I treated my pregnancy as though I was in the back seat, along for the ride. The entire process was a new adventure, or this is how I chose to look at it instead of being terrified. For those of you who don’t know me I’m someone who usually faints at the discussion of medical procedures. If there is blood being drawn or a shot in sight, forget it, good bye, I’m out. I was even known to pass out and have seizures from a simple shot. But my baby gave me strength to overcome these fears. I knew I had to be strong for her and for our future together. I took an extended birthing class to help me understand instead of fear and that really helped me - I advise it for those of you who have fear and anxiety in the unknown.
Overall, I had a mild pregnancy, some nausea and heartburn, but no complications, thank the Lord. But you came here to read the birth story, so let’s get on with that shall we?
October 31, 2014, 7:30 am, my husband wakes to get ready for work. This, of course, reminds me I need to get up to pee for like the fifth time since I went to bed. I stand up and think, “did I just pee myself?”. Harry (my husband) gets out of the shower and I tell him, “I don’t think you’re going to work, honey”, that’s right, my water broke! I’m trying to stay calm, while Harry is loading the car with the go-bag and carseat. As he is strapping the car seat in, he looks over to see the neighbors loading skeletons into their car. Oh, right…it’s Halloween. We’re not big Halloween people and with a November 11 due date we never really considered this happening. We laughed about it as we headed to the hospital.
We arrived in the emergency room to find all of the nurses dressed in costume. Great, just what you want, a Ninja Turtle delivering your baby. Luckily, all of the labor and delivery nurses were dressed as vintage nurses, which I adored. I honestly thought it was their real uniform. When I complimented them, they quickly laughed and said, “girl, I would not work here if I had to wear tights!”.
After getting checked in, the doctor informed me I was barely a centimeter dilated. My birth plan, per what I learned in my class, was to wait as long as I could to get the epidural. My reason for this was so the baby and myself were not extremely drugged once she arrived. We began playing the waiting game. My contractions were not too bad at this point. That afternoon the doctor informed me that I was still not dilating, she advised giving me pitocin to speed up the process. This scared me. I waited another hour with no results, so I went ahead with the pitocin. That stuff is no joke. My plan of waiting on the epidural did not last long after that.
We called for the epidural. I mentioned I have a needle phobia right? I was beyond thankful for my husband during this moment, he protected me from the sight and held me up. Ok, for real I just had to stop typing and take a breather because the thought of this moment made me light headed. I sat facing away from the door (so I wouldn’t see it) on the bed and Harry held me upright and still. Harry says I didn’t scream much throughout the whole labor, but this was the worst. I have to agree. If you plan to get an epidural, please don’t let this deter you, it was worth having, I’m just being honest!
Now the plan was to try to relax and let my body and gravity do the work. They angled the bed upwards and positioned my legs in the stirrups to get things moving. The doctor began checking my progress hourly. (Side note - a male doctor from my obgyn was on call, not my doctor. I was not comfortable with this, so we decided to have the (female) resident physician perform my checks and delivery.) The day was creeping into the evening and we were wondering if today would in fact be “the birth day”. The nurses told me the woman in the next room was having her fourth child and she would probably go before me, because the first time takes more pushing.
At 10 pm, the doctor came in to check me and told me, “you’re ready, let’s try to push”. This is the point when I was so happy I chose this doctor. Yes, she was new, but she was eager and excited to help me through. It wasn’t just another day on the job, which is the vibe I got from the doctor on-call. She talked me through how to push with my body and when to do it. This may sound like an easy thing to do, but when you’re numb from the waist down it gets tricky. When nothing happened with the first few pushes, she asked me if I wanted to wait a bit until she was further down so I didn’t tire myself out. By this time I could feel my contractions above where the epidural was inserted, and the only thing that alleviated the pain was pushing. I opted to keep trying. Let me tell you this biggest pushing tip: if you do yoga, you know how you have to rotate your pelvis forward in mountain pose? That’s what I did to push! And guess what? After 30 minutes of pushing, there she was! My beautiful, healthy baby girl arrived (crying her head off) at 10:51 pm, 19 inches and 7lbs 4oz. Oh, and by the way, I delivered before that other mom ;) don’t tell me I can’t.
What an amazing experience to be “along for the ride”. One thing I learned, that I’ve learned with every major event in my life (you’d think it would sink in) is that your plan may not be THE plan. Be flexible and content because everything happens for a reason.
Photos by Elizabeth Carol Photography