Birth Story (37 weeks) ~ July 18, 2003
~ Meet Amie Katherine
Sorry about the delay, but I've been a little busy! Amie Katherine Uotinen was born on Friday, July 18, at 12:36 a.m.! She weighed 8 lbs., 1 3/4 oz., and was 19 3/4 in. long. She arrived early, at 37 weeks, but is considered full-term. She is beautiful and healthy, and we've been enjoying her!
I woke up on Thursday, July 17 at about 7:00 a.m. and as I got Ana up and moving, I thought I felt some leakage. I immediately wondered if my water was breaking, but it was such a small amount of fluid--not like last time when it was an unmistakable gush. As I got breakfast, I felt more leakage and then I really began to wonder. I sat down and thought about whether I should call my doctor or not. I had an appointment that day for 3:00 p.m., and thought about waiting until then, but I recalled that if this was really it, and my water was breaking, I might be giving birth by that time! (Last time, my water broke at about 7:30 a.m. and I gave birth to Ana at 2:54 p.m. that day.) The leakage continued as a small trickle, and I decided I should call. My doctor said I should come in to the office in about an hour, at 9:00 a.m.
By this time I was pretty sure I was going into labor. The next step was to call Karl, who had already left early to meet a friend at a coffee shop. But I didn't know which coffee shop, and he doesn't have a cell phone. I called his friend's wife, and left a message on the machine: "I think my water is breaking! Can you call Tad on his cell phone?" She managed to reach Tad and pretty soon Karl arrived. I was so glad to see him! I called Ana's godmother, and she was at our house in minutes to take Ana with her. I even had time to pack a suitcase with my things and a couple baby outfits. We put the infant car seat in the car and off we went.
At the doctor's office, the receptionist said to go on to the hospital and meet the doctor at Labor and Delivery. Once there, I got into a hospital gown and the nurses filled out their paperwork on me, and then my doctor came in to examine me. He found lots of amniotic fluid, a soft cervix and 3 cm dilated. "It looks like the real thing. We'll go ahead and admit you," he said. Exciting words! We would have the baby that day! It seemed like Christmas all of a sudden. While I got hooked up with an IV and hospital bracelets, Karl made the phone calls to my mom, his mom, Ana's godmother, my sister, and a few others. We arranged for Karl's mother to come from Lynchburg and take Ana later that afternoon and spend the night.
After the initial excitement died down, I began to think about the process of actually getting Amie here, and I wasn't so excited anymore! I began to focus on the labor that had started and the kind of day it was likely to be for me. I was nervous. I knew those long-awaited contractions could start any time. Eventually we got to our labor/delivery room and met our nurse, a wonderful lady named Ellen. We really liked her. I got into the bed and we basically sat and waited. . .and waited. . .and waited. We watched CNN. We talked about how dumb TV is. We watched more TV. I felt a little cramping, and I felt tired, but I wasn't feeling contractions. I was hooked up to a monitor that showed I was having contractions, but very tiny ones. We walked around to try to get the labor started, but I wasn't making much progress. At about 4:00 p.m., the doctor decided to start giving me pitocin to get the labor going, because once the amniotic sac is ruptured, there's a risk of infection for me and the baby. The goal then becomes to deliver the baby within 24 hours.
I had heard horror stories about women going right into hard labor after taking pitocin, but the nurse assured us she was starting me off with a very small amount. Then she suggested we go ahead with an epidural, if I wanted one, before the hard labor started. I kinda felt like it was cheating to get the epidural without feeling any really hard labor pains, but I said OK! By the time the anesthesiologist arrived, I was feeling the contractions. I got the epidural, along with some fentanyl which helped me to relax. I didn't realize how tense I was until I began to relax! By early evening, I was able to doze.
By about 10:00 p.m., I was having big contractions. Because of the epidural, they weren't painful, but I could feel them. They got intense enough to be uncomfortable. My mom arrived about this time, after driving eight hours from Ohio. She hung out in the room with us.
Close to midnight, I was really uncomfortable and all of a sudden I became agitated and tense. I was itchy all over, probably because of the fentanyl that came with the epidural. I had the feeling that my body was working extremely hard, although I couldn't fully feel it. I told Karl, "I want to be done now!"
My doctor came in, checked me and said "Well, let's have the baby!" Those were welcome, exciting words! The nurse called the nursery nurses to come and get ready for the baby, and one or two contractions later, I started to push. Ouch! But it only took about ten minutes of pushing, and here she was! The doctor laid her down on my chest and the first thing I said was "She's so big!" She weighed over eight pounds, as compared to Ana who weighed five. She wriggled, and let out just a couple of noises, but she didn't cry, even when the nurses took her to clean her up and check her. The nurse said she stretched out on the table and stretched her arms over her head! She was very calm.
My doctor prayed with me and Karl when they brought the baby back to us, which was very special. We held her for a little while and then Mom came back in the room and got to hold her, too. She didn't look very much like her sister; her eyes were different--I think they look like mine. She dozed and made tiny little contented noises! I just couldn't believe she was out of my belly and in our arms! What a miracle.
Karl and I moved to a recovery room at about 2:00 a.m. Mom went back to our house to sleep, and Amie went to the nursery for a few hours so Karl and I could sleep. I had a huge backache and was drained. I was also starving since I'd had nothing to eat all day except a couple of popsicles we brought from home! My nurse came up with some cereal, instant soup, juice, milk and crackers, and all of it tasted great!
We both got some sleep, and Amie came back to us at 8:00 a.m. I spent the day exhausted and achy, not feeling real great, but happy. Mom spent all day with me in the room, and Karl's parents and Ana came for a visit. Ana came in the room with a big smile, asking where the baby was. She was wearing a new dress that her grandma gave her, and was adorable as she came over to the baby and started talking to her and gave her a kiss on the lips!
The next day, Saturday, we brought Amie home! We could hardly believe it was that easy. Ana had to stay in the NICU for such a long time, but here it was, two days later, and Amie's hospital stay was over.
We've spent the last week enjoying Amie and introducing her to family, friends and neighbors. Our mothers have been an incredible source of help as we adjust to life with a newborn. They've taken over Ana's care, they've cooked and cleaned and done our laundry. Thanks, moms! We've been receiving delicious meals from ladies at our church. We feel very blessed. Amie is calm and easy to care for (so far!) Her active time is between midnight and 4:00 a.m., so I've had to adjust my sleeping schedule. I'm tired, but the last week has been mostly a joy, and that is a prayer request granted!
It has been such a priviledge to do these journals for StorkNet. Thank you, Paige, for loaning me your laptop for months. Thanks to so many StorkNet readers who've sent notes of encouragement, and thanks to StorkNet for the opportunity!