Thursday, April 14, 2011

the birth story

Harper Claire Copeland made her appearance at 9:24 am on Saturday, April 9th, 2011! She is so precious and perfect! 7 lb. 15 oz., 20 3/4 inches.

I'm going to give the gorey labor details so skip this part if words like mucous plug gross you out.

On Friday, Will took me and the kids to Culver's for dinner and then headed to work for the night. The kids and I came home and did a little cleaning to get ready for Mom and Dad. They had left Little Rock that afternoon, planning to stop halfway in Kansas City for the night and drive on into Rochester Saturday morning. I was so excited to have them in town but part of me was thinking, "oh my word, what if they get here, stay a week and there's no baby!" I was praying that once they were in town this cervix of mine would just relax already.

I got the kids in bed, watched a little tv, piddled around the house a little more and then got ready for bed. When I went to the bathroom I saw that I had lost my mucous plug. I called Will and shared the happy news. He was ecstatic. (sarcasm) So in my mind I was thinking, "this is good. something's going to happen in the next couple of days."

I got in bed around 11:30, and about 12:30 I felt Harper move and thought I felt my water break. When I stood up I KNEW that my water had broken. I called Will and he got ready to head home. I called Mom too and let her know that we would definitely have a baby this week. What perfect timing! Thank you Lord!

After packing some last minute things for the hospital, I got back in bed to try to get some sleep. Will got home and got in bed, but I was starting to have contractions and couldn't sleep so I got up and walked around the house. My contractions weren't very regular - every 7 minutes, 5 minutes, 8 minutes, 3 minutes - but I was pretty uncomfortable, having to stop and focus to get through them. By 4:30 am, I told Will that I thought we should go to the hospital. He called Laura Shotts and she came over to stay with the kids. Thank you Laura!

We got to the hospital about 5:30 am. A nurse took us to triage first. She asked me if I wanted an epidural and I almost punched her. Will saw the wild look in my eyes and scrambled for the birth plan. (We had Liam and Hayden naturally, and that was the plan for Harper too. And I'll admit, I get a little crazy about any hospital person that messes with me.) The midwife came in, checked my cervix and I was 5 centimeters dilated. 5 centimeters! Crap, I was thinking. With Liam I checked in to the hospital at 8 centimeters and with Hayden I was 9 1/2 centimeters. Will said he was thinking the same thing. I thought I was having contractions harder than 5 centimeter contractions!

We were moved to a labor room with a tub and I labored for about 3 hours - 3 hard hours. At some point an anesthesiologist came in and wanted to check my airway. What?? Apparently it's standard procedure at Mayo for each patient to have their airway checked. I was probably about 7 centimeters dilated and in the throws of hard labor. I wasn't speaking but I was thinking, "stay the heck away from me and my airway." My hot labor coach/husband came to the rescue and said thanks but no thanks. The anesthesiologist insisted, but Will insisted more and finally appeased her with, "why don't you come back later." I love that man. He is my rock in labor - speaks for me, protects me, encourages me.

The last hour or so of labor I was in the tub. I hadn't labored in water with my first two so that was new. I'm not sure it helped that much with the pain but it was something to do to pass time. I started to feel like I wanted to push so I got out of the tub and Lisa, the midwife, checked my cervix again. She said I was almost 10 centimeters but had just a little rim of cervix left. She said getting on my hands and knees would help.

After a couple major contractions on my hands and knees I started pushing. I pushed on all fours for a little while with no progress. Lisa moved me to a squatting position - still not much progress. Then I leaned back in the traditional semi-reclining position. Harper was coming down some but just not staying down. Lisa suggested I lay on my side and pull my legs back. I have never moved around so much trying to push a baby out. The pain was outrageous. I'm a very quiet laborer, as in totally silent. But when I had to move around to push there was definitely some whimpering and crying. I told Will to pull it together and quit his crying. (ha ha) Lisa thought pushing on my side would help Harper get out from underneath my pelvis. She was right. Finally, at 9:24 am, after about an hour total of pushing, that sweet baby girl came out.

Come to find out, Harper was sunny-side up. Babies ideally come out face down, which allows their heads to mold to the birth canal. If they are face-up their heads can't really mold and it's harder to get them out. One of the midwives also told me that it can make labor more intense. I guess that's why I felt like my contractions were stronger than 5 centimeter contractions when we got to the hospital. Lisa said that when Harper crowned she was face up and then she turned her little head down on her own and came right out. So amazing! There is nothing like the feeling of that baby coming out and finally being in your arms. The pain is gone and some say their memory of the pain is gone, but I can't seem to shake that memory yet. Of the three, Harper's delivery was by far the hardest. But of course SO worth it.

In her daddy's arms for the first time

Harper nursed for about 45 minutes after she was born. I didn't have to have stitches this time around - which was awesome. Harper was weighed and measured and then wanted to nurse again. She's a nursing champ. We moved to our recovery room by noon, and Zeke and Laura brought the kids up to the hospital to meet their baby sister. Liam was so excited. Hayden was a little unsure. I think she prefers Happy Meals over baby sisters.
Laura played a major part in giving me peace of mind through it all. I knew my kids were in good hands. Thank you so much Zeke and Laura!

Mom and Dad were at the hospital by 1:30 that afternoon. I can't get over the perfect timing!
This is our wonderful midwife. I'm not sure I could have pushed Harper out without her guiding me through it. I had great nurses too. My experience at Mayo over all was really good.
Dressed for home
We were discharged Sunday morning and headed home to a full house. Home sweet home!
No shortage of love in this house! I'm so thankful to God for the blessing of Harper. To Him be the glory!


  1. Alisa, you are the most amazing baby birther I know. I loved all of the pics (you looked so beautiful in all those pics right after the birth!) But those sweet looks on tender-hearted Liam's face are priceless. I wish I knew when I am going to get to meet that precious Harper! I can't wait! Love you.

  2. You are amazing! That story definitely is encouraging. So glad sweet Harper is here! I'm totally going to ask Hans about the so-called "policy" about checking airways. I have never heard him talk about that. What a pain! If he had been on call, I would have told him to let you be! :)

    Can't wait to meet her!

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  4. Hi! my name is Tara and I found your blog by "googling" my girl's names-Hayden and Harper (I have no idea why I google their names:). I have read a little of your blog and our families have a lot in common! I have a 4 year old-Canaan, a 2 1/2 year old Hayden and a 3 month old Harper. We are also from Arkansas--Fayetteville! I just thought that was all neat! God Bless!