Peanut Watch 2013 was a very watched event! No one knew when Peanut would be coming or just what kind of peanut we would be having. Micah and I had decided not to know the sex of the baby, so everyone was excited for baby to come. My due date was February 24, my aunt Sharon’s birthday. Micah’s family has a track record of babies being born on other family members’ birthdays or other life events, so I for sure thought that would be Peanut’s birthday.
I really wanted a natural birth experience. I attended the births of both of my sister’s girls, I had done a lot of reading on birth, and after watching The Business of Being Born, I was convinced natural was the only way for me! I wanted more control and less intervention than my sister had had, so I searched out a midwife and a doula. I still wanted to deliver in a hospital in case the baby or I needed immediate medical attention. I interviewed a couple doulas and really clicked with Desiree at Liberty Birth. I knew if I wanted to go natural that it would be best for me to have a doula there to help me manage and get through the pains.
On Sunday, February 17 around 4:30 p.m. I noticed that I had started to lose my mucus plug. I was very excited because I knew that a baby would be here within the week! I went to bed around 8:30 p.m. and about 30 minutes later, I felt a pop inside me. I got up to go to the bathroom and felt a small gush. I went and told Micah what had happened, but since the gush was so small (nothing dramatic like you see in the movies), I wasn’t sure if it was my water or not. I went back to bed and was having contractions about every 40 minutes, which I didn’t think much of because I had been having contractions for a few weeks.
Monday morning, we got up and walked the dogs; I felt another gush and decided that this had to be my water breaking, and this was it! I told Micah, and he immediately started running around the house asking me what he should do. I already had our bags all packed and ready to go.
However, I was still feeling fine, so we decided to do some cleaning around the house and go for another walk. I was in contact throughout the morning with my doula Desiree and with my midwife’s office. Around 4:30 p.m. Desiree suggested that I check in with the midwife again as we were getting close to the 24-hour mark of my water breaking. The midwife told me that I should make my way to the hospital to get checked out and monitored.
We live maybe three miles from the hospital so we were there by about 5 p.m. They got me hooked up to the monitors, and both the baby and I sounded great. The nurse inserted a speculum to take a swab of fluid to make sure my water had really broken. When she was down there, she shined a light and said she saw lots of hair, which was exciting because that meant I was dilating!
Once we verified my water had broken and we were now just three hours from the 24-hour mark, the midwife said I had three options. I could stay and have a foley ball inserted and be put on Pitocin. Or I could be admitted and do option #1 in the morning. Option #3 was to go home and see if labor started, and if not, come back to the hospital at 9 a.m. for induction. The first two options were out of the question in my mind because I wanted a natural birth and didn’t want interventions. So in hopes that labor would start on its own, we chose going home. I slept for 11 hours that night, the last real sleep I’ve gotten since the baby was born.
On Tuesday, I woke up still very much pregnant. Meridith (Micah’s sister) and Stella (Meri’s daughter) had flown in the night before, so we met up with them and Muriel for breakfast at Luci’s.
After breakfast we made our way to the hospital, back through admittance and into triage. I was very excited to see that my other favorite midwife Lisa was on call that day. Lisa came in and did a cervical check; I was a bit sad to hear that I was only 2 centimeters dilated.
We walked the halls for about an hour or so before we were able to get into a room. A few times while walking we had to stop because the contractions were getting bigger. The triage nurse came and found us once our room was ready.
Because my labor was not progressing, they had to put me on Pitocin, which I had not wanted for my labor and delivery. Because I was hooked up to IVs and being constantly monitored, a good portion of my birth plan went out the window. I couldn’t do any hall walking and could only move from my bed about 3 feet. I was able to use a rocking chair and an exercise/birthing ball.
Peanut was being a turkey and kept kicking the monitors off, so the nurse was in my room every 10-20 minutes trying to readjust the monitors. This was driving me crazy because every time she had to come in and mess with them, I had to stay still, which is hard to do when the labor is getting stronger. She was also bumping up my Pitocin strength every 20 minutes, which was making the contractions come faster and harder each time.
The rest of the afternoon was uneventful. Around 3 p.m. my sister got to the hospital and brought me a smoothie, which I only got to have a few sips of because shortly thereafter the contractions started to really get to me.
They were every three to four minutes apart and pretty painful—I cried through a handful of them. About 4 p.m. I called Kelly, our good friend and birth photographer, as things looked like they were about to change. According to the monitors and the way I was laboring, I was told I was close to transition and that I had to be near 7 centimeters dilated.
At about 5 p.m. I said I needed to be checked because I wasn’t sure I could tolerate the pain anymore and wanted to know how much I was dilated. If I was at a 7 or even further along, I could for sure put up with the insane pain I was in. If it was anything less than a 7, I knew there was no way I could go on. My midwife Lisa checked me and broke the devastating news. It had been 45 hours since my water had broken, and I had been on Pitocin for 6 hours, but I had only progressed to 3-4 centimeters. I lost it and bawled like a baby. I was watching the natural birth I had wanted slipping through my fingers. The pain I was in was unreal, and I could no longer go on. I asked for the epidural.
Within 30 minutes of asking, the anesthesiologist was in my room. The contractions were now two to three minutes apart and the pain was mind-blowing. Staying still through a contraction was not an option, and yet you have to stay perfectly still when you get an epidural while they feed a needle and tube into your spine; any movement can be damaging. Once the epidural was in, within 20 minutes I felt like a new woman.
All of the pain was completely gone. I was laughing and joking with everyone. Every once in awhile someone would ask if I could feel the contractions, and when I said no, they would then tell me the contraction was hitting the top of the monitor screen.
About four hours later I started to feel like I needed to take the biggest poop of my life, and I was excited because knew this meant I was getting close to pushing.
I asked Lisa to check me, and she did and told me the best news ever—I was at 9.5 centimeters!!! We waited about 30 minutes to give that last little .5 centimeter time to move, and then I started to push and push and push.
I feel that having the epidural definitely impaired me knowing how to effectively push. I wasn’t making serious progress. I really was getting concerned that I was going to get stuck having an emergency C-section. I could not get into any of the pushing positions I wanted to try because I had no use of my legs/lower half. Lisa knew I really wanted to use the squat bar, so they put that up and then tied a bed sheet to it and I was able to pull myself into a sitting up position while my sister and Desiree each held a leg.
Thankfully after two hours of pushing, little peanut came rocketing out of me. Once the baby’s head crowned, Lisa had Micah get into position to deliver his baby and as the baby’s shoulders started to come out she had him grab the baby and pull the baby out of me and put the baby on my belly.
A nurse threw a blanket over the baby immediately because we wanted Micah to announce the sex of the baby. What felt like forever went by, and I asked, “what kind of baby did we have?” to which Micah said, “I don’t know!” Everyone laughed. Micah lifted up the blanket and, with tears in his eyes, announced to the room that we had a Lydia Simone!
Lydia stayed on my stomach for about 10-15 minutes. I breastfed her for a bit, and then Micah took her to get snuggles. He rocked her in the rocking chair and told her that he was her dad.
The midwife informed me that I suffered a third-degree tear, and the on-call OB/GYN would have to come in and take care of my repairs. I am thankful that I had the epidural at this point. It took two hours all together to get me sewn up because I had tears on the inside muscles as well as the third-degree tear on the outside. While I was being taken care of, Lydia was taken to her warming table to be measured and looked over.
Once I was “decent,” Micah went out to the waiting room and got his parents to come meet our little Lydia. Desiree had made her way out after I was being sewn up.
It was about 1 a.m. at this point. Because there were people still there, Micah went out to find us food. Desiree ended up coming back to the hospital because she had forgotten to take my placenta with her. (I had my placenta encapsulated.)
Once Micah returned with the most horrible McDonalds we had ever eaten (yes, McDonalds actually has levels of “badness”) I chowed down, as my last real meal was at 7:45 that morning. Muriel held the baby while we ate, so she got to do lots of baby bonding. The nurse came in at about 2:30 a.m. to move us to our recovery room.
The rest of our time in the hospital was uneventful. On Wednesday morning the weather was really weird, and it actually snowed in Phoenix. We sat in our room and watched it all fall and cover the parking lot.
We stayed in the hospital until Thursday afternoon and then made it home to get settled in. Muriel, Meridith, Stella and Linda, a family friend, all came over and brought us dinner.
We went to bed that night as a family of three.
To follow Kristin’s latest adventures as a mother, check out her blog AZ Happily Ever After.
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