*This is a birth story and may be more graphic than you want to read, if that’s the case, don’t feel like you need to read it. This is for those people who have asked to hear the story or are interested in the details.
I am so thankful that I had such a problem-free pregnancy and birth! We had several times when we thought something could become a complication but each time it worked itself out. I had marginal placenta previa early on but it eventually moved out of the way. I had to have the extended glucose tolerance screening but that ended up being perfectly fine. I had two additional ultrasounds because Capri was measuring so small (and she was, but perfectly healthy!).
I went in for my OB appointment a little before hitting 39 weeks. My whole pregnancy people had commented on how small I was and some of that was due to the fact that she was sitting very low and I’m pretty long-waisted so I looked small. However, when I went in at 39 weeks, I was only measuring at 33 weeks. We did an ultrasound and Capri was relatively small, however we had done an ultrasound just 5 weeks prior for the same reason and she had only grown 12 oz in those 5 weeks. The doctor was concerned that she was not growing enough. She felt that my body was no longer the best incubator for her. So even though I really hadn’t wanted to be induced, we scheduled my induction for one week before her due date.
My doctor knew how important it was to me to try to have a natural birth and when she came to tell me she thought I should schedule an induction, she came armed with some options for me. We decided to have her strip my membranes while in the office that day in hopes that I would go into labor on my own – I didn’t. She reserved a room in the hospital for me that had a mobile monitor in it so that I would have the option of walking around while in labor. She also told me that normally when she does an induction, she comes in, breaks the water, and immediately starts the pitocin – in her words, we’re there to have a baby, not to mess around. However, she offered to break my water first and give me 4 hours to see if I made any progress on my own – I was so thankful that she offered to let me do that!
Friday rolled around and I woke up at 3:30 that morning because I was determined to have a shower and shave my legs and blow dry my hair! We got to the hospital at 5 AM and the nurses wasted no time in getting things started. When I arrived at the hospital I was 4 cm dilated, 80% effaced and Capri was at -1 Station. I immediately was put in a gown and they got my hep ready for a potential IV. At 6 AM they broke my water and I spent the next 4 hours walking around our hospital room while Jeremy and I watched episodes of Bones, 30 Rock, and The Office.
After 4 hours of walking around, no contractions had started. I was examined again at 10 AM and had progressed another cm. Although the nurse had broken my water that morning, it seems that there may have been a forebag. I had leaked a little during those 4 hours but not much. When she did this next exam water began to gush out – so I wonder what would have happened if that had happened from the beginning. The nurses wanted to begin the pitocin since I hadn’t had any contractions however we asked them to call our doctor and ask if we could wait a little longer. Our doctor told the nurses that as long as I was making progress she would let me go longer – the more work my body did without me feeling anything the better!
3 hours later I had felt a couple of contractions but nothing significant. It looked like I had progressed perhaps another 1/2 cm. It was now 1 PM and we decided to start the pitocin. Contractions began and were quite manageable. They became increasingly intense (as they upped my pitocin levels). Although I had big plans of walking around and laboring in different positions, I ended up staying in bed from this point on (except for a couple trips to the bathroom). With the IV pole, the mobile monitor and leaking a ton of fluid, walking around just felt like a huge hassle. I also felt that I was doing a much better job of being relaxed while being in the bed. I labored through these contractions, becoming increasingly dependent on the breathing we had talked about in our birthing classes. Jeremy says I became more quiet and began keeping my eyes closed as I breathed through the contractions. Through this part I was feeling pretty good. I was staying calm and running through all things I had read in my head – breathing and using lots of mental visualization.
4 PM rolled around and I honestly don’t remember a whole lot of what happened from here on out – it feels like a blur! The contractions were now much more intense and I began to wonder why in the world I had thought I wanted to do this naturally. I told Jeremy I wanted something for the pain. He was being so encouraging but I’m not sure he knew what he should do. I vaguely remember hearing him talking on the phone while in bathroom. He called both my mom and our doula. We talked with the nurse and she said we could go with a pain medication through our IV or I could call for an epidural. The pain meds through the IV were only supposed to last for an hour and could be given to me immediately. Since, I knew she wouldn’t be born in the next hour and I wanted something immediately, I went with the drugs in my IV. I totally regret this decision. I don’t think it helped with the contractions (if anything, it may have helped with about 5 and then nothing), however it did make me feel like I was sinking into the bed and it was very difficult for me to open my eyes – it was not pleasant. Not too long after that I told Jeremy I though I wanted an epidural. I was really struggling through the contractions at this point.
I had my concerns about my doctor. She had been my gynecologist for years and I really liked her, but she did not have a reputation for doing things naturally. However, I have to say that I was so glad that she was my doctor. Not only did she make an effort to help me power through my plans to have a naturally childbirth (except for the IV drugs), she pushed me at the end. When she heard I wanted an epidural she came into the room to talk to me. She examined me and told me I was at 8 cm and in transition. She reminded me that this was the hardest part but it would be the fastest. She asked me to try another 15 minutes. She came back and I had progressed another 1/2 cm. She told me I could have the epidural if I wanted but she really believed I could make it without it, I was so close. I told her I didn’t know what to do. She made me look her in eye and asked if I wanted her to make the decision for me and I said yes. She said, Ok, you don’t need it, I believe you can do it. They started the saline in my IV just in case I really changed my mind, but I think that assurance that I could do it was all I needed.
The nurses kept telling me how close I was but I didn’t believe them! Jeremy had been awesome up until this point but he really stepped up. He was busy rubbing my legs during the contractions (they were shaking uncontrollably) and holding my hand. In between contractions he was giving me ice and putting cold washclothes on my head and neck. He helped me breathe through the contractions and talked to me about Capri and tried to keep me focused. I vaguely remember talking quite a bit and that my voice was very high pitched and probably a little whiny (I did not feel like myself)!
All of a sudden it was time to push and I couldn’t believe it! I still didn’t believe them when they told me I was so close, even while I was pushing! I think I became a little paranoid and thought everyone was lying to me! I was so tired and pushing was hard, however in some ways it really was a relief. I think at this point I may have lost sight of the goal of having a baby and was just pushing through because I wanted the pain to go away! Jeremy kept saying he could see her head and I kept saying, I can’t be that close the doctor isn’t even in the room! However, she did come in and kept saying, “Ellie, I’m here – look I’m putting on my gear because she’s almost here!” All of a sudden the pain changed and it burned a lot and they told me to stop pushing – her head had popped out and they immediately pulled out the stirrups and put my feet up. One more push and she was out. The doctor held her up and told me to look and was asking me if it was worth it and I couldn’t even believe it! They put her on my chest and I was overwhelmed!
It’s amazing how I went from being exhausted and in so much pain to having an immediate adrenaline rush. Jeremy said it was like I instantly became a different person. It was so amazing to hold her!
I did tear a tiny bit and needed a few stitches but I didn’t need an epesiotomy. I was also able to push the placenta out. I tried to breastfeed her while still in the delivery room but she wouldn’t latch on. After quite a while of trying, we decided to take a break. Jeremy took her to the nursery to get her bath and the nurse cleaned me up, got me dressed, and put me in a wheel chair. I then went to the nursery to be with her.
I would love to have Jeremy share his perspective. I think it would have more details. I can’t emphasize enough how awesome he was. I had made him little notecards and he kept referencing them to see where we were and what he needed to do. He was super encouraging and took such good care of me. He also texted our parents continuously letting them know what was going on (of course, not at the very end because he was very busy).
Also my doctor was exactly what I needed and she was both encouraging and firm with me when I needed her to be. I also received excellent care while at the hospital. They followed my birth plan to the letter. We had thought about having our baby at a birthing center, however, now I wouldn’t trade the postpartum care I received for anything!
I’m sure there’s more and lots I left out but this was pretty long…she was totally worth it!