Birth Story of Jane Elizabeth Challis

Jane Elizabeth Challis was born at 3:07 on Wednesday, July 15. I went into labor at 3:08 am. It felt like the period from hell, except both in my back and in my tummy. Not a very comfy feeling, but at first it wasn't so painful. We started for the hospital at about 4 am. By the time we got there, it was noticeably worse. Very regular contractions at about 5 minutes apart. It felt like the worst period cramps I've ever experienced.

BY FAR the worst part about the entire experience was waiting to see whether or not the hospital would admit me. I was at Orem Community Hospital. In the end, I'm pretty certain that the main reason they DID admit me was because I was there on my due date, because I heard a snippet of a conversation between nurses the next day, talking about something totally unrelated, saying, "It's the difference between being 39 weeks and 6 day, and 40 weeks." I was only 3 cm dilated and after an hour, hadn't dilated more. But the contractions were regular. I also think the reason they admitted me was because they called the midwives who I have been seeing and they said to admit me.

I was so nervous they wouldn't admit me and I'd have to go home. That would have been unbearable. I knew it was labor. I didn't want to turn around and go home only to come back in a few hours. I swore that anything that lay ahead would be easier and I could do it, if only they would just admit me.

And they did.

There was actually a mix up with my insurance because stupid DMBA doesn't GET that I need a card with my married name on it; when I told them this, they sent me another one with my maiden name. So that was a pain. People asked me lots of questions about my medical history. I was asked to sign a lot of papers. My signature was really messy and I was mostly out of it. It just kept getting more and more painful. I know that it would have been less painful if I could have been kneeling in a bathtub, instead I was leaning back on a medical bed/chair. I was frightened. Danny was really good at calming me down.

Through the whole thing I never felt like swearing at him. Actually, it was the opposite. I really, really wanted him near. I didn't want him to touch me, except hold my hand, which he did. I can't really describe with words what this did for me. It made a huge difference. I love him.

So they asked if I wanted an epidural. I had already decided that I probably would want one, but because of my blood platelettes being low, I wasn't sure whether or not I would be able to to have one. Good thing I remembered this because I'm not sure they were going to check before giving it to me. Probably they would have. It seemed to take forever for them to check. It turned out to be 140. I don't know what the units are. Last time it was 110. If it's 100 or below, they don't give you an epidural. It's kind of silly because people who need c-sections get spinal taps even if they are down to 40. Again I feel retarded because I don't know what the units are measured in.

I decided to get an epidural because of two things: my husband, and my mother-in-law. Danny can't stand to see me in pain, and Janny said, "You wouldn't have a root canal without Novocaine, how is this any different?"

But I have a lot of friends with very mixed feelings on the subject. VERY mixed feelings. I think that's okay. I definitely think it's okay for people to choose not to have an epidural. There are lots and lots and lots of reasons people decide to do things. I think that this is a case where there is no clear cut universal "right" or "wrong", especially because of the way that epidurals work now, as opposed to 10 years ago. The doctors told me there is a LOT less medicine in epidurals nowadays. Kind of reminds me of birth control, actually. Anyway, I don't want to offend people who dislike epidurals for whatever reason. What I can say about MY experience is that at first I felt like a failure for asking for an epidural, and afterward I felt like buying flowers for my anesthesiologist. He did a perfect job, and I felt everything - except sharp pain. This was good for me.

They gave me an epidural, my midwife broke my water, and they gave me the lowest dosage of pitocin. Those were all things that I thought I would want to avoid. When I was actually in the situation, I decided completely different things than I thought I would. Go figure.

I didn't want pitocin because I had read that it is a drug made from cow oxytocin. The image of me being a cow in labor was just to horrible. When the nurse told me that it might be a good idea to put me on some pitocin, I cried. I was really upset. And then, I just wasn't.

I've been writing this post for about a week. It's SO HARD to find time to sit down and write on my blog. I have a friend who has an away message that asks people to excuse her typos because she regularly types while breastfeeding. As of right now, it seems like I will never be able to do that. I saw a woman breastfeeding in sacrament meeting once, with a blanket over herself of course. That also seems like an insurmountable feat. In fact, just breastfeeding with a blanket over me seems impossible. Sigh.

Anyway, I thought that the birth went extremely well. I had a mirror so I could watch everything that I was doing. That was good motivation, especially right after I saw her little head. I tore a little bit, but did not have an episiotomy, which was the main thing I wanted to avoid. My midwife was SO AWESOME. She did a great job. Suddenly I was holding Jane. I don't even remember the placenta coming out. Jane was so beautiful. She still is. SO beautiful.

We were in the hospital from Wednesday morning at 5 am to Friday morning at 9. Those two days reminded me a lot of my honeymoon, in that it was me and Danny together all the time. Except there was also Jane! It was literally like heaven. There were lots and lots of visitors. Sometimes that became very tiring. It felt good to be surrounded by friends. Janny and Dan came out from Colorado. Jeremy and Ruth Ann came, and Becky and Adam came. I'm sure Mary Lynn and Mark would have come if they could have. Joe, Sarah and Mykle, and Dot came. And of course my mom. I felt very loved and special.

I really liked Orem Community hospital. If you are thinking of giving birth there, as opposed to Utah Valley, I would do it. The nurses are nice. You don't have to change rooms after you deliver. It's small and friendly. I felt very well cared for. On the evaluation they gave me afterward, I gave them the highest marks.


  1. HOORAY!!! Kate, I'm so excited for you! Happy baby! Thanks for posting your details. I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want in a birth experience, and it's good to hear from those who know, you know?

    As far as nursing under a blanket goes--I saw my aunt using one of these a while ago and I keep seeing them everywhere now. They are awesome! It's a nursing blanket with a little boning along the top that ties behind your neck. No fussing with it, no worries that it's gonna fall off or that Jane is going to pull or kick it off...you can peek at her without showing the rest of the room...they're so great. I just sewed one for my best friend's baby shower (do you remember Allison Butterfield? She's due in November). They're pretty easy to make, actually, or you can order one here (or see pictures that make a lot more sense than my description): http://peekaboocovers.com/shop/page/?sessid=WCYdwGAMiBjEDsEy1pOCxGGEp6FhSloRu7XvXAa9oRA4p6vU3hDt6on1IeDGpcm2&shop_param=

    if that link doesn't work, just try peekaboocovers.com and click skip intro. Good luck and congratufreakinlations!!

  2. Congrats Kate. I'm glad to hear how well things went. I'm assuming I'm someone classified with VERY mixed feelings. For the record, I think epidurals are great if you need one and had one for my hospital birth. If I had another baby in a hospital, I could likely see myself with one again. The most important thing is to do what is right for you.

    I'm glad you've got a lot of help and hope that breastfeeding is going well. Let me know if you need any pointers.

  3. Oh, and as for nursing at the keyboard, it is a skill acquired with time. When I had a 1 week old I had 2-3 pillows, a husband's help still had sore nipples and sprayed milk across the room.

    When you've been lactating for almost 7 years you'll be able to do it while standing on your head.

  4. Uh, yeah. It took us 3 months just to get basic nursing skills down, so don't feel bad. :) I'm even nervous for the second one because Rachel and I were never very modest...it's definitely something that takes practice.

    Congratulations, by the way...I don't know why this didn't show up in my feed...argh...Jane is a cutie, though!

  5. Hey, Tami Wardell here. SO sorry I missed your baby and you departure. I really liked you guys and I'm really gonna miss you in scouts. you two are HILARIOUS!!! Congrats on the baby! She is adorable. I too liked Orem Community better than Utah Valley. I have delivered at both. Where are you now? I hope you are well. stay funny! you guys are my heros!


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