[note, this post may contain details of a personal / medical nature as I write about my recent labor/delivery - if it is "too much information" for you, I recommend skipping to the next post!]

This post is also very long -  I’m writing it more for my own memory’s sake - but I do apologize for how long it is!

Labor and deliver did not go as planned.

I imagined I’d labor in the spa tub (possibly deliver if I was comfortable and the doctor on duty was agreeable – 2 of the doctors in my practice do not do water births).

I imagined a peaceful, focused labor, much like my first son’s birth (which, although a painful 9 hours of laboring and 2 hours of pushing was very calm, mostly quiet, and focused).

***

My due date was July 29. I’d been having some mild cramping and lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions for several weeks. I kept saying I was going to go early. I nested like crazy, making huge “To Do” lists for hubby to fulfill before baby came (assembling, installing, cleaning, organizing, putting in a new closet!?). Yes, we got it all done with two weeks to go! I was set to enjoy “free time” and take our toddler to the local museums, swimming pool, etc.

Saturday, July 14th – My 38 week ob/gyn checkup showed I was 3-4 cm dilated and 70% effaced. (I later learned these measurements can be”subjective.”) That night, we went to my parents for their combined birthday party (born 5 days apart), and the whole ride I felt mild cramping at regular intervals and some pressure. It stopped by the next morning though.  

Monday, July 16th – I was in a frenzy, my mother came over and helped me clean the house. I peeled and chopped about three pounds of carrots, along with prepping all the fresh fruit and vegetables I had. Something should’ve told me this. is. it! (I suspected).

Tuesday, July 17th…

10:00 am – I noticed some watery leakage, and thought, “Could this be my water breaking?” but it wasn’t the “gush” other people describe, so I went about my business for a few more hours. 

1:00 pm – I called my ob/gyn and they told me to go right to the hospital, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. I asked if I should bring my hospital bag, and they said “if it’s packed, YES!” I wasn’t feeling any contractions at all. Hubby was putting our son down for a nap, so I decided to go by myself and get checked out rather than wait someone to come watch our son. Most likely I’d be sent home. I called my mom on the way, just in case, and she was in a dentist appointment but would come afterwards just in case. All my other family was not answering the phone.

2:00 pm – The test given at the hospital confirmed my water had broken and I’d be staying to have my baby! 12 days early! I got pretty excited, thinking meeting my baby was just around the corner. The nurses and midwife began setting up shop. Fortunately, I had my iPad to pass the time (and did so with many of you readers online!).

3:30 pm – My husband arrived at the hospital. Little did he know it was a “hurry up and wait” situation! I put on my lovely Pretty Pushers delivery gown, fully expecting to greet my baby very shortly.

4:00 pm – Because I was postive for Group B Strep (ugh), I had to get antibiotics. Now, what was NOT told me in the ob/gyn office was these are a 15 minute IV drip, administered EVERY 4 hours until you deliver. And the IV drip is incredibly painful. I honestly WOULD rank the pain up there with labor pain – my whole arm would burn, stiffen and turn numb for 15 minutes while the meds went in, and they had to put ice packs on it while I lay there crying. Also, I’d have to be hooked up to the IV the entire labor/delivery. Strike one for my peaceful birth plan. I was told they could wrap up my arm and I could still labor in the tub.

5:00 pm – Shift change, and the doctor on duty was one that would NOT do a water birth. Strike two for my birth plan. So far no contractions. But I was getting hungry! Jello and popsicles were not cutting it!

7:00 pm – Had another round of antibiotics! Killed! And because nothing was happening with my labor, they started me on a very slow drip of pitocin. Strike three for my birth plan.

11:00 pm – Yet another round of extremely painful antibiotics – with wires coming out everwhere and labor not kicking in, I started to get a bit panicky. I didn’t want to end up having a C-section from going too long past my water breaking. I’d hoped to meet our baby that same day, but the pitocin kept getting increased with little result. I felt a few cramps once in a while but nothing truly painful. I decided to take a nap, realizing it would be my mother’s birthday when our baby arrived!

July 18th…

1:00 am – I was woken up by the nurse and doctor. An exam showed I was only 5 cm dilated and I still was not feeling any contractions. They told me that they couldn’t administer more pitocin unless they put an internal monitor on the baby (I hope I don’t have to explain what THIS means, ladies!). If they didn’t give me more pitocin, I might sit around waiting to go into labor for hours. (And believe me, I was warily eyeing the clock that said I’d get a fourth round of antibiotics at 3 am! This I hoped to avoid at all costs). However, with the internal monitor, I would not be able to labor in the tub or even the shower. Strike four for my birth plan (I know, in baseball there’s only 3).

I started crying. The waiting. The late hour. Being hungry. The anxiety over the antibiotics (yes, that IS how much they hurt!). And not having the water option for pain management. It was too much. It didn’t feel like a “natural birth” even though I was not getting any pain medications. I went into the bathroom to decide, and cry some more. I decided I needed to meet this little boy ASAP (and avoid antibiotics!).

1:15 am – With the internal monitor in, the nurse increased the pitocin to 20 ml/hour. She told me I could get back into bed and rest until it kicked in. I started to say, “Okay,” and take another nap, when the first major contraction hit! That fast! And I mean, a full-on intense labor contraction!! Wow.

The contractions kept coming - lasting about 90 seconds with only about 60-90 seconds in between. They were so strong, and considering I had been SLEEPING SOUNDLY just fifteen minutes prior, the fact that there was no buildup for my body to adjust to the pain made me more panicky! I tried to remember my rhythmic breathing and focus. I rocked on the birthing ball. I briefly tried sitting in the rocking chair but that was very painful. The nurse tried putting a heating pack on my back but that was too hot. Do I sound like Goldilocks? 

Unfortunately, the stress of the day left me feeling scattered and I couldn’t stay focused and breath through each pain adequately. Which added to my anxiety. I thought about how I’d labored nine hours with my first baby … and the impending round of antibiotics. I didn’t think I could handle the pain of a contraction AND the antibiotics at the same time. I said, “We can’t ever have another baby! I can’t do this again!” (I said the same with my first!).  

I remember praying for strength to get through, but felt like even my prayers were scattering like mercury beads. My head was just not in the right place!! How I wished I had a midwife or doula at the moment. But I happened to be delivering on the ONE DAY our practice does not have a midwife on call, and a doula would’ve cost me $600!!!

2:00 am-ish – After about forty-five minutes of laboring, I suddenly felt the urge to push. I was shocked! I thought maybe I was making it up because I wanted to be done so badly. I told the nurse and she said, “Great, hop in the bed, I’ll get the doctor.” I was confused for a bit and asked, “Really? I can really push now?” She assured me it was fine. I climbed into bed (wires and all) and they took out the monitor.

Then the doctor came in, flipped ALL the lights on bright (what was he thinking!!) and sat down across from me (you can imagine the position I’m in!!) just waiting. With his backwards gown and face mask on looking he looked like a catcher behind a baseball plate. I thought to myself, “This is ridiculous!” (Strike five for my peaceful birth plan!). I started to get upset at how the whole event was going…but then I realized I had to stay focused, because I needed every bit of mental and physical energy left to get this baby OUT! Everyone said I could push so I did, but I had a hard time focusing where I was pushing (it’s easy to end up pushing with your upper body when it should be your lower body!) and it wasn’t doing a lot of good for a few contractions!

2:30 am – The doctor said, “Two more pushes and he’ll be out!” I glared at him and said, “Are you serious!? He’s REALLY coming out in just two pushes?” I looked at my husband for verification. I swore if that doctor was just trying to make me feel better I was going to be so angry! My husband said, Yes! He could see the baby’s head! Still skeptical, I asked, “You can really see it? You can really see his head?” YES! everyone assured me that it was just going to take two more… just two more. I didn’t believe them for a second, but I decided to give it a go!

I tried to focus on the right spot as best I could, held my breath, and gave a huge push – I felt the crowning of the baby’s head!! I knew this was it!! I gave one more push - And WHOOSH! Out he came! I was shaking with adrenaline and relief! The doctor held our baby boy up for me to see, and they wiped him off and put him on my chest. I couldn’t believe it was all over within 90 minutes!

I have to say, I love that super-warm feeling of a newborn baby on my chest. I’ve only felt it two times but it’s an amazing feeling like no other! The baby is all body-heat-hot and trembling and squirming with life! And you’re just so relieved to be done with the. hardest. thing. ever!

It was a happy, happy moment for us, as I’m sure you can imagine! I have lots more I want to say about the details surrounding our baby’s birthing, but I’ll save them for future posts!

Thanks for sticking with me through my long-winded tale! And for all the encouraging Facebook posts, tweets and emails sent during my long wait! They helped so much!! Here’s some photos:

So… I know everyone’s delivery stories are different … was my birth story much different than yours?

Leave a Comment

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    Reply
  • Christine @ Mama Papa Barn August 1, 2012, 3:27 pm

    Congratulations Julie! Cute little chubby face!

    My story is the complete failure of the natural hospital experience…I may write about it some day.

    Reply
  • Stephanie July 27, 2012, 11:46 pm

    Congratulations! I’m so sorry that the birth didn’t go as planned, but I’m happy that you have your new little babe to snuggle with. He is precious.

    Also? I completely understand what you meant about that wonderful feeling of RELIEF and JOY after the baby is born. There’s nothing quite like that moment.

    Reply
  • Laura July 26, 2012, 4:36 am

    Julie I am sooooo happy for you and your family! Thanks for sharing your story, funny how when it comes to our kids, even on the first day of life things dont seem to always go as we have them planned out lol. God has blessed you with another beautiful boy! Congrats!
    Mine did not go as planned at all, I ended up being all by myself, just me and a bunch of strange medical personal, thankfully my own doctor but in the end got my beautiful blue eyed sweetie pie!

    Reply
  • Danielle @ We Have It All July 25, 2012, 8:36 am

    Aww, thanks so much for sharing, I LOVE birth stories! I’m sorry about all of your ‘strikes’ – my birth last month was the same way…strike, strike, strike, etc… But now it’s over and we have our beautiful babies in our arms and it’s all worth it :)

    Congrats!

    Reply
  • Crunchy Beach Mama July 25, 2012, 8:31 am

    awwww loved reading that! I’m glad that though you had many disappointments that it all ended VERY WELL with a gorgeous baby (and a short labor!)

    Reply
  • michelle bardos July 25, 2012, 8:21 am

    i labored at home all day, went to the hospital,and had our last daughter 2 1/2 hours after arriving. I too had the beta strep stuff and a friend told me it burns but mine didn’t. I think it depends on the drip level. I only needed one bag and was told there should be an ideal void of 4 hours between the end of the bag and delivery.

    luckily both our babies are fine, your family looks happy, and he’s so cute!

    CONGRATS!

    Reply
  • Amanda Alvarado July 24, 2012, 8:32 pm

    Aaawww he’s gorgeous! At least you made it through without pain meds and had him naturally! :-) Just focus on that! It’s something I will never get to do!…if we can ever get pg! LOL

    Reply
  • Shannon July 24, 2012, 10:27 am

    Congratulations! It seems that birth plans never go they way they are supposed to! I’m sorry you weren’t able to have the natural birth you wanted, but you did a great job Mama! Enjoy your new little one!

    Reply
  • Sarah G. July 24, 2012, 8:49 am

    I’m sorry things didn’t go as you wanted, but I’m so glad your baby is here safe and sound!

    Reply
  • LaTanya July 24, 2012, 8:02 am

    Congratulations!!

    Reply
  • Shell Fruscione July 24, 2012, 1:10 am

    What a beautiful family! & I totally get that about the stress throwing you off- my water broke {but DID gush} at 5am &after 12 hours of my son’s heart rate skyrocketing & then plummeting repeatedly & the fact that NO progress was made after 12 hours of pitocin, we had to do a C-Section. {Mostly because his heart rate was getting scary}. TOTALLY not what I had expected, but he arrived safely & that’s what matters! :)

    Reply
  • Sarah Jane July 23, 2012, 11:13 pm

    I was induced with my daughter, and I completely agree with you about no building up of pain when you’re on Pitocin. Those contractions were HORRIBLE!!

    Congrats on your baby boy. Enjoy your babymoon.

    Reply
  • T Rex Mom July 23, 2012, 10:34 pm

    I am just beaming with pride for you. So proud of your accomplishment. Making a natural labor out of a somewhat unnatural experience. You did it! You did great.

    I hope these first few days at home are going well.

    Reply
  • Tesa @ 2 Wired 2 Tired July 23, 2012, 7:39 pm

    What an amazing story! Holding a newborn is one of my favorite things too. Love the photos as well!

    Reply
  • Sarah Hull July 23, 2012, 6:31 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your birth story! I am so sorry that things didn’t go as planned and that there was so much pain! :( I’m so happy that your little boy was born healthy and he is adorable! What an amazing blessing to be holding your little boy now!

    My birth with my first son didn’t go as planned- my water broke while we were out of town, so I gave birth in a different hospital with a different doctor, I had pitocin and an epidural :p Not my plan, at all, but our little boy was born and he was healthy and I was so happy to hold him! I felt like they couldn’t get him to me fast enough! :) This time, with baby #2, I’m going to be delivering at a birthing center with a midwife and a doula and am hoping to try for a water birth! We shall see how it goes! I am hoping for a focused, peaceful and joyful birth!

    Congratulations again on your new bundle of joy!

    Reply
  • Jessica A July 23, 2012, 5:05 pm

    Oh Julie, I’m so happy to have read your story but am sorry that it was not as you were hoping for… (I know all about that, too!) I prayed for you so hard and I am glad that after all the stress of labor, the delivery was quick and you have another happy, healthy little boy to hold in your arms! I really do wish we were closer so that we could get together! :)

    Reply
  • Amanda C July 23, 2012, 5:01 pm

    Julie thank you for sharing! What an amazing story and you certainly are a super woman. Congrats again on a gorgeous baby. Did the name stick?

    Reply
  • Julianne G July 23, 2012, 2:47 pm

    Great blog all my birthing experiences came back….I know what you mean when things don’t go according to your birth plan.. All that said I still loved giving birth and holding that baby right after they are born there is nothing like it….reminds me of my salvation what the Lord feels like when someone gets saved. Congratulations on beautiful baby boy born on the best day of the year your mom’s birthday and mine ! ( also my nephews ).

    Reply
  • Trisha W. July 23, 2012, 12:38 pm

    I’ll have to come back later to say more when my eyes aren’t filled with tears. So many elements of your story brought flash backs to some of my different labor and deliveries. (I have seven kiddos.) In retrospect, I hope you discover that even though L & D went far from your birth plan the result was a healthy mom and a healthy baby. That’s the most important part of your plan that did come true. =) Thanks for sharing your story, Julie. And I for one did not find it too graphic at all. Peace.

    Reply
  • Beeb Ashcroft July 23, 2012, 12:31 pm

    I’m sorry that you had to go through so much pain and stress during the labor. But your baby is precious! And by the way, I am SUPER impressed that you are able to blog like normal so soon after this. You have the endurance of SuperMom!

    Reply
  • holly July 23, 2012, 11:47 am

    yours was basically the opposite of mine lol i wanted an all natural delivery but ended up with 2 failed inductions that led to a c-section, definitely not the way i imagined it would go but none of it mattered when i saw my baby girl for the first time :)

    Reply
  • Heather July 23, 2012, 11:06 am

    Your birth story reminds me alot of my youngest baby’s, born May 2. After hospital birth, birth center birth, andhomebirth, in that order, we were hoping for another homebirth,but receiving prenatal are from the midwives at our military hospital. I feel very private about birth, and part of a natural birth to me is not having a boatload of people in the room.
    Well, my ater broke (3wekks early) just like it had with my last two babies. no big deal,ithought…ifthings kept followingmy typical pattern, contractions would get going in a few hours, and a few hours after that…baby would be here.
    Well….it did go just like that…except that just as contractions started, baby sudden;y passed very thick meconium…though baby’s hear rate as good at this point, we called ahead and proceeded to the hospital- though the hospital didn’t seem to think it was a big deal either. ButBOY, contractionsstarted fast a furiosuly, and by the time we were in the car….I wasbegging to just go back home and finish there, since I could tell things were moving fast.
    We made it to the hospital, but like you, they wanted an iv antibiotic going because Ihad an elevated temp and prom ( probably elevated because of the activity….)and to monitor baby. Atthispoint baby’s hr was high and disconcerting,but not flat out alarming. We got to the delivery room bc things really were moving just as fast as I thought, but then baby’shr started dropping intermittently, flipping positions and oxygen for me seemed to helpthis-but asit kept happening, the midwives suggested an epidural in case those measures stopped helping- we couldbe ready for a c-section pronto without having to do general anesthesia. Just as that was placed, the midwives “checked me”- a nine with alip…and suddenly baby’s hr dropped and the typical measures weren’t working. We were getting ready to go to the OR, but the midwife thought that if we tried pushing with her holding that lip back…we could get to a ten and have baby out faster than going to the OR. I was grateful that they were helping us to avoid a c-section…but mostly I was kind of dazed at this point.
    She was right, and baby wasout in 3 minutes of pushing-nothing like hearing your baby’s in distress to motivate you.However, he presented with a compound right arm, and ended up receiving abirthinjury to the left (erb’s palsy and a broken humerus…the break wasn’t confirmed until he was over a week old….), and he had to be intubbated.
    Now, at 2 months old, he is doing wonderfully and can move his left arm…but I still haven’t gone through his birth supplies…they are hidden away in the trunk in my room.I am torn between resenting the boatload of people in the room ( who somehow managed to break my newborns arm) and grateful that we did proceed to the hospital ( we were prepared for distress…but how would we have felt seeing him that grayand limp at home). Thanks you for sharing…I think it’s the best therapy for all of us—reminds us that we aren’t alone and it’s ok to feel ambivalent about things surrounding our births.

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  • Susan July 23, 2012, 10:34 am

    thanks for sharing, and congrats! I never had very detailed birth plans, and I think that’s probably for the best. There are just so many unknowns with having a baby, and I didn’t want to be too invested in having things go just so. I remember being so shocked as well how quickly the pushing phase went with baby #2 vs. baby #1. So happy your new arrival has arrived!

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  • Ashley - Embracing Beauty July 23, 2012, 8:38 am

    How exciting! Congratulations!!! Mine differs in that I asked for pain meds as soon as I possibly could. My husband jokes that I was asking the parking attendant when I could get the epidural. lol I agree with you, holding your little one for the first time is an amazing experience! I was shaking so badly that I wanted my husband to help hold her to make sure I didn’t drop her. :)

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  • Brett July 23, 2012, 8:27 am

    I can’t wait to come see him!! You look awesome. Way to go mama!

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  • Courtney July 23, 2012, 8:15 am

    I haven’t had my baby girl yet, but I can’t wait for that moment when they place her on my chest!! Reading stories like this makes me so excited. So happy for you and your beautiful family :)

    Reply