It's a very long story about a very long (36 + hour) labor! I'll give you the abbreviated version ;-)
My mother has always been a huge inspiration to me since she naturally birthed two 9+ lb babies. I wanted the same for my children. I was so excited about it! I had my birth plan all typed up and ready to go. I was having my baby through a hospital based midwifery. I was pretty nervous about having her in a hospital, but loved the 3 midwives and 1 MD with the group I decided to go with it.
In my 40th week, I had extremely high blood pressure. I passed all the tests so they put me on bed rest. In my 41st week, my blood pressure got even higher (to a very scary point), so we decided it was medically necessary to get the ball rolling. I had tried EVERYTHING to get labor to kick in with absolutely no budging at all! It was like my body had no idea what it was supposed to do!!!
We decided to insert a Foley catheter since that did not involve medicine. This was on Sunday late afternoon and it was supposed to dilate me from a 1 to a 5-6 overnight. I had regular, strong contractions all that night. I decided to go to bed and they tapered off. When I woke up an hour later, they had pretty much stopped. I was very discouraged because I knew if the Foley didn't kick start labor, I was going to have to have Pitocin and/or get my water broken. I didn't want either, but knew my blood pressure was scary high and we needed to get the baby out. It took me a long time to let go of my dream birth plan. But I did.
We headed to the hospital at 4:30AM on Monday morning and they immediately put me on a super low level of Pitocin because the Foley only dilated me to a 3. I was so sad and discouraged because I was hooked up to machines and couldn't labor freely. A few hours later, the midwife came in and took me off the Pitocin and broke my water (I had at least dilated to 5 at this point). For 9 hours, I walked, squatted, sat, stood, etc etc to get the baby to drop and to get things rolling. I knew that I was not progressing too much because I could walk and talk through the contractions. I was exhausted by this point. I was going on an hour of sleep and hardly any food.
When she checked me, I had not progressed at ALL. I was still only 5cm. The 9 hours of labor and exercise did nothing. I knew what was next... more Piitocin. Indeed, I had more Pitocin. For 10 hours, I labored as they adjusted the levels of medicine going in my body. I was enjoying the contractions at first and was doing a wonderful job riding the waves. But eventually, they increased the levels so much that I was constantly contracting. I was getting no break between contractions to gather up energy. My body was completely exhausted. I could hardly think or move. By this point, I had been laboring hard at the hospital for 24 hours, not including the Foley labor at home. No sleep, hardly any food. The only thing I could do at this point was to lay in the bed and moo like a cow. So that's what I did. For hours.
When they finally checked me again, we thought for sure I was in transition or beyond. So it was hard to hear when she said I had not progressed at ALL. I was still 5 cm. All that laboring without any progress. Talk about being discouraged! I knew that my body could not go on. Still, I labored for 2 more hours before I said the E word. I knew if my body didn't rest that I would be facing the C word, which is way worse. So I said the code word for an epidural "armadillo".
It was very strange watching the contraction monitor and seeing that my body was having very strong contractions and I could only feel the tightening, but not the cramping. I could only feel the pressure. It was awesome!!! I knew that Lily was still having a hard time, so I was sending all my love and energy to her. I know she felt it. She is amazing!
During these resting hours, I gained back some energy. I was able to use my mental powers again! I started to focus on each contraction and mentally guide it. Just because I couldn’t feel much of it doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening and didn’t need my help. I wasn’t going to just let the medicine work. My mind, body, spirit connection was alive again and I felt the energy pulsating through me. I was going to have my baby! I was going to push my baby out!!!
When they checked me again, I was 9cm!!!!! Yay! I was pushing within a couple hours.
With every push, I imagined myself opening up like a giant flower. I closed my eyes and visualized how big I was getting. I imagined Lily easily and quickly exiting my body with my breath. Between contractions, I would blow my lips like a horse in order to relax my bottom. It was hard for me to go from intensely pushing with all that pressure to relaxing. But I feel like I mastered this rest period. I knew I needed the strength to push her out. I started to feel the “ring of fire” and knew we were close! Plus, I could hear the excitement in everybody’s voice. It felt like so many people were in the room cheering me on! By this point, I was grunting to get her out! It felt amazing! The doc only had to stop me from pushing once. Other than that, it was just me pushing when I wanted to, with each contraction. It was really beautiful.
Then, all of a sudden, everyone got really loud and I knew our long journey was almost done! I felt her body slip out of me and then she was suddenly put to my skin! She was gorgeous!!! They quickly wiped her off and there we were, waiting for that first breath. It was so surreal! When she took her first breath, it was amazing. I looked at her teary eyed Daddy and smiled. We did it! Lily and I made it through the toughest labor I had ever heard of! We were warm, and happy, and so in love.
I immediately put her to my breast and she seemed to know where she was. Within no time, she was suckling away! She was a hungry little girl! She looked me in the eye and knew she was home. We cuddled and cried and told her how beautiful she was. Giving birth to her was absolutely amazing and we are so happy to be spending the rest of our lives together.
yay! was thinking about you.. hoping everything was OK... congratulations - she's super cute :) can't wait to hear the story :)
Mama to boy born 7/18/11 and another on the way in November '13
What a great birth story. I love how you emphasize the mind and spirit connection while embracing the medicine and the connectivity between it, your body and your baby. that must be what its all about at that place in time. nice job mama!
Congratulations! Your labor sounds a lot like my first. It took 37 hours from my water breaking and I could not get past 3 cm and got stuck at 9 cm and Epidurals help our bodies relax sometimes. You are so strong for holding out!
My 3.5 y.o. son just asked me if I knew your name and I explained internet names and that your name is "mamasmith" and he said: Wow, Mama Smurf!
Lily has a beautiful name and is so adorable!
Barbara, Mama to Isabel (06/2004), Jake (08/2006-03/2007), Noah (01/2008), and Matteo (07/2011)
Please always research the safety of vaccines even if your doctor tells you they are harmless!