Better late than never! Here's the second part of her birth story. You can read the full version, but since it's a little long here's the basics: I went in for an induction at 8 am on Thursday, April 14th. They broke my water around 10 am, and Taylor was born with no further interventions (and no drugs) at 2:59 pm. Ok, now all of you who love birth stories can keep reading!
The night before the induction we took it easy. Had a steak dinner and a teensy glass of wine, enjoyed our last night just the two of us, and went to bed early. On Thursday morning I woke up and called the hospital. Because it's a small hospital, inductions can sometimes be bumped if too many women go into labor. Things were slow this day though, and they told us to come on in. So we packed our things, posed for one last picture, and head to the hospital.
By 8 am we had checked in, and things started going awry. I was immediately told to change into a gown and lie on the bed so they could hook up an IV. Pitocin was already loaded, which terrified me. The nurse was trying to get the IV in as my husband (who is a firefighter/EMT) watched, shaking his head. I was told previously that I could have a saline lock but not get hooked up to anything unless it was necessary, but this nurse simply ran the fluids right in without question. I asked if I could have some water and was told that I was only allowed ice chips. I hadn't had any water that day yet, because I was previously told that water was okay to drink. I didn't feel like arguing, so I didn't say anything. (Pretty sure this is a first time mom thing. Next time I won't hesitate to speak up!)
Suddenly an OB showed up, a man I'd never met before, to lecture me on all the horrible complications that can occur with inductions. I already knew everything he said, but as I laid on the bed surrounded by nurses, student nurses, and this strange doctor, I started crying. Thankfully, the midwife kicked everyone out of the room and sat down with me and James to talk about our options.
She told me that I didn't have to stay. We could pack up our stuff and go home to wait for things to start on their own. Or we could start small with her simply stripping my membranes and walking around. We could then check to see where we were at and decide where to go from there. She went through all the options and then left James and I to talk about it. She even put a note on our door that no one was to disturb us, which I was so thankful for. At that point I was so tired of dealing with the hospital. It wasn't that I was tired of being pregnant. More that we'd been to the hospital multiple times that week, James was missing work, and I was just so tired of all the waiting. I didn't want to leave the hospital without my baby, so we decided to go for it. (I also felt like my body was ready - I'd been having contractions for days, after all, and she was already so low.)
James found the midwife, and around 9ish she checked where I was at and stripped my membranes. I was pretty devastated when she told me she thought I was more like 70% effaced and barely 2 centimeters dilated, which wasn't nearly as much progress as all the other midwives and nurses had been telling me. But we powered through and started our laps around the labor and delivery wing. My friend who had her baby the day before was checking out, so we were able to stop and meet her little boy before they left. James pushed the IV for me and we walked and walked.
I would periodically stop at my room to check my cup of ice. Since I wasn't allowed water, I simply waited for the ice chips to melt. After about an hour the midwife came back to check me. I was up to 80% effaced and dilated 3 cm. At that point she said if we were totally committed to having our baby she would break my water, but if things didn't progress quick enough that would mean we would have to use Pitocin. We said we understood, and around 10:30 she broke my water.
If I thought I was having contractions before, they were nothing compared to what happened after my water broke. They immediately got stronger and more uncomfortable. While the midwife was there I asked her if I could have water, and she told me that of course I could. I explained the nurses had told me only ice chips and she rolled her eyes and assured me I could have water or any clear liquid I wanted. She also unhooked me from the IV so I could walk around better.
After an hour of walking, this time much more slowly and having to stop more regularly to breathe through contractions, we went back to the room. I asked for a birth ball and spent quite a lot of time on it. The contractions were getting stronger and closer together. (The baby and I were being monitored periodically, but they were able to do it as I sat on the ball.)
As the contractions became more painful, James helped my applying counter pressure to my lower back and hips. He swears he was pushing as hard as he could but after awhile it felt like he was barely touching me. Somewhere around this time I got hungry. I'd snuck in some peanut butter, and James gave me a spoonful. I felt better for about ten minutes, then I threw it up.
At that point I asked to get in the shower. Because the nurse hadn't put in a saline lock (just a regular IV), someone else had to come in and fix it. They taped it off, and I labored under the hot water for quite awhile. While I was in the shower, someone brought James lunch. I wasn't really hungry (throwing up the peanut butter had put an end to that), so I didn't mind when James asked if he could eat. He brought the food in the bathroom so he could stay with me while I labored in the shower, but he'd pulled the door closed to keep the warm air in the room. Which was great until the food smell became overwhelming! It's funny now, but I was super not happy in the moment. He ate as quickly as he could to get rid of the smell :)
After awhile the midwife came in to check me. I don't remember what time this was, probably around noon. I was up 5-6 cm dilated and 90% effaced. I wasn't sure if that was good - I was so paranoid about progress because I didn't want that Pitocin that loomed in the IV stand. The midwife assured me things were going well, and I didn't need to worry.
I decided to get back on the ball. I think it was around this time I listened to a little of the Hamilton soundtrack. I'd actually created a labor playlist, but I never even started it. I only listened to a couple songs of Hamilton before shutting it off. The contractions were getting intense and much closer together. I called my parents around this time to have them come up to the hospital, but I had to pass the phone to James a couple of times because I couldn't talk through contractions any more. Instead I was making low gutteral sounds and moans. (I'd pretty much given up on the HypnoBabies training, but I'll talk more about that another day.)
Throughout this time nurses were coming in and checking things. I was still being monitored periodically, and the baby was doing great. The midwife stopped by and knew things were picking up just by listening to the sounds I was making. The contractions were getting worse and worse, and I couldn't do anything to make it feel better. Previously I could move to ease the pressure, or have James let me lean on him or just breathe.
As things got more intense, a nurse helped me get on the bed in sort of a kneeling position, holding onto a rail at the top of the bed. James calls this my "Exorcist moment" because I pretty much just thrashed around on the bed trying to get comfortable. All modesty was gone at this point, my gown was just wide open. James was trying to get me to breath and I couldn't focus. I was so thirsty but by the time he could bring my water to me I was having another contraction and couldn't take a drink.
My parents got to the hospital around this time. I got myself together (and covered) just long enough for them to come by. I said something along the lines of thanks for coming, now get out. At this point it was a struggle to talk or think about anything other than the intensity of the contractions.
I'm pretty sure that was when I was in transition. During that Exorcist moment I decided that I'd had enough. I still didn't want an epidural, but I knew there was the option of IV meds that would take the edge off. I asked James to get the midwife to check me. If I wasn't dilated to at least an 8, I wanted those pain meds. At this point it was around 2 pm, I think. He had to ask multiple times for someone to come back and check me. I don't think the staff knew how quickly things had progressed, because when I was finally checked they told me I was at 9+.
I was so relieved to hear that. It meant that I was almost there! Now that I knew I was so close, it almost felt like things got easier. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I knew I could handle whatever was ahead.
Around this time one of the nurses suggested I try the shower again. I shed my gown and stepped in the hot water for about two contractions before I called out that I was pushing. I didn't mean to, but my body just started doing it on its own. Things kicked into high gear as people appeared from nowhere to dry me off as they helped me back to the bed. People were putting gloves on, but I really don't know what was going on because I was so focused on pushing. The midwife came in and told me to stop pushing. The baby was starting to crown, so she wanted me to slow down. She worked some magic down there, and after just a few pushes Taylor's head emerged.
At some point during the crowning, I said it was burning. That led to a discussion between the midwife and James about the ring of fire (which is what some people call it when the baby crowns) and Johnny Cash. The midwife also said something like "you're doing so great, we could have 12 more babies!" While I now appreciate it, at the time I might've responded with a cuss word and a definitive no :)
As Taylor's head was coming out, I sat up and felt her head. It was so surreal, and I'm pretty sure I kept repeating, "Oh my God, that's my baby!" After another contraction or two I pushed out the shoulders, and there she was. They placed her on my chest, and the midwife turned to James and said "He looks just like you."
I frantically lifted Taylor off my chest to check, and yes, she was still a girl. The midwife just misspoke! Someone went to get my mom, and she came in and took some pictures, like this one.
The midwife kept working down below, dealing with all the afterbirth necessities. I was told I needed either a shot of Pitocin or some Pitocin in my IV to prevent hemorrhaging. I chose the shot (which I now regret because I'm still having issues where they did the injection), but I barely felt it. My dad came in to see us, then both my parents left to wait in our other room. The nurses slowly filed out, and it was just me and James for awhile.
We had a lot of time with our new little baby before they did anything, but after awhile they wanted to clean her up (she'd pooped all over me!) and do her measurements. (She was 6 pounds, 7.7 ounces, and 18 and a quarter inches long.) James went with Taylor, and I took a hot shower. The best thing about not having any drugs was that I was able to hop up and take a shower by myself. I actually had to open the door and call out for someone to bring me a towel, because we were out in the room and there wasn't anyone in there!
Once we were all cleaned up, they put Taylor in her bassinet and I wheeled her to our recovery room where my parents (and our dinner) were waiting. We were in the hospital until 4ish the following day, and then we headed home!
Whew, and that's it. I've struggled to write this, I kept wanting to rewrite it or shorten it. But it's 16 weeks later, it's time to just hit publish and share. Thanks for making it to the end. Maybe now I'll actually update the blog with other things!