Throughout my pregnancy I had to get ultrasounds every week with my maternal fetal medicine doctor. It’s what happens when you’ve had two beautiful, stillborn little girls: one at 23 weeks and the other at 32 weeks, both due to a rare blood clotting disorder known as Factor II. The ultrasounds were always my saving grace. I got to see my beautiful girl and know right then at that very moment, she was ok.
This past Tuesday started off just like any other day. I got up and headed out the door to see my maternal fetal medicine doctor. When I got there the tech did the ultrasound, said everything looked great, and then put me in the NST room…which was odd. They don’t put you in the NST room unless something is wrong. Her excuse was that the other rooms were full, but I knew something was up. A few minutes later the specialist came in and said that during the ultrasound Scarlet’s heartbeat dropped down between 108 and 117. Her heartbeat is normally 135 to 145. Not a HUGE deal, but with my history they wanted to be extra careful. I was hooked up to the NST monitors and kept on them for about 15 minutes.
During this time I was having mild contractions every four to five minutes. Again, not a big deal; I’d been having them since 34 weeks. The specialist came back to check on me and said the heartbeat was still dipping during contractions and that she had to send me to the hospital for monitoring, except I had to go to their hospital. I wasn’t even allowed to drive to mine, a mere 20 minutes away.
From there she started to talk of an emergency C-section and told me I wasn’t allowed to drink or eat anything, including water, and that’s when freak out mode kicked in and tears ensued. C-sections? What? You’re telling this natural, un-medicated birthing momma she might have to get major surgery! The birth I had been dreaming of for years was quickly flying out the window and I was doing my best to wrap my mind around things and come to terms with it all. Before I knew it, I was being walked over and admitted to the hospital. By then I had called a friend to pick up my husband and bring him over to be with me.
While waiting for Erik, the nurse checked me. It was around 3pm and I was 3cm and 70% effaced. Erik showed up and after an hour of monitoring they said I could eat something “light”. I had a chicken Caesar salad and a chocolate chip cookie. Ahmazing! Then a total of eight hours went by and I started really pushing for them to let me go to my hospital and be with my midwife. They were being stubborn, but all it took was one call to my midwife and I was being brought discharge papers 20 minutes later.
Once we left that hospital we stopped at Mellow Mushroom to pick up a pizza. I was still having the same contractions I had been getting since I got to 34 weeks. Erik and I were convinced that when I got to my hospital they would either keep me over night for monitoring and send me home the next day, or induce me to go ahead and have the baby. Boy, were we in for a surprise!
We got there and they had reserved the biggest room for us. Yay for awesome labor and delivery nurses! My friend Emily met us at the hospital and brought me a HUGE basket of cloth diapers and other beautiful gifts. I was floored by all the love and filled with excitement. Shortly after Emily got there, my friend Mary Anne showed up to take birth photos. She is so sweet and I am so happy she got to be there for Scarlet’s birth.
A few minutes later my midwife came in to check me and sweep my membranes. She checked me at 8:30pm and I was 4cm, 90%, and with a bulging bag. After sweeping my membranes the contractions instantly got stronger. At that time Emily’s doula had come up to be with me…for free! What a blessing she was! She advised Erik and I to walk around the hospital a few times to keep things going. Then we did lunges and some acupressure.
Before I knew it I was squatting during contractions and having to breathe through them, but they still didn’t hurt terribly. It wasn’t until I got a contraction that made me feel like I was going to poop and vomit at the same time that I thought, Oh crap, I’m about to have a baby. Usually when I get the urge to vomit it means transition is coming soon and sure enough, the midwife checked me and I was 6cm and fully effaced. I asked that they fill up the tub. I knew the next part would go fast.
I got in the tub and it was AMAZING! It felt so good and eased the pain of the contractions. During each contraction my doula was putting counter pressure on my lower back. Let me just tell you, counter pressure is a God send! I will never have another birth without it or without a doula, for that matter. I’m not sure how long I was in there laboring before my water broke, but it broke and all of a sudden I wanted to know what time it was. All my babies have been born sometime between one and three, so I was curious when Scarlet would make her arrival. What do you know?
A few contractions later and she was born at 2:57am. Her cord was very short, and my midwife said it was probably the reason for her heartbeat dip during contractions. I held her, cried, laughed, and just stared at her. I remember saying, “I didn’t think this day would ever come.” and “Oh my God, we have a little girl; a real live baby!” I could hear the tears and joy around me. It was the perfect moment.
I held her and Erik talked to her over my shoulder. After about 15 minutes I had Erik cut the cord, because it was so short I could barely keep Scarlet above the water. He cut it and I handed her to the nurse while I got out and went to lie in the bed and deliver the placenta. A few minutes later I pushed the placenta out and that was that.
The birth was 100% done. No tears, no stitches or anything! They weighed Scarlet and she was 6lbs 2oz and 19in long at 37 weeks 4 days! My sweet Rainbow baby girl is finally here and I am in awe at how blessed I am to have her.
Photography by Mary Anne Morgan Photography.