Okay, I’m about 9 weeks late on doing this. I just really haven’t had the time, but I would like to write this out because I don’t want to forget anything!
SO – our birth “plan.” We were planning on having a natural birth, free of interventions ( meaning no drugs, no c-section). I spent weeks trying to prepare mentally for something that I basically had no control over. I prayed a lot…we prayed a lot, and waited.
So, Isabela was born 22 April at 1814 hours. My water broke the night before around 2230 hours. Right before my water broke, I was sitting at my computer, checking facebook. I had been having contractions on and off all day, but they were very irregular. I started to think that I should really started timing the contractions, so I went to contractionmaster.com. I logged the first contraction, then the 2nd, and then I was like forget it!! I was thinking I probably wasn’t in labor anyway- afterall, I had been having contractions and back pain the entire week! So, I closed the laptop and stood up and then……..I felt a little pop in my abdomen. Then, I felt warm fluid run down my leg and I knew it! My water had just broken!! Yeah!!
SOOOO, I then yelled down the stairs for Chris to come up. He, of course, yelled back why. I told him he just better come upstairs. He came up and I was like my water really broke!! ( I played an April Fools joke on him, so I needed him to believe me, haha). Well, I was still leaking and the fluids were blood tinged. We both just kind of stood there, wondering what to do next.
I was so excited knowing we were going to meet Isabela finally, and I immediately started shaking all over! We called Labor and Delivery and they told me I could come up there now if I wanted too, or I could wait until the contractions got stronger. We opted to wait it out a little.
Before I go any further, I just want to say that during this entire time, I followed God’s voice. I believe he was speaking to my heart, and I made sure to follow that little voice, and I am SO glad that I did.
OKAY. After calling L&D, we called our doula. She also recommended that we wait it out at home, til the contractions got closer. So, I tried to lay down and get some sleep, but couldn’t. I told Chris to try and get some sleep, and I started getting some last minute items together, texting people, and emailing people. The contractions were about 7 minutes apart, and I was only feeling them in my back. This confirmed what I already thought to be true…that Isabela was head down but facing the wrong direction. I tried not to worry, as my midwife told me that babies often turn at the last minute.
After about an hour passed I woke Chris up and told him that I felt we just needed to go to the hospital now. The contractions were still 7 minutes apart, but were getting stronger, and I just felt God wanted us to leave now. So we prayed together and left for the hospital. We got there, and stubborn me refused the wheel chair and opted to walk. Got checked in, hooked up to monitors, and I was so glad that I listened to God’s voice. I was already 4-5 cm dialated! Yeah!
After an hour in the monitoring room, they moved me into the birthing room. My doula had arrived and things seemed to be progressing nicely. EXCEPT, they didn’t want to remove me from the monitors yet. They didn’t like the way Isabela’s heart rate was deaccelerating. From that moment, I started to feel a little uneasy.
Soooo, with active labor upon me, we begin to breathe together. I was having only back labor, with NO breaks in between. When a contraction would stop, I was having intense stabbing back pain in between. I admit, it was horrible! Later, I found out that back labor contractions are supposed to be way more painful than regular labor contractions. Definitely true! After about 30 minutes in the birth room, they removed the monitors. At this point I was at 7 cm dilated. I was now free to walk and get into the whirlpool bath. While I waited for the bath to fill up, we did some deep breathing and different positions to help relieve the pain. Jun-Nicole, my doula, was doing some massage and applying pressure to my back. I remember sitting and standing, leaning face forward into Chris, and trying to imagine happy memories (:
We went into the bath after this, and it did feel a little better. The contractions at this point were horrible and I knew that I was going through transition, which is the most painful part of labor. I started shaking pretty bad, and the shaking didn’t stop from there on. We stayed in the whirpool tub for maybe 30 minutes. The warm water felt great, but towards the end, I begin to feel like I needed to be out of the bath. At this point, I also began to feel like Isabela wasn’t going to turn. I also felt so exhausted. I was so tired. The contractions didn’t seem to be as painful,now that the transition labor was ending,but I had been laboring this whole time with NO breaks at all between contractions. I felt like I could go on without drugs, but I also felt like I needed the drugs. Something inside me just told me that it was going to be a long and hard labor and that I needed the rest.
Chris did great at convincing me to hold out a little longer, but eventually, I made the decision to have an epidural. I got the epidural between 7-8 cm dilated. After being in labor since around 2300 hours with no break in between contractions, I felt like I would have no energy when the time to push came. So, I got the epidural around 0630 hours. I had been laboring for 7.5 hours with no pain relief…guess that wasn’t too bad. I do have to say that sitting still for the epidural wasn’t bad at all. I was sitting, leaning on Chris, while Jun-Nicole did some more massage stuff and began talking calmly to me. She was saying things like, “talk to your baby, go into the womb and talk to your baby.” Sounds silly to you guys – but it really worked at keeping me calm. Not once did I scream or yell or go out of control. I was so happy to have Jun there, and Chris of course, and felt so at peace with them. Anyhow…
I was amazed at how fast and effective the epidural was. The pain was gone and I couldn’t even feel my contractions at all. The midwife, Laura, (who was amazing), checked me and confirmed that Isabela was still facing the wrong way (DUH!!). She had me lay belly down, with my legs and arms facing opposite directions of some sort. She called it the Texas roll, lol. At this point I was so glad I had the epidural. I could not imagine laying down on my belly during labor, with no drugs…it would have been horrible. So, I layed this way for several hours, while Chris and Jun-Nicole slept. I tried to sleep, but my hormones must have been keeping me up, plus nurses checked on me very consistently.
At 1040, I was finally at 10 cm dilated. I was told that for a first time mother, I had progressed very well. The midwife was pleased that I waited so long before getting an epidural, because apparently, it sped up the process. Isabela STILL hadn’t turned around, but we were going to start pushing! The midwife told me that the average first time mom who has had an epidural pushes for about 4 hours at the max.
So the pushing began. I was told that I was a very good pusher, lol. My response was that I am very good at following directions, and I thought it was funny that you can actually be a bad pusher. About 3 hours went by, but Isabela wasn’t getting past a certain station (can’t remember). I could tell by the look at the midwife’s eyes that things werent going to go well at this point. She got some other nurses in the room, and they began to have me push in different positions, that were supposed to help Isabela turn. After changing postions and pushing more, the midwife checked me and said that she thought Isabela’s head was turned the wrong way and stuck in my pelvic area. It was too far up to use a vacuum or forceps, and she wanted to know if I would be okay with her getting some outside advice from some residents. We said yes.
SOO, a resident came in, and confirmed this. She said that there was another resident who had some luck with turning babies who were faced in this position. She said there was a 50 percent chance it would work. So, we said we would try it. At this point, I think my room had the midwife, chris, Jun, several nurses, several students, and at least 4 residents in it! They all wanted to come meet me…because they heard that I had been pushing for 6 hours and was still full of energy and determined to have a vaginal birth. Apparently, most women ask to have c-sections after about 2 hours of pushing. Ha. Not me…I was REALLY wanting to have a vaginal birth.
Anyhow, the resident came in to try and turn the baby. Hooked me up to an ultrasound to make sure Isabela was facing the wrong way, which she was. Then, she tried to get Isabela to turn. This was the worst part of it. YES, she had to use her hand to turn her head. And, even though I had the epidural, I could feel it. I felt a little pop,and then it was over. Then all of a sudden, everyone was around me, and they put an oxygen mask on me. I began to feel scared….. What happened was that Isabela didn’t respond well to the turn and her heart rate began to deaccelerate, and didn’t seem to recover quickly. We waited about 10 minutes and finally her heart rate began to look good. SO, then I began to try and push again. Lots of pushing. I was so glad that I did tons of squats while pregnant, and lifted weights, because this helped me immensely. Jun and Chris were awesome! I was so glad I had a doula because Chris had lots of to rest, take breaks, and to eat. He was also able to intercept the dozens of phone calls we were getting from family.
OK, so I pushed maybe for another hour. The residents and midwife came back in, and checked me. Isabela had turned back to her original position!!! The resident told me that she would try and turn Isabela again, but if it didn’t work, they would take me in for an emergency c-section. OK.
No, not okay. I told her that we would talk about it first. I did NOT want to be put under, which is what happens usually during an emergency c-section. I also didn’t want to take another chance that Isabela’s heart rate would suffer again. So we called her back in, and told her that we would just have the c-section and not try to turn her again. At this point I had pushed for about 8 hours! That is a very LONG time, which I would find out later!
They gave me more drugs and antibiotics and took me into surgery. This was the worst part for me. I wasn’t prepared for the c-section mentally, and felt so disappointed in myself for some reason. But, I knew I made the right decisions all through the labor process. Thank GOD. So, during the c-section, I felt nothing at all. I was numb from the neck down and kinda started to freak out. Luckily the anesthesiologist was awesome and calmed me down. Things become blurry at this point. I make Chris retell this part all the time, and I think that is what hurt me a the most…not being able to remember because of the drugs.
Anyhow, I remember looking up at the doctor and him looking like he was pulling very hard. His arms were shaking and he was sweating. Apparently, i was such a good pusher that Isabela was stuck way down in my pelvic bone area. He had a hard time getting her out! ( By the way, it was the weirdest thing. Nurses, doctors and midwives that came to visit me during the hospital stay would all comment on how long I pushed and how good of a pusher I was…lol)
I remember Chris getting up, saying she was out, but not hearing a cry. My heart jumped. THen FiNALLY, I heard her cry and my heart jumped again! I was already in love and I had not even seen her. I waited for them to put her over the curtain but they didn’t. I layed there and wondered if I would ever forget the sound of her first cry. I think the answer is no. The midwife came over and said they had to give her some oxygen because she wasn’t breathing well at first, but now she was doing great and had gotten an 8 on the AGPAR. Then, Chris brought her to me, and I was able to look at her and kiss her. Then they took her away from me and began to stitch me up. Chris went with Isabela, and Jun stayed with me.
This is the part I really don’t remember. I became quite delirious from the drugs, but I remember Jun stroking my forehead, and I knew I fell asleep. I felt like I was in there forever, and I just wanted to see my baby!! About an hour later, they put me in recovery. I was still shaking profusely, and I kept asking when I could see my baby. My mom was there at this point, and it felt great to see her and feel how much she loved me. Chris went to find out why they hadn’t brought Isabela yet, and I remember laying there….feeling nervous and scared because I was shaking so much. They FINALLY brought her in about an HOUR later!! Does anyone realize how long that is???
Anyhow, she was so beautiful and perfect. Her nose was crooked from being pressed against my pelvic bone (: We got to breastfeed, and she fed like a little pro! I felt so perfect. WHen I had her, my body stopped shaking, and I was just in awe of her. There are no words to describe perfectly what I was feeling. I still cry thinking of the time we first met. I love her so much. It’s the closest I will ever come to experiencing God’s love for me.
SO, things didn’t go at all the way we planned! Obviously. But, the end result – PRICELESS! I hope that for our next child, I will get to experience the natural childbirth that I hoped for this time. THE END!
Sorry this is so long, but I wrote this more for me than for anyone else. I don’t know how I could have made it shorter!
***EDIT***Things I forgot to add.
1. I actually became very nauseous and threw up while laboring. I can’t remember exactly when it was, but I believe it was somewhere in between 5-7 cm dilated, and definitely before I got the epidural.
2. My tailbone was extremely sore for weeks after the birth. I was told it was because of the back labor, because her head was continually pressing down on my tailbone. It hurt to sit down and to sleep on my back.