So, I wanted to write up X’s birth story because I personally loved reading others stories, especially when I knew I wanted to have kids of my own, and perhaps there are others out there that do too. I also figured it would be a good way for me to remember, since I am sure as time goes on I will forget what actually accrued those 2 days. Yes, it was 2 days from time water broke to baby out. However, I wouldn’t change a thing about how it all went down, even though it was nothing like I had envisioned.
So X’s “due date” was Oct 2 (a Tues). I actually had a doctor’s appointment that day to see how things were. Everything was fine with both of us, but I wasn’t dilated at all yet. The doctor wanted me to schedule a planned induction for the following week. I told her that I wasn’t ready to do that because I really wanted him to come out on his own and asked how long I could wait. She said that was fine, however scheduled me to have my placenta checked in one week, just make sure everything was ok. If things were fine, then I could go up to end of the 41st week. I was happy with that. I really wanted my birth as natural as possible and figured, if he isn’t ready, but is still fine in there, why rush it? (Honestly, the thought of induction sort of freaked me out too. I know many people go that route, but it personally made me nervous. I heard too many mixed stories).
That week (my 40th) sucked because I was doing everything I could think of and have read about to induce labor naturally. Took lots walks, bounced on my yoga ball, ate lots of dates…etc. I was so freaking uncomfortable! Sleeping was hard because I couldn’t rotate anymore. I was peeing every 2 seconds. My legs were constantly sore from the added weight. I was so done being pregnant. I really believed that he would’ve been a Sept baby and I would be early, and so did others around me, but no..he was way to comfy in there.
Then the following Sunday morning (40 wks plus 5 days), I woke up to pee and I stood up and boom, water broke. I remember thinking,”thank god!” I was so happy (and relieved!). Things are finally starting and I don’t have to be induced. He is finally coming out on his own. I woke up my husband (it wasn’t too early, around 8:30 am) and then I called my doctor. She said that if I felt comfortable, I could labor as long as I wanted at home and come into the hospital when I felt ready later in the day. That made me happy because that’s what I wanted. I didn’t want to sit in the hospital longer than I had to and I actually felt quite normal still. I was very relieved that things were finally starting and just tried to keep myself busy around the house and get labor progressing. However, I didn’t get my first (maybe) contraction until about 5 pm. It was still very subtle, because I kept thinking, “is this it?” I was still very calm and in no hurry to go the hospital (it was only 10 min away), but my husband was getting anxious. I just wasn’t in pain yet and didn’t feel the need to go to the hospital. We decided to eat dinner, get our stuff ready, make sure the cats were ok and then we left. When we got to the hospital, I remember thinking, I feel too good to be here. Shouldn’t I be in more pain? (Famous last words..haha.)
I checked in, my doctors checked me and I was only dilated like 1 cm. Ugh….how annoying. My doctor suggested pitocin to get things moving. However, since I was afraid of the pain getting worse on that, I told her no. I wanted to labor on my own and progress on my own as long as I can. She agreed. I asked for a birth ball and alternated between bouncing on that and taking walks around the hospital. None of it really progressed anything for a while.
The “real” contractions started sometime in the middle of night…maybe around midnight. I say “real” because that’s when things got real. Really painful. I just kept trying to remember to breathe and relax my body as best as I could. I kept alternating positions and hunching over the bed (driving the nurses crazy because I kept moving the monitor, haha). I didn’t care at that point. The pain was getting intense and I was getting really tired. I think at around 2 am, I was in so much pain and so exhausted, I just wanted to sleep. I kept telling my husband, “I don’t think I can do this”, “its too much.” I really just wanted to rest. He was so good and tried to keep me calm the best he could (because I am pretty sure I started freaking out at this point and asking for an epidural, which he said not yet, because he knew that wasn’t what I wanted). I kept thinking that if I don’t rest, how will I have the energy to push later? I begged the nurses for something to help me sleep. Thank god there was. I don’t remember exactly what they gave me, but I was able to relax enough to sleep. It was wonderful to just be able to sleep and rest.
The next morning, I was checked again and was only 2-3 cm dilated. So defeated…. Since, it had been 24 hr since my water broke, I agreed to pitocin to get things moving. I also knew that if I was getting that, I had to have an epidural now. There would have been no way I could handle that pain again, especially if it was coming more frequently. That epidural was awesome for the simple fact, it allowed me to continue to sleep! I was able to rest, which is what I wanted to do. I basically slept the day away, while I continued to labor. I kept waking up intermittently to be checked on by the nurses (since now I was confined to the bed from the epidural) and to get my husband to (secretly) feed me candy and juice (they didn’t want me to really eat anything for fear of me throwing up, but I was starving and again..how would I have the energy to push if there was nothing in my system?).
At around 7 pm, I was told I was dilated fully and could begin pushing. This was weird at first because the first round of pushing, seemed like “practice” because you couldn’t really feel anything do anything. I think they were monitoring and upping my pitocin during this time to help get things moving. I am sure also having an epidural slowed things down too. At first, I just pushed when they told me to during each contraction.
At some point (honestly, not sure how far in I was pushing), my doctor came in and told me that he wasn’t progressing far enough down and she didn’t think he would get past my pelvic bone. She said that I could keep pushing for as long as I wanted, but there was a chance that I might need a c-section if things weren’t progressing. I told her that had to be the absolute last resort and I will keep pushing for as long as I need to. During all of this he was never in distress or anything. He just was in position, where he couldn’t get his head in the right spot.
I asked to switch pushing positions. I pushed on my right side for a while, then I pushed on my left side for a while. This is when pushing became super intense and I started for feel a ton of pressure. This was a new kind of pressure and a new kind of pain. I think I knew at this point, something changed. It felt different. When his progress was checked again, she saw that he had finally slid down far enough and he was in a good position. The nurses and doctors were so amazed at my perseverance. I just kept thinking “I will not have a c-section!” and “get out!” I have no clue how much time had passed at this point. I was just so “in the moment” and just mentally trying to keep myself together. In between each contraction, I intentionally both mentally and physically relaxed myself as much as I could. I think it might have looked like I was meditating because even my doctor noticed how calm I was in between. Each round of pushing was just so intense and painful and I just wanted it over that I had to mentally keep it together to get through it. I felt everything. There was tremendous amount of pressure at each push, that at the end I was starting to freak out and get tired. I just kept asking if they could see him and how far out was he. Finally, after 5 hours of pushing (which I didn’t know until they told me its been that long), my doctor said something like “I can have him out in one push if you want.” I said “yes!” I wanted anything to just be done. Apparently, the vacuum was used and in one final push and he was out. I asked for delayed cord clamping to ensure he got all his blood from the cord and he was taken to be cleaned and checked, which was in the room, while my doctor helped me get out the placenta, and get cleaned up (which took quite a while and was actually very painful). I also had to get stitched. X was 8 lb 11 oz. No wonder he was difficult to get out! He was born minutes before midnight on Oct 8.
I should also mention that during this time my husband was with me, helping me. At one point I yelled at the nurses to keep him from passing out because I just remember at one point, he said he was going to from the combo of lack of sleep and no food for 2 days. They would have taken him out of the room if he did pass out, and that freaked me out. So imagine me, already yelling and trying to push a baby out, while also yelling at both my husband and the nurses to keep him awake. Thank god he didn’t. He said he was on the verge, until the moment he saw X come out, and he woke right up at that moment.
Once, I was cleaned up, they brought X over to me. I can’t really describe my emotions at that time. I think it was a mixed of exhaustion, relief and happy. Probably more so, relieved it was over and I could rest (if I am being honest). I mean, I just went through a huge ordeal. The doctors and nurses left us alone in the delivery room for about 45 min as a family, but since it was about 2 am at this point, we asked to be brought to our actual room to rest. My husband had been up for about 24 hours straight at this point and needed to lie down and I was starving! I asked for a sandwich and basically inhaled it.
I stayed up for a little longer and the nurses help me with my initial breastfeeding. We did have X sleep in the nursery just for a few hours, so I could get some sleep too. After that, we stayed in the hospital for about 2 days and then home.
Towards the second half of my pregnancy, both my husband and I began reading about the birthing process, as well as took a 6 week (in person) course. I am do glad we did this because I think things could have gone a bit differently, if we weren’t prepared. We read this book and took this class. I wanted to know everything about the birthing process, so I could be as prepared as possible. I also wanted as natural a birth, as I could get. Yes, I did end up getting interventions, but I was able to make my own decisions about everything, which is ultimately what I wanted. I really just didn’t want decisions being made for me, because I wasn’t informed enough (if that makes sense). I think that I would have had a c-section, if I didn’t know that I could switch birth positions to help move things along (which is what ultimately worked). I do think that having an epidural might have slowed things down when it came to pushing, so I am hoping that things progress quicker on their own the next time, so I could avoid that (but again we will see what happens). My doctor did say that I pushed for my first two babies and the second time will be much easier (here’s hoping!).
I am hugely grateful to have wonderful doctors and nurses who listened to me and let me make my own decisions. Maybe, its the scientist in me, but I could never imagine going into a birthing situation, completely blind. I really believe that there is so much going on and its so intense, that you really need to be prepared. Also, because my husband knew everything too, he was incredibly helpful during the whole process, because he also had the same information. He felt so prepared going in and I think it alleviated much stress on his end too.
I also believe, you need to be in shape to give birth! I used probably every muscle to push him out and was incredibly sore for like a week after. My arm muscles killed me for days! It really is like running a marathon, while also doing a million push ups at the same time. I want a lot more arm, leg and core strength going in the next time. You really need it!
In the end, you can not predict what kind of birth you will have. But you can be prepared for any outcome. At the end, as long as you and the baby are healthy and safe, that is the most important part. Even thought I had envisioned the birth of my son to be different, I have no regrets in how it ended up. Everything ended up being perfect.