Friday, January 31, 2014

Birth Story

My birth story turned out almost 180 degrees differently then what I had planned for, hoped for and wanted.

Before I go into the details of the birth I wanted to say a few things that I believed before giving birth and in fact I feel even stronger about after this experience.

First, That these are my own thoughts and feelings about labor and I do recognize and believe that each birth is different and that every women has the right to make and choose what she feels is best  for her birth experience and she should not be made to feel bad about her decides.
Second, I believe that giving birth should be something celebrated and something that is looked forward to instead of being feared. And I feel that as women sometimes we unintentionally use our birthing experiences to "scare" other women who are about to give birth. I don't think we do that on purposes but it can come across that way. I hope and pray that I do not do that here. I'm truly just wanting to share how my labor went, what happened and how I felt about it all.

I really believe that giving birth is a beautiful  and truly awesome thing, and that as a women we should feel so empowered and privileged that we have the ability to create life.

My birthing story starts on Wednesday January 22nd, where during the day I felt some crampy feelings that made me wonder if they were contractions  but they were very mild and very few that I pretty much wrote them off as braxton hicks and ignored them.

But those "crampy feelings" didn't stop and stared to get stronger and by about 6pm that evening they were strong enough that I thought I should start timing them. When it came time to go to bed they were stronger but still pretty far part. I tried to go to sleep and get some rest, but all I did was toss and turned as the contractions were just too much for me to ignore.

It went on like that all night, when finally at 4am on January 23rd I woke Mike up and ask him to support me through the contraction. He was so amazing, and made sure I had whatever I wanted and was just awesome at being there for me in anyway I ask.

It went on and on and on like that all Thursday, the contractions would just keep on coming but they weren't close enough for us to go to the hospital yet. And at one point in the day they really spaced out and yet I still could not lay down and get some sleep as it was just too uncomfortably. Now I realize that some may say (and maybe rightly so) at that point I still not in true labor as it appeared that things were not really progressing. And like I said maybe they would be right but either way I was not comfortable, I couldn't eat or sleep and when they would come on I had to stop whatever I was doing and focus on getting through it. So I am counting that time as part as my labor.

The dogs giving me some love and support as well

Finally in the evening I was having contractions every 3 minutes, and they were lasting minimum of 1 minute and it had been that way for about an hour. At that point we decided that it was time to go to the hospital, and that is when things started to go down hill.

Up to that point, I would say I was managing quite well even with things getting really intense.

Once at the hospital of course my contractions had spaced out again and what made things even "better" is that I was told that I was only 3 to 4 cm dilated ( I should say that at my last doctor's appointment she told me I was 2 cm dilated). I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed but I tried to remind myself that I felt really good about leaving and that it might be better to be there anyway as I had tested positive for strep B and need to be put on antibiotics.

Once we were moved to the labor room, all I wanted to do was to be left along and be able to pick things up again. But due to hospital policy I was to be checked every 2 hours to see what my dilatation was and the baby's heart rate had to be check every 15 minutes. So no I was not allowed to get back in to a groove and I was starting to get very frustrated and really starting to wish I had waited longer to come to the hospital.

Things didn't get any better because even with my contraction getting more intense, I was not dilating and the nurse started to say that I was no longer able to stay in the room as I was not in true labor and I would need to be moved some where else. This really upset both Mike and I as we felt instead of being helped and being able to labor in peace we were being bullied and continually being pushed to fit the hospital's schedule.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this I did dilate to 5cm but I can't remember exactly when.

Some time after the nurse told us that we would have to move out of the room, the on-call doctor came in to talk to us. She told us that some test and they took showed I had preeclampsia and that I need to have my water broken to really get things going as if I did not I could risk harm to the baby and/or myself. This really scared me and I didn't really understand what preeclampsia was and why it was a risk. The doctor was way too tired and grumpy to explain this well to me as every time I asked her a question she would be seem to get mad and wouldn't answer me. What she did tell me is that I married that wrong guy. This did not help me understand anything, and just upset me. And the crazy thing is she kept saying it. I would ask a question to try and understand and she would just say I married the wrong guy. I still get mad when I think about how rude and unhelpful she was.

I asked for a minute to talk it over with Mike as I felt  overwhelmed, scared and confused and I was having trouble taking it all in as I was still dealing with contractions and I was so so tired at this point. I just need a minute to think and take in what this doctor was saying.

She didn't really like that as she pretty much just stormed out. (In her defense she was tired and had been working way too long)

We did decided to have my water broken as I was just so worried about the baby. I just kept thinking that we are just too close to the end for something to go wrong now, we had waited so long for her and had already overcome the fear of losing her early in the pregnancy that I just couldn't have anything bad happen now.

We told the nurse our decision and she went to get the doctor but when she came back she told us that the doctor was now busy in emergency and wouldn't be able to see us for about 3 hour and that because of that they would have to put me on Oxytocin (Pitocin). Once again I was deflated just one more medical intervention I didn't want to have and yet I felt I had no choose with this whole preeclampsia thing. I really no longer felt confident in what was really the best thing I should be doing.

So they hooked me up, and I was nervous, I had educated myself enough to know that things were about to get really rough as the pitocin creates really strong contraction and that it doesn't sync it self with your body's own natural Oxytocin so what ends up happening is that you just have contraction after contraction with absolutely no relief in between. I was not excited to have to take pitocin and was worried how things would go.

The doctor did show up (not 3 hours later like first stated) to break my water. And that was quick and easy at least.

I continue to labor with lots of love and support from Mike, but I started feel like I was losing control, there was no relief in between the contractions and I was beginning to doubt my ability to continue.

When I was checked again, there was no progress, I didn't dilate at all. This was the moment I broke. I was so dishearten that I still hadn't progressed and the constant battering of contraction after contraction had finally got to me, I just couldn't do it anymore. And the moment I said the words out loud, "I want the epidural" I felt like the world's biggest failure, and I just cried and cried, I felt like all the learning , all the  reading and classes we took were all a big waste. I felt so embarrassed and shame that I couldn't do what I set out to do and have a natural birth. And I was scared, I hate needles and this was going to be the biggest needle ever!

I just sobbed and sobbed, and said sorry to everyone, I felt that I not only let myself down but everyone else as well. Both Mike and our doula Eva did their best to reassure me and calm me down. They said over and over again that I was doing great and if I need the epidural it was fine and that it meant I could finally get some much need sleep. Sadly this did not bring me much comfort.

While we were waiting for the doctor to come and give me the epidural they gave me the gas to help take the edge off. That definitively gave me a nice little high.

When the doctor finally arrived it was about 5am on January 24th at this point, He kept saying you can't move, you can't move. All I could think was how in the world am I going to keep still with all these contractions! And that is where the gas came in again! I just breathed it in and in and felt warm and fuzz all over.

 And as the doctor was doing his thing with the epidural, Mike was so amazing and came and stood in front of me and whispered supportive loving words in my ear, which helped me not be so scared and to remain still enough to let the doctor do what he needed to do. 

This was after I got the epidural
The epidural worked well for me and I was able to get some much needed sleep. but what was even better was that about 2 hours later when the nurse checked me I was fully dilated! I couldn't believe it, after hours and hours of not progressing at all and now in about 2 hours I dilated 5 cm! Wow, I was so happy! It wouldn't be long now till I could hold my daughter. 

Another thing that worked out very well is that no one showed me how to "top up" the epidural so I was feeling the contractions again and that was perfect for pushing. Which again made me so happy that I could feel what my body was doing and I could work with it.

For the first couple of pushes I tried out a few different positions to feel what felt best for me. In the end the position I liked best was on my back with my feet up on a bar that they put over the bed. Which kind of surprised me cause I had been doing lots of squats in preparation to giving birth in a squatting position but when it came time to the real thing I didn't like how that felt. I think that just goes to show that you really need to listen to your body and go with what feels best. 

Once in a good position, I feel that is when the "real" pushing started. This part went fast for me, and I didn't really feel any pain (that might be due to the epidural) but I did feel pressure, lots and lots of pressure. The pressure consumed me it was all I could focus on, and all I wanted  to do was relive that pressure. 

A magical moment during the pushing is that twice I felt the baby move down the birthing canal. The first time I felt it I wasn't sure that is what I really felt but the second time I was sure I was feeling her move down. That really helped give me the motivation to keep giving nice strong pushes knowing that soon I would finally get to meet her. 

I didn't really feel the "ring of fire" that people often talk about. There was one moment where I thought I felt a little burning feeling but the feeling of pressure just was all consuming.

(Sidenote: Later Eva our Doula did say that the Doctor did honor my wishes and used a warm compress to give counter pressure on my perineum so that might have also helped lessen that "ring of fire" feeling. I still did tear but only 2nd degree so not that bad.)

When they started telling me just to give little pushes, I really struggled with that as that feeling to push was almost uncontrollable. 

And then next thing I knew she was out and on my chest, once again I started to cry but this time they were all tears of joy and happiness. I don't really remember what I said or what any one said to me all I could do was focus on our little baby girl. She was just perfect. And I felt so happy that she was finally here safe and sound.  

She was born at 10:15am on January 24th 2014 (her due date)
She was 8 pounds, 19 inch and just the most beautiful baby in the world.

Overall all thoughts and feelings

I loved pushing! No really, I loved it! It was the best part  of my labor, and it went exactly how I would want it to and when I think back on it I feel nothing but happiness.

The sadly the night staff at the hospital were awful to us, we felt nothing but bullied and was not given enough information to make informed decisions. Luckily the day staff were wonderful, they were not only kind and caring but answered any questions we had and were willing to work with us in trying to honor any requested we had.

And lastly I'm starting to feel a lot better about my labor experience as a whole, yes I'm still a little sad how things went. And yes I am still a little disappointed that I got an epidural but having said that I think that the epidural is what made it possible for me to push my baby out. For I truly believe that if I had not received it there is no way I would have went from 5 cm to 10 cm in 2 hours. And I feel that I would have went on to labor for many more hours  and then when it would finally be time to push I probably would have been just too exhausted to do it on my own so who knows what would have happened. 

One of our first moments together
I have to give a big huge shout out to our Doula Eva, she was just outstanding and really went above and beyond any expectations we had. She seem to never get tired and was an endless supple of support and encouragement. Both Mike and I truly feel that we wouldn't have been able to do it without her. 

And then of course there was my dear sweet husband, he was my rock. He gave me nothing but love and support the entire time. There is no way I could have gone through this without him. For hours and hours he was always there to encourage me. When I was walking, he was right there behind me, when I rocked back and forth during a contraction, he was right there rocking with me, if I need a hug or supportive words, I didn't even have to ask, he was right there and could read me so well and knew exactly what I need. He once again showed me without a doubt why he is the worlds greatest husband and I am so so lucky to have him. 

First time Daddy holds his little girl


  1. Elva! Your sweet baby is here- and she's gorgeous! Way to go momma! I know it can be hard to come to terms and feel happy about how the birth process went when you spend so much time preparing for the "perfect" birth. But you had the perfect birth- you listened to your body and your baby was born without medical issues. You did great! With time your mind will ease about how it went.

    I'm so irritated with how you were treated at the hospital! I know that doctor was probably tired, but they shouldn't be a doctor working with laboring moms if they can't give good explanations about what's happening- a laboring mom needs assurance about what's happening when there's a problem. And why was she telling you that you married the wrong person??? Was she upset that your husband was awesome and was there for you every step of the way? I kind of want to punch that doctor in the face for you!

    Anyways, congrats! Sorry for the wrong post. You did AWESOME!!!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and the wonderful reminder on how lucky I am to have a beautiful, happy, health baby.

      I'm starting to feel a lot better about the birth, I really just focus on the 2nd half, the pushing and meeting my gorgeous baby girl those were the best parts of my birthing experiences.

      I'm not too sure why the doctor kept saying that about Mike. I know it has something to do with the preeclampsia but I don't really know why she didn't explain that to us. I'm just glad the day staff was so good, it helped balance things out.