Well, I’ve yet to answer the question “How the birth go?” without tears in my eyes, so thankfully you can read it on a computer screen rather than watching me blush with embarrassment as tears start forming in my eyes as I begin to just babble on and on and give more information than I’m sure was really requested.
On 7/10/17, at 41 weeks, I was scheduled to be induced at 7AM. Over the weekend prior, I became increasingly anxious because I wanted to labor at home for a bit because I would have to be hooked up to the monitors the entire time I was at the hospital and knew having to be induced wouldn’t increase my chances for a successful VBAC.
After the c-section with our twin girls… Not only was the recovery so very hard, but the delivery was so rushed that I was completely overwhelmed. Baby A come out and they put her on my chest for all of 15 seconds before moving her away to deliver Baby B… but she was stuck under my ribs. I needed to be cut more and male nurses came in to hold me down so the doc could really tug to get her out. They showed her to me, but immediately rushed her to the NICU because she was having a hard time breathing. After this and for many more reasons, I wanted to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian) this time. Whatever my reasons were, we were well-informed, I talked with my husband and prayed about it.
For several weeks, I had many contractions, some of which became very regular but never turned into labor. At 39 weeks, I was told he was completely engaged and I could go into labor at any moment. This left me quite frustrated (and swollen down there) as I approached 41 weeks and my imminent induction date. Less than 24 hours before my scheduled induction, my magical chiropractor, who you’ve heard me rave about, literally got off a plane from Cuba and came straight to the office to work her magic on me. For an hour and a half, she adjusted me, had me do exercises, defused Clary Sage essential oils and rubbed them on a few pressure points. I’d like to think it was all for me, but she also had a streak to keep alive – she has a 100% success rate for her patients not having to be induced. From here, we went to one of our favorite restaurants in town, Biscotti’s, for a last hoorah family dinner. While at dinner, just 3 hours after leaving her office, I started feeling intense contractions. I knew this was different but didn’t want to get my hopes up again. It was a little awkward when the waiter asked me a question right as one came on and I just had to pause to breathe for a second. My doula had said that smiling and laughing would naturally release oxytocin, so after dinner we walked to get icecream for the girls then went home and watched a movie with the girls while I ate my cake from the restaurant. We put the girls to bed and continued preparing for arriving at the hospital early the next morning. The contractions continued but were very irregular, so we went on to bed around midnight (I was so anxious, I could hardly wind down to go to sleep).
It felt like I barely fell asleep before I woke up with strong contractions at 12:45AM. This wasn’t the first time contractions had woken me up, but it was the first time they made me get out of bed. I immediately found myself pacing and having to pause for each one. Just 6 hours before my scheduled induction, I was in true labor – a huge answer to prayer and a reminder that God doesn’t work on our timeline, but is forever faithful. After about an hour they began to come about every 3-5 minutes, so I called my doula.
At 3 AM she arrived and immediately got to work on making the environment peaceful to labor at home for the next few hours. Since I was scheduled to be at the hospital at 7AM already, we would just ‘enjoy’ the time at home until then. She placed candles all around the nursery, diffused essential oils in the air and started coaching me through the contractions. Before we left, I even got in a warm bath for a bit, which was nice because it was the only showered I’d have over the next 3 days!
I’m not one to have a very specific birth plan because I understand that things are going to go the way they’re going to go and am willing to do whatever is best for the baby. The only two pieces of the birth process that I cared about were to have a successful VBAC and to let me say when/if I felt I needed the epidural. I wasn’t trying to be superwoman, but I wanted to experience it this time. I felt that if it was offered to me, I might just take them up on it before I really needed to.
So we got to the hospital around 7 AM and my doula continued coaching me through different positions and breathing techniques to help with pain management. *For anyone considering having a Doula, it’s worth it! My husband even loved her because she had sent him back to bed while I had her at the house during the night so at least he would have rest to be there for me as things progressed throughout the day. And let me tell you, he was. As soon as we got settled in the room and I was all hooked up to the monitors, he turned on our praise music and never left my side. He rubbed my back, he held me, he danced with me, he sang in my ear. I don’t know if I’ve ever loved him more or felt more loved by him. This was one of the most beautiful parts of our journey bringing our baby boy into this world.
Fast forward to 10 AM. My midwife came in to check my progress and things were moving slowly but progressing. Up to this point, the contractions were intense, but I was able to talk and even smile a little in between. If you know my husband, he’s always trying to make me laugh.
A couple more hours go by and the contractions became so intense that it required my full focus. I began having intense back labor. My doula had me try a few positions to change the baby’s position to ease the back pain. This helped for a while, until baby decided to totally flip on us and wouldn’t move back into position. My contractions started coming one right after the other, only 1.5 minutes apart and lasting 45-60 seconds each. I could hardly catch my breath in between. My midwife comes to check me and there has been no change. She grabbed my hand and began to pray – praising God for the miracle inside of me that we would soon meet… asking Him to fill us with his presence and to space out my contractions. An answer to prayer walked in the room when, again, in stepped my wonderful chiropractor… She did her “voodoo magic”, as my husband calls it, and baby boy flipped back into position and the contractions began to space out again, about every 3 minutes apart.
I continue to labor like this for several hard hours and my midwife checks me again. Still no change… 7 hours without change. I immediately started crying. I just didn’t know how much longer I could go on. She decided to place a foley bulb to help move things along. This immediately caused my contractions to start coming one on top of the next – the contraction before hadn’t fully descended before the next one would begin. Zach literally held me up during each one while my legs gave out, but lying in bed was just too uncomfortable. After an hour of this, I wanted to be checked again to see if these contractions were making progress… still no change. I immediately grabbed Zach and sobbed “I can’t keep doing this.”
My team knew my experience with the girls and wanted to give me the birth experience I longed for this time. My doula asked, “What is more important to you – to do this naturally or to have a successful VBAC? I’m afraid you’re going to wear yourself out to the point you won’t be able to push when it’s time.” She was right… at 16 hours in and less than an hour of sleep, I was exhausted, so I requested the epidural. They wanted to give me a bag of fluids before placing it, but my IV was pushed too far in my arm and kept getting blocked. After several attempts to fix it, they needed to redo it in my other arm. This took over an hour to get the epidural placed and I am now screaming into my pillow with tears streaming down my face. I had reached my breaking point. Zach held my hand and whispered in my ear during each one, “Just focus on this one. You can do anything for 60 seconds.” After 17 hours of true labor, I finally received the epidural. Within minutes, I looked over at Zach and said “I’m having a contraction” then smiled really big and we both laughed.
Within one hour of receiving the epidural, I progressed 4 cm. My midwife said she thought I had just been in too much pain for my body to relax enough to allow for dilation. We still had a way to go, so we decided trying to get some rest was best. In spite of the uncontrollable shaking, I fell asleep for a few hours when the nurse came in and said, “You’re having a lot of contractions and the baby doesn’t seem to like it. His heart rate has dropped, so let’s have you change positions.” I rolled to my side and he didn’t improve. She put me on oxygen and said to focus on my breathing. My mom had arrived at the hospital at this point, so I asked her to please come pray with me. The Lord filled me with peace as I put all of my trust in Him and the baby’s heart rate immediately started to rise. We decided I would keep the oxygen on the remainder of labor.
Early in the morning of July 11th, after only one hour of pushing (and 28 hours of labor), our baby boy miracle was born at 5:08AM with praise music playing in the background. It was hands down the most surreal moment of my life. Everyone in the room immediately said, “He’s a big one!” He was placed on my chest with his head full of dark hair while daddy cut the cord.
He gave us a little scare because he wasn’t crying at first, and when he did try he couldn’t get much out and started turning purple. The nurse scooped him up and put a tube down his throat to really suction him and then that cry was loud and clear! Relief and joy came flooding back in. We all anticipated his weight, while I was being sewn up (thank God I got that epidural)! After his series of checks, the nurse placed him on the scale and announced, “He’s 10lbs 4oz!!” Word spread and for hours, I had nurses coming into my room saying things like, “Wow! Way to go mama!!”
She brought him right back over to me and he went right to nursing, which was something else I didn’t get to experience with the girls being preemies. He was so strong and my heart immediately grew by a 3rd.
After a few hours of bonding, we had the grandparents bring the girls to the hospital to meet their baby brother for the first time. This was the moment I dreamt of for months!
After just 36 hours, we all got to go home as a family.
To every mama out there, you are a super woman. You deserve to be celebrated. Regardless of how you brought your child into this world, you. brought. a. human. being. into this world which is nothing short of a miracle.
Isaiah Gre born 7/11
Isaiah 7:11 – “Ask for something special to see from the Lord your God. Ask for it to be as deep as the place of the dead or as high as heaven.”