If you’re reading this – thank you for stopping by to read about my birth plan that surely had a plan of its own! I understand not everyone shares their birth story, but I read tons of birth stories throughout my pregnancy so I thought I’d share mine. It’s incredible how each women’s pregnancy and birth vary from one another. This was my first childbirth, and the most important thing to note is that I am so happy that we have a happy and healthy baby boy despite a change in my original birth plan.
I woke up this morning just like any other morning. For anyone who had checked in with me the last month, I had mentioned that I felt completely normal and great minus the awful heartburn. I did a couple Peloton rides, a strength class, two walks, and ate dinner as we normally would. And then a few hours things changed on the dime.
My birth story was truly a circle of life birth story as my 90 year old aunt had passed the morning that Peyton was born. When the doctor told me it was time to push at 10:42 pm, she also mentioned the pushing phase could take 2+ hours. I was determined to make it much quicker in order to create the circle of life. Especially after 27 hours waiting.
And first off, to my husband, I owe it all to you. I could not have gotten through 27 hours of labor without you, let alone 9 months of pregnancy! Thank you for being there every step of the way, my rock, my motivation, and my constant love and support. You are the most natural husband, and I expected nothing less of you. Thank you for allowing my mom to be there at our side throughout the labor as well. A memory i’ll never forget with you two.
My main plan was to deliver without an induction, unmedicated, tear on my own vs. episiotomy, and have my water break on its own unless I was almost fully dilated without a rupture. Everything was honored aside from the unmedicated portion as I made the decision to go for the epidural after 18 hours of laboring unmedicated! I am beyond proud of myself for going that far and ultimately knew I made the best decision for our baby in the end. There is absolutely nothing wrong with inductions whatsoever, but I truly knew our baby boy would make his debut when he was ready, and I didn’t want to intervene with that since all of my/his checkups were going well. As stubborn as I am – I wrote my birth plan knowing that it would be ok to take the epidural if need be without being upset with myself. After all – it was my first time giving birth!
It all started Friday night on February 4th when my water broke at 8pm and I had my bloody show (TMI but this is a birth story after all lol). I threw in a load of our laundry since I normally do it the following day and jumped in the shower so I could do my hair. The contractions started pretty much right away around 8:30pm and were manageable around this time. All of the books I read on unmedicated births recommended getting as much rest as possible and to try and sleep through contractions, so I jumped into bed around 9:30 or so to catch some z’s. That didn’t last long as the contractions grew stronger and stronger and closer together. I had my phone in one hand as I dosed off between the close contractions in order to track the length. They were about 4-5 minutes apart and all about a minute or longer, so I knew things were kicking into gear from what I had researched.
I wasn’t fully aware if my water had actually broke, but I kept feeling gushes of liquid often, and my doctor indicated to come right to the hospital if my water had broke given there is a risk of infection once this occurs. My husband was sleeping, but my contractions grew so strong that I kept getting up to walk around and use the bathroom. I ended up having to wake him up to apply counter pressure to the immense amount of back cramping I was feeling all night. I truly felt that it was time for the hospital. It is ABSOLUTELY true when people say “when you know you know.” It wasn’t until around 2am that it started getting worse and worse, so I called the hospital and asked if I should come in and they recommend it given the consistency of contractions as well as potential membrane rupture (water breaking). Leaving Gus at home in the middle of the night absolutely broke my heart and I cried pulling out of the driveway. That memory still breaks my heart, but I’m glad we’re home as a family of four now! He got picked up super early by my husband’s parents, so I knew he was in good hands.
We arrived at the hospital and they confirmed my water did in fact break by performing a quick test. The contractions got worse and worse, but I was still able to breathe deeply through each one. Some were short, but most were more intense. I was 2cm and 80% effaced when I arrived which was a step forward from Wednesday’s doctor appointment at 1cm and 50% effaced. I was checked again 3 hours later and was 3cm 80%. Three hours later again and was 3cm at 80-90%. Another 2-3 hours later at 5cm 80-90%, but that’s when things got stuck for the next few checks. It wasn’t until around 1pm that I lost control of my breath and the shaking kicked in (common during labor). I tried walking around, hands & knees, using the washroom, and laying in the bed, but the bed made everything 100 times worse. Getting up and walking also made things worse, but I knew it would help give our baby space to work his way down. I was so tired, but I couldn’t rest my head anywhere as any position that allowed me to do so made my contractions more intense. The contractions were clustered together meaning there were more back to back contractions – some strong and some a little easier. With that said, I was so tense. Being tense can cause the cervix to refrain from dilation as your body is trying to fight the contractions. Given they were much more intense and frequent I assumed I would have improved on dilation without a doubt, but I was still at the same dilation when they checked again which was very discouraging. The doctor suggested giving me Pitocin to increase the frequency and intensity of the contractions since my water broke, but given I could barely handle the pain with them spaced out a bit and how tired I was I considered the epidural. Had I progressed I would’ve stuck with it, but nothing was moving. Plus, I knew they wouldn’t check me again for at least 2-3 hours. I no longer had control of my breath to gently breathe through contractions.
My husband knew I wanted to stick with an unmedicated labor for various benefits, and I asked him to remind me of my plan if I ever doubted myself, but he also knew I was ok with considering the epidural if I couldn’t handle it. He supported me no matter what, but he did a good job on making sure I thought it through vs. making an abrupt decision. I got the epidural around 2pm, and it didn’t hurt despite thinking it would after what i’ve read online (something about a needle in the back really freaked me out)! I was so surprised and relieved. They had to up it a little bit off the bat after 20 minutes given I’m a redhead. This actually happened when I broke my arm as a kid- apparently I require additional anesthesia.
We watched HGTV after the epidural went in, and my parents ended up coming to the hospital later on to wait in the waiting room assuming i’d deliver soon (lol joke was on them). It was at this moment that they allowed my mom to come in the room and stay which is funny because I was just telling my husband that I wish my mom could be there! I had no idea they allowed this especially given COVID restrictions, but it was such a blessing and a memory I will cherish FOREVER. My husband was tired given we didn’t get any sleep, and I got to chat with my mom for 9 HOURS while the epidural worked its magic. Ok, not really magic given I REMAINED at 5cm and 90% dilated the entire 9 hours even after upping the Pitocin levels a few times.
After about 8 hours, the doctor ordered fluid injections to reduce the pressure on the cord, so they started the injections and upped the Pitocin one last time. She ended up coming in and stopping both the Pitocin and fluid injections as the contractions started to space out again and get less intense. It was at this very moment that we all thought this would end in an emergency c-section, and I was absolutely terrified inside. However, she checked my cervix one last time and said the head was right there and it was GO TIME – was not expecting that at all! The amount of relief both my husband, mom, and myself felt is indescribable. The doctor left after telling me the pushing stage can take 2 hours (more or less), and the nurse had me start pushing. I pushed about 3 times and then the nurse called the doctor in to say this was going to be fast. An entire team of nurses swarmed in, prepped, and I pushed 3-4 more times (15 min total altogether) and Peyton entered the world crying!
Words cannot describe how relieved and happy I was when Peyton was born! Everything had happened so fast that my emotions didn’t even kick in right away until my husband leaned in crying – then the tears flowed! We are over the moon for our boy, and we’re loving every second of parenthood despite the challenges here and there.
We can home to a beautifully decorated home by my mother in law! She filled the home with our favorite treats and food to fill our very hungry stomachs. I cried the moment we pulled into our driveway when I saw both the outside and inside decorated. It’s the little things that mean so much.
My parents came about an hour after we got home as they gave us time to allow Gus to meet our little man. They stayed a couple of days to help out and just be there for support, and my in laws also came the second day for dinner and to hold our boy.
My motivation to get through birth no matter how it ended up panning out was a quote I once heard from Jess Sims: “Tired is temporary.” I knew the pain and struggles weren’t going to last forever and that we would have the best reward after pushing past the struggles. Maybe i’ll try unmedicated again, but if that doesn’t work out again i’m absolutely open to an epidural again. Always do what you feel is best for you with pressure from anyone else’s birth story.
If you’re still here – thank you for reading through my birth story. No birth story is the same and that’s what makes each story so special and personal. We can’t wait for everyone to meet our boy once it’s safe out there. Appreciate all the love and support over the past 9 months and few weeks!