OK, I have to be honest. Writing this is hard for me. For some reason, I don’t want to write it. Like I’m dreading it? I think there are just too many things about it to write down so I know it’ll take me forever…? I have no idea. But here’s my attempt. I definitely want it documented. I have to thank a few people before I begin:
Joe. He has been such a support this whole pregnancy, in what I have been wanting to do. During Labor, he was right there, helping me over such a huge mountain.
My Midwives. I have grown to love hese women. They truly care about me, my body and my baby. They are completely supportive of what is best for us. They also were there during the labor and helped me get through it. (Once my care was transferred to the hospital & Dr. Wells, they were no longer able to be in charge. They then became my doula’s in helping me ease my labor.)
Karlye. Man, I am so fortunate to know this girl. One of my best friends. We have too many things in common and I love that. I can talk to her about anything. And I can also invite her to my birth and take pictures for me. That’s how comfortable and grateful I am for our friendship. She was the talent in documenting my labor. I am so grateful to have these pictures!! I can forever look back at them and remember exact feelings that were happening.
Dr. Wells. It was no accident that Dr. Wells was the one in the office when I went to do my Non-Stress test the day before Jake’s birth. He took interest in my case and worked flawlessly with my Midwives to make my birth plan happen. I also liked that he is also LDS which meant he knew my values and I him. There was like a secret, non-spoken, pact with him because of it. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. But he understood my faith, which is a huge part of my life. The added Spirit he brought to the table probably helped too!
And let’s not forget Joe’s Mom. She came in on the 27th and was there until Nov. 10th. Such a long trip! I was grateful she came into town to help with the kids before and after the baby came. I was so big and in pain those last few weeks. It was nice she could take and pick up kids for me, and more important, clean my house!
Alright, those were the main characters in my Birth Story. Anyways, here we go.
When I hit my last month of pregnancy, my body kind of shut down. Everything seemed to start to fall apart. Things started aching and hurting. Going walking was even starting to become a chore. And I would be so SORE that night. I feel that the smoke that filled the air most of Sept. probably had something to do with it.
I also was becoming really really big. Like seriously. For months, people had asked me if I was due “any day?” for how big I was. So when Oct came, I just kept getting bigger. I started to think my due date was off because I was becoming gigantic. It was really annoying. I was so hopeful that this baby would come before my due date. But he never did. My mother-in-law even came in on the 27th, hoping I would come early because I was so big…but I didn’t.
As I approached my due date, my midwives noticed the large state of my stomach and also the fluid that my body was retaining, inside and outside the uterus. They started talking about if there were too much fluid in the womb, that they probably would have to transfer my care to a doctor and induce. I was hoping that wouldn’t be the case but I didn’t worry too much about it since we still had a few weeks.
So my Due Date came and went. It was Thursday, Nov. 1st. The Midwives weren’t too worried about the baby not coming yet and frankly, nether was I. There was only one thing that they kept an eye on and it was the size of my uterus and the fluid retention my body was experiencing. By then, I was SUPER swollen. My legs and Belly. So they kept an eye of that, to avoid problems like Prolapsed Cord. They then talked about if I was still pregnant by 41 weeks, then they would schedule both a Non-Stress Test & an Ultrasound to measure the fluid and baby.
Let me just say that everything my body was doing was ripe for labor. The only thing that wasn’t aligned was the baby’s head. It was not down where it should have been. Since there was a lot of fluid in there, it had room to float. There was nothing forcing his head down, which then cause me to not go into labor. So we were hopeful that it wasn’t too serious and that his head would drop.
But we hung in there, I was determined to let things happen naturally. As I’ve stated before, I wanted to experience labor how it’s naturally supposed to. My 3 previous pregnancies were all induced before going into labor. I kind of felt like my body was broken because it had never gone into labor alone. So I wanted to test my body and see if it would if I gave it a chance. Sounds lame but that’s just how I felt. They did strip my membranes on my 39th week appt. to help things along. I was also doing things at the home front to move things along, like walking, dancing on the Wii, and other things….So some nights, there were some serious contractions. But I would fall asleep. I would wake up the next morning, frustrated and a little bit discouraged. But I just kept it up. They also checked me and I was at a 2. That was good to know that something was going on down there but it also didn’t mean I would go into labor anytime soon.
I went into the midwives again the following Monday and I was at a 3 and effacing pretty well. They stripped my membranes again and hoped for the best. They scheduled the Non-Stress Test for Thursday, at the Hospital clinic which would be 41 weeks for me. From there, they wanted to see the results to then schedule the ultrasound. We were all hoping it wouldn’t go to that point…
Thursday, Nov. 8th (41 weeks) had come. I went into the Clinic to do the Non-Stress Test. The majority of the time, this little guy was asleep! He wasn’t doing what he was supposed to be doing and moving around! So of course Dr. Wells was concerned that he wasn’t moving as much as he should. Luckily Jake started moving the last 10 minutes so he passed. But the Dr was concerned at the size of my belly. So he recommended the ultrasound and tried to schedule one that day. But there were no openings. So they scheduled one for the next day, Friday Nov. 9th at 10:30 am.
So Friday morning, I went to my ultrasound. It was interesting to see this guy so big on screen. She did all the measurements, for the fluid and the baby. She even played with the 3D camera for fun. Afterwards, she went upstairs to show Dr. Wells the results. So I waited to see what happened next. The Ultrasound lady came back and told me that Dr. Wells was discussing my case with Laurie, my midwife about the result and what option should we take that would be the safest one for me and the baby. So I waited some more. She came back and had me follow her into her office, where Laurie was on the phone, on hold. She wanted to talk to me first and tell me what they found out.
So I get on the phone and after asking how I’m doing and feeling, she tells me that the Sonographer measured my fluid. A normal measurement is usually around 15-25. My measurement was 34. That was super duper high. Because it was so high, there was a great chance of water rupture & cord prolapse. I could no longer have my birth at the birthing center. I was now a High Risk patient and would have to be at the hospital. Both her and Dr. Wells felt that the best route would be to check into the hospital and from there, prick my bag of waters to slowly leak and control the water so that the umbilical cord could not come out in front of the baby’s head. They recommended doing that sooner than later to avoid my water breaking somewhere outside of the hospital. At that point, with the new information and what my options were, I was ready and willing to get this baby out. So we both agreed that this was my best option and to move forward. After talking to her on the phone, I went up to talk to Dr. Wells. We again talked about my condition and possible risks that were involved. I told him my conversation with Laurie and so we then talked about when. I told him, the sooner the better. He asked, “Today?” I said, sure. By that time, it was around noon. He was then talking about immediately heading over but then changed the time to 3 pm. That would be fine, I told him. That gave me time to call Joe.
“Hello?” -Joe “You ready to have this baby today?!” “What?!” I then went on to tell him what happened and that he should probably cancel the rest of his appointments that day and get home! I was also able to go home, pack a revised bag, take a shower, call Karlye so she would be ready to take pictures etc. (There are definite benefits to planning a labor time!)
So we arrived at the hospital at 3 pm. Checking in was a breeze. It seemed like there was no one in the hospital and that I was the only patient. Once I got into my room, we met my nurse and got changed into those ugly hospital ponchos and waited. They came in and tried to insert a needle to draw blood on my arms. I say tried since I got poked about 6 times. They kept getting an empty vessel. 3 nurses came in to try and finally one succeeded. It was the worse thing ever. That has always been worse than getting an epidural!
As I laid there, my midwives came for support and help & Karlye arrived too, ready to document. Apparently, the doctor told me to come a tad early since he didn’t even come into my room until around 6 pm. But the weird thing was, as I was sitting there, I started having major contractions pretty close together. Wouldn’t you know it, I was going into active labor ON MY OWN! By the time Dr.
Wells came in to prick my bag, I was measuring 4-5 cm. I warned them that as soon as they broke my water, my body kicks into high gear.
So as discussed before, they nicked my bag so that it was slowly leaking. They didn’t want a huge gush of water to push the umbilical cord out since his head had still not dropped into place. My contractions started to get a little big stronger but it was still bearable. There was just so much fluid in there! Finally at around 9:30 pm, Dr. Wells broke a larger hole and started draining my uterus. While it was draining, we had the nurse pushing my belly down to keep baby’s head in position (down and dropped) and Dr. Wells coming from my birth canal, holding the baby’s head up so the water could come out. It was a tad uncomfortable to say the least. We did that for 10 minutes. There was so much fluid! Again, explains the large belly I had! At that point, I was dilated to a 7-8. Sweet.
Something that happened though as they drained out the water was that Jake turned to the other side of the uterus. I heard them say that but it didn’t click in my head what that really meant…that he would be facing UP going through the birth canal. I didn’t really understand that until later….
Once they drained a TON of fluid, the contractions started coming hard. I was able to get up so I sat on the big ball. I bounced on that for a while. The nurse, Melissa, and my midwifes started implementing soothing treatments for my contractions, like squeezing my hips together and pushing on my lower back simultaneously. That did the trick. Next, I started antsy so I walked the halls. I had a trail of people following me so they could do the squeezing and pushing on me when I got a contraction. They also didn’t want me going too far away from the room since I was getting close. The told me if I started feeling lots of pressure down there & hurting really bad, to haul belly back to the room. I wasn’t out in the hall for that long…
As I came back in, I bent over the bed during contractions while they squeezed & pushed. Laurie, my midwife, suggested I kneel up on the backside of the bed so I could rest on it between contractions. So I “hopped’ up there, kneeling, & facing the back of the bed, which was reclined up. This is when things started getting pretty serious for me. These contractions weren’t messing around anymore. To help Jake descend, I would rock my hips back and forth.
All the while, the crew would squeeze and push on me as I went through each contraction. Karlye not only was taking pictures during this whole time but she put it down to help me during this phase with cold compresses, giving me water and pulling my hair out of my face! This was the hardest part. It’s hard to describe how I felt during this time. There was be no pain in between contractions. And then BAM, I could feel it build and mentally tell my body to RELAX and BREATHE. I had to really FOCUS on relaxing. That’s one of the key things I learned from the Bradley Method classes. Relaxation and breathing are key to avoid unnecessary pain during labor. That went on for who knows how long…It felt like forever but probably only 15-20 minutes. I could feel the baby too, which was pretty cool. And then things started getting really really REALLY painful and HARD. And I remember thinking, this better be transition because otherwise, I won’t be able to make it. I remember during those contractions, I would be battling thoughts in my head “Keep going Lyssa” “You can do it!” VS. “Holy Hell, this hurts SO BAD” “I can’t do it!” Back and forth, as I struggled through each contraction. I was also just Praying to Heavenly Father for strength and energy to get through this! And looking back, I know He did. How else could I have done what I did?! I remember those last few, I was literally whimpering from the pain. And then, like a switch, I started feeling the urge to push. And around that same time, the nurse said, “if you feel the urge to push, do it!” With that, I told her YES I DO!
So Dr. Wells had to stick his hand in me and turn Jake around. Ok, that part hurt freaking bad too. haaa haa. I know I said a few complaints but they reassured me that things will run much smoother if he is in the right position. After that ordeal, Jake’s big head came into view. Things kind of slowed down at that point. Dr. Wells did a great job at stretching the “hole” to avoid tearing. When a contraction came, I was pushing as hard as I could to get that head out because it was BURNING. lol I got the full dose of “ring of fire”. And then in between them, his head would sit there as everything burned. Another PAINFUL part of the process in my experience. But oh the joy when that head finally broke through! But we had to proceed slowly with Jake’s shoulders too to avoid any dislocation since he was so BIG. At 11:47 pm, once those shoulders came out, Dr. Wells pulled him out and I couldn’t believe this baby just came out of me! Jake Ryan Zimmerman was finally born! lol We were hoping to have him on the 9th, an exact month before my birthday.
There is something so raw and real in that instant when you are aware and free from any medications. My senses were definitely overstimulated at that point. I was wide-eyed and in shock. They gave him to me so I could hold him and have some skin on skin contact. There was no cries, just grunting, ha haa. I did a little breastfeeding too and he seemed to know what he was doing (I would hope so seeing how he was the size of a 2 month old!)
I know most people say during this time, you are so high on the natural emotions and endorphins your body makes that you don’t notice the last phase of the placenta birthing and stitching…Well for me, that wasn’t the case. I was definitely aware of what was going on down there. And any sort of pushing on my stomach REALLY hurt. And because of Jake’s size, I couldn’t avoid tearing so I got a 3rd degree laceration. So I was also aware of the prodding and stitching. Again, Another painful part of this process.
But during that, they took Jake, cleaned and made sure he was “crying”. They weighed him at 11 lbs 1 oz. We were all shocked and laughing at the fact that I just gave birth naturally to an 11 lbs baby! When I really think about it, I can’t believe it. Another reason I know I was given endurance and strength from God to do this. I think He knew how bad I wanted to do it and have this experience that He pathed the way for me to do it.
Also I might add that both the midwives & Dr. Wells suspected that I developed Gestational Diabetes the last month of pregnancy. I took my test when I was supposed too and passed. But for some reason, I got it later. Which makes everything that happened make sense. I got huge. The baby got huge. I did eat like crap. Darn Halloween. So in hindsight, its scary to think what could have happened having that. Lots of thing could have gone wrong. Any small complications that could have happened would have sent me straight to the OR to have a C-Section. yikes… So another experience that humbles me and makes me truly grateful for what did happen.
Clean up and all that aftermath took some time. Jake was sent to the nursery to get cleaned up and made sure all was good. By the time i got to my recover room, it was well past 1 AM. I. was. exhausted. I had never felt that tired my whole life. And I knew what to expect during the night at the hospital. So I tried to get as much sleep as I could. I had wonderful nurses during my stay. They even watched Jake during the night for a long stretch so I could sleep since they knew what I had just gone through. Apparently I and one other person was in the maternity ward that day and word quickly spread about my 11 lbs baby. I had nurses not assigned to me come and see him or come see me and congratulate me. haa haa, I felt famous for the day.
I was excited for the kids to finally meet him on Saturday with Joe and his mom. They adored him and the free popcicles my lovely nurse had given them. After a bit, we all started getting restless so I said goodbye to them and went back to sleeping throughout the day. One of the perks of staying at the hospital is the room service. I loved being able to call any time of the day to order whatever
food I wanted. It was so nice!
Jake and I were discharged Sunday night. Joe picked us up. It was freezing cold and raining. The drive home was foggy in my mind. I was under medication and was definitely feeling the side effects. But it was so surreal, having a new baby in the backseat. We talked about the labor and all the things we weren’t aware of at that time and how things could have gone terribly wrong. We both felt that God had watched over me and Jake during the pregnancy and labor. We were so thankful that there were no serious complications.
This experience has been life changing for me. It definitely testifies to me that there is a Heavenly Father who loves me and my family. He watches over me, knows my righteous desires, and gives me tender mercies endlessly. As a mother, I feel more confident, capable and I trust myself more. This experience also shows me that my body was made to do this! God blessed women to bear children.
It is not a burden but a blessing in my mind. When you are aware and understand the process and what it can be, it’s a beautiful thing. I am just grateful that I was able to experience that. ( and by no means do I look down or judge other moms who do not give birth this way. Each to his own! Every woman is different! I know that. More power to you! This is just what I have learned for myself. What matters is the end result: Healthy Mom & Baby!)