I am so honored to share with you the story of how our little boy entered the world!
You need to know I read tons of books, tons of blogs and watched The Business of Being Born (it's on Netflix) prior to this day. I felt fully informed and aware of my options. I was 100% confident in our doula, Danielle, and in my husband. The three of us attended a doctor's appointment 9 days before the birthday. At this appointment the doctor wanted to know the size of the baby fearing the baby was too big for a vag delivery.
My husband and I had hoped for a vaginal delivery for various reasons. First, the recovery time following a vaginal delivery is much shorter than a C-section recovery. But along with the vag delivery we wanted to stay away from pain medication. The whole "baby comes out drugged" excuse doesn't fly any more because the drugs used now-a-days don't effect the baby like that. So for us it was a spiritual exercise. In the Catholic faith suffering isn't seen as a bad thing. Hence why our churches have a crucifix hanging at the front showing the suffering of Christ. We believe it is through suffering that we are brought closer to Christ. He suffered and we can too. Life isn't easy, even the Son of God didn't take the easy way out. Also in our faith we believe you can offer your suffering to God for a special request. I had never heard of this before, but the thought of offering my labor pains for this unborn child seemed like the most amazing opportunity to prepare for his future. Forget the college fund, let's store up his treasures in heaven!
Our goal was an all natural birth. At that last appointment we learned the baby weighed 7lb 6 oz so he was technically small enough for a vaginal delivery. I was so happy! They estimate babies gain half a pound a week, so he would be 8lbs at birth. Hopefully that natural birth I wanted.
Imagine my surprise when my due date came and went, when my doctor demanded an induction and I was scheduled to be in the hospital at 41 weeks and 3 days. Most doctors don't want their patients to go past 42 weeks, for the safety of the baby and mom. My doctor was the same way. I was stubborn and wanted my water to break naturally, I wanted the "It's time" moment with my husband. Instead we arrived at the hospital with water bag in tact and facing the induction we didn't want.
In the end we realized it was better for me to be at the hospital on a schedule. I'm such a planner it would have driven me crazy to have no control over when my water would break. So we came to terms with it and thanked God for giving us what we needed, not what we wanted.
I checked into the hospital at 7:30 p.m. My doula, Danielle, met us in the "ambient birthing suite" a larger than normal hospital room with
As a first time mom the check-in process was intimidating. We had to sign contracts and liability forms for things you hoped weren't going to happen. When it came time to sign the C-section form I hesitated. "Just because I'm signing this doesn't mean you're going to cut me open right?" I found it important to ask these questions and feel I had control over my choices in the hospital. I wasn't sick, I was just pregnant. The nurse checking us in was surprised with all the questions we asked. I could tell it was going to be an interesting night... As my doula left she reminded us that first time deliveries are an average of 12 hours, some shorter some longer. We prepared for a peaceful night followed by a long day of labor.
- large flat screen TV (we never turned this on)
- glider rocker (my new best friend)
- birthing ball (my other best friend)
- squatting bar (never got to this side of the room)
- XM radio with surround sound (never turned this on)
- alternative lighting (it was AWESOME to be able to dim the lights and keep the room dark during the night hours)
- mats for birthing positions (never used these)
- portable monitors (an absolute MUST!!)
The plan was to dilate over night with a slow releasing progesterone insert cytotec. Following a 2 hour check in process (talk about anxiety!) we finally settled down and prepared to sleep through the night. The last time I looked at the clock it was 11:00 p.m. The next time I looked at the clock it was 11:30 p.m. I couldn't sleep through this dilation! I couldn't get comfortable on the bed and I needed to move around. Thankfully my doctor was OK with the wireless monitoring available in the doula room. Instead of being attached to a machine with wires limiting my movement I was attached to the machines through wireless monitoring. The BEST idea EVER!
From 11:30 p.m. to 2:00 am I remember standing up, sitting in a rocking chair, eating ice chips and going tinkle a lot! I was given fluids via an IV throughout the night so while I wasn't drinking, I was being hydrated. My husband was a champ through this beginning stage of labor. He reminded me who to offer my pain for (I had a list of many people, living and deceased to offer my pain for). I remember telling him the pain was too much and that if I needed the Pitocin after this I would take pain medication because this just felt awful! His first response was silent. When I mentioned it again he gave me a vague reply like "We'll see". But I never screamed out in pain "GIVE ME THE MEDS!"
The nurse came in at 2:00 a.m. and checked my cervix. The only time I was in the bed was when she checked my cervix and that was the only time I was in EXCRUCIATING pain. Again, so happy I went with the wireless monitoring. She said I had progressed so much that we wouldn't even need the Pitocin or induction medication! Thanks be to God! I knew this meant I could do this natural which meant I could do this! I pumped myself up and got ready for the natural birth I wanted.
My doula, Danielle, arrived at 5:00 a.m. her scheduled arrival time. She heard from the nurse I was dilated to 5 cm. When she walked in she said "You should have called me earlier." My husband and I just looked at each other, clueless. We thought it was going to take 12 hours...we're not even in active labor yet! While I was happy to see Daneille, I was even more happy to see the birthing ball (we couldn't find it)! This yoga ball on wheels with a kid's wagon handle. Such a brilliant invention.
I think my husband was happy to have her there. Now we had an advocate on our side, someone who knows how the natural birthing process works and he finally got to take a break. I remember seeing him laying on the floor stretching his back. I thought he was sleeping! I felt so bad for keeping him up all night (I had actually kept him up the night before at home, he was going on 4 hours of sleep!).
Once Danielle got there the energy in the room changed. I now had a woman's hand massaging me along with my husband's hand. The ying and yang of her gentle touch to his firm touch was distracting and helpful. I had her new voice and words of motivation and my husbands familiar voice and focused mantras. Knowing I was surrounded by so much love and support, at some point I became fully focused on laboring. I found a rhythm in the contractions. I found a happy place sitting on the birthing ball and leaning over the bed grasping a pillow while I looked into my husband's eyes. I found my previous experience with hot yoga helped me in my breathing as I exhaled "Shhhhh" during the contractions.
Around maybe 6:30 a.m. Danielle said to me "You're doing go great!" and I replied "Well, I keep telling myself I haven't even hit transition yet, so this is only the beginning!" The delay in reply from Danielle hinted to me that I was actually going through transition at the very moment! She never told me I was in transition and I never asked. I just kept going and expecting much more pain.
Then there was the throw up and my water breaking while I stood by the bed. It wasn't a gush because the bag was bulging and the baby was pressing on it. Finally around 7:30 a.m. I had this incredible urge to go number 2. I went to sit on the toilet and couldn't bring myself to sit all the way down. But I really felt I had to go number 2!! I was thinking "well, I'll just go on the floor if I can't sit down". Then Danielle called the nurse and everything began.
Nurses rushed into my room, they got me on the bed and said I was dilated to a 10. One nurse said the baby would slide out at any moment. I'm thinking "What?! No, I just really need to use the bathroom". They were setting up the stirrups, I couldn't leave the bed. No more walking around. I was so exhausted at that point I was happy to stay in bed. It didn't hurt to lay down anymore...then again I was just so tired!
My doctor came in to the room and made a joke. I was so out of it I didn't laugh and he said "Come on, not even a smile?" I smiled but I have no clue what I was smiling about. Then he reached in and broke the rest of the bag. It felt weird, no pain. It sounded like a rubber band being snapped, but it felt like a balloon being pinched to exhale the air...not a dramatic POP! My team of husband, doula, doctor and now 3 or 4 nurses were telling me to begin pushing. This was when things finally got difficult. I had no clue what to do! I had never had a baby before! I didn't know how to use those muscles! They told me to hold my breath and push. I didn't hear them say they needed me to hold and push for 10 seconds. I could only hold and push until count 7 or 8. And I could tell I wasn't pushing correctly.
They kept saying "You can do it!" which I thought to myself "Yea, I know I CAN I just don't know HOW." The doctor got a little frustrated and left the room to check on another patient. Then a nurse stepped in and pointed to the area where I needed to focus my energy. Danielle had brought a mirror, so I could see the baby's head and understood a little better what I was supposed to be doing. They also raised up these handles I could grab on to with my hands so I could push myself into a crunch position easier. THANK GOD FOR NURSES, they knew exactly what I needed. They had me push more without the doctor and he was called back in 5 minutes later. He gave me an episiotomy and a few pushes later our son was born!
Marshall didn't really cry when he was born, he was making noises so we knew he was ok. Hubby got to cut the umbilical cord, which, I was told, was really thick and tough. I think when the doctor started suctioning out his mouth the baby started to cry. Then they placed him in on my chest (a process called skin-to-skin), he stopped crying, I looked at his pretty little face and my husband leaned over and kissed me saying "You did so good!" A moment I'll never forget.
There were so many nurse hands on the baby cleaning him off and taking his apgar test (he scored an 8 the first time). I don't even know if I was holding him, I was so tired my legs and arms were like jello! We began breastfeeding immediately and it seemed so easy! My doctor was stitching up my 3rd degree episiotomy and I could tell my husband just wanted to get his hands on his son. Eventually my husband held him, bathed him, put on his diaper and got his birth measurements. He was 22 inches long and our "too big for vag birth baby" estimated at 7lbs 6oz was 8lbs 11.8oz! 8lbs 12 oz baby! That ultrasound was off by a pound!
We are so blessed and happy with our birthing experience. We know God gave us the doula, doctor and nurses we needed for this to go well. But honestly the best part of this process was growing together as a couple. I couldn't imagine anyone else by my side on that day!