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November 20th, 2011, 04:47 PM
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**Warning: This is ridiculously long***

My midwives took copious notes throughout my labor and I used them to write my birth story, so this is an edited version from the original 7 page document. I tried to only include the important stuff

For those of you who don't remember, I had planned to have a home birth and ended up going into labor at 41 weeks, 6 days.

Sunday, October 16th:
I mixed in 2 oz. of castor oil in a smoothie at about 11:00, and another 2 oz. in another smoothie at 12:00. I got really tired right after that, so I laid down for a nap on the couch. At just after 1:00, I got up to use the bathroom and when I sat on the toilet I felt a gush. The only thing I was able to see in the toilet was a little bit of blood, but I had a good feeling that my water broke. I called one or our midwives, Deanna, right after that and we talked about what happened and she agreed that it was my water. We decided that it was a good idea for Cameron and I to take a long walk to see if I could get my contractions going. By the end of our walk (around 2:00), my contractions were about 10 minutes apart and I started leaking more and more fluid. When we got back to the house, I went into the bathroom and pulled down my pants and felt a gush as quite a bit of water hit the floor. Cameron was halfway up the stairs when it happened. We started getting really excited because we both knew that it was finally, really baby time. I texted our other midwife Brandi and Deanna and updated them on what was going on, and Brandi told me that she would be coming over in a couple hours to check me.

At about 5:45, Brandi came over. At that point, my contractions were frequent but short and mild. Brandi left cotton root bark and black cohosh herbal tinctures. I begin taking shots of those as well as using my breast pump every 15 minutes for about 2 hours. Just after 9, Cameron texted Brandi and Deanna to let them know that the duration of my contractions had increased to 70 seconds and they were 2.5 minutes apart, so they told me to stop using the herbs and breast pump. Around 9:45, Brandi arrived at our house and began to set up my IV so that I can receive my first dose of antibiotics since I was GBS+. Around 10:30, Deanna arrived. Although I was never nauseous, I threw up for the first time around this time and continued to shortly after attempting to drink or eat anything throughout the rest of the time that I was in labor. Shortly after 11:00 my friend Jodi, who is a doula and prenatal yoga instructor, arrived.

Monday, October 17th:
Around 12:30am, Brandi checked me and I was 7cm dilated and 80 – 90% effaced. My contractions started to pick up around this time. Around 3:00am, I was checked again and was 7 – 8 cm on the right side of my cervix, and 9 cm on the left. Due to uneven dilation, my midwives recommended that I do side lunges between contractions. Around this time my left leg (which has always been an issue due to my herniated disc) really started to bother me and I had to be careful not to put too much weight on it. Just after 4:00am I got into the birthing tub and oh my god did it feel good! Unfortunately, within about 15 minutes of being in the tub I realized that my contractions were starting to space apart so I started using the breast pump and did lunges while kneeling in the tub. Just after 5:00am I got out of the tub and around 5:30am I started walking up and down our 2 flights of stairs to try to jump-start my contractions again. Around 6:00am I felt like I needed to get off my feet so I sat on the yoga ball and rocked back and forth through my contractions. This spaced them out a bit, so I started using the breast pump again. Between 7 and 8 I napped in the glider while Deanna and Brandi administered another dose of antibiotics. At 8:30 I started walking up and down the stairs again with Deanna following me holding my IV. By 9:00 my contraction pattern and dilation still hasn’t changed, so Brandi, Deanna and I discussed my options. The baby was now posterior and most likely sunnyside up. Because of the positioning, they didn’t think the baby’s head was putting enough pressure on my cervix to continue to dilate. So, they recommended a procedure called reboro, which basically involved me first being in child’s pose and then leaning up against a wall with my knees bent. In both positions, Brandi or Deanna put a scarf under my belly at hip-level and vigorously wiggled it back and forth. This has been shown to encourage the baby to move higher in the pelvis so he/she can change positions. Unfortunately, after doing the reboro for about two hours, neither the baby’s position nor my dilation changed. Around 11:00 we started talking about the need to be transferred to the hospital so I could be put on pitocin, and just before 12:00, we started throwing things into a small suitcase to prepare for our transfer. Everyone was moving quickly, but we were all calm and I felt very settled with what was going on. At that point, I was starting to get pretty tired and was just glad that we were moving towards me having the baby.

Brandi called ahead and let the hospital know we were coming, so I didn’t have to do much of anything to check in once we got to the hospital. I was really relieved to hear that my favorite provider from the ob/gyn practice that I had been going to throughout my pregnancy, Carolyn (who was a nurse/midwife), was the person on call that night. Once we were in the birthing suite, the nurse had trouble using an external monitor to keep track of the baby’s heart tones. We ended up consenting to have an internal fetal monitor, and I also signed a waiver when I was first admitted to agree to allow them to perform an episiotomy if necessary. I had clearly stated in my birth plan that I preferred to be allowed to tear on my own so I almost didn’t sign the waiver. Which is ironic, considering what ended up happening at the end of my labor.

As soon as I was put on the pitocin the intensity of my contractions noticeably increased. At the time I didn’t know it, but I started to experience back labor, and as a result really started having problems with my left leg. I wasn’t able to physically lift it up and down off the bed myself, and any time I tried to lie down on either side on the bed, I had shooting pains in my leg and lower back. I was checked on and off by Carolyn throughout the time I was on pitocin, and by around 4:00 I still hadn’t progressed beyond 7 or 8 cm. This was the first time that the word “surgery” was mentioned. At that point, my midwives and Carolyn began encouraging me to consider receiving an epidural. Carolyn explained that the epidural would allow me to rest so that my body could do what it needed to do to dilate and push the baby out. This made sense to me on some level, but I was still really resistant to the idea even though I was getting more and more uncomfortable and tired. I really wanted to have a drug-free labor, and I also was afraid of the potential side effects of the epidural. After thinking about it and discussing it with Cameron for over an hour and my dilation still not changing, we decided to agree to the epidural since it seemed like the only option to allow me to avoid having a c-section at that point. I signed the consent form and the anesthesiologist was called. Just as Carolyn said that he was on his way down to my room, I started feeling some strong rectal pressure and mentioned this to Carolyn and Brandi and Deanna. Carolyn decided to check me one last time and low and behold, I was over 9 cm dilated with only a thin rim of cervix left! The mood in the room immediately changed. This was the first bit of good news that we’d had in awhile, and I remember tears coming to Cameron eyes.

I stayed on the pitocin, but was allowed to start pushing at that point. I pushed for over 3 hours in a variety of positions. When I started pushing using the squat bar on the bed, it started becoming obvious that no matter how much effort I put into it, I wasn’t able to move the baby’s head past a certain point in the birth canal. Carolyn was certain at that point that the baby was sunnyside up and its chin was up, not tucked, so I would have to pass the largest part of the head through the birth canal. Carolyn told Cameron and I that she wanted to call the attending physician, Dr. Nicely, in. Since the baby’s head seemed to be stuck at a certain spot, she felt that he could use a vacuum to help me move the baby past that point while I was pushing. Unfortunately, as soon as Dr. Nicely came into the room and saw the baby’s position while I was pushing, he informed us that the vacuum wasn’t going to help. He told us that we had two options: forceps or a c-section. After discussing the potential risks of forceps, we consented.

When Dr. Nicely starting using the forceps, that’s the point in my labor where things started to get a little bit hectic. I had been in labor for over 30 hours at that point, and it was becoming obvious that we needed to get the baby out. Forceps were my last chance to have the baby without needing to have an emergency c-section. I had a general idea of what forceps were, but had no clue that they were as big and heavy as they actually are. When Dr. Nicely inserted them for the first time, he hit a nerve that made my entire left leg spasm and then go numb. That was the first and only time that I screamed during labor. Once the pain in my leg subsided and I started to have another contraction, Carolyn put her hands inside of my vagina to stretch it open, and I pushed while Dr. Nicely pulled on the baby’s head using the forceps. The pain and pressure was unbelievably intense. I lost track of what was going on in the room at that point, and just tried to relax as much as possible and allow them to do whatever they needed to do to my body to get the baby out. I remember telling myself over and over again that I just needed to endure the pain so that they could get the head out, and then I was home free.

I pushed again through 1 or 2 more contractions with Dr. Nicely and Carolyn doing the same thing. We still weren’t making progress toward the head crowning, though, because of the baby’s position. Before the next contraction, I saw Dr. Nicely pick up a large pair of surgical scissors and I immediately looked at Brandi and Deanna wide-eyed. As calmly as possible, they explained that Dr. Nicely was going to perform an episiotomy because we were still having trouble getting the baby out. I remember tensing all of the muscles in my body to prepare for the pain that I anticipated from the episiotomy, and was shocked to discover that I didn’t feel it. Not even a little. After he cut me, I pushed again with Dr. Nicely using the forceps and Carolyn stretching me open. I remember Dr. Nicely yelling at me to “come on!” and “push!” and watching him really pull on the baby’s head. Finally, I think during the next contraction, the baby’s head popped out and Dr. Nicely used the forceps to turn it into the correct birthing position. I remember instantly feeling relief, and I also remember one or two of the nurses in the room telling me to push as soon as the head came out, and Dr. Nicely saying, “No! Don’t push!” I think he may have suctioned out the baby’s mouth and nose at that point, and then he pulled the rest of her body out. The sensation of her lower body and legs coming out was the greatest relief that I’ve ever felt in my life.

Dr. Nicely held her up and she let out a long, loud cry. He put her on my lower chest and I looked at Cameron and said, “What is it?” He picked up her legs and with tears in his eyes he said, “It’s a girl!” Then, she took a huge poop on me

Mira Florence was born at 8:20pm weighing 8 pounds, 12 oz. and was 21 inches long.

Thank you, MommaDucks, for my lovely siggy
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