Now that Rose is officially 8 weeks old, I think it’s finally about time to write her birth story.
As time passed my due date of January 15th, I started to become anxious, not anxious about labor or delivery, but anxious to meet the little baby that had grown in my uterus for the past 40 weeks. Was the baby a boy or a girl? Would the baby look like Paul or me? How much would the baby weigh at birth? All questions that ran through my head. I never once worried about labor or delivery, nor did the thought of complications ever cross my mind. Throughout my pregnancy, I planned for a natural vaginal birth without pain. After looking into different birthing options, I decided to use Hypnobirthing as my method of pain control and relaxation during labor and delivery. Hypnobirthing is a natural method of birthing that focuses on breathing and a higher relaxation state. It is said that with Hypnobirthing, one can find themselves in such a deep relaxing state that no pain is felt during labor, simply pressure as the baby moves down the birthing canal.
The beginning of Labor
4 nights before Rose was born, I began having uterine
contractions surges. They began irregular and then would become more regular; however they only occurred in the evenings and never became less than 5 minutes apart. On the eve of January 21st, the uterine surges began once again; however by midnight the surges ceased and an immense back discomfort began instead. Initially this back pain pressure occurred as irregular as the uterine surges; however than it became constant. With Hypnobirthing, I was taught to never refer to the contractions as painful; however, these back surges were definitely painful, like a knife constantly jabbed in my lower back. From midnight to 6 am, I couldn’t sleep, lie down, stand, or even sit. I was continuously pacing the apartment, unable to find any comfortable position. After 6 hours of constant pain, we decided enough was enough, so Paul and I packed our hospital bags in our car and left for the hospital. I always wanted to stay at home during labor until right before the baby was born; however, with constant pain it was very difficult to know when would be the right time. We decided it was better to be at the hospital than at home, just in case something was wrong with me or the baby.
Hospital: Dilated to 3 cm (6:00 am, 1/22/11)
When we arrived to the Birthing Center, the nurse applied an external uterine monitor which showed I was definitely having regular uterine contractions. At this time, my cervix was dilated to 3 cm. The nurse was well-versed in Hypnobirthing and coached my breathing and relaxation exercises.
Hospital: Dilated to 5 cm (4:00 pm, 1/22/11)
After approximately 8 hours of back labor and failing to find any comfortable positions, my cervix was dilated to 5 cm. We were given the option of staying at the hospital or continuing labor at home, and we decided to stay at the hospital, since it appeared my labor was progressing. Later that evening, a nurse rechecked my cervix dilation and stated my cervix was dilated to 7 cm. A couple of hours later I was dilated to 9 cm. My labor was progressing and Paul and I began to become extremely excited to have our baby! Once I was dilated to 9 cm, we decided to have our Physician rupture my membranes so labor would continue to progress.
Labor ceases to progress (3:30 am 1/23/11)
The Provider we chose to delivery our baby arrived to our hospital room. Using something that resembles a hook, he examined my cervix and poked a very small hole in the amniotic sac, “breaking my water”. Small drops of fluid began dripping onto the floor around me, never a gush, just occasional drops of clear fluid. After leaving the room for about 10 minutes, the Physician returned with bad news. I was still only dilated to 5 cm, my labor was not progressing as we had thought. The nurse screwed up. We were devastated. The anticipation of a baby had become so high that hearing this news immediately brought tears to my eyes. Not only was my labor not progressing, but now my water was broke and time for delivery was limited. To say I was emotional is an understatement. I felt frustration, anger and fear. I was frustrated that the nurse incorrectly measured the dilation of my cervix TWICE and that my labor was not progressing despite continued back labor and uterine contractions. I was angry because the physician failed to mention my cervix was only dilated to 5 cm until AFTER he ruptured my membranes. Had I known my labor was not progressing, I would not have had my membranes ruptured, as this is a medical procedure disallowing the natural course of delivery to occur and it leads to increased risk of infection for both me and the baby. At this time, I was afraid. I feared for the life of the small child in my womb. I feared that I would have to endure a C-section. I feared for the unknown. At this point, the pain I had been experiencing was the least of my worries. I wanted this baby to be born healthy, my number one priority for the remainder of my hospital stay.
Helping my labor progress (8:00 am 1/23/11)
After rupturing my membranes, my cervix remained dilated to 5 cm. Since it was obvious my uterus was not contracting enough to dilate my cervix, the nurse and physician started me on Pitocin, a drug that augments or induces labor by increasing uterine contractions. After a few hours of Pitocin at a small dose, my cervix remained dilated at 5 cm, so my nurse recommended increasing the Pitocin. Since Pitocin increases uterine contractions in an unnatural way, the labor pains experienced are much more painful, so she also recommended an epidural injection for pain control. At this point I was incredibly tired from not sleeping and being unable to lie down, sit or stand still for so many hours. All I could do was pace the room, and I was tired. We decided to receive the Epidural injection and increase Pitocin.
Epidural, Pitocin and Football (12:00 pm 1/23/11)
Two Nurse Anesthetists arrived to my hospital room. Using sterile procedure and some extremely long needles, they bore holes into my spine and injected a pain reliever and a numbing medication. Almost instantly, my body from the waist down began to feel numb. I could no longer control or feel my legs. From that moment on, I was bound to my bed. The Obstetrician on call inserted an internal monitoring device into my uterus so we could monitor the strength of my uterine contractions, while two nurses inserted a catheter into my bladder. It felt like there were tubes and monitors everywhere: I had an IV in my left hand, spinal port in my back, fetal monitor and external uterine monitor on my abdomen, internal uterine monitor in my vagina/uterus and a catheter in my urethra/bladder. At least the pain had ceased and I was somewhat comfortable so we could watch the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears in the Conference Championship, all while labor continued.
Monitoring uterine contractions (2:00 pm 1/23/11)
The internal uterine monitor was able to measure the strength of my uterine contractions, demonstrating that my uterus definitely was not contracting strong enough to dilate my cervix. This allowed the nurse to continue increasing Pitocin until my uterus was contracting strong enough. At this point, we were told we had 2 hours remaining for my labor to progress. If my cervix did not dilate to 9 or 10 cm within the next 2 hours, we would have a C-section.
Labor progresses: Dilated to “Almost” 10 cm (4:00 pm 1/23/11)
Pitocin worked! 2 hours later, my cervix had almost dilated fully and I was told to start pushing whenever I felt strong contractions. Even though I had received an epidural, I could still recognize contractions and, as the baby moved down the birthing canal, I could feel the entire pushing and delivery process.
Pushing (4:30 pm 1/23/11)
The room was filled with people: 2 nurses, a doctor, my husband and mother: all there to support me and coach me through breathing and pushing. Since I was bed-bound, my mother and Paul each held a leg as I curled my entire body into a ball, aligning my pelvis opening with the vagina to assist baby’s delivery. Thank God for yoga. With each contraction and pressure felt, I pushed hard and strong. I never felt pain, only pressure; however, at times the pressure was intense. The onlookers would say “There’s the head, keep pushing!” There is only so much one could push at any given time, before becoming tired and going limp. Small cat naps, lasting around 15 seconds, between pushes assisted the process. Finally, she was almost here. “Just one more push.”
The Delivery of Rose Marie (4:58 pm 1/23/11)
With one last push, her head emerged, followed by the remainder of her body. Paul proudly proclaimed “It’s a girl” while the Physician untangled her umbilical cord which was wrapped around her neck twice. 10 fingers, 10 toes, and immediately I heard a strong, healthy cry. My baby had been born and she was beautiful. The tears began flowing as I took her into my arms. 36 hours of labor at the hospital completely forgotten as I gazed into her beautiful blue eyes. My miracle had been born. Thank you, Jesus.
Rose right after being born