Mama Kayla Solinger shares the hospital birth story of her daughter on the Honest Birth birth story series! Kayla started having back labor at 38 weeks while staying at a hotel near the hospital in the middle of a snow storm! Kayla went into the hospital, got an epidural, and was fully dilated after five hours. She pushed for two hours and with the help of forceps, her daughter was born!
Hey mamas! Welcome to the thirty-third post in my Honest Birth series! I’m excited to share another real mama’s birth story, because I think it’s so important to share our childbirth experiences with each other. My goal with this series is to provide a place for women to share their birth stories without holding anything back, as well as compile stories for pregnant mamas to read in preparation for their own childbirth experiences. Every mama is different and every birth is different, and I believe that when we share our stories we help each other.
Today I am featuring Kayla Solinger! Kayla and her fiancé Brian met 4 years ago at work. She did not know how much older he was than her, or that he had kids from a previous marriage. None of that mattered once she fell for him. They have been together for almost 4 years and on top of having a baby this year, they also lost their house in a fire 10 days after bringing their baby home. Having a blended family isn’t always easy but Kayla really wanted a baby of her own. They were unsure how the boys would react, especially the youngest one, but when they told them they were pregnant, they were shocked but so excited! And when they told them it was a girl, they jumped up and down with excitement, because they’d wanted a sister all along. Kayla’s stepsons, or “bonus kids,” are 16 (Sam) and 11 (Elliott). On top of having 3 kids, they also have 6 pets in our home (5 cats and a 100 lb lab). Their hands, and house, are full but they wouldn’t have it any other way. When Kayla and Brian aren’t working, they are usually binge watching on Hulu or Netflix and enjoy spending time with just their kids when they are all together. Today Kayla is going to be sharing the hospital birth story of their daughter, Rylie!
Ready to read all about her daughter’s birth? Here we go!
The Birth Story of Rylie Louise Anderson
One day in high school when I was feeling down, my mom said, “Kayla, some people are really good at sports, some are really good at school… you’re going to be a great mom.” Some people may see this as a little harsh but to me, it only made me sure that a mom is what I was meant to be.
When I got pregnant, I was just a few months shy of turning 28. I was nervous, anxious, and excited all rolled into one! My pregnancy started off pretty rough. I had awful morning sickness that started around 6 weeks, and lasted until nearly 15 weeks. I lost 7 pounds within a month and had absolutely no appetite. I struggled to get anything besides peanut butter sandwiches down. I switched insurance right when I first got pregnant, so I had to start with a new OB that I knew nothing about. Once I met her, I knew that she cared just as much about my pregnancy as I did and that my baby and I were in good hands. I am a baby when it comes to pain, so I knew I would NEED an epidural in order to make it through birth. There is always talk of a water birth or using a jetted tub for labor and I knew once I got an epidural, I would not be able to get out of the bed. I was totally okay with that as long as I wasn’t going to experience all the pain of childbirth.
My original due date was April 24th. By the end of my pregnancy, I was 100% OVER. IT. I asked my doctor around 30 weeks when I could have my baby. I am a planner and the idea of having no clue when she would come caused a great deal of anxiety. I knew that I had to make it to 39 weeks before they would even consider inducing and that seemed like ages away. Around 32 weeks, I experienced high blood pressure and ended up at the hospital for a non stress test because I was also having contractions. Several tests and a few hours later, all I found out was that I was at risk of preterm labor. In order to induce labor naturally, I started using my breast pump nightly and also bouncing on my couch (I did not have a balance ball). At my 38 week appointment (a Wednesday), I decided to have my membranes stripped. There was also a snowstorm on the way and I live 45 minutes from the hospital, so my fiance and I decided to stay in Sioux Falls for the night “just in case.” My parents also decided to come stay in town so that they would be able to be there for the birth of their grandchild. Wednesday night passed (with lots of walking up and down the stairs at the hotel), but I had very few contractions. I decided to go to the Labor and Delivery triage just to see where I was at before going home since I had been dilated to a 3 at my appointment the night before. There was no change and I was not actively having contractions while I was there so they did not admit me but advised that I stay close by since the weather was pretty awful outside. We had already checked out of our hotel, so we got a room at the same hotel as my parents for Thursday night. Did I mention it was also my stepson’s birthday? We went to eat, stopped at the grocery store for some snacks and went to our new hotel and checked in early. I decided to take a bath and then laid down for a nap. I woke up an hour later with excruciating back pain and was wondering what the heck was going on. My mom was out running errands and I kept checking to see when she was coming back. We ordered a pizza, had my dad and sister come to our room, and waited for my mom. I was determined to get the baby out so I had my sister walk the halls with me and even went down to the fitness center to walk on the treadmill.
The back pain continued to come in waves and I was still in denial that this was actually back labor. I was using the contraction timer on my phone to see how close together the back cramping was. At this point, they were about 4-5 minutes apart. I spent the better part of an hour in the bathroom. Every time I would go, I would have a cramp (contraction) and need to go again. Little did I know, this was my body’s attempt to clean me out before labor. It got to the point where I was doubled over in pain over the bathroom sink and started “howling” from the pain (according to my mom). She had finally gotten back to the hotel from running errands and once she heard me in the bathroom, she told me it was time to go. I kept repeating “I can’t” because I truly did not believe it was time and I could hardly stand up straight at that point. The ride in the elevator to the lobby was awful, my fiance went to go get the car, and I simply could not wait at the doors for him to pull up so I started walking towards the car instead. We finally got on the road and it hit me that this was really happening. We barely made it a few blocks from the hotel and got stuck behind a train! As we were sitting there waiting for it to pass, I was not sure that I could continue to wait. I had my fiance turn around and take the back way to the hospital in order to avoid the train. Since we had already been at the hospital that day, I REALLY did not want them to send me home again. We parked in the Emergency Room parking lot and I walked in with my mom. We headed towards the front and I made it a few steps before I had to double over from the pain and realized I should probably ride in a wheelchair up to the Labor and Delivery floor. Once up there, I stated that I thought I was in labor and they escorted me to the triage room once again. I changed into a gown (again) and laid on the bed. It took all of 5 minutes for the nurse to come in and check me. Sure enough, I was already dilated to a 6 and was going to be admitted. I burst into tears. The first thing I asked once they told me I could stay was “Can I get an epidural now?”. My new room was only a few rooms down and I decided to walk because it was probably going to be one of the last times that I would be able to walk. Throughout all of this, I never once had contractions in my abdomen. It was ALLLL back.
Once I got into my delivery room, I got everything hooked up, got asked a million questions and was told they had put in the order for my epidural. PRAISE THE LORD! The super fun part about an epidural, other than actually getting it, is that you have to sit completely still while they poke a large needle into you back, even if you are having contractions. All of my contractions were in my back which made sitting still throughout my contractions feel nearly impossible. Thankfully, I had my mom in the room with me to distract me through each contraction while my back was being poked. Once the epidural was placed, I was thrilled to be able to lay down but my entire body was numb, so I was only able to have the nurses change my position in the bed. At this point, my waters were still in tact, so it was time to break it. If you were lucky enough to have your water break on your own, you may not know that a long piece of plastic, that resembles a knitting needle, is used to break the water. I was also given pitocin because an epidural can actually slow labor down. Who knew! I was very glad to have my mom and fiance with me throughout all of this.
I was admitted to the hospital around 7:00 p.m. and was fully dilated just before midnight. We were convinced that if she made her appearance quickly, that she would share a birthday with her oldest brother. She had different plans. I was told at 11:58 that I could start pushing. Great, every 3 minutes doesn’t seem that bad. The only problem was that I struggled to get her head past my pubic bone. She would not budge. By 2 a.m. and still no baby, the doctor came in and gave me my options. I could either try the forceps (which were not guaranteed to be successful), take a break for a few hours and then start pushing again, or there was the option of a C-section. I was exhausted from pushing every 3 minutes for almost 2 hours and decided to give forceps a try. I just wanted my baby out. When I wrote my birth plan, I knew I did not want to use forceps or a vacuum because of what it can do to the shape of their head but after two solid, painful hours, I was ready to try it. I do not remember much of what was going on as I was being “prepped”. I just remember the feeling of being clamped. My mom and fiance later informed me that the room filled with people. The NICU team was necessary in case something went wrong, nurses flooded in, and some even came in just because they’d never seen a forceps birth before. I was told by the doctor that the success of forceps was all on me. If I did not push hard enough, then the forceps wouldn’t work. She told me I had to push harder than I have ever pushed because they were just guiding the baby out, not pulling. I braced myself and hoped more than anything that this would work. When the next contraction started, I was instructed to push as hard as I could and not stop until they told me to. I remember saying, “I can’t do it” and my mom telling me, “Kayla, she’s right there!”
Rylie Louise Anderson was born at 2:07 am on April 12th, 2019. She weighed in at 6 lbs 6 oz and was PERFECT. When they first put her on me, I just remember saying “She looks so gross!” She was covered in vernix and in that exhausted moment, that was the first thing that came to my mind. I vividly remember when they first laid her on my chest and she reached her hand up and touched my chin. She stayed that way while I got stitched up, swearing I could feel every stitch (even though I had been numbed and had an epidural). I could not believe that she was finally here, I was a mom. My delivery nurse helped me nurse for the first time and she did so well! I noticed while we were laying there that fluid was leaking out of her nose and the nurse/doctor suctioned her for the first time since she was born.
My recovery was nothing like I expected. I tore both inside and out, and sitting, standing, and laying down all caused pain to the point that I could not get comfortable. We got to our postpartum room at about 4 am and the nurses wanted me to try and go to the bathroom (shout out to the nurse that sprayed the water bottle while I went to the bathroom for the first time). After going to the bathroom, it was time to feed her. She had nursed like a champ at first and did great the second time around. I was exhausted and ready to sleep. She was placed in a bassinet next to me and I tried to close my eyes. I did not expect her to make all kinds of grunts and noises while sleeping and did not get any sleep. My fiance went back to our hotel room to get a few hours of sleep and came back around breakfast time. I tried nursing Rylie around 8 and could not get her to wake up enough to eat so decided to try again in 45 minutes. We had baby go to the nursery and we went to eat breakfast.
On the way back, we grabbed baby from the nursery and went back to the room and waited for visitors to come. My mom, stepdad, stepsister, mother-in-law and father-in-law all came to meet the babe. She slept the whole time. Everyone commented on how peaceful and sleepy she was and did not think anything of it. Family left for awhile and baby and I rested again. My fiance went home to let our dogs out and I just rested. The lactation consultant came in and asked how everything was going, gave me advice and said it was okay that baby was sleepy as long as her blood sugar was okay. My postpartum nurse came in to check baby’s blood sugar and it was within normal limits but since she wasn’t waking up or eating, they decided to bring her to the nursery to check her out. While she was there, I fell asleep for the first time since waking up the previous morning.
I was woken up by a NICU doctor around 1:30 pm (I am honestly not 100% sure what time it was) and informed that my baby was being transferred to the NICU. They were concerned that she wasn’t waking up to eat and that it was not really bothering her either. They had suctioned fluid from her stomach and felt that she was working so hard to breathe that she was exhausted. I broke down crying feeling like I had failed my baby. I texted my fiance that he needed to get back right away because I was terrified and not sure what to expect. Once my fiance arrived we went to the NICU to see my baby and had to watch them take blood for labs (which was from her head as it was the easiest point of access) and hook up her IV. They stated that she was in respiratory distress and were not sure why but would be running tests and taking a chest x-ray to find an answer. She had several cords attached to her: IV, blood pressure cuff, and oxygen. She spent my entire postpartum stay in the NICU and it was not the relaxing, bonding experience that I had in my head when I prepared myself to have my baby.
If I had to give advice to a mom about to have her baby, it would be to expect the unexpected. Your birth may not go the way you expect it to and that is okay. The goal at the end is to have a healthy baby and your doctor and delivery nurse will do everything to make that possible.
Wasn’t that such a wonderful, exciting story? I was surprised about having to sit still for an epidural during contractions with my first baby, too! And doesn’t Kayla have the cutest family? I love Rylie’s new brothers’ reaction to seeing her in the picture above!! Thanks to Kayla for sharing Rylie’s birth story and thanks to all of you mamas for coming to read it! Make sure you follow Kayla on Instagram and check back next month for another Honest Birth post!