In honor of World Doula Week, I am sharing a quick recap of Max's journey to the outside world.
I love reading birth stories. Weird, right? I love that moment in a story where a baby is born, a mother triumphant, and women empowered.
I hate when they drag on and on so I will try to fit three days worth of excitement in a super summarized post.
I had a non-stress test that just happened to be scheduled at an ultra stressful clinic that didn't allow children. What the hell? Archaic.
So, naturally...baby looked great but my blood pressure was elevated.
I was asked to report to my own OB team at UWMC. While I was busy packing my bags (just in case) I felt a few gushes of what I was sure to be fluid.
I checked in, they noted my (still) high blood pressure and a nasty mean doctor told me that I wasn't leaking fluid, and that there was protein in my urine. Boom-Suddenly I am preeclamptic. (Amniotic fluid would register as protein on a ph strip...and I know I was leaking fluid.)
So, they booked me. I was told that they would induce with a foley balloon and I was sent to a room on L&D. Almost instantly upon arriving in my room, my water broke for real. There was no denying it. Good timing, Max. :)
I was given 24 hours to see if my body would go into labor on it's own. We paced the hallways, did squats, everything. Nothing.
When my 24 hours were up, I was finally getting regular contractions that hurt. A deal is a deal though, and they started the pitocin anyway.
My "real" contractions stopped. There was nothing, and then...something entirely different. Pitocin contractions. They came on almost violently, and did not feel like the "natural" contractions I had when I gave birth to the son we lost. I couldn't work "with" them, and couldn't feel the progress.
I was crying out in pain, and they were coming closer and closer together. It was time to call the doula, and she arrived some time in the early early morning. (was it 4am? I have no idea...it's all a blur.) She helped me into the tub, lit some candles, and my mom threw some Norah Jones onto the ipad. I stayed in the tub as the contractions got more and more intense and my doula sat on the bathroom floor offering words of encouragement. I couldn't get on top of them, and was SURE that I was approaching transition, so I got out for a cervical check.
This was probably the lowest point in my labor, and I knew immediately that if I was going to make it through, I would need the epidural. I was angry that things weren't progressing, and could not figure out how I could dilate to 7 centimeters with contractions that didn't feel as bad as the ones I was feeling now at 3.
Epidural hit, and I fell asleep. I quickly started progressing. I expected a 6 or a 7 when I woke up that afternoon, but was told that we were ready to push.
UWMC is known for their weak epidurals. I had full use of my legs so I could push in other positions, and the epidural wore off just in time for me to start pushing, so I could feel and work with my body.
I pushed for about an hour (or more?) with no feelings of progress. They came in to check where the baby was positioned and informed me that he was face up. Then, they tried the excruciating task of trying to turn him. I was told it was successful and everybody cheered that he was "turned." I still had a hell of a time trying to get him past my pubic bone.
Somewhere in the chaos, he started to actually descend. By then I was so exhausted that they were giving me oxygen in hopes of boosting my energy. I could see his head, and still could not gain the motivation needed to get on top of the pain and push harder.
I was well aware of the fact that it had been over 48 hours since my water had broke,and that I had been pushing for close to five. I think it was at that moment where I realized how generous the hospital had been with giving me time and that that meant they believed I could do it also.
Something switched and I knew that if I could just get him out, we could get some rest.
His head came out with the cord wrapped around his neck. He was face up, eyes open. Then the shoulders. Euphoria. I could not believe that he was here, that we did it.
He was taken to the NICU while I delivered the placenta and was treated for a very minor tear.
I ordered a pizza.
It had been about 2 hours before I met my son in the NICU. He had already eaten what I pumped but he latched right on.
That was the moment. I cried and held him. I experienced that feeling of triumph and of overcoming obstacles.
I knew that the hardest part was over. It was not what I had in mind, it was not an "all natural" VBAC but it was a VBAC and it is our story.
The story of (yet another) stubborn boy with impeccable timing. The story of a mother who believed in her body to do what it was designed to do.
It was hard.
Here I sit one-handed typing, nursing the boy who I wasn't sure would get to come home. Leaning forward to ease the tailbone pain he left as a reminder of the way we worked together and the comfort of knowing that I can do anything, as long as I believe it myself first.
I am proud. I am empowered. I am validated.
I am Mom.
and so so blessed.