“No, It’s too early!” I insisted as I was told being induced at 37 weeks was my only option for a healthy momma and healthy baby outcome. This infuriated me. I’d planned on and unmedicated and minimal intervention birth; this was not it.
I spent 36 hours in the hospital to try and avoid said induction due to high blood pressure, but it seemed baby girl wanted to make her appearance early. I spent two days in Labor and Delivery lock up before I finally talked my way out for a few days before they scheduled my induction. My boyfriend had scored us Louis C.K. tickets at Chicago Theatre the day they wanted to induce.
Nope! Sorry. We had been waiting for this show for weeks, no way we were missing it! Luckily, my midwives understood and gave me a slight extension. “You better be here by midnight,” they threatened.
This Wasn’t How I Planned My Birth
I was there at midnight. At 37 weeks exactly. Terrified. Nervous. Excited. Disappointed. This wasn’t how I’d planned on things going. I wanted a natural water birth. I chose a midwife, tried to eat well, watched my weight, never had any red flags.
But babies don’t care. I wanted the best for my baby, of course, but why couldn’t she wait just a few more weeks? My pregnancy had been pretty non-eventful. No excessive weight (I know, I’m sorry.), no gestational diabetes, no issues. Except for gestational hypertension – and extreme hypertension at that. So, there I was. Barely 37 weeks pregnant and being induced.
We opted to start with Cervidil because I was already pretty effaced and three centimeters dilated. Turns out, that was a bad choice. Baby’s heart rate kept dropping, and my contractions weren’t even detectable. The nurses rushed in to push fluids and try to find her heart rate again after it dropped the last time.
Moving on to Pitocin
I insisted that we remove the Cervidil and proceed with the dreaded Pitocin. What the fuck was I thinking? Things got intense quickly. It was about noon when we got it started. My contractions still weren’t showing up on their monitors. I have a sizeable fibroid on the front of my uterus, keeping it from contracting in the front. Cue the horrific back labor.
Imagine a kid ripping the legs off of a Barbie doll. That is what my contractions felt like. My lower back and hips were in agony. My water broke on its own around 2 pm. It felt like a water balloon busted inside of me. The pain was progressing pretty quickly now that we were pushing the Pitocin.
Between my partner and my doula, they made sure I had all I needed and tried to help me work through the pain. I begged and begged my midwife to let me get in the tub. I was still hovering at around 4 cm dilated, and nothing was changing, except for my pain level.
“You’re Scaring The Other Ladies”
I am fairly certain that people on the other side of the hospital could hear my screams. My nurses begged me to “Quiet Down” because I was scaring other ladies in labor. That didn’t go over so well.
Around 8 pm I was finally allowed to get in the water. My doula and partner traded off holding my hand and rubbing my shoulders to try and comfort me through the hellacious pain. It got to the point where I was blacking out between the surges.
I couldn’t do this anymore, why would anyone want this kind of pain?
It Was Time For The Drugs
Going against everything I’d planned, I asked for medication. We started with an IV pain killer that sent me into the clouds. Still feeling every bit of pain, but feeling like I was floating in between contractions. This worked for an hour or so. It was nearing midnight. My crew was exhausted. They’d been trying to help all they could for hours. I sent my doula to track down the anesthesiologist. Having something inserted into my spine was the last thing I wanted, but I was at the end of my rope. I needed a reprieve. I needed to rest.
Luckily, it didn’t hurt. It only took about ¼ of the way, so I still had full function of my legs. This made me feel better about succumbing to the pain. My crew needed a break, so I sent them to nap and eat. I was finally about to rest a bit and settle into feeling my contractions and my baby moving down, instead of focusing on how it felt like I was being ripped apart. My last check, right after the epidural, I was still at 4 cm. After about three hours, I was starting to feel intense pressure and the guttural urge to push.
Time To Push
I called my doula back and woke my partner, who went to find my midwife. This baby was on her way and I wanted to push, NOW. It was 3:45 am when my lovely midwife came back. She doubted my claims that I was ready until she checked me. 9.5 cm. I progressed 5.5 cm in less than four hours. It was here, it was time to have a baby. They needed some time to set up the room for the birth, so I labored down for a little bit before I could not, not push. It was go time.
I was seated at the end of the bed, my partner at my arm telling me I could do this. My doula stepped away for a moment, saying she felt a little light headed, probably from not eating or resting much she said. It was 4:05 am. I remember looking at the clock right before my first push down. I bared down and followed cues to slow down from my midwife to avoid a tear. She was right there, in limbo, almost earth side. I pushed once more and could feel her on the cusp of crowning.
I looked down at my midwife for reassurance and then – my doula passed out. Cold. Hit the floor. I couldn’t stop pushing! Or asking if she was okay and laughing at the same time. One more push and baby girl was out. 4:16am. It took her a minute to realize she wasn’t in the warm home she’d known for the last 37 weeks. Those first cries were the best sound I’d ever heard.
The baby was taken for a minute to be weighed and her airway cleared out. I had a bit more bleeding than was normal and needed to deliver the placenta. My doula was whisked away by the nursing staff to the ER downstairs. She was okay, just fainted due to low blood sugar.
Baby girl was brought back to me and I finally got to look at her sweet little face. Her head was perfectly round and covered with dark brown hair. Her cheeks were plump and her eyes wide. I’d never seen someone so perfect. Her name would be Mirielle Anneliese.
Now, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I have a pretty type A personality. I want things done my way or no way. I had a plan and it got thrown out the window. I didn’t get the natural birth that I wanted; it was far from it.
But, it was still perfect. Every pain, every annoyance, every doubt…gone. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, maybe with a little less back labor, though. We are now five months into this mothering thing. Things aren’t easy. I’m not a natural mommy, but I do think I’m doing okay. At the end of the day,
At the end of the day, Mirielle is a happy and healthy baby girl, and that’s all I could ever ask for.
All in post images provided by the writer and were used with permission.
Featured Image from Unsplash.com
Katherine Anderson is a 28-year-old mama bear to two angels and a rainbow baby. She is a mostly-stay-at-home mom to five-month-old Mirielle and part-time nanny to two lovely families. Hopeful future nurse.