Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ella's Birth Story

I am writing this down as much for myself as for everyone else so please forgive me if there are moments of tmi. I want to make sure I can remember as much of it as possible. It might get pretty long.

I went in on Friday, October 30, 2010 to be induced. I had to be at the hospital at 5:30 am. My in laws came to the house and were going to stay there and wait until the kids got up and they would get them ready and bring them to the hospital. Jacob and I arrived at the hospital and they got my IV going and got my blood work. I was already having steady contractions on my own. When I got to the hospital I was 2cm dilated already. About 7:00 they started my pitocin and I got my epidural shortly after that. At 9:00 my doctor arrived and checked me and I was 3cm dilated. It seemed that things were moving right along. I assumed things would go much like my other deliveries and we would have a baby by early afternoon. The nurses kept checking me about every hour and I wasn't making any more progress. About 3:00 my doctor came in and said we needed to stop the induction for the day. Pitocin can cause kidney problems which can cause swelling and with my fluid levels already being so high they didn't want to take any chances. So the plan was to turn off the pitocin and we would start it again the next morning. They left my epidural in place so I was pain free and able to get a good nights sleep for the first time in weeks.

The next morning at 4:00 am the nurse came in and checked me. I was 4cm so I had made some progress through the night. At 5:00 the nurse came back in and said they were worried because all of the fluid they were putting in me was not coming out. They had given me like 6000 ml of IV fluids but I had only put out about 250. They did more blood work to check my electrolytes and put these things on my legs that were like blood pressure cuffs. They would fill up with air and then let it out. It was supposed to keep fluid from building up in my legs and feet. They also started my pitocin again. The day went on and I wasn't making any more progress. I was effacing more but not dilating. I was also starting to swell, everywhere. My legs and feet looked like sausages. About 3:00 I started having chest pains and my doctor said we had to shut the induction down. Fluid was starting to pool in my chest and it would start to compromise my lungs and heart. They also measured my belly and I was now measuring 47cm or 47 weeks pregnant. I was pretty sure they were going to tell me it was time to do a c-section but my doctor didn't even feel like that was safe with all of the fluid I was carrying. So it was decided that I would go home and come back Monday night and they would give me cervadil overnight and Tuesday morning they would start the pitocin again. That would give time for the swelling to go down and for the pitocin to get out of my system.

They took out my IV and epidural and told me to wait about 2 hours before I tried to get out of bed to make sure I had full feeling back in my legs. The epidural wore off but the pitocin was still in my system so I was still having strong contractions. I was in a lot of pain! So they gave me some kind of narcotic pain reliever that I now can't remember the name of. They also had me get in the shower. I was having back labor and the warm water in the shower was about the only thing that helped. I bet I stayed in the shower for about 2 hours. When I got out of the shower I was starting to feel bad from the pain medication that they gave me. It wasn't long before I started throwing up. They ended up deciding to go ahead and keep me overnight since I was in so much pain and throwing up.

By Sunday morning I was feeling much better and went home about 9:00am. I laid around the house all day Sunday. I was in pain just from all of the fluid I was carrying. It was also Halloween so that evening Jacob and his dad took the kids out trick or treating. I was so miserable from the pain of the fluid that I wasn't able to sleep at all Sunday night. I was also starting to have regular contractions again and I think I got in the bathtub about 3 times because it was the only place I wasn't in pain. Monday morning I had to be at my doctor's office at 9:00am to go over what we would do Monday night for the induction. My mom came over to watch the kids and my mother in-law drove me to my doctor's appt. When I got to the doctor's office I mentioned that I had been having contractions all night and he wanted to check me to see if I had progressed any more. When he checked me I was a good 5cm dilated and completely effaced and Ella had moved down low. He said if I wanted I could go on over to the hospital and he would break my water and start the pitocin. That sounded great to me!

Jacob had went to work that morning because we thought Ella wouldn't be here until Tuesday so I called him and told him they were sending me on over to the hospital. He is a union carpenter and luckily he was working on an addition to the hospital so it only took him about 2 minutes to get there. We made phone calls and let the family know that it looked like Ella would be here soon. I got to the hospital and they got me in my room and got my IV started. My doctor came in and wanted to break my water and I was so miserable from the pressure of all of the fluid I agreed. I should have waited until they got my epidural in but I just wanted some relief. I have never seen anything like it when he broke my water. I literally flooded the room! The fluid just kept coming and coming! I wasn't aware at the time but whenever he broke my water the pressure from the release of all of the fluid caused a placental abruption. As soon as my water was broke the contractions started coming fast and furious! They couldn't get my epidural because my blood work wasn't back yet. The doctor came in and checked me and I was 6cm and bleeding quite a bit.

With my next contraction I told Jacob that I needed to push. He went and got the doctor and he said I was completely dilated. He told me I could wait and get my epidural or I could go ahead and start pushing. I knew there was no way I was going to be able to sit up and get my epidural so I said lets just do this. Let me just say that I do not, for any reason, recommend having a baby without an epidural. Wow, that was painful! I only pushed for about 10 minutes although if felt like about 10 hours! Miss Ella Joy Roth made her arrival at 11:27 am on November 1, 2010. She had made us wait through 4 days of labor only to come so fast that mama didn't even have time for pain medication! They laid her on my belly and the nurse listened for a heartbeat. "It's there but it's faint" she said. She got a hat for her head and I snuggled my baby. The nurse came back over and listened for her heartbeat but this time she couldn't find it. Jacob and I took turns holding her while they got me cleaned up.

Once I was decent again Jacob went and got the kids so they could meet their sister. They were so excited to finally meet her! I was a little bit worried about how Brighton would react. He is the oldest and had a pretty good grasp of what was happening. He did really well. He had a lot of questions. He asked if she was dead and we told him she was. He had a lot more questions and we tried to answer them as best we could. The girls were great! They kissed and hugged and poked her. They each took a turn holding her. Once the kids were done spending some time with her we let the rest of the family in. Once everyone had a chance to meet her they moved me into my postpartum room. We spent the next couple of hours passing her around and loving on her. A photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep came and took pictures of Ella. About 4:00 all of the family left so we could spend some time alone with her before we had the funeral home come and get her. Jacob and I spent the next couple of hours just loving on our baby. Right before the funeral home came our preacher arrived and said a blessing over Ella. About 8:00pm someone from the funeral home arrived to pick Ella up.

That was the hardest part for me. I had been fine all day until I had to give my baby up. Jacob walked her to the nursery where the person from the funeral home was picking her up. He said he took her in there and left and went back and got her, and took her in there again, and went back and got her. Finally he left her and came back to the room. We both had a good long cry.

I was able to go home the next morning. I had lost quite a lot of blood and the doctor gave me the option of having a blood transfusion but said he thought if I just took it easy for the next couple of days I should be alright. So that is what I have been doing. Just taking it easy and trying to heal. We are pretty much taking it moment by moment. Thank you all so much for all the prayers, and cards, and meals. This has all been made easier by the caring and compassion of all of you. Thank you!!


  1. Courtney,
    I so appreciate the the choice and decision you and Jacob made to celebrate Ella's life and death in such a meaningful and impacting way. You may never know or understand why God chose this path for you and Ella until you join her in heaven,but know this:
    Your gracious and trusting acceptance of this cup from the hand of the Father has been a testimony to all who have shared this path with you.
    I pray God will continue to shower His grace on you in the days ahead as you grieve the loss of Ella Joy.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. It is so powerful to hear what you have written. I feel like I know now better how to understand a friend who had a similar infant death and which questions to ask.

    You are very brave to make this public, and I think if at any time you want to make this private and keep all these memories to yourself, that would be totally fine, too.

  3. Oh Courtney, I can't thank u enough for sharing this story! I've been checking all day every day to hear about Miss Ella! U r so strong and courageous! U r the best parents ever to all of ur babies! I feel as if I have been on this journey with u guys just by ur blog! I relate to ur story so much with my precious angel. May the Lord bring u all peace and comfort!

  4. Courtney you and Jacob are two of the most amazing, and strongest people I have ever had the privilege of "knowing". It may only be thru cyberspace, but my heartfelt prayers and hugs are being sent to you in this incredibly difficult time. I'm so glad you had a chance to spend a little time with your precious baby girl here on earth, and I know your time with her in heaven is going to be just amazing! <3

  5. I have to echo the sentiment that you and your husband are truly amazing people. I am so sorry your time with your beautiful girl was so short and I will have your entire family in my prayers while you all heal.

    Much love and many Prayers,
    Heather P. (KS)

  6. Dear Courtney, what have you been going through to deliver Ella! I am sure little Ella felt well, because you took such care in delivering her.
    And now she is just running ahead of you in the field of wild flowers and butterflies!
    I am deeply touched by what you wrote and I am so sorry that Ella wasn't with you longer! My heartfelt thoughts and wishes to you, your husband and your children! T.

  7. I'm so sorry for your loss Courtney... You and Jacob are truly amazing people and Ella has been blessed to have you as her parents for the short time she was on this earth. You are all in my thoughts and prayers...

  8. Amy Wakefield-GibbsNovember 6, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    Courtney, I don't know where you pull the strength from. As I have been keeping up with this blog, I try to imagine myself in your shoes and wonder if I could be as strong as you. Thank you so much for giving your friends and family a peek at this time in your life.