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My Birth Story

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I went into labor on my due date with my first born. I had a few hours of labor and then my big boy came out screaming at 9lbs 11oz. Thanks to an amazing OB/Gyn nurse and a skilled doctor as well as peri oil, I did not tear at all. It was a magical delivery.

My second boy came out a little late, but it was another easy delivery with no complications and an easy recovery.

Our third son had an agenda of his own.

He has been with us for almost 3 years, but I continue to have flashbacks of the longest day of my life, the day that made me admire doctors and nurses, and appreciate modern medicine; the day I finally got to meet my little man.

Today’s reminder was the intense pain in my lower back while I was trying to enjoy a massage, reminding me of the excruciating pain of back labor; before August 11th I did not know about back labor and it still haunts me. Last week it was a sore throat and a craving for popsicles that reminded me of my obsession with popsicles – since that was all I was allowed to have for 24 hours after my C-section and I had one about every 10 minutes. Last month it was reading a birth article about another mommy’s experience and everything she imagined was nothing she experienced.

I realize now that it is better to not even have a vision of how it will go; your baby makes all the decisions anyway.

My journey began on a Tuesday morning when I woke up after about 30 minutes of actual sleep and called the birthing center at 6:45am, as I was instructed to do by my OB and induction directions. I was told they did not have rooms and I panicked. Everything was planned around that day. I was completely ready – physically, emotionally, and mentally. I called again at 7:30 and they said we could come.

Things got very real very fast!! We arrived at 8:30 and everyone was really nice and comforting, which was exactly what I needed since I was beyond anxious. I had been counting down the days (and the hours) for the last month, but when it finally came time all I could do was worry. Gone were the visions of sugarplums and lollipops. Gone was the vision of me smiling and holding my perfect little baby. Instead, all I could mentally picture was me sweating and screaming as I writhed in pain.

I guess I was seeing into my future at this point.

I was ready to meet Brendon Maxwell (that was the name we had picked out after weeks of deliberating over very organized and alphabetized Excel spreadsheets). That of course is not the name that our beautiful boy goes by today.

It was a whirlwind of nurses, doctors, and machines. The first nurse spent what felt like hours hooking me up to the baby heartbeat machine and IV. I kept getting dizzy and nauseous, so I had to hold a the hospital vomit bag. Reflecting back –I think it was all mental; your mind is a powerful thing. But, in that moment, all I wanted to do was crawl back into my bed. I wanted to run away from it all.

Maybe I could keep him inside me a few more weeks and then try again?

I comforted myself thinking that my water had broken the night before. That was one less form of torture they would need to do. Or so I thought….

My OB came in to check it and said it had not broken. Not sure what the gush was the night before, but there was no time to be grossed out about that. I had a cervix that needed to be broken through and a baby that needed to be born. With my second born, the doctor had recommended the epidural before breaking my water stating that breaking my water would be very painful without it. In a moment of bravery (or possibly hallucinations), I decided that I did not want the epidural this time. I wanted to be in control and aware of everything. As he reached inside me, I could feel him breaking my water- there was so much pressure. It took awhile to do it, and the nurse and the doctor kept saying I had thick membranes. What the hell does that mean? All I know is it was painful and felt like it took eternity, but at 9:30 AM -the pressure was gone. In its place was complete wetness. It wasn’t one big gush leaving a puddle as I had imagined, but instead lots and lots of gushing and many mini puddles that went on for hours. To say I felt gross is an understatement. After I got through that, I thought I could handle the pains of labor too…..boy was I in for a surprise!

I had been on the Pitocin for about an hour and the contractions started around 9:45 AM. The nurse kept asking me if I felt anything and I would tell her no. She would look at the machine and tell me that I was having contractions, but I couldn’t feel them. I got a little cocky here thinking I was going to ease through labor. Boy was I wrong!

I heard the woman down hall screaming bloody murder. I laughed about it thinking that would never be me. Of course I had no point of reference, since by this point with my other two baby boys I had been given the epidural. I would be screaming louder than the lady down the hall in just a few short hours, I just didn’t know it yet.

My contractions started getting more intense. That Pitocin works well! They had to change my towel for the fourth time due to it being wet and gooey. People talk about the beauty of childbirth and it is amazing, but it is also very wet and messy! At least my hubby and I could laugh through everything and that helped some.

The back labor started with contractions 5 minutes apart. Back labor was a first for me and if you’ve never had it –say a little prayer that you never will.

At 10:30am, the nurse said the contractions were now 3 minutes apart. This made sense since I was writhing in pain.

They did a pain check and I lied. I thought they would force the epidural if they know how much agony I was in.

My pain level was about a 9.5 on a scale of 1-10.

I told them I was about a 6 for pain. Lying is never good in a hospital.

The pain was becoming unbearable, but I tried to talk with my family. Anything to take my mind off things. I even watched TLC for a bit.

My mother in law arrived with the boys, but texted us that she could not come inside. Turns out there was a fire alarm going off and the whole hospital was locked down. We still don’t know what happened that day and probably never will, but my mother in law and my boys were stuck outside the hospital for an hour and we had to listen to an alarm blaring “code orange, code orange.”

I had heard the ab ball is really good for easing labor pains, especially back labor. My husband was a little grossed out by everything coming out of my body, so he insisted that we used the hospital’s ball. This helped some, but mostly I was just scared I would roll off of it. At least it was a temporary distraction.

The boys and my MIL were allowed in at about 2pm and were joined by my husband’s best friend and my parents.Yes, I was completely exposed and the sounds and smells coming out of my room were not pleasant, but it was so great to see everyone and it took my mind off the pain for about 2 minutes. It meant so much to have my team there.

Since I had family with me, my husband decided he would sneak away to grab food. Not sure what he was thinking, but he came in with Chick fil A.

You know how you love the smell of something when you are feeling well, but that same smell makes you want to projectile vomit at other times? The smell of food was more than I could handle.

I kicked him and his food out. I may have thrown a few harsh words his way as well.

I started to push at about 4 PM. They asked if a medical student could come in. Great more people to see me exposed. I was fine with this. It seemed we needed all the help we could get.

The nurse kept checking on me because my baby’s heartbeat was dipping and my blood pressure was low. They kept repositioning me so that I was on my side.

The nurse told me that the baby was sunny side up and that was why I was struggling to push him out. This means his face was facing up instead of the back of his head. They decided to try to turn him.

Oh what a new form of torture that was!

I continued to push- trying every position they could think of. There were a few sheet changes needed and visitors seemed to come in and out. The boys were scared by how much pain I was in, so they decided to wait out in the family area with my Dad. My Mom, MIL and my husband stayed.

My mother in law was rubbing my back and said I could squeeze her hand when the pain started. I think I may have permanently damaged some tendons. My Mom had my right leg and my husband had the left. I was so thankful to have my moms and the rest of my family/team to support me.

My medical team would watch the monitor and tell me when to push. I would push and push and they would get loud and scream, “this is it” and then …..nothing would happen.

My Mom kept saying she could see his head and rubbing my leg. In some ways I felt removed from my body. I was moved and prodded and repositioned constantly. Since the ab ball that had eased my labor pains was still in the room, the medical student who had now joined the team thought that might work. So with nothing, but a hospital gown (that was hanging off of me at this point), I was moved to the ball to try labor in a new way. They repositioned my legs again and moved the team around. Nothing seemed to help.

I met a new nurse at 7pm named Anne. I still think of her fondly. She was firm, strong and powerful and I knew she was going to get things done. I was ready to start having all my pushing make a difference! Again my mom had my right hand, my mother in law had a leg, and my husband had a leg. They kept telling me they could see my baby’s head. I would get so excited and think that this push would be it. They would all cheer me on and count with me and then tell me to push. I would get excited and feel so powerful and then nothing would happen.

The new nurse was full of ideas! At one point, she had me straddling a yoga bar –everything was hanging out. Everyone could see everything, but I didn’t care. I was birthing a baby! I wanted my baby out and I wanted him born healthy.

For four more hours, I pushed. I grabbed the squat bar and channeled my bar dancing days and tried to move my body so that he would come out. They would yell at me –“Push harder. You’ve got this.” “Pretend you are taking a poop.” Who wants to envision that? But it worked! Well, to the point that you could see his head, but then nothing. Just a head peeking out. They could not get him past the pelvic bone. I was repositioned again.

At this point I was 6 cm dilated. The pain was intense. This is when my doctor asked me about a C-section. He said that the baby’s head was not going past the pelvic bone. He said I could push 3 more hours and it might not make a difference.

This was not part of my birth plan!

Again, I wonder why I made one. But, did I want to put my baby in danger to stay with my birth plan? His heart rate was worrisome and they were still struggling to turn his head.

At 8pm nothing was happening. They said that I was not pushing good enough. What the hell? I was pushing! I was told that they would lower the Pitocin and give me an epidural. There goes that darn birth plan again. But if it meant my baby would be born healthy, I was willing to try it.

Without the pitocin drip the pain subsided some, but at over 6cm dilated the contractions were still pretty bad when they came for the epidural. Having an epidural after Pitocin for almost 12 hours with over 6 cm dilated and back labor was insane. I remember squeezing my mom’s hand super tight and the anesthesiologist reminded me of how dangerous it would be for me to move. He had to wait until I had just had a contraction before he started it and I had contractions while he was doing it. I remember loving him and hating him at the same time.

We tried a few more positions and had a few more moments where they could see his head and then nothing. At 9:00 PM the official decision for a C-section was made. My husband kept asking the doctor if the baby and I would be safe.

The doctor never said surgery was necessary, but he said it was the safest option we had. My whole family supported this option. My Mom told me later how worried the love of my life was about my safety. Part of me thinks it was because he did not want to raise 3 boys on his own -ha, but also because I know he loves me.

They made me remove all my jewelry, shaved me, and prepped me.

As they were wheeling me out to the C-section –I decided that I no longer wanted our baby boy to be Brendon. I was mad at Brendon, so we changed it to Trevor.

Trevor had not tortured me like Brendon had.

My spouse had to be prepped to be in the operating room with me so I was alone for a bit. I remember hearing voices and not really knowing what they were saying. It was about a woman who was in danger. Thank God they were not talking about me. But I was so busy listening to them, that it made the time pass quickly.

The Anesthesiologist was there whole surgery and he was like an angel. In a weird way, he was now my favorite person. He kept asking me how I keep my teeth so white and telling me all about his kids. They prepared me for surgery and we tried to guess how big the baby would be. I had been estimating him to be about 9lbs 10oz and about 21 inches (based on what I felt and knew with the older 2). The C-section was so much quicker and easier than I thought. Between talking to my new friend –the anesthesiologist, and to my husband, I didn’t even realize they were cutting into me. I thought they were still putting alcohol on my tummy when they asked me if I wanted to see the baby.

The C-section was 10:10-11:10. I was in and out in an hour!

And they tied my tubes while they were inside of me. We knew our family was complete.

Trevor Maxwell as born at 10:27 pm on 8/11 weighing 8 lbs 12 oz length 21 inches and 9.9 Apgar — really good. Smaller than I thought, but so healthy and so handsome!

He was worth all the hours of labor and an unexpected C-section. It was not the birth story that I had planned, but one I will never forget.

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