re-sharing my birth story

reposting my birth story (originally posted 4/21/17) here on my new blog. enjoy!

I’m sitting here writing this blog in the notes section of my phone because Maddie is sleep on me and I refuse to disturb her to get my iPad. Yes, life has changed. And it’s beautiful. I want to share my labor and delivery story. Time is flying by and it’s taught me to slow down and reflect, to pay attention and savor, to look forward without fear.

My due date was March 18th. I imagined being one of the rare cases of women who actually go into labor on the due date. But it came and passed and I was still very pregnant. I had a doctors appointment set for 3/20 just in case. At my appointment I was almost dilated 2cm and was 70% effaced but my midwife was unable to do a membrane sweep because things were still pretty tight. That was disappointing news but I still knew labor could start any day now so I had hope! That night I went to bed like normal until I was awoken by contractions. Real contractions. I had been having Braxton Hicks for weeks so I knew it was very different from that. I could also time them. For a couple hours they were 9-10 minutes apart. Then 7-8 minutes apart. At there closest, 6 minutes apart. I knew this was it! I was so excited! But then after laboring all night the contractions stopped in the morning. No more progression. I was so confused! I kept in contact with my doula who told me that this is normal. And such became my life for a full week before I actually had my daughter. Every single night labor would start up and then stop in the morning. I spent the days catching up on rest because there’s no way you can sleep through actual labor contractions. I was one exhausted lady. I tried all the things to make labor progress throughout the week to no avail.

Fast forward to my next appointment on March 27th. I was set to do a non stress test and ultrasound. My midwife said I was now dilated 3-4cm and 100% effaced. This was great news to me because that meant all that laboring wasn’t for nothing! It really was ripening me to have this child. She did a membrane sweep and informed me that it should jumpstart labor in a few hours but if not I should come in the next day for induction which would consist of breaking my water and doing an enema. Should that not work then we would start a low dosage of pitocin. I agreed at first, anxious to meet my sweet girl. However, when I talked to my doula she was concerned about the induction being scheduled for a labor and delivery room instead of the midwifery center which is where I had worked so hard to birth at. I assumed I would be induced and then moved over to the midwifery center but she said that’s never the case. I urgently called the doctors office back to clarify. I was given very vague answers but to my understanding if I went into labor naturally I would be able to keep my original delivery plans. So I pushed back the induction to my birthday and prayed to go into labor on the 28th. And I did! Labor started that night like it had been for a week but in the morning it didn’t stop! And it continued the entire day. I was waiting for an hour of contractions that were 2-3 minutes apart and 60 seconds in length. By night they were closer and closer but not consistent. They would be 2-3 minutes apart, then shoot back up to 4-5 minutes. I stayed in touch with my doula throughout the day and night. Finally at 2am on my birthday I decided it was time to go in to the hospital. My induction was set for 7am anyway and the contractions had taken on a new intensity. My husband called the answering service for the hospital and waited for the midwife to return our call. For whatever reason, she didn’t. So at 4am I had him call again and this time our call was returned right away and we were told to come in.

My husband, sister and I headed to the hospital and arrived around 5am. When I got there I noticed that everyone I talked to kept directing me to labor and delivery even though I did go into labor naturally and kept saying I was to deliver in the midwifery center. When my doula arrived, she kept advocating for me as well asking the nurses why I was in labor and delivery. Everyone seemed to be beating around the bush. The midwife came and spoke to us a couple of hours after we got there and apologized for the confusion and that no one wok her up when we got there. She stated that she thought I understood that no matter what the situation was I had risked out of the midwifery center because I was almost two weeks overdue and they wanted to keep a closer eye on me. Neither my husband or I understood that to be the case. I shed a few tears as my hope for a water birth slipped through my fingers and then I kept it moving, accepting the hand I was dealt. I just wanted a healthy baby girl and if they thought that was best then I would trust them. I was already dilated 5cm when I arrived. Around 7am they broke my water and performed an enema. I labored in the shower on a medicine ball for a little while. Then I wanted to rest because I had been laboring for a full day at this point and I was tired. During this time my contractions picked up but the next time I was checked I was only dilated 6cm. Around 1pm they started me on pitocin, to be increased every 30 minutes until contractions were favorable. At first I didn’t think it was doing too much but then all at once contractions started to take on a new intensity and I had to breathe deeply through every contraction. I was still laying in bed but could no longer rest. My doula instructed me to try the medicine ball again some time later but as soon as I got out the bed I felt as though I had to push and felt intense pressure. They helped me back on the bed and wanted me to get on my hands and knees but I told them I couldn’t do it because I HAD to push so they decided it was time to check me again. Sure enough, I was now dilated 9cm and she could feel Madison’s head. They paged the midwife. I was instructed to blow through my urge to push until the optimal time. That was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Everything in me said push! But I waited and when the midwife arrived and finally said push I felt the biggest relief! Once her head was out, the midwife instructed me to stop pushing and gently guided the rest of her body out to prevent tearing. Madison Blaire Howard entered the world on March 29, 2017 at 2:24pm, weighing 6lbs 11oz, 20 1/4 inches long. She came out crying at the top of her lungs and continued to do so for the next 30 minutes. She was absolutely perfect! Since that day my life has been forever changed.

All who spoke to me throughout my pregnancy know that I had a positive outlook on pregnancy, labor and delivery. It wasn’t something that I feared. I welcomed the thought of my body doing what it was created to do. I truly believe that this contributed to me having a positive birth experience. It was perfect just as it was. It was something that made me say “wow, I will definitely do this again, this was a miracle!” It’s birthed in me a newfound love and passion for pregnancy and birth! Thanks for reading my birth story! 🙂

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