It blows my mind how different two pregnancies can be. You can read my daughter’s birth story here: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1365910/all-natural-childbirth-at-18-yrs-old. My first pregnancy with my daughter was in 2008 at 18 years old. It was SO easy. I had morning sickness that caused me to throw up almost every day for 3 months, but I was able to eat fine and I didn’t feel nauseous unless I was about to throw up. I didn’t feel ANY contractions until the day my daughter was born.
I became pregnant with my son in October 2012, at 23 years old. Almost immediately I had to stop exercising and dancing (west coast swing dancing, a big part of my life) because of how horrible I felt. Although I only threw up one time from morning sickness, I was horribly nauseous 24/7 and could barely eat for the first 4 months. I was miserable. I actually lost 10 pounds by my 4th month.
I started having Braxton Hicks contractions at 27 weeks. I actually liked them at first because they were not painful, and they reminded me that eventually I would go into labor and I would get to meet my son. By 31 weeks, my contractions were getting more and more frequent and actually starting to bother me. I would have to stop what I was doing every time I felt one and take deep breaths until it was over. They didn’t feel that painful, but getting them 15-20 minutes apart for hours was exhausting. I started really wanting them to go away. I didn’t know how I could stand feeling them so frequently for another 6 to 10 weeks.
At 33 weeks 2 days, the contractions were coming every 5 to 10 minutes and continued to do so for the next 4 days. Finally at 33 weeks 6 days, I decided to go in to L&D to see if I was dilated at all. I thought that maybe I should be on bed rest and not going for walks. They checked me, and my cervix was closed. However, they could see on the monitor that I was having contractions every 3 to 5 minutes, so they decided to keep me.
My contractions soon became more and more painful and 6 hours after being admitted, I was dilated to 2 cm. I ended up staying in the hospital for 3 days. They gave me two doses of steroid shots to help my son’s lungs develop quicker. They also had me on medication to slow down the contractions. On the third day, since I was over 34 weeks now, they took me off the medication and expected me to go in to labor. I had painful contractions for 6 hours, but eventually they got to be 10 minutes apart and were not painful anymore. I was still 2 cm dilated. They let me go home but said that I probably would not make it to 36 weeks. The next 5 weeks were a nightmare. My contractions never stopped. I went into what I thought was labor a total of 7 times, with painful labor contractions 2-5 minutes apart. But all 7 times, the contractions would slow down after 6-8 hours.
I know reading it and living it are two very different things, so of course there is no way you can truly know how miserable it was. Let’s just say, I am very happy that I have two wonderful, beautiful children. However, I am getting my tubes tied in 4 weeks to make sure I never have to be pregnant and go through this again! I know that 23 years old is very young to be getting my tubes tied and most women regret getting it done this early. But I am also getting my tubes tied because there was one similarity in my two pregnancies: During my first pregnancy, my boyfriend left me at 3 months pregnant and I was a single mom for the next 4 years. Then I met Steven and after a year of dating, we decided to have a baby together. He left me at 3 months pregnant just like my daughter’s father. I couldn’t believe I ended up picking another loser to have a baby with, and I was back to living with my parents for the first time in 4 years. No way I am going to let this happen to me a third time. It will be hard enough being a single mom and providing for 2 children. I can’t risk getting left a 3rd time and having even less money to provide for each child.
Now finally, here is my son Holden’s Birth Story!
July 2, 2013
I went to bed early because I knew I would be getting up at 3 AM to get ready and drive to my 5 AM scheduled induction at the Navy Hospital. I was being induced at 39 weeks because of Holden’s quad screen blood test for birth defects coming up positive for spina bifida. There was only a 1/160th chance of him having spina bifida, and all of the ultrasounds of him looked perfect. But it is still procedure to induce at 39 weeks when the quad screen comes back positive, because it could mean there is another unknown complication, such as a malfunctioning placenta. I was fine with induction at 39 weeks because Holden had been measuring on the big side my whole pregnancy, and I was scared of tearing badly if he got too big. I was also sick and tired of 12 weeks of constant contractions.
July 3, 2013
I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. I decided to go ahead and get up two hours early and start getting ready. I showered, ate breakfast, re-organized my hospital bags, etc., and left for the hospital.
I arrived at the Navy Hospital. I drove myself and was alone for the first part of my labor. I had asked my son’s father, Steven, to be my labor partner. I had had very little contact with my baby’s father since he abandoned me at 3 months pregnant. He broke up with me because he changed his mind about having a baby, and he had no interest in being in our son’s life. I was hoping that seeing his son born would change his mind. I didn’t want to get back together, but I wouldn’t mind having joint custody so that our son could have his father in his life part of the time. Steven agreed to be my labor partner because he felt guilty. He said he would be there to support me but not for our son.
I am really glad I didn’t ask him to be there when the induction started (he didn’t want to anyway, he said he had things to do at work and that I could call him when the pain got really bad) because he ended up being a terrible labor partner. If he had been there the whole time, I probably would have been too stressed out and angry to have a pain-med free childbirth.
I got set up in the room I would be in for my whole Labor, Delivery, and Recovery. I was happy I didn’t have to even go through triage. They start asking me the endless number of inpatient questions and put my IV in. I mentioned to the nurse doing my IV that three different people had to stick me 7 times when I was here for preterm labor before they got the IV in. He said that I have great veins and was surprised it took them so many times. He got my IV in on the first try. THANK GOODNESS!! I really didn’t want to start my induction in tears from failed IV attempts. One of the OB doctors came in and did a cervix check. I was 4 cm dilated. So 5 weeks of contractions had at least dilated me 2 cm. The OB said it would still be a little bit before they started the Pitocin. They were waiting on the Pharmacy to bring it up.
My nurse, Josh, asks me about my birth plan so he can write it on the big white board on the wall in my room for everyone to see. Some of the things he wrote for me were “desires to deliver in upright position, dim lighting, baby to belly for 1 hr, delay eye treatment for 1 hr, deliver in her own clothes, no pain meds,” etc. I was happy they allowed me to deliver in my own dress rather than a hospital gown.
I took a short nap before they start the pitocin.
Shift change – Josh leaves and I meet my nurse for the rest of the day, Emma. She starts the Pitocin at 2 and says she will increase it about every half hour. I shared with Emma my desire to have no pain meds or epidural, and she was super excited and supportive of this. My whole labor she did not once ask me if I wanted pain meds J. She told me over and over that I was so strong and that I was doing a great job.
I text my baby’s father, Steven, and say, “I’m still doing okay. I will let you know when I need you.”
Emma ups my Pitocin to 4. My contractions are coming about every 2 minutes, but they are just uncomfortable, not painful.
Emma ups my Pitocin to 6.
The OB comes in to check my cervix. I am 5 cm and 70% effaced. They up my Pitocin to 7. I am so happy to be halfway there! The nurse had shared with my doctor that I wanted to deliver in a squatting position on the bed. He says he thinks that will be okay but he has to check with the head OB doctor. The nurses bring in a squatting bar for me. I tell them I think I would rather just squat on the bed with the back of the bed raised in an upright position for me to lean against.
I have been on pitocin for almost 3 hours, and I have been calmly reading a book the whole time. I have not even had to stop reading when I feel a contraction.
Contractions are suddenly causing me actual pain instead of discomfort. I can’t read anymore. I’m listening to my iPod with my birthing playlist on. My nurse had brought a birthing ball in for me to bounce on, and I want to get on it now. However, Emma says she needs me to lay on my side for 20 min of monitoring before I can get on the birthing ball. Laying on my side makes the contractions so much harder to handle!! I can’t wait for the 20 minutes to be over. After 10 minutes of monitoring, they ask me to put on an oxygen mask for the last 10 minutes. Holden’s heart rate is fine, but they want to see more variability in the acels and decels.
My nurse says the doctor is about to come up and rupture my membranes. I am starting to think I need to call Steven to come soon. I know that his lunch break starts at 11:00 AM, so I am trying to decide if I can wait until then.
My water just broke on its own! Right before the doctor was going to come up and rupture it for me! With my 1st child, the doctor ruptured my membranes, so I am really happy I now got to experience feeling that internal “pop” and fluid suddenly gush out. I felt very proud of my body for doing that all on its own J. I immediately call Steven so I can tell him to come to the hospital right away. However, I can’t get a hold of him. I text him, “call me ASAP!!” With my first labor, things got incredibly more painful after my water broke, and my daughter was born an hour and a half later. I was nervous that Steven wouldn’t make it in time. My nurse came in and told me I didn’t need to lay on my side anymore. I was very happy about that! They dropped my Pitocin from 7 down to 5 because I was having contractions on top of each other with no breaks.
Emma does a cervix check on me and said I was 7 CM and 80% effaced. She said the baby’s head was not positioned very well and asked if I would be willing to sit in a more upright position to help his head move down. I said, “YES! Absolutely!” I felt so much more in control and better able to handle contractions when in an upright position. She adjusted the bed so that I was sitting in what they call a “throne” position. I loved it! It was pretty much just like sitting in a chair, my back was perfectly upright and my legs were dangling down.
Also, for each cervix check, someone would check me after Emma because she was not very experienced in cervix checks. I didn’t mind this until I got to be 7 cm. At that point I was having so many contractions with barely any break that the cervix checks were very painful and unpleasant. My doctor walked in just as the 2nd nurse was finished checking me and sitting me back in the throne position. They asked me if it would be alright if my doctor checked me too and I said, “No!!” My doctor seemed disappointed but said okay. My doctor told me it was fine for me to deliver in an upright position. I remember him saying, “It makes it more difficult for the doctor to deliver you, but we can deal with it.” Well, sorry to inconvenience you.
Steven finally called me back at 11:05 AM, 35 minutes after I started trying to get a hold of him. He said that he had been stuck in a meeting, but that he was on his way now.
Steven finally arrived. My contractions were getting insanely painful at this point. I didn’t know how much longer I could last. I kept saying, “It will be over soon. It won’t be much longer.” And I believed it, because I knew how fast I dilated the last few cm when I was in labor with my 1st child. I focused on each individual contraction at a time, and congratulated myself when I would get through one. I told myself that contraction was over with forever, and that I can do this. During a contraction, it helped me to pick one word and say it over and over again slowly while breathing deeply. I would say my baby’s name, “Holden”, or “Relax”, “Down”, “Open”, etc.
I realized that my body was starting to push with each contraction. I called the nurse and told her I was pushing. She quickly got the other nurse so they could both check me. Emma checked me first and said she couldn’t find my cervix and thought that I was completely dilated. I breathed a sigh of relief. But then the second nurse checked me and said, “Oh no, I feel a lot of cervix. She’s 9 cm. DON’T PUSH!”
That has got to be one of the most horrible things I have ever heard in my life. When she checked me it was excruciating as well. I now understand how women feel in birth stories I’ve read where they yell, “Get your hand out of me!!!” during a cervix check. I didn’t yell that at her, but I sure wanted to!!
So now I am sitting there with my body trying to push with each contraction, but the nurse is yelling, “Don’t push! Stop pushing! You’re going to tear your cervix!!” at me. She wasn’t helping. She told me to try panting instead of pushing. That actually helped a little bit. I really wanted to push though. It felt so much better to push when I got a contraction than to do nothing.
I asked my nurse if I should get in a squatting position now since that is the position I want to deliver in. She said hold on and she would go get the doctor. After she left I tried getting in a squatting position by myself on the bed…it didn’t go very well. I was too weak. I was still pushing with each contraction; I couldn’t help it. A few minutes later the nurses, my doctor, and the OB doctor were there. I told my doctor I didn’t want to deliver in a squatting position because I couldn’t move. The thought of changing positions sounded horrible to me at that point. I was stuck. I delivered in a semi-upright position but still kind of on my back.
If I could do it over, I would have gotten in a squatting position the first time I felt an urge to push. Within a minute after my doctor came in the room, I had a really big contraction and was yelling and pushing and I heard one of the nurses say, “Okay we are having a baby, like, RIGHT NOW!!” I’m guessing his head was starting to come out. I heard everyone rushing around trying to get ready, but I didn’t see them because from this point on until they put my baby on my belly, I either had my eyes closed or had my head turned to the side, staring at the wall. They had given me an oxygen mask when I first started pushing, so I held it smashed against my face until he was born. I actually really liked it. While pushing, I made very loud groaning noises while breathing out. I think this helped keep me relaxed and not tear as bad. With my 1st, I held my breath while pushing and ended up with a 2nd degree tear.
My labor partner told me later that everyone was telling me to stop yelling, but I didn’t hear them at the time. I think I was groaning, not yelling. I’ve always thought yelling takes away your focus and energy from pushing, but I think the groaning I was doing was helping me relax. The reason I couldn’t look at anybody was because I was afraid that if I looked down, I would see that my baby wasn’t even partly out. I couldn’t handle that. I had to convince myself that he was almost all the way out, and if I just push a little bit longer, he will be out and on my belly. This was very different from my original plan of squatting while pushing, feeling his head with my hand, and watching him be born. Maybe it is best that I didn’t do that.
I didn’t feel the ring of fire this time. I have no idea when it happened. Honestly it actually felt kind of good pushing him out. I didn’t have an “orgasm” like I’ve heard of some women having, but it was very empowering. It felt like a huge weight was being lifted off of me and I was strong enough to do it all myself.
Holden Apollo Currier was born at 12:02 pm on July 3, 2013. From the first painful contraction to his birth was 2 hours, and I only pushed for about 5 minutes after the doctor got in the room. They immediately put my son on my belly. It was surreal. I started rubbing and patting his back to get him to cry. I was afraid that if he didn’t cry that they would take him away like they did with my daughter. I didn’t get to hold her for the first 30 minutes while they suctioned her like crazy. It was heartbreaking. Holden wasn’t crying very much, but I could tell he was breathing and doing okay. They didn’t take him away J.
The OB said she needed to do a repair. I asked her how bad it was and she said just a small 1st degree tear. I was happy, but scared the local numbing medication wouldn’t work like last time. I didn’t feel the stitching, so it worked this time! They also said they needed to push down on my stomach to help stop the bleeding. And at some point they asked me to try to push a little, and the placenta came out after one small push. Honestly, I didn’t really notice or care about any of the pain after Holden was born. My beautiful son was laying on me, and having him there in my arms made everything so much easier to handle.
I tried breastfeeding immediately, and one of the nurses even tried to help him latch on, but he wasn’t interested. After an hour of bonding, I let them weigh and measure him. They were guessing he was right at 8 pounds – I thought so too. Nope. Holden was 8 pounds 14 ounces and right under 23 inches. That’s a full 3 inches taller and 12 ounces heavier than my daughter was. I was shocked that I only had a 1st degree tear!
After they finished examining him and everyone left the room, I was alone with my baby (my ex had left at this point). I tried nursing him again, and he latched on great. After he was done with one side, I burped him and started nursing him on the second side. I noticed he was making some gulping noises, but I didn’t think anything was wrong. The lights were dim in the room so I also didn’t notice that his skin color was changing. The nurse came in to check on us and said, “Does he look kind of blue to you?” I said no. She asked if she could take him to the warmer just to check. Pretty soon several nurses and pediatricians were in the room. Apparently he was very blue, and they started suctioning him. His pulse/oxygen number was quite low. Eventually they determined that he probably just had a mucus plug in his throat. They asked me to tell them before I nursed him the next couple times so they could monitor his pulse/oxygen number while he nursed. It didn’t happen again though, thank goodness!
He is actually a much easier baby than my daughter was. I’m sure that partly has to do with the fact that I’ve done this before J. He is wonderful at nursing, he barely ever spits up, he is gaining weight, he is easy to put to sleep at night (and easy to put back to sleep when he gets up), no diaper rashes so far…all of this is the opposite of my daughter! However he is still a baby, so my days and nights revolve around him and it has taken me 10 days to write this lol.
Here are some pictures:
Holden right after he was born:
Me and Holden in the Hospital:
Holden at 1 week old:
Holden at 2 weeks old:
I am sorry about the way things worked out with your SOs, but glad that you seem to be stronger and moving forward with a better sense of what you want for yourself. I can understand your disappointment-- I made two bad choices of partners in my late-teens/ early twenties that might have easily turned out similarly if nature hadn't intervened (it's hard to have a miscarriage you both mourned and felt grateful for).
Writing about life-long learning and discovery at: www.neoapprentice.com
:: A neo-apprentice knows there are no true masters.
25yo FTM to a Wiggle Panda , student teacher , newlywed