Meet Hayden Elizabeth Shaw – Our rainbow baby who finally made her appearance after 4 and a half long years of infertility…
Hey there friends!
It’s with so much love in my heart I write to you today to introduce you to our rainbow baby, Hayden Elizabeth Shaw.
Hayden was born bright and early August 4 at 2:54 AM, weighing in at 7 pounds 8 ounces and 19 and half inches long.
She instantly became the best anniversary present (yes, August 4 also marked 6 years of wedding bliss with the hubs and I, too!) we both agreed we’d ever gifted each other.
I always enjoy reading birth stories so for those ready to join us on this new ride, here’s how our newest addition came into this great big world!
How Labor and Delivery Actually Went… And It’s Not Like the Movies!
Let me start by saying I was one of those people whose birth plan was simply this: have a healthy baby using whatever means necessary.
If anything this journey has taught me is that you cannot plan, so ultimately our goal all along was just to bring Hayden into this world however the doctor’s saw fit.
Thus… here it goes!
I was convinced starting July 28 that I’d be one of those people walking Costco (the one place I frequented regularly to beat the heat and get some steps in those last weeks) and my water would break. Employees would radio each other and then within minutes I’d be whisked away to the hospital to birth my beautiful baby girl.
Well my friends, that’s certainly not how it happened. Actually, on July 30th I started feeling decreased fetal movement and it really freaked me out. We kept hearing what a BIG baby she was (supposedly in the 90th percentile) so I kept thinking she was just running out of space.
Turns out, my gut instinct was right and though her heart was beating steady, it wasn’t meeting the “increased rates” doctors want to see within 20 minute intervals.
As a precautionary measure, we went to the triage unit at the hospital that night and were sent home with instructions to keep kick counts and go see our doctor first thing the next morning.
So, Tuesday at 7am we were in his office and so began round two of testing. Hayden was a bit uncooperative and took 90 minutes to pass her test that morning, but the doctor assured us she was okay, just possibly a bit sleepy but wanted to keep an eye on her over the next few days.
As I’m sure any new mom would feel, this was NOT comforting! As someone who runs a support group for women who’ve experienced infertility and loss at all stages of this journey, I kept envisioning in my mind the worst of the worst at this point, a stillbirth.
We left that morning and my stomach was in knots. I was having intense contractions and the doctor said he’d like to see us back Friday if I didn’t deliver before then.
Well, Friday came and we showed up for our AM appointment per usual, only this time after 40 minutes of not cooperating, our doctor came back in with strict instructions, “Guys, go home and get your bags, you’re having this baby today.”
Tears immediately streamed my face, part worry, part relief. While she was not in immediate danger, because she kept failing to meet the increased heart rate over the 20 minute period the doctor didn’t want to take any chances and decided it was best to be induced.
We ran home, got our bags, threw everything into one car and headed to the hospital…
The Induction Process- On Our Way to Labor and Delivery
After all the paperwork was said and done, the induction process got underway at 12:15 PM that Friday, August 3rd. Since I wasn’t having any contractions that day, was only 75% effaced and not dilated at all, my OBGYN prescribed cytotec. While this medication is not approved by the FDA, it’s widely used in the healthcare setting to soften the cervix while inducing contractions to begin labor.
I was put on the lowest dose possible and told to just sit back and relax (right, relax?!).
I also was started on an IVF drip line at this time that ran continuously and every 8 hours was pumped with another dose of antibiotics.
I was one of the 40% of women who test positive for Group B strep (a bacteria present in your body, nothing that can harm you but can be dangerous for baby) so doctors take precautionary measures and place all women on antibiotics if they have this.
By 4pm, the first dose of cytotec had run it’s course and they were supposed to insert another, however my contractions had begun and while not painful, were very close together.
They decided to wait until nearly 8pm to insert the second dose. At that time, I was finally 1.5 cm dilated and nearly 90% effaced. And, if I’m being totally honest, I was absolutely starving! I may have snuck in a mini KIND bar at this point because I knew it could be a long night ahead.
Moving into Active Labor
I remember reading up so much on the difference between pre- and active- labor and I will say this, after the second dose of cytotec, I quickly moved into active labor.
Within an hour I was 3 cm dilated and feeling lots of movement. I opted for the Tylenol like medication at this point but was still holding out on the epidural. I wasn’t against it, but wanted to see how far I could go without it.
Plus, the nurse told me if I got it to soon it would delay labor further, and TBH, at that point the thought of waiting any longer to meet our pineapple was not in my cards.
Time went by very quickly at that point, and when I was checked again about 11:30 PM I was already 6 cm dilated and feeling just about everything!
I requested the epidural at this time, and thankfully the kind anesthesiologist actually came quickly to give it to me! He was on his way into a c-section but knew they had some time, so needless to say I’m very very thankful he came when he did.
About 5 minutes before he showed up my contractions were so strong my water broke naturally. Typically with an induction they will break your bag of waters early on to help speed up labor I was told, except if you have the Group B strep.
Thus, I was SUPER glad it broke then to kick things further into action.
The concept of time at this point was very blurry to me, but I remember telling Wayne I literally felt like she was coming out, right then and there. I didn’t feel pain, just lots of pressure.
The nurse said she’d check me in another hour, but I looked at Wayne and said please make her check now! She was in the process of inserting my foley catheter (aka the pee in the bag thing all epidural patients have to get), so, he kindly asked her too just check. She did but with a little hesitation since she does this for a living.
Well, lo and behold I was right!
I had gone from 6 to 10 in less than 90 minutes! The doctor on call came in and evaluated me, but then was called out into another room. He left instructions to have the nurses prep me for delivery and within 15 minutes I was pushing.
I was told to push, push harder, and then BAM, STOP PUSHING!
I was so confused but also excited, scared and everything in between. Apparently the other case required the doctors immediate attention and he needed our little miracle to stay inside me a bit longer.
Thus, I tried to relax and just focus on Wayne, who also snuck a KIND bar in at this point. He’s definitely a dietitian’s husband, he looked at me as he took a bite and said, “Daddy needs his fuel!”
And the Final Push
By 2:45AM, the doctor came back in the room and with 3 final pushes, our little Hayden Elizabeth entered this world.
It all happened so quickly it felt like I didn’t cry immediately, I didn’t scream, I just grunted, pushed and breathed the deepest sigh of relief when I heard her cry as they placed her on my chest.
Our little pineapple miracle was finally here… it still feels so surreal!
While the doctors were in fact wrong, she was in the 42%ile for her weight and 45%ile for height, she was in fact absolutely perfect, healthy and strong.
Recovery in Labor & Delivery
Per protocol, we had to wait 2 hours in the labor and delivery room to monitor us which felt like 10 minutes in my mind. They also kept the IV drip line in and were giving me pitocin to help with the bleeding.
I just kept looking at her and crying tears of joy, especially as I saw Wayne hold her for the first time.
Before we were transported to the postpartum recovery, I received one more straight catheter (aka an in and out urine releaser as I call it).
I would typically not include these catheter blurbs here but to hopefully help someone else prevent the postpartum hell I went through, I am. More on that in my next post, but for now… I want to leave this labor and delivery experience on a positive note because it definitely was…a true miracle!
To say this experience changed me would be an understatement. I do not regret the 4 and a half years that took us to experience this very moment because it was 100% as we say, “worth the wait”.
For those still here, thank you for sharing this journey with us.
We wish Hayden is a sign of the true power of never losing that hope in this long, ugly yet sometimes beautiful journey of infertility.
Sending lots of love, hugs and baby dust,
Liz, Wayne and Baby Hayden