One of my favorite things to read are birth stories. I think they are beautiful! I shared my birth story on my personal blog shortly after Oliver was born, but I thought I would share some of the details here as well. Since I share so much about pregnancy and childbirth, it seems only fitting to share a little bit about that piece of my journey as well.
When I was exactly 39 weeks, I went into my doctor for an appointment. Due to some complications with Oliver being IUGR (intrauterine growth restricted) they wanted to monitor me a little bit more since they had considered inducing me earlier that week.
I met with one of the nurse practitioners. I was actually late to the appointment because of some bad traffic, and a rude nurse kept scolding me and telling me that I might not be able to be seen (for some reason, I don’t think she realized I was 39 weeks.) She took my blood pressure, and it was through the roof…which was weird, because my blood pressure was usually really low. Then she realized I was shaking my legs and they were crossed…which she scolded me for again. She retook it and all was well in the world.
The nurse practitioner came in, asked me a few questions, and then asked if I wanted to see if I had made any progress. I said yes, and she checked my cervix. She said it was super soft and that she could feel the baby’s head. I had mentioned that I could hardly walk, and she said that was because his head was so low. Then she said I was 75% effaced and 1 ½ cm dilated…then she did something that was SUPER painful and said she stretched me to a 3. I found out later she had stripped my membranes…and boy it was painful.
Before I left the office, I started to have contractions. When I got home, I felt like the baby was so low that he might come out at any second! My mom had been watching Jack, and before she left, I told her I wouldn’t be surprised if we’d be calling her later that night. I was super uncomfortable.
Forrest left to do some work for my dad, and the contractions pretty much were three minutes apart from the get go. Jack and I watched MasterChef while I timed them on my phone. By the time Forrest came home, they were about 2 minutes apart and lasting one minute. They were mildly painful. We called my mom at about 11 PM that night, and she came over. The last thing she said before I left? “You don’t seem like you are in enough pain to be in labor.” Ha! She was probably right. She told me that she thought I was like her – her contractions always started out super close together, she’d go to the hospital, they’d send her home, and then she’d come back a few hours later. She finally realized she shouldn’t go in until she couldn’t talk through the pain.
We got to labor and delivery about 35 minutes later at 1 PM. They took me to triage to monitor me. The nurse said that I was really only at about a two, and that she wasn’t sure if Oliver was still head down or if he had turned back breech (read more about him being breech here) . He was breech earlier that day, and after all we went through to get him to turn around, I was freaking out. My blood pressure skyrocketed. She went to go to the doctor on call (which was a doctor I did not like), and she thankfully confirmed he was still head down. They let me walk around for two hours, and, unfortunately, I hadn’t progressed at all so they sent me home. The same thing happened with Jack, so I knew I’d be back.
We got back home, and I tried to sleep, but the contractions started getting super strong. When I was in labor with Jack, I got an epidural really early on, so I never felt very strong contractions. These were pretty bad. I tried taking a shower, getting on my hands and knees, and squatting…but nothing helped. They just kept getting stronger and stronger, and so, so painful. I tried to breathe through them as best I could, and around 7:30, I told Forrest I had to go back in. My mom said she thought there was no way they’d send me home – I was pretty miserable. Right before I left, I went to the bathroom and there was blood. I thought it was just the mucus plug.
The ride to the hospital took forever. I was having contractions every minute or so, and we hit EVERY red light. It was horrible. We got to the hospital again, and I could hardly talk to the admitting nurse. They took me to triage. The nurse started asking me some questions and then she realized I was bleeding a lot. She had a rather shocked look on her face, pressed the “admit” button on the computer, and went to get the doctor.
The doctor (who I really liked – she had done the ECV a few weeks earlier) came in and examined me. She said that I was dilated to a 7 with a bulging bag, and that this baby was coming fast. She said I was bleeding more than they like, but confirmed that I wasn’t hemorrhaging, so they allowed me to continue. She said we’d be having a baby right away, asked if I wanted an epidural and when I said yes, she put in the order right away.
My nurse brought me back to the labor and delivery room and helped me breathe through the contractions. Although I felt like I was dying a slow death, I was silent through all of them. The nurse kept telling me she was so impressed and thought I should teach pain management classes. Ha ha! She also warned me that it was possible that the epidural wouldn’t take full effect before I had to push.
The anesthesiologist came in and prepped me for the epidural. I don’t care what anyone says – I love epidurals, and I am so grateful for pain management. I had no desire to go natural, and at that point, I was exhausted. The epidural went into effect pretty quickly, and I was finally able to relax (minus the horrible shaking that can occur during labor.) My nurse brought me a popsicle, and I responded to a few texts from our family group chat.
My doctor came in to see if my water had broken, and when she realized it hadn’t, she broke it. She said I was still bleeding more than she wanted, but she wasn’t worried yet. She said I’d probably deliver within an hour and left to go check on a mom who was about to have twins.
Well, she barely walked out the door when I felt the urge to push. The nurse noticed, ran and called the doctor back. They got me ready to push, and operation “get this baby out” ensued J
I pushed for about 20 minutes before his head was out and then one more push got his body out. It was such a peaceful experience. My OBGYN was very calm and hands off about it, which I loved. She just let the baby and my body do what it was supposed to. There was some kind of reflective panel above my bed (it wasn’t a mirror or anything) and I was able to watch as Oliver was born. I always thought that watching would be kind of gross, but it was actually a really cool experience. I saw that he had a head full of dark hair. It was a quiet, peaceful time. I can’t really explain it.
Right after he was born, they held him and let the cord pulse. The doctor commented on it being rather short, then Forrest cut it, and they put Oliver on my chest. It was such an emotional moment – I definitely started calling. When Jack was born, I didn’t even get to see him until they weighed and cleaned him off, and I much preferred having him put on my chest right away. I noticed how teeny tiny he was, and I was immediately smitten. I had been so worried that I didn’t have enough love for another baby, but those worries disappeared as soon as I held him and heard his sweet little cry.
After about 20 minutes, they took him to do this APGAR tests and his measurements. At that point, I guess the doctor delivered my placenta. I didn’t even notice – all of the sudden it was just out! The doctor looked at it for a bit, commented on there being some issues with it, and told the nurse it needed to be sent to pathology. She told Forrest there were infarctions and it was small, and it was likely the reason he was so small (which another doctor had discovered a few weeks earlier…but that’s a story for another time.) Forrest took a picture…but I’ll save that one for our private collection. Haha.
The doctor also said that my placenta had actually started to abrupt, which is why I was bleeding so much. I’m so grateful that it was only a small tear and that it didn’t abrupt all the way. It was a blessing that I delivered that day!
Oliver got APGAR scores of 8 and 9, which they were thrilled with because of his size. They measured him in at 18.5 inches and 5 lb 7.7 ounces – so little! They brought him over to me, and he started rooting around to nurse. A pediatrician came in to examine him, determined he was SGA (small for gestational age), which is typical for an IUGR infant. We had to check his blood sugar after every feeding, and he seemed to be okay.
We had a great hospital stay – all the mother/baby nurses were so kind and supportive. They raved about how perfect and sweet Oliver was, which I agreed with. I loved just staying in the hospital for two days and having uninterrupted time with Oliver. We had lots of skin-to-skin, he did a great job with nursing, and I just snuggled him like crazy.
Pregnancy, and labor and delivery, are difficult…but so, so worth it. I couldn’t believe how much love I had for Oliver as soon as he was born. He was perfect, looked so much like Jack, and it seemed like he was the missing piece of our family right away. All my fears of me not having enough love for two children disappeared immediately.
Even though we had a pretty rough month after he was born (and really, the month before as well), he has always had such a sweet presence about him. His name basically means peaceful, and that’s what truly describes him. I’m so grateful for Oliver and that, despite my placenta not doing its job, he arrived safe and sound. There’s nothing more rewarding than being a mother