My Son's Birth Story
My birth did not follow my vision as much as I would have liked, but even so, I have no regrets. Head over to The Crunchy Wife to read about what our birth vision was. In a nutshell, I was hoping to have a birth that was as natural as possible. I had chosen to use a midwifery practice out of one of the local hospitals, one that allowed waterbirths. While I labored in the tub for quite some time, I was unable to have a waterbirth. I did birth my son vaginally, but opted for the epidural.
Monday, Due Date:
4:00 PM Dinner with my husband (Brian) and my parents. I ate fish and chips. Little did I know, this would be my last meal before meeting our little monkey.
10:00 PM Got in bed and starting reading "Week 40" of "Your Pregnancy Week by Week".
10:30 PM As I was finishing up my reading, I thought that I might have felt something leaking. I went to the bathroom and felt more fluid. I called to Brian and told him that I thought my water broke. Stood up, more fluid.
Holy CRAP. It's here. I ran out to Brian and told him that I was 80% sure my water broke. We both got really excited, and I grabbed the phone to call the midwife on staff.
The midwifery clinic always has at least one midwife on staff, ready and waiting at the hospital. They work 24 hour shifts. So, I called the hospital and asked to speak to the midwife on call. I was SO excited when the midwife who we saw for all of our centering pregnancy appointments picked up the phone. I told her that I thought my water broke and she told me to try and get some sleep and then call again in the morning...if it got to be around 8am, I should probably come in. She told me not to worry unless I had bright red bleeding.
So, I decided to try and get some rest. Brian and I were both SO excited/nervous/anxious...just couldn't believe it was finally here. We could be holding our baby in a matter of hours! (Boy was I wrong...)
11:00 PM Contractions started. Very mild (although I didn't think so at the time), but definite. They continued regularly at about one every 8-10 minutes.
Tuesday, One day past due date:
1:00AM After 2 hours of contractions, I hadn't slept much. I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed a bit of blood. I decided to call the hospital again. The midwife said to only worry if it was enough to fill a pad. It wasn't. She told me again to try and sleep. I knew that I wanted to shower before going to the hospital, so I decided to hop in the shower - just in case things decided to start rapidly progressing.
The night continued and I tried to sleep, but all I could do was think about how pretty soon, we'd be meeting our son! Nine long months of waiting, and he was about to enter this world. I can't even begin to describe what that felt like.
My contractions continued throughout the night; slowly getting stronger and closer together. I tossed and turned, rested my eyes...but didn't sleep. I did; however, record every single contraction on this handy dandy iPhone App I had downloaded. It was a great distraction from the pain and was a great way for me to record the time between contractions along with how long they were lasting.
I kept debating when to wake Brian up as he was fast asleep getting some rest to prepare for what the next day would bring. I wanted him to sleep as long as possible and didn't want to head to the hospital TOO early. I think I finally decided to wake him up around 6:00 AM.
6:00 AM Woke Brian up and told him that I think we needed to get ready and call my parents. Luckily, my parents had come into town Sunday and were renting a house near us. This part is sort-of a blur, but I know somewhere between 6 and 7 AM , Brian took a shower, got our bags together, fed the animals, and called my parents. At this point, my contractions were getting rather painful...and this being the first time I was ever in labor, I was starting to get anxious. When it took my parents longer than 30 seconds to get ready and drive over here, I was then convinced that I was going to have this baby at home. My contractions were between 4 and 5 minutes apart at this point. I even made Brian call them again to see where they were and to tell them we might just leave. I was able to hold off just until they got here though, but as soon as they did, we rushed out the door! In reality, I think they were here in like 20 minutes maybe...but it felt like the longest 20 minutes of my life!
7:00 AM My parents arrived to watch the animals, and we left for the hospital. On the way in, I called our doula to let her know that we were on the way to the hospital. All through the night I was thinking about how I felt bad calling her in the middle of the night, so I waited until the AM to call. I now know, I should have called her much sooner - not only to prepare her, but it would have calmed my nerves while in those very early stages of labor.
7:25 AM We arrive at the hospital but discover there is construction everywhere and getting to the emergency room is next-to-impossible. We had to enter through emergency because all other entrances are closed until 8:00. We were driving in circles. Um...what if my emergency was MORE emergent? It really was hard to tell where we were supposed to go...so not cool!
Anyway, so here's where it gets ridiculous. We finally navigate through the construction and spot a path to the emergency entrance. Well, between us and the entrance is a road with a stop sign. There's about 4 cars in front of us at the stop sign. The cars going the other direction are on a one-way street...and the stream of cars is literally NEVER ENDING. They were just coming and coming. We sat at that stop sign for what seemed like half an hour, but was probably more like 10 minutes. I was seriously two seconds from getting out and running in the street to stop traffic.
7:45 AM Brian got our bags and my pillow out of the car and we head into the hospital. I started tearing up on the way in...partly because of the pain but mostly because I couldn't believe it was happening. As we make our way up to labor and delivery, I spot the midwife. I start crying and she gives me a hug. (I cried so much in the time I was in the hospital I could probably have filled a small lake with my tears...crazy hormones!)
Unfortunately the midwife I had seen all through my pregnancy was going off shift at 8 AM. I knew I couldn't be lucky enough to have her for the actual delivery...but it was great to see her that morning! She got me settled and then the other midwife started her shift. Luckily, it was one that I had met a couple of times before.
8:00 AM I get hooked up to monitors so they can check where I'm at and make sure both baby and I are healthy. They placed the hep-lock in my arm in case I decided to get any meds later down the line, or if any complications occurred. I could have denied this, but didn't feel the need to. They also checked me and discovered that I was about 3 centimeters dilated.
After the initial checks, I was pretty much free to do whatever I wanted. They knew my birth vision, that I wanted little meds (none if possible), and that I wanted to try for a water birth. I was a long way away from blowing up the birthing tub, but I was determined to get there if I could! The nurses asked if I wanted to try laboring in the jacuzzi for a while, so I decided to try it out. They got it ready for me and then Brian and I spent about half an hour in there. I remember that they made the water RIDICULOUSLY hot. It felt good, but I would have liked it a bit cooler.
9:00 AM Somewhere around 9, our doula arrived.
This is where it gets fuzzy. Between the hours of 9:00 AM and 2:30 PM, the following occurred:
- Labored in the shower, on the birthing ball, in bed, walking around, and in the jacuzzi again - Was told that I would most likely have this baby before dinner - I fully dilated to 9+ centimeters on my own - I realized that while I already knew that I had the best husband in the world...I now knew I had the best husband in the universe.
2:30 PM My midwife told me that I was almost fully dilated and we could now move to the birthing tub. They got it ready and helped me in.
3:00 PM - 5:45 PM Began pushing in the birthing tub. At this point, another midwife showed up...one that was training in water-births and was hoping to assist in the birth of Baby C. Both midwives, my doula, and my amazing husband coached me through almost 3 hours of pushing. When I started getting close, we discovered that I had an anterior cervical lip that was slowing down labor. Basically, the anterior lip of my cervix was blocking the way for Baby C and it just didn't feel like moving out of the way. Both midwives took turns trying to push the lip out of the way, but every time I pushed, it would move back in place. I was so close, but so far...I have never been so frustrated. Knowing what I know now, I think that I was not quite yet ready to push. I think Baby C was not far enough down into the birth canal for me to push, and I wish I had held off a little bit longer.
5:45 PM My midwife told me that she thought it might be time to consider an epidural because we just weren't making any progress. At this point I was literally exhausted and in so much pain. I had been laboring for nearly 19 hours with no sleep. In fact, I hadn't slept in 33 hours. It didn't take long for me to agree to the epidural, but deep down I was disappointed that I wouldn't get my water birth. She explained that this way, it would allow for my cervix to hopefully reduce in swelling and rest so that she could push the anterior lip out of the way which would allow for the delivery.
6:00 PM I received the epidural. Within 10 minutes I immediately had relief and my legs were semi-numb. I was told to rest and try to sleep. Brian got my parents and we explained the situation and they decided to go home to sleep for a bit. I tried to sleep, but couldn't. Of course...just like everything I had read during my pregnancy, the epidural slowed labor down and I needed some pitocin to get it going again. It's really fuzzy what happened from here on out, but my chart says that once I started pushing again, I pushed for another FIVE hours. Yes, FIVE.
Everyone kept telling me that I was so close, but I just had to keep pushing. I was so thankful to have the support of my husband and doula, but I remember getting really frustrated that I was being told how close I was, and each push felt like I was making so much progress...but Baby C wasn't getting much closer. At one point, my midwife told me to reach down and feel my son's head. I can still remember exactly what that felt like and it melts my heart - it was a beautiful moment. I could feel his tiny little head of hair.
After a few hours of pushing, my midwife decided to cut an episiotomy. The pushing continued. We tried every position imaginable while still being on the delivery bed. Sitting up, on my back, on my side, squatting. Nothing seemed to be working.
At some point, I started getting really tired and really discouraged. I could feel everything again and was in SO much pain. The nurse said she upped my epidural medicine, but somehow, I could still feel everything. I remember apologizing over and over to the midwife, the nurse, our doula, and my to Brian...just because it was taking me SO long and I knew they were so tired. I assured them that I was pushing as hard as I could, and I just felt so bad that we weren't getting anywhere.
I became desperate and asked the midwife what else we could do. She said we could call in the OB on staff and see what he recommended. I agreed, and he was there within minutes. Upon examination, he decided to cut a second episiotomy. I pushed for a while with him and the midwife, but still...nothing happened. The OB then told me that my options were to have a C-Section or for him to use Forceps to aid in the delivery. I knew I did not want a C-section, but I was so so tired that I said okay to the forceps if he really thought they would help. He got them out and started to get ready to insert a catheter. At that point, I felt the strongest urge to push, so I gave one last HUGE push and out came Baby C. I think the thought of using forceps was just enough for me to give it my all and get him out of there! The nurse said that she never saw anything like it - I wiggled my hips all around, in every direction, determined to get him out.
It was such a relief that the forceps didn't have to be used and that I was still able to have a vaginal birth. I felt awful that my midwife didn't get to 'catch' Baby C, though, after she spent 19 hours laboring with me.
Wednesday, Two days past due date:
3:27 AM After 30 hours of labor, Baby C (our little Monkey as we like to call him) was born! He was 8 pounds, 6 ounces, 21 inches long...and beautiful. Brian cut the umbilical cord and they set him on my chest. I remember Brian exclaiming "We have a son, we have son, he is beautiful!" and both of us crying. I remember, also, being frustrated because I could hardly see him! He was on my chest, and the hospital bed was leaning so far back that I could hardly see him! I didn't have much energy, so it was hard for me to lift my head so that my eyes could meet his. But, I remember holding him and feeling how soft he felt. I was so happy, so relieved that he was born safely, and so happy to see my son. It was such a great moment.
Unfortunately, they needed to take him for monitoring because he was breathing faster than they were comfortable with. He also had a temperature of 101 degrees. They told us that he and Brian would need to go to the NICU...strangely I wasn't afraid. I remembered that my mom had told me that this same thing happened to me when I was born; and I think that knowing I came out okay calmed me down. And maybe it was partly mother's intuition...something in me just told me he would be okay. As soon as they got to the NICU, Monkey's breathing eased up and they were able to come back. I got to hold him again. I remember him being incredibly alert; eyes open, and already trying to lift up his strong little head.
At some point during this whole ordeal after I delivered the placenta, I really needed to go to the bathroom. I remember my bladder feeling so full that I seriously was afraid I would burst. After what seemed like forever, we got a nurse to walk me to the bathroom. Right when I sat down on the toilet, I passed out for a second or two, but I came to right away. I couldn't go to the bathroom naturally, so they ended up inserting a catheter.
My parents came in to see Monkey and then we eventually headed down to recovery where we settled in. Because of Monkey's fever, he ended up on antibiotics and we were stuck in the hospital for 5 days in case of infection. We never did find out if he had an infection, but his fever went down and we were able to head home.
We later found out that the reason I could feel everything as we got closer to delivery was because at some point during labor, the drip to my epidural line disconnected and the medicine was falling down to the floor instead of into my back. There was a huge puddle of epidural medicine on the ground. At first, everyone thought the birthing tub had been leaking, but nope...it was the epidural medicine.
While my labor and delivery was not quite what we hoped for, we still came home with an adorable, healthy baby boy. It's funny, here we are roughly 15 months later and I've almost forgotten how painful and exhausting labor was. I think it's the body's way of preparing us for baby #2!
All I know is that the human body is miraculous. I can't believe we can grow this little human being inside of us for 9 months, and then give birth, and sustain them completely on breastmilk. Such a miracle. A beautiful, amazing miracle.