The Birth of My Little Big Man

It feels like it has been EONS since I was pregnant and I feel like my memory of all the drama that goes into having a baby has faded a bit, but I’m going to do my best to recollect.

My last 4 weeks of my pregnancy were filled with chiropractor appointments, prenatal massage, induction massage, acupuncture, long walks, Non Stress Tests, OB Checks and membrane Sweeps. At the beginning of my pregnancy, I had vowed not to go crazy with the natural induction methods because of how things went with Charlie (she got stuck in my pelvis). Now, clearly, I wasn’t just sitting back on the couch waiting for things to happen, but I was a little less intense (ie: I did NOT drink castor oil this time… although I was close to doing it).

On Friday, May 27th, I had a Non Stress Test (NST) (maybe my 3rd or 4th?). After my NST, my doc came in and stripped my membranes. For those of you who have not had this lovely procedure done, it’s essentially an excruciating “procedure” where the doc reaches all the way up to the back of your eyeballs, via your lady bits, to attempt to detach your water bags from your uterus using her fingers. Lovely, as you can imagine. The point: induce labor.

Anyway, I definitely felt things moving on Friday… not crazy, I’m in labor moving… but contractions. I went back in on Tuesday afternoon (5/31) for another NST and another lovely sweep. This time, it was probably only about an hour or so until I felt things starting to pick up. It wasn’t crazy levels of contractions, but they were there and consistent. This was probably around 5pm. I went grocery shopping, made dinner… no biggy.

By around 7pm, they were getting more uncomfortable. I had Mark take the lead putting Charlie to bed. This is when things become blurry. Essentially, from this point until around 12:30pm the following day, I STRUGGLED through labor at home. Mark was amazing. I was literally awake and in severe pain all night. Mark brought one of our bar stools into the bedroom for me, lined it with pillows, so I could try to close my eyes and be comfortable between contractions. I was having such back labor that I literally couldn’t lay down. The pain was excruciating.

We called our doula sometime in the morning. Mark’s mom came to take care of Charlie so Mark and I could labor in our bathroom/bedroom. Somewhere around 10, my contractions became super regular… 3 minutes apart, over a minute in length, consistent for 2 hours. My doula came over sometime before noon.

By around 1, we finally left to go to the hospital. I felt like things were close… or at least I had hoped that they were. I remember being SO afraid of being in the car, getting in the car, everything. But, we made it.

The nurse checked me when we got there, although, I asked for her to keep my dilation to herself… I didn’t want to know. Unfortunately, I totally expected (or hoped) that she would say, “ok, it’s time to push”… but she didn’t. Between the total lack of sleep and exhaustion from the previous 15+ hours of laboring at home, I was already feeling defeated. From the minute we got to the hospital, I was talking about the epidural. I just could not get my head in the game. I remember with my labor with Charlotte, I got so deep inside myself. I just couldn’t get there this time.

But, I pushed forward. I went in the shower and labored in the bathroom for another 6 hours. Finally, I asked to be checked. I needed to know where I was because I was losing it. I was crying and just struggling. I was so tired. Feeling like I was falling over when I tried to stand, just totally fading and exhausted from the pain.

When I was checked… after 20 hours… I was at 5 cm.

I melted down and demanded the epidural. I was done.

Let me just tell you one thing about the epidural… GAME. CHANGER. I literally napped… for hours! I had my legs propped up on a ball in every which way and just slept. I was happy and great. Every so often, those pesky contractions would come back and the anesthesiologist would give me another dose. It was great.

Check upon check, no change. They pumped me with pitocin, clocked nice and strong (and consistent) contractions, but no change. I literally hung off the bed in some weird Welchers position, laid on a birthing ball for hours, squated, etc… no change. I stayed at 5 cm, -3 station until my water finally sprung a leak, for 10-15 hours. I labored a bit more after my water broke. Henry had moved down a little bit (not much), but I still had no further change in dilation and my cervix started to swell.

With my last labor experience with Charlotte weighing on all of us, my doc urged us to consider a c-section. Mark and I talked (and cried) and gushed over the details, but ultimately, the decision was easy. It wasn’t worth the risk to Henry. It was time to call it and time to meet our baby.

At 10:30 am on Thursday, June 2nd, we met our little man. 10 lbs, 5 oz and 22.25” long. Born after nearly 42 weeks of pregnancy (original due date: May 20). It should be noted, that Henry came out howling! He was screaming on and off for the duration of the c-section (post birth). Little man was hungry and cold and wanted his mommy.

It’s interesting because the c-section experience was so different and just the whole thing felt so incredibly different. With Charlotte it was intense all the way through. There were no breaks. Just from one high intensity moment to the next, until we finally got her in our room, after she spent 5 hours in the NICU. With Henry, it was calm. I was rested. We had an easy c-section. They put him on me right after they weighed (and wiped) him. I was irked that they cleaned him off, but whatever. The frustrating part is that the anesthetics made me SO incredibly shakey. My whole body. I felt like I was freezing and just couldn’t calm my body down. Ultimately, I had to ask Mark to take Henry from me because I felt so unstable. But regardless, it was wonderful to have our sweet boy in our arms.

And then, just like that, we were four.

 

Our Attempt at Natural Induction

Our sweet girl is already over 5 weeks old and I am finally getting the time/energy to write down our story. Hopefully it hasn’t been so long that my memory of the experience has been too diluted.

For anyone who followed our pregnancy journey through this blog, you know that my body was just refusing to go into labor naturally. From my first check at 36ish weeks, there was worry because my progress was minimal and our girl was hanging out quite high in my belly. Because of our desire to have an all natural childbirth experience, we were determined to do everything possible to avoid an induction.

In fact, I was scheduled to go into the hospital on July 10th to begin cervadil and then be administered pitocin the next morning… HOWEVER, on July 8th, it was seeming like things were going to happen. I had been seeing an AMAZING acupuncturist all week and after a morning session and a nice bath, my contractions were much more regular than they had been. My entire family (parents, brother and sister) came over that day to hang out and I just bounced on my birthing ball, secretly thinking this was it. Around 3 or 4, I saw a little mucous when I went to the bathroom. I wasn’t totally sure if it was my plug or part of it, but by 9pm, another more obvious glob came out. In fact, I was so excited, I called my hubs into the bathroom to inspect my toilet paper (at which point we high fived). Well, long story short, the contractions stopped that night.

Regardless, I was excited that there seemed to be some progress, so I called my doctor to see if she would allow us to take a few more days before resorting to an induction. She agreed reluctantly (because I would be past the 42 week standard), so, our new induction date was Monday, July 14th (at which point I’d be 42 weeks, 4 days). We would go in that night, get the cervadil and start the pitocin the following morning if needed.

So, with a few more days on our hands, I kicked up my natural induction trials into high gear. I was walking a minimum of 3 miles each day, listening to my meditations, seeing my acupuncturist daily, having sex, doing perineum massages with evening primrose oil, taking primrose oil, eating pineapple, howling at the full moon… pretty much everything you could think of.

 

Howling at the super moon...

Howling at the super moon…

Bring on the baby...

Bring on the baby…

By the Sunday before our induction day, I was desperate. I spent about 3-4 hours with my acupuncturist doing hip opening body work, electro-stimulation acupuncture, stress release, you name it. We even took a break mid-way through for Mark and I to take a walk in this really nice woodsy trail path in hopes of loosening things up. I left with no contractions. So, we went to Trocadero (a yummy restaurant) to eat my “last meal” before attempting our final natural induction method… castor oil.

If you’ve never heard of the castor oil method, it’s pretty much used to severely mess up your insides and stimulate some crazy bowel movements… and, in the process, irritate the uterus and induce contractions.

At around 2:15 pm, I drank a castor oil concoction that still haunts me. The recipe – provided by my doula – was as follows: Castor Oil (maybe 4 oz?), one shot of vodka (my first lick of alcohol in over 10 months), a couple drops of lemon oil, apricot juice and two tablespoons of almond butter. It was so sweet… ughh. I’m gagging just thinking about it.

Bartender

Bartender

The fix-ins

The fix-ins… check out the oil globs on top…

Looking tasty...

Looking tasty…

Cheers...

Cheers…

Almost instantly, I was feeling nauseous. Maybe thanks to the vodka, I was able to nap until about 4, but with no visible symptoms, I took a second dose (this time castor oil and orange juice only). As the oil was working its magic, I chatted on the phone with my sweet friend, Marci, and tried to laugh about the sickness I was exposing myself to. Then, it was once again nap time. I woke up at around 8:30 pm just in time to projectile vomit all over the place… WITH CONTRACTIONS. By around 10:30, the contractions were getting stronger and actually stopping me in my tracks. I could still talk through them, but things were seeming pretty good! In fact, at 11:30 that evening, we had my parents come and pick up Toby the puppy,as they would be watching him while we were in the hospital… we were that sure. I even had what I thought was my outer water bag breaking. It was a mini gush that left a plum-sized wet spot. My husband took these stats… Color: clear, Time: 11:35 pm, Amount: about a TBSP, Odor: Smelled like vagina (nice, huh?).

The next morning we had our last non stress test (of about 6) and check before checking into the hospital that evening. Of course, by the time we went in, things had slowed down yet again. I had dilated to 1.5 cm (a .5 increase) and baby had come down a smidge. Regardless, our last ditch effort to poison me into labor was unsuccessful. So, we went home, took a walk, and packed up for the hospital.

En route to the hospital

En route to the hospital

Then, it was time for the real fun to begin…

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

So, I’m now 4 days post due date and still feeling pretty good… HOWEVER, I’m a little anxious. Honestly, not totally horrible, but definitely a little anxious. My remedy for such anxieties is simple… 1) stay super busy and 2) try anything and everything. So, here’s what I’ve been trying…

Of course, I’ve been continuing the regular natural induction methods I’ve been employing for the past few weeks. These include

  • bouncing and rolling my hips on the birthing ball
  • squats & pelvic tilts
  • sex
  • spicy food
  • tons of walks
  • Perineal Massage with almond oil

    As strange as this whole concept is, I think it's actually working. If nothing else, it's teaching me how to relax the right muscles during discomfort in the region.

    As strange as this whole concept is, I think it’s actually working. If nothing else, it’s teaching me how to relax the right muscles during discomfort in the region.

But, I’ve added some additional ones. Now, before you go off trying all of these, I am no doctor and have no idea if they work or if they’re safe for you. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been doing:

 

Obviously, this babe is going to come when she wants, but in the meantime, I’ll keep doing all this weird stuff that likely has no effect on when my body and baby will be ready.

Symptoms

Yesterday I went in for my first Non-Stress Test. The test was pretty darn easy… I laid on a recliner chair and relaxed while hooked up to two monitors. One measuring baby’s heartbeat, one measuring contractions of the uterus. Then, I had to push a button every time baby moved.

All hooked up.

All hooked up.

Baby has no stress, which is great. I figured as much… she seems to be happy as a clam.

As for me, I think I’m doing pretty darn well. Sleeping isn’t amazing these days, as my hips get pretty sore and I’ve had a little insomnia, but I can’t complain too much. And my mood, it’s been pretty good I think. Maybe double check with my husband on that one??  But really, I think I’ve been staying pretty positive. I find that I get crabby or down when I’m not doing anything.

As for how I feel the baby is progressing, it’s so hard to say. I definitely feel more pressure in my pelvis, but I don’t know if it’s much different than it was last Thursday. And I don’t think my belly looks much different. So really, I don’t know. I’ll be back at the doctor on Thursday, at which point, we’ll do another Non-Stress Test and schedule an induction if she hasn’t come yet. I really hope that if she doesn’t come this week, I’ll be able to keep my calm. As time ticks away, I can see the anxiety building up.

But, at least it will be a VERY busy weekend if she doesn’t come. My friend, Ashley, is getting married and I’m in the wedding. So, we’ll have rehearsal dinner all afternoon/evening on Friday and then wedding on Saturday. It’s such a hard struggle. On one side, I REALLY want her to arrive right now, but on the other side of things, I REALLY want to be at and be a part of my friend’s wedding. Definitely a very strange mind struggle going on… not that I have a choice either way. So I guess there really is no struggle?