A bit over a week ago I gave birth to my son, Redfield William. And let me tell you, he is incredible. He is by far and away my greatest accomplishment. It is difficult to put into words how much I love him and that love grows every day. As you can gather from previous posts, I had a relatively easy pregnancy. Red was always on track. I didn’t experience any morning sickness or extreme energy dips. I was able to workout throughout the entire nine months, though I will admit from weeks 38-41 I slowed down quite a bit. To be expected with all of the aches and pains that creep in as you body gears for its big day.
For me, that big day just wasn’t happening. I didn’t have pre labor contractions, only mild cramping. My water didn’t break, though that is also common. As I neared the end of 41 weeks, I knew that the hospital wasn’t going to let me get past 42 weeks. I also know that there aren’t a ton of positive things that can happen after that period of time. Your placenta has really done an incredible job nourishing your baby for a long time, but it does have a lifespan. Now i know that there are women who have gone 43 weeks and to that I must say, I love it! If that was you, you are a warrior. For me however, I had a few factors that played into my labor and birth choices.
Being a lover of science, and an even larger lover of mother nature I respectfully decided that due to the lack of any sign of going into labor, I would choose the most noninvasive form of induction to get things moving. My parents flew all the way to Italy to be there for me and to meet their first grandchild. While there was no pressure from them, I must admit it weighed on me a bit.
February 28th, 2017 8:45pm – Cervadil Induction
I hesitantly chose to use Cervadil, after much research,
knowing full well that if I began down the road of induction, there was a high likelihood of a cascade of interventions to follow… I did not make this choice lightly. I arrived at the hospital 2cm dilated, with my husband and my mother, fully expecting to have a baby the following day. I foolishly thought that if we just got something going that my body would respond and take it from there. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The 12 hour drug did start contractions that got more and more painful. I labored through the night with the support of my family. But I wasn’t dilating any further and my cervix was still very posterior. Once the drug wore off, I continued to contract with more intensity. But eventually it all stopped. I was no longer in labor.
March 1st, 2017 – Hit of Pit
The doctor came in and wanted to check my cervix. As it turns out, that was one of the most painful examinations I had had up to that point, and it wasn’t the last. I cried out as the doctor kept trying to reach my cervix and attempt to strip my membranes. Which was a failed attempt. The agony of the exam was just the beginning of my birth story gone awry. The doctor said that the drug had failed and that we needed to move on to Pitocin. I wanted a drug free natural birth and it was already slipping away from me. My husband and I continued to get more and more frustrated with the way things were going. We asked to delay and try more natural induction methods. You know, walking, squatting, disco dancing to “He’s the Greatest Dancer” by Sister Sledge, nipple stimulation etc., the usual. 🙂 Eventually we were told, that there really wasn’t another option as we had already begun the induction and attempted to strip my membranes, we couldn’t go home and wait for labor to start. After very long and emotional conversations, we very reluctantly agreed to begin the Pitocin around 3:30pm.
We slowly took Pitocin up to the highest level possible throughout the night, Level 20. At this level we wouldn’t need to get approval from authorities or an epidural. At this point, most women would be having insane contractions, I only felt mild cramping to my never ending frustration. I had agreed to allow a drug in my system that I didn’t want, and it didn’t work.
March 2nd, 2017 – Epidural and Upping the Pitoin Dosage
The doctors kept mentioning the option of epidural, even though we had asked them not to offer it. If I asked for it at some point, then fine. I knew it was available to me up to a certain point. But the topic kept coming up. Their reason? Because they felt this was the more “humane” way to birth a child. Now I can appreciate that, but I wanted to participate 100% in my child’s birth. I wanted to feel the pain, to know what it is like to push or breathe through Transition. I had mentally and emotionally been preparing through Hypnobirthing techniques and other methods for nine months. Alas, it was not to be.
Sick with stress and exhaustion I contacted Dr. Boland of Birthfit for reinforcement. She was amazing at just the right time! My husband talked to her first as I was sick of crying and knew I couldn’t explain my experience thus far without sobbing. Eventually I spoke with her and couldn’t be more thankful for her and ALL of the Birthfit team’s continued support. I couldn’t be happier than to be part of this tribe of amazing women.
At this point, there was a nursing staff shift change and we got a refreshing burst of energy and new knowledge from our new nurse who I can’t say enough good things about! She understood I had already compromised my initial plans, and still wanted to help me have Red as naturally as possible. She suggested taking a 30min break from Pitocin, but to restart it again aggressively and go past level 20. We were basically trying to jump start my body. To do this however, we needed the epidural. Seeing my natural birth slip further and further into the horizon, I just cried.
Then my GM brought in the OB, who had a very sterile and cold bedside manner to try to strip my membranes again. I asked him to please be slow with it as the first attempt was horrible. He didn’t listen and in fact showed no emotion at all while he rooted around in my cervix with a hook, me screaming through the entire process. It was, at the time, the single most traumatizing moment of my life… I wanted no more cervical checks, EVER. I just cried and cried to my husband, who thankfully didn’t punch the OB, even though he really wanted to.
We knew this was heading towards C-Section and I was determined not to have one. So I would try anything else. The doctors saw no other option, but when presented with the nurse’s idea, agreed it could work. And although this birth was far from natural at this point, it could still, at least, be a vaginal one. I was only 4cm dilated after 48 hours of induction. The other factor to sway us this way was that if in fact I did have to have a C-section, they would have to either put me under (so I would have zero memory of his birth – NOT acceptable for me) or do a Spinal Tap, also not wanted. But if we had the epidural already in place, the anesthesiologist could use that site for the necessary drugs in that situation. I would be awake for his birth. So we went for it knowing that if this didn’t work I was getting a C-section any way. At 10pm the epidural was put in place by a lovely Anesthesiologist who I also couldn’t say enough good things about. She was kind and understanding. Something I needed more than anything.
With the prick of a needle, my legs quickly felt like they weighed 200lbs and I was trying to hold it together, and not doing a very good job at it. This is where I cannot be more thankful for my mother and my husband. I was feeling like a failure, even though I knew better. I was having trouble standing my ground with the doctors because I had chosen to start this induction and knew that all of this could happen. I felt foolish. How could I have sabotaged my own labor so badly? I suppose I was looking at the world through rose colored glasses coming into it all.
How would I look back on all of this? I eased into the night with my epidural, my husband holding my hand and the Pit dosage slowly being upped to level 28. Again, no pain.
March 3rd, 2017 – Happy Birthday Redfield!
My doctor, not the OB, needed to see if the Pit had been working over night. I had only dilated to 5cm even with consistent 2min apart contractions, again mild for me, and Red’s heart rate had had a few dips. There was concern of continuing to tax my uterus and my baby. The doctors came in to tell me that this was a failed induction and that the last resort and only option was a C-section. So exhausted, emotionally and physically we seemed to have no choice. I had to have the C-section with the shitty OB at the helm.
At 11:15am, day 4, I was wheeled in to the OR. My husband was getting ready to join me in the room as they moved me onto the operating bed under the harsh lights and beeping machines that I didn’t want my son born into. The OB began the operation before my husband had walked in, and when he did, he got to see a very frightened me, strapped to a table, undergoing major abdominal surgery. Not ideal. Only he can describe how violent the entire process was and the look on my face. I could feel so much more than I was expecting and it hurt a great deal. This now replaced the cervical check I mentioned earlier as the most traumatic even of my life. It was quick, but I certainly wouldn’t call it painless. To all of you C-section mama’s out there, much respect. You are incredible and strong. I found the whole thing barbaric and brutal. But this is me coming from wanting a very calm environment and soothing atmosphere. I was in another world. A world of pain as they pulled my abs apart in rough movements and all but shoved Red out of my womb.
Redfield was born at 11:45am and immediately taken away to be checked. He would not immediately be placed on my chest like I wanted, the cord clamping was not delayed, simply cut. My husband joined him and kept telling Red that he would see Mommy soon. That is all I could focus on as my incision was being pulled, stitched and glued back together. I could just hear my husband telling our son that it would be okay. I cannot imagine how overwhelming this must have been for Redfield, but I truly hope he won’t remember his entrance, as it wasn’t what we had hoped for him.
That aside, he was 8lbs 6oz and 21 inches of long beautiful baby. Eventually they placed him on my chest while I was still being stitched up, but my focus was all over the place. It seemed such a small time before he was taken away to the nursery. I wouldn’t get to see him for another hour or so. Maybe more, I can’t remember. Instead I was wheeled into a nondescript room that looked like it was for storing old equipment and boxes. Alone and almost delirious of what had just happened in the last 30 minutes. The doctors and nurses just talked over me as if I wasn’t in the room. I cried quietly as I layed there wondering what all had just happened and trying to figure out how I felt about it. It was a very raw and overwhelming mental state to be in. I didn’t know what I felt.
Finally I was brought to the recovery room where my mom and husband were waiting with my new son. I finally got to hold him in my arms and study every little bit of him. I was in complete awe. We had made that. I worked very hard for nine months, prepped myself physically, mentally and emotionally and we had done it. I played the song I was hoping he would be born to, Cheyenne Song by R. Carlos Nakai and just chose to begin again from there. Just be present and choose this moment.
One of my biggest fears going into this pregnancy was how I would connect with Red initially and how I was going to look back on my birth experience. I can honestly say that despite all of the trauma, and now the long road of recovery ahead, he makes it all worth it. I am thankful that we have him. It almost makes all of the trauma go away. I am happy that I don’t feel too negatively about it all as I thought it would. I thought this experience would haunt me forever. Instead, at least for now, I have been able to rationalize my choices, and be inspired by my son daily.
I am a mother now. I’ve finally joined this exclusive club of ladies that I had put off for the last 10 years my husband and I have been married. Red and my husband are amazing and I am incredibly thankful for the experience. Plus I can’t get enough of this boys facial expressions and sweet breath! I have learned a lot about myself, my body and what it is capable of. I am looking forward to getting back to a routine and in a couple of months getting back to working out! I also have a couple of fun projects on the horizon!
Stay tuned for the first week update! This also hasn’t gone as planned as I am writing this post from the hospital. The hospital we have been at for four days and have another 6 to go… hopefully no more than that!
Stay Present friends.