This is the story of my third kiddo’s birth. It was a crazy situation but turned out pretty amazing.
I feel as if this story begins before the night I went to the hospital. My first child, Riley, who was born when I was only 19. I knew very little of birth. I knew very little of the world, really. I was induced on my due date because of… well… there was no reason. I didn’t have any idea what it even really meant. All I knew was that I was going to have a baby. I had a fast but incredibly intense pitocin induced birth. He came so fast that I was unable to have an epidural. This opened my eyes to the idea of what birth out of the norm could be like. I’m glad I felt it. It sparked an interest in birth. Fast forward to my second. I had read and read but was still not confident in my choices. I still thought that what the doctor said would go. I was induced for a second time. I went through that birth without an epidural as well, but I knew there had to be more. After discussion upon discussion, reading book after book, talking to mom after mom I knew that midwifery care was for me. I knew that I could have the birth experience that so many women had, where they felt empowered to birth.
I woke up out of dead sleep on Thursday, Thanksgiving, night. I was 37 weeks and 5 days with my third child, having had contractions for weeks on end. But this felt different. I was in so much pain I couldn’t control myself. I knew something was wrong. The pain wasn’t contractions, there was no rhythm it was constant. Jeremy called the midwife who said it sounded like a kidney stone. I agreed. She suggested a warm bath. Over the next two hours I tried everything. Tylenol, hot compress, shower, birth ball, walking, laying down, but the pain got worse. I sent my friend Chrissi a text to see if she had any suggestions. Eventually I decided the pain was too bad and I needed to head to the hospital. I’m so glad now we went to where I was delivering instead of the closest hospital. My poor hubby had taken Tylenol pm that night because of a bad headache. He never takes anything so it hit him pretty hard. Chrissi offered to come get me and take me to the hospital. I was in so much pain I began vomiting as we pulled in after the 30 minute ride.
They took me into triage and gave me pain medicine. It took hours to get the pain to even a manageable point. I was in pain after only an hour or two of the larger doses of demerol. Once morning came, one of the midwives, Paula, came to talk to me. Her recommedation was that I be induced because the large amount of pain medicine could be dangerous for the baby if continued. While they were pretty sure it was kidney stone, the problem may have been baby placement which the birth would relieve. I was given some options and after a lot of discussion with everyone we decided to go ahead and have a gentle induction. The options included: Going home with percocet and hope the pain went away, get an epideral & pitocin and go into labor, attempt to deal with the pain & take phentanol as needed and be induced with a cook’s catheter and low level pitocin. I chose the cook’s catheter and low level pitocin. While it was not what I wanted, at that point I had been in so much pain that I was very fearful of heading home and trying to mask the pain with percoset. This is where I feel that midwifery care really helped me. Had I had a doctor that wasn’t interested in my wishes, they would have pushed much harder for a hard induction. Paula was respectful of my wishes, knowing that even if I couldn’t have the natural birth I wanted, I had choices and that was one of the most empowering times.
At about 2:30pm I got my last dose of phentanol for the kidney pain and they inserted a cooks catheter. I was already 3cm and 70 percent effaced and had been taking evening primrose oil to soften my cervix for a few weeks. They put me on a low dose of pitocin as well. After about an hour I was able to get up. I rolled a ton on my birth ball while listening and laughing at my birth playlist, which included “You’re Having My Baby” from the Glee soundtrack. Then I went to the bathroom and the catheter came out! My midwife checked me and I was already 6-7 cm! The midwife asked if I wanted my water broken, and since I was already 6-7 I said yes. She went ahead and broke my water. I allowed her to break my water because I had a feeling that if my water was broken, the baby would arrive quicker and that would allow me to avoid upping the pitocin or more medical interventions. I couldn’t believe I had progressed so quickly and really was in relatively low amounts of pain. This experience was already 100 times better than my previous inductions. I truly feel like it was because of the huge amount of support that I had. Decisions that were made were mine. They were informed, supported, well thought out decisions. And I was surrounded both physically and emotionally by people who loved me, both in the room and from afar. Also, I was encouraged to move with the pain, I was encouraged to moan, hum, or anything else that would help me move through the pain. My midwife was very encouraging to do what felt best to me. She helped me to know that this was my experience and to not be embarrassed by my more primal side.
I got back on my ball to move him lower into my pelvis. We continued to roll with each contraction until my midwife suggested getting in the tub. At first I said I’d rather get in the shower but after one contraction while standing I knew it would be too painful. I rushed to the toilet because I knew so many women who found some pain relief from sitting on the toilet. While I had a couple of contractions on the toilet, Chrissi filled the tub and I got in. The water was so refreshing and calming. This is when I think the contractions got very intense. I started really vocalizing them. Working through each contraction with humming, o’hhing. Jeremy sat in the bathroom and held my hand as each contraction peaked. Knowing he was there and encouraging me was so beautiful to me. Near the 5th or 6th contraction I remember talking to Maddox. Reassuring him that the world wasn’t scary, that I could hold and love him outside the womb and he would be safe. Within another contraction I started feeling a little pushy so out of the tub and onto the bed. My midwife trusted that I knew what my body was doing. I was about 9 cm and the midwife encouraged me that I could push and she’d pull the cervix aside if needed. I pushed but knew he wasn’t quite there. As they got ready I knew he’d be here soon. I had been in so much pain from the kidney stone that I was afraid my body couldn’t handle the pain of pushing. I was afraid that my birth had been so fast that the pushing stage may be hours. But I was able to let go of that pain and within two contractions and pushes he was born into the world at 5:40pm, only about 3 or 4 hours since the start. This experience was so much better than my previous inductions. This felt so much closer to what birth should be like. While I know it wasn’t completely natural, for me I was able to get a lot of what I wanted. I was able to move, laugh, cry, get in the tub, vocalize. After the birth it was everything I wanted. He was placed directly on my chest. He snuggled with me and was able to latch on right away. His cord was able to pulsate and I was able to bask in the first precious moments of his life. It was truly love at first sight.
Right afterward, Antonette, a friend & doula, came to come get the placenta. I’m so thankful because the placenta pills were amazing They helped so much with the postpartum depression I was so afraid that would engulf this amazing experience. I was moved to the post partum room quickly after that. Then, I was sent for a CT scan where they found both of my kidneys have stones in them. The kidney pain went away shortly after the induction started. After the birth I had to have uretal stints put in. After further investigation I had 13 kidney stones, one that was lodged in my ureter and had to be taken care of.
While my birth wasn’t perfect, it was the best birth I could have had under the circumstances, and truly changed me as a mother. My bond with Maddox is unbreakable. It is as strong as the contractions were that brought him to me. I am so thankful for all the women who helped me to achieve this bond.