I’ve debated different ways of writing my birth story. I wasn’t sure if it should start the day of the birth, before the birth, or even just the labor itself. Well, I decided to start it a week before and give a sort of timeline! So, here it finally is…almost 6 months later! Ha! It will probably be in three parts.
Also, there will be 2 versions. The version you are reading here is the condensed, man-safe, squeamish-safe version. The unabridged version is here, and the password is my daughter’s name, all lower case. (If you have trouble accessing it, just let me know)
This is very long…even edited. It’s already taken me almost 6 months to write it so I’ve only read through it once for editing. If I made any mistakes, I apologize in advance. Also, let me know if there are any bad mistakes so I can fix and not look like an idiot. hahaha….
Now, this is my birth story as I remember it. I also have Leighton’s version to post in a separate post and his may be a little more accurate on the little details. But, this is my version!
As you may or may not know, I went well past my due date with my sweet girl. So this starts a little over a week past my due date.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013. Inanna appointment with Kathleen.
I had my weekly appointment at Inanna today and the full-time midwives were not there at the time. Most of the staff was at a funeral of a mutual friend so the midwife that was there, Kathleen, only worked at the center a few hours a month. At my appointment, I basically learned 2 things.
- The baby is perfectly healthy.
- She shows no signs of coming out any time soon.
Kathleen tried to assure me that babies come in their own time. Sometimes, even if you show no signs, they decide to come that very night! I hoped for that night every night. Since she was so overdue, they scheduled me for a non-stress test the following Friday to make sure she was doing good. I cried when she told me that there had been no progress. I was so upset. I asked her what we could do to help speed things along. I had heard of people taking evening primrose oil or stripping membranes. She said that we couldn’t do anything since I was group B strep positive. I was so mad! Here I am, nearly two weeks overdue and nothing! No dilation, no effacement, no drop, no nothing. Gah!
Friday, February 15, 2013. Inanna appointment with Susan.
The full-time midwives were not there this day so my appointment was with Susan. I did the 20 minute non-stress test and Miss May Bee passed with flying colors. The non-stress test was odd to me. Since I was using midwives at a birthing center, I hadn’t had any intervention or medical-type activities during my pregnancy, so being hooked up to this machine with cords, things wrapped around my belly and such, was odd! Anyway, it wasn’t bad, it was just odd for me! That was the most “medical” I had experienced during my pregnancy so far! LOL
After the test was finished, I asked the midwife to check me to see if I had made any progress. Midwives don’t usually check your cervix unless you have signs of labor, but I asked her to check anyway. As of my last appointment, I had not dilated or effaced and she had not dropped. Unfortunately, I had still made zero progress. Again, I started to get teary eyed. I wanted this baby to come!! Susan assigned lots of walking, squatting, yoga ball exercises and, to my surprise, she told me I could start using evening primrose oil to help efface my cervix over the weekend. Yay! There were, in fact, things I could do! Susan told me that I actually could take evening primrose oil. She said they also could strip my membranes but I would have to stay there and start my antibiotics for group B strep if they did that. Before I left, she scheduled a biophysical profile ultrasound for Monday so we could make sure she was still a-ok going into my 43rd week of pregnancy.
Saturday, February 16 – Sunday, February 17, 3013. At home, the mall, and Target.
Well, I did as I was told and we did a lot of walking, squatting, yoga ball exercises and primrose oil-ing. On Saturday, we walked the mall and after the mall closed, we walked the aisles of Target. Sunday, we walked a couple laps around our neighborhood. Luckily it’s Texas and we had a pretty mild winter. It wasn’t too cold to walk around outside. Even after all that walking, bouncing, squatting and oil-ing, I didn’t feel much different. I wasn’t hopeful for the results of my midwife appointment on Monday and fully expected that I would have to be induced that week. I was excited, however, to get to see my baby girl again during the ultrasound!
Monday, February 18, 2013. Morning. The Womens Centre.
At the sonogram, we learned that Miss May Bee was perfectly healthy and was just sitting happy as she could be. The sonographer estimated her to be at 9 ½ lbs (jeez!) and showed us a pretty cool picture of her hair! She confirmed that she was, in fact, still a girl! She had gotten a new ultrasound machine and gave us some 3D pictures for free. For the record, I still think 3D sonograms are creepy. I dislike them very much. I love, love, love my sweet baby but those pictures were just plain creepy!! She also asked why I wasn’t already being induced because her measurements and calculations put me overdue by over two weeks. However, by the midwives’ calculations, I was right at about 2 weeks overdue. Either way, midwives don’t necessarily induce just because you’re 2 weeks overdue. As long as mom and baby are healthy, there really is no reason to induce. I am extremely thankful for the discretion that my midwives showed in letting my girl bake as long as she wanted to. I think this attributed to the success of my labor and the happiness and healthiness of my daughter.
Monday, February 18, 2013. Afternoon. Inanna.
After the sonogram, I headed to the birthing center to see if I had made any progress over the weekend and, if necessary, to make plans for a non-medical induction later that week. When I got there, Betty checked me and… (drum roll please…) good news!! I had made progress! After she checked me, we started talking about our options for the birth. With the sonogram results, Betty only had one concern. Her size. She still had not dropped into the birth canal and this was likely due to one of two reasons. Either her head and/or shoulders were too big or she just hadn’t dropped yet! Betty said that if I still chose to birth at the birthing center, when I went into labor that they would have two midwives there just as a precaution in case it turned out to be a more difficult labor. She looked like she was going to be a big baby (Betty estimated her at 9 lbs) with wide shoulders, and they didn’t want to take a chance of her getting stuck at the shoulders when she started to come out. She asked me if I still felt comfortable delivering at the birthing center and I told her that as long as they felt like I was okay, then I was okay with it! So, we decided that if Miss May Bee didn’t come on her own by Thursday, then I would go in at 8:30 Thursday morning to start being non-medically induced. Non-medical inductions include stripping of the membranes, walking, squats, movements with the yoga ball, etc. Friday would have been 43 weeks + 1 day so it was time.
Monday, February 18 – Tuesday, February 19, 2013. At home.
Monday and Tuesday, Leighton and I continued to do a lot of walking and I continued bouncing on the yoga ball. I didn’t feel like I was making any progress at all. It was very frustrating. VERY.
Wednesday, February 20. At home.
My mom called from work to check on me and to see if I had made any progress. Nope. None. Nada. Nothing. I felt no different. I promised to call her as soon as something started to happen. This was one of about 10 daily calls or texts I got from people asking if I had the baby yet. Fun!
I felt my first contraction. It felt like menstrual cramps at first. In fact, my initial thought was, man, I need to take some Tylenol for these cramps! Ha! Soon after the first contraction, I lost my plug. I went into the living room and told Leighton that I might be in labor because I started feeling cramps. I texted my doula, Brittany, just to give her a heads up that I might finally be in labor. She told me to drink a big glass of water and take a warm shower just to make sure this was the real thing. I drank some water and then got in the shower. The hot water felt so good on my back during the contractions, but the shower did not stop nor slow them. In fact, they very quickly got much more intense and closer together. So intense that I had to stop and hang on to something until they passed. After I got out of the shower and got dressed, the contractions intensified even more.
I told Leighton we better start timing the contractions. To me, I felt like they were coming one right after another. Almost on top of each other. The first contractions we timed were about 3 ½ minutes apart and 45 seconds long. The midwives said to not call until the contractions were less than 5 minutes apart and lasting for about a minute and I couldn’t talk through a contraction. I was pretty much already to the point where it was very difficult to talk through them, but they weren’t quite a minute long. I was so scared…I wasn’t even an hour into this thing and my contractions were already so intense! I wondered if I should call the midwife but wanted to time them for a solid hour before we did anything.
Well, they stayed consistent and got closer together, longer, and much stronger. I called Betty and she said to go ahead and come on in. I found out after the birth that Betty went ahead and called the birth team to let them know I was coming in and we would probably have a baby tonight. She told them not to rush. I was a first time mom, so it would probably be a bit before baby was ready to come.
My friend Rachel V. was bringing me dinner that day. When my labor started, I figured this was going to be a very long process so I figured we would still be here around 4:00 when she was planning on coming. So, I texted her to tell her that we were on our way to the birthing center, and we would need to reschedule.
Leighton and I started gathering everything we needed for the birthing center. Everything was pretty much packed and ready to go, we just needed to get it in the car. Luckily, I made a list of every bag and item we needed to leave with so we wouldn’t be scrambling to remember every last thing. I don’t remember a whole lot but I do remember us having to stop every couple of minutes (literally) to get me through a contraction. Finally we had gathered everything and Leighton just had to get it all into the car.
Right before we left, I remember at one point I was on my knees on the floor leaning on the couch. It hurt SO bad! I started to cry and told my husband, “I don’t think I can do this! I can’t do it!” He tried to comfort me and did everything he could to relieve the pain and help me through contractions. He told me that I could, in fact, do it. I WAS doing it.
To give you an idea of where my head was at this point, I will tell you this. During my pregnancy, I learned from all sorts of places what the stages of labor were and approximate length of each stage. I do understand approximation and I do understand every labor is different. I also understood that this was my first baby and first babies often take longer to birth than subsequent births. With that being said, I planned on the first stage of labor lasting 5-6 hours, active labor (2nd stage) to last 3-5 hours, transition (3rd stage and most painful) lasting 1-2 hours and pushing (4th stage) to last 30 min-2 hours. In my head, I was still in the first stage. So that’s where my head was when…
I was on my knees thinking, “How could ANYONE endure THIS pain for another 5-10 hours?? And the transition stage is supposed to be WORSE than this??” I really didn’t think I could do it…but I did NOT want a needle stuck in my back (even during the throes of that pain, I didn’t want it!).
We finally left the house. As we left, I couldn’t help but think of how thankful I was that it wasn’t anywhere near 5:00 traffic. I was SO not looking forward to this drive, though. I had to sit in a seat, with my seatbelt on, I couldn’t bend over, I couldn’t lay down or crawl around…nothing! I made sure to text my doula and let her know that I was headed to the birthing center and let her know that she better go ahead and head to Denton. I told her that if this isn’t it, I don’t know what is!! I think around this time is when Leighton told his mom and my mom that we were headed to the birthing center. I’m not certain about that, but…maybe?
Well…that’s part 1. Stay tuned for part 2 later this week!