Wednesday, August 5, 2015

She's Here!

We welcomed Mary Ann Hansen to our family on July 12th, 2015. Below is her birth story, and a lot of pictures.

Mary's birth story: I mentioned in my final pregnancy update that my birth plan consisted of really only one specification: attempt successful VBAC...and I'm happy to report that Mary's birth was a successful VBAC!

Mary's birth story began on July 8th when my OB called me to tell my that my blood work revealed I had pregnancy cholestasis (which explained all the itching I was having!). My OB wanted to induce me that evening, but there were no beds available at the hospital. So we scheduled the induction for the following morning at 8AM. Kyle and I went out to dinner that evening to celebrate what we thought was my last night of being pregnant.
Post-dinner pedicure from Kyle
Morning of July 9th
I arrived on July 9th and my induction was started by using a Foley balloon. I started having contractions shortly after and was encouraged to walk around and capitalize on the contractions. We were told it would be quite a while before anything else happened, so Kyle actually headed back to work and I set off to pace the hallways. My sister came by to visit for a while, which really helped pass the time. Kyle went home after work to put Drew to bed, and then rejoined me at the hospital. A friend from our church was attending my birth as a doula-in-training, so she joined us around that time to be a part of the conversations that were happening about next steps with my induction. It was so great to have Sara there as she is a wealth of knowledge and really helped us feel good about the decisions we were making. 

I started pitocin around 11pm and was told to try and get some sleep before contractions really picked up. Sleep? The pitocin wasn't so bad at first, but the blood pressure check every 20 minutes made it really hard to sleep. As in, I couldn't sleep. At around 2am I started having doubts. I hadn't slept, and there was talk of breaking my water soon. I desperately wanted to be up moving around to help my contractions along once my water was broken, but I was so, so tired from a whole day of laboring with the Foley. I knew I could get an epidural and sleep, but I wasn't very far dilated and didn't want to risk slowing labor down as I was barely in labor at all. The thought popped into my head of calling the induction off and going home. Crazy right? Or maybe just gut instinct? I woke Kyle up and told him my concerns, and we prayed about it. I talked to my nurse, and she asked my doctor (who I love) to come in and chat with me. Everyone agreed that because my water wasn't broken we were at a safe place to stop the induction, let me go home and sleep, and try again the next day. So that's what we did.

We got home in the early hours of July 10th. I went directly to bed, and Kyle watched Drew for the morning. I felt well enough to watch Drew in the afternoon, so Kyle went to work. We spent the day praying furiously that I would just go into labor naturally before returning to the hospital on July 11th. Mary just wasn't ready to come out, though. That part still breaks my heart a little, but I do know that it was for her safety that we were inducing me. Although very small, pregnancy cholestasis carries a risk of still birth the longer the baby is left in the womb. That is not something we wanted to mess around with. I had a very mild case of the condition though, which is why my doctor was okay with sending me home for 24 hours to rest and regroup before trying the induction again. 

On July 11th, we wished Drew a very happy 2nd birthday and then headed back to the hospital. I was sad not to be with Drew on his birthday, but he was having a great day with my dad doing all sorts of adventures to car shows and the beach.
Happy 2nd Birthday Drew!
For the second induction attempt, we had a different game plan. Kyle and I had spent the night before doing some research and talking with Sara about how to proceed, as my doctor gave me some options and said it was up to me. She basically said all roads lead to the same destination so it was my choice of what order I wanted to try things in. I decided to have them break my water first and see if that would jump-start labor on it's own.

Birth photos credit: Verb Photography by Angie Langford

The breaking of the water was a bit painful, but not more so than the Foley balloon from the first induction. After my water was broken we (Kyle, Sara, and I) set out to keep me as active as possible. We walked the entire hospital campus doing lunges, squats, stairs, and curb walking. We went all around the outside and up and down many hallways inside. I was having contractions and determined to do my part by helping my body get Mary in position for birth. By 4pm I was contracting but not nearly frequently enough so it was time to start pitocin. I was slightly discouraged that my body hadn't gotten on board with the whole "it's time to be in labor" plan, but I was trying to remember that this was an induction and we were attempting to force my body into labor against it's will. So of course it wasn't on board!

With the help of Sara and Kyle, I labored on the pitocin for 7 hours. More hallway walking with all sorts of squats and lunges. Lots of bouncing on a birthing ball. Kyle's sister came by to visit which helped keep me distracted as the contractions got more intense. After about 5 hours of pitocin contractions I was no longer interested in walking around, eating, or talking with anyone. I just wanted to stand and hold on to Kyle as each contractions came and went. I also had my headphones and I would turn my music up as loud as it would go during each contractions. That worked the next two hours or so. It was getting close to 11pm, and I knew I wanted to sleep that night. There was no way I was doing a repeat of the first induction where I didn't get to sleep. The contractions were putting me on the verge of throwing up, so I knew it was a good time to ask for the epidural. The anesthesiologist was the same doctor who did my c-section with Drew. I remember thinking he was just great, so I was excited to see him again (plus he had the drugs!). Before I was given the epidural, the nurse checked me to see how many centimeters I was. 


After a whole day of working my tush off to help my body with the induction I was at three centimeters. I burst into tears and asked everyone to leave the room. Then I ugly-cried in Kyle's arms until I felt like I had gotten all my anger out. At that point, I realized the induction might not work and that a repeat c-section could very likely be on the horizon for me. Kyle prayed for me and reminded me that the Lord knows what's very best for us, even if we can't understand it. After some more time with Kyle I felt calmed down enough to have everyone come back in and proceed with the epidural.

I fell asleep shortly after the epidural. Around 2am I was woken up by the feeling of the can imagine my surprise! My pitocin had been continuously increased over the previous three hours, so the contractions I was feeling were much more intense than the ones I was feeling earlier. I totally panicked at the pain, and yelled for Kyle to get the nurse and to get Sara (who was sleeping in the waiting room, bless her heart!). Sara helped me breath through the contractions until the anesthesiologist could come back. He tried giving my epidural a boost, but I was adamant that I could feel everything from my hip bones down. The anesthesiologist ended up needing to completely re-do my epidural as it was not in the right spot. In between crazy intense contractions my epidural was removed and then replaced, and thankfully it worked that second time. I blissfully went back to sleep.

At 6am I awoke to the feeling of pressure, so I let the nurse know. Could this mean I had actually dilated overnight? She had the doctor come in and check...I was at 10 centimeters! 100% effaced! Baby was +2 in station. I burst into tears again, but this time out of happiness. This was it - game time! Hooray!

The doctor told me a shift change was coming up at 7am so unless my body started to push baby Mary out on it's own I would not be delivering until after the shift change. I was fine with that because we had a friend from our church coming to take photos of the birth and we wanted to give her time to get there. I also needed a moment to revel in the good news we'd just received and get ready to meet our daughter!

Once the new shift nurse had come on the clock, we did quick introductions and then I got down to pushing. It was a little cumbersome because I couldn't feel my legs (per my perfectly placed second epidural), so I essentially had a team of people holding my bottom half in the correct position while I pushed. Kyle was right in my face the whole time, holding my hand and letting me know what was happening. Sara was great at counting so I knew how long to push for. Kyle told me later that I was a relentless pusher; I was regrouping and pushing again faster than the birth team was anticipating. I could feel the pressure from the contractions so I knew when to push, and I just really wanted to meet my baby girl! At one point Kyle told me the doctor and the baby nurse had come into the room (my back was to the door as I was laying on my side). I knew that meant it was almost time. Kyle told me that the doctor got the little baby catching station ready and that the baby nurse had the little baby station all set. On the next contraction I pushed for the normal three rounds of pushing, and then I heard someone tell me to push one more time. I was pushing, and then I was being hollered at to stop pushing. I was worried something was wrong and was trying to figure out what was going on over all the voices; I had my eyes closed this whole time as it's really hard to push with your eyes open. Then I heard Sara yell at me to "look down!" - there was my baby girl! She was out and being handed to me! Crying! And all covered in birth yuckies! I looked down at her and then looked up at Kyle to see that he was all teary-eyed looking at me holding his daughter. I could not stop crying! What a beautiful moment in time that the Lord had prepared for us.


I don't remember the rest of the delivery; Baby Mary and I just cuddled, breastfed, and cuddled some more. After all the commotion settled down, everyone left the room and Kyle and I just got to be alone with our new child, our daughter. After a while I knew that I needed to sleep, so I handed Mary off to Kyle for them to have some time to bond while I took a nap. My mom and sister came by with my Dad and Drew later that evening. Drew was excited to meet Mary, but he seemed confused as to why she wasn't in my tummy anymore. Someday I'll explain that to him...

That evening and the following day the rest of the aunts and uncles and grandparents came by to meet Mary. Mary passed all her requisite testing and health checks so we went home on July 13th to be reunited with Drew and start our lives as a family of four.

Drew: Drew is adapting great to having Mary around. Kyle was home for a week after Mary was born, and now he's taking every Wednesday off for a while so Drew has been having plenty of fun playing with dad. I did my homework on things mom and dad can do at home to help the toddler adjust to the baby, and so far those things have been working. For example, I set a timer on my phone that goes off 10 minutes before it's time to nurse Mary. When the timer goes off, Drew knows it's time for baby to eat and there's no fussing with mom about me leaving the room to go feed Mary because that's just what mom does when the timer goes off. I do think it helps that Drew has been with me each time I've taken a nanny job for one of my friends, so he's used to sharing my attention with other kids.

Mary: Mary was born weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces and 21.5 inches long. She was born with a full head of dark brown hair, and the sweetest little girly cry. She is eating great and growing well. She is a mediocre sleeper, but we've got plenty of time to work on that!

Our friend from church has a budding photography business and blessed us with the photos of Mary's birth (above). She also came over to capture some photos of Mary as a newborn (below). This is the same friend that took our family photos back in May.

Real life ;-)


  1. Congratulations on the addition of beautiful (and smart!) Baby Mary! I am overjoyed that you had a successful VBAC and that you were able to make the decisions that felt right for you and your family. What a blessing!

    1. Thanks Misha! We're so excited to have her here. The VBAC was very exciting at the time, but now it already feels like it happened years ago...and it's only been a few weeks! Time flies :-)

  2. I enjoyed reading Mary's birth story. I can identify with your comment above. The excruciating details of childbirth really do amazingly fade quickly. I think it is all part of the "greater plan" that we forget the painfull parts or else no one would have more than one child. I remember mom telling me "you forget fast" when I asked her about childbirth.