Well I'm awake at 4 a.m...why shouldn't I post a birth story?
As some of you may know, by the time Andrew came along, I was 41 w 6 days, seriously desperate, physically and emotionally deteriorated, and had been kind of questioning the skill (or lack of it) of our midwife for weeks. Last Friday, one of my very best friends had her baby (Edd 9/24) and despite being SO happy for her (truly) became totally sick with grief for myself. In my heart, I knew my boy was healthy as a horse, but also that my MW was missing something or that there was a puzzle piece missing. Sunday, my DH and I discussed and cried (the crying was mostly me) a plan of action. I was truly at the end of my rope. Finally, we agreed that an induction right at 42 weeks would be the thing, even though I was filled with dread about it.
When I called my MW Monday to discuss, she agreed she was feeling uneasy about my pregnancy and induction was the next step. In total consistency with her obliviousness to why I wanted homebirth in the first place (we've discussed MANY times) told me she only had a contact for such an option at a hospital 2
hours away ( not in the town where either I live OR her birth center is). I knew I still wanted to be close to home and having been really impressed with my friend's experience from Friday, decided to follow her path.
I contacted her doctor who was incredibly receptive to my needs and wishes and he saw me Monday afternoon, only about maybe 4 hours after, in a true desperate act, had taken castor oil (more on that later). At the visit, he discovered heavy protein in my urine, calcifications on my placenta, low amniotic fluid, and a BIG baby. He was not distressed, but did think sooner was better than later to proceed. He also noted I was still 4cm and about 75% effaced and stripped my membranes. I then went next door to the hospital to pre-register for Tuesday (a day earlier than planned as a result of the appointment and to have a non-stress test. I got to meet the nurses at labor & delivery who were wonderfully receptive to my wishes and very kind. I even began crying because of my relief at having a plan and feeling so well supported in it.
By the time we returned home (DH went with me to everything), I was having some pretty hard contractions. As this has been my MO for about 3 weeks, I thought it was just more of the same. I took a warm bath, then ate a good dinner with my mom and DH. During dinner, still in my bath robe, I began contractions that sort of took me to another place. I heard/felt a pop and was sure my water had broken, but no fluid came out. There was no doubt I was in hard labor though because I rushed to the toilet for contractions relief posing and I threw up my whole dinner (or so I thought). I guess I was just a house of cards and the castor oil, membrane stripping, and relief about a decision helped it all tumble.
At that point, I could still have opted for homebirth, but my desire for it was gone. I had a lot of fear and I wanted to go somewhere I felt safe, which I really, really had earlier at the hospital. So my DH and mom got together my hospital bag, loaded me and the birth ball in the car about 7 p.m. (about 20 min after broken water) and off we went, with me on another planet contracting.
When we arrived at the hospital, I literally rolled in on my birth ball, barely modest, crying out... and believe me, they hustled to get me into a wheelchair up to L & D.
I got set up in a SUPER deluxe birthing suite with my family and got set up. I was between 5-6 cm and the nurses were just so, so caring! DH and my mom really supported me physically while I labored. About 1.5 hours later at 7 cm(ish), I began having contractions that to me felt like Lord Voldemort had taken over my soul and was ripping me apart from the inside. I surprised myself and decided I wanted some relief and got a shot of fene...eh, can't remember the name. It took the edge off, but It wore off quickly and I was writhing and sweating and feeling other-worldly still. At NO ONE's urging, pressure, or suggestion, I did ask for and get an epidural. Drug-free birth had always been my plan, but having already changed my plans that day, I accepted plans can change. I had been up since 5 a.m. and I just truly felt like. I didn't have any endurance or fight left. I am not trying to justify the epidural and don't feel I need to, just want to explain my reasoning. Also, one of my fears about epidural is that it would stop my labor and lead to c-section, but at that point, there was no doubt I was in a one-way freight train to vaginal delivery. Anywho, the epidural did NOT take away all feeling as I had feared, but it did allow me to rest and feel peaceful in between what simply became the powerful pressure waves hypnobirthing had me expecting and the strength of spirit for the somewhat tricky delivery of a 10 lb baby.
When I was fully dillated and pushing became involuntary, my rascally son was still trying to stay in and was somehow rotating postterior to anterior and back again. How, I have no idea, but DH watched as our doctor expertly turned and guided him for about 40 minutes of pushing under my pubic bone with the use of forceps. This part, by the way, was only made bearable, IMO, thanks to the epidural.
After another 20-30 minutes of pushing, Andrew was HERE! I immediately had him on my body and DH cut the cord after it stopped pulsating. Andrew began nursing IMMEDIATELY and I cried and cried at the joy and beauty of the moment.
Meanwhile... My OB was catching my also huge placenta, then expertly stitching about a 2.5 inch tear. He said he actually had never seen so little tearing on a baby that big in a first-time mom. (shout out to perineal massage!) I also developed, in the course of laboring, THREE walnut-sized hemorrhoids...ow.
But it was a thrill! We are all just incredibly pleased with how everything worked out. I have really felt nurtured and cared for at the hospital, with the exception on a nursery nurse I want to facepunch and we couldn't be more in love with our Andrew.
Okay, now about the castor oil. What MaerynPearl said in Andrew's birth announcement thread was pretty much just right. The experience of taking it (mine was mixed with orange sherbet) was not too terrible, but by the time I was in active labor about 6-7 hours later, I was REALLY weak from dehydration (nothing stayed in!) and I'm sure the *constant* bathroom trips didn't do a lot for my old pals the hemorrhoids, but I guess the upside is I stayed totally poop free in delivery? ...cause there wasn't any. But I did have to get saline while laboring. So not that awesome there. It is a drastic measure and I say do it if you're feeling drastic (as I was). But proceed with caution!
Thanks for reading this far if you made it! Will add pictures soon!