- 8 years ago
- Wedding: November 1999
DH and I were lucky enough to get a spot with an amazing team of midwives and worked with them throughout our pregnancy. We decided to plan an at home water birth (so long as I remained in the low risk category), but with the addendum that at any point, I was allowed to change my mind and say “Get me to the hospital and give me drugs!!!” Our pregnancy progressed normally and happily, I really truly enjoyed being pregnant. The only hiccups were having low iron and being GBS positive, but nothing major.
Around about 38 weeks I started having false labour, random cramping and contractions, but nothing that required a trip to the hospital or calling the midwives. At 39 weeks I was measuring large so my midwives sent me for an ultrasound to make sure there wasn’t too much fluid. The ultrasound showed that she was just a big baby! Estimate was about 9 lb birth weight. This narrowed our option for the home birth because there was an increased risk for her shoulders getting stuck and for her glucose levels to drop after birth (a risk for any big baby), and also blood loss for me since I had low iron. Home birth was still on the table if we wanted it, but we opted to go for a more middle of the road approach and labour at home for as long as possible and transfer to hospital once I got about 8cm dilated (or if I wanted drugs, lol). I was really upset and sad about this, feeling like somehow I had failed or done something wrong, but I knew I couldn’t take it to heart, it had nothing to do with me, I had to buck up and keep trucking along.
Well my due date came and went, my midwives started stretch and sweeps every 2-3 days, I was 1cm dilated and 50% effaced, no changes. I went for another ultrasound around 40w 3d, baby girl had GROWN. She was now looking about 11 lbs!! There’s a 20% margin of error with ultrasounds and I was really clinging onto that, but I knew that things were definitely changing quickly.
At this point I was really frustrated. A lot of well meaning friends and family were texting, emailing, calling, and Facebooking daily with messages of “Isn’t the baby here yet???” and I just about lost my mind. I felt so much pressure from myself, I didn’t need everyone reminding me daily that yes, in fact, my baby was still in there with no signs of making an appearance. I will never ever again in my life ask a pregnant lady past her due date about her impending baby, I will only ask her how she is and if there’s anything I can do.
So on we went with stretch and sweep, stretch and sweep, stretch and sweep. No progress. I drank my red raspberry leaf tea, got acupuncture twice and bounced on my damn yoga ball until the cows came home. It got me nowhere.
At 41w 3d I went for my first induction. The OB had a look, nothing had progressed (still about 1cm and 50-60% effaced). She decided to give me Cervadil which looks like a tiny flat tampon and goes in beside your cervix. They monitored me for an hour and a half and sent me home. Nothing much happened other than a backache. I went back for a second non-stress test that evening and I was having contractions 5 minutes apart, but they were so light I didn’t even know they were happening, I just thought the baby was moving around.
The next morning I went back in and they gave me a second dose of Cervadil, I had progressed slightly from my first dose, but not a lot(apparently most first time mom’s take 2 doses to get things going, so no biggie). Did another NST, went home. About dinner time I went to the bathroom and heard an plop. The Cervadil was in the toilet! Uggghhhh!!!!! We called the hospital but they said not to worry, and just to come an hour earlier for my next NST. At my check, the OB gave me two options:
1) Get a prostaglandin gel I think was called Prostin (?) and see what that does.
2) Have them break my water and start Oxytocin since I had progressed just a bit more to 2 cm.
We opted to have the gel, and if it didn’t work, we’d have them break my water in the morning. Well let me tell you, that gel is not fun. I started having contractions pretty quickly that started in my belly, but then wrapped around to my back and gave me wicked back spasms. They were one after the other, no break. I just laid there and cried while DH did counter pressure on my back for an hour and a half. Oh god that sucked. Little Miss Kickypants meanwhile was going bananas and kept setting off the alarms on the monitors because she was moving around so much so her heart rate was up. Eventually DH got me a sandwich from the nurses station and she settled down. Turns out baby girl gets hangry like mommy 😉 It was a long night. Once everything calmed down they released us to go home and get some sleep.
Now we’re at 41w 5d. What an epic journey, I know. Nothing happened after we got home, and we went back to the hospital about lunch time. Eventually the OB decided the best course of action was to break my water and start Oxytocin (Pitocin in the US). As soon as they broke my water my contractions started. Oh man, were they ever crazy!!! One on top of the other, very very very intense. I was working hard to breathe through them, but there was no breaks. My midwives called in the anesthesiologist who was able to give me an epidural while I was still laying on my side rather than having me bend over the bed. It was like heaven. I told him I was going to buy him a kitten. DH and I each managed to get some sleep that night thankfully while my poor midwives toiled away flipping me over, monitoring my oxytocin, myself and the baby, giving me a catheter, checking my discharge, etc. I do not envy their jobs!!!!
Early in the morning baby girl’s heart rate started getting elevated. They monitored it for a while, reduced the oxy, but it wouldn’t go down. The OB came in, and as soon as she started talking about C section, her heart rate dropped. It was quite funny. It was clear though that baby girl hadn’t dropped any further into my pelvis and there was no way she was being convinced to come out, it was time for surgery.
I don’t think I had time to be disappointed. I was exhausted, I was worried about my daughter, I wanted it all to be over with. We had tried and done literally everything possible to get her out. I had come to terms with a c section I think as soon as I had been induced the first time. It wasn’t about me, or my birth plan, or all the lovely things you read about in Ina May or see in The Business of Being Born. This wasn’t our cozy homebirth but it was our birth and our daughter, and she was the one calling the shots, not me.
They wheeled me into the operating room, I had a few good tears, the anesthesiologist checked me and upped my epidural, DH came in, and it began. I couldn’t feel anything at all, just some pressure around my pelvis. I remember hearing her cry, and DH and I cried. I was so happy she was healthy and crying, I had such a sense of relief. DH went over to my midwives and they weighed her, etc, and then she came to me for some cheek to cheek skin time while the OB finished closing me up.
I was shaking really badly, but the anesthesiologist said that was a normal side effect of the meds, and I remember being desperately thirsty. I was begging for ice chips but they couldn’t give me any until an hour post op. That was probably the worst part of it! It seemed like it took forever for them to close me up, but eventually they brought me and our beautiful baby girl back to our room.
Honestly a lot of the first day is a blur. I was given some kind of suppository pain killer that completely looped me out, it was like I had an out of body experience when I was talking with someone. I don’t remember how we got back to our room, I vaguely remember breast feeding the first couple times…
But at the end of it, our gorgeous daughter Rose was with us, born at 41w 6d at 6:35 in the morning, weighing in at a whopping 11lbs 6 oz and 21″ long which explains why she couldn’t/wouldn’t come out!!!! She’s HUGE!!!!!
We’ve settled in well together. We’ve had our ups and downs with breast feeding but we’re working on it. She’s a sleepy happy baby with the biggest loveliest bulldog cheeks. I just adore her. I’ve been spit up on, running on what feels like no sleep, my nipples feel like they’re going to be ripped off, I could really use a shower, but it’s all worth it. She’s beautiful and our little family feels so complete. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
My biggest piece of advice to the rest of you mommies-to-be is to just roll with it. Don’t be disappointed or feel like you failed if your birth story isn’t picture perfect or what you planned. Nature will take its course and you’re just along for the ride. The end goal is to have that beautiful babe in your arms, so whatever the course that takes you there is somewhat secondary. I’m not disappointed we didn’t have the birth we planned. If we had stuck to “the plan” it wouldn’t have been safe for Rose or myself. It happened the way it was supposed to and I feel 100% confident in that.
Kudos to you if you read my novel.