Starting today and over the next 40 days I will be honoring my 40 years of life. This will begin today, September 5th and run until my birthday, October 15th. I wanted to do something different for this BIG birthday than have a party, trip or purchase something expensive. I really wanted to take a walk down memory lane and focus on what made ME, what brought me to this place, this personality, this life….right here on my 40th birthday.
Every day I will post to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter something that is special to me……it could be a thing, place, person, experience, something about who I am, etc. It all comes down to “What MAKES Nicole”.
Today, what a beautiful start to this whole process but to celebrate the birthday of my daughter. I was told I would never carry a child to term. I was also told I would always be high risk and would have to give up my dreams of having a unmedicated, vaginal birth. Instead, I did carry our sweet girl to term, and although I had to be induced, was able to have her with as little medicine as needed to bring her into my arms. Here is her birth story, a story I never thought I would have the honor of telling.
The Birth of Nicole’s Daughter
Type of Birth: Hospital, OB, Doula & Hubby supporting
Length of Labor: 19 hours
Baby details: Born Wed. Sept. 5, 2012 at 8:45PM 5lbs 12oz, 19.5 inches long
Our story really begins 6 years ago when we decided to start trying to have children. I wanted to be a mom for so long and found that it wasn’t as easy as everyone said. After 4 years of waiting, 3 miscarriages and lots of emotions, we adopted our active and charismatic son at birth. When he was just about to turn two we decided we were ready to grow our family through adoption again and started the process. Two months later, we found out I was pregnant.
For all purposes, my pregnancy was supposed to be “high risk” because I had multiple losses and was on blood thinners for two different blood disorders. But with each visit with the hematologist, the Maternal-Fetal Specialist and the OB my pregnancy was more and more “normal” and my doctors wanted to see me less and less. I started seeing a Webster certified chiropractor, took a Bradley Class and began preparing for my natural labor.
Starting at 34-35 weeks, I would wake up every few nights and break out with itchy skin. It would keep me awake for 2-3 hours each night. When I was 39 weeks my doctor called me to tell me I had developed Cholestasis and we needed to get the baby out ASAP because it could be life threatening. At 8pm I checked in to the hospital, but did not get a room until 11:30pm (they had 45 births in 2 days). They checked me and I was 2CM dilated, 90% effaced and at a -1 station and had had continuous contractions while hooked up. The doctor changed me from Cervidil to Prepidil to kick start things. At 1:15am they inserted Prepidril and I was monitored for an hour and I consider this the start of labor. I immediately felt warmth then cramping and contractions. At 2:15am was able to move about and started to walk around L&D ward.I was by myself as my husband was at home with our 2.5 year old. I had hoped to get some sleep since the itching had kept me up every night that previous week, but the contractions were too strong and my emotions were all over the place. I was excited to meet my baby, scared of the snowball effect that inductions could cause, isolated because I was alone. I really focused on my breathing through contractions and figuring out what positions felt good. At 4:30am my contractions were pretty intense and I got scared, I called my husband and doula. They talked me through it and said they would join me in the morning. From 5-6:30am I got into the tub. It felt so good. I took a shower and used the showerhead to spray on my lower abdomen as I got contractions. This was such a relief!! Contractions slowed down during this time and I thought I had done something wrong, but it was just my body moving from the Prepidil to natural labor.
At 8:30am on Wednesday my husband arrived. At 9:00am (8 hours into labor) my doctor arrived and checked me again. I was at a 0 station, 3cm dilated and 90% effaced. She broke my water. We went and walked around the hospital and I was getting some good contractions along the way. Around 10:30am or so I get into the tub. At 11:30am my doula joins us. Contractions are every 5 minutes lasting about 1 minute. The pain was mostly in my lower abdomen and lower back hip area. I was happy to have my husband and doula there to talk to and keep my mind off the tightening of my body. With most contractions I would push down from my belly button to my thighs on my stomach and say “down and out”, “baby come out” or “ baby move down”.
At 12:00PM I got out of tub and have to get bloodwork and monitored on monitors. HATED laying down and staying still with monitors on and contractions. I wanted to move. Finally I got to move around. We walked around a bit in L&D and then back to the room where contractions become a little more intense. Got back in tub around 1PM (12 hours of labor).
At 2:25pm get out of tub and get on bed. I laid on my side, “Pretzel position” as my doula called it. I called it the “Bradley Position” because all those naked women in the Bradley Book laid like it. Contractions were much harder in this position, but knew they were doing something to move the baby in a better position. At this time my husband and doula were continuously there for me by either massaging my lower back or the lower part of my abdomen. I kept remembering them telling me I was close and that “She’s COMING!!!” This was so exciting to hear. They were so encouraging to me.
At 3:30PM I get an IV of liquid and I am at 100% effaced, 6 cm(stretchy to 7 or 8) and nurse thinks baby is either posterior or malpositioned which was defeating to me because this was one of my biggest fears. I get back in tub and do my showerhead on tummy thing and use the handicap handles to rub my back. I am really starting to feel the pain and also be tired from no sleep. I fall asleep between contractions and I think this makes it harder on my body. I am out of it for a good hour or so. My husband would make me look into his eyes during a contraction and just talk to me about how much he loves me and is proud of me. The contractions are right on top of each other and I hardly had time to move around, but for some reason I really kept wanting to move from position to position. After an hour my husband and doula mention that I might need some Pitocin to help me through the labor. They could tell I was physically exhausted and my body was weak from all the energy trying to birth my baby without much rest or food. I was so resistant to the idea, but I kept thinking “how can I do this alone if I don’t get any rest soon?” So I knew I needed some help of some kind.
At 5:30PM (16 hours of labor) my doctor checks me and I’m 100% effaced, +1 station and 7cm. We decide to do low dose Pitocin because I am exhausted, my contractions have slowed down and spaced apart and I just need some extra help. We start with 2 ml drip of Pitocin and I immediately feel contractions come stronger and more often. After an hour we go to 4ml of Pitocin. I had to stay around the drip machine, which I didn’t like but was thankful they didn’t make me lie on the bed. I moved around the room and on the bed in different positions with contractions. A few times I would fall asleep in my husbands arms as we are “dancing” and he would have to catch me before I fell to the floor. I kept saying “I just want to PUSH” because I knew if I felt the urge I was getting close.
At 7:55PM my nurse does exam and I’m 9CM dilated and was not soft(had lip) on left side. I ended up putting my leg on the bed and the other on the floor like a side squat to help the position of the baby (the nurse called it the Captain Morgan). Do this through contractions for 15 minutes. Then I start to feel the urge to push so I got on the bed. During contractions I would stand up, then use the squat bar to squat and push, then bend myself over the bar at the hips to rest. At 8:10PM the nurse can see the head and calls the doctor. I immediately asked what color hair she saw. I knew the time had come when I needed all my energy so I could have my baby girl in my arms. I continue this style of pushing until doctor comes and the head is crowning. I touched her little head and I couldn’t believe it! She was here!!!
My doctor has me lay down on my back so she can massage me and I was so resistant, but once I did, I liked the position because I was so tired. I had always wanted to push on my hands and knees, but I just didn’t have the strength to hold myself up. I pushed and pushed, as my body directed making these primal grunting noise the whole time (yes, I was that loud woman you hear about in the maternity ward!). I pushed her out at 8:45PM. My cord was super short and tugging right on a tear on my urethra area (NOT FUN!). We waited until the cord stopped pulsing and my husband cut it. I was then able to hold my baby girl on my chest and that’s the happiest I’ve been since holding my adoptive son 2.5 years ago.
Things I learned: You can do this even with an induction. MOVE even if you are tired. Changing positions really helped me mentally and physically. Have a great team that knows what you want and can help you through it. Labor is hard, but honestly by the next day I was forgetting the pain and remembering what a warrior I was.
Things that were funny: At one point I started to get VERY verbal. I give a play by play of where it hurts, what I wanted (I want this baby, I want to push, I want progress!) and where I wanted people to massage me. I called myself a “sportscaster” afterwards, it didn’t matter what it was, I had to talk about it.
My doula said that as I was pushing I said “This is AWESOME” in the most happy sarcastic voice.
When I finally got to hold baby I said she smelled soo good I could eat her, then they told me my doctor had used olive oil to massage me and that was why.
I was sitting on the potty and there was a chair in front of me. I bent over and laid my head on the chair as a contraction came on. My husband looked and called it the “hangover position”. We actually used it a few times.