Collins' Birth Story

If you’ve been following us throughout my pregnancy, you know that we were kept on our toes by little Collins all pregnancy long! In my third trimester, after an admission to the hospital, I got diagnosed with gestational hypertension & started having to see a high-risk doctor in addition to my midwives. Upon the advice of both the midwives and the high-risk doctor, it was decided that I was going to need to be induced at 37 weeks. The risks of continuing to carry Collins outweighed the benefits of letting her cook a little longer. One of the midwives had told me at an appointment around 35 weeks that she thought that the high-risk doctor would recommend an induction date between 37-38 weeks and she was right on the money. We went to the high-risk doctor a couple of days later and she confirmed I would need to be induced early. I wish I had a video of that conversation. Trey went with me to the appointment and while she was doing a growth scan she said, “you’re having a baby at 37 weeks”. I asked if she meant that I would be induced right at 37 weeks or if it was flexible and she responded, “you’ll have a baby in 10 days” to which Trey responded “WHAT?”. He clearly hadn’t been paying close attention and he told me after she left the room that he thought she was joking. The scan looked great so he had just assumed we would just continue pushing on for as long as we could without inducing, but she didn’t feel comfortable with the risks associated with my blood pressure. It took him a little bit to wrap his head around the fact that she was for sure coming 3 weeks early!


From there, we had our last midwife appointment at 36 weeks where I was 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. The midwife and I were hopeful that the fact that I had slowly been progressing over the last couple weeks meant that the induction would go smoothly. At that appointment, we scheduled my induction to start at 8:00pm on Monday, February 25th. We then had one last high-risk doctor’s appointment on Friday, the 22nd where they monitored me for a little bit and I was having regular contractions so again, we were hopeful that meant that my body was already kicking into gear and was going to be really cooperative with the induction. Which, it kind of was… but more on that later!


We spent the weekend before my induction trying to keep my blood pressure down as much as possible in order to try to make it to Monday. On Sunday, February 24th, we went over to my parents' house to hang out for the day. I wanted out of the house but I needed to be laying down as much as possible so we went over there to spend the day. While we were there I took my blood pressure --  I can’t even remember anymore if I felt bad or just had a feeling that it was high, but either way, I took it and it was super high. I knew I should probably call the midwives but I decided to lay down and see if it would go back down. We were so close to the induction date and I really didn’t want to have to go to the hospital and potentially be sent home just to have to go back again the next day. I laid down for a while and re-checked it and it was still really high so I knew I was going to have to call. The midwife on-call confirmed that I definitely needed to come in & that we should come prepared to stay just in case. So Trey & I drove home, showered, got everything loaded up in the car, and arrived at the hospital around 4:00 pm.


Once we were all checked in and they got a few blood pressure readings on me the midwife came in and let me know that I would not be going home & that we would be starting the induction that night instead of the next one. Thankfully, she said we weren’t in a time crunch to necessarily start the induction since they had gotten my blood pressures to come down quite a bit once I was sequestered to the hospital bed, so she let us eat one last meal before the process started.


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Around 7:40 pm on Sunday night, I was 2cm dilated & 75% effaced and at 10:30 pm they placed the balloon catheter to start the induction. I had heard very mixed reviews on people’s experiences with the balloon, but I will say it was definitely not the most comfortable thing I’ve ever experienced. It brought my contractions on pretty hard and fast for a while& it was just generally not very pleasant to have a balloon forcing your cervix to dilate. I did not get very much sleep on Sunday night and there were a few moments that I told Trey that I didn’t want to do this anymore and that I just wanted to go home, but pain meds helped and we made it through the night.



At about 7:30 am on Monday morning, they gave me medication to help ripen my cervix. I don’t remember what it was. In fact, Sarah asked me over text what they had given me on that morning and I replied that I didn’t ask questions and just took the pills. Hah! I knew going into the induction that this was going to be part of the process but just didn’t ask what exactly the pills were. It had been a long night and I trusted my midwives completely and knew that whatever they were recommending was in the best interest for me and the baby.

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At 11:30 am, the midwife removed the balloon and checked me and I was at 4.5 cm! We were hoping to get close to 5 cm so we were really happy with the progress. For the next couple of hours, I bounced on the birthing ball to try to keep things moving along and because it was honestly the most comfortable place to be breathing through contractions. Trey did an amazing job of watching my contractions on the monitor and trying to help me breathe and get through each contraction. As they were getting stronger and closer together, I decided it was time to get the epidural. I was desperately hoping to get some sleep and knew I wouldn’t be able to until I had some pain relief. At 1:30 pm, I got my epidural and right after that they broke my water. The original plan was to start Pitocin after my water was broken but by that point, my contractions were right on top of each other and I was at 5 cm so they decided to hold off and let my body do its thing!

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We were hoping at that point to maybe get some rest, but at 2:30 pm Collins start having some decelerations with my contractions so until those stopped we weren’t really able to rest much. After a while, everything seemed to be back to normal and fine so we relaxed a little until around 5:00 pm when my midwife checked me again. I was still at 5 cm, but more concerning was that Collins’ heart rate was all of the sudden super high, I was bleeding a little more than the midwife was comfortable with, and I had started to have a low-grade fever. The concern was that maybe there was something going on with my placenta or that I possibly had an infection. The main thing we were all worried about was Collins’ heart rate. Over the next hour or so they gave me a bolus of fluids and we all watched very closely what was going on and thankfully her heartrate then began to normalize. My temperature wasn’t quite high enough to start antibiotics and so they just said they would monitor it throughout the rest of labor. Honestly, Sarah kind of had to remind me all of this happened because after her heart rate went back to normal I wasn’t super concerned with myself. (Spoiler alert, everything ended up fine and healthy for both of us!)

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At around 7:30 pm, it was time to be checked again and I was 7cm & 90% effaced! I couldn’t tell you anything else that was happening around this time. It’s all kind of a blur. They checked me again at 9:00 pm and I was 9cm and we were so excited that we were finally getting close enough to push. Our families had started taking bets about when she would be born and I had guessed 11:00 pm (and was one of the only people left in the pool) and thought maybe I might be right if I could start pushing soon. Boy, was I really wrong still, but I will say that at 11:00 pm we started some practice pushing. I wasn’t quite at 10cm but was so close so they had me try pushing a few times to see if I was ready. I wasn’t, so we waited another hour and at 12:11 am we officially started pushing! I was so excited that it was finally time and that I would be meeting her in the next couple hours. Or, at least so I thought...

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I pushed from 12:11 am until almost 2:00 am when we decided to take a break. At this point, my contractions were slowing down so they decided to start some Pitocin and then I hung off the back of my bed to try to let gravity do its work in helping her come out. For those that were wondering, yes, I did have an epidural, but still could feel my legs and had pretty much full control so I was able to get up on my knees with a little assistance. Also, if you were wondering, when you kneel like that, your epidural becomes far less effective so it wasn’t a fun 20 mins of hanging off the back of the bed, but I had amazing support to help me get through it!

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While we were taking a break, there were several other women whose babies were actually ready to make their appearance into the world so my midwife helped them deliver while we waited. I definitely started to feel like Rachel from Friends when she starts threatening to sue if anyone else had their baby before I did.


During the break though I at least got about 30 minutes of sleep which is the most consecutive sleep I think I got in the hospital since we had been admitted. At 3:22 am they gave me more Pitocin since my contractions still weren’t cooperating, I hung off the back of the bed again, and then around 4:40 am we started pushing again! At one point they brought in a mirror and I could literally see her head and was so motivated to get her out. I would always try to get in one extra push at the end of a contraction & was so determined to get her out finally! However, around 6:15 am, she still hadn’t made any more progress. I think at this point we tried a little more Pitocin since my contractions had slowed back down again, but it didn’t change anything and so at around 6:40 am my midwife came in and told me that it was time to start discussing other options. At this point, I was totally and completely exhausted & felt so defeated by the fact that it felt like my body was failing me. However, my amazing midwife, Alison, let me know that it was nothing to do with my body but that Collins was asynclitic, which means that she was tilted in my birth canal and unfortunately she was just not going to move any further than she was already. We talked through the options and it was decided that a c-section would be the best, safest way to get her out. This was one of my biggest fears going into labor. I just had this feeling that I might have to have a c-section and really, really did not want to have one. While I was definitely upset that this was the route that we had to take, I just wanted her to be healthy and safe. Plus, I was more than ready to hold her in my arms at that point! I am so thankful that I had so much support from Trey, our family, and our medical team. Seriously, the Lord’s provision was so evident in the people that were in the room with me all Monday night and into Tuesday morning. Trey was unbelievably supportive & I was blown away by how well he loved and encouraged me throughout the whole process. I fell in love with him even more throughout this whole process and now watching him be a dad to our sweet little one. Sarah stayed up all through the night with us (even with a 3 month old at home) and I couldn’t have asked for anything more than what she did. She always knew what I needed before I even did, she pulled the other end of that blanket like a champ, and got the most incredible photos of Collins’ birth. Aubrey, Trey’s cousin, was there throughout most of the night (until I literally forced her to go home) and captured all of the amazing photos of my labor. She is pregnant with her 3rd and had delivered her other two with the same midwife practice so it was just so reassuring to have her there! Erin, my nurse, was seriously an angel. I would have trusted her to deliver my baby all by herself -- she was so knowledgeable, so much fun, and was the most perfect nurse ever! I wish everyone could have her as their labor & delivery nurse. I also wish that everyone could have Alison as their midwife because she was so incredible. I got to see her several times throughout my pregnancy and she was the midwife at the hospital when I got admitted for some pre-term labor earlier on. She just has such a reassuring, confident, and calming presence & I was so happy that she was the one that was there throughout all of my pushing and the c-section!

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Once it was decided that we would proceed with the c-section, things started moving very quickly! The surgeon came in and introduced himself, the anesthesiologist began to work on my epidural so that it would be ready for the c-section, Sarah and Trey were given scrubs to put on in order to be able to go back into the operating room, and by 7:30 am they were wheeling me back for the c-section.


Once I was back in the operating room, they got me all hooked up to the monitors and did a couple more tests to make sure my epidural was ready. I already had the shakes with my “regular” epidural, which is a common side effect, but once they kicked it up a notch, they got really bad. Unfortunately, there’s nothing they can really give you to counteract it while the baby is still in utero, but the anesthesiologist assured me that he could give me something as soon as they had her out. So, for the whole first part of the c-section, I was shaking uncontrollably from the chest up, but fortunately, I was pretty distracted by the fact that we were mere minutes away from meeting Collins.  I have to say that the c-section was definitely one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. You don’t feel any pain but you can absolutely feel what they are doing and it’s really trippy to know that you are cut open while you are still completely awake. Trey & Sarah came back in as they were starting the procedure. Trey was able to sit up by my head and they had Sarah sit off to the side a little bit, which actually ended up perfect because she was able to get photos and videos of Collins being delivered.

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At 8:08 am, Collins Elizabeth Watten was born. She was 6 pounds, 1 ounce & 19 inches long. They asked when they pulled her out if we wanted them to lower the sheet so we could see to which we both responded with a solid “NO” & I added that Trey might pass out if they did. (He had a moment during pushing that it all started to hit him and he didn’t feel too hot so we definitely didn’t want to risk it!) We just told them to bring her around as soon as they could. When they brought her around and put her on my chest, my first thought was, “oh my gosh, it’s Trey!” She looked just like her daddy! We got to spend a few minutes bonding with her on my chest before they took her for measurements and all of the other things they do with newborns. Trey & Sarah got to go over and watch them do all of that for her while they stitched me up.

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After I was all stitched up, they gave me Collins all bundled up and wheeled us back to our delivery room. We spent a little bit of time with just the three of us and then our family got to come back and meet her before we were taken up to the postpartum floor.


Our hospital stay ended up being 6 days (far longer than I would have wanted!) because Collins ended up having jaundice and we had to be under the lights for a little while. Of all the things that I experienced in the labor and delivery process, putting her under the lights where we couldn’t comfort her might have been the most traumatic for me, but she ended up having to stay under there far less time than we thought which was a huge answered prayer!


We have been slowly adjusting to becoming new parents and are completely obsessed with her! It’s already almost time for a one-month update so I will share more about all of that in a post very soon!


XO,

ASHLEY