Jasper’s Birth Story

First of all I want to say thank you for the incredible outpouring of well wishes, it means so much to all of us!

I’m sorry I didn’t post sooner, as you can imagine life with a newborn makes finding time to post more difficult. The birth story is also fairly lengthly as you are about to find out..

But first, the story in pictures:

And now the birth story in short because most people won’t have the time or stamina to get through the full account (all 18 hours of it!)

The abbreviated version:

Monday August 17th I went into labor around 7pm. We were at the mall so we rushed home to pack our remaining items into the hospital bag. There had been some discussion earlier in the day with my midwives that my water had actually broken sometime that afternoon. (A high leak, not a full break though).

I labored for 6-7 excruciating hours of full on back labor making very little progress (Jasper was in posterior position) before deciding to get an epidural. This decision proved to be very wise because I had no idea that there were 12 more hours yet to come and a very prolonged pushing stage for which I would need to save my strength.

At some point during my slow dilation process Jasper’s heart rate started to decel to dangerously low levels between contractions. Unlike decels during contractions (which are the baby’s normal response to the contraction) these likely indicated a cord issue and the back up OB was called. He observed the decels and immediately booked an OR for a c-section.

Because he is an amazing and wonderful doctor, instead of sectioning me immediately, he allowed me to continue to labor as long as Jasper’s heart rate would return to normal before the next contraction. Part of this is also due to the fact that I started dilating extremely rapidly right at this point. It had taken me about 14-16 hours to get to 6cm but I went from 7-10 in no more than an hour. It was only because I was ready to push that they let me see if I could get the baby out before they needed to step in and do a section.

At around 11am Tuesday August 19th I started pushing. And I pushed and pushed but with the baby being posterior, he was having a really hard time fitting under the pubic bone. Then they turned off the epidural to make sure I was pushing as effectively as possible – Jasper needed to come out NOW.

The second (anesthesia free) hour of pushing was the most difficult and painful hour of my life. I seriously did not think I could do it. There was a point during the crowning where I started screaming to just get him out of me! The midwife actually attempted an epesiotomy (not to avoid a natural tear but to speed things along because the heart rate was such an issue) but later told me she couldn’t even fit the scissors in (sorry, way TMI.)

At 1:14pm August 19th with one final excruciating push I delivered Jasper’s head followed quickly by his body and our son was born!

The long and detailed version:

Monday August 18th.

2:45pm – Appointment with Midwife Lisha
At this point it is my third day of prodromal labor, I’ve woken up for 3 straight days with contractions thinking this would be the day! Three times that day before the appointment I felt a small gush and found bloody show and what I thought was left over thin mucus plug. I am devastated to find out from her internal that for the THIRD week in a row I am still at a fingertip – 1cm dilated and 50% effaced. Lisha does a fairly “vigorous” internal. She asks me why I think that those gushes weren’t amniotic fluid and does some litmus test strip that shows it was, but that could have been from the mucus. I am going over to the hospital anyway to see midwife Judy for a Non Stress Test. Lisha calls Judy and tells her to do the ferning test to see if my water has broken.

After a normal NST, Judy does the litmus test strip again which this time shows negative. ARGH! She also does the ferning test and does NOT see ferning, so no water. She still thinks MAYBE it’s a slow leak and asks me if I want to walk around for a couple hours and have her check me for dilation. I tell her I’d rather go labor at home for a while if I do indeed go into labor. We say goodbye and she tells me she has a feeling I might be back that night.

Jeff & I decide to go to the mall to walk around a bit, try to get things moving. We have an early dinner and walk down to old navy. I get my first real labor contraction, only it doesn’t last just a minute, its like one long 5 minute contraction. I am sitting down at a bench in the mall telling jeff I’m not sure I’ll make it out!

We make it home and start timing the contractions. They are about 7-8 minutes apart. I have another gush and call Judy who tells me to come in because she feels certain that I have a high leak.

I am FRANTICALLY packing our last minute stuff for the hospital, all the while pausing between the contractions to sit on the birthing ball. I realize that they are getting very painful very fast.

We finish packing and arrive at Phelps Hospital at 10pm.

Judy checks me and says I’m a “loose” 1cm and 80% effaced. She confirms that there is only a bag of forewaters meaning I did have a leak/break somewhere else along the way.

I am incredibly lucky that I got the best birthing room at Phelps, it is large and has a HUGE whirlpool tub that I promptly get in with the Jets aiming at my back. This is very soothing because I am having pretty bad back labor. I stay in the tub for about 2 hours at which point they need me to get out for some monitoring and to check my progress. After about 6-7 hours of labor I am only about 1-2 centimeters 80% effaced, but according to Judy the head is low at plus 1 station.

When I got this news something snapped. I have been having HORRIBLE back labor and all of the different positions we were trying weren’t doing a thing to make it even slightly more tolerable. The fact that I was barely dilating despite this excruciating pain was more than I could take.

Then the nurse uttered the magic words that the anesthesiologist was at the hospital to administer an epidural to another woman in Labor. The idea of letting him go home without also giving me an epidural was too much to bear.

My midwife tried convincing me to try stadol first, she thought it would allow me to get some sleep. But by this point, I knew I wouldn’t make it through this labor without getting an epidural at some point, and I told her I’d rather get just an epidural than an epidural AND stadol.

Best decision EVER!

The relief was immediate, and we were able to get a few hours of sleep.

At 7am the next morning, my midwife Judy came in to say she was leaving and that Sheila was coming on. She checked me one last time and pronounced me to only be at 3-4 centimeters but plus one station. So in 12 hours of labor I’d made a measly 3-4 centimeters progress.

When Sheila came in an hour or so later she checked me again and said I was three centimeters and zero station… so now I was not only progressing but REgressing!

The next part is a little blurry for me, but next thing I know they are waking me up and putting the oxygen mask on me. The baby’s heartrate is decelerating – not during contractions (which is normal) but AFTER each contraction which usually indicates a cord issue. They try chaning my position, but nothing seemed to help. The heartrate always rebounded, but Sheila called in their back up OB Dr. Mendellowitz (aka the OB from heaven). He watched the heart tracing and immediately opened the OR for me.

In the meantime, Sheila checks me again and lo and behold – PROGRESS. I’m at 8! They continue to monitor the baby’s heart rate after each contraction. At this point the midwife starts doing scalp stimulation on the baby’s head during every decel. A short time later at my next check I am pronounced to be at 10 – ready to push! I don’t remember exactly, but I’d say it took me about 14 hours to get from 1cm to 4 cms and maybe 2 hours (tops) to get from 5-10, and maybe just half an hour of that was getting from 8-10.

It was this rapid dilation that ultimately allowed me to very narrowly escape a c-section as it was clear the baby needed to come out as soon as possible.

The first hour of pushing went ok, but because the heart rate decels were getting more serious they needed to speed things along and it was then that I heard the most frightening words ever: “Turn off the epidural”.

Somewhere at this point they realized that the baby was posterior (explaining my horrendous back labor from the very beginning) and that pushing him under the pubic bone was going to be very difficult. (I recalled that during childbirth class they demonstrated this phenomenon with a model of a pelvis and a doll.)

The second hour (yes I pushed for two hours!) was the most hellish hour I hope to ever have in this lifetime. The epidural wore out with surprising speed and soon I was “laboring naturally” – just in time for the most painful part.

The pushing did go better once the epidural wore off and after what seemed like an eternity, I felt the baby start to crown.

Oh my god.

The point at which the head starts to come out and stays part way out between contractions is when I totally lost it. I don’t really recall everything I said, but I do know I started crying that I couldn’t do it and to please just get the baby out! I also remember thinking there was NO way I could push through that pain.. they were going to have to just cut it out somehow.

No sooner had I thought that than Sheila started coming at me with the scissors. I literally screamed “No! No episiotomy!!” and started writhing on the table. Perhaps motivated by the sight of the scissors, I gave it one more push and this time the head came out followed pretty much immediately by the rest of his body.

I can’t even describe the feeling of relief that I felt at that moment. Relief that labor was over, relief that the baby was healthy, relief that I had made it through it one piece with only a 1st degree tear, and a huge relief that my caregivers gave me and my body the opportunity to labor rather than section me at the first sign of trouble.

And then I saw my son for the first time.. and my world changed.

“He’s so beautiful!” were my first words when they put this precious little being on my chest.
(I had been prepared for him to look like a wrinkly old man like so many newborns do!)

He latched on right away and we managed to get a few minutes skin to skin before they whisked him away to be evaluated by the neonatologist… due to the long labor and my water having been broken for so many hours both Jasper and I had a fever.

Our fevers meant that instead of Jasper being able to room in with us at the hospital he would have to go to the special care nursery to be monitored around the clock and administered preventative IV antibiotics.

The news only got worse when they told me that because my blood type is O positive and Japser is A positive, we have ABO incompatibility and tested coombs positive. This meant Jasper had a much higher than normal chance at becoming severely jaundiced. He would have to spend at least 24 hours under the bili lights and then would have to be tested again.

They told us it was unlikely he’d be ready for discharge when we were.

I could write a novel about all the events and happenings those 36 hours in recovery, but that’s not really part of the birth story, and this post is quite long enough as it is.

The long and the short of it is all the cultures came back negative for infection and Jasper’s biliruben levels were normal so we were cleared to take him home with us after all!

And that is the long and short story of Jasper’s birth..and the beginning of a whole new chapter.

Thank you all for sharing in our joy :)

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Twila says:

WOW! What a beautiful story! I found your blog from Trying to Tri’s. I went to the doctor yesterday with a high leak and glad to know someone else has had one. Because until yesterday I had never heard of a high leak. Hope your days are going well!

Jennifer says:

That’s certainly a story. He is beautiful!

Tiffany says:

Way to go. He really is a beautiful baby, and seeing those pictures of him confirms that the camera you bought was totally worth it!

lsaspacey says:

Wow, what a story! I can’t imagine going through that back labor, so you are my new hero! Jaspar is precious and soooo cute, looking forward to all the pictures with your new camera. Rest up well you guys!

zack says:

Congrats! This is truly an epic story and I am overjoyed that everyone is OK and healthy.

Michelle says:

I began following your story after becoming a huge fan of your ‘Becoming Home’ blog. Your little Jasper is just an incredibly beautiful baby. Congratulations to your new family! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story with all of us.

Sara says:

the story made me a bit teary! congratulations;) you’re right, he is beautiful.

bev says:

Hi and congrats on a beautiful baby boy. I’m a lurker for sometime (renovations -and our older home in PA is very similar to yours). Thank you for sharing your birth stories; it brought back memories of my 3 deliveries. We are anticipating the birth of our first grandson in November. Love the pictures… God Bless your little family

Meli says:

Congratulations, Ariana!!!!!!!!
You are a mommy!!!!
This story was amazing to read – you must still be in disbelief that he is here AND he is absolutely beautiful :)

Congratulations again to the new mommy and daddy!!!

bella Bat 'Or Freuman says:

Dear Arianna, I was so happy to read the storry of your birth of Jasper. When I gave birth to Alex it took 24 hours. He was very big, 10 lb. To give birth is like climbing a high, steep, mountain. The bliss to get to the top is indescribable. The same it is with giving birth. The happiness that one is experiencing is so great that it is washing away all the hard ship of the pain and labor. I am very happy for the three of you. Love, Bella

Stephanie says:

He is adorable! Congratulations!!!!

Kath says:

Wow, the photos are amazing. Amazing. Gorgeous boy, and is that CURLY hair?? Glad you didn’t have to have a C-section. Please read my birth story when you get a chance. Best wishes!

Michelle says:

Wow! Thanks for sharing your story. I started to tear up looking at photos of your beautiful newborn. I’ve got one coming in about 2 1/2 months and find myself mesmerized by birth stories these days. Glad you are all doing well now! Congratulations!

farah says:

what a delicious baby. You did an excellent job mom

Tamara says:

Congratulations, Ariana and Jeff! Jasper is a gorgeous little angel… I can’t wait to meet him! Thanks for sharing your story– it was incredibly intense to read, so I can only imagine how intense it was to live!

Dyan says:

He’s gorgeous!!!!!!
Congratulations to you and Jeff.
Good for you holding on through the pain.

Jennifer says:

Congratulations! He is so wide-eyed and alert in the photos — just beautiful!

And although your birth story made me cringe a couple of times, I do appreciate your transparency through the entire process. I know you’ve been waiting for him for so long and have no doubt he will be the biggest blessing!

Jason says:

I loved meeting that beautiful boy. He is something special (even if he did pee all over me:)

enjoy every moment,

Pink says:

Your Baby is beautiful!! Congrats on your labor and the didn’t c-section you automatically!! Please keep us updated on Jasper and you! :)

Jennifer says:

He’s just beautiful. He is going to love his story someday. It’s chock full of adventure, suspense, heroes abound…what a wonderful birthday (and birthday eve) for this little guy.

Congratulations on making it through. You did it. Now go and get some rest!

Emily says:

Congratulations! What a wonderful job all around and a lovely little boy. I have chills reading your story. Birth is such a miracle and so profound. Blessings to you and your little family in these first weeks and on.

Cynthia says:

CONGRATS!!! I have been waiting to hear the birth story….and WOW!!! You’re are incredibly strong to endure 18 hrs of labor. I’m glad to hear the docs didn’t open you up right away and allowed you to labor. Jasper is a beautiful baby!!!!!! Jeff and you are truly blessed!!!! Can’t wait to hear the stories about Jasper. Take care.
– Cynthia

Deb says:

Wow! First off, a big congratulations to your new little family of three. I found your blog last Saturday via Project Nursery and I’m so glad I did. Your writing style is wonderful — descriptive, approachable and funny. Again, congratulations and welcome to the world, little Jasper!

Mom Quixote says:

I’ve been on pins and needles waiting to hear what was what. You did one heck of an amazing job and your son is just darn precious! Congratulations a thousand times!

Jill says:

Congratulations! He is gorgeous!!!

S says:

Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby! I’ve been lurking for a while but couldn’t resist chiming in after all those great pics. Your birth story is wonderful.

Tonya says:

What a little beauty he is! Enjoy all the moments to come.

tryingin2007 says:

wow. all I can say is that I’m all teary. AND so proud of you.

he is absolutely perfect! :)

beautiful job “mom.”

Dawn says:

Congratulations! Waiting for you to post brings a whole new meaning to the term “blog stalker”. I am so happy for you and Jeff and I am so amazed by how strong you are and how crazy your birth story is. I have tears in my eyes reading about your first meeting. He is so incredibly beautiful and you are so blessed. I’m glad you got to have the natural delivery you wanted so badly, you are very lucky to have an OB that didn’t jump to a csection but you know that already. I could write a book on my joy for you but I guess “congratulations” will have to do for now. Please keep us updated on how you all are, you are in my thoughts and prayers!

mandoo says:

That is a great birth story and I’m so glad you’re home and doing well! Can’t wait to see more pictures and hear more stories!

Melanie says:

WOW!! I hope you are recovering ok!! I remember the crowning to be the worst part too. Like a burning and stretching… oh my god… Hurts to even think about still!! But it’s all worth it for your beautiful baby!! I hope you are enjoying new motherhood!! I’m so glad he was ok and ready to come home with you!