Saturday's Story: The Birth of Holden

Friday, June 12, 2009
This is Amanda's story (from Our Catcher in the Rye) of the birth of her son, Holden.

So here is our story:
Our story starts at 33 weeks gestation when I woke up with bad cramping that wouldn't go away.  I went in to see the doctor and I was 2 centimeters dilated and in preterm labor with contractions 5 minutes apart.  I was admitted into labor and delivery and for 6 days the doctors tried to stop my labor from progressing.  Once they felt things were under control, I was sent home on bed rest until 37 weeks.  During my first stay in the hospital, Jeremy and I were on an emotional roller coaster not sure if we were going to have the baby early or not.  The nurses were outstanding during my stay for preterm labor and during labor and delivery.   I was sent home at 34 weeks on medication to control my contractions and put on strict bed rest  (I could get up to shower and make a sandwich basically).  I was 90%effaced and 2 centimeters dilated but during my week stay in the hospital dilation didn't progress.  However, the doctors stated that the medication would not prevent active labor so when the baby is ready he's ready.
On March 2, 2008 I was to stop my medication and let nature take its course.  I was at 36 weeks and the doctors said if we have the baby he/she has an excellent chance and might not even need to be in the NICU.  That 37 weeks is considered full term and the baby is pretty much fully developed at 37 weeks.  So, apprehensivelyly I took my last dose of medication at 1 am and hoped that the baby would stay in "the oven" for at least another week.  We were going to get a big snow storm that night, snow in charlotte is a rarity let alone in March.  Well, at 3 am my water broke.  I called the doctors office and the nurse on call asked if my contraction had started, which they hadn't.  They said to come to the hospital between 5-7 am.  When I hung up the phone at 3:30 my contractions were full blown 3-5 minutes apart.  I woke Jeremy up and told him we needed to leave at 5 and to go back to sleep for an hour.  I took a shower and ate some breakfast.  We had just taken the childbirth class the weekend before so things were still fresh in my mind.  By 4:30 I woke jeremy up and told him to shower because I didn't think I could wait anymore and we needed to go to the hospital.  My contractions were so close together and intense I couldn't count them.  Well, come to find out later I was in transition.  So, we headed to the hospital at 5 and of course there was a bunch of snow on the roads so it took us 20 minutes to get to the hospital.  Once we arrived the nurses got us all situated and I said right away, I was ready for an epidural.  Now, I was on the fence about having a natural childbirth and was going to hire a doula, but with our preterm scare we never got a chance to hire one.  And with how fast my labor seemed to be progressing I was ready for the epidural.  The nurses checked me and I was 10 centimeters when I arrived.  So they said, I'm not sure you have time and you already did the hard part.  So, I tried to push and the baby wasn't moving.  The doctor said to go ahead and give me the epidural and it would help me relax.  The epidural was great.  I was able to control the amount after the initial dose, so I could still feel the pressure and when to instinctively push but was able to relax abit.  The nurses had me labor down for a couple of hours and turned from side to side to get the baby to move down the birth canal.  Then we started pushing, I pushed for about an hour and Holden arrived.  Jeremy was a great coach and walked me through every push.  We didn't know what we were going to have, so a baby boy was a great surprise.  Holden was born at 9:12 am and was 5 lb 4oz, and 4 weeks premature.  He came out pink and crying and the nurses handed him to me immediately.  After about 5 minutes they took him to check his vitals and he was having trouble breathing, so they told us they were going to have to take him to the NICU.   They let us hold him once more before taking him down the hall.  We knew this could happen but all of the nurses reassured us that he was going to be fine and just needed some extra monitoring.  
The doctor finished fixing me up as I had a 1st/2nd degree tear and about an hour later we got to go down to the NICU to see Holden.  He was a bit dehydrated, had low blood pressure and a low temperature so they were monitoring him,  His IV of fluids helped immensely and in just an hour his blood pressure and temperature started to stablize.  Lactation helped me start pumping within a couple hours of delivery and I was able to provide Holden with his milk until he started to nurse and left the hospital.  He stayed for 6 days and is now almost caught up with his peers developmentally.  The nurses at the hospital we delivered at were the best a girl could ask for.  And that is our story.


  1. Congrats! He's beautiful.

    My baby girl was also born at 36 weeks, but it was a total shock when my water broke. I was so surprised that my baby was going to come early, everything up to that point had been totally uneventful. I guess it was my girls way of preparing me for the future.

  2. Congratulations, Amanda. It is fun to see your pictures and hear about your little guy. He is a sweetie.
    Terri (Kelly's mom)


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