The Birth Story of Hannah Kate

Our daughter, Hannah Kate Krieger, has arrived! She came into the world on Saturday, June 30, 2012. We praise God for her birth. Here is the story…

2 days old - photo: Shades of Grey Photography

On Friday, June 29th, Jeremiah and I packed Rebekah and John into the van for a trip to the mall. I knew that more walking might help trigger me into labor. Besides, it was my due date.

The Dallas heat was over 100 degrees and I felt like I was going to pop. At the mall, we ate some Paciugo gelato, let the kids run around in the play area, and took John for a train ride.

We headed home around 7:30 pm, put the kids down and enjoyed some time together. At 10 pm we went to bed but both of us had a hard time falling asleep. At 11 pm, I started having contractions that were on a pain level of about a 4 but I wasn’t sure if they were true labor pains. I was exhausted so I fell asleep, knowing that if they were the real thing, I’d wake up.

At 2 am, I woke up to more intense contractions- the kind I couldn’t sleep through. I called my doula, Melissa, and told her what I was feeling. She suggested I take a warm bath to make sure they wouldn’t die down. But within 15 minutes, I knew I didn’t have time to take a bath and that labor was really kicking in.

My pain level increased and the contractions felt the exact same as when I went into labor with John and Rebekah- like a sharp knife pain. Jeremiah called Melissa to tell her to meet us at the hospital.

I called my doctor’s office answering service and they connected me to my doctor, Dr. Harris. I told him my contractions were coming every 5 minutes and lasting for 1 minute and my pain level was intense.

“It looks like this is it. I’ll see you at the hospital,” he said.

I called my mom to let her know to meet us at the hospital. Jeremiah and I packed a few more things into our bag and waited on his sister Charis to come and stay the night at our house. My contractions continued to feel like knives in my lower abdomen.

Each time one came, I grabbed onto the wall and did my breathing exercises. I insisted that Jeremiah come right to my side when I was getting through one. I knew I couldn’t go natural again without his support and encouragement. He was right there with me through every one.

Checking into Baylor Hospital

1 week old - Photo by Tammi Ambrose

At about 3:00 am, we drove to Baylor Hospital and arrived at 3:15 am. When I came through the doors of labor and delivery, there were pictures of babies all over the wall who had been born at Baylor.

That brought comfort to me knowing I was about to meet mine. Everything was also very familiar to me as I had just been here 20 months ago to have Rebekah.

When we arrived at the check-in desk one of the nurses said, “Aw, you look like you’re in a lot pain.”

Really, no kidding?! I’m about to push a baby out. I thought.

I nodded at her.

Then another nurse said, “You’re doing great through those contractions.”

I smiled and said thanks.

After Jeremiah filled out the necessary paperwork and I continued to endure each contraction, a nurse guided us to our room.

“Are you going to want an epidural?” she asked on the way.

“No, I’m planning on going natural.” I replied. “I was able to with my other two children and I’m hoping I’ll be able to do it again,” I told her.

Despite all the pain, having unmedicated births in the past had proven itself to be a fast labor, good recovery, a greater connection to the experience, an alert baby, and overall very empowering. But I also knew that anything could happen in the birthing process so I had to go into it without any expectations.

The nurse was fine with that and continued on, “So, no IV? Nothing?”

“No.” I said and drank from my big cup full of ice water.

“Okay. That’s easy.”

She seemed really positive in the fact that I had previous births that went well. So I was encouraged. I had nurses before that I felt doubted my ability to go natural or maybe just thought it was crazy.

When we got to the room, I dressed in the hospital gown and answered all the list of questions. The nurse checked my cervix and I was dilated to a 5. On Tuesday, I was only at a 2 1/2 so I loved seeing that I was progressing. I got out of the hospital bed and walked around, mainly clutching tight to the bar in the bathroom and hanging on to Jeremiah to get through each contraction.

My mom arrived shortly after and then Melissa. Jeremiah got the video camera set up to give to my mom.

Transition Time

Fifteen minutes later, the nurse checked my cervix again and I was already at an 8! Contractions were growing more intense, frequent, and close together. I felt like I had to use the bathroom  and that everything was going to fall out of me. During transition, I felt like I could never catch up as each contraction came so close together and so intense. I groaned and moaned and fell into Jeremiah’s chest during every one.

I sat on the toilet and rocked back and forth to keep things moving like Melissa encouraged. I tried to fix my mind on the precious little girl that was about to be born instead of the pain I experienced. My next goal was to dilate to a 10. I stood up and walked out of the bathroom into the room, staying close to Jeremiah’s side.

Dr. Harris sat at the end of the bed with his gloves on. The nurses were quiet and watching me. One nurse chimed in:

“You’re doing so well.”

“Am I almost there?” I asked.

“I’m just waiting for you to make that sound,” my doctor replied. “Then we’ll know it’s go time.”

I knew exactly what he was talking about.

“You are so close. You’re doing amazing. You’re going to meet her soon.” Jeremiah said.

“Yes, it’s going so fast. It will be over before you know it,” Melissa added.

I was hungry and continued drinking from my water cup. I felt weak and ready to give up. But I knew I had to press on. And I could eat when labor was done with. The room was so quiet as if the world had stopped. Then all the sudden, I had the urge to push!

“I need to push!” I yelled and headed to the bed. Everyone got in position.

Photo: Tammi Ambrose

Dr. Harris broke my water and with the next contraction I pushed but felt like I got nowhere. I waited for the next one, but didn’t feel an urge.

“If you don’t feel the need to push in those contractions, that’s okay. You don’t want to force it,” Dr. Harris said. “Let’s wait for the next one.”

Then out of nowhere, Hannah’s heart rate dropped. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but the nurse put an oxygen mask on me because she needed to breath. The mask annoyed me because I wasn’t used to it.

I wondered if I had done something wrong in the pushing. I didn’t have contractions for a little bit and it was as if my body knew I needed the break. They monitored me and Hannah and thankfully after a few minutes her heart rate came back up.

The next contraction came and I pushed with everything in me.

“I H-A-T-E pushing! I suck at pushing!” I yelled. I moaned and groaned, moving my head side to side. My eyes felt like they were going to pop out of their sockets. I could feel the tearing from all the pushing. I could feel stretching, numbness, and stinging like a ring of fire.

“Mom?!” I yelled out. “Mama?” Like a little child I just wanted my Mama in the pain.

“You’re doing great, Samantha,” her voice encouraged me to keep going.

The next contraction came in no time. I pushed through it, long and hard- grabbing on to Jeremiah’s arms. I just wanted to see progress and feel her head coming out. I pushed again and felt Hannah’s head crowning. Jeremiah said her arms were coming. Dr. Harris grabbed the rest of her tiny body and a huge relief fell across my whole body.

The Arrival

Hannah Kate Krieger arrived at 4:50 am. She was 7 lbs. 15 oz, 19 1/4 inches long.

She barely cried. I wondered if she was okay. He lifted her up into my arms and cut the umbilical chord. She was beautiful with a little bit of dark hair on the back of her arms, lower back, and on her head. Her eyes were dark brown and eyebrows were a blonde color. The vernix coated her skin and I couldn’t stop smelling her. The smell reminded me of John and Rebekah when they were born.

As I held her, I was also in so much pain from the tearing. I said “Ow” probably 10 times and kept asking when the pain would subside. I had a 2nd degree tear. After the placenta delivered, Dr. Harris gave me the localized anesthesia and spent 20 minutes stitching the tears. I finally felt some relief after 15 minutes and was able to enjoy her more and soak the whole experience in.

I asked Melissa if it was a good time to breastfeed. She agreed it was. Hannah latched on perfectly and sucked for a long time. This was our time now to bond- one of the best feelings in the world.

My nurse kept leaning over my shoulder to watch Hannah as if it was the first time she had seen a newborn latch on. She was mesmerized and I thought it was so sweet how she observed us.

“Aw,” she said. “I wish all my patients were as easy as you. I didn’t have to chart anything.”

I smiled and said thank you and that it was all God’s grace.

God’s Faithfulness

While sweet Hannah laid peacefully in my arms, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness during the whole pregnancy and childbirth process. I had prayed that she would come on her own and that I wouldn’t have to be induced.

I prayed that there wouldn’t be any complications and that I would be able to endure yet another laborious labor. I even prayed that she would come on my nephew Parker’s birthday, June 30th! And she did. What a gift for them to share birthdays together in the years to come.

All my prayers were answered regardless of the doubts, fear, and worry I had at times. Through the whole process, it was as if God was always saying, Will you trust me? Don’t worry about anything else in this world, but trust that I’m taking care of you. I know the exact day of your daughter’s birth and she will come in my time.

His faithfulness has spurred me on to love and trust him in my life all the more.

I’m so thankful for my doula, Melissa. She taught my first childbirth class and was one of the first women to encourage me to try going natural. She has played an integral part in all our children’s births and has been there for every one right by my side, cheering me on and showing me techniques that I would have never known how to do on my own. I love her passion for mommy’s and babies and wouldn’t have made it through without her.

I’m so thankful for Dr. Harris, who evidently loves his patients and his job. His heart for God and for people inspires me and it has been the greatest honor that he has delivered all our babies.

I’m also so thankful for all my mom’s help in preparing for Hannah. She was here for several weeks taking trips to the grocery for us, planning and cooking meals, watching John and Rebekah during Dr. visits, painting the nursery, and being on call for whenever we needed her. She is one of the greatest servants I have ever known.

Photo: Tammi Ambrose

And last, I’m so grateful for my husband Jeremiah. He is my best friend and the man I love spending all the days of my life with. He was my shoulder to cry on, speaking words of truth and encouragement the whole way through. I would have never gotten through it without him. It is a privilege to be his helper in marriage and an honor to grow our family together.

I know we have a lot ahead of us in the weeks, months and years to come with a 3  1/2 year old, 1 1/2 year old, and a newborn. But I know that God is faithful and He will continue to carry us through. He always has. He always will.

Welcome to the world Miss Hannah Kate. You are loved with an Everlasting Love.

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