I didn’t start this blog until Lennon was a couple months old, so my birth stories have remained undocumented. However, I’ve been around the internet enough to know pregnant women, though they know in their head everyone’s delivery is different, are obsessed with reading birth stories. So I thought I’d share mine, starting of course with my first born.
Before I get into the birth story: a little background. When I became pregnant with Lucille my doctor estimated my due date based on when I thought my last period was… I wasn’t positive when it was and I told him I’m not very regular. He seemed unconcerned.
My doctor asked me if I required an ultrasound in my first trimester… I don’t know, isn’t that your job to tell me? He said he didn’t normally do first trimester ultrasounds because you can’t see much… good enough for me!
So fast forward to when I’m 18 weeks along, my first ultrasound. My baby is measuring a bit behind. No big deal, they won’t change my due date because by the 2nd trimester babies are growing at different rates… ladies, this is why you should have a first trimester ultrasound. Babies grow at the same rate in those first 12 weeks or so, so an early ultrasound can give you an accurate due date!
Fast forward to the end of my 2nd trimester, my doctor tells me he’s relocating and delivering out of another hospital. I’m welcome to come with him, but his office and the hospital I’d have to deliver at are further. I knew I couldn’t get enough time off work to go to his office and I wanted to deliver at the closest hospital since I was due in March and we live in a snowy area… so, start of my 3rd trimester, I start seeing a new doctor… not excited about it!
My new doctor works in an office with another doctor, and if she’s the one on call when I go into labor she’ll be delivering my baby. So a few weeks before my new due date I have an appointment with her, just so we’re acquainted in case she’s the one delivering my baby soon, good plan, right?
So this doctor comments on how I’m measuring very small… my doctor had mentioned this too but said you’re a small person, your husband’s a small person, I’m not worried. This doctor was worried. Then the doctor realizes my due date was pretty much a giant guess by my original doctor. Then she realizes a bunch of my medical records didn’t transfer over and they failed to record my results for a screening… lots of stuff. It was a mess. Appointment from Hell. I was terrified. She ordered another ultrasound for me to make sure baby was growing okay…. yeah, good idea!
I go to that appointment, they say baby is slightly larger than average and everything looks great! My doctor and his staff apologize that the other doctor freaked me out.. turns out they don’t really care for this other doctor. My doctor promises to deliver my baby, no matter who is on call he sent the hospital instructions to call him if I come in…. okay. That’s nice… until… we realize he’s going on vacation on my due date for a week.
No problem, he says, we’ll induce before that. According to my most recent ultrasound I’m actually due sooner anyway…
So, Wednesday I go in and work a full day at my job. Go straight to the hospital after work to start my induction. Great news, they hook me up and I’m contracting regularly. I didn’t even feel them, maybe this will be easier than I thought. Thank goodness, because my biggest fear is going through labor and ending up with a c-section, but we’re off to a good start.
This was 2 1/2 years ago, so forgive me for forgetting the medical terms for everything throughout this process. But they gave me something to soften my cervix and start me into labor slowly throughout the night. The plan was to wake up a few centimeters dilated. Unfortunately, I wake up at a whopping ZERO centimeters. Oh well, I knew this would be a slow process. That’s why I told Peter to plan on working Thursday. He’s only 10 minutes from the hospital so I knew if things started picking up we’d be able to call him in plenty of time. Of course I didn’t want to be laboring alone, my mommy came to spend the day with me. They gave me pitocin, I walked the halls… it didn’t hurt too bad, they gave me more, I walked, it hurt more… I watched tv, I bounced on a ball, etc. Peter came back to the hospital around 5 and overall it had been an uneventful, not super painful but certainly not comfortable day.
We continued to try moving this thing along a few hours and then they stopped the pitocin so I could get a good night’s sleep. (Didn’t happen.) Gave me the same thing they gave me the night before… which still did just about nothing. I think by the 2nd morning I was dilated a 2… impressive, yes?
I was in pain already so I was confident today would go much better. Peter didn’t go to work. And my mom came back too. So, they stepped up the pitocin to try to move this labor along. Things were getting painful. Epidural please? Epidural didn’t take, I still feel everything… perfect! Doctor visits, tells me he wants to put some balloon thing up in me to move this along…. doesn’t sound fun, but if that’s what you suggest. He promises it doesn’t hurt. Holy duck was that a lie!
Hey guess what, a couple hours go by.. the balloon thing did nothing. Maybe he should break my water? I hesitate. If he breaks my water, there is no turning back… but there’s probably no turning back anyways since I contracted all night without pitocin…. he says let’s just look at it. Well it breaks when he’s trying to see what exactly is happening up there… so that’s good, I guess.
More hours go by, I get to 4 1/2. I stay at 4 1/2. Contractions are almost non stop, they are painful and I’m not moving past a 4 1/2. I’m trying to lay and sit and move into different positions to see if it helps. Apparently the baby won’t drop enough to put pressure on my cervix to help it dilate. Nothing I do will make her drop down. Please can we try another epidural? Sure thing. It changes nothing. Nothing. I am in the same exact amount of pain.
By this point I honest to God thought I was going to pass out. The best case scenario I could picture was passing out and waking up to find they had cut me open and taken the baby out. But I was honestly scared it could be much worse and I wouldn’t wake up… if I died could they save the baby? This may sound dramatic but these were the thoughts going through my head. How in the hell any woman out there gives birth naturally, I will never know!
Finally the nurse asks if I want a c-section. I didn’t. But at this point, I needed it to be over. I felt like such a quitter! But my husband and mom told me that I needed to go for it.
They asked me if I wanted to be numbed or completely put to sleep for the surgery. Numbed! I want to be present for the birth of my child. But why do you ask? Am I going to feel all this? Is it going to be so painful? They say no, I should be fine… oh boy. Just like my epidural should have helped, right?
But great news, I was fine. They gave me the hugest needle ever. Said that part would be the worst part. I didn’t even feel it. I could feel them cutting me open and moving stuff around, but it didn’t hurt. It tickled. And then she was born!!!
5:49 pm, 47 hours after my original dose of whatever that overnight stuff was. So worth it! 7 pounds even, 20 1/4 inches long and a full head of dark hair. She barely cried and nursed like a champ!
The nurses said based on the wrinkles on her feet they could tell she was 3 weeks early and my due date was way off. Thing is… I had a positive pregnancy test by the time they think I conceived. So, we’ll really never know how late or early Lucille was. And it doesn’t matter, because she came out healthy and perfect.
I should probably include a disclaimer as to not frighten expecting mothers. I broke my hip when I was 18 years old. I believe that because my hip was broken, it could not expand enough to allow baby Bea to drop into place. This has not been confirmed, but my labor experience with Lennon further supported my theory. (Read that here.)
So, not the dream labor, but certainly a happy outcome. And for me, recovery wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. My biggest advice when it comes to recovery: don’t be a hero. Listen to your doctor’s instructions and don’t try to do too much too quickly.
We were wheeled back to our recovery room and all our parents and siblings were waiting for us. that’s the thing about laboring for 2 days…. people start to get nervous! (That’s why I didn’t tell most people I was being induced… I didn’t want 100 people texting for hourly updates.) The second Peter told them I was headed for surgery they all headed over, relieved it was finally over and excited to meet the newest member of the family. It was such a happy moment to be able to introduce her to our closest loved ones all at once.