This is my birth story; the way I remember it. I wrote it down two days post partum so the details should be fairly accurate because already (10 days out) things are getting foggy!
I had a planned hospital birth with my midwife. The hospital was good to me but mostly because I had my midwives and a strong support team around me. My husband, my mom, and 3 sisters were rotating in and out of the L&D room. My husband stayed with me the entire time trying nipple stim, massage, etc just doing whatever he could to help. I think it is so hard for husbands/partners to see their loved ones in pain that it helps to have someone else backing you up (my mom and sisters.) He did an amazing job and played his role perfectly. He was gatekeeper, masseuse, therapist, and handlebars :).
My water broke @ 7pm on Tuesday night (May 24th exactly 39 weeks!), spontaneously. I was GBS+ unfortunately so I had to go to the hospital right away to get dosed with Ampecillin. I did a lot of reading on Strep B and in the end, I decided that the IV antibiotics would be the right course of action for me, despite my disappointment at the changing of my birth plan. I got a heplock and accepted only limited fluids (they needed to pump SOME saline with the ampecillin.) They gave me a dose every 4 hours and while I was CURSING the IV, it wasn't the worst thing in the world. My midwife had me (and baby) on probiotics right away after the birth to recolonize my gut/vagina/etc. My swelling from the fluid is now starting to sweat its way out! They also gave me an enema to see if that would get things going and also just clear out my system.
Anyway, from about 8pm-4am I paced the halls of the hospital, having mild/moderate contractions and bloody show. I was already 1cm dilated at my 36 week appt and we wanted to keep the cervical checks to a minimum so we didnt check until 7am the next day. I was dying to get into the tub (huge WONDERFUL jacuzzi in my room!) but my midwife preferred that I was in active labor before getting in the tub so it didnt slow things down too much. I practiced my hypnotherapy and felt very trance-like and zen just breathing and welcoming each contraction. When my midwife came in to my room in the morning I told her I felt very active and she said, ok ill trust what youre saying and she checked me. I was 5-6cm and she said she honestly didn't believe me that I was in active labor and that the hypnotherapy must have been working! Getting checked was hell because I was on my back and had a spontaneous contraction while she was fishing around in there! She started me on a homeopathic labor stimulant at this point, every 15 minutes (i will have to ask her the name of it) which helped a bit I think but was also combined with walking and nipple stimulation so you never know.
I finally got to get in the tub and it felt AMAZING. Since I hadnt slept all night, I relaxed into the warm tub and my sisters alternated giving me my drink (orange gatorade with lots of ice in a sippy cup from starbucks that I LIVED with during my pregnancy!) and putting icy cold compresses on my head, back, chest, and lips. I closed my eyes and went into my trance-like state and tried to sleep during lulls between contractions (now about 3 minutes apart and lasting 8 breaths to the peak.) The hospital nurses had changed shifts and a new nurse, Angelica, was an absolute ANGEL, pun intended. She kept telling me how amazing I was doing, my breathing was great, the baby sounded perfect (listened on the doppler as infrequently as possible at my request rather than being on the monitor.)
At this point my contractions started to spread out a little to ~4 minutes apart. They were regular but starting to slow down. My midwife gave me the option to start Pit as she was worried that I was starting to get tired and my labor might slow too much too fast. (Despite being a great and very pro-natural birth, she IS on the hospital's timeline and has to be in order to have rights to deliver there. Because of the GBS+ diagnosis, they are VERY hesitant to go beyond 24hrs post membrane rupture. She was working hard to get things going for me so that we could continue on my birth plan. She started the pit pretty high and went way up pretty quickly. This just made my contractions LOOOOOONG but didnt get them any closer together. I was struggling big time in the tub and I decided that if it hurt so badly, I MUST be making progress so I asked her to check me. I had been welcoming each contraction and counting to peaks at about 8 breaths which were manageable but with the Pit I got to 29 breaths before it started to fall back down...it was brutal.
She checked me at about 12 and I was only 6cm. I started to lose it and felt very desperate after having not slept in 29 hours. She offered me Stadol in my IV to try and get some sleep and I took it after much consideration with my husband, my mom and my sister. We decided that it would be best to get some sleep and then get a fresh start when I woke up. The stadol was BIZZZZZZAAARRRREEE...i felt completely high and out of it and i hated it...i was really confused and loopy but I DID manage to get 2 hours of sleep while contracting regularly. My sister said that when a contraction would come i would purse my face in my sleep and moan quietly but she could def tell I was contracting about 3 mins apart. When I woke up, it took me about 20 minutes to come back to earth. I had some bites of power bar and got my head on straight and felt ready to go. It was about 230pm at this point. Looking back, I am undecided about the stadol. On one hand, it made my head fuzzy and didnt really take away the pain. On the other hand, it allowed me to get some sleep and get back on the proverbial horse. I said if I could take that drug NOT PREGNANT it would probably be awesome...floating out of body experience, etc ;) but I didnt like the feeling of being knocked out in my own labor although it may have been just the rest I needed at the time.
I progressed to 7cm naturally by about 4pm and was back in the tub. I tried alternating between hands and knees and being supine in the tub to make sure the baby was in the right position. The heplock was a major pain in the ass for hands and knees though. I kept begging to take it out (i eventually took it out myself in recovery after BEGGING for someone to take it out for hours!!!) My midwife was encouraging me to walk at this point and not to stay in the tub despite how relaxing it was. I got out and bounced on my birthing ball for a bit but was feeling pretty uncomfortable. I decided to walk and didnt make it very far. I ended up on the toilet which felt great. I just stayed there contracting for a while and my sister stayed with me and kept the cold compresses fresh and available. I was peeing up a storm from all the fluids in my IV so it was nice to just be able to go. The contractions were about 3 mins apart still and they again started talking more Pit. I agreed because it was now nearing 5pm and it was officially the changing of the midwives.
I had 5pm in my head all day as the time that I would have delivered her. Midwife A was my first midwife and my absolute favorite of the three and Midwife B was coming to take over at 5. Where A was my natural earth mother, B was my track coach...whipping me into shape. During prenatal visits, 'A' was sweet and sensitive and listened to EVERYTHING I had to say and suggested many natural alternatives, helped me build my cloth diaper stock, and addressed all of my concerns with patience and validation from the emotional to the physical. 'B' on the other hand has a 'been there done that approach' as she has been a MW for 30+ years. She barely listened to anything I had to say bc she had 'heard it all before.' While she is GREAT at what she does, it is hard for a first time mom to feel like she isnt being heard. Needless to say, I was NOT looking forward to changing of the guard at 5pm.
'A' stayed with me even though she too had been up for over 24 hours and deserved to go home to her own family. She stayed with me knowing my concerns about MW 'B' and continued to encourage me. 'B' came around 8pm and may have been just what I needed at that point. She told me to buck up and that the pitocin was going to get me to where I needed to be. I was about 8.5cm at this point. She started me on a high dose of Pit and told the nurse to up it every 20 minutes. At this point I anthropomorphized this pit drip following me around...it made a noise like 'tick tock' as it dripped into my veins and had a little electric screen telling me how much it was administering. I kept telling 'him' to stop following me and that 'he' was evil! I went to the bathroom and sat on the toilet for a while and started spontaneously pushing. I asked if it was ok and both MWs decided it was fine and encouraged my body to do what it needed to do. I said I really felt like pushing and that she might be coming soon. They checked me at this point and I was 9cm with a lip-this was around 9-930pm. I said JUST TEAR IT, CUT IT, WHATEVER I WANT TO GET HER OUT PLEEEEEAAAASSSEEE!! (so much for my cool calm collected head!!!) At this point I begged for an epidural, a c-section, a knife, anything because I felt i could NOT take anymore! 'A' and 'B' discussed outside what could be holding up the labor at this point. 'A' has really tiny hands and had a decent feel of the baby's head but said she still didnt seem to be engaging enough. 'B' decided she would have a feel and when she felt her, she could tell that she was slightly turned to the side. At that point she put her finger inside the lip and 'turned' her head about a quarter turn. This was EXCRUCIATING and my mom said this was the hardest part for her to watch. 'A' later suggested that the baby had had her fist up to her head (a position she still enjoys) and that it might have been forcing her to stay twisted and not engage fully.
'A' came to me at 10pm and said while massaging me that she really felt that she had to go home. She told me after the birth that she was worried that her judgement had been clouded and that she, like me, had a LOT riding on my ability to birth naturally. She was worried that maybe she was too invested in it and that it might not be the safest option at this point so she handed the reins to 'B'. 'B' was a bull in the delivery room. No massages, no kind words, just militant orders. This is not typically my style but it may have been just what i needed at the time. She had me do squat pushes at the end of the bed with my husband holding me and my sister and mom at either side making sure that i was bearing down with all my weight despite my fatigue. I did about 4-5 BIG pushes through 3-4 contractions at the bottom of the bed at which point I felt my legs were giving out. 'B' had me climb on the bed and lie on my side holding my legs up and back myself. While I contracted and pushed, she felt around. She confessed that she had thought the pushing was going to take longer but now she saw i really had the feel of pushing so she changed her mind and called for the neonatologist and nursing staff to get ready. I then went on my back with one foot on 'B''s hip, the other on my moms hip while I pulled back my legs and pushed. The pushing felt so great after all those helpless PIT contractions! I had 2 good pushes with one contraction and my mom said she could see her hair. This gave me so much confidence that the next push she was down and crowning. 'B' says to me, you will feel stretching and burning now, but this is just your body anesthetizing so push through it and it will feel better. We waited for the next contraction and it seemed to take forever to come (about 2 mins.) Once it came, 'B' said wait until its stronger. Waiting was the hardest part but within 1 push her head was out. 'B' later said that when she saw her head, she was legitimately terrified that she had underestimated her weight and she worried her shoulders would be stuck. She showed no signs to me but apparently pushed my husband out of the way (he had been prepped to catch the baby) when she saw the head. 'B' gave her a little twist, a tug and i pushed and she flew out.
She was grey and not breathing. Thank god I could not see her at this point but I did see 'B' cut the cord (which we had previously discussed NOT doing) and I started to worry. Robin says that she took about one second longer than she would have liked to pink up on the table so she cut the cord and off she went to the warmer and the neonatologist. I asked what was wrong and my husband (who sounded very calm thank god but assures me he was SCARED out of his mind) said that she was fine and pinking up. Then I heard her cry and breathed a sigh and a cry of relief and happiness. It turns out that those 2 minutes in the birth canal were compressing her head enough to put her in shock but she was given apgars of 7 and then 8 so I was able to hold her skin to skin about 1 minute after her birth. 'B' told me to let her find the breast and not to guide her. Her neck was soooo strong and she latched onto my outer nipple and gave me a hickey before finding my nipple and latching like a pro. She was born at 1049pm on May 25 weighing 9lbs 9oz.
The nurses were all astonished that I had had a 9 9 baby with no epidural. One of them even called me wonder woman which made me feel so proud :) as silly as it sounds!
I had a second degree medial tear and was stitched on the table as my family (Dad, Mom, three sisters, two were in the room already) came in from the waiting room with champagne (and pizza!) Everyone was thrilled! Because her original apgar was low, they wanted to take her to the nursery for a CBC, etc. So after about 20 minutes with me skin to skin, they took her to the nursery and my husband said "should i go with her?" and followed her to the nursery. He came back a second later saying that they wanted to give her formula (which he refused until he came back and checked with me knowing my wishes to exclusively breastfeed) bc or her blood sugar which was 46 and the safe limit is 45 and above. 'B' threw a fit and went to the nursery to tell them that she was fine and that I was NOT diabetic and to NOT give her formula.'B' came back and expressed colostrum from my breast (which hurt like hell btw) and put it in a dropper to give to Pippa. She did this twice throughout the night to avoid the nursery giving her formula and I am so grateful for this. I am so grateful that my husband could keep his head calm and clear despite hearing that his baby might be 'sick.' He was an amazing partner and I am so grateful for his strength. I really had an amazing team of support and love and I don't know if I could have made it without them.
Pippa is home now and nursing wonderfully. She is back up to birth weight and them some! I was born at 9'2 and was so terrified during my pregnancy of having a 'big' baby but now I can't imagine having it any other way. She seems so stable and healthy. While she is still tiny, I am not afraid of 'breaking her.' She is perfect in every way and we are so in love! Yay big babies :)!