Cordelia's Birth Story

Cordelia’s Birth Story 

On November 30th, I went in for my 41 week appointment to get checked out. I was officially 7 days overdue and there hadn’t been any progress in dilation or effacement from my 40 week appointment. Baby girl was still at –3 station and I was about 20% effaced and only a fingertip dilated. The OB was concerned at my 40 week appointment because my stomach was measuring so large, so I went in for a growth ultrasound a few days prior. The ultrasound tech measured my stomach and told me that I wasn’t even on the charts for a single baby! Stu and I knew were weary going into this appointment, but our desire for a medication-free birth was at the forefront of our minds. I also knew that the OB would absolutely want to send me directly from this appointment to Labor and Delivery if I hadn’t made any significant progress on my own in the last week. While I didn’t want an induction just because the baby’s weight was estimated at 9lbs, 12oz from the growth scan, I was also pretty miserable and ready to meet our little girl. We talked it over with our doula and came up with a plan that would set me up best for having an induction with as little intervention as possible. 

We left the 41 week appointment with instructions to head over to L&D later that night. We went grocery shopping for comfort/labor foods, came home to feed the cat and called both sets of our parents who live 6 hours away. We finally checked into L&D at 6pm on November 30th and I got my first dose of misoprostol to begin the induction at 10pm. My body reacted right away, I started contracting every 2-5 minutes for about 15-45 seconds. It was a long night of being monitored every 20 minutes of the hour, and at about 3am they came in to check me. I was still at –3 station, 1cm dilated and 30% effaced. At this point, I knew that we were in this for the long haul. My body seemed to be catching on, but really slowly. The OB on duty wanted to give me another dose of miso and I negotiated (to put it nicely) that I would take another dose, but that I wanted to sleep for a few hours without being monitored. She agreed, and I finally got some uninterrupted sleep.

At 7:30am they came to move me to the room with the tub so that I could labor in there. I am fairy certain that as I was moving my water broke and started to leak. I mentioned it to the nurse and, (knowing how much I wanted to labor in the tub), nodded and said “Hmm.”  At that point I was contracting every 2-4 minutes for 15 to 60 seconds, so they were closer together, but they weren’t very effective. My body seemed to be overreacting to the miso. They needed my contractions to be farther apart before giving me another dose of miso, so we settled into the room, I took a nice long bath and we did laps around the L&D ward making stops at the well-baby nursery for inspiration.

At 4pm on December 1st, they checked me again and I was – 3 station, 1cm dilated and 60% effaced. The nurse mentioned to the OB at that point that my water may have broken, they did a test, and I tested positive for amniotic fluid. No more tub for me! I was really thankful for that nurse and the extra time that she bought me, because I’m really sure that they would have pressured me into getting pitocin had they thought my water broke at 7:30am. Because my water broke they gave me another dose of misoprostol orally and let me rest for the night. 

My labor started to kick up a notch and my contractions were becoming more intense. We called our doula and she came to be with us. We moved rooms again in the morning to give someone else the opportunity to use the tub and they checked me again. My contractions had slowed a bit so they gave me another dose of misoprostol at 1pm, and they told me at that point that if it didn’t work then we would need to discuss pitocin. 

At this point I had already been in the hospital for 48 hours and I was going stir crazy. Stu and I would walk the halls and I would find myself getting super jealous of the women being rolled up to recovery with their beautiful babies! It wasn’t fair! We snuck out onto the roof of the hospital and enjoyed the beautiful weather and looked out at the Golden Gate Bridge. Then we headed back to reality. At 5:50pm the OB came to check me and I was still at –3 station, 2cm dilated, and 90% effaced. I was so discouraged! She felt my bags bulging and told me that there was likely a slow leak but that my water hadn’t fully broken. We decided to break the water, and boy did that get things going.

Almost immediately, active labor started. By 7:45pm I was working really hard. I labored in the shower and found my rhythm. Stu applied counter pressure during the contractions and I was really working with every contraction. I started to throw up dinner and by 8pm I felt like I needed to push. I moved out of the shower and to the bed so that I could get checked. The OB checked me at 8:30pm and I was –1 station, 6cm dilated, and 100% effaced. That was a lot of progress, but all I heard was 6cm dilated and I lost it. All I heard was 6cm and I fell into despair! I was having back labor and with every contraction my doula could feel the pressure on my back. We talked it over with our doula and eventually decided on getting an epidural.

They began to administer the fluids, which took forever. I remember thinking that they were conspiring against me because I specifically told the nursing staff that I didn’t want any pain meds. An hour later, I got the fluid necessary for the epidural, but by then I really felt like I needed to push. The anesthetist came in the room and I remember saying, “I need to push. You are not leaving. But I need to push, but you aren’t allowed to leave!” He smiled and nodded as he backed out of the room. The OB came in to check and at 9:50pm and I was 100% effaced and 10cm dilated. It was pushing time! 

Stu counted for me as I learned how to push effectively. The ob was particularly concerned about how big she was going to be and if her shoulders would fit through the birth canal, so there were a few extra people in the room in case anything were to go awry. I pushed for about 2 hours and Cordelia Lynn came into this world at 12:02am on December 3rd, a full 54 hours after we checked in to L&D. They placed her right onto my chest and Stu and I couldn’t believe that she was finally here! They cut the cord once it stopped pulsing and Cora just hung out on my chest as they stitched me up. Cora began nursing right away, and we enjoyed some quiet, peaceful moments as a new family of three!

Proud Daddy

An hour and change later, they took her to get cleaned up. She weighed 9lbs, 9oz and was 21.5 inches long. She was born with a fist at her face, which explained the back labor and the tearing, but she was totally worth it. Our OB congratulated us and told me how proud she was of me that I managed to birth such a big baby without any pain medication. Truthfully, I was pretty stinking proud of myself too!
9lbs 9oz, 21.5 inches long! So big!

Stu and our doula were so amazing throughout the entire process, I am certain that I wouldn't have been able to do it without their words of encouragement and physical support. If Stu's ability to support me throughout this pregnancy and labor is any indication of how he is going to be as a father, Cordelia and I are so unbelievably lucky.
The view from our hospital room, sunset on the night Cora was born

We're absolutely in love. Thanks for all of your thoughts, prayers, and support as we get adjusted to this new wonderful season of life. 

First Bath!

Cora's nub fell off so we gave Cora a her first bath at home last night.

She wasn't a big fan, but Stu calmed her down and she fell right asleep...for 4 whole hours!

Baby burrito!

First Doctor's Office Visit

Cora's first visit to the pediatrician went well. 

She's down a bit in weight but they aren't worried because of how big she was at birth.

She's a little jaundiced, but that should clear on its own. She was also a little backed up, but that, um, cleared with a little bit of help.

We met with the on-site lactation consultant and my milk is in, so Cora and I are both just working on technique. Hooray for a healthy baby!

Coming Home

We're home!  I'm so happy to be home from the hospital. Hooray for recovering in my own bed in peace and quiet. Well, kind of.

Getting dressed to go home

All dressed!

Waiting for the chair out of there

 It's so surreal to be a family of three.


Family of three

There's this new little person and she's all-consuming and amazing. Excuse me while I go watch her sleep.


Cordelia Lynn Gregson
December 3rd, 2011
9lbs 9oz
21.5 inches long

And perfect. We're in love.