Sweet Beginnings | His birth story

3 10 2014

So I thought a woman’s water breaking at home was only a thing of the movies. In fact, a quick search on BabyCenter told me that only about 5-15% of women have their water break prior to labor starting. With my first son, it broke later in labor, around 8 cm… so of course this experience had to be completely different!

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Baby S, here is your birth story:

I was due on Wednesday, September 24, 2014. That day passed by, and I continued to go to work each day as an elementary school counselor. On Friday, September 26, I went to work as usual, teaching 3 classes in the afternoon – 2nd grade, 1st grade, and Kindergarten. I used the megaphone at car rider duty. Just throwing ideas out there in case you are reading this, overdue, and need ideas to jumpstart your labor. That evening we ate {spicy} beef quesadillas and then sat on the couch with dessert – homemade pumpkin bread – around 7:30 PM.

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On the couch, I told my husband that I felt really uncomfortable sitting, but also standing, so I was going to try to get to bed early. I asked him if he’d be up for giving our toddler a bath (he always does this) and rocking him to sleep (I always do this). I headed upstairs to get ready for bed around 8:30. Soon after, my toddler was freshly bathed and in his jammies.

Before lying down, I did some simple baby rolling exercises on my balance ball. My midwife told me that the baby was most likely posterior and gave me a series of exercises to try that could roll the baby. E was standing beside me, and my husband was also in our bedroom, when we all heard a subtle “pop” that sounded like a knuckle cracking. (I also felt it.) Almost as if the baby had shifted. We wondered if something was wrong. I heard a second pop, so I began lifting myself off the ball. And then there was the huge gush of water and my shorts were soaked. My toddler kept saying, “oh noooo! Mommy! Potty on carpet? Mommy hurt!” He was extremely troubled.

It was 9:14 PM. I was filled with a mix of relief and anxiety, knowing what was ahead of me tonight.

My husband sprang into go-mode. While trying to console E, he ran to grab a towel and I made it to our bathroom as my water continued to burst continuously. We agreed that we wouldn’t be laboring at home (like we did for 5 hours with E – I made it to 5 cm before we left the house to deliver him!) but that we needed to get to the hospital right away and that we’d have to use the after-hours ER entrance. He called to let the hospital know we were coming while I hung out in the bathroom, not able to move much without gushing water everywhere.

I felt like a fire hydrant.

As he called our neighbor (our backup interim babysitter for if my labor started quickly – we had arranged for my husband’s parents to come watch E, but they live 45 minutes away, so our neighbors watched him until my in-laws arrived), I stood in the shower, the only place I felt safe, and decided to just grab a shower before heading to the hospital. We put our dog in the garage. At 9:48 PM, we FLEW to the hospital, me sitting on a trash bag and towels.

They were expecting us at the ER and asked me how far along I was. “40-and-a-half weeks.”

“Has your water broken?”

“It’s breaking right now and running down my leg. It’s been breaking for like an hour.”

And with that response, they whisked me into a wheelchair and scrambled to find someone to wheel me up to Labor & Delivery on the 3rd floor. And there we waited.

I was not having any major contractions yet, which worried me. I really didn’t want to be induced (after watching “The Business of Being Born” two years ago) and was glad I had switched to using midwives so that doctors wouldn’t be pushing it on me now. Basically I was sitting on the hospital bed, waiting for things to happen – much unlike my first experience where there was no time for talking, paperwork, or anything!

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The nurses asked for my birth plan and said that all my requests and preferences were certainly manageable and reasonable. They also brought me Sprite and water.

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At 10:15 PM, my nurse, Amanda, hooked up the fetal heart rate monitor and explained that it was a full house of women in labor (16 of 18 rooms were filled) and she wasn’t sure which midwife was on call because tonight, they’d be switching every 2 hours to relieve each other, which is not normal. Hmm… that did not sound like the experience I was expecting – with lavender, oils, Jacuzzi, etc. They told me one midwife, Becky, was on-call from 10-12, and another, Debbie, would start at midnight. (Becky came in for a minute to mention that inducing could be an option later if things didn’t progress at all, and that they could limit how much medicine I’d use – just something for me to think about. And then we didn’t see her again and thankfully didn’t have to go that route.)

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10:40 PM – baby’s heart rate was 135.

11:00 – Stronger contractions started. They were only slightly painful at first, the kind where I held onto the handles of the bed and quietly blew through them without telling anyone. With each contraction came another burst of water, which offered a second of relief. But it made me want to dry off, so I’d get up between every.single.contraction to use the bathroom.

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At 11:04, the nurse hooked up my IV of Penicillin because I had tested positive for Group B Strep at a previous appointment, and these antibiotics would prevent passing an infection to the baby during delivery. I would need to be hooked up to the IV for the first hour of labor (better now than later!) and then every 4 hours afterward for 30 minutes each. Which meant that after every contraction, I was now wheeling the cumbersome IV unit into the bathroom with me, and even more frequently now that I was receiving saline and Penicillin.

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Sorry. Sorry, sorry.

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At 1:45 AM, we hadn’t seen the midwife Debbie yet, and we decided to walk a few laps around the hallways, even though my contractions were more frequent when I was lying down. We finally ran into Debbie in the hallway and spoke with her briefly before making our way back to our room. We passed the nursery and counted six newborns in there already.

Maybe all these mommies were rushing to beat the Kindergarten registration cutoff date (Sept. 30). Or maybe the new moon had something to do with it?

At 2:20 AM (I asked my husband to write everything down this time – that’s how I have the times), things really started happening. My contractions got much, much stronger. A few days later, my nurse would explain that redheads typically experience less time between contractions. And that we also bleed more easily, the sole reason that I had to keep my IV port in an extra day. 

Also, please note that we had been in the hospital for over four hours and had yet to have help. Our room was dark and quiet, and it looked like my husband and I might be delivering this baby ourselves. My contractions got so strong that I began yelling, and my husband, the only one in the room, coached me to breathe instead. I continued to forcefully blow through my contractions. I brought my own purple Gaiam exercise ball from home, knowing the hospital-grade birthing balls were too large for me. I put it on my bed at the pillow and kneeled over it as I breathed, gripping the sides of the railing. (Later, the cleaning lady took it, thinking it belonged to the hospital. She cleaned it, realized her error, and brought it back.)

I declined the Jacuzzi, even though I had originally wanted to try it out, because my water was still breaking and I just wanted to get dry (and, of course, end the pain). So no Jacuzzi with this birth, either. Sad.

At 3:45 AM, I got checked and was 5 cm. I could not believe the amount of pain I was in at just 5 cm — with E, I was laboring at home with the manageable contractions at 5 cm, with 5 hours of labor still ahead of me! I started to panic that I would be in this much pain for the next 5 hours. I was also fighting bouts of extreme nausea. My contractions were about every 2 minutes, with one of the minutes spent in a contraction and the other minute spent rushing to the bathroom to dry off before the onset of the next.

I remember my last trek to the bathroom vividly. It was still just me and my husband (and a nurse at the computer) in the room, and I got up because I actually thought I needed to go. But the next contraction met me in the bathroom, the pain took over, and my body began to push, me screaming and writhing in pain. My husband said that my screaming was the final wake up call to my nurse that we desperately needed someone else to come help me. They had to walk me out of the bathroom, one on each side, like I was an injured football player.

The midwife ran in at 4:05 AM, apologizing that she was in the middle of actively delivering another girl’s baby. She was very short with me (sooo not her personality!) as I begged her to check me. Eight centimeters. And then I begged for an epidural. She just looked at me and said, “I have to go deliver this other baby. You just have a few more minutes to go, you don’t need one! And I thought you couldn’t have one because of your back surgery, anyway.” And with that, she rushed out. I wailed. The baby has always been extremely low, so he was right there ready. The back labor was insane and the urge to push was so strong that I thought I also needed a catheter, knowing I couldn’t get to the bathroom in this amount of pain. I started begging for one and the nurse looked at me like I was crazy.

“That would be so painful. And in the way. You can’t have a catheter!”

I knew I was being unreasonable, but I just knew I needed something – anything – someONE – to help me through this pain. I started chanting, “I can’t do this. I.Can’t.Do.This.” I also remember telling my husband earlier that “we better not get charged for using a midwife, because we still haven’t seen one!” The nurse, who was still busy at the computer, said, “yeah, we are working our girls like crazy tonight!”

Who, the mommies, or the midwives?

I got really overheated, and I remember telling my husband where to find a hair clip in my hospital bag – a needle in a haystack. I remember the hospital bed pads were stuck to my right knee, and I could barely speak to tell him “right.leg.something.stuck.get.it.off.” I was also holding onto his arm so hard he probably thought I would break it.

4:15 AM – Debbie, my midwife, FINALLY came in to help me with the pushing, but even still, she immediately got paged to go back to finish delivering the placenta of the baby she had just delivered. Thankfully, Debbie told them someone else would have to do it and she was staying with me now to deliver my baby. She covered the end of the bed with a blue drape and began getting all sorts of tools ready, and that gave me faith that this would all be over soon. I asked my husband to put some Hyland’s Leg Cramp ointment on my left leg when I felt a cramp coming on – I would not be pushing alongside 2 Charlie horses this time like I did with E! Luckily, he had it ready in his pocket. Bless him.

With E, my doctor told me when to push, but I’d usually ignore him and push when I felt the need (I did not have an epidural with E, either, so I could feel when to push). Pushing E was more forceful because I was letting the doctor tell me how long to push, especially through the “ring of fire,” and I tore with E, requiring stitches.

With the midwife, pushing made much more sense. She had me in a better position – still impossible and painful, but more effective. She used warm compresses and showed me where to push each time. She modeled the most optimal breathing techniques that would slowly drop the baby to where he needed to be, breathing with me to make pushing more efficient. (Oh! And he was anterior – in the correct position – all along! My midwife said that I must have successfully rolled him by doing the exercises at home.) Even my husband said that the pushing made more sense as he watched the baby’s head slowly make incremental progress with each push.

I got to feel the baby crown this time – like a squishy brain! Knowing that he was RIGHT THERE and watching the nurse prepping the bassinet with that familiar striped newborn hospital blanket for the baby’s exam is what motivated me to continue.

That, and thinking about E getting a baby brother.

Debbie coached me through the “ring of fire” until his head was out, and my husband said she used an aspirator to suck the fluid from his lungs before she even started pulling his shoulders out. I couldn’t see anything going on, and they said they didn’t have a closer mirror than the one on the wall, so I missed this part.

And finally, at 4:47 AM, he was all out, and the sense of relief that it was all over was incredible. I had such a difficult pregnancy and such an excruciating labor that there was nothing but absolute relief in that moment of seeing and feeling him here in this world with us. Knowing pregnancy was over and the worst of the pain had passed.

I first noticed his full head of blonde hair when Debbie lifted him out – not what I was expecting! I kept calling him “sweet pea” over and over as I cradled him against my chest.

That moment.

That precious, priceless moment. There’s nothing like it. I will never forget meeting either of my sons for the first time. Like with E, I wished him a happy birthday and whispered to him that God loves him very much, and so do we.

Everything moved in slow motion this time as I tried to take it all in – I got to be a part of my husband cutting the umbilical cord, which they clamped right in front of me so I could watch. I also remember, surprisingly, how clean the baby felt, how dry, warm, and soft he was, even without a bath. I remember Debbie taking the time to deliver the placenta naturally. (Um, did I mention that my doctor tried to rip it out with E? Forgetting that I could feel everything? And that he used Pitocin in my IV  after the birth without asking me, just to induce it out?)

The baby was able to lie there as long as I wanted him to, and at 5:15 AM, he found his first latch and began nursing. He nursed for 25 minutes with 3 good latches, and soon afterward, the nurses wanted to weigh him and get some assessments done. He spit up a bit, and I handed him off.

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I was shivering so uncontrollably that I felt like I was in shock. My husband remembered that I did this after delivering my first, too, although I don’t, and the nurse assured us that I was fine and the shaking was normal. He was still pretty alarmed, as it went on for awhile.

My sweet boy weighed 7 lbs., 12.9 oz (rounded to 7 lb., 13 oz.) and was 21″ long with his head measuring 13.5″. (His brother weighed 7 lb., 12.5 oz. and was 20.5″ long. I guess I grow my babies consistently.)

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A foggy sunrise later that morning – Saturday, September 27, 2014: Welcome to the world, little baby.

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Later, I would learn that 16 babies were born at the hospital that night, almost all boys. Five of them were delivered by my midwife, which is much more than usual for their practice. Someday, maybe my son will meet the little baby Debbie delivered just moments before him.

He’ll be the one dragging his own placenta around by his umbilical cord.

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***

Disclaimer: Every birth experience is different, and I’m not saying mine was perfect or the “right way,” but using the midwives was something I had been wanting to try, and I feel that they nailed my birth plan on the head with the preferences I had listed – I still can’t believe how it all happened. My husband and I praise God that our sweet boy is content and healthy and we are so blessed that we were able to go through this experience side by side to give our son a little brother.

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4 responses

2 12 2014
Sage |2 months | Running MOMentum

[…] Birth story […]

28 03 2015
Sage | 6 months | Running MOMentum

[…] Your birth story […]

29 04 2015
Sage | 7 Months | Running MOMentum

[…] Birth | one | two | three | four | five | six […]

28 06 2015
Sage | Nine Months | Running MOMentum

[…] birth | one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight […]

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