in after the first set of pushing, I panicked. I cried out in desperation, "Through my nose or through my mouth?" She reassured me with, "It doesn't matter, Sweetie, just breathe." :) I think I got better at it the more I did it. Ammon's mom said I was a "textbook patient." Meaning, I did everything that I was supposed to. I liked hearing her say that. Okay. Back to pushing. Each time I pushed, I was hoping that baby would come out (obviously) and trying not to pass out from the intense physical exertion. I was so excited when Suzanne explained that during the next contraction the doctor was going to tell me to stop pushing at some point. It was a break in our routine. That meant that baby girl was coming! The contraction came. I started to push. The doctor told me to stop. And out was baby girl's head. Then they told me to push again and the rest of her came out! Suzanne told me to lean forward so I could see her. But when I leaned forward, I couldn't see her because my stomach was in the way! Finally, they lifted her up enough so I could see her. Yes, she was covered in vernix. Yes, she had a cone-head. Yes, she was swollen. But she was still beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. My doctor cleared out her nose. Then he clamped her umbilical cord. Ammon cut it. And then unfortunately, I wasn't able to do skin to skin with her because she needed to be checked quickly and carefully. But they did let me reach out and touch her. Oh my goodness! I will never forget that moment. I still get teary-eyed just thinking about it. In the moment I got to touch her, my heart immediately filled with love like I've never experienced before. The tears started coming and I couldn't stop from exclaiming, "My baby! That's my baby! I love her!" And then when they had to take her away, I exclaimed in her direction, "I love you!" Those were my first words to her and I meant it with all of my heart.

After checking baby, they wrapped my little baby girl up and let me hold her. My little Lily. It wasn't for very long, but I understood that they needed to run some more tests and get her antibiotics. I also knew that I would have plenty of chances to hold her later. Everyone held her one more time and then she was taken to the NICU, where she would spend the next 5 days.

Lillian Renee Lott
7 lbs. 5 oz. (go me for controlling my gestational diabetes!)
20 in.
head full of dark hair
40th percentile for jaundice

When all was said and done, I learned that the reason for my sickness and baby's sickness was chorioamnionitis. Simply put, it's an infection that infects the membranes that surround the baby and the amniotic fluid. It's why I had a fever and why Lily had tachycardia. I was really blessed that I successfully had a vaginal delivery and didn't need to get a C-section. When Lily was born, she was septic (blood infection) and so they needed to get her on antibiotics right away. I was able to get off my antibiotics Sunday night. Lily was on her antibiotics until Wednesday morning. That's when we finally got to bring her home. :)

Despite all these complications, I consider myself very blessed. I am sitting at home right now and at my side is my sweet little Lily, sleeping. She is healthy. She is beautiful. She is home. I'm so grateful for the current knowledge and technology we have that made this possible. 


  1. I love you, Leah! You are such a trooper. Having your first baby is such a learning experience. When you have more children at least you know the basics. But every pregnancy and delivery is different. No two the same. But you have gone through a difficult delivery and you and baby Lily are doing fine. Yes, thank all those people who were there for you. I wasn't there in body but was in spirit. My first great grandchild. Life is good!

  2. Thank you for posting this! I love reading L&D stories, I think they are each so unique and beautiful. Congratulations on bringing such a beautiful new baby into the world! :)


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