Ingrid Grey’s Birth Story

Our Ingrid Grey Stroessner was born on the Ides of March, 2012 at 12:30 in the afternoon. She came in a hurry, covered in goop, surrounded by love. Here’s her story…We arrived at the hospital at 6:30 that morning. As soon as I checked in, they escorted Phil and I to our room. I was given a lovely gown and told to pee in a cup. The nurse would be back soon. As soon as she returned, she checked my cervix. I was three centimeters dilated. Then, we discussed my birth plan. There wasn’t much to go over, as our hospital already provided our ideal scenario for labor and delivery. I want to get up and move around. I want to go as long as possible and only use medication if I truly need it. I want to be with my baby immediately after she is born. I want to nurse as soon as she’s born. Etc. Shortly after, she started my IV. Unsuccessful at first, she finally found a workable vein in my hand. I was disappointed by this as it gets in the way of breastfeeding but it would have to do. After a few minutes of a saline drip, the cart of death rolled its way to my bedside and it all began…

Just one hour later, the contractions started. Hard and fast, they were coming every three minutes. I was excited and eager, having gotten a full night’s sleep the night before, but I also knew the task ahead of me. Around 8:30 that morning, my doctor came. She said I was dilated to four centimeters and was 50% effaced. This was great news, considering I had only been in active labor for an hour. She broke my water and said she’d see me in a few hours, when it was time to meet our baby. Phil and I were watching Funny Girl. Enjoyable at first, I finally had to ask him to turn it off. As a result of my water breaking, my contractions were getting much worse and much to my demise – they had moved to my back. These contractions were like a flashback of my labor with Adair. I mean, the pain was so recognizable, so consuming, so awful. It immediately took me back to my first labor. This time though, we’d be smart. We’d do things a bit differently. A few days before, I made a list of everything I wanted Phil to remind me of during labor, things I wanted to try, and ways he could help when the going got tough. And here we were, ready to do it, ready to try some of those things. I changed positions, used heat, got on a birthing ball, walked around, leaned over, focused on my breathing… You name it, we did it. But nothing was helping. It was getting worse and worse and I was in no mood for any of it.

This being my second labor, I was highly less motivated. I knew what was to come. I knew exactly what to expect. I knew the pain that was ahead. And I did not want any part of it. I don’t remember saying too much during this labor, but I do remember shaking my head no and telling Phil I didn’t want to do it. “I hate this,” I remember saying. Soon, I was eating my words from earlier and asking for relief. Please, send the Epidural man in here! I beg you! The nurse smiled and returned with the most wonderful man carrying a 24 inch long needle that would soon make this whole thing doable. That was the hardest part, holding still through the pain while I awaited this relief. The contractions were coming hard and fast, slamming into my back. My body was shaking uncontrollably, a combination of hormones and anxiety. My mind was completely focused on the pain. I sat there, as still as I could be. The nurse was holding one side. Phil was holding the other. The anesthesiologist was behind me, working his magic.
Still shaking, I tried to stay calm. I knew the pain would soon be on its way out the door and my baby would soon be in my arms. I had to lie flat and try not to move. It took about 30 minutes for the epidural to kick in. I was still in pain, but it was bearable. I could speak again, hallelujah! I once heard a woman describe that an epidural was like a bath on the inside. Yes, indeed. A nice, hot bath that took you to a new place. At this point, my family started arriving at the hospital. I invited my mom, dad, and grandmother to come say hello. After they left, the pain was getting bad again. Harder and faster, they were coming. I was still shaking, completely unable to control it. The nurse checked me again. I was dilated to five centimeters, halfway there. Hopefully just a few more hours. She left, and the contractions continued to come. Like a wave, one on top of the other. Fifteen minutes later, the nurse came back and said she wanted to check me again. She said her monitor was showing crazy contractions, one after the other without a break. To my surprise and hers, I was fully dilated and fully effaced.
I couldn’t believe it. Wait, does this mean it’s time to push? I’m not ready. I thought we still had a few hours. I got my game face on and had Phil gear up the Beyonce DVD. It was go-time. Let’s do this! The doctor arrived, followed by the nurse and all the catching gear. I was pumped. The doctor reminded me how to push, how long to hold, and when to breathe. She instructed me that we’d push with the next contraction. Here it comes… Push! 1, 2, 3… I could see Ingrid’s head. Wet and heavy with hair. She was right there. It was time. Here comes another one! Push! 1, 2, 3…

Pink and screaming, she came. As soon as her head was out, I reached down and pulled her out of me, holding her close to my chest. Tears streaming down my face, goopy baby laying there on top of me, we had done it. And all in just a few minutes time. I was amazed. Only pushing for two contractions, my doctor called me a show-off. For the second time in my life, I felt like Superwoman.
Phil and I embraced with Ingrid between us, a magical, supernatural moment. A moment where time stood still, where we were a part of nature, a part of creation, a part of something significant. Ingrid laid on my chest for the next hour. We stared at each other. She was quiet and still and her deep blue eyes looked straight into mine. She was sticky and smelled sweet. Her hair was light brown and soft. Her feet were big, her fingers long. A cozy, fine peach fuzz coated her tiny shoulders. She looked so much like her big sister, Adair. We tried nursing on and off for awhile, having little success. Finally, I gave her up to be washed, weighed, and measured. Our girl was good sized – eight pounds, one ounce and 21 inches long. She was perfect.
While Phil went to announce Ingrid’s arrival to the waiting room, I snuggled with my new baby, mesmerized again by the power of childbirth. Phil returned with Addie. I was so excited to see her and even more excited to see her meet her new baby sister. At first, Addie just looked and pointed, saying her usual, “Ittssaaat?” (What’s that?) She gave Ingrid a high-five, and kissed her sweetly on her head. A family of four. This is a REAL, legit family. This is good. This is perfect. Exactly how I imagined life would be. No, better.

The next few hours were filled with visits from family and friends. Grandparents, her great-grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins… So many were there to welcome her into the world. Phil, Ingrid, and I spent the next two days in the hospital. Ingrid was such a calm baby, sleeping most of the time. We worked hard on nursing, trying each hour or so, and finally had a successful latch by midnight the second day. As Ingrid slept her new life away, Phil and I watched her in amazement, listening to her every breath, moan, and squeak. Again, we had been blessed with an incredible gift – a child to love and grow with our whole life long. Joy to the world!

More pictures from Ingrid’s birth…
To read more about Ingrid Grey, click here


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