Thaddeus' Birth Story
I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to Hanna for sending her birth story to me to post! As I've said before, I don't write my clients' birth stories for them because it is their intimate story to tell. But it brings me so much joy when they send them to me! Thank you, Hanna, for entrusting me with your birth as well as with your story. I loved being your doula! <3
I certainly didn’t plan on being there that day. That is, Urgent Care on my due date.
Getting antibiotics for an ear and sinus infection. I try to avoid antibiotics most of the time, but I talked with my doula and we decided that if my body is trying to fight infection I might have a difficult time if I were to go into labor.
It’s funny that we had that conversation because my body really did not want to go into labor. The days ticked by. At 40 weeks and 5 days I walked all of the Kansas City Zoo. If you haven’t been there believe me when I say that it is soooo much walking. I didn’t even get a contraction out of the deal!
One week past my due date I had an ultrasound and a non-stress test. Baby boy was looking happy and healthy. I was only dilated a fingertip, and I was not feeling good about starting an induction and my body just not being ready. I have so many people who have asked, why did they let you go that long?! Let me explain. I had beautiful dreams of going into labor naturally, I was seeing a midwife who was pretty easy going and let me make choices for myself as long as baby was healthy, and with my first child they cranked up the Pitocin and I was not about that life. And strangely, after my due date I felt better than I had felt in weeks. So, they let me because it was ultimately my choice as long as we were healthy.
At 41 weeks and 3 days I went for another ultrasound and non-stress test.
The ultrasound is a particular test that checks for fluid levels, and movement of the baby among other things. The non-stress test consists of monitoring the baby’s heart rate and mom’s contractions for a set amount of time. Before I went I had toast with avocado and a small cup of coffee. Baby boy should have been jumping for joy, but he just would not move during the ultrasound. Also, my fluid level had dropped from where it was a few days earlier. It was not in a dangerous place, but it had dropped significantly, so logically it would keep dropping in the coming days. I had an induction scheduled for 42 weeks because that is the longest my particular office will allow women to carry a baby, and I was okay with that. (But I definitely had fears about birthing a huge baby!)
After the tests that day my midwife decided it was best for the baby if we went ahead and started an induction right away. I was also okay with that. I had so many fears that I had caused his health to deteriorate by keeping him in my womb for so long.
We went home, ate dinner, gathered the bags, kissed the 2-year-old and off to the hospital we went.
When we arrived we noticed how busy they were bringing babies into the world. The charge nurse checked us in and got us settled into a room. The room was pretty large. It had a view of the interstate and contained, my personal favorite, a big ole tub! We put our stuff away, set up our diffuser with lavender oil and a portable speaker with relaxing music.
My induction started with Cytotec. It is a small pill that is inserted into the cervix every 4 hours over a 12 hour period to help the process of dilation. This is where the details get a little foggy for me as bringing this baby into the world seemed to be turning into an ordeal. I tried my best to sleep with the IV, blood pressure cuff and the helicopter pad somewhere close to my window. I was hopeful that the next morning I would be checked and be dilated to 4 centimeters and progressing into active labor with just the little pills.
As I said, those poor nurses and midwives were busy bringing babies into the world, so we had to wait a few hours to see the midwife on call and be checked for dilation. When she did check I was just about a centimeter dilated which was not much change at all. Pitocin was recommended, but I was determined to try some other methods first. The midwife on call even suggested that since baby’s heartrate had been perfect while we had been there that we could consider going home and waiting to go into labor or coming back in a couple days for my previously scheduled induction. She also explained to me that if I chose Pitocin, it would be administered in a low dose, so the contractions would come on a bit more like natural labor. Another option was to try the Foley Bulb, which would be inserted and physically make the cervix dilate to 4 centimeters. She was very gracious and encouraging. She allowed me to unhook from all the things, walk the hospital stairs with my husband, get Starbucks and talk it over. We walked up and down stairs for about thirty minutes and I would stop and do a squat through each contraction.
After our Hiatus from induction land, we decided to go ahead with the low dose of Pitocin. The drug had left me very sensitive, so the thought of inserting the bulb was intolerable. Going home and coming right back didn’t seem like a good use of time, gas, and the emotions of our toddler.
Pitocin was started around noon and from that point I mostly bounced on a birthing ball or walked in place or through the hallway. They started Pitocin 1 unit and would increase it every 30 minutes IF the contractions were not picking up. I did start to have significant contractions at regular intervals and they became intense to the point I started trying different labor positions and called in the doula. Sadly, by 10 pm I was a mere 2 centimeters dilated. The midwife decided to stop the administration of Pitocin, take the monitors off and let me get a night of sleep. At this point we had been at the hospital for over 24 hours and did not seem closer to delivering a baby at all.
At 5 am Saturday morning I was awoken and started on Pitocin a second time.
I dozed off and on until 7 am while my husband was snoozing and I wanted to throw things at him because this was probably his fault and there he was sleeping (haha). I was starting to feel defeated and thinking that I would definitely be having a c-section that day. Why won’t you come out, baby?!
At 7 the nursing staff had a shift change and our nurse for the day came bounding in with enthusiasm saying “We are going to have a baby today!.”
I wanted so badly to believe her and was willing to do anything to avoid surgery. She quickly wrote birth affirmations and posted them all over the room. She talked with us about our preferences for birth and after baby was born. She promised not the fill the room with strangers screaming at me to push, and I was pretty happy about that. (That was part of my first birth experience).
Next, I took to walking the unit over and over squatting deep during every contraction while hanging onto the handrail. All the rooms were full and I could hear other women screaming out in pain and I so wished that was me.
I was checked after my walking spree and was still hanging out between 2 and 3 centimeters dilated. We decided to try the Foley Bulb (with much dread in my heart). I breathed calmly and deeply as it was inserted and filled with saline. It was quite uncomfortable. My breathing wasn’t so calm, but I had a contraction and the bulb immediately fell out indicating that I was dilated to 4 centimeters as is its’ design. That was around 10 am, and from that point I was in active labor. The nurse had me to sit backwards on the toilet as this encourages labor. I was there for about an hour. I was hard at work breathing though contractions and a little after 11 am the contractions started to become very painful. My wonderful doula arrived at noon. I should have named my baby after her and the day nurse, but the name "Mary Darcie" would have been weird for our sweet boy. They were both a huge help and encouragement in my goals for the birth experience and just plain trying to get that baby born.
So, with Mary the comfort ninja helping, I labored and delivered free of pain medication. I am not against epidurals. I think each woman should be free to make choices in birth that she is comfortable with. I am more afraid of a needle in my back and not feeling my legs than I am the pain of labor, however strange that may be.
I labored in the bathroom a lot and made it to the tub around 1:30. I remember what time I was in the tub because my lunch trey was brought in and I had no interest in eating. If you do plan to give birth without pain medication get. in. a. tub. It made the contractions tolerable and I was able to relax my entire body. I had read somewhere to make sure my hands were open instead of having clinched fists and focusing on that helped me to relax my entire body. Also, Mary kept reminding me to relax my shoulders.
After the water started getting cold the nurse was ready to check how dilated I was again. I had plans to get back into my beloved tub, but it never happened. I was finally dilated to about a 6 and the contractions were hard and fast, but my cervix was still curving to one side instead of coming straight down, so the midwife wanted me to lay on my side with a peanut ball between my legs so that the pressure and gravity would help baby’s head push the cervix down and straight. Of course, it wasn’t long before nature called so I went back to the toilet and from there did a different position with each contraction for about an hour. I finally felt like I had to lie down for a minute so I got back into bed with the peanut ball and the midwife came back in and I was in the same position I was in when she left, which was funny and I was really concerned she would think I was just laying there being lazy (what?!).
Things were pretty serious at this point, and I have no idea about what time things happened, but I do remember how it felt. It hurt. But it was also very beautiful. I could feel the little guy squirming his way down. I could feel him turning in the birth canal and it was strangely enjoyable and through the pain I had unexplainable peace. My water still had not broken and the midwife offered to break it and I said “I’m having a contraction, then I want a snack, then I want you to break my water.” And that’s what we did.
The craziest thing that happened was at about 8 centimeters.
I was in the bathroom to potty (again). Right after the release of urine, another contractions happens, so I would potty, contract right there on the throne, then get up and move (maybe). And when I did contract my husband and Mary would each push one of my legs toward my body and that beautiful counter pressure made life worth living. I wondered why no one told me to do that with my first birth! I digress, Mary and Lucas were helping me through a contraction and Lucas said something nice to me (probably that I’m awesome and beautiful, but I don’t remember). For some reason, my reply was “thanks, dude.” They both thought I called him “Dave” and kind of giggled. I thought they were giggling because I’m funny and I called him dude and that made me laugh. So, we made our way back into the labor room from the restroom and I couldn’t stop giggling here and there. The midwife and nurse were in my room and they were amused by my giggling spree.
THEN, I had a contraction and the entire minute (or maybe it was 37 minutes, I’m not sure) I belly laughed and I couldn’t stop. It hurt so good.
I was laughing and saying “Ow, it hurts!” Everyone else in the room was laughing too and looking at each other like “should we be laughing right now? Is this woman completely insane?” I’m not sure what all they were thinking, but I’m sure there were things. I think the mix of Oxytocin and my body attempting to cope with the pain created this fit of laughing.
And the laughter did serve a purpose, I was really hurting after that and was begging for my precious tub of warm water. The nurse said “Let me just check you before you get in there.” And I was ready to push.
In my first birth, the pushing part was a big relief. I felt relief in the pushing itself, but this time was different. This baby was LARGE compared to my first and everything about this labor was just different. The first time, the labor was terrible, the birth was tolerable. The second time, the labor was tolerable, but he birth.. well.. ouch.
When he was crowning the midwife said he had a head full of black curly hair and I was so surprised because my first is a blondie. Also, she was encouraging me to reach down and feel his head so as to motivate me to get him out into the world, but I couldn’t. All I could do was squirm and push and grunt. Someone reached my hand down to touch his head. I’m sure that is motivating for some people, but I don’t do gross things very well, even when they are happening to me.
I was thinking “If I can just get the head out, the rest will come.” (Because that’s how my first birth went).
So, I pushed with all my might and his head came on out and.. he stopped. He stopped at the shoulders. He was a burly guy with a big chest and shoulders. I’m not sure how to describe what it’s like to have a person’s head out of your body and the rest of their body still inside your own, but it’s pretty weird.
So, again I pushed a few more times to get those shoulders to break free and our little man came into the world. They told me to reach down, pick him up and put him on my chest, and I knew what they wanted me to do, but when I reached down he was so slippery and chubby, I didn’t really have the strength in that moment to pick him up or the brain power to figure out a way to pick him up without dropping him, so again, someone else put him there for me.
And there he was at 9 pounds 5 ounces. Thaddeus Boone. 41 weeks and 5 days.
He was screaming his head off and I thought “Oh my, what have I done?” I thought for sure he would scream the rest of his life, but it turns out he was just hungry. He still screams like that if he gets hungry, but as soon as he is fed he’s a happy and sweet guy once again.
It was long and hard, but also very beautiful. I loved all my nurses. I loved my doula. Darcie, the wonderful nurse that started at 7 am that day and told me we would have a baby, her shift ended at 7 pm and he was born at 7:02 pm. Right after he was born she came to the head of the bed and told me I did great and she would be leaving and I told her I loved her. I think she was taken back by that a little, but in that moment she was my hero for helping to get my baby boy born.
Another funny thing was that after I delivered the placenta the hospital staff and my doula were all admiring how “beautiful” it was. They even took a picture. So, I basically have bragging rights for making beautiful babies and placenta!