To say I wasn’t the slightest bit afraid would be a lie. I had mentally prepared myself the past nine months to be brave and not doubt my strength or be afraid of what was to come. But there was still this little itch deep in the back of my mind telling me I should be afraid, telling me I couldn’t do it and most of all telling me that something would go horribly wrong. No matter what I did I could not scratch it.
My pregnancy wasn’t planned. It was one of those things in life that comes suddenly and unexpectedly but not without want. I was so happy when we found out for sure that I was pregnant. Not going to lie, when I girst found out I was slightly worried. I wanted to keep it to myself not because I didn’t want a baby or wasn’t happy but because two years prior I had a miscarriage. My miscarriage had occurred during my 8th or 9th week, so honestly I was terrified that if I got my hopes up then the same thing would happen to me again.
Finally after a week of worry I fessed up to my husband about what had been bothering me. He comforted me and ensured me that I was worrying for nothing and that things would be different this time around. A week before thanksgiving I took a pregnancy test and it came back negative but I KNEW that it was a false negative so I waited until Friday November 29th, the day after thanksgiving to retake the test. This time it came back positive. I took two tests that time just to be sure. After going and getting the pregnancy confirmed I began the process of planning exactly how I wanted the birth process to go. We were given a due date of August 23rd, 2014. That gave me all winter, spring, and summer to get the details of exactly how I wanted the process to go ready. I had planned on having a completely natural birth, no medical interventions and no pain medicine, not even an epidural. I was determined to make that birth plan a reality.
At my 21 week sonogram they told me we were having a boy. This made us happy because we both felt that boys were slightly less of a handful then girls. We eventually want a baby girl as well but we were happy that we were having a boy first. That way if we had a girl second then she would have a big brother to guide and protect her. From 21week until 36 weeks my pregnancy progressed as it should have. No major problems at all just some slight hip shifting due to my joints preparing for birth. This was a little annoying but manageable.
At my 36 week doctor check we found out that I was already almost 3 centimeters dilated which was awesome news because it potentially meant I would have a slightly shorter early labor, or so we thought. We also found out I was Group B Strep Positive which honestly kind of upset me. I had planned on going at things 100 percent natural with no medical interventions at all. Finding out that I was GBS positive meant that I would have to get antibiotics pumped into my system every four hours after my water broke until the birth. I talked to my doctor and told her I wanted to try a Homeopathic treatment to try and clear my system of the GBS and then retest before the birth. She agreed to allow me to try my best to clear it and then she said she would retest me at my 39 week appointment. I began drinking Burdock root tea twice a day, eating an extremely large portion of fresh garlic with every meal, and eating a large serving of probiotic yogurt every day.
The morning of my 39 week appointment (August15th, 2014) I began having contractions that were about 14 minutes apart and 45 seconds each. I went to my appointment and spoke to my doctor. We both decided that it would probably be best to do a membrane sweep to see if we could move things along since I was already having signs of early labor. This also meant that it would be pointless to retest for GBS at this point because chances were that I would have the baby over the weekend. I was bummed about this but more excited at the fact that the time had finally come for me to meet my son. My doctor proceeded with the sweep and then not even an hour later my contractions picked up. They were about 8 minutes apart and 45 seconds to a minute long.
Later that night I got what is referred to as “a bloody show,” it was extremely unpleasant but was a good sign that things were progressing. I waited through the night and things didn’t pick up. I then continued to wait throughout the weekend. Sunday came and still no baby. At this point I decided to call triage and see if I could come in for a Non-stress test just to ensure that everything was still okay. I went into the hospital and they immediately hooked me up to fetal heartbeat and contraction monitors. After two hours of constant monitoring they confirmed that I was in early labor with contractions 8 minutes apart, was 4 centimeters dilated, and the baby’s heartbeat sounded perfect. At that point they offered to induce me or even try break my water. I declined the offer and said I would rather wait things out. After all I knew that if they induced me it could change everything as far as my birth plan went. So I went home to wait things out. I figured things were bound to pick up and the baby would come maybe Monday or the next day. He didn’t come and I stayed in early labor all week.
Friday of that week I went in for my 40 week appointment. My doctor did a check and sweep and nothing had changed. I was at the same point of early labor as I had been in since the previous Friday. My doctor did a sweep and then sent me back to triage because she was concerned that something might be wrong with the baby because during her reading of the heart it sounded like it was skipping. I went to triage where they said everything was fine and apparently I was already 5 centimeter. So again they offered to help move things along. I again declined and decided it was time to try my own methods. I started by trying all the old wise tails; sex, spicy foods, an entire pineapple and even castor oil. NOTHING. The castor oil didn’t even upset my stomach which I found strange because I had three LARGE shots of the stuff.
Early Sunday morning at like 4am I woke up and decided to try having sex one last time just to see if it would help. Then afterwards I went back to bed and woke up around 9am. At this point I was so frustrated with being in early labor so long that I had been ignoring the contraction pattern since the night before. I stopped timing them and decided I would just go about the day. The other thing that was annoying me about the contractions was that I had an extremely high pain tolerance so I really couldn’t tell the difference in intensity, this made mentally blocking them out fairly easy to do.
I decided since I was awake I would make myself a burger, (burgers were my number one pregnancy craving). Around noon I perkily woke my husband up and told him I was bored. He asked how I was feeling and I told him I felt bleh. We went out in the living room and I went back to sitting on my medicine ball, that was my daily routine from 36 weeks on since apparently it was supposed to help push baby down and prepare him for birth. After about an hour or so I started to get grumpy and would very crankily answer my husband’s questions.
Finally after another hour my husband looked at me and again asked if I was okay. I was so annoyed with him asking me so I snapped a response to him. He had a look of surprise on his face and then looked at our friend Emily. They both turned to me and asked how far apart my contractions were because they could tell that something was clearly wrong. I thought hard for a second and responded by telling them I didn’t know how far apart they were. This was an honest answer, I really didn’t know. I had been so focused on ignoring the contractions that I forgot to pay the slightest bit of attention to them. I told them that the contractions were annoying and kind of felt constant. I am pretty sure I said it in a very disgruntled tone because not even ten seconds later my husband forced me to sit down and told me to let him know when my contraction began so I did.
About a minute in I guessed and said I thought the contraction was finishing, I guessed because like I had said before they kind of felt constant. He then stopped the clock and told me to tell him when the next one began. I agreed and waited until the start of the next one. He pushed the start button the second I told him a contraction was beginning and then looked up at me with a dumbfounded look and said “What the hell Michelle your contractions are a minute and a half apart! Come on get ready we need to go otherwise you are going to have this baby on our floor!”
I got all my bags ready and we headed out. I had decided several weeks before that no matter what I was going to be a trooper and take the subway to the hospital. That is exactly what I did too. I just sat there at the edge of my seat with a grouchy look on my face and every now and again would let out a sigh as my husband and friend Emily would crack jokes at me.
When we got to the hospital I was hesitant to tell the doctors that I was having contractions 1 and a half minutes apart because I knew they would give me crap since they had just warned me 2 days prior that I needed to come in with a contraction pattern of 4:1:1. I was slightly embarrassed that I had waited so long to come into the hospital so I chose to tell them that the contractions were about 3 minutes apart. They hooked me up to the machine for about ten minutes before deciding that I needed to be admitted right away.
At this point it was 4:30pm on Sunday. I immediately contacted my two doulas and let them know I was being admitted and that they needed to come in. Upon being admitted they did an ultrasound to confirm the baby was in the perfect position, which he was, and also did a dilation check. Nothing had changed from Friday except the contraction pattern. I was still just as dilated and the baby was still at -1 station. I informed the nurses and doctors that I wanted to have a completely natural birth and wanted to remain mobile throughout the active labor. They said this was okay but that sadly I would need monitoring occasionally because their MONICA portable monitor was broken. I hesitantly sighed and told them fine. The thought of staying hooked up for 20 minutes at a time bugged me. I even convinced them to let me have a heplock instead of a constant IV. They said they could accommodate that since I was choosing natural and would only need the heplock so they could give me the antibiotics every 4 hours.
They got me all hooked up and began me on my first dose of the antibiotics. They told me they would prefer I didn’t eat so I told them that was fine. I lied. I had every intention of eating. After all there numerous studies that prove that woman eating in labor helped to boost their energy levels and actually led to shorter labors. I had a lovely bag packed full of small energy boosting snacks that I would sneak every time my nurse left the room. I had no intentions on having medical interventions so I knew me eating would not impact anything.
While my husband and I were waiting for my doulas to arrive we began to walk up and down the halls of the labor and delivery floor. We had the most gorgeous view of the Hudson river from the end of the hall window. I looked at my husband and told him that if two hours from now I was still in labor I wanted to walk over to that window and view a beautiful NYC sunset over the Hudson right before birthing our son. He agreed that that sounded like a nice idea. I started to walk back down the hall towards our room. As we approached one of our lovely doulas Svea arrived. I went with her into the room and gave her an update on the situation.
From there we continued to wait. The contractions began to pick up a bit in intensity and at this point were fairly constant. We stopped timing them because we figured what the hell we are already IN THE HOSPITAL, what’s the point. My second Doula Danielle arrived a few minutes after Svea. At this point it was about 530-6 o’clock. The nurse came in and told me she needed to monitor me for a bit so I sat on the bed and let her monitor me. Eventually she said everything was okay and told me I could walk around again.
I began to walk up and down the halls again. When I got to the end of the hall I sat down in a little chair they had placed by a window. At that moment I had a really strong contraction. My husband told me to get up and said I should walk it out. I told him no and waited for the contraction to finish before getting up again. Upon beginning to walk back to the room I started to feel like something was wrong. I started to get slightly dizzy and I got this queasy feeling in the bottom of my stomach. My husband asked if I was okay and I muttered the words “back to the room” and then as quickly as I could waddled back to the room.
I didn’t make it to the bathroom. I walked through the door of my room and spewed on the floor and then quickly went over to the toilet and continued to throw up. The nurse walked in happily and said “YESS that’s what we like to see!! This means you are getting closer!!” Afterwards I sat down on the corner of the bed and took a break from walking. I didn’t want to throw up again, I’ve ALWAYS despised throwing up. A couple minutes after sitting, another nurse walked in. Not the nurse I had previously, apparently the nurse I liked, Melissa, went on break. This new nurse was very rude. She grouchily told me to lie down so she could monitor me. I bit my tongue and just looked at my doulas with a face of disgust for this nurse. I have never been one for confrontation so even in labor I decided to keep my mouth shut. She left the monitors on for a long time.
Eventually I really had to pee so I made my husband grab her and take the monitors off. She angrily told me she was still monitoring me and that I needed to wait. I told her I couldn’t wait and that I really had to pee. She scoffed at me and took the monitors off. She told me I needed to hurry. I went into the bathroom and sat on the toilet. Sitting on the toilet felt sooo much better on my tailbone then sitting on the bed did. I sat there for a couple minutes because peeing was extremely hard to do through constant contractions. Plus I’ve always had “shy bladder” issues so peeing while under pressure or during stressful situations was hard for me. Didn’t matter how bad I had to pee if someone is rushing me It isn’t going to happen.
After about 5 minutes of waiting the nurse annoyingly knocked on the door and told me to hurry up now and lets go. I told her she needed to wait so she angrily left the room. As soon as she left I was able to pee. I finished up and went back into the room. She came back in and grumpily put the monitors back on and told me she had to keep monitoring because the heartbeat of the baby kept dropping. In all realness though the heartbeat was NOT dropping. The heartbeat would be PERFECT and then every time a contraction would get really bad I would bend forward a bit and in doing so the monitor would slip down off my stomach. We showed this to her but she didn’t care. She was obsessed with the monitor. Because of her persistence with the monitor I sadly had to miss a the beautiful sunset I had wanted to see.
At 8pm I was STILL hooked to the monitors and I was angry about it. The whole plan was to be able to labor while moving around and this wench of a woman was standing in my way. The doctor then came in to check me again. Apparently after several hours of active labor I was STILL only 5cm dilated and my water had not broken. She said she wanted to wait until after my second dose of antibiotics at 9pm and then she wanted to break my water to move things along. I agreed.
9pm came and I receive my second dose. The doctor came in about 2 hours later and set me up to break my water. She informed me that It wouldn’t hurt but the contractions would immediately intensify. I nodded to her and squeezed onto my husband’s hand. The doctor had a bit of trouble breaking my water. Apparently it was pretty hard to penetrate because It took her a few tries before she was actually able to break it. As soon as she was able to break it I felt a huge flush of water that went everywhere and then immediately the contractions quadrupled in intensity. They were so strong that my whole body tightened up with each contraction rendering me immobile. The doctor wished me luck and left the room.
My two amazing doulas at this point ran to my side and began to comfort me. Since the grouchy nurse still had me hooked to the monitor I couldn’t really move so the girls took turns placing a heating pad on my back and massaging right near my tailbone which felt amazing. The pressure from their massages helped ease the pain a bit with every contraction. Finally the nurse came in and took off the monitor.
Not even thirty minutes later she returned and told me she was putting me back on. She said it in such a bitter tone that I very very angrily shot a face to my husband who was also making a face back at the nurse. I was so sick of her attitude but I let her put the stupid monitor on. Right before she went to put it on I got a really strong contraction, the strongest thus far, and it left me hanging off the side of the bed for about two minutes. The contraction was so long and hard that she began to yell at me to sit back now so she could monitor me. I, of course couldn’t move. I was paralyzed from the shock of the contraction, something she obviously didn’t care about. She snapped at me and started yelling at me saying to sit back now. I muttered that I couldn’t and my husband told her she needed to wait. I tried to force my body up into a sitting position and painstakingly allowed her to place the monitors on. As she was putting the monitor on I had another crippling contraction and my body immediately began to bend forward. She freaked out at me and held me back and finished placing the monitor and then angrily walked out of the room and said I am documenting that In my chart! I angrily responded back “DOCUMENT IT THEN” and went back to having my contractions.
From that point forward my contractions continued to increase in intensity. The nurse kept coming in the room and every time she saw me crippled forward would try to push the epidural on me. I kept telling her no. It was actually annoying me that she kept asking. I really was persistent about NOT getting an epidural. I had so many people tell me that I was probably going to want one but I was determined to do everything all natural so I stuck to my word.
Eventually my nurse Melissa came back and I told her about the other nurse and said I no longer wanted her around. She said okay and agreed to stay with me. She also took the monitor off me finally which was nice. Around 12:30am the doctor came in to check me. She said I was already at 7 to 8 centimeters. She said she would come back in an hour to check on me. At around 1am I felt like I really had to pee again so I went to the bathroom. At this point my contractions were beyond crippling. I sat down on the toilet and was nearly screaming in pain. After a few minutes of sitting there freaking out inside my head I called my husband into the bathroom. He came and kneeled down in front of me. I looked him in the eyes and started to have a panic attack. He knew right away that that was what it was because I’ve often suffered from anxiety attacks. I freaked out and started to panic telling him I couldn’t do it and it was too much for me to handle. I freaked out so much that I even wound up telling him to get the doctor and make her do a c-section right then.
He chuckled and told me I was fine and I was just freaking out in my head. It was that point he knew that I had to be at 9 centimeters and entering transition into pushing. Apparently the sudden urge to give up was the sign everyone needed to know for sure that this baby was almost out. He coaxed me into leaving the bathroom and went to get the doctor. She came in and checked me. She confirmed that I was 9 centimeters.
It was around 1:30am. She said she would come back in half an hour and see where I was at. She added that if I felt the urge to push I needed to call for her. I sat on the edge of the bed and let the extreme contractions continue. I continued to mutter to my husband the words “I can’t do it anymore.” As a kid whenever I got hurt or saw blood I would hold my breath and pass out. I thought that part of my life was over but apparently at that point of the night I was so overly exhausted that in between contractions I would physically faint and fall onto my husband’s shoulders and then at the start of the next contractions would come to screaming. I of course did not find that out until the next day when my husband told me. I couldn’t even speak at that point.I wouldn’t have been able to get by without my doulas and my husband. They were there shoving ice and water into my mouth every few seconds. Every time I’d even gesture towards anything they would come rushing over to help. I loved having them there for support.
Not even ten minutes after the doctor left the room the “urge to push” became very real. I could feel the baby moving down and I could not help but push. I screamed in pain. and everyone called for the doctor to come. She leaned me back on the bed and checked. She could see the baby’s head. She removed the bottom half of the bed and propped me up to prepare me for delivery. She told me it was time to start pushing. She said it would probably take anywhere from about a half an hour to an hour from that point to push the baby out. Apparently that was “standard” for first time deliveries.
I very quickly did my first big push, it moved the baby’s head almost out. The nurse ran over and put an oxygen mask on me and told me to get a few deep breaths in to give the baby oxygen. I took the deep breaths in and then began to push for the second time. The doctor then told me to push hard on the start of the next contraction so I waited for it to begin. While waiting she told me I needed to wait a second once the head was out so she could unwrap the cord from the baby’s neck. I said okay. That didn’t happen. I did one more push and couldn’t stop. The baby very very quickly came out and the doctor very quickly was able to react and remove the cord from around his neck.
They immediately placed him on my chest. It took me ten minutes of pushing in total to get the baby out. I looked at him and kissed him on the top of his head. My mood very quickly changed from cranky to extremely happy. My baby was finally here. I looked at him with such love and happiness. I couldn’t believe I had done it. I immediately forgot about the past 8 days of early labor, nine hours of active labor and ten minutes of pushing and just focused on my pure happiness. I couldn’t believe it. I had done it. I had managed to go about my pregnancy and delivery without any pain medicine at all. Not even a Tylenol.
I had never before felt the amount of happiness I felt while holding my son. A couple seconds after they did the delayed cord clamping they removed the baby from my chest and brought him to the Infant warmer to check him. He was having trouble breathing. They very quickly got to work on me. They had me push out the placenta with one big push and then they began stitching me up. Them doing the stitches weirdly hurt more then pushing the baby out so I gripped on to both Danielle and Svea’s hands. I held their hands so tight that I felt like I was going to break them so I immediately apologized to them. They chuckled and said it was fine and that they could take it.
The whole time they spent stitching me up I just stared over at my son lying on the table having trouble breathing. Fear rushed over me because I didn’t want anything to happen to him and I didn’t want them to take him out of my sight. The pediatrician came over to me and told me that he needed to stay in the warmer for a bit but there was a chance he would have to go to NICU. I almost started crying. I asked if my husband would be able to accompany him if he did have to go and she said he would have to watch through a window until they had everything set up. I almost had another panic attack inside my head. I was so worried for my little boy. I just wanted to hold him. I wanted so badly to experience the skin to skin. I wanted that bonding that everyone talked about.
After thirty minutes in the warmer the pediatrician passed him back off into my nurses care and said he was okay for now and wouldn’t have to go to the NICU. I was so happy to hear this. I still couldn’t hold him though because the doctor was still busy stitching me up. I told my husband to take his shirt off and do skin to skin with the baby so he did. It made me so happy seeing him hold our baby. He looked so happy to be holding our son. My husband had never been one to show much emotion but when I saw him hold our son I could see the happiness and love in his eyes. Seeing that made my tear up. I started crying because I was so happy.
Shortly after, the doctor finished stitching me up and said I could hold my son. My husband brought him over and placed him in my arms. I was so happy that I was crying more and kept saying “Arttie it’s our son, he is so beautiful.” Saying I was happy to have my son would be an extreme understatement. There are no words to describe the feelings I had upon seeing my son and holding him for the first time. It was an experience that I will never forget. It changed my life completely. I will never be as happy as I was the day I laid eyes on my Little Artorias Loki Mouthapong. ♥