This is my own personal birth story! I’m excited about the stories I’ve received and can’t wait for you to share in the love, joy and excitement that is giving birth.
The birth of Jr.
Born at 7:52pm
9lbs 11oz and 21.5 inches long
My first baby and no epidural!!
The following contains information pertaining to childbirth. If you can’t handle words like cervix, urethra, perineum or labia, then you should stop reading now!
41 weeks and 5 days pregnant:
Mr. Manly and I went in to get yet another Fetal Non-Stress test. This was number 3 because Jr. seemed to not want to be born. He was happy on the inside and had plenty of amniotic fluid. I was dilated to a 4 and my cervix was soft, but just a few Braxton hicks contractions here and there. The midwife said I was really on the brink of starting labor so I had her strip my membranes in hopes of getting labor started without having to be induced. I did not want to be induced, but Thursday was the latest I could go. That night the power went out and my lower back was killing me! I thought for sure labor was starting so I went to bed hoping to be woken up with contractions or my water breaking or something!
41 weeks and 6 days pregnant:
No such luck chuck. The pain had subsided, no contractions and the power was still out, so Mr. Manly went to work. My sister called me wondering if I wanted to drive around with her and my nephew simply to keep warm because their power was out too. Plus this enabled us to charge our phones in the car! We ended up picking up my mom and going out to lunch. While on our way out, one of my midwives called me and asked if we could be induced that day. Apparently the birth center had 5 other women on the books to be induced Thursday and none of them were far enough along to be induced a day early. We would only be able to go in after Mr. Manly got off from work. I called him and he said okay. So we arrived at the hospital at 6 o clock and were shown to our room.
If you know anything about my husband you know he has many things that he is particular about. One is even numbers. Don’t know where is comes from, he’s not OCD, he just likes even numbers. Well he was ecstatic that our room number was 2346! And on top of that, 46 was 23 doubled, he said it was good luck! Our moms had arranged their schedules to be there with us too! (Lesson learned about having too many people in the delivery room!) Unfortunately when you make a choice like being induced you automatically give up other choices you once had, such as IV fluids and continuous fetal monitoring. I had to have an IV anyway because I was GBS positive and needed antibiotics before I delivered, but still! I would say it was the worst part, not the most painful, obviously, but definitely the worst because I hate needles and I hate feeling confined and boy did I end up feeling confined! Also, because I was being induced with Pitocin I had to have continuous fetal monitoring.
They finally started the Pitocin around 8pm. I asked if they could give me the smallest dose possible and they did. They started with 1 ml and went up by 1 every 30 minutes when they normally start with 2 ml and go up by 2 every 30 minutes. In hindsight, that was just prolonging the process, but I was still praying that my body wouldn’t need much to push it over the edge into labor. Eventually they started going up by 2 and I would have a few contractions here and there.
Mr. Manly and I tried to go for a walk to help speed things along. I had to take the IV drip and the Fetal Monitor with me and unfortunately the monitor kept picking up my heart rate instead of the baby’s so we became confined to our room… waah waah waah!
Sometime in the night the midwife checked me again and I was dilated to 7cm and contractions were coming at regular intervals, but I was still smiling and talking, which is apparently not normal for most women when they are dilated to a 7. I thought this was a good sign and that maybe I had a huge pain threshold that would carry me through birth and that it would only get a little worse! It got a lot worst.
42 weeks pregnant:
Now just to let you know, I was going through the midwives clinic at my hospital for my care and at our first appointment the we met with L. and she said that we would click with some of the midwives better than others and that babies had a way of waiting to be born with your favorite. I loved 5 out of the 6 and still liked the 1 just not as much as the others because our personalities were too different. We had most of our appointments with R. and K. and they were my faves! It just so happened that R. was on call Wednesday and K. was on call Thursday. So really, Jr. waited to be born with one of our favorites!
Well the morning came and I still hadn’t had a baby! K. came on shift at 7 am and we decided that since my contractions were regular and I was at 17 ml of Pitocin (They usually don’t let people go pass 20 ml) that we would stop Pitocin and hope my body continued in labor. This was a great decision because it allowed me to take a nice shower! However, the catch was that if my body didn’t continue in labor that we would break my water (another intervention I wanted to avoid, but eventually saw it as necessary in order to progress). Well 10 am came and my labor had basically stopped. It had been an hour since I had my last contraction therefore we were going to break my water, but stay off Pitocin. The midwife tried to break my water, and she thought she had, but there wasn’t a huge gush and she was afraid of hurting the baby if she continued to try. So we let it be and again hoped that my bag of waters was broken and simply leaking instead of gushing. Again my labor had done much of anything and we decided that my water was not broken and she was going to try again. This time it worked and there was a big gush and it was clear! Clear fluid meant there was no meconium, which is pretty rare for an overdue baby! We also asked to start Pitocin again just in case breaking the water didn’t actually help me progress.
Finally labor really started! I decided to stand with a birth ball on the bed and sway. This is when my back pain really kicked in like it had Tuesday night. Thankfully Mr.Manly was there to do counter pressure! Not sure if you know this, but my husband is inhumanly strong and therefore amazing at counter pressure! The nurse asked if I wanted a peanut ball because it might be easier than using a big round ball. It was much easier and way more comfortable, but my back pain was getting worse. Because of the Pitocin I again had to be on continuous fetal monitoring which is what really made labor difficult. I wasn’t able to move around and change position freely because then the monitor would lose the Jr.’s heartbeat. It was very frustrating!
Severe back pain during labor can be a sign of a posterior baby. In case he was posterior, we decided to try a sideline position to try to coax him into a better position. I liked this idea because most of the relaxation practice I had done was in this position and I thought I could manage my pain better. In the process of changing positions I had to stop for a contraction. I suppose it’s weird to say it was my favorite contraction, but let me explain. I was trying to breathe through my contractions like I had practiced. I was finding that either I controlled the contraction or the contraction controlled me and I wanted to be in charge, but my deep abdominal breathing was proving to be very difficult if I wasn’t ready when the contraction started. This particular contraction was one that I controlled. I owned it!
Once in the sideline position I tried relaxing. My legs and feet did not like that idea and decided they were going to try to absorb the pain, but that just makes it more painful and I knew that, but I honestly couldn’t stop it. The contractions were getting stronger and closer together and I couldn’t control any of them. It felt like once I finished one I didn’t have time to regroup for the next. It was like playing defense against a powerful no-huddle offense in overtime! I couldn’t keep up and I felt helpless. The nurse was trying to help me breath but she was not doing deep abdominal breathing she was doing more like Lamaze and I didn’t want to do that but she was all I could focus on. Because I wasn’t breathing properly I started to hyperventilate which caused my hands to tingle. That was weird.
I had watched many natural birth videos on YouTube and there were a few where the women were so loud and vocal that I had to turn them off because it was straight up annoying to listen to…. I was that woman in labor. I didn’t want to be, but I was.
From our Bradley classes we had this amazing “Overview of Labor and Birth”. It takes you stage by stage through the process and explains physical, mental and emotional sign posts. The final phase before you start pushing is called transition. During this phase the woman typically experiences self-doubt, confusion and basically surrenders to the labor. The overview described some things you might hear a woman in transition say such as, “I give up” “I want to go home”. I specially remember feeling like this and I was thinking, “I don’t want to be here anymore”, “I’m done” “I can’t do this anymore”. I must have been saying these things out loud because I remember my mom (who was reading our Bradley book) said, “I think this is transition!” I could hear the midwife’s voice but I have no clue what she was saying.
I wanted to push but I didn’t want to say that because I was afraid it wasn’t time and that I wouldn’t be dilated enough to push. I felt the largest need to go poop. I said, “I need to go poop!” They said, “Do you want to go to the bathroom?” No I definitely did not want to get up and go to the bathroom, but I had to poop so they said, “Why don’t you just go poop?” The midwife said that after my next contraction she was going to check me to see if I was dilated enough to push. I think it took 2 contractions because I didn’t really want to be checked, but she checked me and said I was dilated to 9 and 3/4 cm. SERIOUSLY?! I’m not sure how you can tell the difference between 3/4 cm and 1 cm because that is less than an 1/8 of an inch difference, but I couldn’t hold it anymore my body needed to push and so I got to my hands and knees and started to push. They kept telling me that I was going to need to turn around in between my next contraction, but that took like 3 or 4 contractions. When I turned around I remember looking at the clock and seeing that it was 7 pm, but after that I closed my eyes and pretty much kept them shut the rest of the time.
Pushing was the greatest part! I felt so in control of my body and the situation. It was nice to feel in charge again. I didn’t hear this and my husband said it was because she whispered it, but around 7:15 the midwife said her prediction was that the baby would be born at 7:53 and he was born at 7:52! They placed him on me and he felt so small!
The cord had been wrapped around his neck and the midwife said, “Elliette, he’s not breathing we have to take him for a few moments.” Mr. Manly quickly cut the cord and Jr. was given to a NICU team in the room who immediately began suctioning him out really good. He had apparently pooped right as he was born and his first breath inhaled the meconium. The NICU team pulled pieces of meconium out of his lungs and he started crying. They listened to his lungs and then pulled out more.
Meanwhile, I needed some stitching. I only needed a few in my perineum, but I had labial tearing and needed stitches in many delicate places. After delivering the placenta the midwife gave me lidocaine to numb me, but it wasn’t extremely effective. She began stitching and then asked someone to go get Dr. L. She told me that because the tearing was so close to my urethra, she wanted the OB to stitch it. I didn’t hear the Dr. say I was hemorrhaging, but that was what my mother-in-law claims he said. They gave me 4 pills to chew up while also giving me some sort of IV drug which I think was to help numb me, but I am not sure. The pills tasted like cotton and I remember saying out loud, “This tastes like cotton!” Both the midwife and the doctor made me feel as though everything was not that bad and I’m sure they’ve seen worse!
Reflections and Moral of My Story:
The first two weeks after Jr. was born were difficult for me as I tried to recall everything that happened during my labor and delivery. You would think that it would be easy to feel extremely awesome about my accomplishment. I mean really… I freaking gave birth to a 9lb 11oz baby without pain medicine! However, being a perfectionist, I tore myself up about my experience because it was not what I wanted. It was nowhere close to the calm, beautiful experience I had envisioned and dreamed about for me and Mr. Manly. I knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, I’m not stupid, but I had hoped for so much more and expected so much more from myself and had therefore been very disappointed. It was potentially exacerbated by a little postpartum depression.
I definitely made the mistake of listening to the comments and partial criticism of others, when I should have just let it be someone else’s opinion and not a fact. My experience was somehow traumatizing to others. My mother she said that if any of her daughters decide to do natural childbirth again, she will not be attending. And my mother-in-law was and I quote…Scared for me… because I could have died. I don’t know which one said it, but someone made the comment about how they should have given me an episiotomy to make it go faster.
I finally came to the conclusion that it is absolutely unacceptable for any woman to ever feel bad or disappointed about her birth experience. Let me say that again…
IT IS ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE FOR ANY WOMAN TO EVER FEEL BAD OR DISAPPOINTED ABOUT HER BIRTH EXPERIENCE!
I don’t care if she has her baby via C-section, with an epidural, without pain meds, in a hospital, in a birth center, in water, at home, in the woods or whatever the case may be. If she survived then by damn it, she HAS succeeded! My friend J. once said, “My goal in childbirth is to not die.” I agree!
I made it out alive. I succeeded!
This is why I have started the Birth Stories section of this blog! Sharing stories and learning more about each other’s experiences can help us be at peace with what we go through as women bringing new life into this world! Each story is unique and beautiful in its own way!
If you are willing to share in my small attempt to help other women be at peace with their experiences please e-mail your birth stories to me at email@example.com !