Let me first start out by saying my pregnancy was amazing! I enjoyed every day, week and month leading up to the birth of my son. I made sure to stay in the best shape I could; I took a 6 week prenatal yoga class (weeks 24 – 30) and did yoga on my own for most of my pregnancy; I drank plenty of water and got plenty of rest. I had no complications or discomforts whatsoever. Me and baby boy were getting along just fine. He obviously enjoyed pregnancy too because he was 2 weeks overdue!
I set out to have an un-medicated, natural birth. I have a close friend who did the same thing a year before and her story was so inspiring, I wanted to experience birth the way she did. She shared a lot of things with me that I would have never known, had it not been for her – from hiring a midwife and doula to having her placenta encapsulated, to watching the documentary “the Business of being Born” (which I highly recommend watching if you plan to have a child). I researched, I prepared, I watched videos, I did everything I could to plan my birth experience. I was amped! I was prepared! I was ready!
At my 41 week appointment, my midwife informed me that she would schedule an induction the following Tuesday, since Wednesday was my 42 week mark. At that moment, fear set in. I was nervous, I was afraid, and quite frankly, I was emotional… *pause*… now for those who know me well, you know I am not a very emotional person. I don’t know the last time I cried before pregnancy hormones kicked my butt…lol. *Back to the story* WHAT?! I didn’t prepare for this! This is not the prayer I had been praying! This is not the confession I had been confessing! This is not what I was believing for!
After that appointment, I tried EVERYTHING people suggested – bouncing on the exercise ball, jumping jacks, nipple stimulation, sex, walking daily with my husband when the sun went down, I gave myself an enema, I even tried acupuncture for the first time. I ate eggplant, took primrose oil pills, drank red raspberry leaf tea… you name it, if somebody suggested it, I tried it (except that whole castor oil thing, I was NOT doing that, its gross). I DID NOT WANT TO BE INDUCED!
However, Austin was not ready to come out.
So as scheduled, we checked into the hospital Tuesday evening (July 26, 2016) at 7:30pm. I was met by my nurse, we got settled in our birthing room, I ate, my family came and the process began. At 10pm, my midwife checked my cervix, at which point I was 2cm dilated. She swept my membranes (which was a very uncomfortable few seconds). She then inserted Cervidil into my cervix. Cervidil was to stay in my cervix for up to 12 hours, depending on how my body responded to it. The purpose of this little contraption was to soften my cervix and hopefully bring on dilation and labor. I was feeling minor contractions off and on, so I thought the Cervidil was working.
At 10am the next morning (July 27, 2016), my midwife came in, removed Cervidil and checked my cervix; at which point my cervix had not made any progress and I was still only 2cm dilated. However, once the Cervidil was removed, my contractions ramped up. My doula/dear friend was there with me coaching me through contractions. This is where the timing gets fuzzy for me… At some point, the nurse came in and said “we’re going to give you Pitocin to help your contractions pick up” – mind you, before the Pitocin, I’m still going strong and getting through the contractions without any pain medications. Once the Pitocin was put into my IV, my contractions definitely “picked up”; I remember them being more intense and closer together. We were coping through the contractions; we even used hydrotherapy in the shower. After hours of this, the midwife checked my cervix again, and at this point, I was only 5cm dilated. I was devastated, extremely exhausted, and just beat all the way down.
THIS is when I requested an epidural. My midwife took what seemed like FOREVER to comply with my request because she wanted to ensure I really wanted an epidural after planning to have an un-medicated birth.
Now, let me say this… had I gone into labor naturally and on my own, my mind would have been better prepared to handle an un-medicated birth. But I will stand by my thought – when we start to medically induce and intervene with what our bodies are supposed to do, strange things happen and I truly believe that the pain with being induced with Pitocin was more intense than going into labor naturally. With that said, I opted for an epidural because I was mentally and physically exhausted. I was so exhausted that I couldn’t even keep my eyes open to talk to the nurses and my family. I remember barely being able to open them and feeling my body becoming limp.
The anesthesiologist came in and administered the epidural… only to mess up and only numb my right side. When I say the contractions I felt after this was felt in my entire body… man… this pain was out of this world! I remember saying “WHY AM I FEELING THESE CONTRACTIONS ON MY RIGHT SIDE????” Needless to say, they came BACK in and had to administer the epidural the correct way. The plan after this was to wait it out and see if my cervix would dilate more, my baby’s heart rate wasn’t responding to the contractions the way they would have liked it to. What that meant was his heart rate was neither rising nor falling, but was steady… not showing the variations they needed to see and not reacting to the contractions.
My midwife then came in and explained what was happening on the monitor when I had a contraction and how my baby’s heart rate wasn’t showing any variations. She knew I had been laboring for a while, she saw how my baby’s heartrate was responding (or not responding), she saw how exhausted I was and knew my body hadn’t made much progress for all the hours I had been in labor, so she recommended a cesarean. At this point, I was so exhausted and ready to see my baby, I agreed. They prepped the operating room, gave my husband his scrubs, and wheeled me down the hall.
And so the process began. I was numb, I couldn’t feel anything. I just remember being extremely cold and feeling a tugging (not painful, but I felt “pressure”, for the lack of a better explanation). My husband was watching the process in anticipation and my midwife was by my side as well. They got to my uterus and went in to grab the baby and he wiggled out the way…haha (he was NOT ready to be evicted). They pulled him out, cleaned him off and put him on me. This was THE most precious moment I’ve ever experienced. I was relieved, he was perfect! I had just given birth to an 8 pound 2 ounce baby boy of perfection and he was MINE. We call him our love child.
Because of the cesarean, we had to stay in the hospital for 3 days. Austin was born on Wednesday night. Thursday, when the pain meds wore off, I wasn’t feeling as bad as I thought I would. I accepted the pain meds they offered on that day, but every day thereafter, I refused. I was not about to be taking medicine for pain I knew I could tolerate. I am against taking medicine if I know I can cope with the “pain”; and honestly, because of my high tolerance for pain, I didn’t think it was as bad as people made it seem. One of my nurses told me she had never seen anyone turn down pain meds after a cesarean. I wasn’t refusing meds to prove a point or to appear tough, I just didn’t think I needed it.
A week later, my surgical tape came off my incision and it healed perfectly! I don’t love it, but its definitely not as bad as I thought it would be.
The first week home was a huge adjustment. I had no idea having a newborn would be so taxing on me physically (Actually, I guess I never really gave it much thought at all). I was sleep deprived and my boobs were SORE (I’d never felt pain like this on my precious boobs and they were pierced twice!)!! I was learning Austin and he was learning what life is like outside of the womb.
I got my placenta encapsulated and began taking them right away. I definitely feel like they helped me to physically feel like myself sooner. I was energized, my hormones were balanced quicker, I wasn’t bleeding for as long as I thought I would, my iron levels were boosted (so I didn’t have to take the iron pills prescribed by the doctor) and I never had a problem with my milk supply. I’m sure it helped with other things inside my body, but those are just the benefits I noticed right away.
Here we are 6 weeks postpartum. Breastfeeding, walking and good genes got me back to my pre-pregnancy weight! Now that I’m cleared, I will be hitting the gym to tone and get rid of this last lil bit of belly fat.
I’m so in love. Being a new mommy is definitely an adjustment, but he makes it all worth it!
Will I have another? Absolutely NOT! Thank God I have bonus children whom I love like my own. We are all one big happy family and we’re glad we now have Austin to add to our happiness.
I was a little upset and disappointed for a long time because my birth didn’t go the way I’d planned. I set out to have an all-natural, un-medicated, vaginal birth, BUT it obviously didn’t happen that way. We planned Austin’s conception, I knew I wanted a July baby, so we made sure to plan it accordingly. I’m a huge planner and when my birth didn’t go the way I planned, I was devastated. I definitely didn’t want a surgical scar (which doesn’t look so bad after all). However, when it’s all said and done, I’m grateful to have delivered a happy/healthy baby boy and I’m grateful for my birth team:
Shatia Owsley-Humphrey – my doula and dear friend (whom I HIGHLY recommend – firstname.lastname@example.org) helped me get through those contractions and was there to put up with me during my pregnancy, labor and she still answers my random questions to this day;
My mom, who was sure to come visit every day and would have never left my side if she didn’t have to work. But she was sure to be there before Austin arrived and has seen him every day since, whether in person or on facetime;
My sister, who was also there every chance she got, I’m sure she learned a lot and I am glad she was there to share in the experience with me;
My mother-in-law, who wouldn’t have missed the birth of her precious grandson for the world, she was there before Austin arrived and was there to welcome us after we got out of surgery;
My dad came to visit every day and made sure he was there when we checked in and when Austin arrived;
Ms. Claudia Booker – placenta encapsulation services http://www.birthinghands.net/placental/
And last but not least – ALWAYS BY MY SIDE – my loving, patient, and supportive husband, who I love more than words can express!
Thanks for reading! More blogs to come.