I love to read birth stories. I read online birth stories voraciously while I was pregnant, finding hope and strength in each woman’s experience of bringing her child into the world. I read because I wanted to know what it was like to give birth vaginally because my twins were born via c-section 5 years ago and I really wanted a VBAC this time around.
I did. The contraction hurt and the bh contractions were just “intense.” I was so excited! I was 40 weeks 6 days pregnant and so ready for him to be here. If you want to know how ready, read my bitter blog post about Stupid Labor Induction Ideas.
Oct 22nd. 2pm: 12 hours into labor. Still at home and working through contractions with my doula and Aaron. Doing well!
Oy! laboring in the car is a pain in the….butt? back? uterus? not sure but it sucked! Thankfully we are only about 10-15 min away but it was enough time for me to have 3 contractions on the way there.
“After all,” I told her, “I’ve been in labor since 2am this morning.”
The Greek gods left after about two hours but the rest of the night was kind of a blur to me.
After that the contractions picked up to about 5-7 minutes apart. They were getting more intense but not getting closer together. I had a few crying jags throughout the day, but I finally got my head in gear. The 22nd may not have been his birthday but the 23rd was going to be!!!
Kate had me do all kinds of positioning all afternoon on the 23rd. I did a hands and knees swaying pose (it was adorable. My huge ba-donk-a-donk swaying in the air as I rested on my elbows…) trying to get the baby to move into a better position. She try to manually move him over to the center of my belly because we thought he was posterior (sunny-side up). We tried manual manipulation. We tried ice on one side of my belly and a heat wrap on the other. He moved some, giving us hope but after 2-3 hours of positioning techniques and countless contractions, he seemed to settle right back into his previous position, on my right side, on his side/posterior.
I texted my mom and said, “Going to the hospital again. Not coming home without the baby.”Enter car ride 3 from hell.
We had an awesome nurse this time with a great sense of humor. She checked me.
“You are 3cm, 90% effaced.”
Yep. Same as 24 hours ago.
My doctor was on call again that night. She came in and said, “You are in what we call “Dysfunctional Labor.”
Me: “Ya think?!”
And that is when my birth plan went out the window. I had wanted a low intervention, med-free labor. I didn’t want an epidural or have to be confined to the bed.
But in that moment, I didn’t care. It wasn’t just that I believed that “all that matters is a healthy baby!” That phrase annoyed me so much during my pregnancy. Yes, I did want a healthy baby (and his stats were awesome the whole labor!) but what I wanted mattered too! I DID want my ideal labor and birth experience.
But, I had given it a good try. I had labored over 40 hours without any type of intervention. And nothing was happening. So, we moved on to plan B, C, and D.
And that was ok.
Oct 23. 8pm: 42 hours of labor at home. Went to the hospital again and had not progressed in dialation in 24 hours. Doctor said I was in disfunctional labor. Currently have epidural to let me sleep and pitocin to help me dilate.
With the epidural in, I started to relax. My doctor really wanted me to sleep. I was so keyed up that I couldn’t really fall asleep but I was able to doze. Doctor came in at 2am. I was at 4cm and she broke my water (another thing that was on my birth plan that I didn’t want to happen but hey…whatever!)
Oct 24. 10am: Going on 54 hours. At 8. Epidural is helping me cope.
We were now in day 3. I was only dilating about 1cm every two hours. It was slow going. And the epidural was starting to wear off. I requested two “boosters” of pain relief. Sweet bliss…but they didn’t last for long: one hour for the first and about 30 minutes for the second. Pretty soon all my pain relief was gone and my contractions were moving into the pushing stage.
In all those birth stories I read, this is when those birthing women said “things got intense.”
Um…yes. “Intense” would be “a” word to use. A nice word. A word that doesn’t really describe what it means to be in that stage of labor.
One of my greatest fears about labor was that I would feel out of control, whether that meant I felt like people were “doing things to me” or that I would feel like I couldn’t handle the labor itself. (yes, I know, I am a control freak).
I felt like I was flirting with that out-of-control crazy feeling. Not quite Greek gods crazy but just a little bit…out of control.
I alternative prayed silently “God, help me! Give me strength, give me strength” in the 1-2 minute respite I had in between contractions or repeated out loud “I can do this. I can do this. Damn-it-I-can-do-this!”
The praying and swearing seemed to work pretty well.
I started pushing at hour 59. During that final hour, my husband, doula and two nurses kept telling me I was doing great. All I could think was, “Am I doing anything??? Is it ever going to end?? Oh, God it has to end!!”
I slipped over into the out-of-control. I had my final emotional breakdown. But it was almost over. Through my tears and two gut-wrenching screams, when I thought I had no strength left, I pushed my baby into the world (and the nurse who told me to stop screaming? I kinda wanted to punch her in the face).
Oct 24. 1:52pm: Silas is here!!! Brit and baby are well. Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement. Silas came in at 8-3.
I said and felt so many things in those first moments. My first thought when I saw my son when the doctor held him up?
“He has a little butt!”
Ok, let me explain this weird, first thought. My twins were so tiny when they were born (3 lbs 13 oz and 4 lbs 12 oz) and they were so skinny that they had no fat, no butt cheeks. They were so frail and weak.
But Silas had cheeks.
I got to hold him on my chest right after he was born. And in that moment, I realized that this is what I wanted out of my birth. Not the low-intervention, labor-in-the-tub, no-epidural, push-the-way-I-want-to-push, whatever. I wanted to feel that instant rush of love and connection that I missed when my twins were born via c-section and rushed away to the NICU without even a kiss from their terrified new mother.
But this time, the rush was there. Through tears and exclamations of “Precious baby! Happy Birthday! I am so freakin’ glad that is over!” I fell in love with my son.
Oct. 24. 3pm: Got to have Silas skin to skin for an hour after he was born and he nursed wonderfully. Filled with love. However, I feel like I got hit by a semi….three times.
My labor didn’t go the way I wanted it to. I didn’t get my birth plan.
But I got my moment. My rush of love.