During the night, I was having a dream about when I had worked at KFC previously. I dreamed the sink in the back was overflowing. I woke up at 1:45 am covered in water! I tried to stop it thinking I had simply peed myself, but I couldn’t. I knew it was time! I jumped out of bed screaming like a banshee because I was so excited! I called my midwife, Jennifer, and she arrived about an hour later to check. My water had indeed broken and baby was doing great, so she told me to go back to bed and rest until labor started since I wasn’t having any contractions. I was a bit wound up, so my husband and I tried to get things ready since we knew as soon as the contractions started, I’d be pretty useless. My doula, Rochelle, arrived at 5 am to hang out, and we spent the day alternating between resting and walking. I wore a diaper to catch the leaking fluid. John went to Wal-Mart and bought a breast pump. We tried so hard to start my labor, but nothing! Jennifer stopped by to check the baby mid-morning before heading to another birth, and her back up midwife stopped by early evening to check and suggested I shower and go sleep for a while. Rochelle went home, and I showered and settled in to bed.
The next morning, I woke up prepared to get labor started and have my baby. I ate breakfast and went for a walk. I tried pumping with no success. Jennifer stopped by around lunch to bring some black and blue cohosh. 3 hours later, still no contractions. I tried castor oil, enemas, walking, pumping… Nothing seemed to get a good, solid contraction pattern. I had another emotional breakdown that afternoon because Jennifer suggested I go to the hospital, and I wasn’t quite ready to do that yet. I decided to try one more night of rest because I really wanted this home birth.
When I woke Thursday morning, I was extremely disappointed that I had spent yet another night asleep with no contractions. Jennifer called at 7 am and told me she was no longer comfortable not going to the hospital because my water had been broken for over 48 hours with no labor. She told me we were going to go to a smaller hospital a little farther away from my house because they were very birth friendly. She had called ahead and spoken to the OB, one she trusted, and he was willing to give me the pitocin and not interfere unless needed, as long as I agreed to take antibiotics since I was Group B Strep unknown (I had opted out of the testing). I cried, again, and started packing a bag for myself and the baby. I called Rochelle to let her know, and she came to my house to ride with us to the hospital. We drove the 30 minutes to the hospital discussing the new birth plan, and Jennifer met us there. We had agreed on a “code word” for if I felt I needed pain medications. We started the pitocin at 11 am, and when the nurse checked me, I was at 2 cm and -3 station. The baby was so high, no wonder my labor never started on its own!
We spent the rest of the day and all night with me laboring. My husband, doula, and midwife were there with me the whole time. When the contractions picked up, they were all such a big help! Jennifer went and borrowed a birth ball from a fellow midwife since we had forgotten ours. We laughed and joked throughout my labor as I tried to keep a very positive attitude through the pain. The baby was so needy! My monitor kept falling off, so someone had to hold the fetal monitor on constantly while I was laboring. I found my mantra, and I moaned “open” through my contractions, nice and low. I visualized my pain balling up in my uterus and pushing it out of my cervix to open it. At one point, my husband joked that I sounded like a zombie, so the next contraction I moaned “brainsss” instead. My husband and doula joked that they were going to be dreaming of me as a Buddhist monk moaning “open”. I used my code word at around 8 pm, and I was told “no” at first. We quickly figured out that as I started feeling like I couldn’t take it anymore, I really just needed a position change. However, me being the stubborn person I am, it was worse than pulling teeth to get me to change. At 2 am, after 15 hours of pitocin contractions with no meds, I broke down and begged for the Nubain. I needed something to help take the edge off, and I was able to focus through the contractions and rest in between. My husband and midwife both fell asleep, and my doula forced herself to stay awake since I was falling asleep (and nearly falling off the bed) between contractions.
At around 5 am, I felt things starting to go wrong. The contractions were more intense, and not in a good way. I knew in my heart I wasn’t making progress anymore. By 7 am, I was screaming through the contractions and trying to force my body to stop. I felt like my baby was stuck. When the nurse came in, I told her I needed an epidural because I needed to sleep and my baby needed to have a chance to adjust her position. She asked if I had used my code word. I replied with my fist in the air “yes, and they told me to fuck off!” in the most pitiful voice I could manage. My birth team was doing everything they could not to laugh. The nurse told my midwife that she’s seen several times that when a mom is as far as I am (I was at 8 and -1), often an epidural will give mom enough time to rest while the pitocin is increased to bring baby on down. I took the epidural and felt like I was disappointing my support team, but I knew I needed rest. Relief didn’t come soon though, because I was lucky enough to have a hot spot from the epidural. The anesthesiologist came and gave me a spinal block on top off the epidural so I could rest. The doctor checked me, and my baby was indeed stuck in Right Occiput Transverse. She was facing my left thigh, which was hindering progress as she couldn’t come down anymore. At this point, everyone except myself and my nurse thought I was about to have a c-section. After the spinal took effect, the doctor turned the pitocin up as a last ditch effort before deciding to cut. He also inserted an internal contraction monitor because the monitor on my belly wasn’t doing a good job tracking the contractions.
At 1 pm, the nurse came in and woke me up. I had the wonderful opportunity to sleep for 3 hours, and I definitely needed the rest. Jennifer had gone to return the birth ball to her fellow midwife, and Rochelle and John were both asleep in my room with me. The nurse said I was having compression contractions, so she wanted to check me. Sure enough, I was complete and ready to push! She had me give a few test pushes, and then she went to gather the supplies for the birth. Rochelle and John were both floored, and Rochelle texted Jennifer to tell her to come back ASAP because we were about to start pushing! I was lying in bed and so excited! My baby girl was going to be earthside very soon! Jennifer arrived and held one leg as John held the other. She was floored that I was about to vaginally deliver my child. Rochelle climbed on a chair behind the nurse and started taking pictures. I was ecstatic and pushed with all my might each time they told me to push. I asked Rochelle if she could see the head, and she told me she could. I asked if she had hair, and “oh yeah, there’s a ton of it!” I couldn’t help but smile through the entire pushing stage. The nurse got the doctor who didn’t believe I was actually about to push out this baby. He said he had another woman who was about to give birth, and my nurse told him to gown up because my baby would be out long before the other woman’s! He sat down, and 2 contractions later, my little girl came into this world. After 26 ½ hours in labor, Lilly Katherine was born.
I couldn’t stop staring as the doctor cut her cord. The nursery nurse was ready to take her, but the doctor saw I was reaching for her. He handed my little girl to me and told the nurses “mom wants to be with her now; you can get her later”. I couldn’t look at anyone else. I barely glanced at my husband, but my eyes were glued to the beautiful little girl covered in vernix. We spent an hour snuggled up before my husband took her to the nursery for a bath and to be weighed and measured.
While my daughter’s birth wasn’t the perfect home birth we had planned, I couldn’t be happier with how her birth went. Everyone was floored that I had achieved a vaginal birth. I never questioned it. I went into birthing head on knowing I needed to trust my body and listen to what it had to say, and I did just that. I knew my body wouldn’t betray me into having a c-section, just like I knew my body would work with the pitocin to turn my baby and bring her down for me. Lilly’s birth was indeed a very life-changing event. The only thing I regret about the entire experience was not birthing in the birth tub and my husband catching her. But, you know, since the pool was already set up and all, I used it for my herb bath when I got home the next afternoon. :)