I’m one of those people that adores reading birth stories. I love to hear all the incredible details of such an intense and amazing experience. There is nothing quite so fascinating to me as the way a baby comes into this world.
I also think birth stories are lovely things to share in order to empower the other mamas around us. About two weeks before my daughter was born I found out that a friend and colleague had delivered her babies without pain management, but with Pitocin induction. Now, I knew that this was possible, but I didn’t know anyone who had actually done it. When I found myself going down a similar path, I honestly don’t think I could have made it to the end without this little piece of knowledge to boost me along: she did it; I can do it, too!
Birth stories seem to be something that needs to ruminate for a bit, so here–18 months later–my daughter’s birth story:
On Monday, March 28th, 2016, I went to the doctor for a routine non-stress test at almost 41 weeks pregnant. The doctor didn’t see what she wanted to see, so she ordered an ultrasound. At this point I was a little suspicious, so I called Husband and he came along for the ultrasound. We brought our hospital bags “just in case”. The ultrasound also didn’t show the doctor what she was hoping for, so she decided we should head to the hospital to be induced. I was not very excited about this plan–I’d been hoping she would come out by herself, but after some negotiating we all agreed it was best.
We were admitted directly around 4pm–this was the loveliest part: getting to bypass triage. It took several attempts to get the IV, but then they started the Pitocin IV around 6pm. Our doula, Kelly, came down for a bit and then went home to rest before things got going. Our nurse, Stacy, was amazing and everything I had been hoping for in the encouraging, but firm sort of way. There wasn’t too much pain between 6pm and 11:30pm; I walked the halls and Husband did some work in the room. They let me us the portable monitoring, so I just cruised around the unit in my slippers and pjs. It was actually quite quiet and calm; lots of time for thinking. Around 11:30pm they gave us the option to rest, but by that point the contractions were starting to hurt and we decided to get going, so they bumped up the Pitocin, and our doula came back.
Those contractions started hurting more than you can imagine! I was so grateful that we had decided to hire a doula. Husband was wonderful at supporting me with different positions, but our doula made all the difference in helping us feel confident and offering suggestions. Without her support I know that I would not have been able to feel so secure. The contractions seemed to go on forever, and at the same time I had no concept of time. Each contraction took all my focus and concentration, and then afterwards I just wanted to rest.
We’d been making good progress all along and they called our on-call doctor in to check on us around 3:30am. I had been using the bathtub with hot water to help for a bit, but around this point I really wanted to give up. I asked the doctor to tell me it was too late to get the epidural; she started saying “Well, I could call…” and I said, “No! I need you to tell me it’s too late to get the epidural!” I was too focused on contractions to know if she found this amusing or not, but she answered “It’s too late to get the epidural.” Needless to say that although she was not my regular doctor, I really ended up loving my delivering doctor.
My waters still hadn’t broken, so the doctor broke them for me. Shortly after it started feeling like it was time to push. I’d read that some women really love the pushing stage: I found them to be completely wrong. Pushing was the worst! I hadn’t put two and two together to realize that the contractions would continue while I was pushing. The doctor, the doula, the nurse, and husband were all standing around the bed telling me that I could and, actually HAD, to push her out. I didn’t really believe she was really coming until I looked at Nick and saw tears in his eyes and he said “she’s coming”. Everyone was right though, in that once she was born everything else didn’t matter. We were so in love right away! She was born at 4:45am and weighed 9 lbs 1 oz and was 21 inches long! She laid on my chest for about an hour before the nurses got us all situated.
I was so very grateful for the blessing of this little baby girl, and for the support of my husband in giving birth. He didn’t really understand why I wanted to give birth unmedicated, but he went with it! I am grateful for the wonderful medical and emotional care we received from all the hospital staff, our doctors, and our doula. I love the idea of a home birth, but i knew that it was not right for me. Perhaps because of my experience working in a hospital, I felt much more secure and safe in that environment. I think our hospital also does a lovely job of providing resources for mamas giving birth without medication.
Sometimes, it still doesn’t feel real that this all happened. After all of our infertility struggles and multiple miscarriages I had sometimes doubted that this day would ever come. Her birth is one of the most incredible memories of my life, and every day I get to watch this little life grow and develop. I am quite aware what a gift this is.