Counting Down 'til Daddy

Category: Birth Stories

ELIZABETH & DANIEL

It all started around 7:00 a.m. on an otherwise “normal” Tuesday morning. I had gotten up with the two older kids to get their breakfast and was feeling pretty crampy. No regular contractions, but definitely uncomfortable. More telling was my complete lack of patience for preschooler whining and incessant question asking. After everyone was settled I sat down on the couch to kind of assess my situation. I felt different than I had at any other point in this pregnancy, but wasn’t really sure that labor had started. I knew that I had been given directions to leave as soon as I thought I was in labor, but I really didn’t want to drive all the way to the hospital for a false alarm.

Things continued for the next hour or so and then it was time for Jay to leave for work. I still wasn’t sure that I was in labor, but I knew that I didn’t want him to leave. I figured that we should probably go. Worst case scenario we would have to come home. I had my bag packed and everything ready to go, so Jay threw everything in the van, changed out of his uniform, and we hit the road. Luckily things were not that intense during the car ride to the hospital, but I came to the conclusion that I was not doing the drive again. The babies were going to be born, even if that meant consenting to some method of induction. My doctor had said that if she did think it was necessary to induce that I would be easy: she could break my water, have me walk around and things would get going. I was 37 weeks and six days, so I felt pretty confident that things would be okay and the babies were ready.

We arrived at the hospital, checked in, and were given a room. Upon initial inspection I learned that the room did not have a tub for laboring. They had put me in the room just outside the doors leading to the OR since I would be pushing there, but I asked to be moved to a room with a tub. Ironically I never ended up using the tub, but it was important to me to have the option. I changed out of my clothes and was hooked to the monitor for 20 minutes and had my first cervical check. I was only five centimeters. I had thought it would be more considering my doctor had seemed convinced things would happen quickly. That being said, I wasn’t too surprised since things had slowed down considerably since arriving at the hospital and I was thinking that maybe we had jumped the gun. Anyway, I said no to an IV but yes to a hep-lock and started to mentally prepare for what could be a long day at the hospital.

After my 20 minutes on the monitor we started walking the halls. Contractions were weak and far apart while I was lying in the bed, but considerably more intense when I was up and about. Things were picking up, but it was slow going. I had never arrived at the hospital this early in labor with any of my other three kids. I never had to walk the halls or do anything to speed things up; I always arrived as late as possible. I was not a fan of hanging out, intermittent monitoring, walking laps around labor and delivery…but I was no fan of the idea of waiting too long and not making it to the hospital, so there we were.

My doctor stopped by in the morning then went to her office to see some patients before canceling her afternoon to focus on me. That was surprising, but I appreciated it. After some time she and my nurse brought up the idea of heading to the OR early to be settled and ready when things picked up. One of my concerns about pushing in the OR was the idea of having to move during that phase of labor and this would address that concern. They suggested wheeling a regular L&D bed into the room since it was more comfortable, bringing the birthing ball, and letting me move around in there if I wanted to. I thought it sounded like an okay idea and agreed. It was probably a bad idea. We walked down the hall (my nurse was excited that I was the first patient she walked with to the OR) and were greeted by the ten or so people assembled to join us in the room when the action started. Thankfully they stayed outside until it was almost go time. I settled into the freezing cold OR, had them turn the lights down, and continued to labor.

It seemed like things were taking forever. I had been so excited at the idea of a fast labor that I couldn’t help looking at the clock and calculating how long it had been going on. Contractions were definitely more intense, but still very irregular. Jay commented that sometimes minutes would go by where we could have normal conversation and then a contraction would hit. Then other times they would be coming really fast. At some point my doctor suggested breaking my water. I was very hesitant to do that. I didn’t want to do anything to make things more painful and had never had my water broken before. Generally my waters break as I am pushing. But I was getting impatient, so I agreed. What an unpleasant experience that was. Basically combining a cervical check with a long stick up there looking for a good spot to poke. I think things picked up after that, but it’s hard to say. Finally I was checked and fully dilated. That was another way this birth was different than the last two. I never needed anyone to tell me I was complete and it was okay to push. This time everything felt so much more managed and I found myself looking for more reassurance and direction. I didn’t like it. I started to push a bit with each contraction. My plan had been spontaneous pushing without bearing down. It takes longer, but allows everything to stretch and reduces the risk of tearing (ever since the episiotomy that extended to a fourth degree tear with Madeline my focus has been on doing things in a way that minimizes the risk of tearing). After several contractions like that I really started to question whether things were moving forward. No one seemed that impressed. I felt like it was so painful and there was no end in sight. For the first time in four births I actually asked if it was too late for any kind of medication. I was thinking something light to take the edge off (I have no idea what I actually had in mind). Jay said he was shocked. I was shocked too because this labor was no more intense or painful than any other one. It was just different. There were more people waiting around for these babies to be born, and despite never really needing it before, I was looking for some positive feedback about my progress and not getting any. I was in this cold, sterile room and I just wanted it to be over. Regardless, it was too late for anything. Before I knew it the team of doctors and nurses had filled the room and everyone was in their delivery garb ready for some babies to be born. It got really fun then. I was still pushing some with each contraction, letting my body do most of the work, but now when I opened my eyes after the contraction I had about 6 people staring at me. And no one looked like they were any closer to catching a baby than before the contraction. That really messed with my mental game. I think I asked my doctor if it looked like I was making progress. I forget her exact response, but she told me that if I wanted to bear down and push for ten counts that I would be holding my baby girl in three pushes. I told her I did not want to tear. She told me that she was pretty sure I wouldn’t. I guess I believed her. I agreed to go for it during the next contraction. Three ten counts later and I was holding Elizabeth. My doctor got the eager baby nurses to back off and made sure I got some skin-to-skin and we got to delay cord clamping.

While I held Elizabeth they did an ultrasound to make sure Daniel was still head down. He was, but according to the monitor there were some concerning decels. Nothing indicating we really needed to start rushing things, but some steps were taken to move things along. My doctor gave me a quick catheter to empty my bladder and give him more room to move down (I think I was also peeing a little with each contraction). Then she broke his water. Just after that he moved down and I heard her say she had cord. She never pulled her hand out, so I knew she meant it was prolapsed. She told me to push hard on the next contraction. I did. Basically three successive ten counts without a break. She was able to hold the cord and keep it from compressing while I pushed him out fast. Luckily his cord did not really slip out ahead of him, but came down kind of next to his head where she could keep a hand on it. He went right to my chest where he hung out for a minute before one of the nurses thought he needed a little more attention. He was checked out and was fine and then I was able to hold both of them. Elizabeth was 6 lbs even (a full pound more than the last ultrasound estimate) and Daniel was 5 lbs, 12 oz (the exact size as his last ultrasound estimate two weeks earlier).

I delivered the placentas without any issues. It was cool to see their two sacks and where their cords each attached to their placenta. I was given some pitocin in an IV to facilitate uterine contractions and also a dose of cytotec (which is a rectal suppository, FYI) just to help things along. It wasn’t long before I was out of the OR and being wheeled back to my labor and delivery room to recover. We were there forever. I was freezing and just kept needing more warm blankets. The babies were doing great at breastfeeding and it seemed like they both kept wanting to take a turn. I finally got to eat a sandwich, pee, and move upstairs to the mother and baby unit where I spent the next two nights awake and figuring out how to manage two babies.

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Overall, things went well. I do not recommend delivering babies vaginally in an OR with at least ten people there to do various jobs (many of which were never necessary). That seriously had me off my game. I wish we had not spent so much time at the hospital, but like I’ve said before, a 45 minute drive is not something to be messed with when you are dilated to 4-5 and your doctor urges you to leave immediately. In hindsight it wasn’t necessary to leave that early, and I wish I had been able to labor more at home. I think things actually would have gone a lot faster that way. My labor nurse was great and I really came to appreciate the importance of having a care provider I really trust. My doctor was awesome and the trust I had in her made it easy to follow her directions when things got a little scary during Daniel’s delivery. She made sure I got to hold my babies immediately and that we delayed cord clamping. She even grabbed my phone and took a few photos on our way back to labor and delivery.

This was not the peaceful fourth birth at an amazing birth center like I had planned when I first found out I was pregnant, but I managed to have twins vaginally without an epidural or continuous monitoring or many of the other things people often think are routine with multiples. Despite the assumption that twins generally are and should be delivered early, mine cooked to almost 38 weeks (according to my calculations that I based on my other three babies whose due dates all changed to about a week earlier after a very early ultrasound, these twins may have been closer to 39 weeks). No one had to spend any time in the NICU and we all came home right away. The adjustment to five kids, two of whom are newborns, has been difficult. My mom has been here since about a week before they were born and I don’t know how I would be managing without her. Our generous friends and family have been providing our dinner for the past few weeks and that has been a lifesaver. These are our last babies, so I will do my best to enjoy every phase. Except the sleepless nights. There is nothing enjoyable about being awake in the middle of the night dealing with a hungry/poopy/fussy baby…and then another hungry/poopy/fussy baby.

We love them. They are adorable and an adventure all their own.

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Benjamin

Benjamin’s birth story is a little more complicated than the other two, only because I start my stories so long before the actual birth part starts. Many of you know that we moved to Key West, FL while I was pregnant. I did my research into the birth options here as soon as I found out about the move and was not happy with what I learned. I was torn between staying here and using one of the local Obstetricians and the local hospital or traveling to Miami to have him at a birth center. After a lot of thought and going back and forth I decided to stay in Key West, hire a doula, and prepare to do things my way in a less than friendly environment for natural birth. I knew that a birth center with a midwife would be the best way to guarantee an intervention free birth, but I didn’t want to travel. We had just moved here and the idea of packing bags and staying in a hotel for a week was not appealing.

We arrived in Key West at the end of May and I was about 34 weeks pregnant. It is so much hotter here than I was used to in Washington and it was hard to stay hydrated. I felt a lot more “practice” contractions and tightening than I did with either of the other two babies. I was pretty sure that this would be the baby that came “early.” Between the heat and unpacking and keeping up with the other two kids I thought there was a good chance of never seeing my due date. I was wrong.

The OB I selected here was okay. It was a lot different seeing an OB than a midwife. He was all business and never that chatty. He claimed to be okay with no interventions, but anytime I asked about a specific thing (like routine pitocin after delivery or premature rupture of membranes) he was apt to take a more dramatic stance. For example, when I questioned routine piton after delivery he told me that it was the standard of practice to always administer it. Of course, I could refuse and he could let me bleed to death. Insert eye roll here. I was also suspicious of everything he said and probably had a tendency to see him as being more aggressive with interventions that he actually would be. Who knows. Although he makes it a practice to do ultrasounds at every visit he was okay with me declining them. He usually starts cervical checks/pelvic exams at 38 weeks, but was okay not doing them if I didn’t want to.

At the 40 weeks check-up that I never thought I’d have I did consent to a cervical check. The day before I had experienced a few less than comfortable contractions and thought things might be happening soon. My appointment was on my due date and when he checked me I was ZERO centimeters and 50% effaced. I had never made it to my due date and been zero centimeters. I was surprised and a little disappointed (exactly why I didn’t want any checks before then). This was the last place I wanted to go too far past my due date. I didn’t know how far past he would let me go, but I was ready to fight for 42 weeks. He told me that there wasn’t much I could do to go into labor. I could walk and walk but that won’t make things start (so much for the laps around the neighborhood Jay and I had been doing). They only thing that might work would be sex. I left and called Jay to give him the update (and plant the seed about what we might be doing that night after the kids went to bed) and then went home. It was a normal day without any contractions or anything. Jay came home from work and told me that he wanted to get a license to fish for lobster. It was the first day of “mini” lobster season and it only lasted for 48 hours. I told him to go get the license. Wouldn’t it be funny if I went into labor that night and then he didn’t even get to use it.

That night, after Madeline and Houston went to bed, Jay and I took matters into our own hands. About thirty minutes later contractions started. Right off the bat they were coming pretty close together. They lasted anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute and varied in intensity, which made me wonder if this was labor. I had heard sex could work, but I didn’t think it would work this well. I started timing them at 8:45 using an app on the ipad. Isn’t technology great? They were anywhere from four to six minutes apart. An hour later they were about two minutes apart. Jay had gone to get the lobster license and some supplies. While he was gone I labored. He was gone for awhile and I never called him. That’s how it is for me, though. I just retreat inside my head and deal with contractions. I put off calling my doula, the doctor, everyone. I just couldn’t be bothered. I was in the living room with my mom but not saying anything. I kept catching her looking at me like she knew something I wasn’t ready to admit: this baby was coming. Jay came home to find me in full blown labor.

I called my doula and told her what was happening. I was still unsure about whether this was the real deal because the length and intensity of my contractions were so varied. I told her that I was going to lie down and see what happens and that I would call her in a little while. She would be able to get to me about an hour after I told her I wanted her to come. I called her about an hour later and asked her to come over. Things were getting intense…and very painful. A lot more painful than things had been with Houston. I was feeling a lot of pain in my back and was very nervous that he was going to try and come out sunny-side up. Madeline had been that way and I ended up with an episiotomy/4th degree tear. I couldn’t help thinking how amazing a nice warm birthing tub would feel at that point. I had Jay squeezing my hips for counterpressure and still had a lot of pain. When I wasn’t using him for his muscles, Jay was on the computer, watching tv, working out. It was all very annoying. I never said anything, but everything happening in the room that was not about me was irritating.

My doula arrived and right away she was a calming presence. I was still in A LOT of pain, but she knew just the right places to massage and the right things to say. I didn’t mind her talking, so that was a good sign. Very soon after she got there I told her I was ready to go. I just wanted to be in the place where I was going to have the baby. I was also starting to feel a little pressure, so I’m pretty sure she thought it was time to go too. Jay called the doctor, who if he didn’t realize it before realized it then that I was not going to call him when contractions were five minutes apart for an hour. He gave us “permission” to go to the hospital. Then it was time to actually stand up, walk out the door and down the steps to the car. Easier said than done. Contractions on the way to the door, on the porch, outside the car, in the car… Finally I got comfortable kneeling on the back seat with my head in the infant car seat in the middle and my hands gripping the belts in the car seat. Second worst car ride ever behind the one to the hospital with Madeline. Jay told my mom we were leaving, which was more courteous than I was being. I told him not to bother; she would figure out where we went.

There were many stops like this on the way to the car.

We left the house at 1:30 a.m. Luckily the hospital is really close. Not so lucky that the road there is really bumpy. My contractions slowed for the ride and picked up as soon as we got to the lobby to check-in. My doula offered me the birthing ball and I sat down, only to shoot right back up. The baby was too low for that to be comfortable. When all of the checking in was completed we walked over to the door to meet the nurse from labor and delivery. My doula cheered when she saw her, so I knew we got lucky with a good nurse that night. She let me ride backwards on my knees in the wheelchair up to the second floor. I was wheeled into the room and had another contraction as I stood next to the bed. I knew they were going to want to check me and get at least twenty minutes on the monitor. I did not want to lie down for either one. I took off my pants and gingerly placed myself on the bed. The check was quick because there was no question that it was time to push. The nurse told me that I’d be pushing soon – not yet, because the doctor wasn’t there yet, but soon. I told her it would happen when it happens. I was pushing a little bit with every contraction already.

As my nurse was attaching the monitors Jay tried to stop her (love him) but I told him it was okay. I knew they would push to at least have me on there for a little while. With any luck we wouldn’t be there long anyway. To be honest, I was so deep into things at that point that as long as I was comfortable I just didn’t care. I actually opted not to be more upright than I was because it hurt my back. The monitors ended up being on the whole time, but I didn’t notice much. The volume was down, so I could only hear them a little. At one point I heard the heart rate slow, so I rolled onto my left side before anyone could get concerned.

My doctor arrived and I saw him briefly before he left to stand outside and let the nurses do all of the work. According to my doula, the nurse kept him out as long as possible. My doula did a great job of communicating my wishes to the nurses. The nurse told the doctor that she would get him when it was time. I didn’t realize how long she was going to wait and it was actually a little discouraging. I thought that I must not be that close if the doctor wasn’t in the room yet. However, he literally came in to catch. I did most of the pushing on my side and then on my back gripping the handles on the bed. I was good about being vocal and not holding my breath, which helped things stretch and helped me avoid any tears (yay!). Pushing that head out was the best feeling. My doctor was a little more “hands on” during the delivery than I would have preferred, especially considering no one touched me when I pushed Houston out, but he didn’t cut me and I didn’t tear, so whatever.

Benjamin was born at 3:11 a.m. on July 26, 2012. I pulled him up to my chest and Jay intervened to stop the cord clamping. Who would have thought that would be an issue. The evidence is pretty clear in favor of delayed cord clamping, but my doctor must have missed the memo. He told me that if we didn’t clamp and I held the baby above the placenta, the blood would pump out of the baby. Seriously?! I had heard of doctors telling their patients this (check out http://www.myobsaidwhat.com for that one and more gems) but I never thought it would happen to me. It sure didn’t come up when we reviewed my birth plan. I laughingly said, “no it won’t” but I could see he was stressed. He insisted that the cord had stopped pulsing so it was fine to clamp. The cord was somewhat limp and this doctor looked like he truly believed I wanted to drain my baby of his blood so I gave the go ahead to cut it. Crisis averted.

A little while later (and after a little tug on the cord by the doc – oh how I wanted to kick him) I delivered the placenta. As they dropped it into a container I said, “And now I’d like the eat that.” I quickly clarified that I was just kidding. I’m sure my doctor was over it at that point. No tears at all so his job was officially done for the night and he made his exit. Then I had the chance to have skin-to-skin with Benjamin for about an hour and a half before he was weighed, measured, etc. I was pleasantly surprised that they gave me that much time. Several times the nurse said that she had never seen anyone so in control during a birth. One of the best compliments I’ve ever received.

Benjamin found his way to the boob and chilled there for most of that time.

We stayed at the hospital for a little over 24 hours. Apparently my doctor would have signed my discharge papers after 6-8 hours, but the pediatricians require the babies to stay. Funny thing was Benjamin was discharged before I was because my doctor had surgeries and such on Friday morning and couldn’t get to me until well after lunch. The nurses were all really nice and only one asked me if I wanted to supplement with formula. I still wonder whether she would have explained what that meant for successful breastfeeding if I had said yes. I hope she would have, because I’m sure plenty of first time moms come through there not fully understanding how breastfeeding works and how even if your milk isn’t in your body is giving your baby exactly what he needs those first few days. But I digress.

All in all I had a good experience. My plan had been to arrive at the hospital as late as possible and that’s what I did.  I think you definitely risk a lot more intervention if you are there too long. I never even had to pull out the notebook that I brought with print-outs from ACOG, http://www.evidencebasedbirth.com, the CDC, etc. My doula was amazing and I thank her immensely for helping me have the experience that I did. She was worth every penny.

Now onto convincing Jay that we should have a fourth so that I can I have one more birth in my ideal setting :)

BIRTH STORIES PART 14: Sarah

It’s a great three parter on another blog today. I went to high school with Sarah, and this is Annabel’s birth story.

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wednesday 4.4.12: daytime
i think by wednesday morning i sort of knew things were . . . happening. certain signs had occurred, and i actually wondered if my water had broken in a very non-dramatic/subtle fashion [i called our OB triage nurse who seemed unimpressed by my description]. i was also just starting to feeling contractions that actually had a pain component. it was a very braxton-hicks-heavy pregnancy, so i was used to the routine tightening, but wednesday was the first time these tightenings were accompanied by a crampy sensation — really no different than period cramps, actually.

i wasn’t sure if this really meant anything, but deep down i must have known. i started tidying up my affairs — sent a final draft of the poster i had been working on to my boss, made sure the hospital bag was completely ready, and started timing the cramps to see if i could make out any pattern. during the day, they were coming fairly irregularly, every 20-30 minutes or so.

Click below to keep reading:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

The rest of her blog is pretty awesome too, so check it out while you’re there!

Birth Stories Part 13: Rose

It had been a couple months before I was willing to even think about the possibility.  I was a college student, on my own, and taking care of my self.  I can’t remember exactly why but I stopped in to the student health center on campus and was given a pregnancy test.  It came back positive and I was mortified.  I immediately texted my best friend, and from there the story and knowledge of it all started.

For the duration of my “pregnancy” I had no prenatal care, I drank regularly (I had turned 21 immediately after conception and had no knowledge of the pregnancy for several months), tried to make it to classes when I was not too tired to get out of bed and actually walk across campus.  I lived off a meal from the cafe where I worked which usually consisted of a grilled cheese with tomatoes and many cups of super strength espresso, as I was a barista for the better part of the day. I was truly in denial; I allowed it, my best friend allowed it, and I never once heard back from the health center about it.  I didn’t really show, although, I remember one mortifying moment when I was working at the Puyallup Fair and a lady mentioned she did not want to bump into the baby, I thought to myself…THE WHAT? My feet were super swollen and I was super tired.

It was very early in November when I got a phone call from my friend Brittney when she was hanging out with my best friend and another friend of ours Kerrie.  It was out: my best friend had shared the secret and now these two other friends knew.  Let the freaking out commence.  The girls were hysterical with worry and I think excitement.  I cried, a lot!  I was very upset with my best friend, but I think it was the best spiteful thing she ever did for me.

Brittney was on the ball for it all, we looked up phone numbers upon phone numbers of places and people to call.  In our search over the next two days we got in touch with a maternity case management program and made an appointment with an ob/gyn, which was difficult as no one wanted to take someone as far along as I was while having no previous prenatal care.  But we got those few appointments scheduled and we were just waiting.

The next question was, what are we going to do about ….the baby?  I had convinced myself I could not keep the baby.  So Brittney, Kerrie, and I had an appointment at an adoption agency.  There were a few families willing to accept babies from mothers who had been drinking.  I looked at their albums and they were all beautiful, but I had a sick feeling in my stomach, and it did not feel right.

That night we stayed up  late playing Uno and Kerrie got a bright idea to call her mother, over in Eastern Washington, who was a labor and delivery nurse.  The girls really wanted me to go to the hospital and get checked out, and I tried convincing them that I felt just fine, but they convinced me along with Kerrie’s mother that it would just put every one’s mind at ease.  So we got ready around 1:30AM and trudged in to the hospital and in the wake of shock, awe, and much disdain amongst the staff (due to the lack of prenatal care and knowledge of the pregnancy) we were checked in around 2AM.

They ran a lot tests, took a lot of blood, and hooked me up to a lot of monitors.  Essentially everything was going great, I was seemingly healthy and baby was seemingly healthy.  Here is where the fun part starts, precisely at 4AM they did an internal exam, which immediately put me in to labor something fierce.  I do not remember much about the labor except that it hurt, a lot.  It was really intense and happening really fast.  I remember asking for pain medication and they were rushing around getting ready to prep for an epidural.  I was being encouraged to sit up and I could not hardly move.  By the time I got to a sitting position on the side of the bed I had the urge to go to the bathroom and I shared that with the nurse, and she told me to lay back down because it was not the bathroom, it was the baby coming, whoa, really?  That was five minutes before 6AM.  I pushed and pushed and a healthy baby girl of 9 pounds and 10 ounces was born at 6:15AM.  2 hours and 15 minutes of labor from start to finish was pretty impressive.

It was around then that I knew that there was no way that I could ever give up this baby.  Although I had not really bonded with my pregnancy or baby for the duration of the pregnancy, in my heart and soul I knew she was meant for me.  It was love at first sight.

One day old

On her second day, I named her Aurora June Bronson.  I do not really know where Aurora came from it just popped in to my head, but June was my grandmother’s name, and I felt that since I was blessed with my grandmother’s name, I though it would be nice to do something similar for my daughter.

She was a huge blessing and a very “good” baby.  She slept through the night after about 2 weeks old.  She nursed well and always had a really great appetite. She was always happy and content.  I know in my heart that God meant for me to have her and everything has worked out exactly as it should.

Aurora at five years old, after losing her bottom teeth

I have learned a lot from this experience.  My second child’s birth was much different and I look forward to sharing that story soon.

Birth Stories Part 12: Lacey

I’m sending you to another blog for today’s story. Here’s Part I:

Judah’s birth story is getting broken into parts, because if it didn’t I would never get around to writing it. Even now, I am writing while Judah is nursing. Blogger has a setting where you can email a special address and it will be the post. So that what is I am trying today. Here’s hoping it works. I’m typing this out with my thumb on my iPod- so if there are more errors than usual let’s blame autocorrect. Also, since this post is an email that means no photos. Later, I swear.Part one of the story will last as long as breastfeeding Judah does. Anyones guess how long that might be, we have already nursed over five and a half hours today and its only 8:15.So anyway, on Monday, June 20th, things started to happen for reals. But, of course, I had no way of knowing it was for real since I been having pre-labor signs for over two weeks at that point. Still, I was hopeful. I started the day by having bloody show, which only increased during the day instead of dissipating like it had in the past. Bloody show can mean labor will start imminently or it could still be days away. So, I went through my day as usual. My mom and I ran a bunch of errands around town. Sadly, I never took a nap. Something I would come to regret later.Click below to keep reading parts 2-4

Birth Stories Part 11: Jessie

Mead’s birth story!

Born January 12, 2012 (39 weeks)

8lbs 1oz, 21 in.

On Wednesday, January 11, 2012, I went to work like normal. I was 38w6d along in my 2nd pregnancy and I had been getting all of the, “you’re still here!” comments for the past week. I joked with a coworker about how nothing was going on and I was going to be at work forever. I left a few things to finish the next morning because there was no indication that anything was going on. My first son was born at 37w2d so I had never been that pregnant before.

I left work at 4:30 as usual and headed to the birth center for my 5:30 appointment. I managed to get there a few minutes early but wasn’t taken back until 5:45. I had also delivered my son Holland there in May of 2009, and my appointment was with the nurse who helped after he was born. Greta and I really liked her so it was great to see her again. We chatted for awhile and did blood pressure, etc. The birth center doesn’t typically do cervical checks until you reach 40 weeks, but at my 37 week appointment we had the midwife check (she offered) while she was doing the GBS exam and I was 3 cm at that point. I normally wouldn’t care and would have refused that first check, but Greta was at that appointment and wanted to know. The curiosity was killing me after that check, so I asked if we could do a cervical check at this appointment and she said we could. I figured I’d see if any progress had been made over those two weeks. Around 6pm I got up on the exam table and as I sat down I felt a little gush. And then 1 or 2 more. It seemed a little weird, so I actually asked if it was normal to have increased discharge at this point in the pregnancy and she said absolutely. I laid back on the table and she measured me and felt around for the size/position of the baby (head still REALLY low) and listened to his heartbeat. She helped me sit up and said she would leave the room so I could get undressed for the cervical exam. When she left the room I got up to take off my pants and underwear and realized that my underwear was SOAKED and my pants were all wet as well. When I took everything off fluid continued to come out onto the floor. I went back and forth towards the door in the exam room trying to decide if I should go and get her or wait for her to come back. This was kind of humorous because as I kept walking back and forth I was just making a bigger mess on the floor. So she came back in and I said, “I think my water may have broken!” We thought I could have peed but I think in the back of my mind I knew that wasn’t it.

I sat back up on the exam table and fluid continued to leak out. She had me lay back again so that she could take a look with the speculum. She remarked that there was a lot of fluid pooling up in my vagina and that if someone came in like that they would have assumed that it was aminiotic fluid. However, since we had already started the process we decided that we would just test it to make sure that it was. I decided to hold off on calling Greta until we knew for sure. She put some on a slide and we waited a few minutes to see if it was ferning. She also did a pH test and we waited for that to come back. In the meantime I sat still while fluid continued to come out and she cleaned up the mess I made on the floor and went out and told the midwife on call what was going on. After alerting the midwife on call, she checked out the test strip (pH 7.5) and the microscope and confirmed that my water had indeed broken. I got instantly excited and nervous. Here we go!

The midwife on call came in and we were all just laughing about how funny the whole thing was. She went and got me a dry pair of scrubs and some pads and disposable underwear and they hooked me up to the NST machine. At this point I called Greta and told her. She was NOT expecting that at all. She had spent 3 hours at the pediatrician’s office with Holland that day and thought I was calling to say I was on my way home. I told her I’d call her back shortly with the plan because I wasn’t sure if I was going to come home or not (since nothing else was going on at that point). The NST looked great and I was having pretty good contractions every three minutes. I couldn’t feel them though; it felt like some very light, dull cramps but that was it. The midwife on call decided that I should just stick around. There was one other woman coming in who was also in labor but that was it. Her feeling was that the contractions looked good and it was a second baby and since I had a 45 minute drive home it made sense to stick around. So around 6:45pm I called Greta and told her to come. She had already called my mom and told her to make her way over because we knew that even if I ended up coming home, we’d be leaving in the morning. I had mostly packed a bag but Greta had to finish and once she did that she headed to the birth center.

While I waited for Greta to show up the midwife took me downstairs (around 7?) and let me pick a room (the other woman hadn’t arrived yet). I picked the same room that I delivered Holland in :). I was starving so she brought me some menus and I ordered myself a pizza and a bottle of water to be delivered and I sat in the room. The food was delivered around 7:30ish so I sat in the kitchen area and ate some. Greta showed up just before 8pm and sat with me. During all of this I was feeling crampy but it was fine. It really just felt like my period was coming.

When I finished eating a different midwife came on. We’ll call her J and she has been there since I had Holland so I know her and like her a lot. She was actually the first midwife that we met with when my water broke with him! I told her about my stillbirth fear and she said she would be checking the heartrate every 30 minutes until I was in active labor, but she could check more often if I wanted her to. We could have either hung out in the living room and watched TV or hung out in the room and tried to rest. J said that’s what she wanted me to do – REST! So we decided to put some music on and lay in the bed in our room and just talk and see what was happening. I said several times that maybe we should just go home because I felt like I was taking up space. I asked the nurse, S, and she said it was perfectly fine to stay so we did. And I’m really glad that we did! While we were laying around we could hear the other woman laboring next door. It got me really nervous. And then all of a sudden they left for the hospital across the street for some reason and the midwife went with them and a new midwife came on. I was really disappointed by that, but J ended up coming back just in time for my delivery.

Somewhere in the 9:00pm hour I started to have some bloody show and in the 10:00pm hour I started to notice the contractions more. According to the contraction timer app on my phone I started timing them around 10:42pm. The first one lasted 44 seconds. The second one came 6 minutes later and lasted 1 minute, 7 seconds. The next one was the same and the one after was 3 minutes later and lasted almost 2 minutes. This was around 11 pm and they were really starting to hurt. I had to stand through them and Greta rubbed my back. Around 11:40pm it was getting too difficult to try and time them anymore so I quit at that point. Around that time I could feel him coming down – I never felt that with Holland but I knew that was what it was. The nurse was coming in and out and then J came back at some point. They frequently checked the baby’s heartrate and my vitals. The nurse came in around midnight and I told her I was really uncomfortable and she asked if I wanted to get checked. I said yes! (I had never been checked during the prenatal exam because we didn’t want to increase the risk of infection once we realized my water had broken).

The midwife came in and I told her I felt like I was starting to push without trying and she said that was fine, to just do what felt right. At 12:30am she checked me and exclaimed, “Jessie, you’re not going to need the castor oil, you’re fully dilated!” I had been saying since my water broke that I really wanted to avoid the castor oil again (I had to do castor oil with Holland and it was gross. It worked and I avoided the hospital for an induction, but it was gross!). This was a HUGE relief. It also meant that I could start pushing, which I started at 12:34. We had me lie on the bed on my right side. I would hold my left leg up when I pushed and Greta was sitting up by my head and I would grab her during each contraction. The pain was unbelievable and awful and I didn’t think I could do it. The act of pushing did help a little because at least I was doing something and I got a lot of encouragement from J about the fact that he was so low and right there. She asked Greta if she wanted to catch the baby but I needed someone up by my head to grab on to. The pain was insanely intense. As we were nearing the end they had me quickly roll onto my back and push my legs back. This was the only time I felt nervous because there was a sense of urgency in J’s voice and I remember thinking “shoulders” to myself. It turns out that he had his left hand straight up against his head and they were having trouble getting him out so there was a lot of maneuvering necessary and that is why they put me in a position that is used for shoulder dystocias. Once they got his shoulders out they had me reach down and grab him and pull him out the rest of the way. This was at 12:44am on January 12th. Somehow all of that pushing happened in only 10 minutes! I had no clue about that until I was reading the report afterwards and asked Greta. She said it was REALLY quick. Of course, it felt like forever to me.

I laid him on my chest immediately and we waited for the cord to stop pulsing before Greta cut it. Delivering the placenta was fine and J noticed that it sort of had a funky shape on one section and she thinks that may have been the part that was close to my cervix (I had to have several ultrasounds for low lying placenta). At first J thought I may not need stitches but it turns out I needed 4 for a first degree tear. During delivery I had on an expensive bra and a nice maternity tank top that I had worn to work that day. I never bothered to take them off and I don’t think either are going to make it.

Jessie, Greta, & Mead

He laid on my chest for a long time and latched on well. They did his newborn exam an hour or so later. 8 pounds, 1 ounce and 21 inches. He seemed smaller to me! I took a shower. We tried to take a little nap around 3:30am but didn’t really sleep. We left the birth center at 7:45am and were home by 8:30am. I had Greta stop at Starbucks on the way home for a caffeinated beverage.

The recovery has been so much easier than Holland’s. I immediately felt like I could sit down without being in severe pain and I barely took any ibuprofen.

The similarities between my 2 birth stories amaze me. Water broke in a kind of funny spot, both boys born with a nuchal left arm, both born in the same room at the birth center, both natural deliveries. Both came quick.

All in all I would say it was a fairly “easy” delivery. Not easy in terms of pain (um AT ALL) but quick and fairly cut and dry and I feel pretty good. I didn’t lose as much blood as I did with my first delivery, despite the low placenta and low iron. Greta was a great support person. I loved the midwife and nurse. I didn’t need the castor oil! I’m just so glad that he’s here.

My Dad’s birthday is the 12th as well and he had been pushing for that date ever since he found out I was pregnant and due on the 19th. I feel really lucky – I’m so thrilled with how it turned out.

Birth Stories Part 10: Lauren

Maggie

3/25/2011

4:32pm

Margaret Jo Mullin was born on Friday, March 25, 2011 via cesarean section at Bryn Mawr Hospital.  The week leading up to my due date of March 26th I had been experiencing contractions.  True contractions that would come and go, but never did amount to anything.  The contractions would start in my back and wrap around to the front.  Wednesday, March 23rd I was woken up in the middle of the night by a very painful contraction.  After screaming from pain, I screamed with joy, thinking ‘this is it’!  It wasn’t. 

I was a patient of The Birth Center, a free standing clinic of midwives.  I was very excited to have a natural birth.  I wanted to be present and remember the experience with a clear mind.  In addition to choosing to birth at a birth center I elected to have a doula, Ally, present at the birth.  I read every book on natural birth that I could get my hands on.  I was ready and waiting (not so patiently) to experience labor. 

The Birth Center is 30 minutes away from our home and my husband’s office.  Most of the appointments I chose to go by myself, partially because I found it a waste of Mark’s time to spend two hours of ‘vacation’ time to watch me get on a scale, and partially because my dad’s office is around the corner from The Birth Center.  Yes, I scheduled each of my appointments at lunch time, my dad’s treat!  At 39 weeks pregnant, my stomach was a torpedo.  It was too uncomfortable and frankly unsafe for me to drive.  Mark drove me to my 5 minute 39 week appointment.  Mark was planning to take me to my 40 week appointment as well.  However, my mom called and said that she was off and that she would love to take me.  I made her promise to take me to lunch afterwards; it was the routine, after all.  I ate breakfast at 8:30 am that morning and when my mom came by at 10am to pick me up I grabbed an apple for each of us for the ride. 

My mom asked if it would be okay to come back into the room during the appointment; I of course said yes, and I am glad that I did.  First the midwife took my blood pressure, 148/72.  Pre-pregnancy my blood pressure was 90/60.  At my 39 week appointment my blood pressure was 108/62.  148/72 was a huge jump.  Additionally, I had gained four pounds in my 40th week of pregnancy.  The midwife asked to perform an internal exam on me.  Up to this point I had not had an internal exam.  The Birth Center does not do them and my doula had cautioned me not to allow it.  I wasn’t planning on any interventions, so my dilation wasn’t a priority.  My contractions would signal to me that labor had begun, not an examination.  However, with my elevated blood pressure and my significant weight gain I agreed to the internal examination.  For this, I am thankful. 

Upon examination the midwife noted that I was 3 centimeters dilated (yah!) and that she thought she felt a foot (ugh).  She said that there was a small possibility that it was a hand instead of a foot and the baby was trying to fly out like superman.  She went to the back room to get the ultrasound machine.  The ultrasound showed that my baby was footling breech (essentially standing straight up inside of me instead of head down).  And so the crying began.  I felt horrible for the midwife that had to tell me the bad news; that I had to go to the hospital for an emergent cesarean section.  My high blood pressure, weight gain, dilation, and full term breech baby had just bought me a trip to the hospital and most likely a c-section.  I was devastated to say the least.  It was everything I was against. 

I called Mark and told him the news that my mom and I were leaving the birthing center and driving across the street to the hospital.  He was shocked.  I told him to leave work, grab the bag and meet me there.  My bag for The Birth Center included a bathing suit, umbro shorts, crackers, vitamin water and the ultimate birthing playlist that I had spend months fine tuning. Obviously, the contents of my bag were not appropriate for a four night stay at the hospital, which is what you are required to stay after a c-section.  (Later I learned that women who plan to give birth at a hospital buy themselves fancy pajamas for their stay.  Birth Center patients are required to leave four to twelve hours after giving birth.  Fancy pajamas were unnecessary.) 

Mark arrived at the hospital at 1230pm.  After his arrival the doctor came in to see us and perform another ultrasound to confirm the position of the baby.  Once the position was confirmed as footling breech I put a call into my doula to break the news to her.  Ally, my doula and I discussed my options to flip my baby which included pointing a flashlight up my vagina (as babies sometimes turn towards the light), burning a Chinese herb moxi stick to my pinkie toe to stimulate my yang energy, or acupuncture.  In the end, we decided it was too late (and risky) to attempt any of the methods to encourage the baby to flip. 

The doctors told me that since I ate an apple at 10am I wouldn’t be able to have the surgery until 6pm (ugh).  So the waiting game began.  In hindsight, the time went very quickly.  At 3:30, the team decided that it would be safe for me to have the c-section at 4.  At 4pm I walked into the operating room wheeling my IV pole with me.  I hopped up on the table and the anesthesiologist inserted my spinal.  The surgeon asked for me to tell him when I could feel him pinching my belly.  I waited and waited…and nothing.  The spinal worked.  The anesthesiologist said they were placing clamps all over my stomach for the procedure.  It was a strange feeling.  I could feel them pulling and tugging during the procedure but there was no pain associated with it. 

At 4:32pm the team pulled a baby out of me.  A mid-wife from The Birth Center, Nancy, was in the OR during the birth to act as my advocate.  Nancy was a bit of a tree hugger.  Overtop of her blue hospital jumpsuit she wore a forest green fleece vest.  I’ll never forget this.  She was focused on making sure that I still felt that I was given an opportunity to ‘birth’ my baby.  So as the doctor was pulling the baby out of me, she said a half dozen time “you are now delivering your baby’.  She knew that part of our birth plan was for Mark to announce the sex of the baby.  Nancy said, ‘I see what it is’, after they pulled the baby above the curtain.  As a matter of fact, she said it a few times.  I think she was hinting for Mark to take a peek above the curtain.  The doctor, at this time asked who was announcing the sex.  Finally I yelled, What is it?  It was a girl!  Margaret Jo Mullin was born at 4:32pm on March 25, 2011.  Her birth was exactly opposite what I had hoped and prepared for, but she was more that I could have ever imagined. 

Birth Stories Part 9

I’ve got another blogger’s story today, so I’m sending you over there for her story. Here’s a teaser:

SO.

DH and I went in for a scheduled induction on a cold clear morning not too long ago. We arrived at the hospital, McStomachache in hand shortly after 7 am. Got into a room right away, and they started the pitocin drip around 8 am. I was dilated to a soft 1, and baby’s head was right there. We had a kick ass nurse, and she thought things would move along swimmingly.

Well, I didn’t progress like they thought. I was having contractions every few minutes, but they weren’t painful. So they broke my water at around 1:30. Good lord, I am SOOO glad that was in a controlled setting. That was when the fun started.

Read the rest here:

The gory details, or what I remember

Birth Stories Part 8: Amanda

I’m directing you to another blog (www.modgblog.com) for a really great story. One of those “I knew what kind of birth I wanted but nothing went the way I planned stories.” It’s a three-parter but worth your time. It’s funny and you are rewarded with lots of pictures.

Amanda’s (aka MODG) Story:

My birth story actually starts 30 years ago, with my own birth. Like with me, as a baby. But I’ll spare you the 30 years of bullshit that happened between then and now. See, I was 4 weeks late as a baby.  Which is a whole insane power packed month for my mother, where I just chilled and grew to 10lbs. Don’t ask me how medical science let that happen. I mean,  it was 1980, not 1780. Anyway, I was terrified of this becoming my fate with a growing Plankton who was in the 75th percentile already for HEAD SIZE. So I took some matters into my own hands. Mistake #1.

Most of you know me well enough to know that I don’t just sit around and wait for stuff. I make stuff happen. Usually it’s an internet blog war, but whatever. So at 38 weeks our midwife recommended I start shooting evening primrose oil pills up the vag to soften and prepare the cervix. She said there is a teeny tiny midget of a chance that it can make my water break but don’t worry about that. I was all, sounds good to me, break my water and let’s get this show started. Little did I know about anything, at all, like ever. Mistake #2.

Then I was all, something named “primrose” won’t make me go into labor, it just won’t. Maybe if it was named boarfist or something. So let’s google “accupressure for labor”. Oh cool and easy. I push these ankle spots and Plankton gets all agitated and comes out. Super neat. I think I’ll sit on my bed for 2 hours and push around my ankle spots. He won’t come that fast. It’s just ankles. Mistake #3.

To keep reading, go here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Birth Stories Part 7: Kellie

My birth story with Krista….

Krista was due November 30th, 1998. It was a stressful pregnancy due to issues with her biological father, but thankfully my family was there to support me. My water broke on Thursday, November 19th in the morning. Seventeen hours of labor. I believe I slept for 13 hours due to my amazing epidural. The doctor woke me up to push her out….her head was literally hanging out. Twenty minutes of pushing and she was born on November 20th, 1998 at 5:17 a.m. No complications ad she was 7lbs 5 oz. 19 1/2 inches long. She was 10 days early but perfect!!!


My birth story with Olivia….

 

Olivia was due on October 15, 2006. It was my second pregnancy, so I figured I’d go early and knew what I was up against. This pregnancy was stressful because there was a 1 in 175 chance she had down syndrome. We decided against an amnio and took our chances. Her pinkies showed a small middle bone which is a down syndrome marker. Other than that, no down syndrome markers. Friday, October 13th, 2006, I thought my water broke and I went to the hospital. I was not dilated at all and my water did not break but she kicked me so hard, I peed myself. My doctor decided to induce me Monday morning due to my weight gain. I gained about 65lbs with Olivia. Around the same weight as Krista, but I weighed less before I had Krista so it wasn’t as much of an issue. I woke up Monday, October 16th, one day past my due date and went to be induced. Before I went to the hospital, I figured I’d eat something because after an epidural you pretty much have to eat ice chips or juice. Immediately after eating my dunkin donuts sandwich, I felt a sharp pain….very intense. I threw up on the way to the hospital….either the food was bad or I was going into active labor. I was only one cm dilated. My doctor lied and got me into the hospital and started pitocin to jump-start labor. The epidural was done and I was feeling good. About 8 hours later, the epidural wore off and it was time to push. Pain i never experienced with my first birth and I never ever want to experience again came over my body. Olivia was up high so I had to push an extra 10 minutes to get her down. Finally I just said screw it, and after 30 minutes of pushing she arrived. At one point I told my doctor to rip her out because that is how intense labor pain is. Olivia was 8lbs., 0oz 20 1/2 long. Olivia was a special delivery because we didn’t know if she was going to be down syndrome or not. Immediately after her delivery, she was cleared by the neonatologist as being perfectly normal….No downs. Relief came over all of us.

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