She’s finally here, you guys! I can’t believe we’ve made it to this moment where our sweet girl has finally made it earth side and as a family we couldn’t be more excited. I’m writing this having had her a little over a week ago and she’s been home now for five days.
We’re currently in the middle of navigating these first few days as a family of four – getting adjusted to newborn life once again, helping Greyson adjust to having a baby sister, pumping/nursing around the clock, and just simply taking it all in.
There’s so much wrapped up in her birth story, and like many, it came with its fair shake of twists and turns. Today I’m excited to share our experience as it’s, for sure, one for the books. Between a random, but intense, Texas snowstorm to Olivia spending time in the NICU, we’re just in a state of gratitude for how everything ended up.
Here is Olivia’s birth story.
A freak winter storm
As all are pretty much aware, Texas has experienced some pretty intense (and un-seasonal) winter weather this last week and what first began as excitement over the fact that we’d be getting snow, quickly turned to panic and dire living conditions for so many.
On Sunday night the weather began to turn and that’s when the snow first started to fall. It was a beautiful sight and so magical. Living in California for so long, and now Texas, snow was just something I’d come to accept that I’d rarely get to see (I’m a Northern Virginia native who’s used to having actual winters). However, it was so much fun seeing Greyson wake up on Monday with a fresh blanket of snow to explore and play in.
The night prior our power started to flicker on and off throughout the night. It wasn’t anything too out of the ordinary and something we kind of expected. However, on Monday the power would be off for longer stretches at a time and eventually wouldn’t ever come back on. Again, nothing terribly alarming, but the house began to inch more and more towards being unbearably cold. Without power there’s no heat, food (storage or ability to make it – we have electric appliances), and generally…a way to keep a four year old busy. Thankfully, my husband’s parents’ neighborhood never lost power so we decided that we would hunker down at their house overnight just to stay warm and be together.
On Tuesday morning we had an OB appointment on the books. Because the weather continued to snow, then turn to freezing rain, then frigid temperatures…everything began to shut down around us. Freeways were closed, then businesses and gas stations were closed due to the power blackouts. So, when I called to see if my OBs office was open – and got kicked to their voicemail – I was certain they were also closed.
…the only issue for me was that I was heading into my 41st week with Olivia and we had discussed inducing me on Wednesday should my labor not start on its own before our OB appointment. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to miss that appointment.
Heading to the hospital
Since we couldn’t get a hold of anyone at the doctor’s office, my husband and I decided to brave the roads and head there regardless. We figured that: worst case scenario we would find that the office was closed and head to the hospital where they could examine me and contact my OB. Upon arriving it was obvious the office was closed so we went across the way to the hospital to triage on the labor and delivery floor. This would be where we would go should my water have broken, so naturally I thought we would try there first.
Upon entering the hospital I was prepared for one of two things:
- They would examine me and determine that without my OBs orders they couldn’t admit me unless labor has started…and therefore send me home.
- They would examine me, I would fit the criteria, and admit me to start labor.
Went entered triage where we were given a bed and I was hooked up to the routine monitors. The nurses were really nice and asked general questions about my care, who my OB was, and what brought me in. I explained my situation and that I hadn’t heard from my OB – hoping they would be able to contact her.
Come to find, my OB actually scheduled me for an induction for Wednesday. I had no idea as it was more of a verbal discussion at our last appointment, but I was happy to see that she had already planned for it. Because the weather turned and roads were dangerous, I would be seen by the hospital OB who would review my situation and examine me. It took a little bit of waiting on the doctor and paperwork (go figure) but she eventually arrived. She was so pleasant and even though she wasn’t my doctor, I felt really comfortable being in her care.
After discussing things with her she decided that she would admit me and we would begin the induction process and have our baby! She didn’t want to risk sending me home in the weather conditions and I’m so grateful to her for that. So, within moments we were moved from triage and officially admitted and given a room in labor and delivery.
Labor & Delivery
After getting settled into our room the nurses began my IVs and Pitocin – as I began what would become a marathon of Chopped and Real Housewives. After some time I was able to receive my epidural and catheter and be able to rest more comfortably. The first sensation I remember from my epidural was losing feeling in my legs and feet. It felt like my legs were asleep (that my-legs-are-buried-in-the-sand feeling) and that I needed to shake them awake – but, of course, I couldn’t. My husband was a great birthing partner because he was there to rub them and pretty much be at my beck-and-call.
One side effect that NO ONE talks about when it comes to epidurals is that in losing the ability to feel/control your lower body comes flatulence. So, just be prepared to toot without being able to control it – it’s a little embarrassing at first, but it’s just one of many things one cares less about after an experience childbirth. 😉
A little later on they broke my water and continued laboring. At this point I had been in labor for almost 14 hours, but surprisingly with not much progress in dilation. It got to the point where we had to start discussing the possibility of a c-section. But then it was as if she heard us talking because within the hour she went from 3cm to 10cm! By the time my nurse checked me she was amazed to see that I was at 10cm and ready to start pushing.
However, during one of my examinations my nurse discovered meconium, baby’s first bowel movement in utero. Although normal, especially in a 41 week delivery, it does pose an infection risk because Olivia ingests it while in the amniotic fluid.
This would become the reason she would later become admitted to the NICU.
Welcome, Olivia Pierce
When the time came I ended up pushing for 1 hour then she was finally here!
At 1:15am on February 17, 2021 miss Olivia Pierce was born.
The moment she came out I was alarmed because she wasn’t crying. My husband had to keep affirming to me that she was completely healthy – and that she came out just looking around and observing. I had never seen anything like it! She eventually started crying as she was being checked and cleaned off.
During her routine newborn screening they detected that her temperature was a little elevated, but otherwise checked out okay (I did not have a temperature). After an hour or so we were moved to our recovery room where we got settled and continued our skin-to-skin bonding and attempts at nursing. I tried breastfeeding but she had zero interest in eating at all. I didn’t really have concerns because many of our nurses just said she may need more time to transition from the womb to life on the outside and to not give up trying to nurse.
The beginning of our NICU Journey
Later that morning our baby nurse popped in for Olivia’s routine check-ups and told us that her initial blood work came back and that the doctor would like to re-test her blood. In addition, when they checked her temperature again it had dropped (41 week old healthy babies shouldn’t be cold) and paired with a no interest in nursing gave them a cause to be concerned. So, she was taken once more for a blood draw and additional tests to rule things out. Thankfully my husband accompanied her every step of the way (while I rested and recovered in our room) and I’m appreciative to the hospital for allowing him to do so.
Unfortunately her tests detected a possible infection and that was the cause of her temperature and lack of wanting to eat. At that point she would be admitted to the NICU and would begin antibiotics via IV while additional screenings and tests were done to figure out what exactly was causing the infection.
Although this wasn’t the birth story we had anticipated, or wanted, it’s our journey and being home with our baby girl has us looking back with grace and gratitude surrounding our whole birthing experience. I look forward to sharing our NICU story here soon and continue to thank all of our family and friends who rallied around us during an unsure time.
Welcome to the world, miss Olivia Pierce!
Linking up with Andrea.