What is Your Birth Story?

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So what is your birth story? We want to hear it. Tell us the details from lightening-fast labor to excruciating back pain, planned for water birth to unexpected surgery. To help you get started, take a look at Meagan and Stephanie’s stories. Then take a moment to relive your own experience from beginning to end. Put it into words and post it below as a comment. We are not looking for a right or wrong birth story. We just want your real experience, your journey into motherhood.

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3 thoughts on “What is Your Birth Story?

  1. Is This It??

    I was 7 days overdue. It was Sunday. I was scheduled to be induced on Monday. On Saturday I was convinced that my water had broken and we went to the hospital convinced we were well on our way to having a baby (a nurse kindly told me I was mistaken and informed me I was not the least bit dilated or effaced and my cervix was rock hard). We left the hospital feeling as if I was going to be pregnant forever. This baby was much too comfortable in my womb and I had a deep desire to serve said baby an eviction notice!

    So anyway, it was Sunday. We went to church. My heart felt funny—it hurt—a lot. Was I having a heart attack? How in the world was I going to get through labor if my heart hurt so much I wanted to cry and I could barely breathe? In retrospect, it was probably heartburn but I had never had heartburn before, so I didn’t know that at the time. We went back to the hospital to face the very same nurse as we saw the previous day! Do these nurses work 24 hours a day or what? She was not much concerned with my heart ache. She checked me again. Again, no dilation, no effacement and my cervix was no softer. I was so disappointed! I told her I might see her again the next morning since I was due to be induced at 8 am the following day. She smiled knowingly and asked me if I would like a little help along to get my cervix ‘softened up.’ I blindly trusted and was more than eager to help my little bundle on his or her way out of the birth canal. ‘OK!’ I said. She inserted what she called ‘blue gel’ into my vagina saying this would soften my cervix and make my induction the next day easier. It sounded good to me! She said it would simulate contractions, but they wouldn’t be the real ones. The fake contractions would last for a couple of hours and then go away, leaving me with a softer cervix so the induction would be easier the next morning.

    She gave me the gel and told us to walk around the hospital for a hour. For fake contractions, they were doosies! Toward the end of the 60 minutes, I had to stop walking and talking to my husband and wait them out! The nurse said this was normal and it would pass. She told us to go on home, so we did. I continued to have contractions for the next 3 hours. We called the hospital asking when these things were supposed to stop. Take a hot shower, they said. Just relax and try to sleep. Eventually, the contractions seemed to be a pretty consistently 4-7 minutes apart (although they were never a consistent interval apart. Sometimes they were 4 minutes apart, sometimes 5, sometimes 3). A hour and a half later, we called the hospital again. Could this be the real thing, we asked. Oh no, they said. They will go away. They are not consistent in interval. Just try to relax. Easier said than done! I was having contractions I could not talk through!

    Finally, my water broke. Thank God, now we knew for sure this was real labor! My husband called the hospital and told them we were on our way. By this time, my contractions were about 3 minutes or less apart (they never were a consistent interval) and hard. It took us 20 minutes of starting to walk, stopping for a contraction, waiting for it to end, and starting to walk again to get out the door of our house and into the car. About half way to the hospital, I felt the baby bearing down. I was convinced we were going to have the baby in the car. My husband ran several red lights, and we made it to the hospital.

    At the hospital, I was barely coherent. The contractions were so painful and fast, one right on top of the next one. I remember the nurse checking me and saying I was 4 centimeters dilated. I said, that’s it??? You have to be kidding me! I am not even half way there? I barely remember at least 3 different people trying to put get an IV in my arm and having no luck. Finally they got one in my hand, but they told me I would have to wait an hour to get an epidural once they got the IV going. The nurse asked if I would like some nubane, but I was afraid to try it because I heard it made you dizzy and nauseous. I could not deal with dizziness and puke. I remember having a mask on my face and trying to take it off because ‘I couldn’t breathe.’ I remember Jim pulling my face to his and calmly explaining that I had to wear the mask for the baby. He said that the baby needed more oxygen. Then my doctor arrived. Sigh of relief. My doctor is going to be able to deliver our baby. Not the nurse, not my husband in the car–my real life doctor, who does this all the time! Everything was going to be OK. I relaxed a bit until my doctor checked me and cheerfully announced that I was 10 centimeters dilated and ready to push! I had been at the hospital less than 45 minutes, but I didn’t need to be told twice. I pushed. I wanted to yell when I pushed, but the nurse told me not to waste my breathe yelling. She told me to push for a count of 10 and take a breath and then do it again. I did this twice, and then the baby’s head was out. My doctor told me to stop pushing. IT WAS THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE! I wanted to push so bad and finish the job! But the baby had had a bowl movement in utero and the doctor needed to clean her mouth before she took a breath to ensure she didn’t get any meconium in her lungs. One more push and the baby was out!

    The nurse whisked the baby away before I even got to see her. At this point I realized my tiny hospital room was quite crowded. I think there were 4 nurses huddled around the baby (the NICU nurses were called in because of the meconium), my labor and delivery nurse, my doctor, and my husband. I stared longingly at the crowd around my baby and implored ‘is it a boy or a girl?’ The nurses were so busy. I turned toward my doctor. ‘Was it a boy or a girl?’ She looked at me a little startled and said she had been so busy she didn’t know! Then I heard our baby cry. One of the nurses huddled around our baby was holding her all wrapped up in a blanket and smiling. ‘She’s a girl,’ and she handed her to me.

    ‘It’s a girl!’ I sobbed to my husband. ‘It’s our Riley Nicole!’

    As I held my sweet daughter, my placenta came out. My doctor commented how large it was. My husband almost threw up. Then my doctor proceeded to repair the 2nd degree tear I had created as my baby girl was delivered. I didn’t care one bit, as I was holding my sweet baby and admiring her perfectness. That tear was quite painful to recover from, however. It was a good two weeks before I could walk normally again. All worth it, of course, but no fun at all!

    In the end, if you count the contractions the blue gel gave me (and I do!), I labored from about 4 pm until Riley was born at 11:24 pm. I got to the hospital at right around 10:30 pm. I found out later that my doctor was absolutely furious with that nurse for giving me that gel stuff without her knowledge. I can’t blame her there!

    Round Two

    During the 18th week of my second pregnancy, we moved. I was a bit concerned because I would need to find a new doctor right away. I googled the hospital in our new town and discovered there were no family practice doctors that would deliver a baby, but the hospital did employ two certified nurse midwives.

    Intrigued, I decided to call and talk to the midwife and see if she was accepting new patients. I had known of a couple of friends who had used a midwife instead of a family practice doctor for their pregnancies and they spoke very highly of their experiences.

    The midwife was warm and friendly and chatty. She asked all about me, my family, and my pregnancy. I instantly felt like I was talking to an old friend instead of a woman I have only seen a picture of via the internet. I knew instantly that this woman was who I wanted to deliver our second baby. She told me that she would like my husband and I to come in for a ‘meet and greet’ once we had moved to town. She said we could ask her anything we wanted and then decide if midwifery would be the right choice for our prenatal, labor, and delivery care.

    We moved. I met the midwives. I loved them. They were so warm and caring. They spent 30 minutes or more with me during every prenatal visit to answer all my questions and share knowledge with me about what to expect. I had been lucky to get 10 minutes of my first doctor’s time during my first pregnancy (and most of my pregnancy questions were answered via the Internet). I felt completely pampered.

    On July 14, I was 3 days overdue. My midwife had me do a Biophysical Profile test. Basically, they do an ultrasound to see how baby is doing and look for certain indicators that the baby is doing OK. The baby gets a score out of 6 points. I also had a non stress test. I knew something was wrong when both my midwives came in to talk to me during my non stress test. They informed me that Baby passed the non stress test with flying colors (lots of movement and great heart rates), but we flunked the biophysical profile because I had very low amniotic fluid and the baby had limp muscle tone. It is never good to hear that your baby didn’t pass a test! They said that the muscle tone thing was probably just because the baby was overdue and ready to come out. I was to drink water like a crazy person to help with the low amniotic fluid. They also said that they wanted to get labor started as soon as possible. They checked my cervix, and there was nothing going on down there. They then said I had two choices. 1. they could strip my membranes. It wouldn’t be pleasant, but it should do the job. 2. They could start me on petocin. Because I was not at all dilated, they suspected that petocin would simply cause me a lot of painful contractions that wouldn’t do a thing for me. I opted for option 1 and hoped I would go into labor that afternoon.

    When I didn’t go into labor that day, I was so disappointed. I called my midwife and asked her what was wrong with my body! She said stripping the membranes didn’t guarantee labor. I stewed the rest of that day wondering why my babies never want to come out on their own!

    The morning of the 15th I woke up at 6:30 with what I thought were Braxton hicks contractions (not at all painful, just a twinge, really). However, to my excitement, ten minutes later, I got another one. And 10 minutes after that another! Maybe this was it!! Consistent contractions!! A new concept for me!! I had an appointment with the midwife that morning at 8:30. I told her I suspected I was in labor and had her check my cervix. Sure enough, it was softer! Yay!!! I knew that the 15th was going to be the day! We went home very excited!

    By noon, my contractions were 5 minutes apart and slightly painful (but I could still talk through them). I called the midwife and she said to come on in. She checked my cervix again…I was 3 centimeters dilated! Yay, progress! At 1:00 I was checked into the hospital. By this time, I was needing to concentrate on breathing through the contractions.

    By the time I got to my hospital room, I was working through every contraction by breathing and squeezing the living daylights out of my husband’s poor hand. The nurses helped me get changed, and into bed. My midwife came in and said that she thought I was far enough along to get into the warm bathtub to help with the pain of the contractions (if you get in too early, it can slow your labor down). The bathtub was wonderful! It really did help, and felt so good! I was in there for probably 45 minutes, when I knew I needed to change positions. After the bathtub, I sat on the exercise ball. It helped to bounce on the ball through the contractions (as well as breathe and squeeze the daylights out of my husband’s hand). After that, they had me get on the bed on my knees, draped over the back of the bed (the headboard was propped up). The nurses massaged my back and legs. That was a great position too for awhile. By this time, I was feeling some pressure and thought maybe the end was near. I had my midwife check my cervix, and I think I was about an 8. I was so frustrated!!! I wanted to push that baby out, and it seemed to be taking a long time to get to that point (it was probably 4 or 4:30 at this point). I got back into the tub, then sat on the birthing stool for awhile. I felt more pressure, so my midwife checked me again…still 8!! At that point I felt like giving up. I was so tired of working through the contractions. They were getting more painful and longer, and I didn’t think I could do it! I got back in the tub, but it wasn’t comfortable anymore. I sat on the birthing stool some more, and the contractions were awful. My water still had not broken yet. I started crying through every contraction and yelling because it made me feel better. My husband and the nurses were so wonderful. They kept telling me I could do it, even though I was crying and telling them I couldn’t. The nurses had me get up off the birthing stool and try to go to the bathroom. At that point my water finally broke! Praise the Lord!!!! I was so exhausted, and still telling everyone I needed help and to do something because I was too tired to do anything else. My midwife said she would help me. I thought she meant give me some drugs, but it was too far into that game at that point. She got me up on the bed and told me I was almost 10 centimeters dilated (the water finally breaking, must have got me dilating faster). She said she could turn the last little ‘lip’ of my cervix up and I could push. I said DO IT!!!! She did, and I started pushing. I think I pushed 4 or 5 times and out popped our Caroline! She had the cord around her neck, but my midwife took care of that no problem. My husband said ‘it’s a girl, it’s a girl!!!’ My midwife put her on my stomach and I marveled at how gorgeous she was…even all slimy and how that I had actually done it, when I had convinced myself I couldn’t. She had a loud healthy cry! She stayed on my stomach for awhile and then to my amazement, my husband cut the cord (something he said he had no interest in doing). I was so proud of him. He was such great support throughout the entire process!

    I ended up doing the birth without any drugs. It wasn’t too bad until that last hour or so, when I was so tired and ready to give up. Once I had been admitted, Caroline only took 5 and a half hours to make her entrance, which is really pretty quick. It felt like a lot longer and I have tremendous respect for women who labor for more than that. It is such hard, hard work!

    My second labor and delivery was night and day different from my first experience. My first labor felt so stressful and rushed and I felt out of control and just along for the ride. My second labor was more relaxed, quiet, and I felt I was in complete control of the experience (except for a bit at the end when I just wanted to give up). Hands down, I will go with a midwife for any future pregnancies. They are the prenatal, labor and delivery experts!!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your stories, Reagan! You had me laughing (how Jim nearly threw up from the placenta!) and near tears. Isn’t it crazy how different the two births were? And how odd that #1 was quicker than #2. Just goes to show, you never know what to expect. Again, thank you!!

  2. Admittedly, I’m a planner. So it seemed natural that we would have a birth plan. My ideal birth was to go all natural…after all women had been doing it for thousands of years. Surely I could join their ranks. When people would ask what our plan was, I always felt that I had to defend our choice. I was not trying to be a hero. Because of a history of having allergic reactions during medical procedures (and not being sure of the cause), I was planning to go all natural and avoid any unpleasant side effects of my ramped up immune system. The second part to my birth plan, was that “c-section” would not be in my vocabulary, as it just was not an option, unless there was a medical emergency. I quickly learned that babies often have their own agendas, that is much different from their parents.
    My Ob/Gyn had been trying to convince us that we needed to have a c-section. She said that we were having a “big baby”. My husband and I scoured medical journals and sought a second opinion to determine if we truly needed a c-section. We stood our ground about doing everything naturally. A week and a half before our bundle of joy was born, I developed a red itchy rash on my arms, legs, and belly. We made a trip to the ER, where after much research by the ER physician, we were told that I had PUPPS, an itchy rash that for some unknown reason some women break out in during pregnancy. Baby and I were dosed up on some steroids to help alleviate the itchiness. Needless to say, my doctor was less than thrilled to find out I had been put on steroids. I was going to be birthing Arnold Schwarzeneggar apparently as a result.
    A week and a half before our due date, my doctor stripped my membranes to try and get things moving. Two days later, I went to work as usual. I felt a little off all day. I came home and collapsed on the couch, telling my husband, that I felt like I had the flu. I announced that there was no way I could have a baby tonight. I was exhausted and achy, and soon nodded off for a much needed nap. The rest of the evening was uneventful, other than feeling tired. At 3 AM I got up for my usual trip to the bathroom. As I crawled back in bed, something seemed off. I trudged back to the bathroom, and realized that my water had broken. I woke my husband, and told him that we were going to have a baby today. We both got showered and packed. We waited until 6 AM to call the doctor on call, as I wasn’t really having any contractions. She said to head into the hospital. We ate a light breakfast. I made another trip to the bathroom…only to have another flood of amniotic fluid before I made it there. This ended in me scrambling to find something else to wear in my already limited wardrobe, and me sending my husband to the pharmacy to pick up some Depends. Yes, Depends. A pad did nothing to stop the flood gates, and I didn’t want either of us to have to worry about getting the car cleaned up if the flood gates opened on our way to the hospital. After a short walk around our neighborhood, we made our way to the hospital.
    When we arrived at the hospital, we were escorted to triage. Our doctor arrived to see how we were doing. The nurse asked if I needed to be checked to make sure my water had broken. I think my jaw dropped, but my doctor was quick to add that she was pretty sure it had, as I had sent my husband to the store for Depends! After some poking and prodding, we began walking the halls to try and progress labor. Our doctor checked in at 11 AM, and gave us the option of having an induction or a c-section. Apparently we were not progressing as expected, however, we stood our ground that we were going to do this naturally. We walked some more, took a nap, did some aromatherapy/reflexology, and at 6 PM I was checked again. I was still only dilated 4 cm. At this point, we were given an ultimatum. Either be induced or have a c-section. I bargained, I would be induced if I could have some chicken broth. (Chicken broth never tasted so good, after not having anything since breakfast.) I soon began having regular contractions, which were much stronger than what I had been experiencing. After holding off as long as I could, I requested some Nubain. The Nubain was great. I knew I was having contractions, but was not nearly as aware of the pain. It was kind of like being in a fog. However, the fog parted much too soon, and before I knew it the pain was back. Later I requested an epidural, despite knowing that it would increase the chance that I would need a c-section. I was looking forward to the wonderful pain relief many of my friends had told me I would experience. I waited and waited and waited, but still had a “hot spot of pain”. The nurse anesthetist came back and repositioned the epidural, and again we played the waiting game. Eventually we called for him again, and he pulled the epidural out and did it again. It seemed like it was starting to work, until my doula suggested that I change positions. Then the pain was back and all of a sudden I felt as if I needed to use the bathroom. I, my doula, the nurse, and the doctor hoped this meant that the time to push was nearing. When my doctor returned to examine me, we got the news that we were only 6 cm dilated and that my cervix was swollen. Well, being a physical therapist and constantly fighting swelling in the limbs of my patients, I knew that we could not fit a square peg through a round hole.
    Between 12 AM and 1 AM, I elected to have a c-section. From there, everything moved very quickly. I was soon being wheeled down to the operating room. After I was positioned on the operating table and my spinal block was completed, my husband joined me. They checked to make sure everything was numb, and my baby’s birthing process began. I felt some pressure and a little shortness of breath as my son made his way into the world, but otherwise was very comfortable during the entire surgery. The whole process was a little surreal and very quick, and I could hardly believe that we suddenly had a baby. After 22 hours of waiting, we were blessed with a healthy 9 lb 2 oz baby boy. Benjamin was quickly cleaned up and I stitched up, and before long, we were enjoying our first moments as a family. Shortly after making it back to the room, we began our first lesson in nursing, and he was quite a champ. Soon afterwards, we all drifted back to sleep, well sort of. We of course wanted to have our new addition in our room. However, little did we know how many little squeaks a new baby will make when sleeping. When the nurse came back to check on us and give him his bath, we sent him to the nursery so we could get some much needed rest. (After that first night, we learned that our newborn baby was in great hands in the nursery. This allowed us to get some much needed rest before heading home.) Overall, I felt really pretty good after the c-section. I had some abdominal soreness when rolling in bed and was moving slower than usual, but nothing that required regular pain medicines. I did end up with the feared allergic reaction covering 2/3’s of my back, which some detective work on my part indicated it was something in the epidural prep that caused the reaction. This resulted in a dermatology consult and us becoming the talk of the floor. Four days after my son’s birth we returned home. I was a little surprised how fatigued I became with light everyday chores, but I think this is our body’s way or telling us to slow down after the childbirth marathon.
    Our birth plan didn’t go how we envisioned it. We went from wanting to have a natural child birth to having many medical interventions during Benjamin’s entrance to this world. The good news though…despite the hitch in our plan, we still have a healthy baby boy…and I would do it all over again in a heart beat.

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