When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately envisioned my ideal birth plan — at a quaint birthing center, in water, with no pain meds or interventions, and surrounded by family (including my dog, of course).
Spoiler alert: that’s now what happened. I gave birth in a hospital, on a bed, with some intervention, with just my husband and midwife in the room. And while that’s not what I thought I wanted at first, it ended up working really well for me and baby. Here’s how it all went down.
Let’s back it up a bit and start from the beginning — choosing a place to have the baby. After finding out our insurance didn’t cover any of the fancy birthing centers I had dreamed of giving birth at, my husband and I planned on touring all the hospitals within a 30-mile radius of our home in St. Paul. That’s not what happened. We toured one hospital — the closest to our home — and were satisfied enough (or just lazy?) to not visit any other hospitals. We made peace with our limited options and choose to get excited about our situation. Me — laughing gas. My partner — cafeteria food.
I visited the hospital a few times to get acquainted with the birthing tubs to prepare for my water birth. But at 28 weeks I failed the glucose test and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, thereby revoking my chance to give birth in water. I also didn’t plan on being induced but when baby didn’t come naturally at 40 weeks and one day, my Midwife recommended induction to ensure everyone stay healthy. Once again, my plans had changed.
At 6 pm on Sunday, October 24, 2015, we started the first step in the induction process using Cervadil, a gel inserted through your vagina to help relax and soften your cervix. The plan was to insert the Cervadil, get a good night’s rest, and then start the Pitocin in the morning. You guessed it — that’s not what happened.
At 4 am on Monday, October 25, 2015, I woke up in intense pain and an extreme urge to have a BM (that stands for bowel movement in case you’ve never visited a mommy message board). When I got up and sat on the toilet, my body started involuntarily pushing. I wasn’t sure what was happening and was a little scared, so I had my husband get the nurse. After a quick check, everyone was surprised to find out that…I was at 10cm and baby was coming. Quickly. Everyone scrambled to get the bed ready for labor. My husband called our moms and told them to get to the hospital ASAP.
It’s all a bit hazy now, but what I can remember of my labor is this:
Intense: Duh — this one was not a surprise. There were lots of painful contractions (My favorite birthing chant became: “Holy shit you have got to be kidding me.”), lots of BMs (I’m still a bit horrified about this one and that my partner and nurses had to continuously clean up after me), and lots of screaming (all the curse words).
Quick: I woke up at 4 am with contractions, and had my baby in my arms at 6:56 am. No time for laughing gas (still sad about this one), no time for anyone else to make it to the hospital on time, and no need for any other interventions.
Empowering: Hey, I gave birth! Laying on my side was the most comfortable for me during the pushing and delivering stage, and my husband recalls looking at me in wonder as veins bulged out of my chest from pushing and screaming so hard. I think that’s pretty BA.
What I Learned
If I learned anything from my pregnancy and birth story, it’s that you can only plan so much. As an Extreme Type A, that has been difficult for me to embrace. But once I accepted it (full disclosure, still a work in progress), it really made life as a new mom so much easier and exciting.
Share Your Story with Us!
We love birth stories! And actually, we really love to call them arrival stories. Even though we are all born, some of our arrival stories have nothing to do with birth. Biological birth, surrogacy, and adoption, we want to celebrate your story. If you’ve got an arrival story that you think will help other birthing people and parents, let’s chat.