Here he is, my little lamb…
Hard to believe he was ever so little…
Here’s my birth story, for inquiring minds.
Originally I had a very specific and detailed birth plan. I didn’t even want an IV – just a saline lock. No thanks for augmentation, and don’t you dare mention an epidural unless I beg for one. I planned on walking, bouncing, and breathing this baby out. Birth plans are just that though – a plan. They aren’t a contract or guarantee. Writing it down doesn’t make it so, and it’s good to remember that and be flexible when your circumstances do a 180.
For instance, when you are diagnosed with acute idiopathic polyhydramnios at 36 weeks. This is a medical condition where you have excess amniotic fluid and your baby is just free-floating. A normal amount measures at a maximum of 24cm in an ultrasound. At one point I had 36cm! It came on suddenly and they had no idea why it was happening. Obviously this drastically altered the birth plan because it increased my risk of placental abruption, breech birth, premature rupture of membranes (charmingly called PROM), or cord prolapse. My risk factor was only 5%, but considering that only 1% of women get ‘poly’, I wasn’t feeling particularly lucky. More like huge and slightly anxious.
We started induction on the morning of the 5th because of the polyhydramnios. I was 39 weeks along. My labor experience was pretty great despite not being ‘what I wanted’. But really all I wanted in the end was a baby, not a ‘perfect’ birth. So I’m not too broken up about all the interventions.
Thankfully I was starting to dilate and efface, so they didn’t have to use Cervidil or Cytotec. That stuff is a bit iffy – any doctor will tell you it’s perfectly safe, but some honest L&D nurses will tell you otherwise. The Pitocin wasn’t so bad in the beginning but I wasn’t progressing after 6 hours so they had to break my water. If you’re on the maximum dose of Pitocin and you’re smilingly bouncing on the birthing ball while you watch Pitch Perfect…. Yeah, they need to do something to advance your induction.
The only issue with rupturing the membranes of a woman with poly is risk of cord prolapse. This meant that I needed to have an epidural on board before they broke my water, just in case we found ourselves needing an emergency C-Section. I immediately got the shakes when I heard this. I’m not a needle person, I didn’t really want an epidural any more than you would want herpes. Who recommended putting a needle in the spine of a laboring woman?!
But before all you women who haven’t given birth yet get completely freaked out – relax. The absolute worst part is the little pinch when they numb your back with lidocaine. And I’m the biggest wuss you’ve ever met. I used to suffer through flu season just because I was afraid of getting the flu shot. At any rate, I survived to tell the tale, they broke my water and it was akin to tidal waves in time with my contractions. I kid you not, they had to swap out towels and absorbent pads 5 times. If you’re not poly, you won’t experience that epic of an amniotomy so don’t get excited.
My only real issues with the epidural were: not being able to eat, and experiencing a ‘hot spot’ – which is when the meds aren’t making it to one particular area. For me it was a hand-sized area on my lower abdomen where I could feel every contraction. Tried to stick it out… totally didn’t.
After getting the hot spot taken care of and then napping like it was going out of style… we started pushing at 7am. Actually we could have started pushing at 5am, but we really wanted our day nurse back – she was that awesome. But yes…. I pushed for 3 hours, with no food in my stomach and only an Otter Pop towards the end. Hooray! And my epidural wore off an hour into it, which I actually appreciated. And although I really wasn’t interested in using the mirror…. wow, reaching down to feel Liam’s head when he crowned was absolutely…. incredible. I feel like crying right now when I remember it. It was the first physical contact I ever had with my son. And when he was finally born, they immediately put him on my chest – slippery and hot and blue and screaming. The most beautiful sound in the world. I fell in love. Andrew and I bawled without any shame – there was our baby! I think I got a few stitches for a sidewall tear, but all I could really think of was Liam.
So, in the end… any pain or worry in the process of having Liam takes second place in my memory. The joy of holding him completely eclipsed any other emotion. I still kind of feel like I’m on cloud 9 – despite the struggles of learning how to breastfeed, lost sleep, and huge blowout diapers. This is our baby – we made him! He looks so unbelievably grumpy but he is so sweet and perfect. ❤ I already know for certain that I’ll be doing this again.