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I wanted to write down literally every detail I could remember from my birthing time, so I think this birth story is in the records of ‘longest birth story ever’ on JM. So for those of you just wanting to know what happened overall, I did a cliff notes version so you don’t have to read the whole thing to get the jist. Haha.
Cliff Notes Version-
*7p.m. Thursday evening - began noticing some tightening/pressure that I mostly ignored all evening *Around 1-2a.m.ish - had some blood streaks on toilet paper when using the bathroom
*4:30am - bloody show *5 am - not able to sleep through the pressure waves, which felt more like intense period cramps than the ‘all over’ feeling of contractions I was expecting *530- called the OB office, had a hard time getting through due to poor connections, finally told to head to hospital *6am- got to hospital *7am- paperwork signed 7 filled out, gown on, first cervical check = 4 or 5 cm dilated, -1 station, 90% effaced *8am- IV inserted and started on magnesium sulfate due to high blood pressure. Instructed to lay on left side for duration of birthing time *8:30am - bag of waters were snagged, but never leaked anything… never did find out where the hell the water was, *Some time in between then - threw up, must have been transition.. Got checked and was 9cm dilated, nurses said they’d call doctor *around 12:30 my body started to push on its own but was told to keep my legs shut because the doctor wasn’t at the hospital yet
- after about 8 minutes of pushing, Miss Lily Rose was born at 12:42 p.m. weighing pounds, 8.1 ounces and 19.5 long.
-I did it with no epi or other pain medication thanks in large part to my hypnobabies studies!
Ok long version time! --
Having a natural childbirth was really important to both my husband and I. In preparation, we did the hypnobabies home study course. Every day I would listen to a pregnancy affirmations CD and then either another CD or a script read to me by my husband. So for weeks and weeks we spent about an hour a day focusing on my pregnancy and our baby and my birthing time. I think hypnobabies really gave me a positive attitude throughout my pregnancy and I knew even before giving birth that if I wasn’t able to do it without pain medication - all the preparation would have been worth it regardless. I spent a lot of time reminding myself that my estimated due date of January 15th was just a guess date, and not a ‘due BY’ date and was hopeful that my baby would be born when she was ready - and not when a doctor felt it was time for me to be induced, etc. I lucked out that our little girl wanted her birth day to be on her ‘due date’ (which is also my late grandfather’s birthday!) because I developed some issues towards the end of my pregnancy that wasn’t going to allow me to go ‘overdue.’
Throughout my pregnancy I was never particularly comfortable or happy with my doctors. I was in a practice that had four rotating doctors and I never felt like I got to ‘know’ any of them. The nurses did everything - checking baby’s HB, fundal height, weight, blood pressure and answering any questions I may have - and then the doctor would stick her head in, ask if I had any questions the nurse couldn’t help me with, and that was that. I really longed for a water birth, either at home or at a birthing center, with a midwife - but that simply wasn’t in the cards. The only item I really butted heads with with one of the doctors was over consenting to an episiotomy. I absolutely did not want one and preferred to tear naturally. I felt as though she was laughing at me as she told me she would ‘do one if that’s what she wanted to do.’ I told her that if it became medically necessary then I would consent but I would appreciate it if she would include me in that decision if/when the time came. With that being the only kind of conversation I really had with one of my doctors I was really worried about not feeling in control over what was happening during my birthing time. I wanted to labor at home and wait as long as possible before going in to the hospital so there would be less chances for them to intervene.
A week before I gave birth I wasn’t feeling particularly well and decided to check my blood pressure at home. Early on in my pregnancy I was having issues with my BP being too low, and having dizzy/fainting spells. At one reading my BP was 73/39! When I was having these issues I had brought in my automatic home cuff to be calibrated at my doctor’s office to make sure I was getting accurate readings. Well that Saturday night when I checked my blood pressure it was high. Anything over 140 and over 90 is high for pregnancy, and every single reading I got over the weekend was high. I was so fearful they were going to want to induce me, and I was worried that if my body and my baby wasn’t ready to be born and they put me on pitocin for long periods of time, I would cave to the epidural or pain medication, or worse, wind up having a c-section. Not to mention, I had it stuck in my head that I was likely going to go past my ‘due date’ and so since in my mind I was guaranteed X number of days at a minimum - I hadn’t yet packed my hospital bag, or cleaned out my car to install the carseat, etc. So I really really didn’t want to call the doctor and possibly be induced - I still had things to do! I’m a terrible patient. Haha. Anyway, my blood pressure and swelling was creeping out of control and I couldn’t stay in denial much longer so I called the doctors. Just like with pretty much every other concern I had during my pregnancy - they weren’t worried about it. Still I convinced them to bump up my appointment to the next day to check me. When I got to the office my blood pressure was 180/100 so they instantly had me lay on my left side to try to bring it down. Fortunately it came down considerably so they didn’t send me straight to the hospital. The doctor came in and said there was protein in my urine and that I had developed pre-eclampsia. She said she was willing to induce that afternoon. I asked her if it would be safe for me to continue the pregnancy any longer because I really wanted to avoid an induction. She said that if I stayed at home on my left side and continued monitoring my BP she would let me go home and come back in a couple of days with a 24 hr urine collection to reassess. So I was scheduled to come back that Friday afternoon at 1:45 - I’d be 40 weeks pregnant. Luckily, I went into labor on my own that morning and never had to go to the appointment!
Okay… on to the good stuff!
Around 7pm Thursday evening I began having some pressure. To be honest I pretty much ignored it. I was never impatient or uncomfortable during this pregnancy, I would have been okay staying pregnant a few more months to be honest. So I wasn’t constantly looking for ‘signs’ either. I knew I wanted to go into labor soon because I didn’t want to be induced, but at the same time I wasn’t doing anything to get it going. I was having some tightening on and off all evening, but nothing that could have been timed or anything like that. I didn’t mention it to my husband because I didn’t want him to get all worked up either. Like idiots, we stayed up all night long playing Super Mario on the wii. A couple of times when I went to the bathroom I noticed the toilet paper was tinged with blood… and when I went to the bathroom right before going to bed at 4:30a.m. I noticed I had a big bloody glob in the toilet- so I’d lost my plug! I don’t know if things picked up because I’d finally acknowledged what was happening at that point or if it was just bound to happen that way anyway. I decided to lie down and try to get some rest. My pressure waves (contractions) were getting more intense at this point, but I was still kind of in denial about it. I had always heard that your entire stomach gets hard/firm when contracting and that often it wraps around to your back or into your thighs or butt. That was nothing like what I was experiencing. Mine just felt like pretty serious period cramps at that point -- definitely a tightening or squeezing feeling, but it was lower down and not my entire belly. And just like with period cramps, I had lots of diarrhea and was super pleased to run out of toilet paper and have to use paper towels! Yikes! Anyway, they kept coming and they were coming quickly, so I woke my husband up - who had been asleep for about a whopping ten minutes at that point. I was worried if this was going to take a long time that I would be starving at the hospital so I made a bowl of oatmeal… couldn’t even take a bite, just wasn’t interested and the pressure waves were coming pretty close together. I couldn’t speak through them and developed a system where I would snap so DH knew what was going on and didn’t keep talking at me. While I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible, I also knew that with my pre-eclampsia, that probably wasn’t the best idea anymore. L I took my blood pressure and it was in the high 150’s over 110’s so I decided to go ahead and call the doctor’s office. This is around 5:30a.m. For whatever reason - we could hear the automated system perfectly fine but whenever it got to the on call person, they couldn’t understand us! We don’t have a landline, just cell phones, but both my husband and I called multiple times and had full service and something was going on on their end to prevent them from hearing us. Very frustrating. Finally my husband got through and they said they’d have the OB call us back. She called back and said to go ahead and get in to the hospital - so off we went! I texted my friend Lauren (lash) who was one of the many awesome ladies who were updating JM for me and I included this last belly pic taken by my cell phone while on our way out the door --
The hospital was about a ten minute drive away and we got there and headed up to the maternity ward at around 6a.m. Robin was the nurse I had and she was AWESOME. I loved her and was so fortunate to get her. At my first cervical check she said I was 4 or 5 cm dilated (she said it was probably 5 but she wanted to be conservative ) and -1 station and 90% effaced. My goal had been to show up at the hospital around 6 cm dilated or so and I was really happy that I had made some progress at home before getting there. I don’t remember what my BP reading was when I got there but it was entirely too high, so they instantly put me on my left side and that was where I spent my entire birthing time. By 8 a.m. they had put my IV in because I was going to have to be on magnesium sulfate to bring down my blood pressure and reduce my risk of having a seizure. That stuff is a nightmare! I was tense and shaking pretty much the whole time and it was hard to focus on anything.
Oh, side note - I have an ipod but long story short I can’t put anything on to it, and I needed something to play my hypnobabies tracks for me while I was in the hospital. So I’d planned on getting this cheapie mp3 player from walmart around Christmas time that was like $30. Never did. So then it was down to crunch time and I needed either an mp3 player of some sort of at the very least a disc man/cd player thing. Around 1 a.m. DH had offered to run to wal-mart and pickone up and I was like ‘nah, we’ll get one on the way to my doctor’s appointment’ - so needless to say I didn’t have any of my hypnobabies tracks to listen to while in my birthing time!
So while in labor the magnesium basically puts you in this mental fog where its really hard to concentrate on things, so there was no way I could allow myself to be distracted by anything. I just laid there on my stupid left side for hours, with my eyes closed, not speaking, just repeating the hypnobabies tracks I had memorized in my head over and over again. I could distinctly hear the woman’s voice from the CD’s saying “breeeeeaaaaathing my anesthesia to exACTly where I need it most…” My husband said that the entire time I was in labor I said maybe five things - rag, ice, “f off” (in a very calm and loving way, apparently) and perhaps a few others. Obama could have been standing in the corner and I wouldn’t have had a clue because I seriously never opened my eyes. The nurse, Robin, was worried that they had over-done my magnesium dosage and that I actually wasn’t coherent at all, but when they tested my blood levels it was exactly where it was supposed to be. I was just doing an awesome job focusing inwardly!
Around 8:30 a.m. my blood pressure still wasn’t down enough and the doctor decided to break my water. I have heard so often that that’s when the contractions really pick up so I was nervous about being able to handle it. But still my contractions were all in my pelvis and not my belly. They weren’t really being picked up much on the monitor and I tried to explain they had the monitors on too high but they didn’t ever move them low enough. I remember the doctor digging around in me to break my water, and nothing happening. She finally pulled her hand out and told the nurse that she knows she definitely snagged it, but nothing was leaking out. She thought maybe I had been leaking before that - but I’ve never noticed anything! So I just never had any water… no big gush when they snagged it … no little gushes at home… nothing over a series of days that made me think maybe I was leaking… it just didn’t exist. The case of the missing waters!
By this point my pressure waves had apparently slowed down a bit. I was never talking or opening my eyes so I genuinely don’t know how close together they were, or what they looked like on a monitor or even if there had been a clock on the wall in the room. The doctor wanted to start me on pitocin. I BEGGED them to not start it … I was just not confident in my ability to stay focused and get through the pressure waves while on that stuff and the mag. They said that after the initial dose of mag they could turn it down a bit and see if my contractions picked back up - and luckily, they did! So I stayed that way for a while… eyes closed, my husband the only one in the room, just laying there laboring on my left side. Some times I would let out a moan, but making noise really didn’t make anything feel better and it just broke my concentration, which by that point I was barely hanging on to anyway.
All of a sudden the pressure started getting really intense. I whispered to my husband “I want the epi” - knowing full well I didn’t really want it, and that by the time I got it I’d be nearly done anyway! The second the words rolled off my tongue they were shortly followed by “… and I’m going to throw up!” Some non-Robin nurse was in there and she quickly grabbed a container for me to throw up in that was no joke, about the size of a soda can. I quickly over flowed that and then threw up all over my left shoulder and husband. Whoops! In my mind, I knew that must have been transition, and I was so glad I was close. More time passed… I don’t know if it was ten minutes or an hour and a half… but time passed and I asked to be checked. I didn’t feel ready to push, but I also felt like I COULD have if I had to, if that makes any sense. Robin said I was at a 9 and she was going to let the doctor know. Heck yes! At this point I was so excited because I had made it… I had gotten this far without any pain medication and I knew I‘d achieve my NCB!. Earlier in my birthing time when the doctor was there and Robin told her I wasn’t interested in an epi, the doctor said she could get some pain meds for my IV. I quickly told her I wasn’t interested and she told me that I didn’t need to be a martyr. It’s crazy how many times I got called that specifically by friends/family etc. I had my husband keep a very close eye on anything that came near that IV pole.
I am not sure if its because I was so focused that perhaps the nurses and doctor didn’t think I was as far along as I actually was, or what, but I was ready to push and there was no one there! I said to my husband “grab the camera … and a doctor! She’s ready to be born!” and he ran out into the hall, and the nurse came back in and didn’t even have to check me, I was clearly ready… but the doctor wasn’t at the hospital yet! She had left and went back to the office at some point and so they were telling me I had to wait. HA! I remember mumbling quietly “I hate her!” I was so mad … we were birthing on mine and Lily’s terms - not the doctor’s! and now the baby catcher wasn’t even there! So the nurses left the room, and I’m laying there on my left side holding my legs closed together. The best way I know how to describe this is like this - you know when you have to crap and you’re actively participating in getting it out versus when you have diarrhea and your body is doing 100% of the work? It’s pretty much like that. My body was bearing down and pushing Lily out and I had no control over it. I just laid there with my legs closed and told my husband if he didn’t want to catch her he better get a doctor in there asap. So he ran back into the hall and was like “SHE’S COMING!” so the nurses all rush back in and apparently there was a midwife a few doors down! WHAT?! YES!!!! Haha. So they ran and grabbed the midwife, but once she got in there my doctor was there. Boo! And of course, as soon as she’s all suited up and I can finally flip over and push… I don’t really feel like I have to any more. Haha. Murphy’s Law, right? Well I remembered reading in my hypnobabies stuff that if you wait to push her head out when you’re not having a contraction, you will be more in control of the forcefulness and therefore less likely to tear. So I decided that I was just going to push anyway, even though I wasn’t having any help from my body. By this point my contractions hadn’t been being picked up on the monitors anyway because they were too low and so the nurse had taken them off entirely. I was happy for that because it meant no one else could be looking at a computer screen and trying to tell me what my body needed to do!
So I started pushing even though my body wasn’t naturally bearing down like it had been before. Still, Lily was born in 8 minutes! She was born at 12:42 p.m. weighing pounds, 8.1 ounces and was 19.5 inches long! She was SO awake and alert! She had a good bit of hair… that I guess you would say is light brown in color? Everyone seems to have a different opinion on hair color, haha.
The doctor did an episiotomy though! I’m still really upset about it, as I sit here on my stupid donut cushion in pain… it was one of the only things I specifically asked not to do, and if she was born so quickly I don’t understand how it was medically necessary. Lily was totally covered in blood so when they took her over to the warming station to be cleaned up rather than placing her on my chest I wasn’t too upset about it. Her first apgar score was a 7 - she lost 2 points for color and 1 for not screaming/crying instantly. Her second was an 8. I could see her in the warming thing next to me as they cleaned and dressed her and weighed and measured her, etc. I actually didn’t hold her for maybe like 30 minutes or so though. L I was being sewn back together and that was genuinely the very WORST part for me. I could feel everything since I wasn’t given any pain medication, and by that point my baby was there, there were so many people in the room, and I’d been on the mag for quite a while and there was just no hope of going to my special place and focusing to get through the pain. I was still tense and shaking and just totally miserable. It was awful. I don’t know how much more I tore after being cut or really any of the details about that but from the looks and feel of things now, I feel like I tore straight through to my arse.
Anyway, they finally brought Lily over for me to hold and BF and she latched on instantly. And that’s pretty much the last thing I remember for the next 24 hours or so. L I know I sent a text message to a bunch of people here on JM telling them she was born. And then looking at my phone four hours later and the message hadn’t gone through (or I didn’t think it did?) and trying to update on the complications I had… and being frustrated that my messages would be back to back be like ‘everything is great she’s here! - and then - ‘everything is awful I’m gonna die!’ Basically, after delivery my blood pressure wouldn’t come down so I had to stay on the magnesium and on my left side. They kept the catheter in because they didn’t want me seizing if I tried to get up. Then my uterus wasn’t contracting or doing anything it was supposed to so they started me on pitocin. So I still got to experience the joys of that - just that once all the drugs really started up Lily was born already. I was hemorrhaging badly and the ‘good’ drug they use to make that stop they couldn’t use on me because it increases blood pressure. So I would up getting four pills tucked into my arse… and then those weren’t doing anything but my BP decreased enough that they finally put me on whatever the ‘good’ drug was. They kept coming in to compress my uterus and Ben said what looked like gallons and gallons of blood would come out every time. At one point they were saying I would likely have to get a blood transfusion the next morning because of all that I was losing. I wasn’t allowed to come off the mag until at least 12 hours after Lily’s birth. I had so much mag running through my system I doubt I could have even told you my own name. Ben said that the 6 o’clock news came on and I saw the anchor and got all excited yelling “I KNOW HIM! HE HANGS OUT AT MY PARENTS HOUSE! ON THEIR TV!!!!” Despite being pretty much incoherent all of that day, Lily still latched and BF’d every couple of hours, so I’m told. Good thing she knew what she was doing! Around 11pm I developed a fever and they weren’t exactly sure what was wrong… but it eventually came down.
I had to spend an extra day in the hospital, but I’ve felt better and better each day since then. I’m on iron supplements now and have to go back for an appointment this week to evaluate what’s going on with my blood pressure. I’ve taken it a handful of times since being home and its always still considered ‘high.’ but my swelling is so far gone I actually look human again - which is a miracle!
Overall, I am so very proud of myself for not having any pain medication during Lily’s birth, despite developing pre-eclampsia and having to deal with the risks involved with that. I spent so much time focusing on my pregnancy and birthing time that it never occurred to be what a nightmare recovery could be though. Ugh, just awful! I would give birth over and over again though … it really was a great experience and we’re so lucky to have our baby girl here and healthy!
bloody baby.. still attached
This is before I held her, when they got her all cleaned up and dressed... so awake & alert!
my hugely swollen face, Lilybug waving and my awesome nurse in the background!
This was such a cool story. I find myself really aggravated about how little your doctors listened to you though. It kind of makes it seem like they despise people who want to do it naturally. It worries me. Overall though you got most of what you had hoped for and baby is so beautiful!