Mei Day (Mei's Birth Story)

I am back-dating this post but my little lady is almost 16 months old at the time of writing this. Part of the delay in writing this has been that I have been a busy mom, but the initial delay was caused because I was not mentally prepared to write about what had happened during the birth. It's interesting that what was at the time the worst part of the story has turned into the best part of the story. I will back up to the beginning and piece together the memories using pictures and notes taken throughout the process of birthing Miss Mei.

Since the very beginning of my pregnancy, I had wanted a September baby. When August 29th came and went, I was feeling just fine. Then the 30th passed and I still felt no signs of labor. I started thinking maybe I really would have a chance at a September baby. On August 31st, I stayed busy and around 7pm thought I would try to lunge and squat around in hopes of inducing labor, but my body was used to those types of things so nothing happened. Sam and I got in an argument that night, and we didn't resolve it before falling asleep. I knew I was getting a September baby when my countdown ran out at midnight.

The next morning, I showered and headed to my scheduled doctor appointment. I knew there was a chance of her wanting to induce me because I hear those stories all of the time, but I was ignoring that. I did not bring my hospital bag or do anything else to prepare. I was already unhappy with my doctor and had researched a few weeks earlier switching doctors. It seemed like a big hassle, and I figured her shaky hands (she told me she had been drinking a lot of energy drinks) and unbrushed teeth were probably no big deal as doctors have not had a primary role in any of my previous deliveries.

9:00am At the appointment, she did an ultrasound and told me the baby was eight pounds (Mei was 7 lbs, 3 oz at birth a few hours later). She also told me that the amniotic fluid levels were low. She wanted me to go next door to the hospital to be induced immediately. I told her that I wanted her to strip my membranes and then I would walk around for a few hours. Thus began the beginning of being manipulated by fear. She told me she could not guarantee that the baby would not strangle in the umbilical cord in that time and I needed to be constantly monitored.
9:28am She gave me a vigorous stripping of the membranes. My uterus was so posterior she could hardly reach it. I bled heavily.
9:40am I left my appointment to head to the hospital. I called Sam and asked him to finish packing my hospital bag, come to the hospital, and don't forget a hair tie (he forgot the hair tie).  He dropped Declan off to our friend Brittany. I took my time walking to the hospital. It was nearly 100 degrees. I went up to Labor and Delivery and then was sent back downstairs because I had not registered at the hospital (I thought I had, very odd). This was a lengthy process. While waiting, I was bleeding from having my membranes stripped. I stood against the wall in case it could be seen through my pants. I was sobbing. Two nurses came up to me and asked if everything was okay. I explained what was happening and they told me that they were both L&D nurses (one of them was the head nurse), they knew my doctor and they assured me she was a good one, wished me luck and said they would see me soon. I hung out in the lobby until Sam arrived, and we went up the elevator together. We found a quiet corner, and he gave me a Priesthood blessing. It seemed like a really long time, but by 10:31am I was in a hospital gown.

It took about another hour for everything to get done in the room. I was starting to get hungry by this time but figured I would eat lunch once the nurse was done with all of her questions.

11:55am Checked by the nurse (who was a total meany face). 3.5-4cm.
12:05pm The pitocin was finally started. It was very low (4 milliunits/minute).
12:30pm I asked if I could eat something and they balked at the idea. My doctor came in and said they could turn off the pitocin so I could eat and then immediately start it again but I could not eat while it was connected. It makes no sense to me that they could start it immediately but it would be dangerous to do them simultaneously. I told them it is ridiculous that they didn't say anything to me earlier. They gave me ice chips.

12:55pm I started timing contractions. They were about 30 seconds long, every three minutes. Totally bearable. I was playing on my phone and talking. Still thought I had a long road to go.

1:15pm Increased the pitocin to 6 milliunits/minute (still a very low dose).

2:00ish My doctor offered to break my water. I refused since I was feeling hardly anything at that point. I did not want to have a deadline on my labor once the baby was open to infection. She told me if she broke my water, the baby would be born at 5:00pm. If the water was left intact, she predicted the baby would be born at 10pm. Another scare tactic because she knew I wanted the baby out. I still told her no. She also told me that she had been there since 6am the day before and would be leaving at 5pm that night. She assured me the next doctor on call was wonderful, and because I was hoping to have the baby with any other doctor than her, that was fine with me. My doctor approved juice; I chose cranberry. The doctor told me she would check on me again at 4pm, and left the room. She did not come back at 4:00. We could hear her laughing at the nurse's station. She was quite loud.

1:30-2:50 looked like this: standing by the side of the bed.
3:12pm Contractions were about a minute long, every three to three-and-a-half minutes. Labor is tiring and Sam took a nap. He stayed across the room for most of the labor since we had not resolved our argument from the night before.

4:15pm. Starting to feel uncomfortable.
4:30pm The nurse came back, and I asked to have my cervix checked. 6cm.

My mom had told me, "Remember that when it seems the worst it is really close to the end."

4:55pm It was the worst. I told Sam I needed an epidural. He put his arm around me to talk me through the pain and was telling me that I could do it.
4:58pm So much pressure. I told Sam to get help because I was pushing. He pushed the call button (we found out later that it was broken). The contraction lasted more than a minute. Honestly, I could not tell when one stopped and the next started.
5:02pm Sam stood to my left, with his right arm over my shoulder. I felt so much pressure. I was sitting up a few feet from the end of the bed. I pushed and felt a gush of fluid. I told him my water had broken. I had always had the doctor do that in previous labors and it was crazy that it happened on its own this time.
5:03pm I pushed again and felt another gush but this time it was a little different. I pulled back the hospital gown and there was Mei on the bed. Sam and I looked at each other in disbelief. Mei cried a bit and we could not believe what had just happened. This part of my memory is very foggy but I am fairly confident she was face up. A few moments later I yelled, "Help!" The doctor and a few nurses sauntered in. They were surprised to see a baby. My doctor said, "Not many people can say they delivered their own baby." Mei was placed on my chest. She was beautiful.
5:15pm The placenta was delivered.

I had to be stitched up a tiny bit because I had a second degree tear. I could feel the doctor's hands shaking. She was supposed to go home at 5:00pm. Not sure why she was still there but I was very proud that I got that baby out right around 5:00pm without having my water broken by her hours earlier. And just so I never have to talk about this doctor again, a few weeks later I asked her how she thought my delivery went. She said, "Pretty good!" I told her how unhappy I was with it and with her participation in it. She was almost in tears and I hope she is a better doctor for future patients. I never saw her again.

Mei was perfect. We snuggled. She gave the baby version of an autograph: a footprint. Daddy snuggled her.

We moved to a different room.

8:47pm They told me she needed to go to the nursery for four hours to be monitored. I told them no and said I would sign something to say I refused that. How was I supposed to feed a baby every three hours if they took her away for four hours? They took her for a bath. Sam went with them. They were gone for more than an hour. I was livid.

10:45pm Sam went home to relieve Brittany of the boys. I snuggled the baby. I was having a very difficult time getting her to and from her bassinet so she stayed with me. It was exhausting to be there alone overnight with no one to help me get her or to take her away from me so I could sleep soundly for a few hours.

September 2nd
 9:46am Sam and Declan came back to the hospital so Declan could meet Mei. He was smitten.

1:26pm Mei passed the hearing test.

2:14pm Sam and Declan went back home but came back again later with Alex and Edison.
4:18pm Alex and Edison meet their little sister.

Looking very much still pregnant. I weighed myself when I got home (not smart). 152 pounds.
 5:30pm Sam took the boys home for dinner. He took most of my things and I told him I would be home soon. My doctor had cleared me to leave at 6:30am and I was just waiting for them to do the necessary things so Mei could be discharged.

6:03pm Mei and I got out of our scrubs and got all dressed up to go home.

9:09pm But then I was told I could not leave. Mei's bilrubin levels were "on the high side." They told me I could leave "against medical advice" but I would have to bring her back to the emergency room the following day to have her bilirubin levels checked. I decided to say yes to that so I could get home.

9:24pm I found out that my dumb doctor who had cleared me at 6:30am that morning to go home, had mistakenly put the next day's date. It was a long weekend and the following day was Saturday. I was not going to sit in an ER with a one day old baby. I agreed to stay the night but told them I was leaving the following day at 6am no matter what the levels were. I called them out for being manipulative. The lactation consultant came in and she was the only kind and sane person I had worked with in the whole process. I broke down to her about everything that had happened and she said she would talk to someone about it. She did report it, and someone really high up at the hospital called me later to apologize. We talked for over an hour. She told me the hospital is run like it is the 1980s and she is trying desperately to get them to change. There is no mother-baby care. Moms and babies have separate nurses for the entire time. I spoke and was heard. The conversation brought a lot of peace to my spirit.

11:35pm I told the nurses to leave me alone so I could get as much sleep as Mei would allow. It had been a rough day where I had been stuck in my hospital room. According to my fitness tracker, I took 365 steps total on that Friday. I snuggled with Mei and fed her on-demand in bed all night even though the nurses had thrown a fit about me keeping her in bed with me the night before. My milk came in at 3am (36 hours after birth).

The nurse's station was right outside my door. They were talking loudly all night long. I was often awakened to their noise. It was also very bright.

I set an alarm for the next morning so I could stick to my 6am promise. It was painful. I packed up and started walking out with Mei. They told me I had to go out in a wheelchair. Opposite of what I had been told when leaving after Declan was born. Her discharge weight was 6 pounds, 15 ounces (only down four ounces from her birth weight).

7am Mei was buckled in the car. The nurses did not like that I was driving myself home. I told them I didn't like being sent straight to the hospital after my appointment so I guess we both were not thrilled with the situation. I get a little crabby when people interrupt my sleep.

Puffy face, headed home to some peace and quiet.
7:15am Home
7:18am The boys opened their gifts from Mei. They could not wait another second.

 7:30am-1:30pm I slept except when Sam brought Mei to me so she could nurse. It was rejuvenating to sleep and enjoy time with just my baby.

Our kids love Thursdays. Alex, Edison, and Declan were all due on Thursdays, although Declan was the only one born on a Thursday. Mei was due on a Monday but decided to get in on the Thursday action. It has been interesting looking back on this experience. I did not like feeling like a prisoner, but the worst part of the whole thing at the time was that the doctor was not in the room. Now, the best part is that the doctor was not in the room. I brought that baby into the world. I am so proud of that. Mei is crazy levels of chill. She lets out one cry and then goes, "Hummm." When she cries it sounds like she said, "Mei, Mei, Mei." I am totally at peace with this delivery now. Looking back, I am glad I stood up for myself to the nurses. I took care of my baby when they were doing things for no reason except that they had always been done that way. Although this was not a picture-perfect delivery, I feel like it was exactly the delivery that Mei and I needed.

"And then my soul saw you and went, "Oh, there you are. I've been looking for you." -Iain Thomas


Announcing the arrival of...

Mei Merkley!

Born September 1st, 2016 at 5:03pm
7 pounds, 3 ounces
20 inches

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