I have been following January and BWF for a few months now. Your Blog and Facebook page really helped me through the last part of my second pregnancy. I was diagnosed with GD and had to deal with switching insurance at 36 weeks to a non-supportive insurance. The second half of my second pregnancy was the start of fear, anxiety, and finally, empowerment.
I’m 26 years old and in that short time, I have been through quite a bit. I am a cancer survivor, a mother, a college graduate, a wife. I want to tell you my story of my road to birthing empowerment. feel so empowered, I can’t wait until I’m pregnant with my third!
It started back in 2008, when I was 19, a freshman in college, and I had just found out I was pregnant. My then boyfriend (now husband) James was completely supportive. I gained a good 55 to 60 pounds (I had always been rather small. Never really over 120) and at my 38 week appointment, my then doctor informed me my blood pressure was at a dangerous level and I needed to be sent to the hospital immediately to have tests done and to be induced.
At the time, my husband and I didn’t think much of induction. To us, all it meant was we were going to have our baby boy sooner than planned. All tests came back fine, no preeclampsia, no blood clots, but my doctor decided to induce me anyway.
It was July 7, 2008, a Monday. We thought the induction would start right away, at 12pm. Nope, a nurse came and said the doctor was waiting until midnight to start the Pitocin. I asked why and she was honest with me, she informed me that my doctor didn’t want to be woken up in the middle of the night to deliver a baby. (Quick fast forward to now, my own cousin works at the same hospital as a RN and she told me that was completely true, and still true of my then doctor, she also told me that this doctor and partner never let their patients go to 40 weeks. Even after the hospital put in place a very strongly recommended guideline that no one shall be induced before 41 weeks 3 days, unless medically necessary. )
Back to 2008, Pitocin started at midnight and by 1:30 my contractions started, by 3am my water broke as I was getting out of the hospital bed. By 5 I wanted an epidural. I thought it was heaven. I was wrong. The rest of the birth was uneventful, exactly what you would expect of an induction. My sweet little Johnny was born at 12:36pm on July 8th, 2008, weighing 8 pounds 3 ounces. I was exhausted. I took a while before I could get out of the bed myself. I didn’t have a problem with my first birth, until my second.
Now to 2010, the cancer diagnosis. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in June 2010 and I started chemo on Johnny’s second birthday, July 8th, 2010. After six months of Chemo and 17 rounds of radiation, in August 2011, I was in remission, but we were afraid we weren’t going to be able to have any more children.
In January 2013 we decided to find out if we could still have children. My OB ran some tests and assured us I was still fertile. We needed permission from my oncologist though. After more testing, just to make sure I was healthy enough, he gave us the green light to start trying. In April 2013 we started. In October, those two little pink lines showed up.
This was truly an amazing pregnancy. I was in my last term getting my Bachelors of Science in health education; I graduated when I was almost 30 weeks. We were pregnant with another little boy and this pregnancy was completely different. I had terribly severe morning sickness, I was keeping myself healthy, low to no stress. My new OB did an ultrasound at every appointment, and while some may see that as a bad thing, my husband and I enjoyed it. My husband hated going to appointments with my first because my OB was uninterested and uninvolved, but, my new OB was amazing, so involved and helpful.
In early April I was diagnosed with GD, which was hard for me because I am a carb-loving girl. But I managed it using the education I had just spent 4 years obtaining. I also had to switch from a PPO insurance to a HMO, meaning a very large insurance company. I had been told by my doctor that IF the baby was too large, he would induce me. I had no problem with this – I wanted to give birth vaginally again and I didn’t mind the induction the first time around. My new insurance didn’t feel the same; in fact they felt the need to scare me into a C-section. I was petrified of the idea of a C-section.
At 33 weeks pregnant, while I was at the grocery store, I started having pain in my side. I was scared, so my husband and I dropped Johnny off with my mom and we went to the hospital. I called my RN cousin and she came to the hospital to be with us. I was in pre-term labor and they had to stop it. It took four days in the hospital but when we were finally released, I was still having mild contractions. While we were there my new insurance doctors told me the baby was already 7 pounds and that I didn’t have my GD under control. I left the hospital 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced.
Even though I had had my heart set on an induction, I liked the idea of going into labor on my own, laboring at home then going to the hospital to give birth. My wish came true.
It was a Friday, a very uneventful day. I was excited to get through the weekend because my doctor had said he would help my labor on Monday due to the swelling and pain if I did have him during the weekend.
My son was helping me out throughout the day because I couldn’t do much. My husband got off of work at the normal time, we had dinner, put our son to bed and started playing video games. It was about 10:15pm. I got up to go pee and as I sat there on the toilet I had a small contraction, like I had been the past 6 weeks. But with this one, in my head I begged “Please do something major to my cervix”. And POP, my water broke.
It was one of the most beautiful moments, I remember it so fondly. The rush of excitement through my body was uncontainable. I yelled to my husband “James, my water broke” and he said “Awesome, finally.” And just like that, as I was sitting there on the toilet, my next contraction was pretty strong.
James started getting things ready. I then called my mom, who was tasked with keeping our eldest. I told her I was in labor and she needed to come get Johnny. Then I called my aunt, who was going to be in the room with us while I gave birth. I then called my cousins who lived near the hospital, one being the RN who worked there. Luckily she was off of work that night and would get to enjoy the baby as family. After all of the calls, I walked into Johnny’s room and woke him up. I don’t think he realized what was going on.
At first I told James I wanted to take it slow and labor at home, but soon I realized my contractions were really close together, about 5 to 7 minutes, so we left as soon as my mom took our son. It was at most 10 minutes since my water had broken. In the car, I labored to the music of Queen and other songs that helped me stay calm through my contractions. Thirty minutes from the hospital my contractions were only about a minute apart and I was squeezing my husband’s hand with each one. He was surprised how quickly they had progressed.
Ten minutes away from the hospital I told my husband I didn’t think we were going to make it. We did though, and James drove right up to the doors. He got me inside with a nurse then went to park the car. The nurse got me into a wheelchair and up to the Labor and Delivery floor where they made me stand. At this point, I felt like the baby was going to fall out. I had the urge to push and told the nurses. One asked me if I wanted to sit down and I told her “I can’t, he’s coming out I can feel him.” They weighed me, then tried to get me to walk down to the room they had ready for me but I told them I couldn’t make it so they took me to the closest room available, which was the C-section recovery room. I stripped down and lay down on the bed. They checked me and said I was at full crown.
I told them I had to push. They told me not to and called the doctor on call. The best thing about my insurance and their doctors was that they always had a doctor on call at my hospital.
The baby was pushing his way out and the nurses kept telling me not to push. I told them, “I’m not pushing, what do I do? What do I do?” The doctor arrived maybe 2 minutes after they called. Finally, relief as he told me I could push with my contractions. Oh boy did I push!
The ring of fire was excruciating but I was focused on my goal, getting my little man out safe and healthy. Three pushes and he was out. I asked if he was ok and my nurse said “He’s fine, he’s crying, hear him?” and I heard his beautiful little cry. They placed him in the warmer next to me and it was such an amazing feeling to see him. They told me there was meconium in the placenta so they were going to have to send it in but the baby was fine.
Everett was born at 11:35pm on June 27th, 2014, a little over an hour after my water broke and about 10 minutes after we arrived at the hospital.
I was immediately able to get up and use the restroom and I was so energized and empowered. No epidural, no Pitocin. It was truly the best birthing experience. I couldn’t have wished for a better one and I wish the same upon every woman, whether at home or a hospital, in a bed or a pool, a quick, pleasant, and happy birthing experience. I’m so lucky to have had the experience that I did!