The Birth Story of Amelia Clare Costello
6lb 2 oz, 20.5 in long
Amelia’s birth story begins on November 17, 2013 evening when I started to not feel well. Achey, no appetite, nauseous, contractions. Every. 4. Minutes. I took a nap that afternoon and got up and started feeling a lot of pelvic pressure. The kids and I did some cooking and I had to sit down, it was getting kind of intense. I couldn’t sleep that night and laid awake from 11pm-3am with contractions 4 minutes apart. I let J sleep thinking that this was going to turn into something that he might want to be rested up for. I occupied the time by downloading a contraction app on my phone (ok, it is super convenient…). I had just rolled over 36 wks. After finally falling asleep at 3am, I woke at 6am to get ready to go to work. J took one look at me and heard about the night I’d had and told me to call my boss and also my midwife. I was in no shape to go to work. And I felt like crap.
I got the kids to where they needed to go and got into my midwife at noon. I just felt lousy, and the contractions were still about 4 mins apart, but not getting any worse and not intense. I was concerned since I was barely 36 weeks and these contractions were not going away, and I was feeling just not right. After a series of tests and finding that my temp and blood pressure were a little elevated, my midwife Kim asked if I would be willing to do a 24 hr urine collection to look further into the issue. Sounded gross, but I agreed, gotta do what you gotta do, right? She thought I just had a ‘bug’ but wanted to be sure I didn’t have too much protein in my urine, indicating possible preeclampsia.Yikes. That was only something I had heard about with others dealing with, definitely not for me!
I felt better the next day and Wednesday; well as good as you feel when you’re 36.5 wks pregnant. Kim called me at work Wednesday night. The protein in my urine was 300. 299 is considered borderline preeclamptic. Along with my slightly elevated blood pressure she said this was nothing to mess around with. I was to come in the next day for more tests to check in on baby, and I was to quit working. “Take it easy”. Alrighty then……
Thursday I went in for a non stress test, blood pressure check, and ultrasound to check on baby and fluid levels. Everything came back normal but my blood pressure was still a bit elevated. Baby looked fine, measuring at 6lbs, give or take a pound (really, how do they come up with these numbers!?). I was 3cm dilated and 70%+ effaced and Kim thought I will go into labor naturally in the next few days, since my body would do what it needed because of the preeclampsia. If I did not, I would have to be induced Monday morning at 6am. She told me that research shows that moms with preeclampsia have better outcomes when delivered during the 37th week, no later. I would be 37 weeks on Sunday.
Well, the next several days came and went and I had contractions off and on, but nothing ‘real’. I felt terrible. I tried to get up and about the house, but just the task of folding laundry or standing to put clothes away was enough that I had to sit and rest for 30 mins afterward. Things were just not feeling right, and I was starting to swell in my hands, feet, and face. Sunday November 24th we delivered G and L to Nana and Papa’s house and went home. We had to be at the hospital at 6am so it was easier that they just stayed overnight. Jeremiah and I were sitting on the couch eating and watching the AMA’s and I told him this was the last night for us only having 2 kids and probably the last night we would have to get a full night’s sleep. He agreed. We were both in a haze.
I slept all of 3 hrs that night and was awake at 3am, anxious, worried, and unhappy. I read a few prayers for a safe delivery on my phone, which helped some. I did not want to be induced, I didn’t like medical interventions with my births and preferred to just let nature take it’s course, but this was a different situation and my and baby’s health were at stake. Preeclampsia increases the chance of a stillbirth along with many other things. We got up and got ready to go to the hospital.
I was incredibly nervous when we got there, it was 6:15am. The nurse to check us in on the OB floor was named Lucy…maybe it was a good omen from God? They had me get in a gown and did all the check in questions. A new set of nurses came on at 7:30am and one tried to get an IV going on me. I had drunk 30 ounces of water already that morning in anticipation of this as my veins are small and are often hard to find, and if I am dehydrated it is worse. I was also increasingly swollen in my hands, face and feet due to the preeclampsia. No luck. The nurse stuck me in the back of each hand and dug around for a vein only to blow it each time. I about lost it and my breakfast. This was almost more painful than birth! It was 7:30am when Kim arrived and came in to talk to us. She got the IV on the first try, thank goodness! We went over the plan and she checked my cervix–I was 4cm and 80% effaced, -1 stations. ‘Ready for labor’ she said. She was going to start pitocin on the lowest level for a few hrs and see what my body would do. Kim and I had already talked at length about how I was deathly afraid of pitocin and all of this induction. She respected my concerns and agreed to start on the lowest dose, and the pitocin started. I stared at that pitocin bag hanging from the IV pole and wished it was not there, that none of this was happening. Kim suspected we would spend most of the day trying to ‘talk my body into labor’ and that once my contractions got going things would progress very quickly. She left and told us she would be back in a few hrs to check on us, have the nurse call her down in the clinic if we needed anything before that. I had the baby monitors on my belly and had to stay in the bed until about 9am. They also started rounds of antibiotics since my strep B was positive. The nurse asked me if we had decided what I would want for pain medication. I looked at her and told her ‘nothing’, I have never used pain meds for my kids’ births. She looked at me like I was crazy and then gave me a look like ‘yeah, we’ll see what you say in a few hours’. We watched old episodes of Saved by the Bell to occupy the time.
Aunt Mel arrived and brought Jeremiah a coffee around 8am. She came in and talked with us; it was nice to have a break and think about something else other than the pitocin coursing my veins. At 9am I asked to get up and walk, I could not stand sitting in that bed any longer. Everything I know about birth encourages walking, moving, letting gravity help, doing SOMETHING other than laying in bed! Jeremiah and I walked the length of the 2nd floor probably 100 times over the course of the next several hours. We had the loudest IV pole on the planet, and of course I had to drag it with me everywhere I went. Melissa walked with us for awhile, then left to go to Gabriel’s Thanksgiving program at his school at 10:30am, which I was sad to miss. At one point during our laps around the floor, I became an emotional wreck. I was so frustrated that nothing was happening. I had no contractions, no sign of impending labor. Nothing different than when I came in. It was 11am and I had thought I would have a baby by noon, since my last delivery was only 2 1/2 hrs. I cried and sobbed and Jeremiah tried to console me. I felt like this was all a waste and I might as well go home and come back in a week. My body was not cooperating and not being ‘talked into labor’ very easily. I was sick of being sick and feeling like crap for the past week and I just wanted a healthy delivery and to hold my baby. None of which seemed to be going to happen today. And my IV hurt!!!
Kim came back to check on me just before noon. I talked to her about how I was feeling nothing happening and was incredibly frustrated. She talked to the nurse and they increased the pitocin. I ate some chicken broth and jello. Awesome. Kim thought we’d have a birth by dinnertime.
Kim returned again after her lunch and I was 6cm. Although I was still feeling nothing and felt like I might as well be at work or something other than the hospital, my contractions were regular and my cervix had been dilating while I was brooding. Baby’s head was at 0 stations meaning she had come down further into my pelvis. Kim thought it would be a good time to break my water and try to encourage more contractions. Being the non-interventionists that we are, I did not want this, but understood that things were not ideal at the time. My blood pressure had been climbing all morning, probably partially due to my anxiety about the whole thing, but it was nothing to mess around with. We ok’ed it and my bag of waters was artificially broken around 1pm. The pitocin was to be increased every 30 mins now and Kim thought labor would be on it’s way. We were to call her when I was getting uncomfortable, and then the pitocin would be turned off so my body could do it’s thing. I laid in bed for another 30 mins while they monitored the baby then Jeremiah said we should walk. So we walked. Aunt Mel joined us again and we did lap after lap. I started feeling contractions and they were about 2-3 mins apart. Nothing terrible, but they were progressing. Finally! Hallelujah! Something was starting to happen. I began having to stop for contractions, and lean forward holding onto my IV pole. Aunt Mel had enough of this I guess because she bid us goodbye and went back to the waiting room. I walked a few more laps then ended up back in my room, sitting on the side of the bed. Contractions were getting intense. Jeremiah asked if I thought it was time to get Kim up here. I repeatedly replied no, that she had other people to see and I was not that close to hard labor. My blood pressure was getting too high, 152/90; my usual is 115-120/80. Yikes. After 2 more very intense contractions, I changed my mind and Kim was called.
Kim came into the room around 4pm. I was sitting between contractions but would stand with each one and dig my face into Jeremiah’s chest. I was trying to relax, breathe, and make low moaning tones like we had learned in Bradley birthing classes over 4 years ago! It was working so far, pain was intense, but I was dealing. I started to shake uncontrollably. I knew this meant I was in transition, but thought that couldn’t be since my contractions only really started about 1 hr ago. Kim asked if I was feeling pressure. Pressure? Yes, tons! They turned off the pitocin. She suggested we try hands and knees position to labor in for awhile. I did not say anything but just climbed onto the bed in hands and knees. I had delivered Lucy in this position in an extremely short time so I was hopeful it would work. I closed my eyes and I’m not sure I opened them for the next 45 mins. With each contraction I would sit back towards my heels and Kim would push against my pelvis for counterpressure. Pain was intense and getting worse. Contractions were about 30 sec to 1 min apart I think. Kim checked me again and I was 8 or 9cm, I can’t remember. Maybe 10 more contractions and she checked me again, 9.5cm.
I could have died. 9.5cm and I was feeling pushy. I went along with the push feeling a few times and it felt better to push. She had me breathe through a few more contractions without pushing so I could dilate some more. Jeremiah was doing his best to console me, rub my back, tell me I was doing great, keep himself from getting a broken neck as I was clinging onto him for dear life with 1 hand and using the other elbow to support myself. In all this pain of labor, I could still feel that damn IV in my wrist and it hurt too! Kim said I had a ‘lip of cervix’ that was preventing me from being able to push baby out. If I could stand it, with the next few contractions she would try to flip it out of the way. I agreed. With the next contraction she did just that and I felt the worst pain imaginable, and I vomited. I was shaking so bad. I threw up one more time. I opened my eyes and saw that the sterile blue cart had arrived and the baby warmer was on. All good signs that they thought there would be a baby soon. I felt like this was never going to end. Heck, I was supposed to have a baby by noon!!!! Kim consoled me and told me baby was going to be here within 15 mins. How bout 10? I thought. She told me she could see baby’s head, and there was a lot of dark hair. I was baffled by this as I thought this baby was going to be similar to Gabriel’s skin tone and hair. Guess I was wrong. Kim suggested I flip over and try a reclined position with pulling my knees to chest to allow baby to turn and the cervix to open a bit more.
Again I climbed, with assist, into the position and tried to do what she said. With each contraction I pulled my knees to chest and pushed when I felt like it. She tried the cervix flip maneuver again and I threw up, again. Pain. Pain. Pain. Kim kept saying that with one of these contractions she was going to ‘wear baby’. I think that meant she thought baby was going to come fast, and I kept having images of a baby flying out of me. By this time I was done with the low tones of moaning and relaxing. I became a laboring beast! All I could do was scream. I mean scream. I yelled and hollered and cried bloody murder for the last 20 mins of my labor. At one point I apparently bit Jeremiah’s cheek as he had a wound that he later showed me. Whoops. Not exactly what the Bradley method promotes but it got me through and he healed. The nurse kept trying to put that baby monitor on my belly to check the heart rate and that hurt between contractions. A nurse and Jeremiah had each leg and I pushed and pushed and I felt a head come out. My eyes were closed and Kim told me to keep pushing. I clung to Jeremiah like there was no tomorrow. Because of this he did not get to catch the baby and I still feel bad about that. He delivered both Gabriel and Lucy. I still tell him that what he was doing at the time was more important. I felt the rest of the body emerge and reached out with both hands to grab that baby, 5:14pm. Kim put her on my chest and baby immediately cried. I cried. We all cried!
I could not believe how little baby was and how much dark hair there was! Looked very similar to Lucy when she was born. We checked and baby was a girl!!! A girl!? I had been 99% sure the entire pregnancy that this was a boy. Guess I was wrong in so many ways!!!
Amelia was perfect. 10 fingers, 10 toes, a little petite body that snuggled right in. While we were admiring our newest addition, Kim delivered my placenta and checked me for tears. None! Hooray! Just 2 abrasions but nothing needing repaired. I have never torn in a delivery and I was very happy that this time around was no different. All those squats paid off! My labor was really only 2 hrs at 15 mins since I didn’t really feel contractions till around 3pm. I was happy with this!
Kim hung around for awhile and we got a picture of the 4 of us. I hugged her and could not thank her enough. There is some kind of special bond that is created with the person that catches your babies, and Kim is no different. I felt like I owed her my deepest debt for helping me through to push that baby out. She knew exactly what to say, and when. Jeremiah was an amazing coach too. He did the perfect job in getting me to do the things I needed to do throughout labor and being the advocate that I needed. I cried and apologized for screaming. Kim told me over and over what a great job I did and that I was ‘born to have babies’. Right. I’ve been told that before after each birth and beg to differ.
After everything calmed down, they weighed Amelia and she amounted to 6lb 2oz. They gave her back to us right away and waited to do the rest of the measurements until later that evening. That night, she weighed in at 6lb 10 oz. Babies don’t usually gain weight in their first 12 hrs, so not sure what happened there, but I was not that concerned. Apparently there was something off with the scale. Oh well. The dietary aide came by with my dinner meal and I was starving. She made a comment on how the whole floor could hear me screaming earlier. I bit my lip in giving her my full opinion about how I didn’t care who heard me scream, about where she could put her little remark, and how I had just pushed a baby out naturally! Aunt Mel was the first to come in and hold Amelia. We sent out texts and posted a pic on facebook of our new addition since our families and friends had been hanging in limbo since morning! Uncle Mitch arrived, then the entire rest of our immediate families.
I had to finish my bag of pitocin to help my uterus contract back down and decrease my bleeding. I had gotten 2 rounds of antibiotics prior to Amelia’s birth so that significantly decreased the chance of any problems that she would have with that. After I was allowed to get out of bed, I changed and the nurse helped me get dressed and cleaned up. My blood pressure was still abnormally high and I was incredibly light headed, so they would not let me shower until the next day for fear of fainting. Kim left to go home and we thanked her over and over. She would come back tomorrow to release me and see how I was doing. We walked down the hall to our room and settled in with the rest of the family. G and L liked Amelia, but were more excited about the small present each of them got from Jeremiah and I–haha!
I really had no pain after birth except for the small contractions that would come each time I nursed for the next several days. They were more intense this time than I had with either Gabriel or Lucy.
The next morning when the nurse arrived, my blood pressure had lowered to 105/80 and my pulse was slow. ‘Are you a runner?’ the nurse asked. I was delighted. Of course I was! Although I had not run for the past 6 months, apparently my heart was still somewhat efficient. My uterus had contracted way down and everything else looked great. They finally removed the IV and I was even happier! We had visitors throughout the day on Tuesday.
We went home after 24 hours, Tuesday night, which was per my request. Amelia and I were doing fine and there was really no reason to stay. We had both been released. I do not sleep well in hospitals and I knew I would have a better recovery if I could just get some sleep! So, home we went and started our new life as a family of 5!