While I’ll never have a home birth or unassisted birth, I still love my birth story. And maybe, just maybe, hearing my story will encourage some moms to be a little more understanding of medically necessary inductions or labor augmentations or even encourage other moms out there who feel shamed because they had an induction.
First off, a little background. 🙂 This was my third baby and third medically necessary induction. I am one of those “lucky” women who get a rare form of polyhydramnios when pregnant. (High amniotic fluid levels) Because of this and having only one kidney, I get kicked into early labor somewhere around the 36-week area. However, my water does not break on its own. So, I stay in labor until my OB breaks my water.
I got lucky this time around if you can call it that. I didn’t go into early labor until I hit 37 weeks this pregnancy. My contractions stayed about five minutes apart and lasted between one and two minutes. I was only dilated to 2cm, but it was getting hard to sleep through some of the contractions.
The baby was still high and free floating and trying to turn transverse on me from time to time. That’s another issue with having too much fluid. The baby cannot continually engage the cervix to continue the process of dilation.
Going a day or two in “active labor” according to contraction patterns isn’t fun, but I wanted the baby to cook a little longer and so did my ob. But my labs were coming back borderline in some areas due to the stress from labor and lack of sleep.
Previously, with my first two kids, I had major organ failure which almost resulted in emergency C-sections. Neither I nor my OB wanted that to happen again. So, we decided to try Ambien for a few days to buy a little more time in the hope that I would be able to progress some more on my own without my body starting to shut down.
I got lucky a second time because the Ambien worked in allowing me to get some rest and make 38 weeks. By that time, I was starting to think hey, I might make 40 weeks or not completely fall apart this time! I might make it to my due date!
Then Sunday night came, and I noticed the Ambien was barely working. I think I slept about four hours that night. I had an appointment on Tuesday, so I wasn’t terribly worried. Then Monday night happened. The Ambien didn’t work at all. My contractions had picked up and hung around 2-3 minutes with some nasty ones that instead of leveling off would spike to a whole new level of ugly pain. I didn’t sleep at all that night.
I went into my appointment on Tuesday looking like a raccoon. I was dilated to 3cm, almost 4cm. I hadn’t been able to keep anything down since Monday afternoon. Not even water. My OB decided to send me up for observation, iv fluids, and bloodwork. At 10 am the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I grabbed my phone and texted my husband that I wouldn’t be home as soon as I had planned on. I was still expecting to get sent home.
At noon I was told my blood work was back and it wasn’t looking good. I had elevated liver enzymes again. And would probably be in full-blown liver failure and things would get ugly fast on a holiday weekend.
It is Baby Time!
I wasn’t going to be sent home and called my husband to inform him that at 38 weeks and three days we were having a baby. With all things considered, this was the best it was going to get.
My OB started me on a low dose of Pitocin to try to move the baby into a lower and better position at noon. At 4 pm everyone realized the Pitocin wasn’t doing anything, but I had already opted for an epidural because I was hoping to get some sleep and keep my pain level down which keeps my BP down.
At 4:15 pm on Tuesday still at only a 3.5-4cm, she broke my water. Grandma and Grandpa were off work by then and took the kids so James could be with me. It went FAST after that, and much was a blur. I was freezing the entire time. I couldn’t get enough warm blankets and couldn’t stop shaking.
At 6 pm I felt like I needed to poop. I was at 10cm with a slight cervical lip. My OB tried moving it and it wouldn’t move. She let me push once to see if it would move and, nope. So we had to wait for it to go away and that was the most horrible feeling I’ve ever experienced.
It was like diarrhea but with pushing a baby out. I’m still not sure how long it took for it to go away. It felt like forever with every second just continuing to build that urge to the point where you feel like you’ll explode. Finally, it was gone, and I could push.
And I can’t remember how many contractions I pushed through. I felt like I was losing ground when I wasn’t pushing and the baby was starting to decelerate during contractions so I stopped relaxing between contractions and pushed him out during the next set of contractions. He was born at 6:58 pm. Yes, you read that correctly. I went from barely 4cm at 4:15 to holding my baby at 6:58 pm. It was hard, fast and I was so swollen I had to sit on ice for the next almost 48 hours. He rocketed into the world at 8lbs, 8 Oz, 20.5 inches long with a 14-inch head.
I didn’t find out the gender of this baby this time. My husband knew and kept it a secret the entire time. I didn’t find out. It’s hard to explain why. I wanted to be surprised and the drive to know and prepare just wasn’t there.
We had a girl and a boy and kept just about everything from both. I also felt like I knew I was carrying a little girl and all my “symptoms/signs/similarities” seemed to confirm what I felt/ thought. So, I was quite surprised when he came out and the first thing I saw was a penis – even before my Doctor announced that we had a boy!
Then he was placed on my chest covered in my blood and a thick coat of vernix. I wondered for a brief second how on earth anyone would ever get it all off him. I was still so cold and had about 10 blankets so we snuggled while I got stitched back up. One of the downsides to a very fast labor is you just don’t have enough time to stretch so you tear. My OB saved me as much as she could so I only had a 1st degree and just needed 1 row of stitches. I was quite happy the epidural was still working while we snuggled and I tried to focus on the new little person in my arms instead of the tugging and pulling sensation of being stitched up.
My placenta only partially detached, so I got another dose of Pitocin. Since I still was completely numb my OB decided to go fishing and try to get the remaining placenta. That was quite an odd feeling while holding my baby. It didn’t hurt, but I could feel the pressure of her hands as she scraped/pressed/ felt around inside my uterus. I was exhausted from not sleeping for over 24 hours but so relieved NOT to be pregnant anymore.
I remember being sad that I was attached to so many tubes, wires, and monitors when she first handed me, my baby. It wasn’t what I wanted and probably about as far as you could get from an all-natural water birth, but I pushed those feelings away because I knew given my lab results, previous experiences, and options I would have made the same choices given a second chance.
This was still good, and it would be OK because I chose it. Despite a few curve balls thrown at me, I knew what to expect, and I was still in control. I had a great OB that knew when and how to support what I wanted while still doing everything she could to ensure both me and my baby were safe and stressed as little as possible.
Welcome to the World
I held him close. I wanted to know how much he weighed and how big his head was, but I didn’t want to let him go of him. My older two kids were coming to meet their new brother so everyone was trying to hurry and disconnect stuff from me and clean up the mess since baby boy came right at shift change.
My epidural had been turned off and I had feeling on the left 1/2 of my body, but not the right side. Both 4-year-oldold and 2-year old loved him, held him, and wanted to hug me. It was already 9 pm but it was adorable seeing how happy and surprised they were to meet their brother. A nurse brought us all ice cream.
I was past exhausted since it had been over 36 hours since I had slept, but I still felt restless after they left.
My little boy didn’t have a name. I was so swollen I couldn’t pee by myself and had to have another catheter. The feeling started returning to my right leg after that and I felt better.
They moved me to a new room around midnight, but I still couldn’t rest because my baby didn’t have a name.
I’d sent James home not long after the kids left because I knew he wouldn’t get any sleep at the hospital and he looked terrible.
We had wanted another family name, but none of the names we liked and had decided on previously seemed to fit him. I dozed on and off that night unable to rest because my baby didn’t have a name and it just bothered me to no end that he was nameless and the nausea had passed, leaving me starving. James came back at 6 am looking tired, disorganized, but better than he had previously.
What is In A Name?
I mentioned maybe we should just pick out a name so he could share his daddy’s initials and he opened his computer and started searching. We found a middle name we liked right away, so I started relaxing and feeling better. It took a bit longer on the first name, but as soon as we found one we both liked I almost immediately fell asleep and slept for the next 6 hours or so.
I had always thought it was crazy to have a name picked out, see your baby and then throw it out at the last possible second. Not anymore. It’s hard to describe that feeling of knowing the name you picked just didn’t fit. I didn’t understand that before, but I totally understand it now. Welcome to the family, little Jabez Adriel Baker.
Stephane Baker is a 33-year-old SAHM to three kids. Her family runs a hobby farm, and she enjoys doing most of her cooking from scratch.
Featured Image: Unsplash
In Post Image & Bio Image: Provided by Author, Used with Permission.