Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Story of Iyla Grace

First, a little background- basically a summary of everything this blog has come to represent. Our fertility journey. My pregnancy. And now a record of our little girl's arrival in our lives.

We tried for almost 3 years to get pregnant. It was a very challenging, emotional time where it felt like I was constantly walking a tightrope between total despair vs. continued hope. With each new intervention (countless rounds of Clomid, Femara, IUI's, laparoscopic surgery, 2 Gonal F injectable cycles) the hope would rise again: maybe THIS would be the time it finally happened! Even off cycles on vacation revved up the renewed hope- because wasn't it always said that once you stopped "trying" and went on vacation it would happen?

Then, with each negative pregnancy test & failed cycle the despair would set in like a dense fog. Should I just go ahead and accept that this might not ever happen for us? It sure looked like having children wasn't in our cards. When do you say "when" and just accept this fact?

This post from August of 2011 perhaps describes those feelings best:

After our 2nd Gonal F cycle failed last February, a fog thicker than I'd ever felt descended upon me. Even through this I tried so hard to remain hopeful, deciding we should immediately try another injectables cycle. I was then told by our fertility specialist that no, I had cysts on both ovaries that month- which drastically reduces the chances of pregnancy- and we needed to wait at least one more cycle before trying again. In the meanwhile I seriously considered another laparoscopic surgery to remove my fibroid- "Franny"- once and for all.

After that extremely disappointing news I started to have a change in perspective, operating as a sort of survival instinct. I decided to reconnect with yoga, with BC, and with my body, and I started to hear my own intuition more and more clearly as the fog slowly dissipated.

This blog entry- written the day BC and I were together on the eve of Iyla's conception, speaks to the great shift that occurred in my spirit:

And thus our miracle baby was conceived on the March 8th full moon, with nothing more than the love & connection between BC and I. When we returned from a 9 day trip I took a pregnancy test truly on a whim, and when I saw the STRONG positive I just crumpled to the ground in awe. And felt with everything in my being that

From the beginning of the pregnancy I was aware that Franny was hanging out very close to the birth canal. Because of this I had a lot of extra ultrasounds & monitoring to see if Franny might be able to be pushed out of the way to allow for a vaginal birth. Each ultrasound reconfirmed that she hadn't moved, and at our last appointment on Halloween the ultrasound doctor literally said: "I've seen miracles happen, but I'd give this baby a less than 1% chance of pushing past that fibroid to come vaginally."

And so I had to grapple with the reality of a planned c-section, something I had very much hoped to avoid. I worked with my psychic astrologer friend to come up with a day/time that seemed most harmonious for the little spirit growing inside me. And so it was that November 20th, 2012 was set for my c-section to occur. This post speaks to the emotions that went with the c-section and having to plan our daughter's birthday:

On Sunday November 11th I was having a really hard time getting around and walking. For about a week I had been feeling like both my inner thigh muscles were pulled, and on this day they seemed extra tugged. I had to cut my morning errands short & just rest the remainder of the day. My body felt heavy, tired, & sore.

2:45am, Monday November 12th: I woke with cramping that made me feel like I needed to have a BM. Went to the bathroom, no BM- so got back into bed. The cramping returned several minutes later along with the tightening of my belly, Braxton Hicks' style. I laid there alert, paying attention to what was happening. Several minutes later another round of cramping. I grabbed my phone & turned on an app I had to time contractions. Sure enough, they were coming like clockwork in the 4-6 minute apart range.

I got up and immediately went downstairs to update my business emails. I had 3 really tough negotiation periods with real estate contracts that were to happen later on that day- so had a lot of prep to do toward my colleagues potentially needing to take things over.

I readied the downstairs of our home- put a lockbox with a house key copy on the front door, packed some snacks, made sure our kitty Sam had food and water, all the while still timing contractions. I called my doctor (felt awful waking her!) and she said we should probably make our way to the hospital to be monitored to see if this was truly active labor. She would call ahead and tell them to expect us.

4am: I woke BC saying I'd been contracting regularly for about an hour- didn't know if this was "it" but thought he should prep his own business for the day, and that my doc felt we should go to the hospital. He shot up and started packing. I showered, finished putting together my hospital bag & the baby bag, and around 4:30 we left for the hospital. On the way there I got wicked nauseous & we had to pull over. Thankfully I had a Zofran tab with me for nausea and that settled things down quickly.

6:30am: initial monitoring at the hospital showed strong contractions 2-3 minutes apart. The on call doc checked me and I was 3cm dilated, 90% effaced, and the baby's head was WAY low where he could feel it easily (probably why I had trouble walking the day before!). After 3 awful tries to insert an IV, we were officially admitted and told we'd be having a baby today! Business emails were sent off, calls to family made, and BC and I looked at each other in excited disbelief. We would be meeting our daughter soon!

When my own doc arrived around 8am to check me, she confirmed the measurements and said that b/c she could fully feel the baby's head, her instinct was to let me labor on my own and see how my body opened & progressed. If, after we tried several 'tricks' throughout the day there was no further progression, we'd know Franny had won and would follow through with a a c-section. I am so grateful to Dr. Campaigne for allowing the possibility of going a different direction; I believe many OB's would have just moved forward with a c-section at that time, given the history of my ultrasounds.

Throughout the morning I was breathing through each contraction pretty well- they didn't feel great, but were totally manageable. I felt most comfortable contracting while standing or sitting, swaying my hips while BC rubbed my back. I thought: "I got this! Maybe my pain tolerance is better than I thought!" BC and I joked that he was now the doula- God help us- and I started requesting things like "Doula! Can you rub my shoulders? Doula! Your turn in Words with Friends."

12:30pm- my doc returned to check me as I was giggling at BC for having broken the hospital curtains. She said she didn't like that I was giggling, as that likely meant the contractions were not at a level to get things moving and that once things were really progressing along I would be finding it hard to talk & be silly between & during them. Upon checking me there hadn't been any further progress, so she recommended we start a very low dose of Pitocin. She felt my body would respond well from just a little jump start. We started at a '3' dose, upping this to a '5' later in the day.

An hour later she returned to break my waters. OUCH!!! That internal exam hurt! Then literally within minutes of her doing this I felt what real contractions were. And there was no more laughing. Those suckers caused my entire body to contract & tense & saw me buckling into a ball in pain, not knowing how to ease them. I immediately said to please order the epidural ASAP! My instinct was that my body would not be opening "like a flower' as I tensed & crippled to the ground.

Forty-five hellish minutes later the anesthesiologist arrived. It was really hard to sit still through those contractions for him to get everything in place, but the pain of the epidural needle was NOTHING compared to the pain of the contractions. Within about 5 minutes the contractions' sharp edges disappeared, and they had me lay down & prop up on one side (they would shift me from side to side for the remainder of the day).

I had been expecting to be numb from the waist down- but this was, in my opinion, the epitome of the perfect epidural: I could feel AND move both my legs and feet (they felt hot & tingly) and I could also feel the pressure of every contraction, but no pain. I knew when the contraction was strong and still had to breathe through those- but again, no pain. It was fascinating to watch the contractions rise & fall on the screen as I was able to hang out relaxed on the bed.

BC and I joked that I was 'The Matrix' (a movie we'd just watched the night before), in that there were SO many wires attached to my body. The pitocin IV, the epidural drip, a bladder catheter, an internal contraction monitor, a heart monitor for baby, AND a blood pressure cuff on my arm.

5:30pm: I was checked by the attending nurse and had progressed to 5cm! Almost immediately after that check I had several STRONG back to back contractions that stirred the baby, causing them to have me shift to one side to re-regulate her heartbeat. My doctor arrived 20 minutes later and rechecked me- I was already 6-7cm! She said she was going to hang tight downstairs at the hospital and come back in about an hour to check me again.

7:45pm: My doctor returned, checked me, and announced I was fully dilated and it was time to push! They prepped the delivery station & she gave me a tutorial on effective pushing techniques.

8pm: I started pushing with my next contraction. It was odd in that I wasn't sure I was going it correctly, but apparently I was and they were very effective, b/c immediately that little baby head moved further and further down. A couple pushes later and the head was visibly coming out, then going back in as I relaxed and waited for the next round of contractions. I could feel when the contraction would start- and would gather in a huge deep breath and push again. After about 5-6 rounds of pushes I felt a LOT of pressure as the head crowned & remained there. My doc said that any push now could fully birth her. BC was calling out to the baby "come on, darlin!" and exclaiming how amazing this all was!

About 2 pushes later she was out! The doctor laid her directly on my chest. She didn't cry right away- she sneezed, then whimpered, and the nurses rubbed her vigorously to get those little lungs to call out, which they finally did. BC was staring directly at her face and I asked: "does she look like our favorite name?" (we had a very favorite but also back-ups in case she didn't fit the favorite). He replied immediately "YES" and it was official- sweet Iyla Grace Lambert had arrived at 8:44pm on 11-12-12 after 18 hours of labor (a very cool birthday, if I do say so myself!)

The doctor allowed the cord to stay connected between us a good 15 minutes before cutting it, and Iyla was taken to be weighed & measured. She got an 8/9 on her Apgar, and was 5 pounds, 14 ounces & 19 inches long. She came back to me for her initial breastfeeding (which was weird and wonderful!), and then was taken to the nursery with BC for a first bath & full check up.

I had one small tear that required a single stitch, and developed two 'awesome' hemorrhoids, which are apparently very common with vaginal births. Those hurt much worse than the stitch! I was also thrilled to be able to eat & drink again- I'd had nothing in my stomach for 24 hours and was famished.

Iyla's name is Sanskrit for "Moonlight." She was conceived on a full moon and born on the cusp of the November 13th new moon. She is nothing short of a miracle in every possible way. We are still in total blissful disbelief that this beautiful little creature is OURS.

Sweet Iyla Grace Lambert, welcome to the world!
You are loved more than you will ever know.


  1. She is absolutely beautiful! I love everything about this story. Our conception stories are very similar. As a new follower, I enjoyed looking back on that! Moonlight! How special! And sooo tiny! I'm hoping for a 12/12/12 due date. ;)

  2. What an amazing story! So glad everything went so well and Iyla came when she wanted, how she wanted. :)

  3. Beautiful! Congratulations on a vaginal birth and on the date of Iyla's own choosing! Very precious!

  4. Teary...thanks for sharing your birth story. Every birth is amazing and miraculous, though Iyla was especially hard fought and long desired. Much love to the new family.