Lelia’s birth story (in all its glory!)

March 16, 2011

Well I promised a couple months ago that I would post my full birth story for all to see. Like I said before I loved reading birth stories when I was pregnant, especially being a first time mom, so I could get an idea of what to expect when it was my turn! I will post the entire story (with all the gory details!) so if you are easily grossed out then don’t bother clicking the read more option! 😉

I hope my story helps some of you expectant moms out there..especially those hoping to go natural. Believe me if I can do it you can. You just have to be determined and prepare beforehand! 😀

Thanksgiving was just days away and I spent the week leading up to it in serious nesting mode. I waddled around the house cleaning -everything- I could get my swollen hands on! I was scrubbing baseboards and lamps and walls like it was nobodies business. I have since read a crazy onset of nesting can mean labor is around the corner and for me..that was true! A couple days before Thanksgiving I had a weird gut feeling that I was going to be having the baby soon and I told Ryan. He was like “Ya you are” ( as in Ya I know..it’s almost your due date)..I told him I meant sooner than that..That I had a weird gut feeling it was going to be in days. That night I dreamt of my grandpa Joe who passed in 2004. He told me in the dream that I was going to be having my baby soon and not to worry because he was gonna be there with me.

I spent Thanksgiving week cleaning and preparing for Turkey Day dinner since we were hosting (My mom, dad, brother and mom’s new husband were coming!). I didn’t feel comfortable traveling to Buffalo or Binghamton being 37 weeks pregnant on Thanksgiving so we took on dinner ourselves. (We being me and the hubby!) I prepared stuffing myself, and we worked together making rolls from scratch, a butter/herb/bacon turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and of course desserts (I had to make my pumpkin and banana cream pie as well!). I ate the delicious dinner and then dessert…and then I was completely exhausted. The week’s activities finally caught up to me – I was so beat!

I went to pee in between dinner and dessert and when I wiped there was a bunch of tinged pink mucousy discharge. I was spotting blood for the first time the entire pregnancy so my guard went up. Had I pushed myself too hard this week? Was this it?? Yikes! I went upstairs and whispered to my mom about the spotting and she told me to sit down and I needed to rest. I wanted to serve dessert though so I called Ryan out to our sun room where we had our pies and cheesecake waiting and told him about the spotting. I think my (almost)exact words were “I think this might be it..I think I might be in labor soon!” through a smile and some nervous tears. I had wondered how it would be when I went into labor the entire pregnancy so the thought it may be happening soon was so exciting..and yet scary too! I wasn’t experiencing any pain yet though. Just extreme exhaustion at this point from pushing myself so hard all week long. We nommed down our yummy desserts and I retired to the futon for the night. (This was hard for me though..I wanted to be up helping!) The pain started shortly thereafter. Basically like period/menstrual pain on the worst day that would last thirty seconds to a few minutes and then go away. They were anywhere from 5-15 minutes apart and all over the place. Was this labor or just pain from pushing myself so hard all week? I had no idea. I ended up going to bed and the pains continued on and off throughout the night until morning where they tapered off.

The next day (Friday) I had my scheduled 37 week doctor visit so I went in and told her about the pain. She didn’t seem concerned. She checked and I was 80% effaced but still tightly closed up so no baby yet! I went home slightly discouraged..I was hoping so badly those pains had been me starting to dilate but nope. Looking back now it was probably my cervix effacing (or thinning out!). The whole day I had constant pink, red and brown discharge with mucously like discharge. This had to be my bloody show? The pains occured on and off all day but they really started up again around 7pm or 8pm and were slightly worse than the night before. I had a rough night sleeping since it was hard to sleep when I was waking up with what I know now were minor contractions every 10 minutes for the first 5-6 hours of sleep. They tapered off by morning once again though so no leaving for the hospital yet!

I spent that Saturday as I usually would..running errands with the hubby! We went all over the place – Sam’s Club, Baby’s R Us..etc. I waddled around and occasionally stopped to breathe through a small contraction here and there. Still nothing bad (I wasn’t even sure if they were contractions at this point!). They only happened every 30 minutes to a few hours until nightfall came again and they picked up their intensity for the third night..happening once again every 5-10 minutes. During the day I only had spotting during my first morning wipe. The rest of the day it was a lot of clear/yellow discharge..almost like right after ovulation. Not constant spotting like the day before. Then that night I think I lost my mucus plug because I passed a dime/penny sized blood clot. I once again barely got any sleep. They tapered off and spread further apart once again by morning. Each night the pain was getting progressively worse. I researched a bit online and learned I was in what seemed to be prodromal labor which is basically early labor which can sometimes last weeks before active labor. I was pretty discouraged to hear this!

By Sunday I was extremely exhausted since I spent the previous week cleaning and cooking like a mad woman and barely got any sleep since Wednesday night with the nighttime contractions. I called the doctor’s office that morning to ask her about the pain and she confirmed that it sounded like prodromal labor. She told me to keep timing the contractions and as soon as they became regular and closer together to call them again. She told me to try and relax and get some sleep because I would need it. I managed to find a couple hours that I wasn’t having contractions that afternoon and used them to nap since I was so tired. Looking back I am so thankful I did! We had dinner as usual (I ate a big plate of Turkey Day leftovers) and then Ryan and I played some Everquest 2 for a couple hours. Nightfall came during our playing of EQ2 so the contractions started up again that night with even more intensity and pain. At this point they were painful enough that I would have to stop playing the game, close my eyes and breathe through the contraction and then return to playing. I know it is seriously SO dorky I was technically in labor, having contractions..and still playing EQ2. Like I said earlier though I had NO idea if I was going to be dealing with this for weeks so I wasn’t interested in just curling up in bed and waiting it out. I tried to go about doing my normal things! That day was mostly clear discharge again. Not bleeding like before.

That night the pain became really bad. We tried to go to bed around midnight. Ryan had work the next day so he needed to sleep. I began to cry a bit at this point..from both the pain, my exhaustion and the frustration that I didn’t know how long this was going to go on. Was every  night going to be like this..worse and worse..for weeks still? I couldn’t fathom doing this for night after night after night..as tired as I was. Eventually at around 2am I went downstairs by myself to the fireplace room to hum/moan through contractions on a birthing ball while leaning forward onto the love seat. I didn’t want to keep Ryan awake with my moaning through contractions. I remember watching the clock, timing the contractions. They were pretty painful at this point so I would try to bounce on the ball, rock on the ball..reading through hypnobabies birthing materials. After about an hour I was timing them to be anywhere from 3-10 minutes apart. I was hurting and so tired at this point that I went upstairs to bed and woke Ry..sobbing. I told him I couldn’t keep doing this every night if it was going to happen for night after night after night and I wasn’t getting any sleep to recharge. (I really wish I had been trying to use my hypnobabies at this point but I was in denial that it was real labor so I hadn’t tried.) He started timing me on a contraction timer app on his phone and a lot of them were coming 2-3 minutes apart with the occasional one at 5 minutes. I told Ryan to call my doctor’s office for me to get me into the hospital at this point (3am now) because I figured at this point the worse thing that could happen was they would send me home. He did and they said a doctor would call us back shortly. I was so tired and the contractions were so close together at this point I wanted to be checked again. My mom had planned to be there with me to help me and witness the birth so I called her in Buffalo and told her we were gonna go into the hospital to be checked and that I may be in labor so she should be ready in case.

In my area you can’t just go to the hospital..you need to talk to your doctor first and then they tell you to go in. Well I waited an hour after calling my doctor and never heard anything back. I was crying and moaning through contractions (scaring the crap out of my dog) while continuing to finish packing my hospital bags. Ryan ended up calling the hospital a bit annoyed asking if he can just bring me in since we hadn’t heard back from the doctor. (Saying he didn’t want to be delivering a baby on our futon.) The nurse told him to call our doctor’s office again and he was pretty pissed about this but did. They told him the same thing once again..that a doctor would call us shortly. Luckily at this point (about 4:30am now) we were called back by one of the PA’s and I told her what was going on. She agreed it was a good idea for me to come in and get checked but she didn’t seem too sure if I was in labor. I was SO happy to finally have the ok to go in. Ryan had packed our Soul while waiting for the doctor to call us so we put the dog away and we were off!

The hospital is luckily only 5 minutes away or so, so the trip was quick! Being around 5am noone was on the road. I breathed and moaned/hummed through each contraction on the way and when we got there I was wheeled into triage where I undressed and they hooked up the monitors. I told the nurse how I was planning to go ntural but that I wasn’t so confident in it at this point sinc ei was so tired from not sleeping for days. She was a sweetheart and assured me I could do it and was totally on board with my plans for no meds. Eventually the PA I had spoken to on the phone came in to check me and I was at 4cm! I naively at that point asked if that meant I was in active labor or if I faced possibly being sent home and she laughed and said I was in labor and wasn’t leaving without a baby. I teared up and looked at Ryan and he looked at me in disbelief and excitement. This was it! We weren’t going home until he/she was born. Scary..and so exciting too! 🙂 I called my mom to tell her to start driving since I was being admitted and also called my dad to tell him his grandbaby was on the way!

They took us to our room and since I was found positive for the strep b test I had to go on an antibiotic drip for 20 minutes before being allowed to walk around freely. They hooked me up to the antibiotic and monitors and I sat up in bed indian style. This is where I started listening to my hypnobabies and I am SO glad I did (and regretted not doing it sooner). The hypnobabies tracks reminded me to go limp and relax during each contraction and remind myself that my body knew what to do and would do it more easily if I allowed myself to relax. Everyone was told to please stay quiet for me when they would see me close my eyes and go limp to allow me to go into hypnosis for each contraction. The contractions definitely hurt..but they were manageable. I would feel a contraction coming on and the pain would intensify to a peak while my entire stomach would go rock hard in a big slow wave. I would tell myself to relax, deeper and deeper..and the more I relaxed the sooner I would see my baby. I birthed sitting up in bed and then sat in the jacuzzi tub for a bit. I then moved back to sitting up in bed before trying the birthing ball (the birthing ball was totally not for me. I found myself focusing on keeping myself balanced or upright too much that I wasn’t able to focus enough on letting my body go limp so I could relax through the contraction.) At one point while I was on the birthing ball my mom commented (who like everyone else in the room was watching the monitor show the contraction peaks and lengths) “That was a bad one!”. Having just gone through it and being tired and in pain I grumpily gave her an “I KNOW!” as in “Duh..I know..I just went through it!” lol I ended up moving back to sitting upright in bed.

I progressed quickly..at about 6 or 7cm by 8:30 or so and 9 cm by 10:30am or so. I remember telling my nurse that what I was scared of was transition since that is supposed to be the worst (and when it is almost time for baby to arrive!).  At 9cm she told me “See you are doing great! You were scared of transition and you are already there!” My water hadn’t broke yet so the doctor asked me if I would like them to break it for me. I thought about it and since everything was progressing so well so far and I only had 1cm to go I might as well let them break it (hoping this would make the last centimeter a little faster.) I regret this now looking back on it because at this point progress halted majorly and the pain got a lot worse. At this point I only had one centimeter left to go before pushing but the pain was so incredibly intense I could no longer relax and go limp during the contractions. I was in so much pain I wanted to just flail my arms about and scream..ANYTHING to take my mind away from the intensely painful contractions. They kept coming in to check my progress every 20-30 minutes and it was always “almost but not quite..there’s still a little bit to go”. They recommended I sit backwards on the toilet to be nice and upright so I went and did that with Ryan at my side but I hated it. Once again I didn’t feel like I had anywhere to lean so I could attempt to go limp so I moaned loudly through the contractions, wiggling my legs about. I feel bad for any women touring the birthing center at this point because if they heard me I probably scared the bejesus out of them. I think this was the only time I got slightly pissy with Ryan as well. I wanted him to hold his hands up so I could lean back against them to go limp but he was pushing me forward so I got frustrated. I gave up on the whole toilet position after a few awful contractions and returned to bed to be checked again. Still not enough. I kept struggling through the contractions, waiting to feel the urge to push. Eventually I started feeling something that might’ve been the urge to push so I asked to be checked again and finally I was at 10cm. They set me up for delivery and it was time to get him/her out!

My mom held one leg and a nurse held the other and I began to push. They explained I would push while they counted to 10 three times each contraction and to close my mouth and bear down to push..not making any noise. (I read about mother directed pushing where the mother pushes in between contractions in my hypnobabies workbook but my nurse and doctor were not on board with this idea and I was too exhausted and ready to get the baby out to argue.) I hated pushing. I would get through the three rounds of pushing to a count of 10..just barely making it through the last count of 10 being so exhausted…and then they would ask me for a fourth one and I just didn’t have the strength. It was also so painful that like the entire labor one of the ways I got through contractions was moaning and she kept scolding me to be quiet and push and believe me if the pain was manageable enough for me to be completely quiet I would have been. I would shut my mouth though and attempt to push quietly (not always succeeding). Looking back I wonder if maybe I just wasn’t ready to push since I never really felt a blatant urge that I needed to do it. I was just at 10cm and ready to get the baby out at this point. I pushed for about an hour..the nurses constantly telling me they could see hair and it was so close…I kept thinking he or she was about to come out..but contraction after contraction I pushed and she wasn’t coming out. I was so exhausted, in pain and extremely hot. I pulled my gown completely off and Ryan kept running to the bathroom to get a cold washcloth. He told me after that I was so hot the washcloth would warm up almost immediately after putting it on my forehead.

Pushing hurt like hell and adding that to the pain I was still experiencing from contractions I was hurting pretty bad. My original nurse had gone home by now and another nurse was helping me..and she was really bothering me with the heart rate monitor for the baby. I realize she was doing what needed to be done but I hated her pressing it against my abdomen when I was trying to push. I found it painful and distracting. Then one of my worst fears..the baby’s heart rate started dropping. I remember hearing the blips slowing down and the doctor talking to the nurse briefly looking nervous. It was here I got one last burst of strength to push on through the pain. I had to get my baby out! I wasn’t going to come this far and lose my baby in the canal. I was so scared! Ryan said he’ll never forget the look on my face. He said I looked so determined/angry/scared and in pain all at once. I pushed and pushed and eventually I told them just get him or her out..by any means! They ended up giving me an episiotomy (cutting me to make the opening larger) and finally she came out at 12:47pm. I screamed so loudly when she popped out from the pain. My brother commented afterwards that a nurse had been going by and she said that it was a good scream..that it probably meant the baby was coming out. (Sure enough he heard her cry shortly afterwards! He also said he would never forget the sound of my scream because of how pained it sounded.) She looked a bit blue and the cord was around her neck. I was so out of it at this point from not gettin sleep for days, the pain of the contractions and pushing for over an hour.  Ryan announced it’s a girl! (My gut was right all along!) and we cried. They whisked her to a table nearby and cleared her airways and I remember hearing her first cry. Relief. Ryan took a peek at his new daughter than returned to my side where they were stitching me up from my epi while I sat there in a bit of a daze. The doctors were commenting I was losing a lot of blood..(probably because I was on blood thinners my entire pregnancy) and it worried him. They sewed me up and I was fine.

They weighed her and took her measurements..7 pounds and 11 ounces..21 inches. Not bad for more than 2 weeks early! They wrapped her up and brought her over to me to hold..and I got to meet my baby girl for the first time. My beautiful Lelia. I nursed her and she latched on strongly right away and fed. I was in awe that this little person had come from inside me and was finally here. I loved her more than life itself! Labor was painful but surprisingly tolerable (thanks to hypnobabies!) up until 9cm. I was so determined and set in having a natural birth that I never even thought to ask for pain meds. It was all worth it when I held her in my arms. She was finally here..and I was in love with the beautiful little life Ryan and I created.

Looking back I would do it all over again. I would have another baby in the hospital naturally without pain meds. I just hope my nurse would be as on board with it as the one I had this time was!

There were some thing I would do differently next time though if I am lucky enough to be blessed with another pregnancy in a couple of years.

  • I won’t let them break my water for me. I wonder now if that is why progress halted so abruptly and the pain became so unmanageable at 9cm. For my next one I want to let nature take its course in hopes I have an easier time relaxing through contractions with hypnobabies throughout dilating. I wonder if that last centimeter would have been faster if I had been able to continue going limp or if it would have been the same either way.
  • I pushed almost on my back since I couldn’t find any other place I was comfortable. I KNOW this is the worst way to push since this is against gravity so I am hoping to find some other way to position myself that will allow me to push and work with gravity instead. I am hoping now that I know what labor contractions feel like (and that I was in fact in labor at home) I can use that time to practice positions and relaxation before transition time.
  • Lastly I hope to wait to push until I feel an actual unquestionable urge to push. I wonder now if I was at 10cm but my body wasn’t ready to push yet since I never really felt that urge..so I was forcing it when I began to push. I wonder if I felt the urge and then pushed if it would have been less painful and more enjoyable like I tend to read in so many other birth stories.

And that is my birth story…I don’t know if Lelia planned on making her escape early all along or if it was my constant business nesting and cooking that prompted her exit..I guess we will never know!

Some of you may not have read my previous post so you may be wondering why I wanted to go natural in the first place. “Why didn’t I get the epi?!?”..Well here is a little excerpt so you understand why..

“You may be wondering why I wanted to go med-free in the first place. I had a few reasons! One being the fact I was on blood thinners so it is a little more risky to get an epidural. The combination is supposed to make the chance of paralysis increase. I don’t know about you but I decided I’d much rather go through a day or two of mind numbing pain than risk spending the rest of my life in a wheel chair. Plus I have heard a lot of stories where the epidurals didn’t work anyways. Which leads me to another reason. Research shows the more intervention you allow in labor the more likely it is to lead to even more medical interventions. This means women who are induced are more likely to need of an epidural and a c-section or women who get an epidural are more likely to get a c-section than those who chose to let nature just take it’s course. So the less intervention for me..the better! Especially when I really wanted to avoid the c-section. Lastly and most importantly I wanted to go med free because it is just healthier for mom and baby. All pain killers cross over to baby when in labor and I wanted my baby to come out unmedicated. Period. It’s the least I could do for her and I’m so glad I did. She was completely alert and took right to breastfeeding like a little champ! (It was mommy who had some issues with alertness after the last hour and a half to two hours of labor!)”

I am so proud of myself for doing it the way that I did and I feel it has made me a stronger person now as well. Whenever something makes me anxious now I remind myself I made it through childbirth un-medicated and if I can do that..I can do anything. It gave me a confidence in myself that I never had before..I wouldn’t trade that for anything! 🙂


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