Julianne is 8 days old and I cannot believe how quickly time flies! I have been really wanting to share our birth story because I at least want to have the details written down before they start fading away.
As MANY people knew, I was 10 days past my due date. October 22nd came and went and baby girl decided not to make her appearance. All I could think about was how I could have miscalculated the due date. Where did I go wrong. I was very insistent on keeping a positive attitude knowing that God’s timing meant everything. We prayed that Julianne would not arrive on time so that I could be part of Ryan’s first fall concert. God answered.
Julianne SURE did take her time though. I had my contraction timer loaded on my Droid phone and I was ready to feel them coming at any time. I know there were several days where I felt contractions different than the Braxton-Hicks but still no baby.
Cleaning house for the 10th time.
Yes. I have to admit that I was getting very frustrated. I went in for my 41-week appointment with the midwife, except she was not at the office because she was at the hospital delivering babies. I was seen my one of the physicians in the group and I proceeded with my ultrasound and fetal monitoring.
All in all I felt that the appointment was going well until I met with the physician to discuss plans for the following week, the 2 week mark past due date. This did not exactly happen as I imagined. The physician said that my amniotic fluid was low. It was supposed to be between 5 and 10 and mine was reading at 3. I did not like the sound of that but I did not know what usually happened when this was reported. She then proceeded to tell me that I was going to have to be induced.
OK. Nice. Induced. Not on my birth plan. OK. I asked the physician when this would happen. She told me she would call my midwife at the hospital and consult her and the other physicians. She returned to the office to tell me to head to the hospital that very morning.
Uh. Ok. Like NOW? Yes, the physician said not to wait HOURS but to grab my belongings at home and head to the hospital. I left dumbfounded. I was alone and I did not know how to react. Ryan was at school in his class and I had no one to consult. I called my mother-in-law knowing she would be available and walked me through what I had just heard. I kept on phoning and texting Ryan until 45 minutes later, after he got out of class, he contacted me and I told him the news.
Our bags were all packed in the trunk of his car, but Ryan had to pack his clothes. Within 20 minutes we were out of the house at 1pm on November 1st. We checked in the hospital and were shown to our room. I stripped down to the hospital gown and waited. I prayed and asked God for peace and to calm me because I was nervous. I despised the fact I had to be induced. All my grand plans at having this baby naturally seemed to go down the drain.
2:00pm-Nursing staff come in an insert catheter on left hand. Not only am I receiving Pitocin for the process of inducing but I am also receiving antibiotics since I came out positive for Group B Strep. I also had fluids running for hydration purposes. My amniotic fluid was low and so then the baby’s heart beat had to be monitored. What more? I had to be hooked up with 2 monitors: one for my contractions and one for the baby’s heartbeat. These were probably the MOST annoying monitors in the world. I was strapped down by them and limited to only a small space.
3:00pm-Pitocin starts dripping and then at every half hour it was increased. By 3:30-4pm I was feeling the contractions. By 5:00pm I was feeling them 4-5 minutes. By 7:00pm I was feeling them every 2-3 minutes and they were starting to be uncomfortable and painful.
I found out I could not get in the bathtub to alleviate the pain since I HAD to be connected to the monitors. FAIL #2. I started working on the birthing ball and bouncing but realized that it was starting to get even more uncomfortable on there. I used a smaller yoga ball on the bed and rolled back and forth as I tried breathing deeply and not focusing on the pain.
Ryan was a WONDERFUL blessing! The Lord knew what kind of husband I needed in my life and I thank him daily for providing me with my best helper and coach. He was there with the back rubs, ice chips, words of encouragement. He was my DJ, choosing movie score soundtracks and classical music tracks. He was patient with me when I hissed at him to change a particular track that sounded like synthesized music. NOT the best music for labor, let me tell you.
My breathing was deep and I alternated from lip trills, singing in my head voice, humming in high pitches while streaming breath of air from the deep recesses of my body. It was truly effective but how long could I go? I worked from a rocking chair that turned to be my best friend.
I arrived at the hospital only at 1cm dilated (so sad) and once Pitocin started it took 8-9 hours to get to 5 cm. I was very discouraged. How long was I going to be in labor? Would I be able to last??? Midnight came along and so our chances at having a baby on 11-1-11 at 11pm were shot. Ha! Midnight through 3am proved to be the most painful.
My nurse kept on offering me pain medication even though we stated in my birth plan that non should be offered. Why? Because of what happened next. She kept telling me I had nothing to prove and that I did not have to be a super woman to prove anything. Looking back, even though she was a great nurse, I resent those statements from her. She even told me she experienced Pitcocin without pain meds with one birth and that she would never do it again, so I guess she needed to encourage me NOT to do it?
Well, 3:00am rolled around and I kept moaning to Ryan that I did not think I could handle this pain any longer. I think I cried twice but they were not even hard cries, they were only cries of frustration. Ryan kept encouraging me, telling me I could do it and that I was a strong person. I kept on claiming God’s name for strength, peace and direction. Yes, my source of energy was truly through Him, but I will let you know why later.
I called the midwife in and asked her what the pain options were. One could be given through my IV line and the other was an epidural. The one through the line would make me dopey and even the baby. Well, heck, that sure convinced me. Dopey and perhaps I still would feel the pain? I would then not be in control of breathing through my pain. What about an epidural? Well, the midwife explained that it would help me through the pain but she did not push either one. Since the nurse kept suggesting pain meds I wanted to know my options.
Let me tell you. NOTHING good happens at 3:00am. I was running on 5 hours of sleep from the previous night and I was TIRED. Was I lucid? Ryan was not encouraging me to take the meds but wanted the best for me. I kept focusing on my pain, and looking back it was very selfish of me. I just wanted to feel numb. Even so, I decided to go with an epidural. Anesthesia was called, directions were given to Ryan as to where he should sit since a needle was to be inserted in my back, and I was about to sign a consent form. I read the consent form and read the possible side effects.
I got a bad feeling about the whole thing. I prayed and asked God to give me direction. I looked at the consent form and started crying. The possible side effects were possible vocal damage. I do not care if it happened to ONE person or to FIVE, but the fact that it was listed made my mind up. With the anesthesiologist behind me with a big needle, I DECLINED and did not sign the consent form. Somehow, some way, I was going to manage through this pain. I also would have not been able to move around the room if I had accepted the epidural. Another nurse told me later she was happy I did not take it cause it could have prolonged my labor even longer.
Lying in bed for contractions was probably the WORST place to manage through my pain. Ryan encouraged me to stand and rock back and forth. I would then hold on to the bed railings through each contractions and hum loudly. I would fold into a pillow on the bed as I stood. The nurse constantly would come in saying she could not hear the baby’s heart beat because my monitor kept moving. DUH! I was told I could use different ways to manage through my contractions, of course my monitor was useless. I was the MOST annoying thing in the world!!
At 4:30am, I called my midwife to check me and she finally gave me wonderful news. I was 7cm dilated. WOW! In an hour and a half, after declining the epidural and walking about the room, I had progressed SO quickly. I knew that God was with me and had heard my prayer.
The midwife told me though that I was dilating unevenly and that I should lie in bed alternating every 15 minutes on each side. Hey, remember that part where I said that laboring in bed was the PITS??? My Ryan was there, rubbing my lower back. Heat compressions were of no help at this point and only exacerbated the pain. 5:00am and 6:00am came and the nurse kept telling me that if my pain started changing to a deeper lower feeling to call them. Meanwhile I was sighing in a sing-songy pitch that was loud. I was singing through each contraction in my head voice. The nurse finally came in and told me to shut it. Technically. She told me to save my energy for delivery so now I had to just quietly breathe through my contractions. It was hard.
The midwife and nurse started setting up the room for delivery and I could only see the light at the end of the tunnel. Would it happen soon? Would I stay at 7cm or would I finally dilate completely? The midwife checked me at 6:30am and said I was ready. WOW!
Ryan was given cold towels to cool me down as I prepared to deliver. I will spare you details of delivery but it only took 45-50 minutes and guess what? There was a shift change right when I was to deliver so I got another nurse for delivery and she was AWESOME. Between my midwife, new nurse, and Ryan, I had the best team to help me deliver Julianne. She came in one quick swoop and I held my little girl IMMEDIATELY.
I cannot express to you, well, I can, how amazing it felt to be able to hold her. It was an out of this world experience and all the pain I experienced went out the window when I saw her and held her. I thank God for the gift of life and for being able to carry this little body in my body for 10 months. I would do it ALL over again. I realized that my choice to numb my pain would have been selfish of me. These are MY feelings for my situation and I am in no way judging anyone else who takes pain meds, but I had a birth plan and I almost through it out the window for MY convenience.
I had control over my choice of having pain meds but I did not have control over being induced, so I decided to take that route and I am super thankful that God was my helper as was my dear husband.