Maxmilian's Birth Story :)
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October 23rd, 2012, 10:37 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
WARNING: RIDICULOUSLY LONG!! Only read if you have an hour to kill or are incredibly bored
I feel like things started for me on Sunday 30th September when I first had bloody show. It was a lot, and it didn't really stop once it started. Every time I'd use the bathroom, I would have more bloody mucus & this continued until I delivered. On Tuesday 2nd I had an overwhelming urge to clean our 3 bathrooms...something I usually loathe doing, but by the end of that day, they were gleaming!
On Wednesday 3rd I felt very crampy all day, and felt like I needed to poop, but couldn't. I must have sat on the toilet for hours that day! Looking back I think this was Max's head descending, that feeling of pressure. I first felt contractions that felt different to BH at 11pm on Wednesday night. I thought we should go to sleep if this was early labor to get as much rest as possible, but I kind of stayed awake timing the ctx until 1am...they were coming every 15 mins. Then I slept a bit, but by 5am they were becoming too intense to ignore with sleep...not really painful, but very noticeable & would wake me up.
DH went to work as he is a lawyer & was due in court, and I felt like I was in the very early stages of labor, with many hours, if not over a day to go! So off he went at 8am...I Skyped my parents in the UK to tell them what I thought was happening & we kept things quiet from everyone else as planned. I didn't want any attention or pressure (real or perceived) during labor...I just wanted to do things alone, at my own pace, without friends & family constantly 'checking in'. I had a bath around 9am, and went to the mall at 10am. I'd stopped timing ctx but it felt like they were getting closer together. I phoned my doula to tell her the situation. She just told me to keep her informed.
I just kept eating, drinking, walking & going about my usual day.
I had some lunch at 1pm & started timing again...7 mins apart, so I phoned DH to tell him I thought this was the real deal. He offered to skip the afternoon court session & just drive home then but I was seriously convinced this was still early labor & that I had about 20hrs to go! I showered & washed my hair at about 2pm & never had the chance to dry it. Things really started picking up then & I was having to focus on the contractions. I kept thinking of things I'd like to do...put on makeup, dry my hair, do a jigsaw puzzle, bake...but before I could really think about starting anything, another ctx would hit me. DH text me at 2:30pm & asked again if I wanted him home. I said no & instantly regretted it because ctx started coming hard & fast from that point forward. Thankfully another lawyer didn't show up & his afternoon work was cancelled, so he was able to get home to me at 4:15pm. Singing through ctx was the only thing really helping me.
At that point I'd been contracting every 4 mins for 35 secs each time, for 45 minutes. I was so confused because my ctx were coming so quickly, but they never fit the 5-1-1 rule...in fact I never had one that lasted over 40 secs, so I wasn't sure I was as far gone as I actually was.
DH was struggling to help me, exclaiming "I forgot everything in the books!!" after trying to rub my back & making me more uncomfortable. So we phoned my doula & she arrived at 6pm. Ctx every 2-3 mins at this point. I was on the toilet at this point because again I felt like I needed to poop. At this point I was starting to lose control. I'd started violently shaking, sweating & then feeling freezing cold, and was having serious self doubt. One of the first things my doula said was "I think it might be time to go to the hospital soon" (I later realised based on my desire to be on the toilet a lot & my ‘self-doubt emotional signpost’). I am so glad we hired her...the ctx were intense at this point but had I been alone I would have stayed at home for many more hours because I just overestimated the pain of labor in my head...it was not as bad as I was expecting it to be, so I STILL thought I was in early labor, if that makes sense. I feel like a lot of how my labor went was dependent on the fact that I thought I was a lot further behind than I actually was...and for this reason I’m really glad I wasn’t in the hospital being checked.
My doula & I walked around my yard for a bit while DH loaded the car & phoned my OB. She was awesome at making me feel better, getting me to circle my hips, using hip pressure, pretty much taking my entire weight during ctx, explaining that the reason I was shaking was from oxytocin & my body just doing what it was supposed to do. It was amazing & really helped me go from a point where I was spinning out of control, back to feeling very calm, and trusting of my body. We left for the hospital at 6:45pm & arrived at 7pm.
When we got there we were informed that my OB was not going to be able to make it due to personal family reasons. I had hand-picked him for his accommodation of my desire for a natural birth, he had signed off on so much of what I wanted (non-continuous monitoring, etc), so I just felt crap that he wouldn't be there. Then I got told that Dr L was on call & would be doing my delivery. Oh boy. He was my 'worst case scenario' doctor. He has a ridiculously high c-section rate, loves to induce early, and is so arrogant that my SIL 'fired' him 38 weeks into her pregnancy because she couldn't stand him any more.
I remember feeling pretty chilled out at the hospital in general though. Being there made me feel quite relieved, which I wasn’t expecting. I had been so worried about my labor stalling because if I really had things my way, I would have loved a home birth, but because of my heart issues I just didn’t want to risk it. They checked my BP & heart, and everything looked great. Baby’s heartrate was perfect too, and he was tolerating contractions awesomely. My ctx were coming every 2 minutes apart, lasting 30 secs at a time. Can you believe I STILL thought I was in early labor?! Lol. I must sound like an idiot, and I’m not being egotystical here...but the ‘pain’ was just pretty manageable, and I had this thing in my head that for me to be in active labor or transition, the ctx should be lasting 60-90 seconds. Note to self: not all labors are textbook!
My nurse was lovely. She was Russian & I found her accent very soothing haha. She asked if she could check my cervix & I said “yes, but I am probably only about 3cm”. She checked and I was at 8cm and baby’s head at +2 station! This was about 10 mins after arriving at the hospital at about 7:15pm. I’m glad we didn’t leave it much later to go! Without my doula convincing me I should think about getting there, I really would have stayed at home & probably had my baby in our bedroom or something. Which would be great under many circumstances, but not unplanned like that.
Then there was a period of frustration where we had to fight the doctor a bit because he wanted me to have a heplock & they wanted to do a routine blood draw. I refused both & this should have been no big deal, but of course they have to cover themselves legally so during freakin transition I was having to read & sign literally 20 pages of forms saying they wouldn’t be held responsible in event of an emergency, etc.
It’s true what they say about you getting a little crazy & irrational during transition. DH kept offering me ice chips & I said no for 5 ctx in a row, so on the 6th ctx he just didn’t offer. When the contraction was over apparently I gave him an evil death stare and said sooo sarcastically “oh, no I don’t need any ice, my mouth doesn’t feel like a sandbox & I’m not 100 degrees...thank you so much for asking!!”. I also said “I need to poo...I’m telling you...I am going to poo everywhere, you’ll see!”, and repeated that with almost every contraction for an hour haha.
Then things started to get pretty tough...I had an overwhelming urge to push, but I was only at 8cm...so was having to blow through every contraction, and yet I still felt myself bearing down a little. This was probably the only part of labor I’d say was very difficult. I know I keep saying it but I was surprised how manageable the ctx were...I did not feel much pain...perhaps because the duration of them was so short. But feeling like every part of me needed to push when my cervix wasn’t fully dilated, and having to resist that overwhelming urge for over an hour was exhausting. At 8pm I was 9cm. At 8:20pm I just had an anterior lip. The nurse started massaging my perineum with lubricant (she was a champ & did this for a long portion of the pushing stage!). At 8:30pm I was ready to push.
DH said “Crap! I forgot to phone anyone!”...we had intended on telling family I was in labor when I was ready to push...the point of no return, when them knowing wasn’t going to affect anything...so I started pushing & he was on the phone to my family & his. I always thought I wanted to push in a squatting or all fours position...but being on my side with my upper leg bent up to my chest was actually feeling the best. After a while pushing like that I decided to switch to being on my back. Really didn’t think I would ever want to be in that position after all my reading, but it’s what I wanted in the moment! Dr L came in & was actually AWESOME. He was directing me when I asked him to, being quiet when I needed him to, and giving me lots of encouragement. My doula was actually the most helpful during this stage. Having never done this before...I didn’t really know ‘how’ to push! I was just kind of sending energy down below in general, which wasn’t very productive. My doula was amazing at explaining where I should be feeling the pushing, what muscles I should be using, how I should be bringing my legs up, reminding me to breathe & I started making a lot more progress. At 9:40pm, after 1hr 10 mins of pushing, baby’s head was crowning. I didn’t really feel the ‘ring of fire’ or any pain, but there was a reason for that...
Many of you know that my one fear going into this was tearing...I was absolutely terrified of tearing through my perineum. I pushed for another 15 minutes & baby’s head was just coming out a tiny bit, then slipping back to the same spot...he just would not budge. I looked down and there was this ‘ring’ of white skin of my vagina around where his head was, which I now know is called ‘blanching’, and is where the skin is stretched so much that there is no blood flow to it. Without the blood flow, it becomes taught, not elastic, and wont stretch any more. Dr L started talking episiotomy. Another big ‘no no’ for me. DH was amazing at being on my side, being very firm but polite with the doctor & absolutely refusing it because he knew that was such a firm part of my plan...“I would rather risk a tear than have an episiotomy”. BUT...all of our research which led to me making that decision was based on me thinking I would tear through my perineum, and Dr L was saying I was going to tear UP. He started saying things like “Listen, Buddy” (to my DH) “she is going to tear through her urethra & clitoris & be incontinent...do you want that for your wife?!”. MAN...it was so horrible & to be honest I started getting pretty aggressive. Based on my preconceptions of this doctor I really thought like he was just getting impatient & wanted this baby out now...I didn’t think he had my interests at heart, so I was saying things like “you’re scaring me...you’re tricking me & want to cut me so you can be done with this delivery”. A little embarrassing looking back but oh well.
So I tried to keep pushing, and on my next push, FELT myself start to tear up as he had been describing! I sat up and said “do the episiotomy” (perineal) because I instantly realized that he had been trying to look out for me, and that that was the best route to go. He did a really teeny tiny episiotomy (about 1cm) & as I pushed Maxmilian’s head was born!! Dr L said “do you want to catch your baby?”...which I had always really wanted to do but never mentioned it to the doctors or nurses because I was so focussed on getting the other parts of my birth plan. So I pushed again, reached my hands down & pulled Maxmilian’s body out of me
That was so incredible! He was born at 10:04pm on 10-04
I was 39 weeks & 6 days...so he was about 2hrs early
I pulled him up onto my chest & just couldn’t stop shaking. I held him for about 10 minutes as I was getting stitched up & my placenta was delivered. DH cut the cord after it stopped pulsating & they put my placenta in the ziploc bags & cooler we’d brought to the hospital (DH encapsulated it the next day). Maxmilian scored 10/10 on his APGARs! He was 7lb 3oz & 20 inches long, and I think he’s perfect, although I might be a little bit biased
I am so happy with my birth experience. Everything went to ‘plan’ (laboring at home, getting to the hospital during transition, having my doula there to help, no induction, no pain meds, no IV, being able to walk & eat during labor) except for the episiotomy, but that is 100% okay, and has really taught me that it’s important to be flexible even when I have really strong wishes. My episiotomy is 1st degree & pretty much healed & not giving me any trouble. The natural tear is 2nd degree but due to the location feels a lot worse. It’s also not very deep but IS very long
It skimmed my urethra & missed tearing into clitoral tissue by about 2mm. I think it will take a few more weeks to heal properly at least. Oh well, I was just a little smaller than average & his head was a little bigger than average. No regrets
10 mins after birth:
, on Flickr
1 day old:
, on Flickr
6 days old:
, on Flickr
First bath at home at 2 weeks old:
, on Flickr
My favorite photo:
, on Flickr
And to complete the 'calendar shirt' series
...2 days postpartum:
, on Flickr
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