11.22.2008, 19 & 3/4 inches, 7.14 lbs.
The process of birthing our girl was quite different than we expected it to be honestly! After our appointment with Peggy on Tuesday, we decided to go ahead and induce our girl's birth. Placentas can give out at the end of pregnancy, after the 40 week point, so we didn't want to run any risk of distressing our girl or bringing her serious harm. Peggy scheduled us to be induced at Portland Adventist on Thursday, November 20th, 10pm.
We showed up and checked in and were in bed and induced by 12:30am on Friday morning, November 21st (our girl's due date). Okay, so first of all we didn't want to induce labor. We wanted our girl to come when she was ready - I have a lot of faith in babies knowing when it's time for them to come out.
When we showed up at the hospital, we were not dilated at all, although there were other signs that labor would be imminent. We really felt like inducing would work and checked in believing that we'd meet our little one by the end of Friday. After the first 12-hour dose of our inducment (can't remember what it's called!), Peggy checked us and we were about 1.5 cm - not much progress!
Peggy put in the second 12-hour dose around 2pm on Friday. At 1:30am Saturday morning my water broke on its own (which I'm happy about, since it was one of the only natural things about our labor!). That began an 18-hour "countdown"...After 18 hours, the risk of infection to the baby would be much higher, as would be the risk of infection and fever to me. Peggy checked my dilation a couple more times and we weren't progressing like she wanted.
Our decision behind inducing our girl's birth held when it came to Peggy's next plan. We were in the 45th hour of labor when Peggy told us that not only were we not dilating like we should have been but our girl was backing away from the birth canal and my cervix was thickening from the baby pushing against it trying to get out. And I had a fever up over 100 degrees. All these issues combined for Nate and I to agree to a cesarean birth. It was a tough decision for us to make. I was already really emotional from a long labor, from grief as our experience with Nathaniel kept coming to mind...When Peggy told us that she'd give us another hour and then check our dilation before bringing in the surgeon, I lost it for a bit. A cesarean delivery would bring changes to my entire "plan" for our future children.
I was looking forward to having four children by the time I was thirty, which meant that when our little one is seven months old, we'd be pregnant again. Yeah, that's not happening any longer! If we were to want to keep delivering our children through Portland Adventist, we would have to keep have cesareans with every child. If we wanted to pursue VBACs, we could do so at another hospital but Peggy wouldn't be in charge of our labor and birth - she only has staff privileges at Portland Adventist - but she could be involved as our labor support. Anyway, so the decision to go through a cesarean was hard (and felt life/future changing). We prayed about it for awhile and I had my share of hard core crying, but we felt that it was the best choice for our girl. We would be active in protecting her by going through a cesarean.
So it was at 9:16pm on Saturday, November 22, 2008, that we delivered our little girl! The entire cesarean is a bit of a fog for me. I was shaking like crazy from the drugs and adrenaline; I couldn't focus very well and was pretty freaked out at the idea of a major surgery on such short notice. I hadn't read that far in the birthing book...
The sensations of cesarean are strange - I had enough anesthesia so that I was awake but couldn't feel a thing. Just before they started surgery, I felt like I couldn't breath, like I couldn't inflate my lungs - I had no control over them. That freaked me out well enough. Nate stayed very close to me, right in my face, talking to me and encouraging me through the cesarean.
He peeked over the curtain a couple times to figure out where we were at in the process. There were about three times that I thought she was already out, actually! In the end, though, Nate was able to watch our girl be drawn out of the incision. He watched her entrance, head-first. She was quite for the first bit, but then she let it all out! Nate got up quickly and met her over at the table where she was cleaned up and wrapped up. She quieted when he began to talk to her, and she made some eye contact.
When she was brought over to me, she was getting upset again, "chatting" loudly to the room at large. My left hand was preoccupied gripping both an oxygen mask and a barf bag. Peggy was climbing on my stomach to push out the placenta and clear things out (I guess! I should probably find out what she was doing...) and I was feeling pretty sick from her climbing, adrenaline, and the medication. Meanwhile, my right hand wasn't working right - it had gone to sleep because of the medicine. Anyway, the anesthesiologist had to help me let go of my security items so that I had room for our girl. I went into shock pretty quickly - she was so incredibly familiar to me that it was off-putting.
When we met, I began asking her what her name was. We had it narrowed down to two first name options, and I thought I'd have a clear clear idea once we began the labor process, but I really had no idea! She stayed on my chest when I was rolled out of the operating room and back to our suite. I kept asking her, "What's your name? Tell me your name. Please...I have no idea what it is!" Nate and I knew without a doubt that we didn't want to have family meet her without knowing what her name was - that would have been mean! In the end, Nate picked her name. He had preferred Heidi while I had fallen in love with Hazel, but as soon as I met her I was stumped...so Nate stepped up! And he decided on Hazel! I was as surprised by that as anyone, let me just say. For all those months of discussion, we knew that we both liked both of the names, but it was still surprising when Nate switched sides - we had noticed her dark eyes with lighter tones around the edges and Nate felt that naming her Hazel would fit her best. So our Baby Girl Banks is Hazel Elaine Banks. And now you know!
Nate decided to announce the baby's name to friends and family and he indulged my request of video taping the response. The picture at the top of this post, the one where we wrote her name in the sand (which we did last weekend...shh, don't tell Peggy we left town for a few hours), was what Nate used to announce Hazel's name.
I love her name! I'm excited about it. It's original - my girl name for so long was Emma, which was completely unpopular during my elementary, junior high, and high school days. I know there are folks out there who absolutely dislike the name Hazel, but that's okay - you just haven't met our girl yet! She's pretty special!