This was many months ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I went into the OB/GYN office on October 19, as scheduled to do a final check and listen to the baby’s heartbeat. My due date was the very next day October 20. I wasn’t feeling any contractions or anything yet, and at my last appointment I was 1 centimeter dilated. Everything was seeming to go well until they hooked me up to the monitor to listen to the heartbeat and record movements. Apparently the baby wasn’t moving enough, so they wanted to do an ultrasound to check things out.
I was a high-risk pregnancy and under careful watch due to five miscarriages before this pregnancy. I also had hyperemesis during this pregnancy and had to take a lot of medication during my second trimester, which made me very afraid for my baby’s growth and development. After the ultrasound, I was told that I had low fluid, oligohydramnios, and that I needed to plan to be induced that day. The doctor told me to go home while the hospital prepared a room for me, and if I didn’t go into labor on my own, I would be induced that night.
This girl went home, drank lots of water and started walking the neighborhood. I was determined to get this going naturally as that was my plan from day one. I had a natural childbirth with my first child, and even though it had been 16 years, I still planned to do it again the same way if possible. The hospital called me at 9 p.m. and told me if I got there by 10 p.m. they would have a room for me. So I grabbed my already packed bags, a handful of snacks, my pillow, my husband and headed out the door. My parents were already at my house to stay with my teenage son and our three dogs.
By the time we got to the hospital I was having contractions. They weren’t very strong to me, but after I was hooked up to the monitor the nurse was surprised. She said they were strong contractions and coming every three to five minutes, and they needed to call the doctor. They can’t induce when you are already in labor, so she had to see what the doctor wanted to do. I was praying that I was in active labor and would soon deliver naturally instead of needing interventions to get things going.
The nurse came back to the room to say the doctor thinks I’m dehydrated and to give me a bolus of fluids to slow down the contractions and plan to still be induced. Ughhh. I was not dehydrated because I was already drinking tons of water daily and had downed a gallon before coming in. So the first bolus of 500 cc goes in, and my contractions just keep coming. The nurse calls the doctor again. They proceed to finish another 500 cc of fluid to try and slow the contractions down. Why? I am getting upset at this point. I just want to be in labor and stay in labor as long as I need to.
Finally the contractions slow down, and they decide to add the Cervidil to soften the cervix to help the process. The nurse/midwife was already aware that I had my first child in three hours total. She was the one on call that night and had already contacted me to let me know that once I felt anything to have them call her, so she could be there ASAP.
With the Cervidil in place and the nurse keeping me hooked up to the monitors, I was now told to just relax and give it time. Of course with all those fluids in me I couldn’t relax; I had to pee like every five minutes. I just remember watching the clock and praying for this to be over soon. I tried to rest some, knowing I would need my strength sooner than later. By 8 a.m. the next morning, the OB/GYN doctor was in my room to remove the Cervidil, check the progress and break my water. At this point I was only 2 centimeters dilated, so he broke the water and told me they would plan to start the Pitocin and epidural in about an hour. What?! I did NOT ask for any of that.
I told the doctor that I had planned natural childbirth, and he told me that I wasn’t making any progress—so if I didn’t start Pitocin, they would end up doing a C-section. No! This was unacceptable. Once he left the room, my husband and I talked to the nurse. I told her that I had already made plans with the midwife, and we were on the same page about not wanting Pitocin or an epidural. The nurse asked if I wanted her to call the midwife but stated that she would probably agree with the doctor. Emotional at this point I was like whatever, but my husband chimed in and said, yes, call the midwife because my wife does not want any of this. So the call was made.
When the nurse came back into the room she said, “Good thing we called the midwife!” The midwife explained that she wanted me to labor naturally as long as I could since I had a history of fast labor, and she knew that once I started it wouldn’t take too long. So thanks to my husband, the nurse and the midwife, I was able to hold off on the Pitocin and epidural. Finally, a little relief from all this madness.
By 10 a.m. the midwife arrived and came to see me first. I thanked her for helping me stay with my wishes of natural childbirth, and she explained that even though they did use the Cervidil they still considered me to be laboring naturally. I’m not sure if she just wanted to relieve some of my anxiety, but I took it. She checked me and said I was now 4 centimeters dilated and that I should expect to deliver around lunchtime. She said she needed to go to the office to see a few clients and then she would be back. Of course, she informed the nurse to page her if I felt any kind of pressure.
All through my pregnancy I had wanted the OB/GYN doctor with me for my delivery, but after all of this I was finally loving the midwife. The doctor was becoming my least favorite. He was rough, rude, pushy and just not what I wanted to deal with while trying to deliver a baby.
By noon my contractions were coming fast and hard. My son had come in to see me a few times before this and was helping me know when a contraction was coming. He was able to watch the monitors and see the numbers getting bigger and bigger. Having him there helped me to handle those strong contractions, and had he not been such a teenage boy, I would have loved for him to stay with me through it all. We had planned for my mom to be with me and my husband to help during delivery, but with all the high-risk issues, we decided to have her stay out. She was OK with this because she was already having a hard time watching me handle the contractions.
By 1 p.m. I was switching positions to my hands and knees to try anything to push through the contractions. I had tried sitting in a rocking chair, swaying back and forth, walking to the bathroom and back, and praying. I was on monitors, so my ability to change positions and move about was limited.
The nurse was coming in periodically to check on me, and by this time I was 7 centimeters dilated. The pain was getting almost unbearable. I was not opposed to taking IV medications to take the edge off, but I was trying my best to avoid everything. By 1:10 p.m. I gave in and asked the nurse to push a dose of Fentanyl. She informed me that they could give me a dose, but—being this close to delivery—they would have the neonatal team there because it could cause some short-term breathing issues for the baby. I tried to wait a little longer and talked to my husband to see what he thought, and we both decided to try one dose of Fentanyl. After giving me the dose the nurse explained that I could feel lightheaded and dizzy so to ask for assistance if getting up. I felt nothing! No relief, no flushing, no dizziness, nothing at all. The nurse decided to flush the IV to see if that would help and told me to give it 10 minutes. Nope, nothing was happening. After a minute I felt pressure and called the nurse who came into my room immediately with my midwife. They had me turn back around to check, and I was 10 centimeters dilated and ready to start pushing. No wonder I was in so much pain. They prepared the bed and room and told me on my next contraction to be ready to do chin to chest and bear down.
It was time! I was ready for it, kind of. I took a few deep breaths and on my next big contraction I pushed and breathed and pushed again. I could feel EVERYTHING! I didn’t remember it feeling like this the first time. I was thinking, Why did I want to do this naturally? Too late to turn back. I just had to stay focused.
Another contraction series. Time to push, breathe and push again. I kept feeling the head coming out and then going back in, and I heard the midwife tell the nurse the same thing. My husband was trying to hold my leg up, but he kept letting my foot dangle—I couldn’t get that supported feeling or traction. I was getting irritated. Not at anyone, just at the fact that I was unable to maintain or control my body. I looked at the midwife and said, “We have to get this baby out!”
The third contraction series came—and so did the “ring of fire.” I didn’t remember feeling that burning sensation with my first baby, but that was 16 years ago. I can say that the “ring of fire” is no joke. You feel as if you are splitting in two down there. The “fire” is almost unbearable.
Contraction series four came and near the end I heard the midwife say, “Got it; this head isn’t going back in.” That was all the motivation I needed. I believe I pushed through two more contractions, screamed out one long scream and felt my baby slide out. So many emotions happened at that moment. Relief from immense pain, joy that your baby is born, accomplishment that you made it through, love for your husband’s support, respect for your midwife and nurse, anxiety as you wait to hear that first cry, fear as you see them rush your baby to the table and shock as your mind and body try to connect with what just happened.
My husband and I just stared at each other in confusion waiting to hear a cry. I was thinking that I hurt my baby by taking that Fentanyl, but I was reassured that it didn’t even have time to take effect and my baby was fine. And then we heard it, the smallest cutest cry in the world! Thank God!
I was shaking too much and in too much pain to hold her right away (and my midwife had to do a little stitching down there), so I asked my husband to hold her. Of course he took her willingly. It was a joyous moment for us both—but more for him because this was his first baby.
What had felt like a few minutes was actually 40 minutes of nonstop pain and pushing, but after you see your baby for the first time it all becomes worth it. I could hear the APGAR scores, seven at first and then nine after the five minute wait. The assessment team was discussing on whether or not they should take my baby for observation because she wasn’t breathing quite right, but the team leader came in and said she should be just fine. Apparently she had a little more fluid in her lungs and just needed time to get it all out.
Family was starting to come into the room, and the nurse was giving my baby her first bath. It was all happening so fast that I only got to hold my baby for a brief moment and take some pictures. Then they took her for assessment by her pediatrician.
With my baby gone it was now time to focus on me and my recovery. They give you the wheelchair ride to your new room and introduce you to your new caretakers. You have everything you need in your recovery room for you and your newborn, so a lot of the things that I packed for the hospital weren’t even necessary. I was so happy for the pregnancy to be over and to finally have my baby here with us.
When they finally brought her to our room, they checked all our armbands, gave us the spill on what was going to happen over the next few days, and then they gave us alone time—the best part of it all. I could finally bond with my new baby girl and celebrate with my husband this great gift of love. I can say that doing it again this many years later was different and a lot harder, but again it was all worth it.
Welcome to the family Jade Lily. Born October 20, 2015 at 1:48 p.m., weighing 7 pounds and measuring 19 1/2 inches long. She was perfect!
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