At 8:30 am on 4/18/17 I had an ultrasound.
I was 40+5 weeks pregnant and they wanted to do an ultrasound and a non-stress test to check on the baby. The ultrasound showed that there was no amniotic fluid left in my uterus. None. Her exact words were “I'm not even sure you have a teacup full! Looks like you're going to be induced today.”
Immediately, my mom messaged Rob to come home so that we could prepare to go to the hospital. I went into an exam room with my midwife to discuss what my options might be. She said the baby was reacting fine and seems to be unphased by the lack of fluid but they needed to come out…. Today. She checked my cervix so I knew where we were starting. I was 1 cm dilated, 50% effaced, and the baby was at -3 station.
From there we went home and grabbed the last of the things we needed for our bags, packed the car, and took a few deep breaths. This was really happening! Our baby would be born.
Snuggling Emmy, our 6-year-old, before leaving was a very high priority.
Rob picked her up and said, “I just want you to remember that you're my very first baby and I love you so much.” She snuggled into his shoulder and wrapped her arms around his neck. I walked into my room and wiped a tear. I love them both so much and I couldn't wait to share this new adventure with them both.
We took Emmy to my cousin’s to wait on her uncle to come get her to stay with their family until the baby arrived. We took a few final pictures as a family of 3 and shared kisses and hugs.
Soon, we were off to the hospital.
On the way to the hospital, we alerted our few choice friends and our family that we were being induced. We stopped at Chick Fil A for me to get a meal and Rob a sandwich. I wanted to make sure I was full. We arrived at the hospital about noon.
By 1:30 I was on the monitor and had an IV. My midwife and I had discussed how I'd like to be induced as gently as possible. We decided that a Cook Balloon was our best bet. This would mean they would put a catheter into my cervix, push 40 mL of fluid into a balloon that's attached to it on the inside of my uterus, then they’d fill a similar balloon on the other end of my cervix inside my vagina with 40 mL. This would push on my cervix from both sides and slowly force it to open.
I was given a dose of fentanyl and the catheter was inserted. Within an hour I started having contractions. Over the next 10 hours, I started contracting more and more, stronger and stronger. I went from bouncing on my exercise ball to laying in bed resting and napping as it felt comfortable to me. At 12 am I decided to labor on the toilet for a few, it felt good. This was perfect, about 15 minutes later the catheter fell out. It had worked!
My nurse came in and checked my cervix, I was now 5-6 cm and 60-70% effaced. I was given the option for Pitocin and decided to wait two hours to see what was happening. In the meantime, I asked for another dose of Fentanyl and to sleep for a bit. My doula, Jacob, rubbed my feet for a bit to help me drift off. I very happily slept for 2 hours until my midwife came in.
When my midwife came in, I knew it was Pitocin time if I hadn't progressed anymore. I was definitely ok with this. My whole care team had let me be in charge and kept me informed and we were working hard together to make this happen. Turns out nothing had changed at all and I just looked at her and said “OK, Pitocin time. Let's start low and work our way up slowly?” She nodded her head in agreement and said this was a perfect idea.
I flipping rocked through Pitocin while walking, dancing, standing, and bouncing on the birth ball. At one point, I had my hips moving the ball clockwise, rolling my head counter clockwise, was drumming a beat on my knees, and counting out loud through contractions. It was my birth ritual and it was perfect.
Suddenly, I had a stronger contraction come on and I felt a *POP*. I'm about 99% sure my amniotic sac broke then but I had no fluid so nothing came out. I almost fainted during that contraction because the pain was so much. I called the nurse in immediately, going through another outrageous contraction while I waited, and the midwife happened to be around, too. I told them I felt I had ruptured and I wanted to be checked because this was my pain threshold and if I wasn't complete I wanted an epidural. This was about 5:30 am and I was still the same so I asked for the pit to be turned off for now, for a final dose of fentanyl, and my epidural. It was that or I was going to have a panic attack. They agreed to my requests and I was so happy.
Right here is where I need to stop and thank my midwife and nurses.
This was about as far from my ideal birth as can be, outside a cesarean, but I was feeling so EMPOWERED. I cannot say that enough. I was spoken to as an educated, informed human and I made my own decisions inside their recommendations. I felt happy with every single decision because I was able to be part of the process and I was truly listened to.
I received my epidural from an anesthesiologist (who deserves a superhero cape) about 6:45 am. I had to wait to receive a certain amount of IV fluids before I could have it and that had taken time. The fentanyl I had while waiting made me feel good enough that I was finally feeling back in control during contractions again.
After my epidural kicked in, I fell hard and fast asleep for 2 hours. I needed that so much more than I realized. At 9 am, my two nurses came in to check my monitor, they weren't able to see contractions. I started feeling good bits of pain at this point and so they gave me a bolus of the epidural. We got me back on the monitors correctly.
At 10:05 a lady came in to finish setting up everything they would need for baby. I also started feeling pressure in my bottom. My midwife walked in like she had a premonition and checked me at 10:15. Omg! I was complete!!! It was baby time so everyone started prepping the room.
I was so nervous I almost asked them if I could take one more nap before I started pushing. I wasn't ready! I was still so sleepy. Could I even do this? Was this real? Was I ready to be a mom of two children?!
Too late now for all that. It was time to meet my baby.
I had torn so badly with Emmy's birth that we discussed my fears and talked about how they would really work hard to monitor my old scar during pushing.
I have told so many clients how to push through epidurals or just how to push in general that I felt really confident. The midwife and midwife in training were pleased with my ability to push even though I couldn't feel anything at all after that epidural bolus. It made me proud. Why shouldn't it? I started feeling a lot more confident.
After 6 contractions and about 20 pushes, I felt a pop and my baby’s head was out. The cord was wrapped around baby’s neck twice so they unwound it and helped her out the rest of the way with gentle pushes from me. This was 10:45 am. When they laid her on my belly I saw that she was a girl and looked up to Rob, who was at my right hand, and whispered “It's a girl. We have a daughter.”
He then announced to the room that we had a baby girl.
I started rubbing her along with the baby nurse because she wasn't breathing steadily enough. They prepped the cord for Rob to cut because the nurse wanted her under the warmer so she could work on her a bit and help her acclimate. He cut it like a pro and followed the nurse over to the warmer to watch.
The nurse didn't seem too frazzled, just wanted to get her stimulated. Her initial APGAR was actually a 7. I turned back to my own body and noticed my placenta was being clingy and didn't wanna let me go. I'm likable, apparently. It took them about 20 more minutes to get my placenta to play nice and get my one tiny tear stitched up. They had a nurse grab me Motrin to stay ahead of the pain and help with my headache.
When I finally got to snuggle my sweet new girl, she latched right onto my breast to nurse like she'd done it before. She nursed for 50 minutes between both breasts. I got to actually feel some good pulling at my milk and hear her swallow.
This was magic. I'm a mom of two now.
It's 1 am as I'm writing this. I've been staying on top of pain meds because I don't want to hurt if I don't have to. Lottie is nursing like a champ and I'm not worried about her at all. My bleeding is standard. My uterus is shrinking appropriately.
I'm truly, truly happy about how everything went. I don't regret one single decision or a second of my labor. How much more cleansing could a labor be?? I am proud I didn't let anyone tell me I was wrong for any or my decisions and I didn't feel guilty even one time. I asked for what I needed and advocated for myself. I'm proud of me and I couldn't ask for anything more.