Before I backtrack to when I was pregnant, I need to get my birth story written out.
It's already been too long, and although I will never forget the day my little man entered this world, details will be lost.
So, here it goes.
The birth plan:
Our plan was to do it all natural.
no drugs. no hospital.
I had all my prenatal care with a midwife miles from our home.
We found an amazing doula who would labor at home with us.
We were prepared.
But, things don't always go the way we want. Sometimes life throws some pretty crazy curve balls.
November 2, 2013 (due date)
11am- I woke up. Everything felt exactly the same.
Up to this point I had no real contractions, only some braxton hicks which I had been getting for months.
I had been waiting for some sign of labor- mucus plug. contractions. anything.
By this point in my pregnancy, I was done. I wanted to meet my baby.
I went to the bathroom and noticed a very light pinkish liquid.
I called my midwife. She told me it didn't sound like any indication that labor was upon me.
I hung up the phone defeated, and grabbed Aaron to go for a short walk.
Noon- my water broke.
It wasn't a big gush. There was no pop. A warm trickle just started to run down my leg.
I knew I hadn't peed my pants.
I knew it was my bag of waters.
Let me just say- the feeling of having your water break is crazy.
With each step, a little more would gush out. There was no way of holding it back.
My midwife confirmed that my water had broken.
She gave me my options-
1. Wait for labor and contractions to progress at home-- running a higher risk of infection
2. Wait for labor and contractions to progress at the hospital
I wanted to go to the hospital. Aaron wanted to wait it out at home.
I agreed to wait at home.
We had 24 hours to get things moving, otherwise the hospital would be our only option.
I walked. and walked. and walked.
My wonderful doula arrived.
She suggested we try nipple stimulation.
I got my first taste of what the next 30+ hours would be like.
Boobs out for all to see and pain.
Nipple stimulation did work. I started to experience contractions.
They were about 5 minutes apart and lasted about 45 seconds.
But, I was still a long way from having this baby (although, at this time, I had no idea how far my body still had to go).
November 3rd, 2013
Sleep for one hour.
Start nipple stimulation again.
Contractions less regular and not increasing in intensity or frequency.
My midwife explained that, in her experience, labors such as mine do not progress on their own, and that I needed to mentally prepare myself for the hospital and pitocin.
Again, I was ready for the hospital, but Aaron was not.
We had 6 more hours to get things moving.
We continued nipple stimulation, but nothing was happening.
After talking with my midwife, we decide to head to the hospital.
I was relieved.
Although the last thing I originally wanted was the hospital, I needed to know things were moving along.
I needed to know my baby was safe and healthy.
We re-packed our bags and said goodbye to our natural birth.
Arrive at the hospital.
After checking in and filling out all the necessary paperwork, they checked to see how far along I was...
I expected to be at least 3-4cm.
I was 0.5cm dilated and 30% effaced.
I almost died. I couldn't believe it.
Almost an entire day spent trying to get contractions strong enough to open me up (quite literally), and I was only 0.5cm dilated.
At that moment I was so relieved to finally be at the hospital. Although I was dreading putting my baby through pitocin, I knew it was our only option.
We were finally settled into our room.
I was utterly exhausted, but I knew the hard part was just getting started.
I managed to eat a pumpkin pop-tart and took advantage of the bottomless ice chips (the good kind that doesn't hurt your teeth).
The hours leading up to this all I could think about was how horrible pitocin was going to be- not just for me, but also for my baby. I knew I had done all I could to get things moving on its own, but I couldn't help but feel a bit guilty. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt my baby and make the experience any more traumatic than it had to be.
The IV was put in place (it was painful, but not as bad as I thought it would be) and finally, the pitocin was started.
I started pitocin at 2ml per hour. It was increased every 45 minutes by 2ml.
By 6ml my contractions were regular and every two minutes apart.
I labored for just over 4 hours on pitocin.
These four hours were beyond anything I could have EVER prepared myself for mentally.
To make things worse, I had excruciating back labor.
It felt as if my back was on fire and my muscles were being ripped out of me. slowly.
Back labor is something I wouldn't wish on my very worst enemy.
All I kept thinking (and saying often) was that I would never do this again.
Since I felt like I had to poop, I asked to be checked to see how far along I had progressed.
I was 70% effaced and 1.5 cm dilated.
Yes, 1.5 cm dilated. A whole 8.5cm from being complete.
I was defeated and exhausted.
I literally felt like I was dying.
And, when you feel like you are dying, all you want is for the pain to go away.
Before pitocin was started, my doula asked if I wanted to have a code word for epidural should I seriously think I wanted it. Up until this point I often said how bad I wanted an epidural, but I was determined to push through it.
1.5 cm changed things.
"HIPPO HIPPO HIPPO"
I knew the only way I would make it through was with an epidural.
Epidural and catheter were in.
Getting a catheter put in is probably one of the most uncomfortable things I have ever experienced.
And the epidural?
the most challenging part of labor.
staying still, through contractions, while a doctor jams a giant needle in my spine- well, I still can't believe I managed not to move.
The noises that came out of me through this process still scare me.
The pain was so intense, breathing was often difficult. During contractions I often found myself short of breath and light headed.
Thankfully, baby was doing well and showed no signs of distress, my primary concern whenever I would feel short of breath.
November 4, 2013
Once the epidural was in, the pain greatly decreased (as expected).
I asked for the lowest possible dose of epidural so that I could still feel each contraction, and hopefully, still understand what was going on with my body. I didn't want to become dumb to the entire process, I just wanted to take the edge off.
I was still able to move my legs, and still felt every single contraction.
But, I no longer felt like my lower back was being ripped apart and set on fire.
I managed to relax for about an hour, and maybe even slept for a couple minutes (first sleep in nearly 24 hours).
I had no idea how much longer I was going to be in labor. Based on the doctors attitudes, it was clear they expected me to have a c-section. I was only 1.5 cm dilated and my water had been broken for 36 hours. And, Pitocin wasn't working.
I was terrified.
According to my doula, I kept saying that I was feeling contractions in my butt.
Since just hours earlier I thought I had felt the same thing, I was hesitant to have them check me again. I didn't want an unnecessary check, and possibility of exposing my baby to infections.
but, I couldn't ignore the extreme feeling of pressure in my bottom.
It felt like the little guy was trying to push through my butt.
I also felt a burning, almost fire-like feeling it in cervix area.
I was no longer able to rest through contractions- the pain was back.
I asked to be checked.
The doctor checked, looked up at me and smiled, "complete" she said.
I couldn't believe how fast I went from 1.5cm dilated to 10cm- less than 3 hours.
I was so relieved, but not at all surprised.
I'm a naturally anxious person. The epidural finally allowed me to relax.
My next concern was pushing.
Throughout my pregnancy I read a lot of birth stories and knew that just because you're fully dilated doesn't mean the baby is just going to pop out. Pushing often takes hours.
I was so exhausted (just a couple hours of sleep in nearly 48 hours), I knew I didn't have the energy to push for two hours.
My doula suggested I labor down for 45 minutes or so. By this point I stopped getting extra epidural administered. My doula stressed that when it came time to push, it would be to my benefit to know and really feel when I was having contractions.
At this point in my labor, I entered a period of deep calm.
I spoke little and struggled through each contraction on my own.
It was almost like my mind went off to a different place.
I labored down for over 90 minutes.
Finally, I said I felt like it was time to push. It literally felt like the baby's head was about to come out.
The nurse suggested she take a look and I give a little push to see where I was at.
The next 5 minutes were a bit of a blur...
After the first trial push with the nurse all I remember is this-
she stood up and asked me to stop pushing and the room suddenly went from calm to chaos.
(I later found out that she had to push Octavian's head back in a little)
In less than 30 seconds, the bed was being broken down and a rush of doctors and nurses came into the room.
I didn't even have time to process what was about to happen.
This is what my doula wrote in her notes:
"Some staff never had time to put on gowns until after the baby was delivered. Baby was out in less than 12 pushes and in less than 5 minutes".
It happened so fast.
And although laboring down was probably the most uncomfortable 90 minutes of my life, I was so thankful.
My baby boy let out a loud, healthy cry letting me know he was safe and healthy.
After 9 months of worry that something would happen to my baby, he was finally here.
He was immediately placed on my chest and my boob put in his mouth.
He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen-
and much to my surprise, had a full head of blonde hair.
At 4:37am our family of two officially became a family of three.
We were so in love.
Since my water broke nearly 48 hours before his birth, the doctors wanted to keep us for 48 hours.
After some persuasion, they let us go home after the first night. Thank goodness.
I hadn't slept more than 30 minutes since delivering my sweet boy, and I needed to be home with my baby.
When I think back to 16 weeks ago,
to those first couple days,
I remember just staring at my little boy, this tiny person that was just hours before living within me, savoring every inch of him.
He was the perfect combination of me and his daddy.
I still find this fact a little mind boggling sometimes- the fact that I created, grew and delivered a beautiful baby boy.
I still get very emotional when I think about the entire experience.
Driving home from the hospital, daddy played our baby song "If Not For You" by George Harrison,
cried tears of joy as we pulled into our garage,
and started our life with our little man.
Next baby I will definitely have a professional photographer there to take pictures.
Such a beautiful, chaotic moment that I want captured, but don't want to have to think about while push a baby out.
side note: this post took forever to write. Honestly, I have no idea how new moms post regularly on their blog with a little one. If I have to choose between sleep or blogging, sleeping always wins. However, I write when I can and hope to keep it up. Some things I really hope to post about is the first two weeks with a newborn, pregnancy, monthly updates of my little man and other fun stories of motherhood. Who knows, maybe i'll even sneak in some posts about past travels (memories I hope to never forget).