The plan had been to give birth at a birthing center. I had been seeing a midwife and a high risk doctor (MFM). The high risk doctor was on board with a birthing center birth as long as everything looked good throughout pregnancy. My high risk doctor mentioned that I could transition to their midwives group if I ever wanted to.
Towards the end of my pregnancy my blood pressure started creeping up.
I told baby girl she could come any time after January 12, which was 37 weeks and my last appointment with MFM. It was at that appointment where I learned I was supposed to be getting weekly AFI, or amniotic fluid checks since 32 weeks.
My fluid levels were:
- 14 at 37 weeks
- 27 at 38 weeks
- 22 at 39 weeks
- 12 at almost 40 weeks, but I really doubt it.
So at 38 weeks (Jan 17) I had my midwife sweep my membranes twice and I was dilated to a 3, and my cervix was still pretty high. My mucus plug also came out before that appointment.
At 39 weeks (Jan 24) I used caster oil (with my midwife’s directive) in attempt to start labor. I got a few good contractions but ended the day with a lot of diarrhea. Which I knew to expect if my body wasn’t 100% ready. It was kind of miserable and I don’t remember experiencing that with Kason.
I got a foot zone 2 days later to help induce labor, with no luck.
I had an NST (39+5 weeks) January 31, I had my midwife check and sweep my membranes again and we talked about breaking my water the next day as a last resort.
I had a backup plan of scheduling an induction with the midwife group and set that up for 2/2/2022. I was also meeting with one of the midwives from the hospital on Tuesday (2/1) and at the appointment my blood pressure was 150/84, twice. So the midwife asked me to go to OB emergency services to get monitored. We were only expecting to be there for an hour but the midwife at the hospital wanted us there for 4 hours. We weren’t going to be discharged until close to 8pm and L&D could call me in for an induction as early as 4am. The midwife there offered to just induce me that night and we agreed (which I never want to do another night induction again).
Thankfully, I had prepared ahead of time and kept my “to-go” bag, including the diaper bag, in the car. At the birthing center they only keep you 4-6 hours after delivery (but come to your house at 24 and 48 hours after). So I didn’t have any extra clothes for Chase, a toothbrush, a brush or deodorant.
At 8:30/9 I was set up with an IV and got discharged from OB emergency services and we walked to labor and delivery. I was pretty nervous and very emotional. The last time I was at the hospital I was delivering Ethan. So of course I was remembering and reliving a lot of it. I allowed my feelings to come and knew that this would be different. I prayed it would be different.
While, yes, we could go in and expect to take home our baby, we could also walk out empty handed. That is the reality of pregnancy after loss.
I spoke with both my nurse and the midwife who would be assisting me that night. My midwife/doula (she was my doula for Ethan and now a midwife working at the birthing center) would be there to assist me and help me through labor and delivery. I forgot my birth plan in the car but was able to tell them what I wanted/didn’t want – and for the most part they were able to do everything on my birth plan.
They started me on Pitocin at 10pm and bumped it up 1 every 30 minutes. They also monitored my BP every 30 minutes too. Since I was GBS positive they would need to give me penicillin at some point during active labor.
They kept bumping up 1 Pitocin and then changed to every 2 at some point since I wasn’t getting consistent contractions. The Pitocin got up to 12 before my water finally broke. Sleeping while having contractions doesn’t happen, so I rested by closing my eyes. I was also super hungry and thankfully they have done their research and actually allow women to eat while in early labor. I ate yogurt, a sandwich, had some cookies, and drank juice and even had a sprite. Of course this was before active labor kicked in.
They weren’t getting consistent readings on baby girl, so they had me sit up and moved part of the bed lower as if I was in a squat. My doula and I were talking and not even 5 minutes after they moved the bed I felt a pop and a gush of fluid come out. My water broke at 4:25am. I was happy and laughed because of how wet I was. I got off the bed, and I was covered in fluid, I stood while they changed the sheets and as I was laughing I had more fluid come out, a LOT more fluid. I felt the urge to use the bathroom and so I walked in and couldn’t make it on because I had more fluid come out. It was a puddle and I had a few other puddles before it finally calmed down. As you can tell that reading of 12 AFI was incorrect. It was probably more like 22-25. They also gave me a bag of penicillin.
At this point my contractions became more regular and consistent. I did have more back labor (which I’m not a fan of). They filled up the tub for me to labor in, and it felt so relaxing. At this point the midwife and nurse stayed in the room with me. They also removed the Pitocin and my body took over. After each contraction the midwife would say “that was great, I could tell you really relaxed through it.” That was fine for the first 1-2 contractions but she kept talking after and it was starting to bug me, but me being in labor I didn’t speak up on certain things. My doula asked how many fingers to feel baby girls head and I said 2 knuckles, but really it was my whole finger. So at this point they had me get out and to the bed.
So I labored on my hands and knees for quite a while my head pushing the yoga ball which distracted me from the intensity. They put an additional strap on my belly to get a better reading of baby girl (I was on the cordless monitor). It got to the point where I HAD to roll over so they could put an internal monitor on her head. That was extremely hard for some reason and I didn’t want to move, but everyone helped me roll over to my side and then to my back.
An OB came in to put the monitor on baby girls head, and she literally shoved her whole hand up me. The OB also mentioned where she was in my pelvis and I remember thinking that because of how high she was I really wanted an epidural. I didn’t think I could mentally handle laboring another 4 hours as intense as it was. But as soon as the OB pulled her hand out I felt baby girl move down my pelvis. It was a weird sensation, but relieving because I knew at that point I was getting closer to being done. Chase had mentioned a few days before that some women will be at their breaking point of wanting an epidural and they’re already at transition. So I figured if I was thinking of wanting one I must be really close.
I was getting stronger urges to push (and was even getting them in the tub, but wasn’t in the right position for progress). And then something shifted and I got a break. Each break was about 2-3 minutes before contractions started up again. Baby girl was moving down and out, slowly. There was a ring of fire, and would last while I was pushing (with the midwife’s direction) and would burn but then it would stop just before a contraction would start again. I wanna say I did this 5-10 times. The midwife let me feel her head, and all I felt was this little teeny open spot that was maybe 2 inches, which only discouraged me.
During each contraction the midwife (and the nurse and my doula) kept saying “she’s almost here” and she wasn’t almost there (almost there would be her head out), so I asked them (doula and nurse holding my leg) to stop. But the midwife continued and I vaguely remember saying that if she said it again I would kick her in the face. Which is funny cause I used to always say that when I was younger, but I didn’t ever mean it, and I know I didn’t mean it with her, but I needed her to stop saying the phrase. Because it was really messing with me mentally.
Finally during one contraction I felt her head come out, and that push ended my contraction, but the midwife had me push even though my contraction had ended and I felt her shoulders come through and then a big release came afterwards.
They immediately laid baby girl on my lower belly (she had a short umbilical cord) and we heard her cry immediately. To say that moment was so important was an understatement. Something we didn’t get to hear with Ethan. Chase and I both got emotional hearing and seeing her here. They dried her off on my belly and they waited until the umbilical cord stopped pulsing for Chase to cut the cord.
It had been nearly 12 minutes and my placenta hadn’t been delivered. I cant remember what they did, but I remember the midwife finally asked me to really push it out, and when I did there was a big gush of fluid that went all over her. HA. They were worried about a clot and the placenta needed to be delivered under 15 minutes, which is why the urgency.
Our rainbow baby girl was born at 7:15am on 2/2/2022
She weighed 7lbs 6oz and was 19″ long.
I wanted (and prayed) labor would be under 12 hours and it was 9 hours. I’m not sure how different it would’ve been had I not been induced. I’m very thankful it wasn’t another 40 hours like Kason’s or 5 hours like Ethan’s.