I want to preface my birth story with the fact that even though you have a midwife, and even though that midwifery has delivered babies for people you know, including your best friend, doesn't mean they are the right fit for you! If nothing else, I hope my story inspires other moms to really research their midwives or care providers (I THOUGHT I had, but as with everything in life, there's always more to learn). I also apologize that it's so long. This story takes place over a week's time! And now, on with the story...
Friday, April 24th, 2009, Yvonne, one of the midwives from our midwifery came over to try to induce my labor. I was 41 weeks 4 days according to an ultra sound guess date we had done at 6 weeks. I had major thyroid problems while trying to conceive and I was going 60-70 days between cycles, so we had NO clue when we'd made a baby! I drank lots of nasty herbal tea, used the breast pump, took homeopathic blue & black cohosh and she stripped my membranes every hour. It was a really long day. I had a few contractions, but nothing worth writing home about. She left around six and I tried so hard not to be disappointed. It was so hard though. I so wanted to have him because we had an appointment with the backup OB at 11:15 Monday morning for an ultrasound and a consultation with him. I had heard great things about Dr. Ryan, but I still DID NOT want a hospital birth! (The midwifery's policy was at 42 weeks you were transfered to the OB for a consult and he would determine if I was "allowed" to go a few more days or if if they would admit me and induce.)
Friday night, I had contractions off and on all night that were pretty strong. I woke my husband, Mark up about 5:00 in the morning and asked him to come in there and lay down with me because I didn’t want to be awake and by myself. (Mark had been sleeping in the spare room for at least the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy because his snoring was so bad it kept me awake & I was so big, I took up the entire queen bed with all my pillows!) I knew I wasn’t in labor, but I was bored in there alone. All day Saturday went by, and no contractions. I got sick of waiting and we went to Lowe’s to walk around & buy some things to get our bathroom finished up. Saturday afternoon, I went back to Lowe’s and bought 5 bags of cedar mulch for the front flower bed. Mark helped me and we put the black plastic down to keep the weeds out & moved the pavers back where they should be. I decided the time on my hands and knees was good for keeping the baby in the position he needed to be in and I thought surely if I was exhausted and sun burnt, I’d go into labor.
Saturday night, same story. I had contractions all night that were strong enough to keep me up most of the night. I took a shower and that helped me be able to relax enough to go back to bed. Finally, at 5:00am Sunday morning, I woke Mark up again because I didn’t want to lay in there by myself anymore.
We laid in bed together and watched the Memorial Marathon and then he got up and made me a yummy omelet for breakfast. Then we fell asleep and didn’t get up until 11:00. We went to Super Target in Norman to pick up a few groceries and bought Coleman a sock monkey! When we got home, I was SO tired. Mark carried everything in and put it up while I laid down for a while. Later that evening, we tried to go for a walk. We got two houses down and I had to come home because I didn’t feel up for the walk. I talked to Piper on the phone (my labor coach/doula) and she said I sounded terrible. I remember thinking that I thought I could really being going into labor for real because I didn’t feel good. I had a couple of very mild contractions about 8:30, but I went to bed. By 2:30 in the morning, my contractions were hard enough to get me out of bed. I took a shower looking for relief, but I didn’t get much. When I got out of the shower, I couldn’t lay back down in bed. I sat on the birth ball and leaned on a couple of pillows on the bed to try to get more rest. By 3:30, I started timing the contractions. They were about 30 seconds long and 3 minutes apart. I still didn’t think I was in labor. By 4:15, I couldn’t handle them by myself anymore. I didn’t want to wake Mark up because he was supposed to go to work Monday morning before the ultrasound. The last two nights, the contractions had stopped at 5:00am, so I tried to hold out, but I couldn’t. I woke him up about 4:15. He got up and got dressed. I guess he thought this was the real deal, because the last two mornings, he hadn’t gotten dressed. Ha ha! He put counter pressure on my back every time I had a contraction. I taught him how to time them and tried to relax. By 5:15, it suddenly hit me that this was it. The real deal. I had him call Piper (my doula) and then mom to come get Riley, our schnauzer. (He barks like an idiot every time someone comes over, so I knew I didn't want him there.)
Poor Mark. I really had to have counter pressure to handle the contractions and I also desperately wanted him to get the pool started and filled up. He would come in and put pressure on my back and then as soon as the contraction was over, he would run to the kitchen to clean off the table and then he would hear me start to moan and come running back. By that time, my contractions were lasting 60 seconds and were 2-3 min apart. He didn’t have much time in between to get the pool up! I remember him helping me to the bathroom and having a contraction while I was sitting on the toilet. It was so intense I threw up three times.
I guess at some point I’d ask him to call my best friend, Shawna. I don’t remember that at all. I was SO relieved when Piper got there. I still felt really woozy and asked for something to throw up in. Piper had a hot pack that she put on my lower back with the counter pressure that helped SO much. When she left to microwave it again, I had no counter pressure or hot pack when a contraction hit and threw up again. I heard Shawna come in and help Mark start filling up the pool. I kept asking if it was ready or not. I remember Mark coming in the bedroom to check on me. I asked if the pool was up and when he said no, I said “well get in there & get it up!” Poor Mark! When I re-read this, it sounds kind of horrible, but it really wasn’t. The contractions were intense, but still manageable at that point. I remember Piper asking if we had called the midwife yet. I was thinking, “No, I don’t know how far apart my contractions are! I was thinking someone else was keeping track of that for me.” I think I said for Mark to call her. Looking back now, I know Piper thought I was pretty close to delivering him & she didn't want to be the person to have to do it! lol!
When Mark came back in the room, I remember hearing him say that Michelle was coming. I remember saying “WHAT? It’s supposed to be Yvonne!” Yvonne was on call, but apparently they had attended several births the last few days and they were exhausted, so Michelle was coming. I liked all the midwives, but Michelle had not been my favorite & I was thinking it was Yvonne since she was on call and she had been there all day with me Friday trying to induce. Mark reminded me that we had prayed about who the midwife would be and that God knew what He was doing. (Thanks for convicting me during labor honey.)
All this time, Mark had been in the dining room trying to set up the birth pool. We had the 6’ folding table up from the big cook day so he had to clean that off first & take it down. Then he swept & mopped the floor. Then lay down the waterproof cloth & quilt before he could inflate the pool. He was so flustered he inflated the sides first & then realized he needed to do the floor and seat so he had to deflate the sides and start over! ACK!
When the pool was half full, I practically ran in there between contractions. The water was NOT warm enough and I started to panic. I needed warmer water! The hot water tank was drained at that point and cold water had started coming through the hose so we got that pulled out and they were boiling water on the stove to add to the pool. I wanted to get hot water from the neighbor’s tank to get it faster! Ha ha ha! I remember at one point during the day the smoke detector going off because of the stove top being on so hot boiling all that water. Oh….that made my head HURT! : )
Michelle got there 15 minutes or so after I got in the pool. I was throwing up again when she got here. She told me that I was throwing up because of the way I was breathing and showed me how to breathe to calm down some. When she checked me at 8:00am, I was only a 3. (Again, looking back, I think I freaked that she was the one coming and went backward. I think if it had been Yvonne, I would have been close to pushing already) I was SO disappointed because Yvonne had stretched me to a 5 on Friday, but I hadn’t had enough contractions to stay there. Still, I was at least hoping for a 4! I had been in hard labor for over 5 hours! She left to go to the health food store to get some things and Mark turned on the hypnobirthing CD to help me relax. Once I realized that I could never get the water hot enough to totally relieve the pain, I had to use it to hold me up and relax, it made a huge difference. I remember Shawna being behind my head when I was lying down in the pool with the seat supporting my back. She told me to ride the contractions like a wave. Sink down into the water instead of pulling myself up out of the water. I finally got into a groove and let the hypnobirthing run through my mind. I wasn’t even consciously listening to it, but it was making a huge difference. I kept asking for cool washcloths for my head & chest. It took all the concentration I had to just say “rag.” Ha ha!
Piper sat by my head the entire day, cooling me off with wash cloths for my face and chest. I got out a couple of times to use the bathroom and I took a shower, but I didn’t think the shower was enough help for the contractions at that point and wanted back in the pool. I remember Shawna feeding me frozen grapes and cheese cubes. I could never finish the entire bite before another contraction would hit and I would sit there with a half eaten grape in my mouth waiting for the contraction to pass! Gross! At some point I remember hearing the distinct sound of “Pshhhh…” A can of Dr. Pepper being cracked open as I started a contraction. I remember thinking, “That dirty dog is having a Dr. Pepper and there is no way I can drink one right now. He’s going to pay for that!” HA HA HA! Shawna gave Mark a dirty look and he said his thought was, he was waiting for a contraction to start so that my moaning would drown out the sound of the can opening. Geee….and he wonders why I wanted a doula to help me through labor! HA HA! I love my crazy husband! :) He WAS helpful & was in there all day with me, updating Facebook so my family would know what was going on & being my disk jockey! :)
Michelle checked me again three hours later. It was 11:00am. I was between a 5 and 6! Yeah! Progress! Shawna and Mark later told me that she thought my labor had stopped because she couldn’t tell I was still having contractions. Yeah for hypnobirthing!
I changed positions a few times in the pool, but hated it every time. I really didn’t want to move at all. The pressure was really intense and moving made it almost unbearable.
I rolled over to my stomach in the pool and used my arms to help hold myself off the bottom of the pool. I remembered thinking at that point I must be going through transition. The contractions were getting much closer together. I was thinking, “Wow. I’m doing this! I’m going through transition and its okay!”
Michelle checked me again at 2:00 pm and I was a 9. I was going to see my baby by the end of the day!
I moved to my back again and sometimes I would breathe REALLY loud so that Piper knew it hurt! That was the only point where I thought it really was painful when I was going from a 9 to a 10. WOW. Such PRESSURE! Sometimes I would breathe just like normal during a really intense contraction and I would just tell Piper that was really intense. I remember her saying “Really?” because she couldn’t even tell I was having a contraction. The hypnobirthing was really helping a lot!
Michelle said that she thought the pool was too big and that I needed to get out to push. I was really disappointed at hearing that because I really, really wanted a water birth. After talking to Mark, she finally agreed to let me try to push in the pool if he got in and sat behind me to hold me out of the water while I pushed. We tried it a few times, but she decided we needed to move to the bedroom. I got out of the pool and Shawna helped me take my tank top off. I apologized for being naked in front of her. It’s so true when you are in labor, you loose all modesty. I was too tired and too far into labor to care at that point. It was 3:00pm. (Once again, looking back I wish I had been capable of throwing a fit at this point and refusing to get out of the pool. We knew he was a big baby and I was terrified to get out of the pool because of how much worse the pain was. I couldn't communicate at that point of labor though.)
I moved to the bed and pushed for an hour. I had NO idea that pushing was going to be so much work. No one really prepares you for that. I guess because it’s different for everyone and when you try to push out a toddler, that’s just not easy! It was SO, SO hot and I got stopped up from lying on my back. It was the worst panic feeling I think I've ever experienced. Mark & Piper had to push my knees up to my shoulders. Ouch. It was really miserable and I remembered thinking that the pushing part really stunk! At some point, my my doula asked the midwife why I was having to push on my back and she snapped at her that she had me in that position for a reason. As I researched it later, I learned it was the "McRoberts" position. Known for helping a large baby get through the pelvis more easily if shoulder dystocia is suspected. I can understand this if I had been allowed to push in the pool longer or squat while pushing, use the toilet or birth stool, but she went straight to this position with no explanation. I knew pushing on my back was the least effective way, but I couldn't talk at all while pushing. It was a horrible feeling being trapped in my own body like that.
After pushing for an hour, she decided to let me rest through a few contractions. I was wondering if something was wrong. Not because I had pushed that long, because I knew that was totally normal, especially for a first time mom, but I soon found out. When Michelle came back in, and I started pushing again, we got thick, dark meconium. I remember her showing me a greenish looking paper towel & saying “See this? This is your amniotic fluid. We’ve got to go to the hospital now.” I was totally calm about it and said, “Okay, let’s go.” Michelle went to go call Dr. Ryan and let him know we were on our way. Shawna found me pants & a t-shirt to put on. I kept asking who was going to drive me. I knew I didn’t think it was a good idea for Mark to because I knew I was going to be moaning really loud and I was afraid he couldn’t concentrate to drive with that!
Piper agreed to take me in her vehicle. She had two car seats in though so I had to sit in the front. I asked someone to get me a towel or something to sit on because she had nice tan leather seats! Ha ha! Shawna grabbed me a blue pad & helped me to the car. I was barefoot, no bra or undies. Ghetto, wet hair from being in the pool all day and blood shot eyes from pushing so hard. I was a sight to behold! SCARY!
I remember closing my eyes when I got in the car. The seat was of course upright & I started hollering for Shawna to lean it back. Piper has a nice GMC Yukon with electric seats. The seat went the wrong way & I started hollering! Looking back now it was funny. Then it was NOT funny! I told Piper to just get me there, that I would pay the ticket if I had to. She later told me she was hoping to get pulled over so we could get a police escort. Ha ha! I felt every last bump on the lovely I-40 cross town bridge. Still makes me a little sick to drive across it now. We got almost every light red downtown, headed to St. Anthony, or, there was someone in front of us. She was able to run one light. When we got to Joyful Beginnings (ha ha ha! Nice name. I was NOT feeling joyful at this point), she left the truck running and went to get me a wheelchair. It was VERY small. I’m a big girl and when you are that pregnant with a baby’s head coming out, it really hurts to have your hips squished into a wheelchair. I remember her pushing me past a little boy that was probably 4 or 5. I smiled at him because I knew I looked really scary and tried to stifle a moan from another contraction. I didn’t think it was really fair to scare the dickens out of him! They buzzed us in, but there was no receptionist and we didn’t know where to go. I remember Piper running around the corner looking for someone and me hollering “Somebody please help us!” Thankfully they had sent a nurse down there to get me. She took me and Piper went to park the truck.
When I realized she was running down the hall with me, I started to get a little worried and realized how serious it was. Just past the nurse’s station, I saw Mark. Keep in mind, when we left the house, he was waving goodbye from the driveway, with my flip flops in hand, crying. The Trailblazer was still in the garage. He managed to beat us there and park in a parking garage and get inside. I’m not going to ask how fast he drove. Seriously, all of the OKC police department must have been on a donut break at 4:30!
When they got me to the room they told me to stand up and change into a gown. I glared at the nurse and she told me I could wait until that contraction was over. Good plan!
I finally got in bed and they hooked up the fetal monitor to me. Ugh. I hated that, but I was glad that we could listen to Coleman to make sure he was ok. They started an IV, took blood, checked me SIX times (hello? I was complete. I’d already pushed for an hour!) I hated getting checked because it made the contractions SO much more intense. I was in a lot of pain by then. I was hollering for someone to PLEASE get me SOMETHING. ANYTHING! I was seriously regretting not asking Shawna to get the ipod for me so I would have had my hypnobirthing there with me. My poor dad had made it to the hospital by then and was outside my room and could hear me hollering.
Finally Dr. Ryan came in. He was wearing a black dress shirt and a tan sports coat. I clearly remember thinking that he should get out of those clothes quickly because it was about to get messy! Ha ha! He looked at me and in that stern, but comforting voice said, “Christy, I want to talk to you. This is not about how much pain you can handle. A vacuum extraction is not like a normal birth. But, I’m afraid if I give you an epidural, you won’t be able to help me push.” I remember looking at Michelle. I was so exhausted at this point. I finally had my “I don’t know if I can do this” moment. She assured me that he wouldn’t tell me he thought I could do it if I couldn’t. So, I said, ok, I’ll try. I breathed through about four contractions while he went to change clothes. It seemed like an eternity and I was asking what was taking so long!
The D.O. that was helping him started to put the vacuum on and I started hollering! He said “What’s wrong?” I was like Duh! It hurts! Ha ha!
The vacuum popped off his head and blood splattered everywhere. Mark started wiping my face with a washcloth and I though he was just trying to cool me off. Apparently, it was all over everyone in the room. Later that night while I was laying in my bed, I noticed blood all over the ceiling tile too. Gross.
I remember that the vacuum really moved him much further down. I felt his head come out and thought “That wasn’t much relief!” Dr. Ryan immediately began suctioning Coleman. I had another contraction and pushed his left shoulder out. Dr. Ryan said “I don’t like the way this looks.” NOT comforting words from whoever is delivering your baby. His second shoulder was stuck. (Shoulder dystocia) He had to reach in and pull him out. I remember screaming because that hurt really bad. I think that’s when I let a word fly too. Ooopsie. I was embarrassed that I said a bad word, especially since Shawna was there! She was very gracious about it and said it was ok, the oxygen mask had muffled it! He he he! It was 5:55pm.
I saw Dr. Ryan holding Coleman, still doubled in two. He was a sick gray color. I hating watching him cut the cord. Another part of my birth plan, down the tubes. I knew it was necessary, but I hated that Mark didn’t get to and it was still pulsing. I kept asking if he was okay. Finally, the third time I asked, he said he didn’t know. I laid there thinking that I had just gone through all that and I was probably going home without my baby. It was very terrifying and sobering.
He handed him off to the nurses who began working on him and then he started working on me. Because my placenta was old, it had adhered. It wouldn’t come loose on its own. Dr. Ryan had to reach in and pull it out. He was up to his elbow at least eight times. It was so, so painful. So much for the pretty pictures they paint in all the baby birth books you read about them laying your baby on your belly and not feeling the placenta being delivered. They had to biopsy it because it was getting infected and so was the cord. Probably from the meconium. Piper and Shawna told me it was going to hurt because he was going to give me a local shot to stitch up my tear. I remember thinking “Tear? I didn’t know I tore!” I laughed in my head that they thought a tiny little shot would hurt after delivering “THAT.”
I kept trying to see him and I couldn’t hear him. My eyes were so blood shot from pushing I couldn’t really see anything. He finally let out a tiny little “wahhh…” It sounded more like a kitten’s “meow.” I was really glad he was alive, but I was in so much pain at that point, I really couldn’t focus on anything else.
After getting three locals, they started stitching on me. I started hollering that I could feel it. Shawna told them that I hadn’t been like that all day. Dr. Ryan had sent the nurse for dilaudid (morphine times two basically). She was be-bopping around and hadn’t bothered to get it. Somewhere in all of that, they stabilized Coleman enough to get him to the nursery. They wrapped him up and brought him over to me and told me to kiss him because they were taking him to the nursery. I kissed that sweet, puffy, purple cheek three times before they took off with him. Something clicked and I remembered that if we had to go to the hospital, Mark was supposed to go to the nursery with him and Piper would stay with me. Later I was glad Mark wasn’t in the room with me. They announced his weight. 10 lbs 8 oz. and 22 ½” long. I was so doped up at that point, I thought they were saying 8 lbs 10oz! I thought “Wow, he wasn’t as big as I thought he would be!” HA HA HA!!!
They ended up giving me 5 locals to stitch me up. I was hollering so much because I could STILL feel it that he almost gave me a spinal block so they could finish. I remember having a death grip on Shawna’s arm and Piper’s hand. After 15 minutes or so I asked if they were almost done and Dr. Ryan said they were only half way.
Due to my intensely medicated state, I started getting pretty loony with what I was saying. At some point, the D.O. was stitching and Dr. Ryan hollered at her, “NO! NOT THERE!” Well, that could strike panic in the heart of any normal person when they are stitching “down there.” I said “Welllll…we hadn’t decided what to do for birth control. If you sew up the wrong thing, we won’t have to worry about it.” Ha ha ha! Note to self: Never let them give you dilaudid again. It makes you say embarrassing things. The entire room was laughing.
When the nurse was scrubbing me to clean me up, I told her to be “gentle.” He he. They were treating me like I had an epidural and everything was numb. I was very much aware of everything. The dilaudid didn’t help the pain at all. It just made me loopy.
There is a block of time I don’t remember at all there. Like the lights went out and no one was home. The next thing I remember was Michelle asking what I wanted for dinner. They room was full of people. All my family, Michelle, Piper, Shawna. I tried to eat because I was starving, but hospital food is just gross.
About 8:00 Mark came back to the room and helped me get in the wheelchair to go to the nursery to see him. Finally! They were letting us in! My nurse was so sweet and explained everything they had him hooked up to. He had an oxygen mask, heart monitors and an IV. It was scary. His bed was wet from the IV leaking, so they made us leave after just 5 minutes with him. I was crying because I didn’t even get to see his face. The side they put me on his head was turned the other way.
My sister, Cheryl spent the night at the hospital that night and helped me. I don’t remember sleeping much and pondering the thought that I’d been awake for nearly four days straight at that point. I cried because I didn’t feel like a mommy. I just wanted to see my baby! I had gone through all that and still couldn’t hold him!
I don’t remember anything else until the next day about 9:00am. They were going to let me hold him! We went to the nursery and finally held my sweet little baby. I only got to hold him twice that day because his respirations were too high and they were afraid that me holding him would over stimulate him. When I held him skin to skin it helped, but I told Mark I thought he was panting from being in pain from the rough delivery.
Wednesday, we called our chiropractor, Dr. Young and he was able to come to the hospital and adjust him for us! He had a dislocated shoulder and two ribs out of place! I heard when the second rib popped back in. Coleman let out a tiny “wahh!” and then SIGHED in relief and laid back down. I cried and thanked Dr. Young for coming to help him. Within minutes, the monitor started showing his respirations coming back to normal. What an amazing answer to prayer. I was finally able to try to nurse him on Wednesday morning too. We’ve had a few bumps in the road, some big bumps, but he’s doing well now.
By Thursday, they were weaning him off the IV and that afternoon they brought him to our room! He stayed with us that night and we were able to bring him home on Friday. It was an exhausting week. Waddling down to the nursery every 2-3 hours to nurse him. Setting our cell phone alarms to wake us up in the middle of the night to go down there. Life was so hectic. By the time I fed him and we got back to our room, we could either eat or sleep, but never seemed to have time for both before we had to get back down there.
(This is what a 10.8 22 1/2" long baby looks like. A 3 month old! lol)
Looking back on his story, I’m amazed at myself that I was able to remain as calm as I did. I am NOT known for being calm! It was just the grace of God and His strength helping me through. I had amazing family and friends that helped us so much that week and in the weeks after we came home from the hospital.
I'm now expecting our 2nd son in about 6 weeks. My old midwife has been fired and even though I'm having to drive to Tulsa (almost two hours away) for my prenatal appointments, I LOVE her and know she's the best fit for our family.