Each week we share real birth stories written by women across the country and the world. If you're interested in sharing your birth story....we'd love to hear it! You can fill out this simple form here: http://www.cordmama.com/submit-your-birth-story/
Erin shared her birth story with us, and we're so glad she did. Her words illustrate that birth often takes us on a different path than we originally envisioned...but that it can still be a beautiful one.
When was your baby due? : 11/27/2015
When was your baby born?: 11/13/2015
Where did you decide to have your baby? Why did you choose this delivery location?:
I had originally planned on having a home birth with a CNM; however, around 28 weeks i started having higher than normal blood pressure readings. As my blood pressure stayed elevated, it became apparent that i would likely have to have an induction and hospital birth. I chose University of Colorado hospital because their hospital policies most lined up with what i had envisioned for my birth when i had planned on a home birth. I also was able to work with their midwifery group which was a bonus given the situation.
What did you do to prepare for your birth? :
I read The Bradley Method, took a natural birthing class at Belly Bliss and read birth stories and lots of information online. I also continued my normal exercise routine until i was put on bed rest around week 35 due to the gestational hypertension.
Tell us what happened! Please feel free to write as much or as little as you'd like about your birth story. :
As I mentioned, I developed gestational hypertension during my pregnancy. As i approached term (37 weeks), my blood pressure number continued to rise, so it became more and more evident that a home birth was not in the cards for me this time around. Luckily my other lab work was indicating that I was not developing preeclampsia (at least at that point), so my CNM continued to just manage my lab work and we took everything day by day. After a handful of trips to UCH for lab work, they recommended induction at 37 weeks as that is the standard recommendation for women with gestational hypertension. We scheduled an induction for 37 weeks... on the way home, my husband and i just couldn't shake the feeling that an induction at 37 weeks just wasn't the way to go. After much discussion with my CNM and prayer with my husband, we decided to cancel the induction at 37 weeks and continue to monitor baby and I. At 37 weeks and 6 days, I had some bloodwork that came back a bit off, so we decided to call UCH and go in for an induction that night. We went in on a Thursday night and since i was not preeclamptic, i was able to be seen by the midwifery group, which was great. We checked into the hospital around 10:30PM and i was given a small dose of Cytotec to start ripening my cervix. We were told to go to sleep and they would be back in around 5:00AM to give me a 2nd does of Cytotec. Around 5, the nurses came back in and gave me a 2nd dose of Cytotec and I went back to sleep. Around 7:30, I woke up feeling incredibly cramp and uncomfortable, after a trip to the bathroom, I had lost my mucous plug and began to have pretty intense contractions. I texted my CNM (who would attend the birth as a support person) as well as our doula (who we decided to hire once an induction became imminent). My CNM said she would be on her way and our doula asked if I thought she should head down now or if it would be okay to wait a bit longer. I said I wasn't sure (first labor here!) and she decided she would drive down too. I asked my husband to get a heating pad and to apply pressure to my lower back. He obliged but later told me that he thought I was overreacting a bit considering i was only in "early labor." I was in a lot of pain and just working through contractions by trying to internalize and just breathe deeply through them. Counting through the contractions seemed to help. A nurse came in and asked if i'd like to get in the tub, I was not doing a good job of making decisions, so I told her to go ahead and fill it up just in case. Around 9:15 my CNM arrived and sensing that I was fairly far along in labor suggested that I get into the shower to let the hot water help ease the pain in my back. I obliged as she practically shoved me in the shower knowing that it would help to continue progressing my labor. My doula showed up shortly after and immediately got in the shower with me to help apply counter pressure to my lower back (YAY for the double hip squeeze!). The shower had a great shower seat in it that I rested on between contractions and i stood during most of the contractions. At about 9:40 I started thinking there was NO way I was going to make it through the labor without pain meds.... I had wanted a natural birth, but if THIS is what labor was going to feel like for hours and hours more, there was just NO way I could do it. A few short minutes later, I started to feel the urge to push. Thinking that there was absolutely no way I could already be ready to push, I worked through 2 of these "pushy" contractions before saying anything. The urge to push was so distinct, I told our doula that I felt like I needed to push, she told my husband, who told our CNM, who took one look at me and called the hospital midwife to come in. Upon arriving, the midwife asked if I wanted her to check my cervix or if I wanted her to watch one of my contractions to see what she thought. Again, thinking that I just couldn't already be getting ready to push, I asked her to watch a contraction. About 5 seconds into my next contraction, she said "Yep! I need to check that cervix." She checked and told me she could already feel part of baby's head and to go ahead and push. I pushed for about 20-30 minutes with each contraction that came along standing with each contraction and trying to sit or lean on my husband or the midwife in between contractions. Our doula was such a strong physical support throughout the labor and i am so thankful she was there. I gave birth to our beautiful baby boy at 10:14AM on 11/13/15... Friday the 13th!
What surprised you most about your birth? :
I was so worried about having to have pitocin ( i was terrified of pitocin contractions!), or about my blood pressure getting so high during labor that i would need meds, but amazingly enough none of those things happened and I was able to have an unmedicated, beautiful, yet QUICK birth that I had hoped for when we originally decided on a home birth at the beginning of my pregnancy. I was just so surprised at how quick the entire labor process was for me. I was also surprised because as painful as labor could be, it really was an empowering experience. I felt in control of my body the entire time and felt like my body was just doing what it was made to do. Being my first labor and delivery, I wasn't sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised.
What are you glad that you did during your birth? :
I was so glad that I decided to have a doula present. It took the pressure off my husband to have to physically support me throughout the entire birth but gave me the support I needed. I think it really helped both my husband and I enjoy the entire birth process.
What would you do differently? :
So much emphasis is placed on the labor and delivery, I wish i had done more research or spent more time with other breastfeeding mamas. We had a rough start for breastfeeding due to a tongue tie causing lots of nipple pain. I took a breastfeeding class designed for pregnant mamas and that was great, but i wish i would have gone to a few breastfeeding support groups and just listened to other mamas and their stories to help provide some context to the breastfeeding relationship and all of the issues we ended up encountering.
What's the best advice you received about birth? :
The best advice I received was ' You won't be pregnant forever!" Being on bedrest at the end of pregnancy and ALL of the tests and lab work due to the hypertension, it felt as if our baby was never going to get here. It was an incredibly stressful time but was so incredibly worth it once our baby boy arrived happy and healthy!