To start our story off I would like to preface with the fact that I was indeed planning for an all-natural hospital birth with as little medical interventions as possible. In the end, all I truly wanted was a healthy baby. In telling this story I must continually remind myself that I indeed got that. This day and age there is this immense pressure to have a natural birth. I believe I felt that pressure especially because of my profession. I do understand the medical reasons why a natural birth is best but sometimes it’s just not possible no matter how hard you try. At the end of the day a healthy baby is all every mother should ever want. Although I must admit after delivery I did mourn the loss of my perfect birth plan for a while. I now believe it was what was best for my baby and myself at the time. I think in writing this blog I am also helping myself process my birth story and come to terms with how I brought my beautiful baby into this world. Enjoy…
Thursday October 26th I was 39+5. I woke up feeling pretty uncomfortable as most full term pregnant women do. I picked up my Mom from the airport, we ran some errands, (had the grocery store clerk ask me if I was having twins because apparently I was just that huge…), I made dinner like normal and went to bed. Around 9 pm I woke up with strong contractions but after a warm shower I seemed ok to sleep again. After a few more hours of sleep I was woken up again by even stronger but tolerable contractions. The warm shower was helping but the timing and intensity were continuing to increase. I bounced on my birth ball, lay in bed, walked around the house, took multiple warm showers and by around 3:30 am there was no denying it. I was in labor. If we didn’t live an hour away from our hospital I probably would have stayed home longer but having my baby in my car on the side of the highway just wasn’t a story I was comfortable telling for years to come. At around 3:45 am my husband and I headed to the hospital. I tried to remain as calm as possible even though the fears and excitements were starting to settle in.
Once we made it to to the triage center my nurse decided I was about 6cm dilated, 75% effaced, my water had not broken but was protruding. That was enough for them to admit me into labor & delivery. We were having this baby today and fairly soon according to my nurse!
Once admitted and settled into our delivery room I continued laboring until around 9am when my OB arrived to check me. I was 8cm dilated, 100% effaced but my water still hadn’t broken but like before was protruding so naturally everyone thought they would break pretty quickly. She said “see ya soon” and left for her office. At this point I was handling the contractions very well on my own by using my birthing ball, essential oils, counter massage and the amazing support of my husband. I thought for sure I’d be able to finish this off in an hour or so without pain meds. According to all the books I read, the next stage of labor was the shortest. Boy was I wrong!
Fast forward to 3pm, I was STILL (you guessed it) 8 cm dilated…so with slight hesitation I agreed to have my OB artificially rupture my membranes aka break my water. This was the first medical intervention that had not been on my birth plan but I was concerned about my labor not progressing and being forced to have a C-section so I agreed. I knew what I was getting myself in to and I tried to calm myself by reminding myself I could still have a natural labor from here on out.
Almost immediately after my water broke I felt those crippling contractions you read bout in all your baby books that engulfed my entire body. From my belly to my back, down my legs, the pain was everywhere. I didn’t know it at the time but my baby was “sunny side up” which was causing me to experience the super fun term called “back labor”. It gets pretty foggy at this point due to the massive amount of pain I was in. One thing I do remember very clearly was asking my husband for the epidural. Now this might sound weird to most, why would a strong independent woman be asking her husband for permission to get the epidural? Well, prior to labor I told him that at some point during this process I would probably start asking for pain medication but he should try his hardest to keep me going without them. That poor man deserves an award because he sure did give it his all but I can imagine its’ pretty hard to say no to the love of your life. I remember him saying so many times, “You can do it Brooke, You’re strong, Keep pushing through.” I finally looked up at him feeling defeated and said, “No it’s time, I need the epidural.” Around 4:30pm I received yet another medical intervention that was not on my birth plan.
At about 6:30pm I finally made it to 10 cm and was given the go ahead to start pushing. I pushed for three darn hours. He was getting close but not close enough. That’s when my whole world felt like it was crashing down. The nurse came up to my bedside and before she was even able to get it out I said, “I know what you’re going to say and I don’t want a C-section.” That’s when I agreed to a vacuum assisted delivery instead. He was stuck in the birth canal and every time I pushed his heart rate would go down. We needed to get him out soon but the doctor was held up with another situation so I lay there and pushed for what felt like forever. Finally the doctor arrived, they hooked everything up and out came my son. The cord was wrapped around his neck so my husband watched as the nurse snipped it quickly. (There went my plans for delayed cord clamping and my husband being able to cut my son’s umbilical cord.)
I was so wrapped up in the little squirmy, crying bundle of joy they placed on my chest I didn’t care how he was brought into this world. That’s the thought I wish I carried with myself as I mourned my birth plan for weeks to come. That one thought I had while I balled my eyes out watching my new baby boy enter this world should have been the only one that mattered. Now that I have had time to process those crazy 24 hours I accepted my birth story was nothing near my birth plan. I hope that all new moms find a way to process their birth story just as I have. No matter how the story goes, non-medicated, C-section, VBAC, epidural, just remember that you have brought a life into this world. That fact right there deserves a standing ovation no matter how you did it.