I love a good birth story, and for some reason, I was inspired to share one of mine with you. This was the birth of our fourth baby. Although she came a couple weeks earlier than I had hoped and planned on (don't babies always surprise us!?), it really was a great labor and delivery. I love natural childbirth and the empowerment it brings. It reminds me just how strong and powerful the human body really can be.
I woke up the morning of June 20th with a lot of energy. Molly and Brett were up early, so I got up with them, made breakfast and started cleaning the kitchen. I noticed some contractions come and go, but had been having them for months, so I wasn’t too excited about it. Around 10am, my friend Jenni called to see if I wanted to go shopping at Costco with her. Because we didn’t have any big plans, and Jake had a friend over, I decided to head out with her. We got there around 10:30am and the contractions I had earlier had picked up a bit. I noticed mostly they were in my back. As we were shopping, I made a few comments to Jenni about the pain in my back and she joked that I was probably in labor. Still in denial (and definitely not wanting to head to L & D until I knew it was the real deal), I told her I thought they would probably go away when I sat down. We continued to shop for another 45 minutes or so and by the end of our shopping trip, I was definitely feeling pain in my back. I’ve never experienced back labor and I think this is why I sat in denial for so long. The ride home, I noticed the contractions coming in waves. Jenni asked if I wanted to time them, but I told her no because I was sure they would go away. When we got home, I mentioned to Adam that I was having some regular pain in my back and we may want to think about getting things prepared incase I needed to go to L & D. He immediately panicked because it was the last day of football practice before the team was leaving for camp, out of state, the next morning. He told me he needed to make some phone calls to the other coaches to let them know what was going on. I started picking things up around the house and headed upstairs to put things in a bag. That’s when I thought this might be real. First, I called my OB and told the nurse I thought I might be in labor. She wasn’t surprised since my last NST (on Monday) showed contractions every 3-4 minutes and I was 4 cm, 70% effaced. I also told her that I’d probably need to cancel my ultrasound that was scheduled for 12:30pm that day. She graciously offered to cancel that appointment for me and wished me good luck, as she thought it was the real deal! I decided to call my brother & his wife, who had offered to stay here with the kids during labor, and ask them to come over. They said they could leave right away. At this point, I knew we were going to L & D, so I got everything in a bag and checked in on Adam (who was still on the phone in the garage). I told him we were definitely going to the hospital and he needed to wrap up his conversation ASAP. When my brother and SIL got to the house, I told Adam he had to get off the phone…we were leaving!! The ride to the hospital felt like forever! I still hadn’t timed any of my contractions, but knew they were just minutes apart because the pain in my back was really hurting me. Twenty minutes later, we checked in at labor & delivery. It was around 1pm by the time they got me in to triage. (Side note…I actually went straight to the huge, beautiful L & D rooms because triage was full)! Just as soon as they got me on the monitors, my contractions were off the charts and at intervals of about 2 minutes apart. The nurse had a billion questions to ask me and then checked me. Still 4cm dilated. Immediately, I felt defeated. They would probably just send me home, as this was prodromal labor again. Or so I thought. But, she claimed that I had “better contractions than anyone on the floor and the other women were all on Pitocin,” so she wanted to monitor me for a bit. She had me laying on my left side as they monitored me and asked a ton more questions. I continued to breath through contractions and complained of bad pain in my back. Around 2pm, the hospital OB came in to check me. I was 5cm! Hallelujah! He said, “looks like this is real labor!”. I was glad that I wasn’t imagining the intensity of my pain and they wouldn’t be sending me home this time. Everyone knew that I wanted a completely natural delivery, with no pain meds, so they asked what I’d like to do next. I asked to walk around for awhile and labor that way. After getting on a robe and flip flops, we headed into the hallway to walk. This is when things picked up a bit. Every contraction caused me to grab the railings in the hallway and breath through my contractions. Adam was timing them and said they were coming 2 minutes apart and lasting a full minute, meaning I wasn’t getting much of a break at all. Our walk lasted 20 minutes or so before I decided I was done and needed to take a break. The nurse had me get back in bed and checked me again and I was a 7! Whew! The nurse said I need to have an IV lock in (just for precautionary measures). I wasn’t too thrilled about the IV port being in my hand, but knowing that it could potentially be a life saving device if things went wrong, I agreed). At this point, the back pain was excruciating and the nurse believed my baby was sunny side up. She had a few tricks up her sleeve to get the baby to turn and help relieve some of my back pain. She put me on my side with my right leg in the left stirrup. 10 minutes later I flipped to the opposite side. Finally, she had me kneeling on the bed, facing backward with my head resting on the back of the bed. It was at this point that the pain went from my back to my front. Ahhh, this felt like real labor again! My mom was pushing on my lower, mid-back while my sister rubbed pressure points on my feet through my contractions. I remember it feeling so good while it was happening, but now I have huge bruises in those places!! Ha! Just a few minutes later (around 4:15pm), the on-call OB came back in and said that after talking to my dr, he’d go ahead and break my water and then my doctor would run over from his office to deliver me whenever I was ready (it was mid-day and he had patients in his clinic until 5pm). When he checked me, I was still at 7cm, 90% effaced and -3 station. Because of my polyhydramnios (excess fluid), he had to be very careful when breaking my water because there was a risk of cord prolapse. He broke my water, but then guided the baby’s head all the way down until I was at a +1 station. Let me tell you….this is painful! Not only was the act painful, but breathing through contractions every 2 minutes, during this procedure was awful!! The next 20 minutes are such a blur. I went from feeling in control, to not, in a split second. I just remember asking to lay on my side and keeping my eyes shut as I breathed and tried to focus. I had to go to the bathroom at one point and had Adam come with me so I could hang on to his neck during my contractions. As we were headed back to the bed, I knew I needed to push. I told my nurse that she better call my doctor and she responded, “oh, honey, I already did”. Just minutes later, I remember someone saying my dr had arrived. I think they checked me again and I was 8cm. Just seconds later, they were breaking down my bed and telling me that as soon as I got my feet in the stir-ups they were going to let me push. My doctor told me to relax as much as I could so I’d be ready to push and I remember saying, “I can’t relax, there is so much pain”. He said, “that’s because I can see your baby’s head already!” Finally it was time…two pushes and out she came! It’s amazing the instant relief you feel once the baby is out. Brylie was beautiful and looked JUST like her big sister! After laying her on my chest for a few minutes, they needed to get her a little extra oxygen, so they held some under her nose while Adam and I were able to hold and stare at her. She was perfect and was able to latch on and nurse well, almost immediately! I needed one small stitch and had it with no pain relief...yeowtch! But once that was over, I knew that I could begin the process of recovery. Thankfully, I only needed vicodin twice and a couple ibubrofen over the first few days and that was it--my recovery was a breeze!
I know this is my last baby and I really wanted the perfect birth….and I believe it happened. No inductions, no pain meds, no medical interventions at all. My body was able to do everything on its own and I feel incredibly blessed to have had it work out the way it did. Most importantly, we have a happy and healthy 6 lb, 8 oz, 20” long baby girl to love on for the rest of our lives!!
All of these pictures were taken by my friend, Jenni. She's amazing!!
All of these pictures were taken by my friend, Jenni. She's amazing!!