Hurricane Harvey occurred 3 weeks before and we can talk about that later.
I last saw my OB/GYN the Wednesday before for my, then, weekly checkups and she told me I was a centimeter dilated, she said this was normal because of the weight of the baby pushing on my cervix. She set my next appointment not for next week, but for the following week for some strange reason. It would be the Monday following my hospital tour of the Maternity ward that I had arranged for my boyfriend, his mother and me to atten. That same Sunday of the hospital tour, my boyfriend had requested off so that we could possibly take my maternity pictures. After the doctor appointment I went to have lunch with my friend Adriana who I hadn’t seen since 2016 and I told her I was expecting any day now. We caught up and she was surprised I had not had a baby shower and insisted that it wasn’t too late and that I should have one before the baby was born. So, for the rest of the week I called, texted, messaged, emailed people to see if they could make it the following weekend for an emergency Baby Shower lol
Two days before, Saturday, I was at Target doing my baby registry with my most supportive and best friend, Carolina. We were walking for nearly 2 hours, I hadn’t walked that much in MONTHS. Mostly because walking had gotten so tiring, I could barely get around the grocery store at that point. BUT because I had walked so much Saturday on Sunday I decided to go get my nails done. And these are the circumstances leading to my delivery.
11:30am – Monday, September 18th, 2017
36 Weeks & 6 Days
It was a muggy day and had been raining on and off that morning. I woke up tired with feet that had been swollen for the past 3-4 weeks, varicose veins taking over my ankles. I went to the bathroom shortly after waking up, where I realized fluids were continuing to pass even though I had finished peeing a few seconds ago… So I sat for a second, puzzled, and immediately googled ‘how does it feel when your water breaks’.
What I learned:
Your water breaking is not how Hollywood sells it. It is not a dramatic all at once phenomena, it’s like a slow leaking water balloon.
So, I got a panty liner and went back to bed and started to watch TV, 15 minutes later I felt some suspicious cramps. I noted the time and another 15 minutes another series swept through my uterus.
After an hour, the fluids were still coming, so I called my doctor’s clinic only to find out that she is OUT OF THE COUNTRY. I began to notify my parents and boyfriend that my water broke and my contractions were approximately 15 minutes apart.
& The doctor that I handpicked after hours of google snooping OB/GYN’s backgrounds and spent the past 9 months with… would not be the person delivering my baby. Aggravating.
After a shower and a bowl of bone broth and greens. Carolina came over ready to take me to the hospital and I told her I still had to get ready and she responded with: ‘Ok, let me take a picture because you look crazy’
My boyfriend arrived and his mother took us to the hospital. Because my doctor would not be present, I brought a journal so that I could write down my birth plan with this guide. It’s not comprehensive, but it does make you think about pre- and post- delivery.
The guide also has some outdated procedures according to my doctor, such as, the catheter and enema..
I was comfortably settled in the bed I would deliver my son in. Luckily, I had an amazing Labor & Delivery nurse at the Women’s Hospital of Texas, Shawna (sp.) who respected my wishes on wanting an all natural birth and in a squatting position. She reminded me that I had to be flexible and that everyone’s goal in that room was to get my baby delivered safely.
She asked if I wanted IV, something I hadn’t even thought of prior (my wanting a natural birth and all, questions swirled in my head around if my body needed supplemental assistance). I agreed to it, because I thought that I would be in labor for 20 odd hours having heard stories of other mother’s first deliveries being exceptionally long. She notified me that I was 5 centimeters dilated.
For the next 2 hours people walked in and out of the room as I writhed in pain to get me to sign for things like cord donation, the use of anesthesia in case of an emergency Cesarean, access to my medical records and my insurance, etc. I was not amused.
My boyfriend doing what he could, rubbing my hands, putting socks on for me, but nothing really gave me relief.
Labor pains seemed to have gotten worse since the heart monitor was placed around my belly, each contraction feeling tighter and more powerful as if the band was exacerbating the pressure around my uterus.
There was pressure, a lot of it. It made me twist my legs and body, I tried to find comfort in pillows, in different positions, in my breath, in my happy place… on a birthing ball, nothing eased the pain, but it was bearable and I didn’t make too much of a fuss about it. It was part of the process I told myself and this reminder gave me some comfort from the onslaught of what felt like electrical shocks traveling through my torso, giving me a cold sweat. I was determined to do it without an epidural and go through it as nature intended me to.
As each hour passed, I dilated 2 more centimeters. Until 6pm where the on-call doctor came in to meet me. Within 5 minutes of meeting her, she told me that I was 10 cm dilated and that we were going to start pushing.
Without her knowing, Dr. Summers, said that she would prefer for me to squat to try to push baby out, in order to make a little more room in my hips and birth canal. My boyfriend and nurse Shawna helped me slide off the foot of the bed and grab on to it. At this point my stomach is erupting in muscle movement. The pain was so sharp, but so consistent and rhythmic that it felt like an ache that had been building for years. I really couldn’t concentrate on pushing or anything else besides what felt like intense recurring spasms in my abdomen. I couldn’t push. It was uncomfortable. My legs were shaking.
The doctor recommended kneeling on the bed, fail.
So I ended up on my back where I, previously, thought would be the least comfortable position to have baby. But, in the moment, I felt supported and a lot of unnecessary tension was removed since I didn’t have to hold myself up. Nurse Shawna took my right leg and my boyfriend the other. I pushed 3 times and it didn’t seem as if anything happened.
Sirens were going off. Is that my baby? Is he in danger? Flood alerts, the rain was picking up outside.
The doctor left for a while after telling me she would have to give me pitocin if I didn’t push harder. Nurse Shawna leading me by ‘massaging’ my perineum to let me know where to push and I pushed twice until I couldn’t breathe, finally had successful pushes.
She gave me the pitocin through my IV when she returned so that my contractions would be stronger to assist him through the birth canal. I gave another good push and I crowned.
“I see hair!” said my boyfriend. You can see him? I asked. He shook his head. I was excited. I wanted to laugh/cry in that moment, but I know there was still a way to go.
I had reached the ‘ring of fire’.
It was time to PUSH PUUUUUSH
“He’s HERE!” exclaimed my boyfriend with a large smile across his face. I heard my son cry as the doctor pulled him out. I was a bit surprised, WOW, he was inside me? He’s kind of big.
They placed my son on my stomach with his head on my chest. I finally got to meet the little human that had been hiccuping in me for the past few months. He lifted his head up to look at me, I wondered if that was normal and what he saw
A few moments passed and the placenta came out attached to the jump rope of an umbilical cord, it looked like an alien vessel, Ew.
I had type 1 lacerations, so I got stitched up for that, but nothing really bothered me in those few hours after birth. (it was the next day when it felt like a bag of bricks was swung around a ceiling fan into my perineum)
Baby David fell asleep, and woke up soon after about 30 minutes and we tried to breast feed.
I refused the Hep B shot, but said yes to the Vitamin K shot. I’m glad I got it because my son was circumcised (it’s supposed to be a coagulant), but we did have to stay in the hospital for 4 days because his bilirubin levels would not go down.
Here’s the argument as to why you should get the Vitamin K shot and why it’s offered at hospitals in the first place. & here is an (medical- granted, it was published in the early 60s & i’m not sure if the literature has matured) article explaining the research around Vitamin K and high bilirubin levels.
This post took me about 2 months to write and edit and finally drop my nuts and publish it, so I hope yall can find some peace in going into your birth naturally and have confidence in your body. It really is a beautiful thing that you are doing and if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, I certainly would advocate for the least medical intervention possible.
I, being a first time mother, wanted to have my child at a hospital with a medical doctor just in case anything happened (and in case I tore, I would get stitched up). If I were to have more children, I would choose a midwife and have them at a birthing center or my home. My son’s paternal grandmother had all 3 of her kids at home with different midwives and I always admired that.
Also, just to add, I did take pain pills for about a week after baby was born and then stopped because I didn’t like that it was getting into baby’s body – to be fair though, he must have been just as tired and hurt from delivery as I was.
This post is written to encourage mothers of natural labor, don’t let people and their horror stories scare you out of your decision to go natural & yet, be kind to yourself and allow yourself to get the epidural if the pain becomes unbearable or a complication arises.
Here are some good tips for delivery.