From the very beginning of this pregnancy I have had extreme anxiety and fear. I thought I was miscarrying in the beginning, I was told that I was “barely” pregnant at the ER, and felt like God had saved our little girl after we prayed and asked Him to! When it was confirmed that our baby was growing and healthy, there was no doubt that God had saved her and had a huge plan for her life already!
I personally had a hard time with this pregnancy emotionally. Before it was confirmed that it was possible I could be miscarrying, I was very against having another child so quickly! While I want the Lord to decide when the right time for us to have children is, I tend to let my own desires come into play at times; I was really hoping to wait a while before being pregnant again. So, when I thought we were losing her, I felt so guilty and ashamed that I didn’t want to be pregnant. It’s funny how when there is potential to lose something or never have it, we want it more!
Throughout my pregnancy our lives were extremely busy! I don’t think I ever really got to the point to where I even noticed the pregnancy until I was almost 35 weeks along! At that point I was beginning to become uncomfortable ; in all that I did it became very apparent to me that I was pregnant!! Unlike before, I also was not looking forward to the birth this time around. With our last baby, we were very prepared! We had a birth plan, we went through a birth class, we watched videos, and read books…we were ready for a natural birth! This time around, we were so busy that the most we did before the birth was get her room ready, clothes washed, and her name picked out. We even decided on the spelling of her name while I was lying in the hospital bed. We were very unprepared this time around!
On Thursday August 28th I had my 39 week appointment. I really wanted to make sure that I was able to have the same midwife this time around, and she was going on vacation after being on call Friday night, so I wanted to get the show on the road if we could! At that appointment I was 2cm dilated, and she went ahead and swept my membranes. The plan was that hopefully that would work to send me into labor, but if there was nothing happening by morning, I was going to take the birth cocktail and see if that would work for me again. After I left that afternoon, on the way home I felt slight back cramping but nothing impressive. I cleaned up around the house, made dinner and then went to lie down and rest for a while. Around 10pm I began having painful contractions, and they continued all through the night. They were very strong and painful while I was lying down, but when I would get up to walk around, they would stop. Because of this, I decided that it couldn’t be real labor!
Friday August 29th after laboring all night, I got up at 7:30am and took the birth cocktail. I was still having the same pattern with my contractions, hurting while lying down and then they subsiding while walking. I went to the midwife’s office around 2:30pm to be checked. We said goodbye to the kids, and loaded up the car just in case we needed to stay. My husband dropped me off at the front door while he parked the car and I went up to the office. They put me on the monitor to check the baby’s heart rate and contractions; when my midwife came in, we were surprised to find out I was dilated 4cm – almost 5!! We decided not to go home at that point, but walked around the hospital a little, got some lunch, and then made our way up to labor and delivery.
Once in L&D we unpacked a little, got comfortable, I changed into my own clothes, and we waited for my Doula and midwife to show up. I was quickly hooked up to the IV in order to get the first dose of antibiotic in, we all thought there was no way I was going to make it to the second bag of antibiotics scheduled for 4 hours later, but we were all in for a big surprise!! My labor was not very intense at all; It was very tolerable and mild. I labored for at least 2-3 hours in the water, and I have to say that was the best part of my labor! We turned out the lights and had praise and worship music playing. It was very relaxing and helped me to calm down and not be so anxious. Around 10:00pm, I finally got out of the tub and my midwife came in to check me. I believe I was 6cm, so she went ahead and ruptured my water. She intended to give me just a small leak to bring on contractions more intensely, but it ended up becoming a huge gush instead!
Unfortunately, at this point, all the details of my labor are very fuzzy to me. I don’t remember the order of things very well, but I know at some point I was at 8 cm for HOURS!! I remember taking several walks down the hallway and stopping to hold the railing during contractions, or leaning on my husband. I remember feeling like I wanted my husband to lay with me or stay close to me while I was lying in the bed resting for a time. And I remember being on my knees over the top of the bed for a long time when things were getting intense, and then sitting on the birthing ball for a while as well. I believe at this point I had been awake for 3 days, so I was beginning to forget things; everything started to run together, and I was becoming very confused with what people were saying to me and with what stage I was in during my labor. I got to the point where I was pushing; I thought I was fully dilated and that she was sitting there ready to come out. I remember them bringing in the squat bar and putting it on the bed, they had me in a sitting position and I tried to push with my next contraction. I remember my midwife encouraging me and letting me know that everyone was there for me, and that I could do this! I began crying at some point because I felt so exhausted, and I don’t remember when I stopped.
They were doing intermittent fetal monitoring, meaning that they would come in every 30 minutes, I believe, and check the baby’s heart rate; they would listen through one of my contractions. At this point I was so tired that I do remember feeling upset when the nurse would come in to listen to the baby, because they always came in right after I just finished a contraction, and that would mean that they would have to stay there listening until I had another. When they did that, all I could do was think about the fact that another contraction was on its way, instead of resting up for the next one!
I was told at some point that my cervix had a lip on it. I don’t think at the time I understood what that meant. I was given some options, one was that she could try and push the lip back and I could push at the same time and try to get the baby to come on through, which I think we tried, and the pain was unbelievable! After this I was told the baby’s head had turned in a weird angle and that is why I couldn’t push her out. I remember saying I couldn’t do it anymore. I felt like I was half asleep and half awake and felt like the only time I was awake was to feel the contractions. Then my midwife said that they could give me a tiny bit of Pitocin to help the contractions become more regular. I think at this point my mind could only process “Pitocin” and I went straight to the epidural because of my previous experience with it!
With baby #4 (when I still used an OBGYN), I was told they were going to give me “a little Pitocin” to speed things up. I told the nurse then that if they gave me Pitocin, I wanted the epidural- to which she said, “it was just a little and I wouldn’t really need the epidural with the amount they were going to give me.” I believed her, and then for 4 hours I had the most painful, intense, unbelievable contractions I’ve ever experienced in my entire life!! And to make it worse, I was laboring alone! My husband thought the epidural was on the way, and I told him to get some rest, so he was sleeping on the couch; I didn’t have a midwife or a doula then. I just remember crying and holding onto the bed railings for dear life and praying that God would please help me to not die!!
So, the minute Pitocin was mentioned, I believe I replied that I didn’t want it without an epidural!! And immediately fear set in! I became afraid that I would end up needing Pitocin without having an epidural; I became afraid that if I didn’t get the epidural (to relax) that I wouldn’t fully dilate and would need a C-section since there was a timeframe (so I thought, after having my water broken). I think that, at this point, all I could say was that I wanted the epidural, and the rest of the time I was crying. I really didn’t fully understand what was really going on until after the baby was born, and I was able to talk to my husband and one of the midwives about what everything meant. I don’t remember many conversations around me during labor; I remember my midwife asking me what I wanted to do and saying some other things; I can’t remember anything she was saying, but I remember saying that I wanted the epidural. I kept thinking in my mind about the other times I had gotten the epidural and how it relaxed my body so the baby came easily. I felt like, at that point, it was my only option for my body to dilate and the baby to come in a timely manner without a c-section. I think my midwife tried to tell me what the risks of getting it would be, but I don’t remember what she said, and I don’t think I understood what she was saying. It’s so strange to me that I had absolutely zero pain medication at this time, yet I felt like I was completely drugged up and can’t remember a lot of the timeline, or conversation. It’s so crazy how laboring for three days can make you so out of it!
The next thing I knew, the anesthesiologist was setting up his cart and had me holding my husbands hands while he was scrubbing my back for the epidural. My midwife switched off with another, since she was supposed to be on vacation that day, but had stayed to help me through my labor. The new midwife came in after the epidural and checked me. She said I was 8cm. I was completely confused, because I remembered trying to push, and I knew I had to be 10cm in order to push. It was confusing to me that I had UN-dilated!!
(I now know that I was able to push because my cervix was so flexible and when I would push I would dilate to 10cm but when I would stop it went back to 8cm. During labor, I could not understand this!)
After this, I fell asleep and was in and out of consciousness. I would hear people around me talking, would wake long enough to ask them questions, and then would fall back to sleep. I heard someone say that my contractions had stopped, and I remember again getting scared that we would need a C-section. I remember them saying that they were starting Pitocin which didn’t scare me because I had the epidural. I hear the alarm go off because my blood pressure had gotten so low, and they had to give me medication for it to normalize. At this point, I remember Praying, “please God, don’t let me die!” I ended up going to sleep for 4 hours. When I woke up, the anesthesiologist was in my room. He looked at me and said that there was no progress, and at this point there was nothing more they could do for me. It seemed to me that he was saying that if I didn’t start progressing once I ran out of medication, then I was out of medication and they would have to do something else. I took this at the time to mean- they would not give me anymore medication in the epidural, and once it was gone I would have to either do a c-section, or labor naturally again- but because I was not progressing I thought he was saying I would have to have a c-section. Right before he left my Doula knew I was confused and she told me what she thought he was trying to say, (which I don’t remember what she said), but it was way different than what I thought he was saying!!
I felt scared and asked my husband to pray for me that the baby would come! It had been about 42 hours at this point and I was really feeling defeated! He held my hand and prayed. When he was finished I began feeling pressure that I needed to push with each contraction I began having! The midwife came in and checked me and said “it’s time to have the baby!” I began almost sobbing at that point because I felt like I had worked for so long and so hard to have this baby in my arms and I didn’t think it was ever going to happen. I felt so thankful, not to mention grateful, for an answer to prayer- and so quickly afterwards!!
I believe I began pushing before my midwife was even turned around and ready to catch the baby. She had to tell me to slow down because I was determined to get her out this time. I believe I pushed maybe 3 times and I was holding my sweet baby! Out of all my labors, I’ve never felt so relieved to have my baby in my arms like I did this time around. I never had a labor over 12 hours prior to this one that totaled 42.5 hours!
I felt so protective over my baby once she was here. I didn’t want to put her down, and when they came to take her to the nursery later that evening for tests, I was panicked and couldn’t sleep the whole time she was gone. I constantly watched the clock and would occasionally wake up my husband asking if he would walk down to the nursery and check on her. When I first checked into natural birth with baby #6, one thing I had learned was that when you have a natural birth your body releases a chemical that causes the mother to feel an almost animal-like instinct/love to protect her baby. I thought this was so interesting because I didn’t feel like I had experienced this with my previous labors since I had medication with them, and even with baby #6, I felt a strong bond with her, but it wasn’t like others had described in the books about it. However, I knew that something happened with this one- I may have gotten the epidural at the end- but something was released to make me experience this feeling this time around. Maybe it was how long the labor was, or how hard I worked to have this baby. However, I realized I had this feeling before we left the hospital when the nurse said, “awww she is SO cute, don’t you want to leave her with me?” Normally I would smile and just laugh at the joke (which I did do), but this time I had the most overwhelming urge to push her down and tell her to STAY AWAY from my baby!! Haha!! I did not labor this baby for 42.5 hours to have someone even joke about me giving her to them! Do not mess with a tired, new mommy after a long labor! Haha!!
I felt a little disappointed that I opted for the epidural, being so close to the end; however, looking back now and realizing how out-of-my-mind tired I was, not remembering or even understanding half of what was going on, I know it was the right decision at the time.
Now that we are home, the girls just adore her. I am beyond grateful for my midwives, my doula, and my husband who encouraged me and was there for me through the ENTIRE labor without complaint! I have an amazing husband who has gone through 7 labors right next to me and has never been anything but encouraging to me. My doula and midwives have been through two labors with me; one that was pretty quick and went pretty nicely, and this one that was a little more unexpected. Again, all they did was encourage me and cheer me on even after I had to get the epidural this time around!
Our sweet girl is amazing; she is nursing well; she was a bit bruised up from the labor, but we are thankful she did not have to be under the lights for her jaundice. She is sleeping well, and she is loved more than any baby could ever be loved!! Even our littlest (1yr) loves to stare at her and watch her sleep. We are so blessed that God had given her to us. We are so thankful that He didn’t allow me to miscarry, but to carry her full term, and now she is laying in my arms as I type this. I often have a conversation with the Lord that is like this, “Lord I don’t understand why you would allow me to have so many amazing girls to raise them up for you! It is so humbling and exciting that you would allow me to raise them up for you!” I just pray that I don’t disappoint Him! We are so excited to see what God has in store.
August 30, 2014; 4:36pm; 8lb 2oz; 19 3/4in.