Monday, August 15th was a day I had been dreading but at the same time a day I couldn't wait for. It was the day I was going to be induced if our baby girl hadn't come before then. After a lot of studying and researching, I decided I wanted to do everything in my power to have a non medicated birth, I read a few books, listened to podcasts, and really tried to inform myself on the pros and cons of every little choice I could make in the arrival of our baby. I searched youtube daily for "natural birth stories" so I could hear others experiences and feel like I could do it, too! I was determined that this was the right choice for me and I was going to do it no matter what.
My body was literally created for the task of giving birth to a child and I wanted to rely and trust in this special ability 100%. For all 41 weeks and 3 days, I tried to soak up as much knowledge as I could to prepare for the big day! At 40 weeks, my doctor mentioned he would like to schedule an induction, I pushed back the date he suggested by a couple of days. I did not want to be induced at all. I believed that when our baby was ready and fully developed, she would come on her own! I didn't like the idea of scheduling to have a baby or forcing something to happen if it wasn't ready to happen yet or medically necessary. My pregnancy was totally normal and healthy so I didn't have a reason to force anything to happen. I also knew that after 41 weeks, things couldn't be stalled too much longer so I felt ok with scheduling an induction at 10 days past my due date, but still thought she would for sure come by then.
At the appointment before the induction date, I was checked and barely at 1.5cm dilated. I wasn't even dilated enough to get my membranes stripped! For that next week Jason and I spent every night walking, doing curb steps, bouncing on the yoga ball (me haha), running up and down our stairs, basically doing everything possible to encourage more dilation! I tried EVERY trick in the book besides caster oil. Nothing worked. Some things would start contractions but nothing would keep them coming enough to go into labor. I did go to the hospital one night because contractions were so strong and 2-3 minutes apart for hours, but I was still not dilating enough to be able to stay so I was sent home.
August 15th came and I was scared. I was scheduled to go in at 8pm to be induced and had a doctors appointment earlier that day. The doctor was able to strip my membranes and I was finally at 2cm! After that week of our crazy nightly workouts, I was glad for SOME progress. It came time to go into the hospital to get induced so we grabbed my hospital bag, ate some dinner, and headed for the hospital. I was nervous but felt like I could still do everything else naturally. They started up the pitocin and it helped increase the contractions I was already having.
At about 11pm, my water partially broke. I was so excited because I assumed since it had broken, things would start happening a little faster! Contractions continued to get stronger, more intense, and closer together (about 2 minutes apart for hours) and I was doing everything I could to take on each one and get through them as best as I could. Jason was by my side through it all, helping coach me through everything and reminding me that I could do it! He was exhausted and I pretty much had to force him to take a little nap, I reminded him that one of us should have a little bit of energy when we get to meet our baby girl :) By the way, if you are planning an unmedicated labor, a birthing ball was the most helpful thing for me to get through each contraction!
3:30am came and I was at 4cm.
7am I was at a 5cm.
My doctor broke the rest of my water in hopes of helping things come along. Every bit of progress kept me going and confident. Hours passed and the contractions were becoming unbearable, they were now about 30 seconds apart but it felt like they never stopped coming, I felt like I wasn't getting any breaks in between each one. I was exhausted, starving (they don't let you eat anything besides clear food like jello), and thought SURELY I had progressed far enough and our baby would be coming soon. I remember looking into Jason's eyes during each contraction and crying, waiting for it to be over. Telling him I couldn't do it anymore. But I wanted to wait until they checked me and told me that it was time, I could do anything for just a little bit longer. At 11am they checked me and to my disappointment I was still only 5cm dilated. All of those contractions with no progress.
I couldn't handle it anymore. My body was exhausted and not progressing. At 11:30am I asked for the epidural and got it around noon. I was proud of myself for laboring naturally for 16 hours but I just couldn't keep it up anymore. I knew I needed some rest and relief because I still had a long way to go. As much as I want to deny it, the epidural was great. It took away my pain and aloud me rest for the first time since labor began! For me, I could still feel my legs and move them freely, I just couldn't feel any pain anymore, it was a blessing because I had all these fears that I would be completely numb and wouldn't be able to walk around for a while after birth or something. People like to share their worst stories when it comes to birth so I was scared of it! An hour later I was at 6cm and I stayed at a 6 for HOURS.
Finally at 10:30pm on the 16th, I was at 8cm!! I was so close!! Baby was doing great and showed no signs of distress and I was still confident that my body would do what it was made to do. My nurse mentioned a few times that I should start considering "other options" and it just made me cry. I did not want a c section, I wanted my body to do its job! I had already gone completely away from my original plan, I wanted to at least deliver vaginally. So we waited. And waited.
At about 2am on the 17th my doctor came in and let me know we could try one more thing to try to help me dilate and then if it didn't work, a c section would be the safest way to go. I felt like I had literally tried everything. My water had been broken for over 24 hours and I knew that wasn't safe to wait too much longer. I was still at an 8 and my cervix was not ready to let this baby come! I asked if Jason and I could talk about it and then make a decision. We talked for a while, prayed, and he gave me a blessing. We both felt like a c section would be ok and that everything would turn out just fine.
It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make because like I said, I had wanted to do everything naturally from the start! Our baby's heart rate was still in the safe zone but I didn't want to get to the point where she was distressed and it became an emergency to get her out. I felt like it was time to just go for the c section and get her out while she was still ok and safe.
They got me into the c section room, Jason got suited up, and the room was a little crazy with people hurrying around and making sure they had everything they needed. I was terrified (like so terrified) but also so excited! We would finally get to meet our daughter! FINALLY!! I was entirely numb but could feel pressure. It was the weirdest feeling and I tried not to think about what they were doing, just tried to focus on the fact that it was almost over and our baby would be here so soon. Jason held my hand the entire time, a smile on his face and reminding me that everything was ok and that it was almost time to meet her. He keep me reassured and as calm as I could be in that moment. After maybe 5 long minutes, we heard her cry. She was here!
Our first family picture, right after the c section.
The c section was not as bad as I thought it would be at all. Of course the decision and it actually happening was absolutely difficult and not planned, but I am healing ahead of schedule and I feel great! Healing hasn't been bad at all and I am so, so grateful for that! I was able to walk the same day and I can do everything I would normally do. I love having that little scar to forever remind me of the birth of my little girl. She was turned a little in the birth canal which is why I stopped dilating, and my hips are pretty narrow so it would have been a very, very tight fit (if she would have fit that is) according to the doctor. My birth story was not exactly what I thought I'd be writing, but it is one I love and never want to forget! It's still so special to me and it resulted in the gift of our baby girl. :) She has been the biggest blessing in our lives and everyday I just stare at her and can't believe she is ours forever. We love you, Brighton!!