Today we are sharing an intense and beautiful birth story from one of our funniest clients. She had us laughing even in the tough moments and has continued to bring her honesty and fun to our NEST group this past season. Michelle and her husband Chris were the kind of family that we love to work with. They knew what they wanted and they used every resource they had to achieve just that. Your birth was a joy to support, Michelle!
Trigger warning: Fetal Distress and NICU
My birth story is nothing like I had pictured. I always envisioned myself going into labor naturally, with my water breaking, and having a quick labor. I prided myself on doing "everything right" during pregnancy, staying fit and healthy. One thing pregnancy does, is prepares you for the fact that things will not go as planned; which makes sense since parenthood rarely goes as planned.
On a cold Monday morning in December, my husband and I arrived at the hospital for my induction. I like to refer to this day as "vacation" since I was not in active labor. The day consisted of Cervidil doses, reality tv, many laps around the labor and delivery ward, and laughs with our awesome doulas! I strived to have a good nights sleep on that hospital bed, but that was unattainable. I like to think the reason was the uncomfortableness of the bed, but I'm sure a huge part of it was the excitement mixed with anxiety of what was to come. I wanted to meet my baby boy and not be pregnant any longer. Those nine/ten months felt like an eternity.
Tuesday morning I was in active labor. However, the doctor was not happy with where my cervix was, so she used a foley bulb. This by far was the worst experience of the whole process. Thankfully Sarah (our doula) arrived just as this was happening. She was an immense support to have there, helping me breathe through it and keeping me calm. Once the bulb was in place I was free to move around. The bulb was removed after a couple of hours. There were a couple more walks down the hallways with my husband before the Pitocin would be started. At this point, I was in active labor. I remember telling the doctor that my baby would be born before her shift was done. She found this humorous because "[I] didn't seem like I was in enough pain."
The Pitocin was started around 1:00pm in the afternoon on Tuesday. I ate a large lunch to gear up for the amount of energy needed to carry me through labor and the fact that I would only be allowed clear foods/drinks-Hello Jello! My contractions started progressing and around 5:30pm the Doctor (a new doctor) came in and broke my water. After that the contractions grew in intensity. I spent most of the time on a stability ball with Sarah giving me the best hip squeezes. My husband tried to learn the craft, but he was not successful-instead he provided humor.
As I progressed, the contractions getting stronger and closer together, I found that I could not relax enough to let my body do what it needed to. Around seven centimeters I asked for an epidural. I was afraid to go through with my original birth plan, which did involve an epidural, because I was terrified of the needle and hated the thought of laying in the bed. I am so thankful I went through with that decision. It made all the difference. I was able to get some sleep.
I woke up at 6am Wednesday morning (after going to sleep around 3am) to nurses running frantically around me, throwing an oxygen mask over my nose and searching for my baby's heartbeat. I was on a wireless monitoring system and it lost the heartbeat, the nurses were able to find it with the wired heart rate monitor. My husband woke up saw the commotion, saw that Sarah was attending to the situation and he went back to sleep.
A couple of hours later, I was checked, I was fully dilated and ready to push. Sarah was there every step of the way, coaching me, supporting me, helping me achieve the birth I wanted. I started pushing and as my son was close to coming into the world, three nurses were jumping on my stomach-my son's shoulders were stuck. After the nurses successfully dislodged him, Flynn Isaac was born at 12:36 pm. As soon as he entered the world, he was whisked away to the NICU. I was immediately crushed, my world felt like it had collapsed. We had this vision of having skin to skin right after delivery, of holding our newborn closely, of breastfeeding him, of first family snuggles, that was all shattered. Sarah helped to calm me, to ease my panic about not having that immediate skin to skin and of it all affecting my ability to breastfeed.
My husband went with Flynn to the NICU while I was stitched up from a second degree tear. As the epidural was removed, Brittany appeared with the turkey sandwich I had been craving for the past week. Tears were streaming down my face about Flynn, but I believe some of them were tears of happiness for the sandwich.
After the epidural was removed and I was moved to a new room, I was wheeled in to see our beautiful baby boy. We were not able to hold him until eight hours after delivery. That moment was one of the sweetest, most beautiful moments of our lives.
I am forever grateful to our doulas -Sarah and Brittany. They were such a source of compassion and support during this crazy ride.