Before now, my personal experience with labor and delivery hadn’t really extended beyond hearing “She had the baby, it was a boy!” Or “It was a tough delivery, but mom and baby girl are doing just fine”. Of course I understood that a stork didn’t just swing by and drop them a newborn child, but the comprehension of what a woman must endure to be able to make the special announcement was beyond me.
You can google birthing documentaries or watch You Tube videos and you’ll hear such a variety of experiences. I was once told by one of my hair clients, “I’d be pregnant forever if I just didn’t have to deliver them, while her sister standing next to her said, I’d deliver 10 more if I just didn’t have to be pregnant again.” Proving the extreme differences in this miracle of a journey.
If you’re more keen to watch our week long adventure Click Here for the video!
This is our birthing story.
Waddling into my last days of the pregnancy, I had full intentions of going into labor naturally and arriving to the birthing center with no expectations. I went to my doctors a few days prior to my due date to hear some news I wasn’t expecting. I was aware that when a mother is over 35 years old, they label her as “advanced maternal age”, meaning medically too old, wrinkly, elderly and brittle to have a non risk pregnancy (enter eyes rolling here). What I didn’t know is that they rarely like an older woman to go over her due date as it increases the chance of a high risk labor resulting in still birth (baby who has died in the womb). As a person who generally lives a natural lifestyle with little to no western medicine, I struggled with the idea of forcing something that would eventually happen on its own. I was nervous about it but I feel they all truly had our best intentions in mind, inducing was the safest route.
I’ll have to admit that starting at 38 weeks I had fun with old wives tales to encourage an on time delivery, if not a little early. I figured naturally trying to induce would be much better than medically induced. I ate my fair share of pineapple and dates, drank gallons of red raspberry leaf tea, enjoyed plenty of “quality time” with Matt, rubbed essential oils on certain pressure point and even went as far as taking a shot of good ol castor oil. There’s a possibility that all of these things contributed to me dilating to 2 with 80% effacement, but still not enough to send me into labor.
Here’s Matt prepping to paint my toes after the pressure point ankle massage. #besthusbandever
After a lot of thought and discussion, we decided to go past my due date with hopes she’d come first, but keep the induction date the doctor booked as a back up. Time came and gone so we found ourselves packing up for a midnight inducement at the Sacred Heart Birthing Center.
I feel like I could write an entire book on what the next 24 hours entailed, but I’ll let the video show you those details.
Midnight to 1am- paperwork, room organization and me changing into my gown.
1:00 am – They gave me Cytotec, a drug that’s used as a ripening agent to soften the cervix. At this point I was barely 2cm and feeling random dull contractions.
1-5:00 am – I laid in bed, eyes closed with my mind wide open.
5:15 am – They checked again and I was at 3cm still with minimal contractions.
6:00 am – Started the Oxytocin (Aka “Pitocin” – causes and/or strengthens labor contractions during childbirth).
Here’s a fake smile while working through a small contraction.
7:15 am – An amniotomy was performed (rupturing of the water sac) in hopes of strengthening contractions and speeding up labor. Not fun… at all.
8:00 am – With the Pitocin and amniotomy combination I had dilated to 5cm and this is when I went from slightly uncomfortable, to on my hands and knees. I was now breathing through what seemed to be an almost intolerable series of contractions. I had no time to recover between each uterus stabbing pain and only had the ability to catch just enough air to prevent me from passing out.8-1:30pm – for over 5 hours I endured these Pitocin induced contractions and watched in horror every time the nurse would come in to increase the dosage. I did my best to change positions, relax my face and breath to the deepest of my core in order to make it through.
1:30 pm – The nurses informed me that because the contractions were so close together with much intensity, that an epidural may benefit the situation. An epidural is a type of anesthesia that doctors give you to numb your spinal nerves and prevent pain signals from traveling to your brain. They said it’d invite my body to relax and allow for more dilation as well as provide me with rest before the pushing began…
1:32 pm – I asked for the epidural.
1:45-9:45 pm – For the following 8 hours I was bound to the bed due to the numbing in my lower half. Everyone watched a movie as I closed my eyes for small moments at a time and I was finally able to express what I was feeling without reaching for a breath. Although I like to do things naturally, I have to admit, this was wonderful. Well, all was wonderful except the one side effect I had NO idea was even a possibility. Uncontrollable shaking. Like when you get a chill and your teeth chatter, except this was throughout my entire upper body, jaw to core and down my arms. My amazing husband and mother took turns attempting to calm the shake or at least provide relief by rubbing my joints. It wasn’t so much painful, but exhausting! My muscular structure felt like I had been running a marathon for hours.
9:45-10:45 pm– The time had finally come and the room was getting ready. My doctor was on her way and the nurses started to prep the area for delivery. I was still shaking so you can imagine us trying to keep me warm with layers of blankets and rubbing techniques. Little did we know this was a mistake. I’m not quite sure if the covers were totally to blame, but at this point I had acquired a high fever. Adults can handle big temperatures but think of my little oven overheating and what it can do to the unborn baby. Although the staff didn’t seem too worried, there was definitely a shift in energy when the fever continued to climb.
10:45-11:07pm – Go time! Legs spread eagle, no shame… my husband was on my left, mom on my right and Dr. Ellen Esses directly in my forward vision. My best friend Katie and Matts mom Terri were also there in support with cameras in hand.
I had always heard of other women’s stories describing lengthily pushing episodes extending hours into weariness, babies getting stuck in the canal and other unattractive things during the delivery. I did my best to push these concerns far from my reality and focus on my journey, the present moment. I was so pleasantly surprised when only 15 minutes into pushing the doctor called the team in for our little girls arrival.
11:08 pm – Only 20 minutes after my first push, they were placing her in front of me. Overwhelmed and almost in disbelief, there I was, looking into the eyes of our daughter.
As soon as it was cleared that Shanti was healthy (although born with a fever, it dropped on its own) I asked everybody, excluding staff, to clear the room except me and Matt. This was our time to bond as a new family, to surround our little girl with the welcoming peaceful energy that we’ll carry home with us. It was priceless to lay in my husbands arms, yes he climbed into the tiny hospital bed with me, while holding Shanti Mae on my chest.
Next up, surviving the first week with a newborn!
I invite you to click the link below to watch our entertaining and personal experience!