I went back and forth about posting this. I didn’t think I’d get as many requests for the full birth story as I did, so I figured if that many people cared I’d just edit it and share it here. Honestly, it is taking me a while to come to terms with how everything played out. I spent 40 weeks meditating, visualizing and using hypnobabies for a peaceful vaginal birth experience but got a surprise birth that I’m kinda grieving about.
Anyway, here’s the story.
I went to bed on Wednesday June 6th with braxton hicks and the plan of getting a lot done on Thursday before my induction at 6pm on Friday June 8th.
My son had other plans for us.
At around 4:30am on Thursday I wake up with strong Braxton Hicks contractions and feeling like I needed to pee, but only very scant amounts would come out. I headed back to bed until cramps that felt like my period was looming woke me up at around 5:30. I wasn’t sure if this could be the real thing but I found a pen and started drowsily timing contractions. Just when they started, not how long they lasted. This was tiring so I fell asleep and woke up at 7am. Cramps were still there, and felt like day one of my period. (I have horrible period cramps but I know it’s all relative) I go to the bathroom to pee, and when I wipe I see blood! I was shocked! I took the bloody tissue into the bedroom and shoved John’s shoulder. “Blood!” I said. “I think I’m in labor.” He looked confused for about half a second then shot up out of bed and just stood looking at me. I put on a pad and had some tea. I downloaded a contraction counter app and just laid in bed to prepare for the pain avalanche coming my way.
John laid beside me and we just talked lovingly during the down times and I worked out my process during the pain times. At this point, the pain was worse than any period cramps I’ve had before but blowing them away forcefully both physically and visually worked well. As did relaxing all the muscles in my body simultaneously. (Thank you hypnobabies/bradley method)
I called my mom to let her know what was up. Her excitable ass was like CALL THE DOCTOR NOW!
We checked the contraction timer to see how things were progressing and it was kinda weird. I had just been pressing the button when the contractions stop and start and not really looking at the pattern because I was focusing on my ritual/visualization to manage the pain. Turns out, the contractions were lasting on average 51 seconds and coming an average of 2 minutes 10 seconds. WTF?! Already?!
I thought something was wrong with the counter or I was using it wrong or something. How can I be 2 minutes apart already and able to handle the contractions so well at this point? We ended up calling the doctor who said to come in. (I didn’t expect that at all. I figure she’d say give it an hour or two and see how it progresses or …. something.) So I take a shower, pack my bag up and we hit the road. We hit every dip and bump in the road as well. I was not enjoying this car ride. The pain was getting more intense and at one point John said “Good baby, they’re just waves, let them pass on by.” That changed the way I handled the rest of my labor.
My visualization changed to lots of water images, me riding a wave on a surfboard, a wave comin in and out of shore, and weird waves overhead (somehow) and just letting it pass over me in an arch. I was still breathing out strongly during contractions and able to handle it well enough.
We get to the hospital after some crappy traffic at around 10am. Get in get seen, get examined. This doctor (one of the ones from my doctor’s practise who I dislike) tells me “You’re only 1 fingertip dilated.” My jaw hit the floor. She then says “I could induce you now versus waiting for tomorrow, or you can go walk for a few hours or go home.”
We go home, and the car ride, though quicker, is 10 times harder. I’m doing my visualizations, and breathing and just living for the spaces between contractions where I can actually speak and be human for a moment. I hit my bed again at around 11:30. I just stack pillows all around, get comfy and wait. And kick myself for leaving the glorious bed in the first place. SMH
The contractions are getting longer and stronger now. The counter app has been tossed by the wayside. I hate everything and everyone. John is a trooper, telling me how good I’m doing, strong I am, reminding me to relax my whole body…which by the way is the single most important part of me not dieing throughout this.
There doesn’t seem to be a break between contractions anymore…it’s just heavycontraction/lightcontraction/heavycontraction sandwiches. John says we should go back to the hospital. I say “no way, roll over, it’s only 1pm we can’t leave now. They’ll send us away again.” 10 minutes later… heaviercontraction/mediumcontracton//heaviercontraction. ….”OK Let’s go back to the hospital.”
I’m thinking at this point that I must be around 4 centimeters. The pain is so intense I can’t not be there at least yet. Right? We reach the hospital around 1:45. I don’t say hello, I say something like “I’m not leaving this place again.” They make me wait there feeling like I’m going to break open, I’m now grunting at certain parts of these contractions because I feel an urge to push…in my head I’m thinking it’s crazy to feel this way so early on.
I’m doubled over in pain, can’t walk, can’t breathe right, can’t do anything but hang my body over the poor admin’s desk and suffer and rock, grunt and hum. People keep offering chairs and I want to kill them all. Why wont they just let me rock in peace? John has realized we’ve turned a corner and is as wide eyed as I’ve ever seen him. Rubs my back when I need it, stops when I don’t. “doin good baby, so good” is all he’s saying. I want him to shutup but I still want to be told i’m doing good. haha.
We finally get into the room w/ the doctor at 2pm. She checks me. In my head I’m like “yess, she’s gunna tell me I’m 4cm and I’m going to ask for an epidural and this pain will all be over.” She says: “OK, so you’re a good 8cm now”……she may have said other words after that but I didn’t hear them. I looked at John like WTF?! He just patted me in silence, still wide eyed. I look at the doc: “I need the walking epidural” They said some words like IF and some other shit…all I could say was I NEED AN EPIDURAL.
Somehow magic happened and the two most beautiful men I’ve ever seen came into the room, told me some names that I’ll never remember and shot my back full of heavenly awesomeness. Seriously though, the epidural process is hard. Especially if you’re 8cm and having contractions that don’t ever freaking end. I had the best nurse in the world, Mary Ellen, who had me curl over a pillow, also very uncomfortable while pregnant/contracting/dying and led me through visualizations and breathing to get through the 15 minute epidural insertion process.
I was paying full attention at this point, it was insane how focused I could be and I had the passing thought of “If Mary Ellen was my doula I could totally do this naturally.” Then I slipped into painless bliss and forgot all that mess I was just thinking 🙂 But I do truly believe I can and will do a natural drug free birth for baby #2 unless it’s a problem baby….like this one was. I mean, I made it to 8cm with my own pain management…I could totally do it!
So anyway, I’m drugged up and feeling good. My mom comes to the hospital (apparently she came in during the epidural process and had full conversations with people in the room but I was so swept away inside my rituals with Mary Ellen that I didn’t hear any of it) and I’m my old self again, talking and joking with John and Mommy. This lasts all of 15 minutes. Docs and nurses come and look at my screens. I get an oxygen mask and immediately start to worry. I ask about it and am told it’s normal, just to be sure baby is 100%.
I get my water broken. It’s “moderate to heavy” meconium filled. I just keep on leaking the stuff, and now bleeding too I think cuz they put the catheter in, not sure if that’s what caused it. Poor Mary Ellen keeps on changing my bed stuff and reassuring me that it’s OK, and totally normal. However 2 minutes later I’m instructed to get on all fours because of baby’s heart rate “Is this normal Mary Ellen?” After a brief pause…“In this situation it is.” Gotta love her.
I’m quite uncomfortable on my elbows and knees but stay there for quite a while because this seems to be the position that baby’s heart rate tolerates best. My doc comes in to insert a tubed object into me to gauge my contraction strength from the inside. Then it’s back on all fours w/ oxygen mask for me.
I spend the next several hours rolling from all fours to laying on my right side for a 5 minute break from the other position. Otherwise baby’s heart rate would go haywire. I’m still at 8cm through all these hours. He was also sunny side up which is not a good position for labor. (And also why my contractions pained my back so deeply)
Doc tells me it looks like a c-section is likely, but they’re going to try pitocin to make my contractions stronger and closer together and get me past 8cm dilation. They’re starting with half the smallest normally given dosage to see if baby will tolerate it and hopefully turn with the contractions. I say no thanks. I’m told the only other option is a c-section…. OK…Pitocin it is. They start the drip. I immediately throw up.
Mary Ellen starts explaining everything about a c-section, and what to expect, what everything feels like, looks like, etc. I am still gripped with fear, but in my head I’ve been saying, no matter how it happens, I’m open to what this delivery brings so…time for me to live up to those words. They monitor for a while and I see the baby’s heart going helter skelter on the machine with every contraction. I’m barfing up everything from the night before and my head feels light and funny.
The doc and some other doctors and nurses come in to check the monitors and say it’s back on all fours for me. Instead, I throw up some more. (sidebar: into the closest vessel, a bed pan! Lol) And then again. My doctor says I should think over the c-section and let them know my choice. As it stands there’s about a 30% chance of baby turning to a vaginally birthable position and he’s not liking the increased strength of the contractions. Also, the pitocin isn’t bringing the contractions closer together as it normally would.
Everyone leaves the room to me, Mommy and John. I throw up again. I say I want to do the c-section. Mom and John share a look of relief, (turns out they were preparing to “convince” me to have it for baby’s sake) and then the whole c-section process begins.
Mom cannot be there. John can though, after I’ve been set up. I get additional anesthesia put into my epidural to get me nice and numb. I’m asked a few questions, sign a few papers, and rolled off to surgery. Major abdominal surgery. I’m in disbelief that this birth has gone this route. I tried my best to do some breath work, but I was just a crying sloppy mess. I get all prepped and John’s allowed in, and the doctors go to town.
I feel the pulling and pushing, tugging and sorting…it’s crazy. I begin to shake, just my arms (which are splayed out in T formation) and my head. I cannot control it, then my shoulders and my head! Immediately I think OMG I’m going to die. (John later admitted to me that he was scared I was going into shock lol We’re both basketcases) A nurse let me know it’s totally normal and I won’t be able to stop it. After that…it gets weird. I know people are talking and possibly to me, but I just lay there shaking from the shoulders up and trying to stare at a spot on the ceiling just waiting to hear my son.
Then I hear him wail!! And my life began anew.
Rohan Thomas was born at 9:54pm on Thursday, June 7, 2012 weighing in at 7lbs 4oz and 19 inches long.
(and they said he was only 5lbs and change! Humph!)
But why is the room silent? Why just one cry? “What the F is happening? What’s going on?!” Doctors and nurses reassure me that he’s just getting all the meconium filled liquid sucked out of him and I’ll hear him again shortly. And I do. Big shakey exhale.
John gets him and I see his precious face, but I can’t hold him. I’m shaking more violently. The nurse brings these heavy warm blanket things and cover my arms chest neck, and face and I’m still shaking like crazy. I close my eyes and just try to breath the shakes away. (Doesn’t work)
I shake all the way to recovery room, where my mom is waiting and they bring my baby boy. I’m still shaking and I can barely hold him. I felt awful. A nurse popped my boob out for me and put him on and he sucked like a freaking champ. I just cried and tried to hold him, but the nurse and my mom had to do it for me. FAILURE.
The shaking eventually stopped and I was able to hold him and love him up. But I didn’t get that overwhelming connectedness that I expected to feel. That feeling didn’t hit until day 4. (But I’ll post about that later)
My birth story makes me so sad. I was wholly unprepared for what happened. I am grateful that my little man is out safely and is healthy as can be, and I know that’s the most important part of the process.
This was one looong ass post huh.