I'm fascinated by birth and love hearing others birth stories. I'm mainly writing this for myself so I can remember the details and the feelings during this incredible time. Birth is one of the most amazing things I've experienced in my lifetime and I'm thankful I've gotten to do it three times. Baby B is six months old already and I'm realizing I've already forgotten many of the details of my pregnancy and birth with her but I'm going to try and tell it.
Baby B was our first child that we actively tried for and had months of disappointing negative pregnancy test. I feel for the couples who tried way longer than we did, as the night before I had a positive pregnancy test we had went on a date and I told Jud I was ok to stop trying and happy and thankful for the two beautiful children I had. You can imagine my excitement the next day :).
I again had Gestational Diabetes with Baby B but had it pretty much managed with diet. I really really wanted to experience spontanious labor but had a couple of high blood sugars and pressures and my doctor (who i madly respect and adore) didn't really like my plan. Well, after battling SPD for the majority of my pregnancy AND having a husband who became severely immobile when I was 8 months pregnant I decided it was best to listen to my doctor and I was ready to meet Baby Girl. We scheduled an induction for 38 weeks. My one request for this induction was to labor at the Birth Center at the hospital. In hind site, it really didn't matter. Other than meeting one of my favorite humans (my L&D nurse) I honestly wish I would have been at the hospital for what came after delivery.
We checked in at 7:00am on October 27th. The eve of the 27th and the drive to the hospital were emotional. I'm still emotional about this being my last baby. Knowing I would never feel baby kicks again and I was about to meet my final baby, it was like i was grieving the experience before it even happened. Anyways, I had two pretty much text book inductions that played out very similar - checked into the hospital, took quite awhile to get an IV set, started pitocin, had a moody epidural and had a baby in my arms 12 hours later after very minimal pushing. Always followed by a snickers and chipotle guacamole. One of my fears was I now had expectations for how I thought this labor and delivery should go based on my previous two and I've always felt when expectations are involved, you set yourself up for disappointment, especially with birth in which you can't control much of anything.
When I met my nurse we hit it off pretty much immediately which set the tone for the day. Having a good nurse makes a world of difference. She did my hair because apparently my arms didn't work while i was in labor. And now we are friends and hang out. The two things I was dreading for the day were the IV and the epidural. We got the IV in relatively easy compared to the other IV's I've had in the past where I've been poked several times before finding a good vein. I had gotten pretty dehydrated at the beginning of my pregnancy and when I went in for blood work I ended up getting poked SEVEN times and they couldn't get blood to flow. I have severe needle phobia and this experience added to that which is why I was so scared of getting the IV.
Once we got the IV in the morning moved pretty slow. We were waiting on my OB to come by before we started pitocin so I was essentially just hanging out in the hospital without being in labor at this point. We ended up starting pitocin around 10am so we could get the show on the road. My goal was to have a baby before my nurse was off. The next couple hours were still pretty chill, I was up peeing every 10 minutes. At one point I thought my water had broke on my way to the bathroom but the baby had just kicked me and caused me to pee on the ground. I'd like to tell you thats the first time I've cleaned up my own pee but the story of this pregnancy was peeing myself a lot. Aspen told me at one point she was going to pray that she didn't pee when she sneezed like I did.
Around lunch my doctor came by to check on me and hung around for awhile. We were watching my contractions and he said I wasn't in enough pain yet so he was going to go ahead and break my water. I had told myself I wasn't going to have my water broken again but I did lol. The things I wanted on paper vs. the things I was fine with in the moment were very different. Speaking of which, I had brought my camera to the hospital with the intention of photographing the birth from my perspective. I had used this time to grab a couple of shots and get the camera ready for when it was action time. However, when it was action time I wanted nothing to do with my camera. I still regret this decision.
After my water broke and we continued turning pitocin up things started to intensify a bit. But due to my severe fear of needles I put off the epidural a bit longer. When i was around 5 cm, and maybe about 4:00pm I was ready. One of the last times I got up to pee I was in the bathroom and I was miserable at this point and looked myself in the mirror and told myself i needed to remember this. I needed to remember this pain, because at that point I never wanted to experience it again. I knew I'd struggle with wanting another baby and grieving it being my last so I needed to remember that moment. Anesthia took awhile to get to me. It ended up being a busy baby day and the CRNA got to deliver the baby across the hall from me because she decided to come while she was getting her epidural.
I had two bad epidural experiences where it didn't take on the right side of my body initially. With Aspen we got it reset and I was eventually numb. Cooper i ended up with a spinal tap to get it to work. This time it did work on my right side, the left side was the problem. I was numb in some spots but my contractions were still very intense on my left side. Baby B was laying sideways likely causing more pain that she needed to. They worked on me to try and get my left side pain free but we never got there. My other two births I had progressed very slowly throughout the day and then jumped from a 6 to a 10 in about 15 minutes so I fully expected that to happen here and was warning everyone. Once I got to a 6 we went ahead and called my OB and got the delivery team ready. Thankfully, we didn't jinx me and I did indeed jump from a 6 to a 10 very quickly. We were still waiting on my OB to get there for me to start pushing. I waited on him with Cooper too and for that birth I didn't care since I wasn't feeling contractions and was happy. This time I was cursing him that i was having to feel another contraction because he wasn't there. I was also yelling at Jud that he could go get snipped because this was his fault. This part is a blur, but I'm pretty certain I was screaming through contractions at this point. It wasn't nearly as calm as Aspen or Cooper but it was relatively short lived in the grand scheme of things. Once my doctor got there he said I could go ahead and start pushing. He also told me that every delivery gets easier.. So after my first push the baby was still in me, I wasn't happy. I pushed 3-4 times with Baby B and at one of them I remember yelling at him that he had lied to me and this wasn't easier.
I was in denial the majority of my pregnancy that I was carrying a large baby. I was doing weekly BPP and growth checks and she was measuring very large. Once she came out and they handed her to me everyone commented on how big of a baby she was, and even then I was still in denial. She had chubby cheeks but I was certain she was going to be less than 8lbs. Meeting her was beautiful and I was so happy my last baby was here and had 10 fingers and 10 toes and everything else appeared to be healthy. We did skin to skin during golden hour, she wasn't really interested in nursing but that was OK, she would later figure out how fun eating was.
She ended up weighing 8lbs 10oz at 19" long and was born at 6:47pm, the exact same time as Cooper, and shift change. So I apparently like to have shift change babies.
The next few days did not go as planned and even though I had a healthy baby, that just needed a bit of assistance, were quite traumatic. Since I had gestational diabetes we had to check B's after birth. She needed three good blood sugar tests in a row within the first 12 or 24 hours (I don't remember details). She'd have two good ones and then have one that slighly dip below the threshold. She dipped two points below the threshold so the pediatrician on call sent in orders to transfer her to special care. This is one of the moments I felt unheard, unseen and like I had ZERO control over my baby that I had just carried for 9 months. I wanted them to check her blood sugar one more time before sending us there because she had a great feeding but they refused to do it. Since I was still a patient and wasn't discharged yet, I wasn't going to be able to go with B to the hospital. I requested that we stay together until I had a room over at the hospital, which they agreed to. But after about an hour of waiting they came and told me i was denying care to my baby. I've never been made to feel like I was a terrible mom but in that moment the lack of compassion around the situation was really awful. I remember just bawling and letting them take my baby (Jud was with her the entire time). I had never dealt with PPD but in that moment, I could feel myself spiraling. I spent the next couple of hours in my hospital room by myself crying. At one point, Jud and I even got into an argument over the phone as they wouldn't let me go over to the hospital (from the birth center) to feed the baby. Before midnight, I was finally able to get transferred over to the hospital and see my baby again. It was traumatic again seeing her with an IV and all these cords. They had her on a sugar drip for blood sugar control. The next day I got discharged and we got moved to a room with a hospital bed with baby B so I could stay in there with her. We were at the hospital for 5 days total. Which really isnt that long, and I know so many others have it much worse and are also dealing with a major health problem but what I will say is being in the hospital for any extended amount of time does affect your mental health. I was almost always on the verge of tears. I missed my other kids, I wanted to hold my baby without 10 cords attached to her, i wanted to be at home with my own bed, shower, coffee, and different four walls. I don't really know what the learning experience was here, other than it was a very small part of her story but at the time felt very overwhelming. BUT all that to say, we have a beautiful, happy, baby girl who brings so much light to our life.
Newborn Photos by Andrea Corwin Photography