I had every intention of doing everything natural with Logan’s birth, but obviously he had his own plans. Because it’s all wrapped up in the same story, I’m actually going to share some of my journal entries from the days leading up to his birth, as well as my thoughts I added afterward. Since this is a birth story, I’m not going to tiptoe around things that are natural and normal, so if that’s not your thing you may want to check out my posts on Preparing for Baby.
Leading up to Labor
Wednesday, February 17th
I’ve lost a lot of mucus today, so I’m hoping labor is close. Logan has sat so low through this whole pregnancy that it’s hard to tell if he’s truly dropped, but here’s hoping! I’m still drinking my red raspberry leaf tea and evening primrose oil, which shouldn’t induce labor but just help my body prepare and get all the right things toned and softened.
Autumn and I went and walked around Walmart, because it is frigidly cold outside and I figured either it would help kickstart labor or at least it would get us out of the house and get us all some good exercise. I don’t really think it’ll get my labor going, I know my body will kick this baby out when it’s ready, but for real…. I’m ready to have him here. Seriously.
Thursday, February 18
So today baby hasn’t been moving a lot and I almost went up to the hospital but my mom called and I talked to her and she said it was probably fine. So I went home and waited for Ian to get up, because I didn’t want to be “that mommy” who was overly worried. When Ian got up he asked me about Logan’s movement he encouraged (in all reality ordered) me to go get checked and he called into work to tell them he would be late or just not there altogether. Autumn stayed home with him and so I came up here to the hospital.
At the hospital his heart rate kept dropping and they said they were likely to induce in the morning. They said that if his heart rate kept going down they would consider a vaginal birth a “trial ” and that they would do a c-section if need be to keep Logan safe. I just keep thinking “But I want to him to be safe! Naturally letting my body do what it wants is safe!” Even though I don’t really entirely believe it. I know Dr.C will do what’s best for Logan and he isn’t just a c-section pushing doctor, so I don’t have to freak out on that account.
Despite the fact that I’m trying to calm myself down, I’m really terrified that I won’t be able to give Logan a natural, vaginal birth. After all of my prep and reading and praying and learning techniques, it could be in someone else’s hands entirely. I trust my doctor, he’s awesome, but it’s just not the same. So now it’s 1 am and I can’t sleep because I’m wound up, hungry and Ian is gone to get me food. I’ve spent the whole pregnancy doing my best to eat healthy and now all I want is chicken nuggets and fries.
Plus, that’s what is open so…that’s what I’m getting. The hospital isn’t feeding me just in case I need to be induced, but like heck am I going to let them starve me. I didn’t have dinner and seriously, after my 23 hour labor where they starved me with Autumn I’m not doing that again. None of the nurses want to deal with my hangry anyway – and I know poor Ian doesn’t.
Friday, February 19
So, here’s the deal. Logan is on the fence. Dr. C says that he could send us home, or induce us. The concern is that if he sends us home we have no way of monitoring his heart rate, which still keeps dropping below normal. He still isn’t moving very much, so Ian and I talked about it. We both decided to call our moms, since we both wanted an outside opinion. My mom suggested that we ask a labor nurse (because nurses know everything) who agreed that this was the best thing. Ultimately we decided to induce, so I asked Dr. C if he would make the nurses feed me and he was pretty surprised they hadn’t let me eat. (This is why I talked with the food thing with him at my office visit a month ago. So glad!) After he does rounds he’s going to come back and start inducing me.
Logan is at -3 station and I’m barely dilated, just to 1 cm. (Which makes my chances of a c-section high… trying not to freak out about that, but that’s not really happening. So I’m visualizing and listening to the HypnoBabies mp3 I got. I don’t think it’s really helping but it’s something I can do that feels productive.) He’s using a balloon foley to dilate me with a low dose of pitocin. This dose should help prepare my body for labor, but not bring on crazy contractions. The balloon goes in to help dilate me artificially, my being dilated to 4-5 cm after it’s use is the best case scenario.
Note from later: I’ve had a lot of moms ask me about the balloon foley, so here’s the skinny. It goes up in your hoo-ha and well, they inflate it. It felt crampy and weird, but not painful at all. The most bizarre thing about it was that they left something sticking out, which they taped to my leg. I mean, it made sense why they did it, but it was so weird having some long thing hanging out. I was afraid to go to the bathroom with it in, but it didn’t affect it at all. So there you go.
Ian left to go get my birth ball since nothing is happening right now, so I put all of our stuff together and consolidated it to one spot in the room, knowing the medical team would want them out of the way. Plus it made me feel better to have things clean. I was really nervous about the induction, and having things orderly helps.
I took a shower and shaved, which felt amazing on my back after sleeping in weird positions on the horrible cardboard-like hospital mattress. That on top of trying not to move because of the monitors for Logan’s heart rate and being the size of a small hot air balloon did not make for a well-rested Momma. I remember the fact that I hadn’t shaved anything before going to the hospital with Autumn and I was so exhausted afterward that I really regretted not doing it, so I took a few extra minutes to do that. I may be having a c-section baby, but dang it everything I can control will be perfect. I may be freaking out, but my legs and armpits are freshly shaved dang it.
Ian probably thinks I’m crazy because I just texted him also reminding him to feed the fish. But hey, fish still needs to be fed even if the baby is coming! Very wisely, he has said nothing about my control freak neurosis that are now taking over in a major way. He is getting so many points just for being awesome, I don’t even know how to repay him. Maybe I’ll let him hold the baby first. 😉
Ian came back and immediately laughed at me because I cleaned the room. For some reason he thinks I’m stress cleaning, I can’t imagine why. He is going to get lunch so he can get some rest right after they insert the balloon and start my Pitocin drip. That way if things get exciting later on he will have had some rest. Can I just say that the fact that we’re on opposite schedules since he’s working third shift kind of sucks?
They just put the balloon in. It made me crampy immediately but the speculum was worse than the actual balloon by a long shot. I hate those things. Ian got back from getting food just after the nurse finished cleaning up.
They came in to draw blood and get a urine sample. The balloon lead is taped to my leg, and it doesn’t hurt but it seriously is really weird having a balloon up in your hoo-ha. I’m crampy, but not in any pain so it’s all good for now. Really, the most exciting thing is being able to work in quiet on finishing Preparing for Baby on a Budget while I watch TV like it’s a vacation. Oh, how ironic that I’m finishing writing this ebook while in the hospital having Logan.
I’m starting to get a headache but I’m just kind of enjoying the quiet and peace. I know it will be a lot more uncomfortable once they start the pitocin but this labor is just so much more peaceful than my labor with Autumn. Ian is awesome to have here with me, he doesn’t hover obnoxiously but he’s happy to help when I need him.
They started the pitocin drip, my night nurse is very sweet. Ian snuck me in some food to eat, even though technically I’m not supposed to eat after they give me the drip. I’ve been eating the amazing labor cookies but I really just wanted something with meat. If my labor progresses quickly in the morning when they up my dose I won’t probably feel like eating, so we’re
In about an hour they’re supposed to give me an Ambien to help me sleep, we’ll see how well it helps at any rate it can’t be any worse than how I slept last night.
Saturday, February 20th
I slept like a dream and only woke up a couple of times. Ambien is amazing. I’m glad I took it so I can have energy for the labor today.
Night nurse checked me and told us I was still dilated to 1 cm, and that the balloon must not have been inserted properly. When she said that I majorly freaking out, and told Ian I was going to go home if the doctor agreed and I had wasted my entire yesterday crampy for nothing. Dr. C came in and checked me and said that since my cervix sits so high and posterior that it was an easy mistake to make and that I was dilated at 4-5cm and was very soft, which was the exact thing we were hoping for. Sometimes foley patients aren’t softened even with the use of the balloon, which can be problematic. I like to think that the evening primrose oil I’ve been using had something to do with that, but who really knows?
The nurse was so apologetic and I think she was relieved when I wasn’t upset at all. Girl can’t help it if I have a weird anatomy and she has itty bitty fingers. She was so sweet, plus even if I had been irritated, I really believe nurses need to be treated better than they are so I wouldn’t have been mean anyway. They have enough nasty patients, I’m not going to be one of them.
Dr. C asked me again about my labor with Autumn, confirming that she took forever until they broke my water. When I confirmed that, he said “Well okay! Ready to break your water then?” I said yes and so he did. So we’ll see how long Logan decides to take to come now. Right now, Dr. C is very optimistic that we’ll be able to do a vaginal delivery, but he made sure to re-discuss with us that he wanted to do whatever was best for baby. He was glad to let us do everything as naturally as possible but if he was concerned for Logan’s health, he really didn’t want us to blame him if we needed to do a C-section… which seemed very fair and reasonable.
Contractions getting pretty intense
Wow. Contractions really intense.
Logan is born.
Mom and dad here.
What I remember from after the fact
Obviously, there was no way to keep journaling when ‘real labor’ started, so this is the rest of the story that I didn’t record on my phone as it was happening. Again, if you’re shy about birth-y stuff then stop reading now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 😉
I would like begin by adding here that I didn’t have a doula, I had my husband as my birth coach and he was the best. Once the contractions got really intense, I looked at him and insisted I wanted my mom. It became obviously very quickly that I really needed someone physically there to help me handle each contraction and so if I asked him to get anything he was having to try to be in two or three places at once. I was still not sure how long I was going to be in labor, so I told him I needed him to call my mom and have her come.
Now, him being the supportive guy that he is who knows I have a habit of just kind of saying things to get through a moment, he did that whole “Okay honey, now breathe and relax” and just let the moment pass. We had discussed having only us in the room several times during pregnancy and I had been adamant that I just wanted it to be the two of us, so I am actually really glad he cared enough to not listen. So I told him after a second contraction that I really did want my mom, and it wasn’t just the contraction talking. He asked if I was sure, I had another contraction and I felt a little of the crazy labor woman in me come out and tell him that he needed to call my mom right then because I needed her. Poor guy. He did call and both of my parents got in the car pretty much immediately. Funnily enough my labor went so fast that they ended up being there in the room about half an hour after he was born. But anyway… back to the labor…
I went on with labor once I knew mom was on the way and I wasn’t going to run Ian ragged and not too long after that things got more intense and I started to feel the need to poop, so I knew pushing time was getting closer. I also really had to pee because of all of the fluids they had going in my IV. Ian helped me get to the bathroom and I decided then and there that there was no way I was going to sit on the toilet again during labor because it was SO uncomfortable. Contractions in the bed with me on my side and Ian putting counter-pressure on my back during each contraction was manageable, but sitting on the toilet was so intense I had an almost impossible time maintaining control. It seemed like such a nice position, I had read about it and it seemed great, but yeah… it was not good for me. After that Tonya, my nurse, said that I was dilated to 6 or 7 cm, so I was excited that I was progressing and I hoped that meant I would avoid the dreaded c-section.
This was the most embarrassing part of my labor right here. I went back to the bed and was sitting on the edge of the bed when I started getting sick, which made my amniotic fluid come gushing out on the floor. I felt like I had peed myself and was so mortified (like, wanted to die kind of mortification, even though I knew it was probably normal and my nurse was not phased by it one bit) and they I think I apologized about 15 times to poor Tonya until my next contraction shut me up. Tonya of course just cleaned it up and assured me kindly that it was okay and to just breathe.
I also tried to do the position where you’re on your knees and leaning on the birth ball… that just sucked. Ultimately, after that I was done trying things and laid on my side for the rest of my labor. That was actually very comfortable. It let me relax my entire body and just go limp between contractions, plus Ian doing the counter pressure on my back during contractions which helped so much I can’t even tell you. I’m so glad Tonya suggested it, I had forgotten about that, because I had only read about a zillion articles on ways to ease labor and all that. Ian did the same thing throughout my pregnancy because that’s where I always got sore, so he was already an expert on where I needed the pressure. Husband birth coach for the win!
After that point it all blurs together into a series of contractions with the urge to push getting stronger. I had her check me again and I was at 8 cm, at which point I was starting to feel a little out of control. I wanted to give in and scream, but I listened to Ian to kept reminding me to breathe and I replayed the words from Hypnobabies in my head over and over, “when your birth waves start to come…” I remember saying out loud in between a few of the contractions “I can do this. I can maintain control. Let my body do the hard work.” It helped me to stay as relaxed as possible to think of keeping everything else relaxed so my uterus could do its job, because I didn’t need to “help” just yet.
I remember thinking it was strange that the nurse kept leaving, because I told everyone several times I was close to pushing and was very clear. I didn’t realize that poor Tonya was running back and forth trying to see if the doctor was ready because the woman in the room next door was also pushing and so there were just nurses and Ian in the room. I remember really clearly when she left Ian alone with me her saying urgently as she left the room, “Don’t let her push!” And Ian responding back, “No kidding!” At which point I was doing everything I could not to push, but was really really having a hard time not just pushing. I remember very distinctly when it was just Ian and I in the room because I started to try to push and Ian used his very commanding, deep bossy voice and pretty much bellowed at me not to push, which is exactly what I needed because I wasn’t really listening to anything else, my brain was so focused on my body telling me to push. I yelled to him that I wanted to really bad and begged him and he said no. I was very irritated, but resigned myself to not pushing until the next contraction.
When the amazing team of nurses were in place and (finally!) let me push, I was laying on my side. I always thought it was odd when women laid in their sides to labor, and even more odd that some women pushed their babies out that way. When it came time to really bare down and get the baby out my nurse told me I would have to get on my back and I flat refused. She repeated herself a few times and I just as clearly told her I was NOT going to do that. I wasn’t trying to be obstinate, I was just so in tune with my body that knew it would hurt worse and I really didn’t care about anything else at that point.
Ian asked if I had to be on my back and she affirmed that yes I did, so immediately after my next contraction he slid his arms under me and pulled me over himself. I went into panic mode and started hyperventilating, the pain I had been feeling jumped up in intensity from about a 6 or 7 to a 9 so fast that I briefly lost my ability to cope and remain calm. He pulled out his loud, bossy voice at me again to get my attention and he told me that we were going to do it together, he was there and that I could do this. That was exactly what I needed to regain my control and finish strong without losing it.
Then I was pushing. I remember thinking how odd it was to really feel everything because of the no pain medication. I could feel his head slowly coming forward and his body coming out. I remember thinking how odd it was that the contractions hurt so much and yet pushing him out didn’t hurt at all, it was just a feeling like relieving pressure.
Before I knew it they had him sitting on top of me on a sterile towel because I didn’t want to do skin on skin until he had been cleaned up a little. (Yes, I know it better for baby and all that, but for real the slimy baby thing grosses me out.) I remembered at that point that I never told the nurses that I wanted them to delay clamping the cord. I had told the doctor, since he was planning on delivering the baby and not the nurses, so when I told them and the nurse informed me he was already clamped, looking very concerned that I was going to be upset. I was just so relieved to have him here and healthy that I didn’t care and assured them that it was okay and I wasn’t upset. I asked if I could touch him and they laughed, telling me of course I could because he was mine.
There is a ridiculous graphic I saw on Facebook the night before that said “I hate it when people ask who a newborn baby looks like. It was born 15 minutes ago, it looks like a potato.” So of course the next ridiculous thing out of my mouth was “He is beautiful! Of course, he looks like a potato, but he is my beautiful potato.” At this point, I would like to claim I was delirious and take no responsibility for that bit. I also told the nurses, “Well, that wasn’t so bad. I mean, parts of it were, but really it wasn’t so bad.” I remember one nurse laughing and saying “Well good for you!” And looking very impressed, but mostly they looked at me like I was slightly crazy. The potato comment didn’t help any, I’m sure.
They took Logan to get cleaned up and I pushed out the placenta shortly before the doctor walked in, looking rather frazzled. He looked me over laughed and asked, “What did you do?” And I quipped back, “I had the baby! I wanted him here and you were taking too long!”
He looked me over and I had a minor first degree tear, on the scar from Autumn’s birth. He stitched me up and then we were done. He asked if I had gotten any pain meds and I said no, he grinned and said “Good, great job!” And fist bumped me, which was pretty awesome. Yeah, my doctor pretty much rocked, even if he wasn’t there for the actual birth.
The nurses helped me get cleaned up, removed my IV and I went to the bathroom. Tonya helped me get settled in the super sexy mesh underwear with a mega pad and ice pack. I got dressed, because I was so tired of being in the stupid uncomfortable hospital gowns. The nurses kept telling me to sit down and rest, and to take it easy but I just wanted to feel some kind of normal.
We snuggled on Logan and I half tried to nurse him a little bit, but mostly I just snuggled him close. I kept telling him over and over, “I’m so glad you’re here.” because I was. I was so relieved that he was there and he was healthy and we didn’t need any crazy interventions. My parents were there about half an hour later, they stayed for a bit then Ian’s parents came to ooh and aah over him appropriately, as grandparents will.
It was amazing. It didn’t go anything like how I planned, but it was perfect. The most important things: healthy baby, no c-section and no unnecessary meds were exactly what God knew the baby and I needed. Even if it wasn’t how I pictured it at all, I have to say that it was perfect in it’s own way.