Friday, May 10, 2013

Eleanor June Jeanne'

A little after 11PM on Tuesday April 30th I began feeling contractions. They were very tolerable, but they remained steady for several hours throughout the night. The contractions never increased in intensity, but after being awake all night with contractions I finally decided to call my midwife, Janis, at 4AM. Based on what I told her, Janis believed this was not real labor and that I should do all I could to try to relax and get some rest. She prescribed something to eat, a large drink of water, a glass of wine, and a long, warm bath. Although I was initially hesitant about the wine (hello, I'm pregnant), I followed her instructions and within about 30 minutes of being in the tub I was falling asleep so I headed to bed. I was scheduled to work 4 hours Wednesday morning (May 1-my due date!), but due to the up-all-night-contractions marathon I called in.

I was admittedly frustrated when I woke up later Wednesday morning to absolutely no contractions. I did hold onto some hope, though, because when I went to the bathroom I noticed bloody show. A sign that labor would be near! I had been so excited to potentially deliver my baby on my actual due date. May 1st just sounded so nice. The rest of the day went on contraction-free even after a long walk, eating a whole pineapple, and yet another walk. Also, I'll go ahead and admit it...I took castor oil. I went to bed knowing that this little one would arrive whenever he/she wanted. I anticipated it would probably be in the next couple days, but then again, who knows?

I woke up about a quarter after 1AM that night to go to the bathroom. As soon as I rose from the bed I felt a large amount of some sort of liquid coming on out! I rushed to the bathroom and remained there, on the toilet (awesome visual, I know), for a large amount of time partially due to pain and partially due to the aftermath of castor oil. I couldn't be sure, though, if the pain I was feeling, while pretty bad, where related to baby or just severe bowel cramping. While I wasn't sure at the time, I'm fairly certain now that the liquid was, in fact, my water breaking. After 45-60 minutes I could sense a pattern to the pain and began to realize I was, in fact, experiencing contractions. I knew these contractions were much different than the night before, so at about 2:15 I told Phillip to call Janis. Once I was on the phone with her she could also tell this was different due to the fact that I couldn't speak to her during contractions. After a bit of discussion she said she would be on her way in a little while.

After I got off the phone with Janis I called my mom (who, of course, was already awake at 2:30 in the morning) and Phill called his mom. I went downstairs where it was cooler and began walking around the living room, pausing every several minutes to grab onto the couch and moan during a contraction. My parents arrived shortly thereafter. My dad was having a hard time seeing me go through the pains of labor. Poor guy! I asked my mom to quickly put my hair into a french braid so it would be out of my way. After some time I decided it would probably be best to go back upstairs to our bedroom where the birthing tub was so I wouldn't wind up stuck downstairs with an inability to move due to severely strong contractions. I wanted to lie down and rest between contractions, but when I laid down on the bed I instantly found it to be uncomfortable. After one contraction lying on my side in bed, I knew I had to get up. I ended up sitting down on the floor next to the bed with my legs crossed and my back resting on the baby's pack 'n play. Somehow I found this comfortable. I'd been noticing that my back had been quite sore.

Janis arrived around 5AM and Tash came shortly after. Janis called her assistant and stated she should start heading in. I had never been checked for dilation or effacement during pregnancy and so, at about 6 o'clock I asked Janis if she would be checking me. She said it was up to me. I wanted to know and I was prepared for whatever she would tell me, knowing full well that many women expect that they are much farther progressed than what they really are. I estimated maybe 5cm; a solid halfway. Side note: it is NOT pleasant getting checked. When you're already struggling to find comfort and then you add that variable into the mix, you quickly realize it is painful, especially during a contraction. Once she was done, I looked at her with anticipation. She stared me right in the eyes and told me I only had a little bit of a rim left on one side. I was essentially 9.5 cm dilated. Stunned, I told her I loved her and began to feel quite proud. Janis told me she had texted her assistant prior to checking me stating she thought I was about 8cm judging by the way I was laboring.

Kari arrived within the 6 o'clock hour. Everyone became a little more focused on filling the birthing tub with warm water. Luckily, it didn't take long to get to just the right temperature and I was assisted into the tub. I was a little frustrated that the tub water couldn't be warmer, but 98 degrees is where it needed to be for the baby's sake. It did feel very nice to be able to move more freely due to the water. My contractions while in the water really started to take a toll, but not in the way I anticipated. My back hurt so bad. Although it was still very painful and I had begun to yell out quite a bit due to uterine and vaginal pain with the contractions, the sharp, severe back pain was taking all my attention. Kari, and then Tash, applied counter-pressure to my back while I knelt down in the tub water grasping tightly to Phillip's arms.

Phillip's mom arrived shortly after 7. My dad had gone to work, but he was going to be delayed in town so he was able to come back to the house. He waited either on the stairs or downstairs.

I knew that it must be near time to push so I asked Janis if that's what I needed to do. I didn't feel that urge that I'd heard so much about. I remember always hearing that women just feel an intense urge to push that they can't stop, but since I didn't feel that I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to be doing. Janis instructed me to try a couple pushes and see how it went. I had to really focus on the pushes. I was worried the pushes wouldn't be effective since I didn't feel an intense urge to push. Therefore, I felt I needed to push with all my might. Janis had her hands in place to feel if the baby was moving down with my pushes. She told me that with each push the baby was moving farther and farther down. My baby was coming. There was a moment where it really hit me what was about to happen. I can't remember exactly what I said, but I know there was a moment where I said something along the lines of, "My baby is coming", and it was like the first time I really recognized it to be fully true. I started to cry and others were crying as well. With the next contraction, though, I was pulled back into business. The last minutes of pushing are a bit of a blur full of encouragement from my family, friends, and midwife. They were instructing me to push, praising me for how I was doing, and exclaiming excitedly that they could see the baby! I really couldn't feel anything different than I had before, so (even though I hadn't planned to do so) I felt down for the baby. Feeling how close I was to meeting my baby gave me the final surge I needed to really bare down and puuuuush my baby out. With my hands in place down by my baby, I pushed with all my might and helped lift my baby out of the water. I immediately brought the baby to my chest, moved the cord away from his/her face and neck, checked for 10 fingers and toes, and finally checked the gender. Now, I had prefaced the whole labor stating that it was very important to me that Phill be the one to tell me whether Baby Oprie was a boy or a girl. I did not, however, anticipate catching my baby and being the one with the first access! I checked and was quite surprised to find that my brand new baby was a healthy little girl. I was a little surprised by how surprised I was. I think I was expecting a boy more than I originally realized! Eleanor June Jeanne' Oprie was born at 8:22AM on Thursday May 2, 2013.

Everyone was crying, but my dad took the cake with his sweet grandpa sobs. She came rather quickly with labor lasting 7 hours and only requiring pushing for 30 minutes. We waited for the cord to finish pulsating before cutting. Both Phillip and my mom did not want to cut the cord, so Janis did the honors. Janis' assistant, Elissa, took the baby while Janis helped me to deliver the placenta. Afterwards I was helped up to a chair where I was then able to nurse little Eleanor. Before nursing, they weighed Eleanor and took all of her measurements. She was a healthy 8 pounds 2 ounces and measured 20 and 3/4 inches long. After nursing I was helped to the bathroom and then back to bed so Janis could inspect me.  Other than a labial tear (sorry if TMI) everything looked good. While Phillip held the baby I laid in bed and enjoyed the perfect post-delivery breakfast: pancakes from Johnny's. My dad pulled grandpa-of-the-year by bringing enough pancakes, hash browns, and cinnamon rolls to feed everyone present and still have leftovers. We may make it a May 2 tradition. :-)

The rest of the day was spent resting, nursing, and falling in love with our little one. It was hard for Phillip and I to wrap our brains around the day's happenings. Even now, 8 days later, it still seems pretty unbelievable that I'm a mother. In two days I'll be celebrating my first Mother's Day as a real life mama. Last Mother's Day was one of the worst days of my life, just days after my D&C. A year much has changed. Now, there is celebrating. There is renewed hope. Eleanor is here and she is precious.

Just born

Meeting Dad for the first time

Happy Birthday!

She's absolutely perfect

2 Days Old
My favorite picture so far. 4 days old.

1 week old and growing like a weed!


  1. So precious! Thank you for sharing your story Alyssa. :) Eleanor is adorable and you and Phill are wonderful parents. Happy Mother's Day!!

  2. I am so happy for you Alyssa! Thanks for sharing your story. It's just such an exciting time and everyone's experience is so different and it was really neat to hear yours :) I hope you enjoy the days of having a newborn!

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