Our son is finally here! It’s been a long wait, but we’re so happy and excited that he finally made his entrance into this world. Here’s our full birth story:
I want to preface this story by saying that babies have a mind of their own and will come when, where, and how they want to. Everything happens for a reason and even though our birth didn’t go according to our plans, it was still amazing and I wouldn’t have changed a thing!
Let me start by telling you our birth plan…I wanted to have an unmedicated, natural birth. Emilio is a massage therapist and he took a prenatal course for continuing education that had a section about labor & delivery in it. I also had been researching essential oils to help with labor and we both thought that with both of these things, we could do this the way we wanted to. The reason that I wanted to do it unmedicated is because the medication scared me. My dad does not tolerate pain medication very well and I have not had the best of luck with it either in the couple times that I’ve used anything stronger than Tylenol. I was also scared of having the epidural because I hate when I’m not in control of my body. The other plans we had were to do skin to skin with the baby as soon as he was born, which meant we wanted an hour or two alone with the baby before anyone else came in to see him. This would give us the opportunity to bond with him first and give him a chance to nurse for the first time. I was also very set on breastfeeding and not giving him any formula. Even though things did not go according to our plan, I do believe they went the way they were supposed to.
He was due on April 4. I had been having contractions off and on a week or two before the due date so we were all hoping he would come a little early. I was even hoping he would be a March baby, but he just stayed inside as long as he could. When he didn’t come on the 4th, I said that if he wanted his own day, he would have to wait until the 9th now, otherwise he would share a birthday with someone in the family.
By Thursday, April 7, we had gotten very impatient, so I pulled out Emilio’s prenatal massage book and started looking through it. It said that he could do a belly massage on me and use a mixture of castor oil, clary sage, jasmine, and lavender. It said to not use the mixture unless I was full term because it could induce labor. We thought we would give it a try, so we got some clary sage from a friend and picked up some castor oil from the store. We did not have jasmine, so that night he massaged my belly without it. Our little one kicked and moved a ton during the massage, but Friday came and still no baby. Before Emilio went to work, he massaged my belly again and the same result…he moved a ton, but no labor yet. He also did some acupressure points that are supposed to start labor. On his way to work, he picked up an ounce of jasmine oil at a local store so that we could try the full mixture after he got home, but the baby had a different plan.
While Emilio was at work, I barely felt him move so I started getting a little worried. I was also getting some back pain. Throughout the pregnancy I would get back cramps off and on like I always got when it was that time of the month, but it would never last very long. That night, I had the back pain for about an hour and then it went away for a little bit and came back again shortly before dinner. Even though I was having the minor back pain, I still wasn’t feeling him move very much. He always moves a ton after I eat, so I figured if eating doesn’t perk him up, we should go in to the hospital. After dinner I took a bath, and the only time I felt him move was when I sneezed, after which he kicked about 3 times and then was still again. By about 10 that night I decided we should go to the hospital and have them monitor him and make sure everything was ok.
We got to the hospital at about 11 o’clock and they took me right back to a room, had me change, give them a urine sample, and lay down so they could place the monitors on me. After having me hooked up for a couple minutes, the nurse told me that I was having a contraction and asked if I felt it. I said “No, I just have a little bit of constant back pain but that’s all.” After about 10 minutes she told us that I was in labor and having contractions every 2-3 minutes. I thought, ‘If this is what labor is, I can do this!’ The nurse also brought me some ice water to drink in hopes that it would stir baby enough to make him move. Within about 20 minutes he started kicking again and was back to his normal active self. Also, the nurse checked my cervix and said that I was about 1 1/2 cm dilated. At the last office visit, I was 1 cm so this was a little bit of improvement. The nurse called the midwife to see what to do and she said to keep me for a couple hours to see if I progress any more. They checked my cervix again around 2 AM and I was at about a 2 1/2 or 3 so they admitted me at that time.
We slept for a little while until the midwife came in at 6 AM to check my cervix. She said that I was 3 cm and then it felt like she tried to move my cervix towards the center. I cringed in pain and she said “That’s just my little finger!” I didn’t care…whatever she did, it hurt worse than the back pain I was having! She also asked if it was my first baby and told us it was really good that I was walking around. She left and a different midwife came on call and checked me again at about 9 AM. I was still 3 cm and she told me to lay on both sides so that my cervix thins out evenly. She also asked me about using essential oils during labor because she saw our soothing blend essential oil rub. I told her that I did want to use them, I just don’t like the smell of lavender. She told us that she puts them on a washcloth so if I don’t like the smell of any of them she can easily take it away.
Throughout the day we had many visitors that came to see us, but unfortunately I didn’t dilate any more when she checked me again. She had the nurse bring me a birth ball (one of the peanut ones) and told me the more I can sit on it the better. She told me to keep walking as much as possible (I had been walking here and there since we got to the hospital) and to use the ball to help thin out my cervix more and also to kneel over the ball to try and help turn the baby so that my back labor would stop. I also took a couple baths that morning to help ease the back pain. After another walk of the halls, I sat on the ball for about 20-30 minutes because it was really comfortable. Well…I sat on it way too long because when I tried to get up, I couldn’t. My hips locked up and I couldn’t get all the way up or go back down. After I finally stood all the way up, I sat on the bed but then couldn’t move again because my hips had no strength in them. I relaxed in the bed for a little while and then went for a walk again.
Around 3 PM, the midwife came back again and checked me and said that I was still at 3 cm. My cervix had moved down more, so I did make progress, but I hadn’t dilated more. My contractions had also spread out to 5-7 minutes and were irregular. She said she was going to call the OB Doctor to check with him, but she was pretty sure she was going to send me home. I would be more comfortable at home and could actually get some rest. She said if I went home and got a good night sleep, I could wake up in active labor just from getting some rest. She also told me to keep walking and to use a birth ball at home to kneel over to try to turn the baby around. I didn’t really want to go home…I didn’t want to get another IV in and I just wanted our baby to come already, but I had no choice. I had stalled.
After arriving home, I took another bath. The back pain was much worse then it was the night before and it was coming and going with the contractions now. The bath helped a little bit but I was still in a lot of pain. I turned over on my hands and knees in the tub to hopefully relieve some back pain, but it did not help. Emilio even blew up our other exercise ball for me to use and he massaged my back while I kneeled over it but I couldn’t be on it for too long or my shoulders would hurt really bad. Also, the contractions were still killing me when kneeling over it and the weight of my belly put more pressure on my back and made the contractions worse! At one point, I was hunched over on the couch crying because of the pain and my dad came over and told me that it would be ok. I told him that I just wanted the pain to go away and cried on his shoulder. He gave me a father’s blessing in hopes that it would help.
I finally laid down and took a nap, but woke up every 10 minutes when I had a contraction. Before leaving the hospital, the midwife prescribed me a relaxant and told me to take both pills before bed to help me sleep through the night. After eating dinner, I took these pills and went to bed. They definitely helped me sleep…in between contractions! I would wake up screaming in pain every 10-15 minutes so I did not get the restful sleep that any of us wanted. Emilio did not get much sleep either because I would scream with every contraction and wanted to feel his touch. At one point in the night, he went to the bathroom and I frieked out that he was gone because I felt like I needed him by me.
By about 8 AM Sunday morning, I was done. I couldn’t take the pain anymore and I decided that I needed pain meds. If the baby had actually turned around so that he wasn’t ‘sunny side up’ anymore and the labor pain had moved to my front, I might have been able to endure another 30 hours, but I was still having the back labor and it was so bad that I would cry and shake with every contraction. I remember laying on the couch that morning while Emilio was shaving and I grabbed the back of the couch with dear life and was shaking like there was an earthquake. We made our way back to the hospital and this time Emilio pushed me in a wheelchair. When we made it to the OB department, I told the nurse that nothing had changed but I needed pain meds. She checked me in immediately and gave me what I wanted.
The pain meds didn’t take the pain away…they just dulled the pain a little bit. I still felt the contractions and they still hurt REALLY bad, just not quite as bad as before. I couldn’t take it anymore…my back muscles were so tired out that every time they contracted (i.e. every time I move), I would get another contraction. I couldn’t take the pain anymore and asked for more pain meds but they said I had to wait 4 hours before I could get any more because that’s how they worked. The midwife came in and talked to me about our options and said that getting the epidural is probably my best choice. That way she could give me pitocin as well to hopefully speed up the labor process. Emilio and I decided that getting the epidural would probably be best at this point, so in came the anesthesiologist. He was very nice and explained the whole process before starting. The needle went slightly to the left as he was putting it in but as soon as I told him, he moved it to the center and I was numb within minutes. I was scared that I would hate the epidural because I wouldn’t be able to walk around anymore but it was actually amazing because I didn’t feel the pain anymore.
Within an hour of having the epidural put in, the midwife checked my cervix and I was dilated to 5 cm. By the afternoon I was to 7 cm and having regular, strong contractions. (I don’t remember how far apart they were because I couldn’t feel them anymore and I wasn’t looking at the monitor as much as I was the night before.) At that point she decided it was best to break my water because it was bulging out of my cervix. She took a small hook and broke it open and saw meconium (he pooped) so she said a pediatrician would be there during delivery in case he breathed any of that in. Shortly after that, I started getting a pain in my left side. The nurse concluded that it may be a pocket and I should lay on that side so that gravity will help that good numbing stuff to go to that spot. However, after laying on that side for a little while, I started getting a slight pain in my other side and before I knew it I was feeling pain in my back again. When I told the nurse that I was getting pain again, she said that the pain is worse now because she broke my water and the epidural may not take all of the pain away. However, I realized that I had feeling back in my legs all the way up to my knees so she called the anesthesiologist. He checked my back to make sure the epidural was still in place and after seeing that it was fine, he gave me a bolus of medicine to take my pain away again. They also checked my cervix again and I was at 9 cm dilated (this was around 7 PM). They had me put the peanut ball between my knees while I was laying on each side to facilitate labor. The midwife said that it would be best if I can go through this without having to push until the very end and the peanut ball would help open my hips up.
Before leaving, the anesthesiologist said that the bolus would probably wear off after 45 minutes to an hour and he was definitely right. Within an hour I was gripping the bed rail for dear life and shaking uncontrollably with every contraction. When they asked me how much pain I was in on a scale of 1-10 I said 15! That was THE WORST pain I’ve ever had in my life and I just wanted to anesthesiologist to stay in the department so that he could give me the bolus every hour so I wasn’t in so much pain. Every time they called the anesthesiologist, they asked me if I was feeling more pressure and if I felt like I needed to push, but each time I said no and he came back and gave me another dose of medication.
Around 9:30 PM, the nurse checked my cervix again. She said that she didn’t think I was even at 9 cm, that I was probably more around 7-8 cm. We both were really confused by this but she said it can vary by who checks me and how big their hands are. She felt around some more and said that she thinks my cervix may be swelling and she would go call the midwife. After talking to her, the midwife said that she would call the doctor, but the nurse told her “No need, the doctor just walked in.” Within a few minutes he checked me and concluded that my cervix was indeed swelling and we would have to go to Plan B (cesarean section).
The last bolus of medicine had already wore off so the next hour or so was a little fuzzy because I was in so much pain, but here’s what I do remember: I remember the nurse asking the doctor what time for the c-section. He looked confused and she said, “Shouldn’t you call a time so everyone can be here?” and he said, “I’m calling it.” and looked at the clock and said, “10 o’clock”. I was not in the operation room by 10, but I was being wheeled down there by about 10:20, so it was close enough. I also remember the midwife coming back in and saying that we were going to Plan B as well but I can’t remember what else she said besides that the baby looks good on the monitors. They also gave me some pills to take and liquid that was supposed to help with nausea if I had any. The nurse said that sometimes the liquid makes people throw up because they take it on an empty stomach. Since I only had ice chips since that morning, when I got the epidural, I threw it up. The anesthesiologist also said things to me but the only thing I remember is, “I’m going to make you really comfortable in a little bit.” I didn’t want to wait a little bit…I wanted him to make me comfortable right then! While all this was going on, they were also trying to find a member of the church to assist my father in giving me a blessing. He had already given me another father’s blessing but I wanted a healing blessing as well and for that you need 2 Melchizedek priesthood holders. One of the nurses had some consecrated oil and the other doctor in the department was a member of the church so they called him in as well. Since he came in for the blessing, he assisted in the c-section too. Also, during this time Emilio got dressed up like a marshmallow so that he could be in the operation room.
The anesthesiologist gave me some medicine and then they were wheeling me down to the operation room. The medicine made me so relaxed (and I was so tired from 48 hours of labor) that everything from then on was very fuzzy. As they were wheeling me down, someone said, “At least for your future children you will be able to plan the date for the c-section and you can pick which day you want.” I don’t remember any more of the conversation, I just vaguely remember seeing the lights going by, the elevator, and the double doors into the operating room. They had to move me into a different bed and prep me before Emilio could come in. I felt sprawled out like Jesus on the cross because they put my arms straight out to each side. The anesthesiologist gave me the medicine to completely numb me and tested it by putting a cold, wet cotton ball on my skin and asked me if it felt cold. When he concluded that I was good and numb, Emilio came in and the operation was underway. I don’t remember much because I felt ready to fall asleep. I do remember Emilio making a couple jokes to try to get me to smile, but I was just too sleepy and out of it. Our son was born at 11:03 PM. Shortly after that they brought him over for us to see and the anesthesiologist took a picture of us. Then they whisked him away upstairs with Emilio following. Within minutes I was completely under so they could staple me back up. I woke up for a second as they were stapling one side so the anesthesiologist put me under again. Next thing I know, I’m waking up in a different room with a different nurse looking over me. She asked me how I was feeling and turned on the compression pumps on my legs. I also got really cold in that room and she put a couple blankets on me. Finally, around 12:30 AM, I was back upstairs holding my baby.
Our baby weighed 8 lbs 15 oz and was 21 1/2 in long. The pediatrician said that he was a 9 pound baby, but he peed before they weighed him and couldn’t count that ounce of fluid. He also had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck so that may have been why I didn’t dilate more.
Because of the c-section, I could not get out of bed until the afternoon. Emilio had to change him, rock him, and even get up and give him to me to feed him. Getting out of bed the first time was very painful but they put a binder around my waist to help. It was hard to walk around but it also felt good to be moving. I was so thankful to finally be able to eat real food again and even though the process was very painful, it was really nice being able to hold our baby in our arms finally.
Unfortunately, I did have a really bad allergic reaction while in the hospital. My feet were very swollen and my hands had welts all over them. This made it even harder to get up, turn over in bed, or even hold our baby because my hands would hurt every time I touched something. The pain meds helped with this a little but the allergy pill that they gave me seemed to do nothing at all. Thankfully, after taking a shower, my hands seemed to calm down a little bit and the welts were gone by Wednesday morning.
The doctor had originally told us that we could go home Wednesday morning but I was doing so well that we got to go home Tuesday night. As I said before, this was not our birth plan, but that’s ok. God has his own plan for all of us and our son is happy and healthy. Thankfully, breastfeeding is going well, so at least that went according to plan, even if nothing else did. Our son is now a month old and growing way too fast! We love him so much and can’t wait to see him grow up.