Abbie tells us about the birth of her son, Lane.
I figured I needed to write this all down before I forget the good detailed bits about Lane’s birth. There was so much beauty in it. I have fallen in love with being a mother and even more so with the process of becoming one. People always talk about the love you have for you children. A love no one can understand until they feel it – until they hold that precious little one in their arms and kiss those sweet cheeks. Now I get it. My heart swells with happiness and pride looking at Lane. I DID THAT. I brought my sweet boy into this world after a whole lot of work. Here’s how it happened.
I had an awesome and easy pregnancy up until 29 weeks. When I say easy, I mean it was so easy I didn’t even know I was pregnant until 14 weeks. Funny enough, I was deployed when I found out. I was six weeks into my first deployment and I found out I’m 14 weeks pregnant with my first baby. Needless to say, I was sent home. I had monthly appointments with my OB after that. My monthly OB appointment came up; I was 29 weeks at this point. Everything had been perfect thus far, but this appointment went a little differently than the ones prior. We found out that I was in preterm labor and dilated to a 1 – not normal for a first-time mom to be dilated at all.
I was placed on bed rest at home for a week with a follow-up appointment. At that next appointment we found not only was I still having contractions (painless contractions, mind you) and that I was dilated, but now my cervix was shortening. I was admitted that day. I had a constant IV and I received steroid shots for baby’s lungs. It was a scary eight days being there. I had never felt so helpless. Keeping a calm spirit was all I could focus on since I felt so helpless. At 31 weeks I was sent home, still on bed rest orders, but I was stable. I had weekly appointments at this point. But at 33 weeks, I was admitted again! My cervix started shortening even more. I was now over 60% effaced and dilated to a 1. After four days of being in the hospital, the doctor told me there was nothing more they could give me medically. I was sent home to be on continued bed rest.
GUESS WHAT. This kid stayed put. He listened. He and I had a few talks about why he wasn’t allowed to meet us yet. I guess it got through! At 35w 5d I had an OB appointment, where I found out that I was completely effaced and 2 cm dilated. The doctor told us there was no way I’d make it through next week; he even said I wouldn’t make it through the weekend (it was a Friday). We made a follow-up appointment for 10 days later, just in case. Well, 10 days came and went. Our normal OB was out, but the doctor this time said the exact same thing. I was 100% effaced, 2 cm dilated, but this time she told us that baby’s head was very low, and that he was in the right position. Again, I was told they would be seeing me before my next appointment; and again, 10 days came and went.
However, the morning of my next appointment, things were different…
I woke up that morning around 2 a.m. feeling a contraction. Keep in mind I had been having contractions since 29 weeks; and though mostly painless, they always made me have to pee. This was different; but I didn’t want to get my hopes up since I had been so excited for over two weeks now. They kept coming, but I could sleep though them.
Once we got to the doctor’s office he checked me and found I was 4-5cm! YAY! I was so excited… Until the PH test indicated that I was leaking amniotic fluid. This put me on a 24-hour countdown. I was open to infection since the amniotic sack had been ruptured. I asked the doctor to sweep my membranes in hopes that this would speed things up without any intervention. Jamie and I went home to pack our stuff since I was being admitted. Contractions started happening then. They were painful, but they were tolerable. I called my doula and told her to meet us at the hospital.
Later that evening I was having some fetal monitoring done. Contractions were 7-8 minutes apart, and I couldn’t really talk through them (little did I know what was coming next). The lovely midwife checked me and found I was still at a 5. The doctor then came in and started talking about Pitocin, and I put my foot down. I was saying HELL NO to Pitocin. Every time he said the word, I said no. I could tell I was irritating him. I started asking about all other inducing options before I was given Pitocin. We decided on the natural cocktail: castor oil, papaya juice and champagne! Hell yes! I even got a little buzz off of it.
I continued to contract and labor with my doula and Jamie. We walked the halls and paused for the contractions, with Jamie putting counter pressure on my back (it felt amazing!). We would relax in our room while I rolled on the exercise ball. Our good friends brought us dinner and we all hung out for a bit. We had our last fetal monitoring at 11 p.m. There was no change in my cervix or with the contractions; I was still 5cm and 6-7 min apart. The midwife told us to go to our room and get some rest (HA!), and come back if anything changed or wait until morning. I sent my doula home, and Jamie and myself went to the room. I didn’t sleep one bit. The contractions had picked up enough that I was trying to rest my eyes between them, but they were every five minutes apart and painful. At one point I really just wanted hot water on me. Around 3 a.m., while Jamie slept, I took a hot shower; and it felt amazing. Eventually I got out and walked around our room. At around 6 a.m. I told Jamie I wanted to take a bath.
We walked to L&D and the nice midwife set me up with a lavender bath. It was so relaxing. Jamie lay on the floor and slept some more. Later on, my doula came and sat with me while Jamie went to get us some breakfast from the bakery. I sat in that bath until it was cold; it felt so nice.
Once I was out of the bath, I enjoyed a nice chocolate croissant. The midwife did a check, and saw that I was 7-8 cm! Except it was around 8 a.m. at this point. She told me the doctor wasn’t going to be happy that there wasn’t a baby here yet, and would likely push the Pitocin since it had been 24 hours. He was coming to check on me between 8:30 and 9 o’clock. She asked if she could break my water the rest of the way, since that would help move things along. I agreed. It was the weirdest sensation ever! After that, Jamie went to take a shower and my doula stayed with me.
HOLY SHIT. That first contraction after breaking my water was like none other. I remember yelling out and my doula saying “Oh! Okay!” Our plan was to walk the halls, but I couldn’t even make it out of the L&D room. This is where shit got real.
I have no sense of time after this. I only remember flashes; I was in incredible pain. At one point I vomited; I was extremely hot, but we couldn’t open the window because it would make the room too cold for a new baby. I remember hearing the midwife say this, and getting excited, thinking, “Oh yeah, this pain is for the sweet baby that’s coming!” Poor Jamie – he kept trying to give me words of love, and I was pushing him away. I was so. Damn. Hot. I had a cold towel on my back and Jamie fanning me. My doula kept feeding me water between contractions. Why the hell didn’t I get the drugs!? Eventually the midwife wanted to have me start pushing. I was a full 10 at this point.
I remember pushing and pushing, hearing everyone say, “He’s right there! We can see the top of his head!” and then the contraction would end and I was being told that his head went back in. Umm…what? Am I doing this wrong? Pushing felt so damn good; it was a relief. After all the helpless pain, I was actually doing something! And now you’re telling me I’m doing it wrong??
I was put in all kinds of different positions. That poor midwife had to deal with a stubborn laboring mom and a stubborn baby. I really didn’t want to be moved at all, but I obliged reluctantly. Again and again, each new position was fruitless. Then the doctor came in, and guess what we discovered? Baby was sunny side up – that’s why he wasn’t coming. He was stuck! He also started having a low heart rate since I wasn’t breathing.
I was given two options at this point: vacuum or C-section. Now anyone who spoke to me before knows I was against getting a C-section. I really did not want that. Well, guess what? I was screaming for one! Get this thing out of me! I had been pushing for 2+ hours and was DONE. I remember looking at Jamie and telling him that when they bring baby out I won’t be there for a while, so he needs to do skin-to-skin. However, my doctor thankfully had another idea: the vacuum plus Pitocin. The doctor wanted my contractions to last a little longer, so I lost the battle of no Pitocin.
The next thing I knew, I was up in stirrups and there were a lot of people. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. They had been closed since I started pushing. But the pain at this point could be described as searing. I swear everyone and their mom had their hand up inside me. I remember having Jamie’s hand and my doulas, and was pushing with everything I had. Thank god for my doula. She’s the only reason I kept breathing; I nearly passed out a couple times. There was a midwife behind me pushing on my stomach (not enjoyable), lots of pain, and then…
Lane! He was squishy and cute and lying on my chest. My sweet baby boy was here. We had hoped for delayed cord clamping, but baby wasn’t breathing right. He was taken from me, and I quickly told my doula to go with him. I don’t know why I didn’t tell Jamie; I just knew I wanted someone with him.
Little Lane was brought back to me a couple minutes later, all pink and wide awake. Jamie, Lane and I cuddled, and eventually they weighed him and measured him. We had an hour of family time, and then we were wheeled to our room down the hall.
It wasn’t how I imagined it. It didn’t go exactly with my birth plan. I had planned on a natural water birth; but it was perfect in its own way. Lane is here, and Jamie and I are parents. My heart has grown more than I ever knew it could. There’s no way I could have done this without Jamie or Xina. The love and support was exactly what I needed. Plus Xina got some amazing pictures that I will cherish for the rest of my life.