Monday, August 15, 2016

Isla Faye's Birth Story

Even before I got pregnant with my little girl, I was mesmerized by natural birth. I watched the documentaries and read the books. I just KNEW that was what I wanted. I found an OB that was very supportive of natural birth and even looked into a birthing center (which didn’t work out due to insurance reasons) instead of a hospital. I wanted ambient lighting, a special playlist, and my husband by my side.  I’m also deathly afraid of needles, so getting to bypass all of that was a HUGE plus in my head. I was definitely more scared of getting an epidural than I was squeezing a human out of my lady parts. And besides, I didn't need pain meds anyway. I’d have my focal point, my hypnobabies CD, and whatever else I could figure out in the next 9 months- I’d be fine.

It’s important to note that this was all decided in the early, magical days of pregnancy. 

Fast forward about 9 months, when the days are not so magical and instead very uncomfortable, sleepless, and sweaty (I was fortunate to be VERY pregnant during the heat of a Texas summer). At about 36 weeks things started to change for me. I was dealing with stressful and downright dangerous situations for me and baby daily. By the time I reached 38 weeks I began praying that I wouldn’t make it to my due date. Knowing that I could potentially be pregnant for 4 more weeks was daunting and put me in a very bad place mentally. 

At 38+6 my feet began to swell, totally normal I know. By the end of the day my right leg was about twice the size of my left and I felt like I’d pulled a muscle in that calf. I figured this was a normal part of late pregnancy, but I figured I’d call my OB just in case. After describing my symptoms to a nurse she told me to come in for blood work right away because my symptoms were spot on for a blood clot. Definitely not what I expected. I kept my cool through the blood work and the waiting afterward. I even held it together when my OB explained that I failed the blood test and could possibly have a blood clot. When I asked him what we would do if I did, in fact, have a blood clot and he responded with “Well, I’m not really sure. I’ll have to get in touch with a high risk specialist and go from there”, I lost it. Hearing that from my doctor (whom I completely love and trust to this day, btw) scared me more than anything. I’d made it this far with a pretty much unicorn pregnancy, and now, so close to the finish line, my baby could be in danger. I have never been so scared in my life. 

After a long wait in the ER and a doppler of my leg, we found out that I didn’t have a clot. I was relieved, but also so very very done. I was done being pregnant and all of the unknown. I wanted her safe in my arms. So after discussing it with my OB and him reassuring me of it’s safety, we scheduled my induction for later that week. I was happy to have an end in sight and excited that I’d get to hold my baby girl so soon. And my type-A-ness was very excited to have a plan in place. 

But I also felt a lot of guilt. Being in induced was on the very bottom of my birth with list, especially an elective induction. I was so set on my un-medicalized birth, that I felt guilty for changing my mind. I truly felt like I was making the right decision for me and my baby, but I also felt ashamed. There was a voice in my head telling that I was taking the easy way out, that I was a bad mother before even becoming a mother. I was torn, but I had the support of my husband and my OB (I’m serious when I say that I trust that man!) and that was all I needed.

When we checked into the hospital at about 8am I was at 2 and about 50% effaced (what I’d been for about a week). 
*8:30 am- I got my first dose of cytotec Nothing really happened
*noon- I was checked again- still at a 2, so we did another dose of cytotec. After this 2nd dose I finally started to feel mild menstrual like cramps… surely I was making some progress.
*4pm (they checked me every 4 hours) I was between a 2-3 (I think he was being generous at this point) and I felt pretty defeated. I was so scared they’d send me home. My OB told me I had a few options- do a 3rd dose of cytotec, try a foley balloon  (which sounded terrifying), or do nothing and wait it out. I was determined to get this show on the road by this point so I opted to do option 1 and 2. My OB explained that the Foley would be “pretty uncomfortable”. After the foley balloon was inserted I turned to my husband and told him through gritted teeth that if this was “pretty uncomfortable”, then I would definitely be needing that epidural”. Turns out my pain tolerance is virtually non-existant. Oh well. This was when my original birth plan went completely out of the window. And I could not care less. I wanted my baby and that’s about the only thing I cared about. 
*5pm my foley balloon fell out and I was finally at a 4! We started pitocin and I asked for my epidural :) 
*6pm I got my magical epidural- this was so much better than expected BTW! The entire process took about 20 minutes and didn’t hurt at all. (5 stars, would definitely recommend). The best part was the catheter… I didn’t have to get up to pee! Talk about my dream come true. The only part of this entire process that was slightly miserable was the nausea. I’m sure it was all of the medicine I had flowing through my veins, but I wanted to throw up almost the whole time I was in labor. I spent the rest of the night sleeping, coping with nausea, and watching Netflix with my husband. The nurses kept asking me if I had “an urge to push”, to which I always replied “I don’t think so?” and they’d tell that I’d KNOW when I needed to, so I left it at that. The truth is, I never did.
10pm I felt a tightening in my stomach beginning which lasted throughout the next few hours. I told the nurse about 2am that the tightening in my stomach was getting more intense- I still didn't think I needed to push though. However, when my OB checked I was at a 10! Turns out I didn't know after all.  

I pushed for about 45 minutes before my beautiful baby girl came into the world screaming at about 4 a.m. She quieted as soon as they laid her on my chest. I remember being relieved and tired and shocked that she was actually there. 
I did have a tear (between a 1-2, I believe), but thanks to that magical epidural I didn’t really care. My doc sewed me up while me and baby had our skin-skin time.

Other info/tips

I thought I’d want 3 people in the room the whole time- my husband, my mom, and my mother in law. Turns out I only wanted my husband for 98% of the process. He was my rock and the only thing I needed to get through birth. Once I was ready to push I brought my mom and MIL in.

I regret not using a mirror. I thought it’d be weird/gross seeing all that up close an personal, but  I am the only one in the room that didn’t get to see the instant my little girl came into the world. 

You will not care about pooping, one damn bit. 

Justin made a playlist of our music for me to listen to during labor. This ended up being one of the only things from my birth plan that I kept, and I am so glad I did. Our baby girl entered the world to an Avett Brothers song, and if you know us, that is pretty stinking perfect. 

And there you have it. My completely medicalized, so very hospital birth. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. 

Also, I hope I don’t come across as bashing natural birth, it just didn’t work out for me, this time anyway. I still totally support it and my inner hippie still would love to hang out with Ina May on the farm. And nothing gets my ovaries working like a natural birth story!

 It took a couple of months or so for me to deal with my feelings of guilt surrounding Isla’s birth. I can finally look back on it and see the beauty, but it took a lot of tears and time for that to happen. If any mamas or future mamas are reading this and have that weight of guilt surrounding your births, whether it was your decision or not- IT'S OKAY. You did it! Or you’re going to do it, and you’ll have your baby. Yes, I CHOSE my induction. I scheduled that sucker and it was great. I’ll probably end up scheduling my next one. I knew what was right for me, and you'll know what is right for you. Do you research and listen to your support team, but in the end it's just you and your baby. And that is all that matters

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