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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I'm officially a mama!! Our baby boy was born Wed AM and I haven't had a moment to write our birth story, though I'm looking forward to doing it because there's a lot to process!! And I think the writing will help.

The skinny: he was born healthy at our birth center after only about 10hrs of labor (7 of which were at home, just me and DH!) his name is Cody and we are totally in love with him. Story to follow !!
 

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Oh, @FyerFly! I am soooo very happy for you! I can't wait to hear the full story of little Cody's arrival and maybe see his sweet little face? :grin:

CONGRATULATIONS FyerFly!!! :love :love :love Isn't Mommyhood the best thing on earth?!?!
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Cody’s Birth Story

Finally FINALLY got around to finishing up Cody's birth story. It was fun to write, and helped me think through some of the things that happened. Here goes...

Cody’s birth story started at our 39-week prenatal check-up on Monday, June 1st. My blood pressure was elevated a little higher than usual, and since the midwife palpated and guessed the baby was pretty big, she thought it might be a good idea to check my cervix and see if there was any dilation or effacement, and if labor might be approaching soon. Initially, I declined, because I was so convinced that we were going to go way past estimated due dates (this denial will be a theme throughout…), and I didn’t think it would provide us with any useful information other than confirmation that nothing was happening yet (which I already felt was the case). To our surprise, when we elected for the check anyway, I was already 3cm dilated and 90% effaced. For some reason, this news had little initial effect on me, other than making me feel annoyed that I might become ramped up and excited for no reason which would make it mentally much more difficult to endure the following days/weeks of waiting for baby to arrive. DH, on the other hand went into a bit of a nesting/prep frenzy, making multiple grocery lists and trying to check off as much off our to-do list as possible, just in case the baby was coming earlier than we thought. It was so sweet, but also made me feel a little antsy, and again worried about the mental toll this might take if we continued to tick onward to or past 41 weeks…We also found out at the appointment that baby had turned posterior, so our midwife recommended spending as much time as possible on hands and knees when we got home – I devoted much of the rest of the day to cleaning the kitchen floor very thoroughly.

Tuesday, June 2 was a busy busy day. We got up and took an early morning walk (and a neighbor cracked a joke about us trying to induce labor. We just laughed). Then we went on a whirlwind of errands, getting our car oil changed, grocery shopping for labor snacks and “birth week” meals to multiple different stores, and I also got what I thought might be one of my last opportunities to park in an “Expectant Mothers” parking space (just for the novelty, not because I actually needed to). I planned to go to prenatal yoga at the end of the day, but around 5pm when I was changing into my yoga clothes and took a quick trip to the bathroom, when I wiped it felt kind of like mucus. I called DH down to show him, and that’s when we realized that there was a SUBSTANTIAL amount of mucus, which we now know was my mucus plug. The coolest part was what was in the toilet looked like this floating pink sea anemone, and it reminded me of beautiful things I’ve seen underwater while snorkeling. It also made me think of what the placenta might look like.

I was still in complete denial that anything was happening (or rather that it would happen SOON) – I had read/heard so many stories about people walking around at 2cm for weeks and/or losing mucus plugs and having them re-grow or not having any real action until much later. So I just sent my midwife a quick text to let her know I’d lost the plug, suited up for yoga and headed downtown.

As it happens, there was no prenatal yoga that night, I had the days mixed up!! So I was back home pretty quickly after that, hanging out with DH and preparing for some meetings I had for work the next day. Just before 8pm, I had a funny crampy sensation, kind of like a menstrual cramp and very low, and it hurt enough that I changed positions (sort of jumped off my chair into hands and knees) but not enough that I thought anything of it (denial again). My mom called for her daily “is labor happening yet?” check-in at 8pm, and I asked her what a labor contraction feels like, and she said “a strong menstrual cramp” – which gave me pause – then while I was on the phone with her, my midwife called to check in on me. I asked HER what a labor contraction feels like and she said (ha) “a strong menstrual cramp.” I was starting to get a little suspicious at this point – since all the “practice” (Braxton-Hicks) contractions I had had in late pregnancy were really high in my belly, I thought that’s where I would feel real labor contractions too. Apparently not. So the midwife asked if we could take another peek at my cervix, just to see if there was anything to get excited about and to determine whether her team should come in to the birth center. They had already been up all night the night before for another birth (with the full moon!) and so if there was no reason to hang around, they wanted to go home and get rest to be ready for our birth.

I drove myself to the birth center (still in denial that the crampy sensations were real contractions) and met one of our doulas there. She checked me and I was the same dilation and effacement as I had been for our appointment the previous morning, so we laughed and hugged and said goodbye, agreeing there was no way I was going into labor that night.

I just want to pause here and say that if I were to do it over again, I think I would decline all cervical checks. Mentally, it didn’t help, and physically it wasn’t comfortable and I have a sneaking suspicion that 2 cervical checks in 2 days might have brought labor on a bit earlier than my body was ready for it…no way to know, but I cant get that thought out of my head.

Went home and hung out with DH some more, then around 10pm started having real contractions. I WAS STILL IN DENIAL, thinking they would peter out and that I should buck up because things would be a lot worse when it was really time.

SO the actual labor part! Labor for me happened in three phases: a relatively crazed and somewhat out of control first part, then a “calm” (ok sort of, not really) and more rhythmic second part, then the third intense, non-stop, dizzying finale.

Part 1. DH started timing contractions at 10:03pm, we still have all the little sheets, he was very diligent, and at first they were pretty intense but only about 30 secs long each, 4-5 minutes apart. I was taken aback by how painful and consuming they were, and I remember telling DH how GOOD it felt between contractions (not to feel them). The weirdest part was trying so so hard to get into a comfortable position to “relax” (ha) between contractions, because invariably I would want to move in a certain way when a contraction hit, and it would be awkward/difficult to get out of whatever relaxing position I was trying (lying on big couch cushions on my side, bending over the bed on my hands and knees, or others). I felt like a crazy person, kind of frantically roaming the room(s), trying everything I could think of but also feeling very…wild. DH tried really hard to help, and did a LOT, but ultimately I think he was nearly as freaked out as I was at how intense it was and how much I was kind of roaming around/unable to focus. I remember there would be things on the bed like couch cushions or towels and whatnot that I requested DH put in a certain place, and every few contractions I would rip everything off the bed and throw it somewhere, anywhere. It was like I felt so out of control, I had to continually clear away things that seemed in the way in any given moment. The room was definitely a disaster area when we got back home the next day. We debated whether to text our midwife, and finally decided to around 11 pm. She said it sounded like early labor symptoms, and to try to relax, have a glass of wine, take a bath, and get some sleep, and we’d plan to meet at the birth center once the contractions lasted a full minute and happened every three minutes. The bath suggestion wasn’t that helpful because the contractions were so intense that I would try to leap up into a different position and just ended up splashing a lot and banging around. Also, when I stepped into the warm water, I had an instant sensation of needing to throw up, which I did three times. I remember being nervous about throwing up during labor (I really hate throwing up) and it was a complete non-issue – didn’t really care. One thing our midwife did over the phone that really helped was she talked me through breathing through a contraction, and said this really cool thing about filling your belly with air for your baby and that the more air you could get in, the less it would hurt. That became my mantra for Labor Part 2.

Part 2. After I got out of the bath, we went back into our guest bedroom (which is where I had spent most of the time so far) and things took on a completely different tenor. The contractions were about 40-50 secs long every 3-4 minutes, and I had somehow embodied my midwife’s advice and became this completely different laboring animal – everything felt more rhythmic, I was breathing a lot more, and thinking about breathing for the baby. I think I also became more vocal (channeling some pain coping advice from Birthing From Within!): slowly breathing out low moans and words like “Baaaaaaaabbbbyyyyyyy.” It still hurt like crazy, but I found some positions that seemed to help, and DH tells me he was pretty impressed with how calm and focused I became. This was also probably the shortest part, but my favorite and one I hope to emulate at greater length next time around.

Part 3. MY GOODNESS. At some point, not sure exactly when, things started to get so intense that despite the fact that I was STILL IN DENIAL that it was going to happen that morning, that I had to recognize DH and I were not coping well enough on our own, and I needed to go to the birth center. We texted our midwife to let her know at 4:15, then DH ran around frantically gathering things to take with us, and I had the biggest monster contractions – one on top of the other – while I held onto the kitchen counter. DH tells me that I said something at that point like “NO MORE TALKING” when he asked some question about stuff we were bringing. We got into the car at 4:30am and I held on to the back seat headrest and looked out the back window. I told DH to be careful on the bumps and I was having huge huge pain in my bottom. I remember seeing a street sweeping vehicle on the highway onramp and thinking – we have streetsweepers?? Then focusing on the car driving behind us thinking about how for once it was just like in the movies – they were actually riding behind someone in labor. When we got to the birth center, I edged out of the car, and our two doulas were there to help me inside. One of them told me later that as soon as she saw me labor through a contraction, she knew I was already in transition and went to prep the birth stool! I didn’t realize that at the time.

It was amazing when we went inside – very calm and quiet, and our doulas immediately started coaching me through breathing and applying counter pressure and offering different things like the birth ball, etc. to help. I remember being really adamant that DH take a nap and rest because he had been up supporting me for so long, but no one thought that was a good idea, least of all him, because to them it seemed like birth was imminent. When our midwife got there, she checked my cervix and announced that I was at 9 ½ cm, and we should start thinking about pushing. The rest is mostly a blur, but pushing was the most strenuous hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life – I thought that I would feel the “urge to push” – that’s basically all I had ever read/heard, was that you would feel like pushing. I didn’t. I kept asking one doula – am I having a contraction? And we moved around to different positions – birth stool, laying on the bed, squatting bar. I remember vividly at the squatting bar I started panicking and telling everyone I couldn’t do it. They went into “go” mode at that point and said “it’s time to push the baby out!” (me at the time: ??? but of course it was that textbook moment of giving up right before it was really time). We returned to the birth stool for the big moment (well, moments…it still felt like quite a while), and after two hours of pushing and feeling so confused/frustrated that I didn’t have the “urge,” somehow with lots of help I finally pushed the baby out. Our midwife delivered his head and DH caught his body. It was a pretty cool sensation when his body slipped out, but then they handed him to me and I had this dazed moment of confusion – what is this? Until suddenly he sneezed (the cutest thing in the world!) and I realized in that moment that he was my baby!!!!!! They helped me onto the bed, and put him on my chest and were busy doing all sorts of things – I had a fair amount of bleeding, so they administered some Pitocin and they massaged the heck out of my uterus, etc. – but I was completely focused on this tiny little being. He looked so unfamiliar and somehow familiar at the same time. I kept saying “I can’t believe he’s real!” and I remember being so amazed and thrilled that he latched on very quickly. At some point I asked if he was a boy, and I remember his soft wet head and his little old man face.

After that bliss came the not-as-fun part – I had pretty extensive tearing – they think he had an elbow (or two…) up as he was coming down – so while our doula was conducting his newborn exam, I was getting stitched up. It seemed to take FOREVER and wasn’t painful, but was very very uncomfortable and I kept asking if it was almost done and the answer seemed to be no for an excruciatingly long time. I wanted to know what was happening with the baby and hold him, but had to lie there and get stitched up. The baby was right there on the bed and DH was with him, but it was still my first introduction to a fierce mama possessiveness and growl-i-ness – I could.not.stand not to be immediately with him/part of what was going on with him.

When the stitching was finally done, we spent some time in bed with the baby and got about a million instructions and bits of information (I was paying very little attention, rapt with baby Cody, and kept asking DH if he was paying attention because I wouldn’t remember any of it). We ate some breakfast, I was feeling nauseous and lightheaded so they gave me a little medicine, and within a few hours (3 I think?) we were on our way home. In the process of struggling to get the baby into his car seat properly then traveling home sore and disoriented, I promised myself that next time, we’re going to go for a home birth! I dreaded the car ride(s), and they were as not fun as I imagined they would be.

There was kind of a light mist when we got home, and we walked inside, got settled in with little Cody, and spent much of the day snuggling and feeding and sleeping. I still can’t believe he’s real, he’s squirming right next to me on the bed now, and I feel so lucky that he’s here and healthy and that we worked pretty well together to bring him into the world.
 

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What a great story! You'll be so glad you wrote it all out while it was fresh, later on, to look back on. :)

And I love how long you were in denial! That's great.
 

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Great story! I, too, was shocked with how much true labor feels like period cramps. My very few BH's felt like squeezes from my back to my side over my mid stomach. I had been feeling contractions for almost 15 hours before I figured out I was in true labor, not just not feeling well.
 

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Wonderful story! I never felt the urge to push any of my babies, so for some women, it doesn't happen! The pushing has definitely gotten easier each time, though. I pushed with my first for 5 hours (granted, the last two hours were with an epidural), my second for 1.5 hours, and my third for 15 minutes! I felt the closest thing to an "urge" with my third -- I felt pressure and then pushed with it. Anyway, you did amazingly. I'm sorry about the tear and hope you're recovering swiftly!
 

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I don't know that I have an urge to push either. Once in awhile my body just pushed for me though. And with my third, my "urge" was all mental, I wanted that baby out!
 

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Your story makes me so excited to get going! It reminds me a lot of my first birth. Very well written and yeah, totally tearing up over here too. :love
 

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what a beautiful story, im in tears here! You're reminding me of the beauty that is birth and that we are designed to do this!
I also tore lots with DD1, and they RE DID the stitches! Thanks!
I feel im a bit opposite, I get the urge to push easly because it feels so good to do.
 

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Beautiful birth story! I never felt the urge to push with DS, but I sure did with both DDs! Tearing isn't fun. I tore quite a bit with this one. With DS, I had a tiny tear, and with DD no tearing. Megan, however, decided not to tuck her chin and came out with the biggest angle of her head instead of the smallest. Also, her shoulders got a little stuck and the midwife had to hook under her armpits, and help pull her out. I believe I have at least 4 stitches, but it could be more.
 
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