The long-awaited story about Sophia’s birth. It seems like the right time, given it’s labor day!
Our birth plan was to have a natural birth at the Birth Center, hopefully resulting in a water birth. Our birthing experience was a bit of a shock to the system and resulted in the knowledge that you can plan anything, but that doesn’t mean that’s how it was going to happen. Welcome to parenthood!
This story begins on a Wednesday morning, less than 48 hours from our 41 week deadline to give birth at the birth center. If we passed this mark, we would have to go to the hospital and be induced. I was willing to try anything to avoid having to do this. After taking blue & black cohash for days and getting my membranes partially sweep to help induce labor, it’s time to bring out the big guns: castor oil. Yes, the nasty stuff that says right on the bottle: FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY.
After a lovely two glasses of the castor oil recipe, contractions began to happen – about every 10 minutes apart. I continued to take the homeopathic pellets of cohash every 15 minutes. After a few hours, the revenge of the castor oil kicked in (an expected – and unpleasant aspect of the castor oil). Contractions continued, varying from 10-20 minutes throughout the day. We went for walk to help them along and went to bed about 8:30 pm. I was still having contractions, which began to pickup the pace. After 2 ½ hours of increasing more powerful & frequent contractions, I woke Jon up to begin an “official” count. These contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. We called the birth center and they agreed we ought to come on in…it was midnight when we arrived.
Once there, the midwives checked to see how dilated I was – about 3 cm. We opted to stay there rather than drive home. We continued to labor and tried to lie down (Jon was able to for a bit) but I just couldn’t sleep.
At 7 am, the midwives changed shift and they checked me again – still 3 cm. We had the option to continue to labor for a few hours – or head on over to the hospital for induction. We chose to labor for a bit longer and see if we made any progress. We ate some breakfast (bagels) and went for a few walks. Mom came to join us for a bit at the BC (we had left le bebe’s bag at home in our rush to leave!)
At 10 am, the midwife checked me again – and I had jumped to 4-5 cm. We tried to break my water, but no go. Again, we had the same option – stay for a few more hours or head to the hospital. Again, we opted to stay – after all we had made progress.
At 2 pm, another check – with no progress. We tried to break my water again, but the midwife just couldn’t get a good hook on it. At this time, we decided to head over to the hospital to put in a pitocin drip. The midwife thought I’d only need a little bit to push my labor to the next level. She assured us that le bebe would always be with one of us (barring any medical emergency), which was one of my fears about going to the hospital.
We loaded up and drove over to the labor & delivery area (both BC & hospital are on the same campus, which made it a short trip). I signed a form and we were shown to a room. The nurses immediately began an IV drip of pitocin and the contractions began to increase in frequency and intensity. Jon later told me how the nurses in the room didn’t even blink when I began moaning more and more…he kinda felt like they had a “been there, done that” attitude towards the whole birthing process. They were even discussing when they would get off work since one was going on vacation! Needless to say, I managed to ignore them – there were more important things going on.
My water broke and the contractions just grew. I remember my mom coming by and staying in the room for a few hours and then leaving around 5 pm to head back to the house to care for the animals. I began to push. And push. By 10 pm, the midwife had tried everything and decided that I needed an epidural to help get le bebe out.
Getting an epidural during major contractions lasting every minute apart was challenging. I had to try to stay still. After the successful epidural, I no longer could feel much beneath my waist…so pushing was pretty much impossible. By 11:30 pm, a surgeon came to our room and said we needed to get this baby out now. The baby wasn’t in distress, but I had been in labor for far too long. I was heading for an emergency cesarean. I agreed, shivering from the cold in the room and from fear.
Once in the operating room, the crew quickly began to work. The anesthesiologist made me even number, from my chest down. I was strapped down to the table with my both arms straight out, perpendicular to my body. Jon managed to get them to put more warm blankets on me, at least until the procedure began. They promised that Jon would be able to be with me and then the baby at all times.
The surgeon entered the room. Jon was by my side, watching the entire procedure. The surgeon made the incision and then he and the nurse yanked me six inches up off the table, pulling my stomach apart (I had quite the bruise later, let me tell you!). All I could see was Jon’s face – and his eyes got huge and nearly popped out of his head and he held on to my hand even tighter. I felt a sudden pressure and the nurses whisked away the crying baby. I kept asking Jon – what did we have? Finally, the anesthesiologist must have gotten tired of waiting for Jon to answer, and he told me we had a girl. Jon moved in a daze over to the area where they were doing usual tests on the baby and the midwife sat down and held my hand while the doctors closed me up. The nurses and Jon were going to take the baby back to our room. They let me see her before they left. She was so beautiful!
I finally returned to the birthing room and the nurses got me cleaned up. And then I got to hold my beautiful baby girl! Jon called my mom and his parents with the news – baby girl born at 12:29 am, July 17 via emergency c-section. We finally had our baby, a daughter, after 38 hours of labor.