This is part 3 or 3 of Brooks' Birth Story. If you missed part 1 or part 2, you can catch up here. Fasten your seatbelts, this one's a doozy...
As one would imagine, and to my dismay, we did the epidural-pitocin dance from 7:30pm-9pm. The contractions would intensify and become closer, then they would increase the epidural and decrease pitocin, etc., etc. This happened until they found the right balance to allow my cervix to open completely. I started to push at 9 pm and this is when things begin to get fuzzy.
The balanced concoction ended up being a decrease in epidural and increase in pitocin. In my mind (and the midwife agreed) the 2 drugs cancelled each other out and I may as well have gone without medication- I was tired, angry, and frustrated to say the least. I felt like I had been pushing for hours and I was reaching my limit. The midwife took a damp paper towel and put some drops of lavender on it to help calm me down. The aroma was nice, but I was so far outside of my mind- I don't think it made a difference at this point. I was crying. More and more nurses and physicians were filling the room and the original midwife and nurse who were there with me in the beginning were starting to fade off into the distance. My pulse was elevated and they put an oxygen mask on me. I swear the oxygen mask made it more difficult for me to breathe but they were adamant about keeping it on. It gets even more blurry at this point, like I was having an out-of-body experience. I kept shouting over and over again:
"I feel like I'm dying"
"It hurts SO bad"
At one point I was yelling "I can't do this" (a typical transition confession- but didn't realize it at the time). I couldn't even believe what was coming out of my mouth. I am "Moms in Harmony" this isn't how it's supposed to be. This isn't how I'M supposed to handle these situations. This isn't the example I aim to be, personally and professionally. I literally thought I was going to die before birthing my baby. All the nurses and midwives were cheering me on and Ryan was by my head comforting me and trying to keep his composure- I can't imagine seeing him in this condition if the roles were reversed, he was so strong! This was definitely the low point in my labor and delivery.
I felt like I had nothing left and then, one affirmation kept replaying in my mind- "The only way out is through". I don't know how, but Brooks Ryan was finally born at 10:31 pm perfectly healthy. I had a 1st degree tear and required a couple of stitches, but nothing major and nothing compared to what I thought it was going to require. I was swooning over my new son as they were stitching me up and pressing on my belly to help my uterus contract. Even after they stitched me up, I still had a lot of bleeding that was "concerning". They gave me a shot in my leg to help make it stop. They kept checking me every hour for the next several hours. What's even worse is the midwife did a physical exam *down there* to check for blood clots- this was the worst pain, I wouldn't wish this on anyone! Vaginal exams are uncomfortable to begin with, never mind one that has just undergone a traumatic delivery and stitches! Eventually my bleeding subsided to an amount they considered "normal".
I was able to get up and go to the bathroom without a problem and spent the next hour or so doing skin to skin and breastfeeding. My parents were so excited they had been waiting at the hospital since 7 pm to meet their newest grandchild. It was about midnight when they got to meet him. After a brief visit with them, we got ready for bed but I only half slept because my adrenaline was still sky rocketed from birthing my baby and I just couldn't stop staring at how beautiful he was. I had just been through the WORST pain experience of my life, but it all melted away as soon as I held Brooks in my arms. He was worth everything. I honestly didn't think I would be able to walk the next day, but I actually felt pretty good. My body has recovered so much faster this time around than with my first pregnancy, it's amazing!
Life with two has been an adventure. I can't imagine our family dynamic any other way now that Brooks is here. I didn't have the post partum challenges that I had with Savannah, but I did have better expectations in regards to sleepless nights and breastfeeding. I also had more support with the birth of Brooks. My Husband had more flexibility with his work and my in-laws were living with us during this time. Having the support allowed me to be more at ease with this transition. I was able to muster up the courage to venture out of the house and attend a weekly breastfeeding support group at the Hospital where Brooks was born- this group helped me tremendously in all areas of Motherhood, not just breastfeeding. The whole vibe of the group was very much like health coaching and I think that's why it left such an impact on me. Health coaching new Moms is something I am extremely passionate about because I understand the importance of support. My program offers new Moms a way to get back to themselves and a way to create some clarity around the fog.
There's a whole grieving process with knowing you won't be having any more children. I appreciate the process and the miracle of life. I'm totally at peace with my family the way it is, I don't feel like I need to add another human being to "complete" us, but it's still sad. I'll never feel those little baby kicks or experience the pure joy and excitement of meeting this human being you created for the first time; no more birth announcements or gender reveals; no more positive (or negative) pregnancy tests. I miss the hospital staff and the midwives I saw monthly and then weekly leading up to the birth; no more baby name brainstorms (I have so many awesome names I never got to use!).
But...making the decision to just focus on our 2 children is a good feeling. I'm looking forward to traveling and making fun memories together as a family of 4.
If you are interested in learning more about my health coaching services for new Moms, send me a message! I'd love to hear from you!
Love & Laughter,
Don't ya just love a good Hospital selfie?!
This is Brooks' birth story part 2 of 3. If you missed Part 1, here it is!
We had a relaxed and leisurely drive to the Hospital talking nonchalantly about how they'll probably check the baby and send us home. My ride to the hospital while in labor with Savannah was a lot more hectic, speedier, and involved some yelling if I do recall (oops, sorry Ryan!). We arrived at 8:30 am and this time around we actually got to park the car and walk into the non-emergency entrance together; as opposed to my first experience when Ryan's tires screeched into the drop-off area in the ER and I was escorted up to maternity by a security officer while Ryan parked the car. We left all of our bags in the car thinking they would be sending us home to continue laboring there. Walking into the Hospital room was so surreal and a rush of memories flooded back from when we were here just 2 short years earlier.
The Baby's heart rate was normal and I was only 2-3 cm dilated so they decided to keep me even though contractions were still irregular. Part of me felt like such a wimp being admitted at only 2-3 cm, I wanted to go home to prove I was tough and could endure hours of painful labor on my own just like I did with Savannah (why do we always feel the need to prove something to others?! So ridiculous!).
By 11:55 am, the contractions were picking up so we decided to move the party into the birthing tub. We listened to music, the nurse brought me cold cloths, I applied some oils, and dimmed the lights- it felt heavenly and really helped alleviate some of the pain (the midwife would pop in and out of the room and kept commenting on how nice it smelled- thank you Lavender Fine). The nurse was required to be in the room with us, but kept her distance and gave us as much privacy as she could. She did chime in at one point when "Millionaire" by Chris Stapleton came on. She said how much she loved him and that she saw him in concert last summer- we did too! It was a nice connection and a welcome distraction from the discomfort.
A little while later, while relaxing and breathing through the contractions, my phone sent me a notification that it was Dave Mathews' birthday (we've seen him several times in concert) and Ryan told me it was also Sergio Garcia's birthday (many people over the years have told Ryan how he looks like Sergio- a Professional Golfer). Another fun connection and distraction!
I got out of the tub after an hour (now 1 pm) because the contractions were intensifying and I was getting hot. It felt really good to walk around and move at this point. The midwife came back to the room with us and tried several techniques to try and help me through the contractions, she tried different pressure points, a birthing ball, breathing, and a rebozo. The pressure on my back was the most comforting; she showed ryan what to do and it did help for a little while
...and then it didn't...
Finally at 3:15 pm I felt that I could no longer manage the pain on my own and I opted for an epidural. One of the nurses (the Chris Stapleton nurse) shared with me her experience with another mother who struggled between getting an epidural and "toughing it out". After the mother-to-be got the epidural she felt so much better and as the nurse stated "happier". The nurse said she's never had a mom who regretted getting an epidural. With savannah I really beat myself up over getting one. I felt at peace with it this time around. The staff knew I was aiming for an epidural-free delivery, but stayed open-minded (just as I did) in case things changed.
I felt like I gave the unmedicated labor my all and I was at my limit. At this point I was 7-8 cm dilated. I confided with the midwife I was hesitant to get an epidural at this point because I didn't want it to slow my labor. She assured me that I had good momentum and I was already far along so she didn't feel it would slow me down much. The contractions were a 10/10 but before I could get the epidural I needed to have an IV put in and a full bag of fluids before (because the epidural affects your BP)
It took the staff 30 minutes to get me the epidural (when you're having 10/10 contractions every 2-3 minutes, this feels like death). The reason it took 30 minutes was because another mother had *just* come in and had a baby in the next room over- wtf?!
The anesthesiologist came in and remembered us from savannah's birth over 2 years ago. Well...he remembered Ryan because they talked about golf while he was inserting the gigantic needle into my spine. Again, they bonded over golf while the midwife held my hand through the epidural (*rolls eyes*)...
I felt some relief after the first few contractions. Ryan and I were in the room together just resting. I was in a half sleep-like, meditative state which felt really nice. The midwife checked me at 5:30 and I was 9.5 cm dilated and had a bloody show! YES! I thought the end was in site; maybe 1 more hour until we get to meet our son! She returned at 6:30 pm to check me again and to my disbelief, I was STILL 9.5 cm dilated. WHAT. This is exactly what I didn't want (especially so close to the end)! She tried to push my cervix aside but it wouldn't budge.
This is when she said they would need to give me a little pitocin to pick up the pace again. NO. THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED! I did the epidural/pitocin dance with Savannah's birth and it was something I was trying to avoid this time around.
...stay tuned for part 3 of 3...
“We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” – Laura Stavoe Harm
If there's anything my pregnancies and births have taught me, it's that every experience is unique. My experience with Brooks was a complete 180 from my experience with Savannah. My pregnancy with Brooks was smooth sailing and I felt great, albeit big, the majority of the 9 months. Conversely, with Savannah, I was sick for a good chunk of the pregnancy and stayed pretty petite even toward the end. I knew I didn't feel good when pregnant with my first child, but I didn't realize how bad I felt until going through my second pregnancy (does that make sense?). Could it be that I was chasing after a toddler and didn't realize the toll it was taking on my body? Or that it was my second pregnancy and my body had already been through the hormonal roller-costar? Could it be that I was having a boy and not a girl? There are so many factors that play into this, it's impossible to identify!
I said all throughout my pregnancy that I was going to work right up until I gave birth because "that's what I did with Savannah" (I sounded like a broken record with my "that's what I did with Savannah" statements). I didn't expect to gain as much weight as I did (35 pounds) and to feel as uncomfortable as I did toward the end. I hit the 40 week mark on a Monday and after a long, sleepless night with Savannah, I had had it. I was exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally and (this is serious) I had absolutely no clean work clothes to wear that fit me so I decided to start my maternity leave. I wasn't having contractions or any signs of labor, but I needed to take some time for myself before the baby arrived and in retrospect, I'm SO glad I did!
On Monday, January 7 (my first official day of maternity leave), I started to lose my mucous plug. With Savannah, I had lost my entire mucous plug after hours of mild and consistent contractions. I was excited that things were slightly progressing (in my mind), but I was trying not to get my hopes up. The next morning at 8 am, I lost the rest of my mucous plug and thought today could be the day (again, no contractions or serious signs of labor)! Losing your mucous plug is not a sign of labor since it can still take days/weeks before actual labor begins- wahhh!
That night, I went to bed a little disappointed but I was trying to remain calm and patient. I was pretty uncomfortable and not able to sleep but it was nothing new at this stage in the game. I was so uncomfortable that I decided to go downstairs and sleep on the couch at 4 am. At 6 am I woke to feeling like I had peed a little bit- also not unusual, especially when baby decides to give you a left hook just because! I stood up to go to the bathroom and felt a gush of water- FINALLY!!! My water broke...things are progressing...or so I thought...I remember feeling a little baby kick right after my water broke, but still no contractions. When my water broke with Savannah, my contractions became unbearable immediately. My adrenaline was going and I was too excited to go back to sleep. I decided to take a shower and pack Savannah's diaper bag and lunch for the day. I called the midwife at 7:30 am (an hour and a half after my water broke) to let her know my water broke and I haven't felt the baby move since 6 am. She suggested I drink a large glass of ice water and lay down on my right side to get the baby to move (you're supposed to feel 10 kicks/hour).
At this point, I was having some mild, inconsistent contractions. The midwife called me back 20 minutes later and told me to come in so they can check on the baby for everyone's peace of mind. I still hadn't felt any movement at this point so I was relieved when she asked me to come in. I finished packing my hospital bag, Savannah woke up, and we left. Normally Savannah doesn't have a problem if we leave her (especially if she is with her grandparents), but today- of course- she started to cry and my heart was breaking for her. She knew something was different that morning, life was about to change.
I love this picture of Savannah waving goodbye to us as we drove off to the Hospital.
...stay tuned for part 2 of 3....
Welcome to Moms in Harmony, I'm so glad you're here! My name is Meg and I'm a healthy lifestyle enthusiast, holistic advocate, wannabe blogger, Wife, and Mom trying to get the hang of it all. Kick off your flip flops and stay awhile!
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