I decided to start off this birth story section with my own story! As I was reading back through my notes, I feel like my story could be taken as a “bad” birth story and experience so I wanted to share my feelings before the facts. Labor is HARD! There is no denying that, but I feel like I had a very positive experience. Although it was longer than I would have thought, the reward greatly outweighed any hardships. I don’t run – but I imagine running a marathon without any training would be similar. There will be times you want to give up, times you feel like you never should have signed up for this in the first place, and times you wish you would have done more to prepare your body for this crazy experience. No matter how you got to the finish line, you should be so PROUD of yourself!
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Advice from me to you
My biggest advice is to go into this with goals, but not expectations. Everyone’s birth experience is different and you can’t compare yourself to others. One of my good friends gave birth to her first child two months before me. She had her baby in her arms 3 hours after getting to the hospital. Did I wish my labor was that short? ABSOLUTELY! Did I expect that? Absolutely not!
At the end of the day, every single birth story is amazing – short or long, medicated or unmedicated, vaginal or cesarean, at home or in the hospital, or with a Midwife or OB. It is special because it is unique to you, it’s unlike any other story out there, and it is the story of how your precious human came into this world and started their life.
36 Week Appointment
My birth story actually starts at my 36 week tummy check appointment on January 2nd. My OB was on vacation, so I was scheduled to see one of the nurse practitioners at the office. During the normal evaluation, the nurse noticed my blood pressure was high and had me lay on my left side for a while before checking again.
She did this 3 times before my exam and my numbers were still very high. We did the tummy check and baby’s heartbeat sounded great, and I was dilated to 1 cm. My bp still wasn’t going down and she was slightly concerned that I was leaking fluid. I had also lost part of my mucus plug earlier when I got to the office. After 5 blood pressure checks, my bottom number was still around 103 and 98 at the last two checks. They sent me over to L&D to rule out preeclampsia.
Labor and Delivery
After meeting up with my husband and getting checked into the hospital, they started with a blood draw and took my bp again. We sat there for about an hour while the ruled-out preeclampsia and determined I was not leaking any fluid. However, they think I have gestational hypertension and the on-call doctor recommended induction at 37 weeks. They told me to call back the next morning to schedule an appointment with the other OB (Dr. N), since mine was still out.
The Next Day
I called the next day and they got me in same day at 1pm with Dr. N. I tidied up my desk a bit and shut down my computer just in case they sent me over to L&D for more tests. This time, I had my husband meet me at the office, just in case. I got to the appointment and my BP was still high so I had to lay on my left side again for the next three checks. Dr. N came in and said “Looks like we’re having this baby Monday!”. She left the room to make the appointment while my Husband and I let that sink in – we were going to be meeting our baby boy in just 4 short days!
After a few minutes, she came back in and told us that all the Monday slots were filled so out appointment was scheduled for Sunday at 11pm. She told me to pick up my blood pressure meds and a BP monitor and go home. When I asked if I could go back to work Friday to tidy up and she told me no, I was on bedrest and I needed to go home, put my feet up, and try to relax until Sunday. I had to call my work from the parking lot to inform them that I would not be coming back for 12 weeks.
The weekend before
The rest of the week was spent tidying up the house, putting away Christmas decorations, doing laundry, and prepping for my baby to come home (what bedrest?). I think I repacked my hospital bag about 12 times (check out my ocd list HERE). My parents came up and got a room so they could meet their grandson and help out as needed.
My nerves were at an all time high, and it was more excitement than anything. I had waited 37 long weeks to meet this perfect human and the time had finally come! On Saturday night my bp was high (140/101) and they had told me if it gets over 100 on the bottom to go into L&D. I just called up and told them what my numbers were and they told me to lay on my left side and take another test in an hour. By then it was down in the mid 90’s so we stayed home.
Sunday went by so slowly! I tried to take a nap but was just too excited. Around 9 pm we headed over (in a crazy snow storm) to have dinner with my parents before we went to the hospital. As we headed to the hospital, the snow storm had gotten even worse and we couldn’t even see the lines on the freeway anymore, I couldn’t help but think how much more stressful this drive would have been if I was in active labor!
The normal entrance through the parking garage was closed since it was so late, so we pulled up to the ER entrance and used the valet. We unloaded our bags and my pillow and headed up to the second floor. It felt like we were checking into a hotel which makes me laugh because I always imagined this moment full of stress and panic as I brace through contractions and leak all over the floor. They walked us back to our delivery room and had me get undressed and get into bed.
I got into our room at 11pm and the nurse asked me to change and she would be right back. I was well situated into bed and waiting impatiently for this show to begin. She came back and checked me and I was 1 cm dilated and already had contractions occurring more than 12 per hour on my own.
- 12:30 am – On call doctor comes in and inserts a misoprostol pill and started me on pitocin.
- 4:30 am – 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced
- 5:00 am – Foley Bulb inserted, contractions started to get more frequent and more painful. Harder to talk and breathe through. Now during each contraction I am leaned over the table and groaning through them. I wasn’t sure how I was going to continue tolerate them if they are only going to get worse. The balloon is supposed to fall out at 4 cm and it wasn’t even close to moving. Honestly, I felt like a wimp – I had this plan of going through all of labor unmedicated unless I REALLY needed it. Comparing myself to other moms was stupid, I was in pain, and I had a solution – why wasn’t I using it??
- 6:45 am– Asked for the epidural. Nurse said the anesthesiologist had a scheduled c-section and could come see me beforehand.
- 7:30 am – Epidural is in. The pain was not bad at all, much easier than my spinal tap I received back in high school. He started by numbing my lower back which felt like a bee sting. He inserted the needle and I felt strong pressure but I felt relief shortly after which was amazing compared to the hellish contractions I had been having. They waited for my epidural to fully kick in and inserted my catheter. I was just happy I didn’t have to get up anymore to pee. It was awful before that because I would have to get out of bed, grab my I.V. tower and wheel it over to the bathroom. We had to then feed the cords under the door and I had to try to move my gown while attached to all the lines. I felt like I was going to pee on the floor every time and the balloon felt so weird especially since part of it was taped to my thigh. The next few hours were slow, I was out of pain but could still feel when I was having a contraction. My husband and I were both able to take a short nap.
No more Foley Bulb
- 5:00 pm – Dilated to 4 cm now and they removed my balloon. Continued to have contractions. They took me off Pitocin to give my body a break.
- 6:30 pm – They decided to break my water to try to speed things along. I was at a 6 and 90% effaced and stationed at a –2. Started me back on Pitocin. At this point, I was happy to finally have a timeline. Either this baby would come on his own in the next 24 hours, or I would have to have a c-section, but at least I would finally be able to meet my child.
He’s Moving Down!
- 8:30 pm – now at a 7 and 100% dilated, station: -1, baby’s head is dropping!
- 10:30 pm – progressed to an 8, inserted an internal contraction monitor to see if my contractions were getting stronger.
- 12:30 am – only at a 9 now, over 24 hours in and started to feel anxious and tired.
- 1:30 am – My cervix on the left was not fully gone but the right side was. We started having issues with baby’s heart rate dropping during contractions, they assumed that the cord is getting pinched or might be wrapped around his neck. I had to continue switching sides – laying on my right was more comfortable to the stabbing pain in the top right of my belly but worse for baby’s heart rate and wasn’t best position for cervix to finish effacing. Contractions were very strong – lots of pressure and some pain despite the epidural. The top part of my belly hurt during each one and epidural didn’t cover that high, they think baby may have kicked me and I had some bruising causing the pain.
- 2:30 am – They thought it might be time but after checking there was still some cervix left.
- 3:00 am – All of the cervix was gone and the nurses started prepping the room for pushing stage.
- 3:15 am – I started pushing. It sucked. Every contraction they had me hold my breath and do a sit up and push for 10 seconds, take a 3 second break and push two more times after that. It was the strongest workout of my life. The beginning of pushing was hard because it was so much work and pain but you couldn’t see anything. During each contraction I had the worst stabbing pain in the same upper part of my belly. It wasn’t long before I was in tears. I wanted to be done.
- 3:30 am – the nurse started to see the top of his head. I changed my mind and asked to have the mirror turned on so I could see. I feel like pushing got a lot more efficient once I could see the progress being made. With each push and I became more motivated.
- 3:35 am – Dr. N came in and got prepped. Baby’s head came out and she could see that the cord was wrapped around once. She untangled it and told me to give lighter pushes to prevent tearing as she gave me perineal massage. Only two more pushes after head was out and the rest of the baby was born! It was amazing and crazy and miraculous all at the same time.
- 4:01 am – My amazing little boy was born. I had very minor tears with only 4 stitches. I was able to do skin-to-skin for a few minutes; his oxygen levels were low due to fluid in mouth and lungs. They had to take him over to get his O2 levels back up and his temperature up to a better level. They gave him some oxygen, took measurements, and gave him back to me for skin-to-skin while I delivered my placenta and Dr. N stitched me up. My husband did skin-to-skin for 1.5 hours after birth while I was taken off all my iv’s and epidural was taken out. The medication had worn off by then and I could stand up to use the restroom. Our Son, James, weighed in at 8 lbs, 1 oz and measured 20.5 inches long.
5:45 am – we went up to the 3rd floor and were placed into our new room. We attempted to breastfeed but James wouldn’t latch.
We spent most of the day just cuddling our little boy.
James still didn’t want to latch. We had lots of people coming in trying to help. We were supplementing with donor breast milk for the time being. I was pumping and feeding him my colostrum as well. Finally, a lactation consultant came in and was able to get him to latch! After all that work, this was the greatest feeling – of being able to finally feed my baby. They had us stay an extra night because he wasn’t latching great and his jaundice levels were still high. The pediatrician came in and cleared his jaundice levels and told us to continue to feed him as much as he will take. We also had instructions to put him in the window in the sun when we got home. We packed up and came home in the afternoon to begin our new life as a family of three.