This is my sleep deprived version of Adeline's birth story. I'm sure I've left out lots of details, so I might be going back later and adding more things in.
Born Sept 30th, 2015
21inches long, 14.2inches, head
9 pounds, 3 ounces
By the 29th of September, I was more than ready to be done with my pregnancy with Adeline. I was 8 days overdue at that point, and each additional day multiplied the pain and discomfort. I had already had a long, difficult pregnancy and every additional day was like torture. We prayed about it and Clint had given me a blessing the day before and we felt good about going forward with an induction. I decided to go to the hospital to be induced that night.
We arrived at about 8:30pm. It took a while to get checked in and set in our room. After that, the nurses had to have 30 minutes of continuous monitoring of Adeline before they could give me my first dose of misoprostol. Between nurses going on breaks and Adeline’s frequent and large movements, it took hours to get 30 minutes of monitoring. It was incredibly frustrating! At 12:15am, they gave me my first dose.
I had Clint there and Meredith, my close friend who happens to be an amazing doula. It was really nice to have both of them to help pass the time. We mostly talked, but a few times we’d break and they would both sleep while I would pretend to sleep, a.k.a. constantly had the nurses come in and disturb any possible sleep. They told me I only had to be monitored 15 minutes every hour, but they would get busy or forget and 15 would turn into 25 or even 45 and I can’t express how much I HATE those monitors. They’re so itchy and make my claustrophobic so there was no chance of sleeping with them on and I never had a big enough block with them off to sleep. I was also having contractions in this time, but nothing that was really bothering me. In fact, I was having contractions before I even checked into the hospital. I had been having prodromal labor for three weeks prior which is torturous, especially when past your due date. In retrospect though, it was great practice for active labor.
At 4:15 there was some debate over whether or not my contractions were too close for another dose of misoprostol, which is a cervical ripener. The alternate was Pitocin. I did NOT want Pitocin. Thankfully, they decided they were far enough apart and gave me another dose. My contractions definitely picked up, but they still weren’t bad.
Around 7am, I felt a change in my body and I knew I was in active labor. The contractions weren’t necessarily closer together or more painful, but something felt different. I believe they checked me at this time and I was 3cm dilated and 90% effaced, compared to the 2cm and 60% when I checked into the hospital. At 8:15am I was eligible for my third dose, but my contractions were too close together. The midwife suggested starting Pitocin, but I KNEW I didn’t need Pitocin. I asked for an hour to see how things progressed on their own. If you’re ever in question of something they want to do, ask for an hour! I was so glad I did. I believe it was around this time that I asked Clint for a blessing. I know that it made a difference in my labor and my ability to handle it and I’m so grateful for that blessing. I really felt like giving birth was a spiritual experience for me. When else are you working so closely with Heavenly Father?
An hour turned into two and by that point, I was in pretty intense pain. The worst part of being induced is the constant monitoring. Because I had to be in bed monitored the very large majority of my labor, I had to work through them mostly using breathing techniques and focusing on happy music (we listened to my Lovin Spoonful station on Pandora). It was around 10am. The contractions were pretty intense, but still manageable. Between contractions, I felt this incredible sense of peace. It sounds cheesy but I remember telling Meredith over and over how amazing I felt between contractions. I really felt like I was drugged between contractions. Contractions, especially at the end, were the worst pain you could ever imagine, but the feeling between contractions made it easier to endure them.
Once I finished yet another session of monitoring, I had to use the bathroom. However, once I got there, I was in too much pain to leave. I used the bars in the bathroom to help support my through contractions. It felt best when I was standing and bent over. Clint was in there for me to lean on, and Meredith was close-by with her constant encouragement.
It was time for another monitoring session (I was still being monitored the majority of the time) and I was SO MAD. I wanted to yell at them. Not only was laboring in bed more painful, I couldn’t move my position much once I was in bed, or they’d lose the continuous monitoring and have to start again. I was REALLY having to work through my contractions at this time. The nurse and midwife were not taking me seriously. Unknown to them, I had changed so fast, and they hadn’t even given me any medicine for my contractions. From their point of view, they though there was no way I could be in active labor. One of the nurses kept telling me that the medicine wouldn’t even give me contractions, but just “cramps” and it wasn’t going to dilate me at all. Well, it took me about 20 minutes to get back into bed. They checked me and I was a 7! BOOM!
I can’t even describe the sensations during transition. At this point, the contractions were basically on top of one another without much break between. I remember one lasting five minutes. I was upset that I had to labor in bed, a feat which seemed impossible, so because of this I asked for a dose of the pain medication you receive through the IV. I had originally asked to labor in the shower, but when this was denied I felt like I needed something to get through the monitoring in bed. I’m positive I wouldn’t have asked for anything if I was able to labor freely. I remember feeling a difference for about five minutes, but after that, it was like trying to catch a rainstorm in a mop bucket and I wished I hadn’t asked for anything at all because it wasn’t doing anything at all.
I remember around this time is when I shouted that I want an epidural. I think the nurse laughed and said something like, “It’s too late for that! You’ll have a nice, alert baby.” I REALLY wanted an epidural the last three hours or so!
I had been feeling like it was time to push for a while (I’ll touch on this later) but about an hour or two later I was REALLY feeling like I needed to push. They checked me and I was a 10! I wonder how long I had been at a 10. I don’t remember why but I don’t think I pushed right away. They had to get the monitors on me. I understand that the nurses have to go with hospital protocol, but I wanted to throw those stupid monitors out the window!
The nurse set me up to push on my back but I couldn’t. I felt like my tailbone was breaking so I rolled over to my hands and knees. The top part of the bed was elevated so I was kneeling but my arms were higher. The pain/pressure was by far the most intense thing I have ever experienced. It felt like my insides were exploding to the point that they were breaking my bones. Pushing was so difficult because it increased the pain tenfold. I pushed for about 40 minutes this way. Although it was much less painful, I wasn’t making enough progress. The nurses were telling me to only push during contractions, but I honestly couldn’t tell at all when I was having a contraction and when I wasn’t. I only felt this insane pressure and pain.
I finally rolled over onto my back and kept pushing, even though the pain was so much more intense. It was so much harder to push this way. When I pushed with Ainsley, I felt relief. This time I felt like when I was pushing I was breaking my bones. It was really difficult, mentally, to push through that. Meredith and Clint were both so instrumental and helpful during this! It felt like hell but their encouragement kept me going. It was also really helpful to have Meredith in the room because I kept reminding myself that she has had two natural births and if she could do it, I could too. Also, the nurse wasn’t very encouraging. She was really critical of my pushing but Meredith knew to remind me that my body knew what it was doing. I actually really liked my nurses and midwifes while I was in the hospital, but as luck would have it, the two that were present for delivery were not my favorite. Of course, I still respect what they did and I know I was in good hands. However, emotionally, it was critical for me to have Meredith and Clint there to give me the motivation that I needed.
Everyone was telling me they could see her head. The nurse grabbed my hand a few times to feel her head coming out but the thought of what my body was doing right now was dizzying. I did not want to feel it. I pushed for about 20 more minutes on my back and she was out. They placed her right on my chest and the most overpowering sense of relief came over me. Her little body was so warm on mine! And since she was late, she had almost no vernix left. She came out looking really clean! She was beautiful!
However, her poor little head looked very deformed. It turns out she was posterior. So much of my labor made sense. That’s where the early urge to push came from, the back labor, my sense of my bones breaking (the birth injured my tailbone pretty badly), the extra difficulty pushing, her being late and the prodromal labor (both typical of posterior babies), and the long(ish) pushing time. She also had a pretty bad triangular shaped “battle wound” on her forehead from my sacrum.
Once they were stitching me up, I had Clint take Adeline because it was difficult to hold onto her. It took a long time for her to finish the stitches. They weighed her in at 9 pounds, 3 ounces. I had just delivered and over nine pound posterior baby with no epidural. I couldn’t believe it. I also couldn’t believe that I was done being pregnant! I was so happy! I knew I never had to go through pregnancy and labor again, for this baby at least!
I can’t describe how empowering this birthing experience was for me. Maybe I’ll write a full post on this later, but it was a huge contrast to Ainsley’s birth. With her, I felt like birth was something that was done to me. With Adeline, I felt in control of my care and my baby and I felt so powerful. I’m certainly not anti-epidural, but it was incredible to feel everything without the interference of medication. It sounds so cheesy, but I feel so connected to other women who have birthed naturally. Ironically, this birth was much more painful and medically “traumatic”, but emotionally it’s a complete difference. I’m very pleased with how things turned out and I no longer fear birth. I am healed!