Hudson’s Birth Story
Writing Hudson’s Birth Story was something I knew I wanted to do. While I was pregnant, hearing other mama’s birth stories really inspired me. My prenatal yoga instructor used to read us a birth story from one of her previous students during Savasana (period of rest), at the end of every class. She asked us to send her ours, and I’m so glad I did. Not only did it provoke me to write my own, but she has since told me she has been sharing it with her new prenatal yoga students on a regular basis.
So here goes…
(Hudson was born on a Wednesday).
Saturday night I started feeling minor contractions. I felt excited because I thought our baby boy would be coming very soon. I had my fingers crossed it would take place over the weekend. Well that weekend was not in the plans, because Saturday was just the start of a VERY LONG labor! Mark came home from work Saturday and we settled in with some dinner. That evening I had a nice warm bath to help ease the pain. Sleeping that night was definitely uncomfortable, but the contractions were only coming every 15-30 minutes so I was able to rest in between. Sunday came and the contractions were still few and far between. I was definitely in early labor. In hopes to speed it up, Mark and I went for a long walk, I bounced and swayed on the birthing ball, and had another warm bath. I also tried to pass the time by baking cookies and working on my breathing techniques to get me thru the uncomfortable (but still bearable) contractions. Sunday night was another restless night, I found it too painful to lie in bed, my legs were so tense and the only thing that seemed to help was another warm bath. Sitting in the bath with soft music and candles helped me to relax, but I unfortunately got very little sleep that night. Over the weekend I also tried every trick in the book, especially eating things that are known to induce labor. I ate loads of pineapple, spicy food, dates, and drank raspberry leaf tea 3-4 times a day. I had been reading a book called “Birthing from Within” and I was set on having a natural birth. I was determined to go drug free, and I was also determined to have this baby without needing a C-Section. Something that seems to be very common in our city, and in my circle of friends. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of people I know (in my generation) who haven’t needed a C-Section. Not only did I want to avoid this surgery because, well, its major surgery, but I also really wanted to feel and experience giving birth naturally and holding my baby without any need for recovery time. The main thing however, was giving birth to a healthy baby boy, and I couldn’t wait to hold him in my arms!
When I woke up Monday morning lacking sleep, and still having minor contractions, I called my Maternity Clinic to see if I could come in to be checked over. I headed there, and the doctor informed me that I had dilated to 3 cm and was 100% effaced. She said that I was progressing very well and a long early labor like this was normal for first-time moms. I thought this was great, baby was definitely coming soon! She told me to keep moving and walk around a lot. Mark and I went for another long walk in hopes to speed things along. My mom came over that afternoon as mark had to go into work for a bit. My contractions started coming every 5 to 6 minutes and lasting anywhere from 40 to 60 seconds – things were definitely getting more intense. It was about 8:00pm Monday night when Mark, my mom, and I decided to go to the hospital. The contractions were coming more frequently (3-5 min) and were increasingly painful lasting 60 seconds. We got to the hospital, checked in, and headed to the maternity ward where I was accessed. To my disappointment, I was still only 3cm dilated – not “technically” even in active labor yet! The nurse gave us the option to go out for a walk for an hour and come back and be re-checked, so this is what we did. I couldn’t help but think: “How long did I need to walk before having this baby”!?
Once we were back from the late night walk around the hospital, my contractions almost seem to slow down… and nothing had changed. They monitored the baby’s heart rate (which was great) and I was offered morphine for the pain. This was not something I wanted, so I was sent home to continue the labor. Monday through the night was the worst so far, very painful and I wasn’t able to sleep a wink! My contractions were about 5 to 6 minutes apart, and I knew that being at home was the most comfortable place for now. I found that lying in bed was uncomfortable, and standing up seemed to make it easier to handle the pain.
I continued to feel contractions all day on Tuesday. Although not in my birth plan, I started to seriously reconsider my need for some pain relief. I had been in early labor now for over 70 hours, which I didn’t even know was possible! At around 8:00pm Tuesday evening the contractions were closer together and more regular, so I decided to call the hospital and ask about that morphine that was originally offered as a pain option. I just didn’t think I could get through another night like the last two, and I needed sleep! I thought at the very least, they would be able to check me again and see if I had progressed at all since being sent home Monday night. The nurse on the phone politely told me that they did not have any beds available. She said that if I was in active labor, I would be diverted to a hospital in a city next over. She said she was sending my details over there, and the only option at the moment was to drive to this other hospital to be checked and also ask for pain relief there.
Well, this was not the news I wanted, and it encouraged me to stay home and continue to labor as I was. So that’s what I did, but at 10:30pm the contractions were coming fast and furious, and I decided to page the doctor on call at the maternity clinic. I explained the timings of my contractions and she said to meet her at the hospital. I never mentioned anything to her about speaking to a nurse regarding a hospital diversion. I just agreed and figured I would just show up as planned and hope for the best. Just before midnight we arrived at the hospital and since already registered, we went straight to the labor and delivery ward. A very nice nurse took me to the assessment room, and although I thought I’d be at least 6-7cm by now, I was happy when she told me they would be keeping me at 5cm! I was given a birthing room and (Mark, my mom, and I) settled in for the night around 12:15am. WHAT A RELIEF! We got to stay at the hospital we had planned to have our baby at. We would have a doctor from the Maternity Clinic in our neighborhood (all of which I had met) and we wouldn’t be diverted to another city. I guess a bed had become available! My room was BIG with a great view of the river, which we couldn’t see because it was dark outside. We set the room up with soft music and aromatherapy and I got back to work. After about 4 hours they came to check me and said I was about 6.5cm dilated. Things hadn’t progressed much in all that time! I tried the gas, swaying on the birthing ball, walking around the room, and leaning on the window to stay focused through the pain.
Wednesday – Birth Day
4 hours later they came to check me again, and at 8:30am and I was still only 6.5-7cm dilated. This was going WAY TOO SLOWLY, and although I was having the contractions constantly, my cervix wasn’t dilating at the speed the nurses wanted. My husband and mother were so amazing! They were able to take turns sleeping on the chair while the other one acted as my labor partner. Thank goodness I had them and thank goodness they had each other. We were all lacking sleep.
By this time my favorite doctor from my maternity clinic had arrived on shift (they are on a 24 hour rotation and the original one who I had called had gone home). When the nurse said her name, I was happily surprised, as I thought she had been on vacation! It was so great to see a familiar face and I knew I was in great hands! After discussing the labor so far, they decided to try breaking my water. She really thought this would speed things up. Contractions continued and they were intense, and I was sure I was getting so close! The nurses kept saying how well I was managing the pain on my own! By about 1:00pm, they checked me again and i was so disappointed to hear that not much had changed. It had been over 12 hours, and I was only dilated to 7cm at this point. Now the intervention talk started. They suggested administering Oxytocin (also called Pitocin) to speed up the labor, as they were concerned my uterus was getting very tired. Well I myself was definitely very TIRED, my entire body felt fatigued… but this intervention was not in my birth plan! I wanted to birth this baby as naturally as possible and I had read all about the Oxytocin intervention and had many questions. They assured me that Oxytocin for induction was much different that Oxytocin for augmentation. In my case my labor just needed a little help along (augmentation). They also told me that the pain would get much worse and more frequent, and I was offered the epidural. Having an epidural was never something I wanted to get (partly because of my fear of having a humongous needle stuck in my back). After talking to my doctor and the nurses, I agreed that I needed to rest, especially if I was going to be able to push this baby out. I could keep laboring naturally, but there were other risks involved, perhaps ending up with a C-Section as a result. So… after thinking long and hard, and weighing all the options, I decided to have the epidural before they administered the Oxytocin. This is what my doctor said would give me the best chance of delivering our baby safely.
I was set up with an IV, and told it may take a while for the anesthesiologist to come. Apparently there were 3 other women ahead of me waiting for an epidural. Women that actually wanted one! Well I think someone gave birth and I was bumped ahead of another, because shortly after the anesthesiologist arrived. This was super scary for me as I have never liked needles. He also asked me if I was aware of all the risks involved, and if I would like them explained. “No!” Of course I didn’t want to listen to him laundry list all the risks! I had done my research, and I already knew them. Hearing them again would only delay the process, and make me more apprehensive. I listened very closely to every instruction he gave and tried to stay as still as possible as he put the needle in. Staying still through the contractions was hard, but my body seemed to give me a break, and after about 30 minutes the epidural was in. I lied on the bed and felt like a slug. I hated the feeling of having these drugs pumped into me and felt so uncomfortable! The silver lining however, was I was finally able to REST! They started to administer the Oxytocin and I was monitored by a couple nurses the entire time. They watched baby’s heart rate and my blood pressure and I was given some sugar water thru an IV, apparently I was quite weak after the lack of sleep and food the past 48 hours. I rested without pain for at least 2 hours, and I SO badly needed it!
When the doctor came to check me around 5:00pm I was dilated to 9 1/2cm – It was working! I was also feeling a lot of pressure and the need to push! The epidural was turned off and I was prepped to start pushing our baby out! She asked what position I would like to try and my answer was “whatever is the least likely for tearing”. Two things I was clear with my doctor about was: 1) I did not want a C Section and… 2) I did not want an episiotomy, so the least amount of tearing was preferred! For two hours I focused everything I had on pushing this baby out! I was surprised but also glad that I could feel everything happening! The ring of fire was NO JOKE. Through all the pain, all I could think about was how each push was getting me closer to meeting my little guy! Baby’s head kept crowning and he was being very stubborn, he didn’t want to come out! We found out this was because he had his little hand rested against his cheek! He was such a trooper and his heart rate never dropped! I was also told after by the doctor that she could have easily made a snip and he would have been right out, but she knew that was not what I wanted, and saw how determined and focused I was.
My beautiful baby boy “Hudson” finally arrived at 7:45pm! That final push was a feeling I will never forget, a completely amazing sensation as I felt and watched our baby being born. I was so grateful to my doctor who coached me so well thru the pushing, and the result, there was no tearing and no stitches! They placed him right on my chest for “skin to skin” and Mark cut the chord a couple of minutes later. I cuddled him for about an hour before they weighed him, and he was able to latch on and breastfeed right away. We had to stay in the labor and delivery room until midnight as we were waiting for our room to be ready. I was told by the nurses it was the busiest they’ve seen in 3 years, and they were on full diversion to other hospitals at this point. I was SO thankful everything turned out the way it did. Although I didn’t have the exact birth I had planned, it couldn’t have gone better.
Hudson weighed 8 lbs, 1 oz and was 20 inches long. Absolutely perfect in every way
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